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Business

ABCON confirms arrest of some members over money laundering, terrorism financing charges

ABCON has confirmed that some of its members were invited for questioning over some of their transactions.

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The Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) has reacted to reports on the recent arrest of some of its members by security operatives.

ABCON in its reaction confirmed that some of its members were invited for questioning over the investigation of some of their transactions which border on money laundering, terrorism financing and Know Your Customer status.

This disclosure was contained in a press statement titled, ‘ABCON statement on the recent clampdown on some member BDCs, issued by the association and signed by its President, Aminu Gwadebe.

READ: CBN to increase BVN linked bank accounts by 60 million

ABCON in its statement said that it considers these as serious allegations especially given the security challenges facing the country. It appealed to the authorities to expedite action to ensure that innocent people who have been caught up in this investigation can be released so that they can return to their anxious families and resume their lives.

The statement from ABCON reads, ‘’In view of the several calls received from the media and other stakeholders regarding our position on the recent arrest of some member BDCs, the association hereby states as follows:

‘’We hereby confirm that some of our members have been invited to answer questions regarding some of their transactions. The Executive Council of ABCON has been in communication with the authorities over the development and understand that the investigation borders on issues relating to money laundering, terrorism financing and Know Your Customer status. ABCON considers these as serious allegations especially given the security challenges across the country.

READ: Naira set for recovery as ABCON issues guideline to members on forex sales resumption

We strongly identify with the desire of every patriotic citizen for thorough investigation with the authorities following every possible lead and taking necessary measures that could improve the security situation in the country. We however appeal to the authorities to expedite their work to ensure that innocent people that have been caught up in this investigation can be identified quickly and released so that they can return to their anxious families and resume their lives.

SSKOHN

We also trust that the authorities will follow the rule of law and ensure those with a case to answer have their day in court. The rule of law is after all the foundation upon which every functional society stands.

On our part, we like to assure the public and the government of the willingness of ABCON to cooperate fully with relevant agencies to ensure our business is not in any way used or exploited for any form of malpractice or activity that is against the laws of the land and thus undermine the stability of the country.’’

READ: CBN injects fresh $51.8m into FX Markets

What you should know

  • Recall that on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, ABCON, through its lawyer, had said that 26 of its members were detained by the Department of State Security Services (DSS) without charging them to court, in what he described as a breach of their fundamental human rights.
  • They said the DSS had been holding these Bureau De Change operators after inviting them from Kano, Yola, Sokoto, Minna and Lagos for questioning for over 2 weeks, adding that they had not been allowed access to their families and that letters of inquiry about the offences they were being detained for were ignored by the agency.

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Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

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Business

Lagos agricultural sector to generate $10 billion in the next 5 years

The agricultural sector in Lagos state is projected to generate as much as $10 billion within the next 5 years.

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The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has projected that the agricultural sector in the state could generate as much as $10 billion within the next 5 years.

This is as the governor noted that Lagos could no longer afford to rely exclusively on other states for its food, adding that it was time to unlock its immeasurable agricultural potential through the implementation of the 5-year roadmap.

This disclosure was made by the Governor at the formal launch of the state’s 5-year Agricultural and Food Systems Roadmap, on Thursday, adding that most of the investments would be private sector-driven while the government acts as the catalyst and enabler.

Governor Sanwo-Olu opined that the Roadmap would also lead to wealth generation, value creation, food security, the industrialisation of the agricultural sector and the entrenchment of inclusive socio-economic development of the state.

He said that the roadmap essentially focuses on 3 pillars, which are: growth of the upstream sector, growth of the midstream and downstream sectors as well as improvement of private sector participation.

What the Lagos State Governor is saying

Sanwo-Olu, in his words, said, “Our strategies for sustainable Agricultural Development shall focus on three pillars. First, we will grow the upstream sector through interventions by leveraging technologies that are capable of lowering the cost of production of value chains; Focus on growing the midstream and downstream sectors that are of value and lastly, we will improve on private sector participation by developing and initiating policies that will encourage more private investments in agriculture.”

The projection is that the total investment in the Agricultural Sector from the government, private sector, donor agencies and development partners will run into over $10 billion in the next five years. While we expect most of the investment to be private sector-driven, the government will continue to provide the needed infrastructure while the private sector will be encouraged to lead the key projects.’

The governor pointed out that the state had already started the revamping of its Agricultural Land Holding Authority (ALHA) to support investment in agriculture, giving assurance that the coconut belt would also be strengthened with increased private sector involvement.

Sanwo-Olu listed some State’s landmark investments that will aid smooth delivery of the Roadmap to include the Lagos State Aquatic Centre of Excellence (LACE) that would boost fish production from 20% to 80%, the Imota Rice Mill, the Lagos Food Production Centre Avia, Igborosu-Badagry as well as other statewide agriculture-focused initiatives.

SSKOHN

He said, “I am greatly encouraged by the interest already generated in the Five-Year Agricultural Roadmap and I hope it will be sustained and backed with concrete action on the part of our development partners and the international community. I assure you that the Lagos State Government is putting in place deliberate incentives to make your investment safe, secure and profitable.’

Sanwo-Olu, therefore, urged potential and established stakeholders in the agricultural sector to partner with the state in order to transform the agricultural sector for food security, wealth generation, poverty eradication, economic diversification, rapid industrialisation and accelerated socio-economic growth.

Bottom line

This is a very laudable initiative from the Lagos State Government especially at a time the country is looking at diversifying its economy. The successful implementation of this programme with the expected benefits from the value chain will contribute significantly to the economic development of the state and the country in general.

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The investment in the transformation of agriculture to agribusiness is one way of achieving the dream of attaining self-sufficiency in food production and creating more wealth.

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Bank needs to humanise customers – Aladdin CEO

Every customer needs a unique page where their details go beyond the account numbers.

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Nigerian banks have been tasked to humanise all customers and not only treat them as just an account number. This is to say that banks should treat each customer uniquely and not assume a  one-size-fits-all.

These are the comments of the Chief Executive Officer, Aladdin Digital Bank, Darlington Onyeagoro. According to him, the continent, especially Nigeria needs a marketplace Digital Bank to humanise customers, a vacuum he said Aladdin will occupy.

He said, “By humanizing customers, we are putting a face to the name. You are not just an account number, you are a human being, and as humans, you need to eat, make money and other things.

“Each customer is unique; that is why for the first time, we are breaking barriers so we can reach each one personally. We run a platform structure where every customer has a unique page where their details go beyond the account numbers.”

He added that Aladdin Finance App, which is powered by PurpleMoney Microfinance Bank, will also be offering its customers free banking with no charge rates, where customers can carry out their transfers and transactions to other banks for free.

“Traditional banks charge N25 per transfer, but we are charging Zero Naira for now. We bear the cost for now. So, we offer free banking for at least between one to three months of our operation to encourage them. All transactions are free for now,” Onyeagoro added.

The app also has several features that will cater to each customer, including seamless customer service, rewards on savings, high-interest rates up to 16% (subject to money market reality), and access to different types of loans for emergencies.

To encourage savings for customers to meet their business and personal needs, Aladdin Bank will also be rewarding its customers through a weekly raffle draw on its online platform, where amounts saved from N5,000 and above with the bank will give each customer a virtual ticket for a raffle draw.

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“In that way, we are encouraging our customers to save towards their goals. For example, if you want to travel, pay your rent, children’s school fees, etc., whatever you want to do, you can set targets for yourself and save towards it. So, while you are saving towards your target, we are also paying you a competitive interest rate,” he added.

SSKOHN

What you should know

The co-founders and chief promoters of this project are Onyeagoro, Olayemi Nasiru and Avi Umukoro. Nasiru is a seasoned banker with over a decade of experience. He once held a Senior Management Position in one of the top commercial banks in Nigeria.

Umukoro, another top-flight banker, has over 12 years of consumer banking experience in one of the top-performing banks.

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