Unity Bank has disclosed that the fire incident that broke at its head office was caused by one of its tenants.
In a statement issued to notify its investing public through the Nigerian Stock Exchange, signed by the Company Secretary of the bank, Mohammed Shehu, the financial institution stated that the fire broke from the third floor, which was occupied by a tenant.
The Details: The bank stated that the fire broke out from the third floor of the building which was occupied by a tenant. The fire, however, was extinguished subsequently.
“The fire, which started from the third floor of the building occupied by a tenant, has been fully extinguished. Preliminary investigations show that the damage is localized to this floor,” the statement read in part.
Staff relocated: Unity Bank admitted that critical members of the staff were relocated to an offsite location for their safety. Contrary to speculations that their operations might be affected, no damage was inflicted on their properties and their services are still operational.
The lender also went ahead to extend appreciation to several agencies that helped put the situation under control while noting that detailed investigation and damage assessment exercise were on-going by federal and state fire service departments.
[ALSO READ: Unity Bank Plc refutes alleged N7 billion indebtedness to the Government]
Backstory: A fire broke out at Unity Bank’s head office in Victoria Island, Lagos this morning, according to a Nairametrics report.
The incident posted on Social Media showed flames spreading to at least three floors. Several users on Twitter reacted to the incident, tagging relevant agencies to the tweets.
However, the statement issued by the manager, Corporate Communications, Unity Bank, Mathew Obiazikwor, claimed that the fire only affected one floor in the building. He also reassured the public that the fire service had intervened and brought the situation under control.
About Unity Bank
Unity bank was founded in 2006 from the merger of 9 commercial banks namely; Intercity Bank Plc, First Interstate Bank Plc, Tropical Commercial Bank Plc, Pacific Bank Limited, Centre Point Bank Plc, Societe Bancaire Limited, NNB International Bank Plc, Bank of the North Ltd and New Africa Bank Plc.
This is following the consolidation exercise mandated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2004. Unity Bank is one of Nigeria’s leading retail banks with over 200 business offices spread across the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory.
SpaceX says it’s pursuing necessary licenses to bring Starlink to Nigeria
Broadband penetration of 70% which covers 90% of the population is the FG’s target in its National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020-2025.
American private space exploration company founded by Elon Musk, SpaceX says it is working to pursue all necessary licenses needed to bring the Starlink Satellite internet services to Nigeria.
This was disclosed by Mr Ryan Goodnight, SpaceX’s Starlink Market Access Director for Africa in a meeting with NCC’s Executive Vice-Chairman (EVC), Prof. Umar Danbatta on Friday in Abuja.
What SpaceX is saying about Starlink in Nigeria
“SpaceX has been in discussion with NCC virtually over the past several months to begin the process of pursuing all necessary licences to bring Starlink, its satellite-based broadband services, to Nigeria.
Having made substantial progress in the discussion, the commission granted SpaceX’s request for a face-to-face discussion to gain better insights on the prospects,” they said.
The NCC stated that it has listened to SpaceX’s presentation and will review it vis-à-vis its regulatory direction of ensuring an effective and sustainable telecoms ecosystem where a licensee’s operational model does not dampen healthy competition among other licensees.
“As the regulator of a highly dynamic sector in Nigeria, the commission is conscious of the need to ensure that our regulatory actions are anchored on national interest,” they said.
NCC added that broadband penetration of 70% which covers 90% of the population is the FG’s target in its National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020-2025. This is also in line with its National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2010-2030.
What you should know
Starlink is an internet service launched by SpaceX to improve internet coverage in rural and underserved areas globally. Starlink satellites are over 60 times closer to Earth than traditional satellites, resulting in lower latency and the ability to support services typically not possible with traditional satellite internet.
Nairametrics also reported this month that the Federal Government announced a deal with Microsoft through the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy for the development of high-speed internet infrastructure across the six regions in the country.
What FGN Free Meter Program means for the power sector
Without effective penalties for erring DisCos and consumers, progress may still remain very slow.
According to news reports, the Minister of Power, Mamman Saleh on Wednesday said the distribution of the four million free electricity prepaid meters pledged by the Central Bank of Nigeria would soon begin across the country.
According to him, the government is wrapping up the distribution of its initial one million meters, which he labelled phase zero, and would soon begin the distribution of the four million sponsored by CBN, which he tagged phase two. He also noted that the Federal Executive Council approved N3bn for the execution of six major electricity projects in the country to upgrade Nigeria’s electricity facilities and improve power supply across the country.
Ineffective metering remains a major drawback to the success of power sector reforms in Nigeria. While some consumers avoid paying for power consumed through meter bypass, some other consumers are made to pay for what they have not consumed through estimated billing by DisCos.
DisCos have been largely unsuccessful with metering their customers.
As far as inadequate metering is concerned, DisCos over time, have used this situation to their advantage via estimated billings. It appears that fully metering customers are currently being viewed as a disincentive, given that estimated bills can easily be manipulated.
According to a report by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), only 4,234,759 (40.27%) of the total customer population of 10,516,090 were metered as of 30 June 2020. Clearly, this validates the widely held view that there are a wide number of customers on estimated billing which gives room for illegal connection to the networks and in turn corrupt practices. NERC further revealed that only three out of 11 Electricity Distribution Companies in the country had metered more than 50% of electricity customers under their coverage areas as of June 2020.
Effective metering in our view is one step ahead in solving the myriad of problems embattling the Nigerian power sector. Though supposed to be unpaid for, many customers in a bid to avoid the bureaucracy associated with getting meters have paid to get their own meters. We believe the provision of meters to all end-use customers will go a long way in ameliorating the liquidity squeeze in the power sector whilst also providing cashflow to the DisCos for investment in equipment needed to evacuate unused electricity to consumers nationwide.
We laud the FG’s efforts at distributing meters freely to end-users, but we note that without effective penalties for erring DisCos and consumers, progress may still remain very slow.
CSL Stockbrokers Limited, Lagos (CSLS) is a wholly owned subsidiary of FCMB Group Plc and is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria. CSLS is a member of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
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