Heritage Bank Plc has joined the world to commemorate the 2020 World Malaria Day, amid fears that paying much emphasis on the novel Coronavirus Pandemic could reinforce progress on the mosquito-borne disease, especially in Africa.
The theme of the World Malaria Day 2020, is entitled, “Zero Malaria Starts with Me,” which was a grassroots campaign, first launched in Senegal in 2014.
In canvassing for fight against the malaria scourge and calling on all stakeholders to take proactive action in renewing their focus on eliminating malaria by 2030 as targeted by World Health Organisation, Ifie Sekibo, MD/CEO of the bank, said that zero malaria starts with every one of us working together for a more prosperous and healthy future for all.
This call is coming against the backdrop of the global rise in malaria cases with the recent warning by WHO that the number of deaths caused by malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa could double to 769,000 this year, as efforts to curb the disease are disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to WHO, in 2018, there were 213 million malaria cases and 360,000 related deaths in the African region, accounting for over 90 per cent of global cases.
The WHO said if the focus on slowing the spread of the new virus leads to a reduction by three quarters of access to anti-malaria medicines, deaths could double to 769,000.
“Countries across the region have a critical window of opportunity to minimise disruptions in malaria prevention and treatment and save lives at this stage of the COVID-19 outbreak,” the WHO said in a statement.
It further alarmed that the doubling of the number of deaths represents the worst case scenario, which also assumes the suspension of all distribution of treated mosquito nets due to the pandemic.
However, Sekibo stated that malaria in Nigeria and Africa as a whole has been an unceasing prevalence and dilemma for communities, posing a challenge that has made eradication seem almost impossible.
In his call for collaboration to eliminate the disease in various society, Sekibo emphasized that to attain the global targets on malaria and the goals of Nigeria’s national malaria tactical plan would only be feasible through greater investment and expanded coverage of core tools to prevent, diagnose and treat malaria.
Sekibo stated that as part of the bank drive to support the fight against malaria, Heritage Bank proposes to focus on how malaria makes people susceptible to the present pandemic (COVID-19) in the world, whilst sensitizating the public on its social media platforms on COVID-19 as it relates to malaria.
He further hinted that the overly concerns of exposure to COVID-19, as malaria and the virus have some symptoms in common which includes fever, headache and body pain, hence measures normally taken for malaria interventions have been suspended, which leaves vulnerable population (pregnant women and children) at a greater risk of contracting it.
Sekibo stressed that early detection of malaria and proper management will reduce the mortality risk associated with COVID-19, whilst noting that community sensitization and mobilization around the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of malaria is of great importance.
SEC, EFCC Partner Against Ponzi Schemes
The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, are committed to strengthening the partnership between the agencies with a view to tackling the menace of Ponzi schemes in the country.
This commitment was restated during a courtesy visit by Mohammed Danladi, the Kano Zonal Head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to his EFCC counterpart, Sanusi Aliyu Mohammed on Tuesday.
The SEC Zonal Head described his visit to EFCC as an effort to solidify the already existing relationship between EFCC and SEC.
“This visit is nothing more than to solidify the existing relationship between EFCC and SEC which dates back to the inception of EFCC. We are here to renew that relationship, foster it and fight the common enemy together”, he said.
Mr. Danladi expressed concern about his Commission’s challenges dealing with operators of wonder banks which are on the rise especially in the northern part of the country.
According to him, “the operators of the illegal scheme are taking advantage of the financial illiteracy of the public to defraud them in the name of investment”.
He added that most of the Ponzi scheme operators avoid SEC registration because they know they would be monitored.
In his response, Sanusi Mohammed, the EFCC Zonal Head, suggested a joint operation between the two agencies to curtail the spread of Ponzi schemes and prevent the public from falling victims of the scam.
Mohammed further assured the SEC of the Commission’s continued support as the two agencies share common objectives to fight financial crimes. “As long as the mandate of EFCC and that of SEC remain, you cannot separate the SEC and EFCC. We will continue to work together institutionally, “he said.
“Where the SEC’s main concern is to make sure investors are protected from losing their investments, the EFCC’s concern is the protection of the general public from the activities of fraudsters, which are one and the same,” the Zonal Head added.
Oreoluwa Adesakin, First Bank Staff Jailed for Stealing N49m
Oreoluwa Adesakin, a staff of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has been convicted for fraud and handed a total term of 98 years in prison by Justice Muniru Olagunju of the Oyo State High Court.
But she will spend just seven years in jail.
Adesakin was found to have committed financial fraud against First Bank to the tune of N49,320,652.32.
She also stole $368,203.00 belonging to the bank, which she converted to her personal use.
Adesakin, before she was busted by the bank and sacked, was its Money Transfer Operator, saddled with the responsibility of effecting payments through Western Union Money Transfer and MoneyGram platforms.
The convict was prosecuted by the Ibadan Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), on a 14-count charge, bordering on stealing, forgery and fraudulent accounting.
One of the counts read: “That you Oreoluwa Adesakin sometime between the months of May, 2013 and November, 2013, at Ibadan within the Ibadan Judicial Division, whilst being a staff of First Bank PLC stole the sum of N25,974,116.13 (Twenty Five Million, Nine Hundred and Seventy Four Thousand, One Hundred and Sixteen Naira, Thirteen Kobo) from First Bank PLC MoneyGram Payment Naira Account, property of First bank PLC.”
She pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Usman Murtala, prosecution counsel, presented every vital document and witnesses which nailed the convict.
Justice Olagunju noted that the EFCC presented incontrovertible evidence against the convict and did a diligent investigation and prosecution.
He thus pronounced Adesakin guilty of all the counts.
He sentenced her to seven years in prison without an option of fine on each of the 14 counts. The sentencing will run concurrently.
Apart from the jail term, the convict is also to restitute the First Bank, through the EFCC, all the money she stole.
The convict was arraigned April 4, 2014 by the EFCC following a conclusion of investigations against her which arose from a petition from her former employer, dated December 18, 2013.
The bank alleged in the petition that Adesakin fraudulently manipulated its Moneygram accounting and withdrew N49,320,652.32 and another $368,203.00 for herself, which the bank only uncovered while reviewing its internal account.
The EFCC was also able to establish that the convict used part of the proceeds of her crime to acquire landed properties in different parts of Oyo State.
CIBN Recertifies NDIC Academy as Bankers Training Provider
Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) has recertified the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) Academy as a training service provider for various professionals in the banking industry.
The council also renewed the academy’s accreditation for the next three years, effective from June 2020.
Mr. Saubana Ogunpola, head of the five-man CIBN Accreditation Team, said the recertification followed the exemplary performance of the NDIC Academy since it initial accreditation in 2016 and the satisfaction of the stringent conditions for the recertification.
The recertification, according to Mr. Saubana Ogunpola, Head of the five-man CIBN Accreditation Team, followed the exemplary performance of the NDIC Academy since its initial accreditation in 2016 and the satisfaction of the stringent conditions for the recertification.
He noted that there would be periodic monitoring to ensure that quality standards are being adhered to.
Mr Ogunpola commended the NDIC for its consistent efforts toward meeting the high standards for the benefit of the banking industry and the larger economy.
He described the NDIC’s readiness to subject itself to the rigors of the Institute’s accreditation process as a testimony of its Management’s commitment to capacity development for all stakeholders.
In his reaction, Mr. Umaru Ibrahim, managing director/chief executive, NDIC, described the recertification as another milestone in the NDIC efforts to consolidate the position of the Academy as a center of academic excellence in the nation’s banking industry and on deposit insurance in Africa.
Mr Ibrahim disclosed that the Academy had so far trained a total of 13,368 participants cutting across the NDIC’s workforce.
“It had also trained 135 participants from relevant stakeholders, including the EFCC, Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), National Pension Commission (PENCOM) and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).
“On the international front, 19 employees from sister deposit insurance agencies in other African countries had benefitted from the expertise of the Academy,” the managing director noted.
He stated that the NDIC Academy has been designated to host the African Centre for Studies on Deposit Insurance System (ACSDIS) recently established by the Africa Regional Committee (ARC) of the International Association of Deposit Insurance (IADI).
Mr. Ibrahim reiterated that with the recertification, the NDIC Academy is positioned to fulfill the NDIC’s goal of serving as a center of excellence for capacity building on Deposit Insurance Scheme (DIS) for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
He added that the NDIC prides itself on establishing the highest standards of professionalism and competency among its staff through the NDIC Academy and other human capital development initiatives, including the Chartered Banker/MBA program at Bangor University, Wales in partnership with the CIBN.
The NDIC boss emphasized that the Corporation places high premium on capacity building and continuous high level training of its staff to achieve the NDIC mandate of deposit guarantee, bank supervision, bank distress resolution and liquidation.
“The ultimate goal would be to enhance depositor protection and public confidence in the nation’s banking system,” he said.
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