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Debtors list: Heritage Bank apologises to Nda-Isaiah

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Former Enterprise Bank, now Heritage Bank, has apologized to Mr Sam Nda-Isaiah for erroneously including his name, his wife’s (Zainab) and banana republic in the list of debtors published by the bank in two national dailies. Nda-Isaiah is the chairman of Banana Republic Ltd.

The bank, in a letter to Nda-Isaiah, dated August 31, 2015, stated unequivocally that it erred: “We wish to state regretfully that the inclusion of Banana Republic Limited, your name and that of your wife on the list was done in error”

The bank said it “holds you, your family and Banana Republic in high esteem. Again, we regret whatever insinuation or public harm done to your persons,” the signed statement observed.

The apology is coming on the heels of a petition by Nda-Isaiah to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor over the defamation of his character by Enterprise Bank Limited.

The commercial bank had on Monday, August 10, published Banana Republic Limited among its delinquent debtors.

But Nda-Isaiah, in a petition to the CBN Governor, called for an investigation into the loan granted to him by the bank.

He explained that in 2013, the food and hospitality firm, where he is the chairman, approached Enterprise Bank for a facility for the expansion of its business into Maitama District of Abuja and the construction of a 5-star hotel in Guzape, Abuja, on a 1.4 hectare hilltop prime location.

According to the politician and chairman of LEADERSHIP Group, the bank then advised that the firm should apply for a facility to enable the company to expand into Maitama first before proceeding with a different application for the 5-star hotel.

The petition explained extensively how Banana Republic Limited applied for a facility of N80 million for the new branch in Maitama and then engaged an international consultancy company to commence a feasibility study on the 5-star hotel project.

“We placed the 1.4 hectare hilltop land in Guzape worth more than N2billion as security for the N80 million facility since it was the same bank that would also handle the hotel project anyway. The loan was promptly approved by the bank because it was considered a good project.

“But that was when our problem started. It was at this point that our account officers started behaving strangely and unprofessionally. Sometimes they even showed signs of incompetence. The breakdown of the approved facility was N67.5million for the purchase of equipment and N12.5million for working capital to operate the restaurant.

“Upon approval, our account manager opened an escrow account in our name without our knowledge and deposited N67.5million and started charging interests right away from July 25, 2013, on the entire N80million sum, without any form of notification to us,” he explained.

Continuing, he stated that it was only several weeks later that the management of his food and hospitality outfit knew that an unusual banking practice had happened, alleging that they were not allowed to draw the equipment facility even though they had started charging us interest on the entire approved sum.

According to Nda-Isaiah, noted that the failure of the bank to allow drawdown of the N12.5million working capital, which was part of the N80 million facility, complicated the dispute further.

He added: “Banana Republic informed the bank clearly that they were not going to pay interests on the amount that had not been disbursed. Even as I write this, Governor, the entire N80 million has still not been disbursed to the company but interest charges are going on.

“Because there was a dispute, we stopped paying money into Enterprise Bank as their practices became similar to a Ponzi scheme or at best a strange strain of voodoo banking.

“We promptly paid in N5.6 million on June 3, 2015, into the account in good faith, pending the resolution of the dispute.

“We also agreed to pay N5 million every week for three weeks starting from last week to bring down the indebtedness as we expected them to pay the balance of the N80 million immediately and redress the voodoo interest rate schemes they had been engaged in since 2013 even before we started operating the facility.

“Busari assured us that he would handle the matter and he agreed to restructure the loan on the understanding that Banana Republic’s facility is a disputed facility, not a bad loan or a defaulting facility. The facts are clear.

“He assured the group managing director of our holding company of a quick resolution, only for us to wake up on Monday, August 3, 2015, to see the name of banana republic on the list of loan defaulters.

“With the publication, the agreement to pay N5 million every week abruptly collapsed and I started a conversation with my lawyers.”

He insisted that Enterprise Bank had impugned his reputation and that of his family and was therefore  suing Enterprise Bank.

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Fire guts documents, furniture, others at Nigerian National Assembly

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he management of the National Assembly has confirmed the fire outbreak at the new wing of the House of Representatives on Thursday evening.

The incident happened at a storeroom in the lower chamber’s section of the complex in Abuja.

Passers-by around 6pm who noticed smoke coming out from a store on the second floor of the New Building, House of Reps Wing of the Complex, raised the alarm.

The wing houses the offices of the lawmakers, committee rooms, banks and other private businesses.

The office of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and principal officers are on the fourth floor.

Firefighters from the Federal Fire Service within the premises and other first responders rushed to the scene.

The inferno was later put out by the firefighters and other responders.

Agada Rawlings, Director, National Assembly Information in his reaction to the Incident in a late-night statement, said that the situation was immediately brought under control.

He said the fire was suspected to have resulted from an electrical fault which was noticed by one of the staff members working with the Clerk of the House of Representatives.

He said the employee quickly alerted the Federal Fire Service Unit in the complex.

Rawlings explained that the fire was put out with the assistance of staff members on duty who immediately broke into the affected office and used fire extinguishers before the arrival of the fire service officer.

He said; “There was a fire incident this evening (Thursday) in one of the Janitors, located on the 2nd floor, Room 227 in the new-wing, of the House of Representatives, suspected to have resulted from an electrical fault which was noticed by one of the Staff to the Clerk, House of Representatives, who promptly alerted the Federal Fire Service Unit stationed in the National Assembly Complex.

“Consequently, the combined prompt efforts curtained the fire to the affected office only and power supply to the wing put off to enable a full assessment and investigations into the incident.

“It is expected that after due assessment by the fire service and the Estate and works directorates, normalcy in the New Wings, housing all principal officers of the House of Representatives and Honourable members offices will be restored immediately.

“Management wishes to commend the prompt response/actions by the first responders particularly, National Assembly staff and the Fire Service Unit in helping to curtain the fire outbreak.”

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El-Rufai writes Buhari, says terrorists creating ‘parallel’ govt in Kaduna

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Terrorists are consolidating their grip on communities in Kaduna with a parallel government and permanent operational base, according to Governor Nasir El-Rufai in a memo to President Muhammadu Buhari.

El-Rufai in the memo, warned the president of the terrorists’ consolidation in a late July memo, according to online platform, Premium Times.

The terrorists belonging to Ansaru for short, are believed to have moved to Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State in 2012 when they broke away from Boko Haram.

In the memo, the governor laid  bare how the terrorists have infiltrated and dominated communities and formed “a parallel governing authority,” exercising control over social and economic activities and dispensation of justice in the area.

He said the terrorists had advanced in their plans to make Kaduna forest areas their “permanent operational base” for the North-west region, citing a “series of intelligence reports.”

“Observed movement patterns and intercepted communications of migrating terrorists have shown a clear interest in setting up a base, with the stretches of forest area between Kaduna and Niger states strongly considered,” he wrote.

Law banning political activities

As the political activities towards the 2023 general elections pick up steam, the terrorists, El-Rufai told Buhari, have promulgated a law to ban residents from participating.

“The insurgents enacted a law in the District, banning all forms of political activity or campaign ahead of the 2023 elections, especially in Madobiya and Kazage villages,” the governor wrote.

The Ansaru terrorists are known to have an extremist ideological posture against democracy and secular authorities.

In 2021, the census enumeration exercise could only hold in two of the 11 wards that form Birnin Gwari due to the threat of armed banditry and terrorism, officials in both Kaduna State government and the population commission had said.

The ban on political activities, the governor said, followed a recent wedding ceremony involving the terrorists.

“According to actionable intelligence, members of the Jama’atu Ansarul Musulmina Fi’biladis Sudan (aka Ansaru) are hibernating in Kuyello district of Birnin Gwari LGA, which recently conducted a nuptial ceremony during which they married two yet-to-be-identified female residents of Kuyello village,” Mr El-Rufai wrote.

“The ceremony was attended by various Ansaru members and witnessed by residents of the area. After the marital rites, insurgents in attendance reportedly conveyed the brides to the dreaded Kuduru forest, in the same District.”

Extracting revenues

In the area of adjudicating disputes, Mr El-Rufai said the terrorists “fined one Mu’azu Ibrahim, a resident of Kuyello community, the sum of One Million Naira for selling plots of land without the consent of the owners.”

In addition, with the government becoming removed from rural communities, leaving them at the mercy of violent criminals, terrorists, Mr El-Rufai suggested, are manning the ungoverned space and extracting revenues from the people.

“Multiple reports also exist of bandits and terrorists exacting protection levies and similar taxes from farmers and communities, in return for permission to cultivate their fields,” the governor said.

Terrorism researchers say that revenues from taxes and levies forced on ungoverned spaces – created by the failure or limited capacity of the government – are a major source of financing and sustenance for terrorists.

Like the Kaduna situation described by El-Rufai, ISWAP terrorists based on the Lake Chad islands are also extracting huge revenues from the fishing activities and pastoralists operating in the area.

El-Rufai, when contacted, said he would not comment on this story because his correspondence was supposed to be confidential communication to the president.

In 2016, he wrote a similar confidential letter to the president, warning that the Buhari administration was losing momentum just about a year after coming to power

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Soludo suspends LG Chairman over alleged killing of wife

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Anambra State governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo has suspended the transition committee chairman of Nnewi North Local Government Area, Hon Mbazulike Iloka.

Iloka, who is popularly known as Mba Mba, was suspended over the circumstances surrounding his wife’s death last Sunday morning.

Iloka’s wife, Chidiebere, was said to have slumped and died on Sunday morning, after serving her husband breakfast.

But those who know the coupe insisted that Iloka may have killed his wife, as he has a record of consistently battering her.

Signs of violence was also found on her body, while a huge wound on her head aroused suspicion, leading to public outcry over her death.

In a letter of suspension, which was signed by Anambra State Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Affair, Tony Collins Nwabunwanne, the chairman was asked to hand over to the head of Local Government administration, to avoid interfering in investigation.

The letter read: “Following the sad news of the death of your wife, late Mrs Chidiebere Iloka on 7th August 2022, there have been a massive outcry over the circumstances leading to her death, including alleged possible homicide.

“While you are presumed innocent until the completion of investigations, it has become imperative that you step aside to allow unfettered investigation and justice.

“Consequently, you are directed to step aside and to hand over the affairs of the local government to the head of local government administration, not later that 12th August 2022, until further notice.”

Iloka has only recently been appointed chairman of the local government. He has only been in office for about a week before his eventual removal.

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