It was early last month (January 3rd to be precise) that Polish serial entrepreneur and Co-founder of Jumia Travel, Marek Zmyslowski, penned a Medium article which left many people surprised.
In the expose, Mr Zmyslowski disclosed for the first time that he had been facing challenges in the course of his business operations in Nigeria. These challenges ranged from claims that some of his former business partners are trying to overtake his company, to alleged harassments from the Nigeria Police Force.
According to him, these Nigerian challenges informed his decision to ditch his Nigerian passport, even as he relocated to a West Indies country where he hopes to continue his entrepreneurial career.
“I’ve decided that I need to move my assets, tax residency, or even citizenship to a country, where abuses like that can’t happen, where the law is respected and corruption is marginal.”
Nairametrics reached out to him
Following the publication of Mr Zmyslowski’s article, Nairametrics sent him an email requesting an interview to discuss in details some of the issues he raised. We specifically wanted to know who these alleged detractors were, and if these experiences have changed his perception of a country he once loved.
Although the entrepreneur initially agreed to an interview, his busy schedules would not let this happen. What he did, however, was to write another expose; this time indirectly answering some of the questions we asked.
But he still chose not to name the alleged detractors, even though he went ahead to re-state his claim that the Nigeria Police was used to blackmail him by some high-powered individuals who felt they could control the system.
He also accused the global police organisation – Interpol, of being used as a tool to illegally hunt him. According to him, his name was sent to Interpol by the Nigeria Police Force, alleging that he was wanted for fraud. Consequently, he was arrested in Europe and briefly detained before he was let go.
In the meantime, however, his assets back in Nigeria were frozen, forcing him to institute legal action against the Police which he won; surprisingly.
Nigerian Federal Court Judgment ruling illegality of my arrest warrant and bank account freeze. It's been more than a year. Nigeria has denied any explanations demanded by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. pic.twitter.com/yS2ew6ik6E
— Marek Zmyslowski (@marekchinedu) February 16, 2019
The second expose prompted a debate on Twitter
Agitated by the content of his latest article, last week, some Nigerians attacked Mr Zmyslowski on Twitter; accusing him of being stereotypical and being fraudulent after all.
Show evidence. Any evidence. If not, I’m taking you to court on Monday for defamation. https://t.co/JgwFKLMp3A
— Marek Zmyslowski (@marekchinedu) February 17, 2019
Some people even observed how one-sided his article was, pointing out previous allegations have been made against him by his business partners.
And pls stop making it look like you were the victim..on facebook you didnt even answer or reply to the allegations levied against you…you know Oo na, you said you are in Nigeria.. I still doubt that..
— Uche Goodness Amara (@goodysbb) February 16, 2019
Mr Zmyslowski also claimed that what happened to him in Nigeria would never have happened if he had chosen to establish his businesses elsewhere.
“What happened to me could never have happened in a democratic country with a rule of law. It would never happen to me in the European Union or the USA if I chose to run my businesses there. But I want to run my business in Africa. I was always warned not to do business with Nigerians. The Irony is that the bad guys turned out to be people with American and Indian passports and the Nigerians, Ghanaians, Kenyans, and South Africans were the ones that helped me. My love and belief in Africa remain unshaken. We have so much to win together.”
There is one certain type of Nigerians that doesn't like what I'm doing. It's those “richparentsforeigneducationifyouwantbusinessinnigeriaimyourguy”. I’m their competition.
— Marek Zmyslowski (@marekchinedu) February 16, 2019
The fact that he is refusing to name the so-called detractors is making some people curious.
Update: FG extends second phase of eased lockdown by another 4 weeks
This is the third time the second phase of the eased lockdown is being extended.
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another 4 weeks.
According to a monitored media report, this is the third time the second phase of the eased lockdown which is currently observed across the country is being extended
The disclosure was made by Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, during the Task Force briefing in Abuja on Thursday.
The Federal Government had on July 27 extended the current lockdown by an additional one week due to the Sallah celebration on July 29.
Mustapha disclosed that the extension followed the briefing and recommendation to President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday on the progress made so far by Presidential Task Force in containing the spread of Covid-19 and keeping citizens safe from contracting the virus.
The PTF Chairman noted that they made a couple of recommendations to the president and the extension of the current phase of ease of lockdown was one of the ones approved.
He revealed that in the recommendation that was made to the president about retaining the current phase of the lockdown, the PTF made some minor changes to address the economic, socio-political concerns of Nigerians.
Under the current extended second phase, the current curfew of 10 pm to 4 am is still in force, civil servants on grade level 12 and above are now to resume work fully and close by 4 pm and no longer 2 pm that currently operates. He, however, said that virtual meetings by government officials and parastatals will be maintained.
He also said that while the restrictions on recreational parks have been lifted for non-contact physical activities, the ban on entertainment centres will be sustained.
Mustapha explained that despite the accomplishments and challenges, some challenges continue to pose a considerable concern. Some of them include increased non-compliance with non-pharmaceutical prevention measures, lack of enforcement of necessary guidelines issued to preserve lives, insufficient engagement by some states with the national response, and lingering concern about the gap between identified cases and the actual burden of disease.
He also talked about apathy, fatigue and disbelief combining to challenge public enlightenment, compliance and behaviour change.
The SGF said that to address these challenges, the PTF decided that it was important to ensure that restrictions were not completely relaxed in order to control transmission.
He noted that it was also important that at this Community Transmission Phase of the pandemic, sub-national governments should step up to take more responsibilities by owning the response.
The various state authorities and the Federal Capital Territory were mandated to enforce non=pharmaceutical guidelines, the use of face masks in public appearances and places.
Just In: Access Bank acquires Zambian Cavmont Bank Ltd
The statement from Access Bank says that the deal is a highly complementary transaction.
Access Bank Zambia, a subsidiary of Nigeria’s Access Bank Plc, has reached a ‘definitive agreement’ with Cavmont Capital Holdings Zambia Plc (CCHZ) to acquire Cavmont Bank Ltd.
The tier-1 bank announced this latest development regarding the merger talk which has been ongoing for a while, in a statement that was signed by its Company Secretary (Sunday Ekwochi) and issued to the Nigerian Stock Exchange earlier today.
According to the statement by Access Bank, the deal is a highly complementary transaction that is expected to combine Access Bank Zambia’s wholesale and trade finance capabilities with Cavmont Bank’s retail and commercial banking operations.
The proposed transaction which, in the meantime is still subject to relevant shareholder and regulatory approvals, is also expected to better position Access Bank Zambia as one of the top 10 banks in the Southern African country.
Customers from the enlarged bank will benefit from greater security offered by what will be one of the most capitalized banks in Zambia with a more diversified product and service offering and a broader geographical footprint and infrastructure.
Access Bank on its notification stated, ‘’Subsequent to our announcement on July 8, 2020, the Board of Access Bank Plc announces today that its subsidiary, Access Bank (Zambia) Limited, has entered into a definitive agreement with Cavmont Capital Holdings Zambia Plc (CCHZ) regarding proposed acquisition of Cavmont Bank Limited, a subsidiary of CCHZ and subsequent merger of Cavmont Bank’s operations into Access Bank Zambia. The proposed transaction, which remains subject to relevant shareholder and regulatory approvals, will position the enlarged Access Bank Zambia as one of the top 10 banks in Zambia and create the momentum to advance its strategic objectives.’’
‘’Under the terms of the agreement, Access Bank Zambia will acquire the entire issued ordinary share capital, assets and liabilities of Cavmont Bank while Capricom Group Limited, the ultimate majority shareholder of CCHZ will invest at least ZMW300 million ($16.5 million) of preference shares into Access Bank Zambia. Capricorn will hold preference shares in the enlarged Access Bank Zambia for a period of five years, after which the preference shares will be acquired by Access Bank Plc.’’
The statement also notes that the enlarged bank will be well placed to participate in the long-term economic growth of Zambia and will be predicated on the country’s vast reserves of natural resources and fast growing young population.
The transaction is expected to be completed during the fourth quarter of 2020.
Nnaemeka Ewelukwa assumes office as new MD/CEO of NBET
Dr, Eweluka replaced the sacked Dr. Amobi as NBET Chief before full assumption in August 2020.
Dr Nnaemeka Ewelukwa has assumed office as the new Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc. This was announced earlier today by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
— Government of Nigeria (@NigeriaGov) August 6, 2020
The Backstory: In December 2019, the former CEO of NBET, Dr Marilyn Amobi, was suspended by Nigeria’s Minister of Power. This followed a series of complaints made against Dr Amobi who was appointed to the position in 2016. Following her sack, the Minister of Power also noted that he was seeking to bring sanity back to the system. A committee was also set up to investigate the many complaints against the former NBET CEO.
“In view of this, the minister has also directed the Constitution of a 5-man investigative committee to look into the myriads of complaints against the MD/CEO (of NBET) with the view of restoring sanity in the management of the company. Consequently, she is to handover to the most senior director in the organisation,” a statement issued by Aaron Artimas, the spokesman of the Minister of Power had read.
Interestingly, President Muhammadu Buhari reinstated Dr Amobi in January this year, but then finally sacked her later in June. Now, Dr, Eweluka, who was earlier announced as Amobi’s replacement, has now taken over.
Before now, Eweluka was appointed the General Counsel and Company Secretary of NBET in march 2012. He has also served as a Technical Adviser with the Presidential Task Force on Power (PTFP) where he was a member of the Regulatory and Transactions Monitoring Unit.
He graduated with an LLB from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, an LLM in International Business Law from the London School of Economics and a PhD from Queen Mary, University of London.