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Nigerian Ports Authority Secures $700m Loan from Citibank for Lagos Ports Rehabilitation

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Nigerian ports authority

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has successfully secured a $700 million loan from Citibank to facilitate the rehabilitation of the Lagos ports.

The finance was facilitated by the UK Export Finance to revitalize the Apapa and Tincan Island Ports, two pivotal gateways for maritime trade in Nigeria.

The announcement was made during a signing ceremony held in Lagos, marking a pivotal moment in Nigeria’s efforts to modernize its port infrastructure.

Mohammed Bello-Koko, the Managing Director of the NPA, expressed optimism regarding the prompt commencement of the reconstruction efforts following the finalization of the funding agreement.

The rehabilitation project is expected to address longstanding challenges faced by the Apapa and Tincan Island Ports, including congestion, inadequate infrastructure, and operational inefficiencies. By modernizing these key maritime hubs, Nigeria aims to bolster its trade capabilities, enhance port efficiency, and stimulate economic growth.

Speaking at the ceremony, Bello-Koko highlighted the strategic significance of the Citibank Facility, citing its favorable terms and affordable interest rates as key advantages for the NPA.

Bello-Koko outlined the NPA’s broader strategy to upgrade port facilities beyond Lagos, with discussions underway to secure additional funding for the enhancement of Eastern Ports such as Calabar, Warri, Onne, and Rivers Ports, as well as the reconstruction of Escravos Breakwater.

The collaboration between the NPA and Citibank underscores the importance of public-private partnerships in driving infrastructural development.

Ireti Samuel-Ogbu, Managing Director of Citibank Nigeria Limited, reaffirmed the bank’s commitment to supporting the NPA and the Federal Government in bridging the infrastructural gap.

Samuel-Ogbu commended the NPA’s strategic initiative and underscored Citibank’s dedication to facilitating the project’s success.

 

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Banking Sector

Federal High Court Orders Forfeiture of $1.4M Linked to Ex-CBN Governor Emefiele

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Godwin Emefiele

On Wednesday, the Federal High Court in Lagos ordered the interim forfeiture of $1,426,175.14 linked to the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.

Justice Ayokunle Faji issued the order following an ex parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The EFCC, represented by counsel Bilikisu Buhari-Bala, argued that the funds were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities connected to Emefiele, who is currently facing multiple criminal trials.

Justice Faji directed the EFCC to publish the interim forfeiture order in a national newspaper, thereby inviting any interested parties to appear before the court within 14 days to contest the forfeiture.

According to the EFCC’s investigator, David Jayeoba, credible intelligence led to the discovery of the funds in a bank account.

Jayeoba’s affidavit detailed how, between 2021 and 2022, directors of Donatone Limited—Uzeobo Anthony and Adebanjo Olurotimi—allegedly collected bribes on behalf of Emefiele to facilitate foreign exchange approvals during a period of forex scarcity.

“Payments totaling $26,552,000 were made to Donatone’s accounts, with significant transactions recorded on specific dates in 2021 and 2022,” Jayeoba revealed.

The funds were reportedly laundered through a foreign account in Mauritius before being returned to Nigeria. The balance in the account, currently $1,426,175.14, is now subject to forfeiture.

The EFCC’s application cited Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006, which empowers the court to order the forfeiture of funds suspected to be proceeds of crime.

The EFCC contended that the funds should be forfeited to the Federal Government as proceeds of unlawful activities.

Justice Faji’s order for interim forfeiture is part of a broader crackdown on financial misconduct linked to Emefiele.

Just days earlier, Justice Yelim Bogoro of the same Federal High Court ordered the interim forfeiture of $4.7 million, N830 million, and properties also linked to the former CBN governor.

Emefiele is currently facing several charges, including procurement fraud, unauthorized redesign of the naira notes, and forgery of the former President Muhammadu Buhari’s signature to allegedly divert funds from the CBN.

The court’s decision underscores the Nigerian government’s intensified efforts to combat corruption and financial crimes.

The EFCC’s success in securing these interim forfeiture orders highlights its commitment to holding high-profile individuals accountable and recovering illicitly obtained assets.

The case is scheduled for a final forfeiture hearing on June 25, where further arguments will be presented, and interested parties will have the opportunity to contest the interim forfeiture order.

The outcome of this hearing could set a precedent for similar cases involving financial misconduct by public officials.

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Banking Sector

Ebenezer Onyeagwu Caps a Stellar Tenure With Banking CEO of The Year in Africa in The International Banker Awards 2024 For The Second Consecutive Year

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The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Zenith Bank Plc, Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, has been named the ‘Best Banking CEO of the Year in Africa’ at the International Banker 2024 Banking Awards, retaining this title for the second consecutive year.

This award, published in the Spring 2024 issue of International Banker Magazine, United Kingdom, coincides with Dr.

Onyeagwu’s completion of his five-year tenure as Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer on May 31, 2024.

Speaking on receiving the award, Dr. Onyeagwu expressed his gratitude to the publishers of International Banker for the honour.

He stated, “It is indeed an honour to be recognised as the ‘Best Banking CEO of the Year in Africa’ for a second consecutive year. This award is a testament to our team’s collective efforts and our commitment to innovation, growth, and delivering value to our customers and stakeholders. It also reflects our dedication to sustainability and high ethical standards, which are integral to our overall strategy. I am immensely proud of our accomplishments and look forward to future opportunities for the bank as I hand over the baton to my successor and begin the mandatory regulatory cooling-off period.”

Dr. Onyeagwu dedicated the award to the Founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Dr. Jim Ovia, CFR, for his mentorship, which was crucial to his success as Group Managing Director/CEO; to the bank’s management team and staff for their unwavering commitment over the past five years; and to the bank’s customers for their loyalty.

Throughout his distinguished tenure, Dr. Onyeagwu has received multiple awards, including Bank CEO of the Year (2019, 2023) by Champion Newspaper, Bank CEO of the Year (2020–2023) by BusinessDay Newspaper, CEO of the Year (2020 and 2021) – SERAS Awards, and CEO of the Year (2022) – Leadership Newspaper, and Banking CEO of the Year, Africa (2023) – International Banker.

Appointed as the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer on June 1, 2019, as part of Zenith Bank’s succession planning strategy, Dr. Onyeagwu has led the bank to achieve significant milestones in financial performance, financial inclusion, corporate governance, and sustainability.

These achievements have earned the bank numerous local and international awards, including being named Best Bank in Nigeria for the fourth time in five years from 2020 to 2022 and in 2024 by the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards; Best Bank for Digital Solutions in Nigeria by the Euromoney Awards 2023; being listed in the World Finance Top 100 Global Companies in 2023; and being recognised as the Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital for the 14th consecutive year in the 2023 Top 1000 World Banks Ranking published by The Banker Magazine.

Zenith Bank has also been honoured as Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria for three consecutive years from 2021 to 2023 by the World Finance Banking Awards; Best Corporate Governance Bank in Nigeria by the World Finance Corporate Governance Awards 2022 and 2023; Bank of the Year (Nigeria) by The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards in 2020 and 2022; and Best in Corporate Governance Financial Services Africa for four successive years from 2020 to 2023 by Ethical Boardroom.

Other recognitions include Most Sustainable Bank in Nigeria at the International Banker 2023 Banking Awards, Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria, and Best Innovation in Retail Banking in Nigeria at the International Banker 2022 Banking Awards.

Additionally, Zenith Bank was named the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 and 2021; Bank of the Year 2023 and Retail Bank of the Year for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022 at the BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards; Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020; Bank of the Year 2021 by Champion Newspaper; Bank of the Year 2022 by New Telegraph Newspaper; and Most Responsible Organisation in Africa 2021 by SERAS.

In recognition of his significant contributions to the financial services sector in Nigeria and across Africa, Dr. Onyeagwu was awarded a Doctorate Degree in Business Administration by the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, on March 25, 2023, during the university’s 50th convocation ceremony.

Published by Finance Publishing Limited, the International Banker is a leading global source of authoritative analysis and opinion on banking, finance and world affairs. Its influence, integrity, accuracy and objective opinion have earned it global recognition.

The International Banker Awards strive to recognise the most worthy financial institutions around the world – those not just doing their jobs well but exceptionally well – those operating at the industry’s cutting edge and setting new performance levels to which others will aspire.

The 2024 Banking Awards focused on various criteria, including the provision of much-needed capital for economic growth, cutting-edge innovation to enhance security and efficiency, commitment to sustainability and ESG principles, as well as intelligent investing to maximise profits and shareholder value.

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Banking Sector

SEC to Launch Comprehensive Framework for Bank Recapitalisation

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Securities and Exchange Commission

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced its plans to release a comprehensive framework designed to guide the capital market through the proposed bank recapitalisation exercise.

This announcement was made by the acting Director General of the SEC, Emomotimi Agama, during a meeting with the executives of the Institute of Capital Market Registrars in Abuja on Friday.

Speaking at the meeting, Agama emphasized the commission’s commitment to addressing all outstanding issues in a manner that serves the best interests of the market. “We are on top of the issues around the recapitalisation exercise.

Very soon, we will come up with a framework to guide the market. The idea is to interact with you all.

There may be things hanging, and due to the transition, we do not want to miss anything. It will still be attended to in the interest of the market,” Agama stated.

He further highlighted the collaborative approach the SEC intends to take, stressing the importance of working together with various sectors of the capital market to ensure a smooth transition.

“We will come up with a framework to move the market. We are in this together, and we will continue to work and do our best. This is our constituency, and we will do our best. We crave your cooperation to help us deal with major challenges,” he added.

One of the critical challenges the SEC aims to tackle is the issue of unclaimed dividends. Agama described unclaimed dividends as a “monster” that must be dealt with urgently. He called on registrars to adopt technology as a key solution to this persistent problem.

“Unclaimed dividends are a monster that we must deal with now. Whatever it will take to deal with it, we must do it. We must embrace technology as one of the ways to deal with it. Let us put our thoughts together and provide a workable solution; let us ensure that this becomes a thing of the past. We need to provide a solution, and the time is now. As custodians, we implore you to provide practicable steps to address this issue,” Agama urged.

Supporting this stance, SEC’s acting Executive Commissioner of Operations, Bola Ajomale, noted that technology adoption is the most effective approach to ensuring punctuality and sanitizing the system.

Ajomale reiterated the importance of modernizing processes to enhance efficiency and transparency in the capital market.

The President of the Institute of Capital Market Registrars, Seyi Owoturo, responded positively to the SEC’s initiatives. He congratulated the new SEC management on their appointment and pledged that the registrars would act in the best interests of the capital market.

“I congratulate the new SEC management on their appointment, and I pledge that the registrars will continue to work in the interest of the capital market,” Owoturo stated.

This upcoming framework is expected to provide clear guidelines and a robust structure for the recapitalisation of banks, aimed at bolstering financial stability and investor confidence.

As the SEC prepares to unveil this framework, stakeholders across the capital market are keenly anticipating its release, hopeful that it will address current challenges and lay a strong foundation for future growth.

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