UBA Emerges Best Bank In Support of Real Sector At Banking Awards

l-r: Adetola Fadeyi, Head Wealth Management, United Capital Plc; Frank Aigbogun, Publisher, Presenting the best bank in support of the real sector trophy to the Usman Isiaka, Head, Strategic Business Unit, Lagos at the BusinessDay Banking Awards, 2017 during the weekend.

Pan-African banking group, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, at the weekend was recognised for its extraordinary support of the real sector as it won best bank in the category, ahead of its peers.

The award, the organisers noted is in recognition of UBA’s leadership role as in expanding access to funds for the support of the real sector in Nigeria and the rest of Africa where it operates. This feat they further said has brought about unprecedented growth to the sector and by extension, the nation’s economy and that of Africa.

Speaking while receiving the prestigious award on behalf of the bank, Head Strategic Business Group, Mr. Usman Isiaka expressed appreciation to Businessday for recognising the distinctive role, UBA is playing in Nigeria as well as the African continent in driving financial inclusion coupled with its role in supporting the growth of critical sectors.

“The Real sector is pivotal to economic development in Nigeria and all of Africa as it forms the main driving force of any economy and its development.
We are pleased with the acknowledgement of our support to the sector. It is worthy to note that our expansion to Africa has not only helped diversify our earnings base, it has provided us with the opportunity to grow economies and partake in the development of Africa. We are grateful to all stakeholders for their support and are stimulated to do even more” he said.

Frank Aigbogun Publisher, BusinessDay, Nigeria’s leading business newspaper emphasised that the BusinessDay Banking Awards is the product of a rigorous process by BusinessDay’s Research and Intelligence Unit, designed to feed the editorial and also drive commercial research.

“We are motivated by philosophy that, Great institutions and leaders deserve to be recognised so as to boost healthy competition in their sector” that is why we make it a point of duty to celebrate those who make the conscious effort to stand out”, Aigbogun noted.

UBA was incorporated in Nigeria as a limited liability company after taking over the assets of the British and French Bank Limited who had been operating in Nigeria since 1949. The United Bank for Africa merged with Standard Trust Bank in 2005 and from a single country operation founded in 1949 in Nigeria – Africa’s largest economy – UBA has become one of the leading providers of banking and other financial services on the African continent. The Bank provides services to over14 million customers globally, through one of the most diverse service channels in sub-Saharan Africa, with over 1,000 branches and customer touch points and robust online and mobile banking platforms.

UBA was the first Nigerian bank to make an Initial Public Offering, following its listing on the NSE in1970. It was also the first Nigerian bank to issue Global Depository Receipts. The shares of UBA are publicly traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the Bank has a well-diversified shareholder base, which includes foreign and local institutional investors, as well as individual shareholders.

Court Orders Interim Forfeiture of N1.96bn Belonging To Ontario Oil

A federal high court, Lagos, has ordered an interim forfeiture of N1.96 billion allegedly belonging to Ontario Oil and Gas over the alleged fraudulent sale of refined petroleum.

In the suit marked FHC/L/CS/1464/17, Ada Ugo-Ngadi (pictured), managing director of the company, was accused of diverting the money.

Hadiza Shagari, the judge handling the case, gave the order on Monday following an application by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Shagari also ordered the forfeiture of Renoir Logistics Limited, pending the investigation and prosecution of the case.

“That the property mentioned in paragraphs nine of the affidavit viz, Renoir Logistics Ltd currently under investigation be interim attached/forfeited pending the determination of the investigation and possible prosecution of the case,” the judge ruled.

“That the said property attached/forfeited, ad-interim be managed and controlled by the EFCC.”

Before the ruling, Abdukarim Acheneje, an investigating officer of the EFCC, presented an affidavit deposed by Joan Ganadanu, a legal practitioner.

Ugo-Ngadi was accused of diverting proceeds of the sale of refined petroleum products valued at N1.96 billion.

“That the petition alleged that the first respondent (Ontario Oil) is a customer to Union Bank Plc, of Stallion Plaza branch, Marina Lagos,” it read.

“That union bank granted a loan facility to the first respondent in the tune of 70 million US dollars to import and/or purchase locally refined petroleum products PMS, DPK and AGO. That the loan was to be repaid from sale of the products and the second respondent guaranteed repayment of the said loan personally.

“That further investigations revealed that the respondent have lifted the product on the order financed by the bank for 10,000 metric tons of AGO, since July 2016.”

Elumelu Foundation Signs MoU To Promote Youth Entrepreneurship In Africa

Tony Elumelu Foundation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with French Bilateral Development Bank (AFD) to promote youth entrepreneurship in Africa.

The information is in a statement by Damilola Ayodeji, the Press Officer, French Embassy in Nigeria on Monday in Abuja.

Ayodeji stated that the MoU was signed at the end of the 2017 TEF Entrepreneurship Forum recently held in Lagos.

The understanding, he added, was signed by founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr Tony Elumelu and Country Director of AFD Nigeria, Olivier Delefosse.

The press officer noted that the event took place in the presence of the Vice President, Prof.
Yemi Osinbajo and French Ambassador to Nigeria, Denys Gauer.

Elumelu explained during the event that the MoU was a risk-sharing guarantee framework granted by AFD to commercial banks in Africa for loans to young entrepreneurs empowered by the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.

The foundation boss said “the future of Africa lies in the potential of the private sector to drive sustainable development that will be fuelled by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

“I have always said that if SMEs succeed, the African economy will do well but they need a certain level of financial backing to succeed.

“This partnership with AFD is a step in the right direction, as it will provide thousands of African entrepreneurs with the necessary backing to access bank loans needed to scale up their businesses.’’

In his address, Delefosse said “the role of international donors like AFD is to partner with African foundations and commercial banks to facilitate funding of start-ups and SMEs.

“ In addition to providing access to professional networks, business training, mentoring and seed capital, this partnership will top up the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme with additional key tool.

“This Key tool is access to local banking resources, thanks to the guarantee back-up provided by AFD.

“ I am proud to support this programme and in doing so, I will contribute to the success of a promising generation of young African entrepreneurs,” Delefosse said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that TEF and AFD agreed to jointly multiply the impact of their operations to promote youth entrepreneurship in Africa as veritable vehicle to create jobs for economic growth and prosperity.

The partnership also offers joint research studies and publications in the area of youth entrepreneurship in Africa, with focus on digital and agricultural sectors to uncover insights that will influence policy formation and the business environment in Africa.

AFD will also promote the TEF mentorship programme to its managers to stimulate volunteers for mentoring young entrepreneurs empowered by the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.

The AFD is part of France’s official public development aid scheme on a mission given to it by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, the French Ministry of Finance and Public Accounts, and the French Ministry of French Overseas Territories.

FOREX: CBN Maintains Market Liquidity With $195m

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on Monday continued to maintain liquidity in the Foreign Exchange, FOREX, market by injecting 195 million dollars in the the Nigerian inter-bank foreign exchange market.

A statement by the acting Director, Corporate Communications Department of the CBN, Isaac Okorafor indicated that the apex Bank would continue to increase liquidity to meet genuine forex demand in the market.

Figures released by the Bank shows that it offered a total sum of 100 million dollars to the wholesale segment, while the Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs segment received 50 million dollars.

The invisibles segment, comprising tuition fees, medical payments and Basic Travel Allowance, BTA, among others, received 45 million dollars.

It will be recalled that the Apex Bank last week Friday intervened in the retail segment of the inter-bank market with 306.3 million dollars.

Meanwhile, the naira, on Monday, exchanged at an average of N364 to a dollar in the parallel market segment.

It also exchanged for N425 to one Euro and N476 to a Pounds Sterling.


Fire Guts Kachikwu’s Abuja Residence


The Asokoro residence of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, in Abuja caught fire on Sunday evening.

It was gathered that security personnel and some first responders on the ground at the time of the incident were able to put off the fire which was caused by a suspected electrical fault in the minister’s room.

Sources familiar with the development confirmed to our correspondent that Kachikwu was not at home when the fire broke out.

“The minister’s residence located on the outskirts of Asokoro was gutted by fire which was caused by an electrical fault in a part of the building. He was not at home when this happened, but some mobile police officers and first responders were able to handle the situation,” a source said.

He added, “However, the important thing is that it is not a serious incident, it only affected a part of the building and I think it was his room. And like I said earlier, it was due to an electrical problem in the apartment. There is a police post close to the estate and their presence there was also instrumental.”

Punch observed the presence of armed mobile security officers along the road leading to the exquisite estate where the minister resides in Asokoro.

The officers must clear any visitor coming into the estate before he or she is granted access into the area.

Kachikwu had been in the news in the past weeks, after a petition he wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari against the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Maikanti Baru, was leaked to the public.

Tony Elumelu Foundation Wraps Up Largest Gathering Of African Entrepreneurs

The Founder, The Tony Elumelu Foundation(TEF), Mr Tony Elumelu, wife and Chairperson of Avon Medicals Service Limited, Dr Awele Elumelu, flanked by Tony Elumelu Foundation entrepreneurs , during the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum 2017, the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs in the world, supported by UBA Plc, in Lagos at the weekend



The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Africa’s leading philanthropy dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship, concluded its 3rd annual TEF Entrepreneurship Forum on 14th of October 2017 in Lagos.

The Forum hosted more than 1,300 participants from 54 African countries. The most diverse and inclusive gathering of African entrepreneurs on the continent, the Forum continued its strong tradition of showcasing innovation across sectors, including Agriculture, Technology, Healthcare, Fashion and Energy/Power Generation.

Launched in 2015, the Forum was born out of the Foundation’s $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor and fund 10,000 African entrepreneurs, over a decade, through the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.

During a powerful keynote address, Tony O. Elumelu, CON, the philanthropist and Founder who is also the Chairman of the United Bank for Africa, spoke of his belief, that a vibrant African-led private sector is the key to unlocking Africa’s economic and social potential.

“Africa’s development, which must be private-sector led and entrepreneurially driven, will have at its heart, young African innovators and their transformative ideas. Only they will create the millions of jobs Africa needs. The Forum has brought together Africa’s most important developmental force, her young entrepreneurs who will become catalysts for Africa’s economic liberation.

We have united the African entrepreneurship ecosystem, putting the entrepreneurs at centre stage. I want to thank those heads of government and other key policymakers, who have supported our firm belief that the private sector is the engine for growth and the private sector players, who are models of our philosophy of Africapitalism – the idea that business will drive change and that change must deliver economic and social wealth” he explained.

The two-day event, which involved plenary panels and masterclasses, provided the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs with a platform to network and connect with business leaders, policymakers and investors.

The Founder, The Tony Elumelu Foundation(TEF), Mr Tony Elumelu, wife and Chairperson of Avon Medicals Service Limited, Dr Awele Elumelu, flanked by Tony Elumelu Foundation entrepreneurs , during the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum 2017, the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs in the world, supported by UBA Plc, in Lagos at the weekend

Focusing on the Forum’s theme of training and mentoring, speakers discussed topics that educated, empowered and inspired the entrepreneurs, addressing the key stages needed to successfully launch a business.

The speaking programme emphasised the Foundation’s role of uniting entrepreneurs and policymakers, as a means of ensuring that private and public sectors work together to create the best possible operating environment for entrepreneurship to thrive. Political and private sector leaders from across Africa, including HE Aminu Bello Masari, Governor, Katsina state; HE Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari, Governor, Zamfara state; Mr. Lionel Zinsou, Former Prime Minister, Republic of Benin; Oba Otudeko, Chairman, Honeywell Group; Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chairman, Dangote group, directly addressed the conditions needed for stimulating entrepreneurial growth, whilst senior members of global development institutions, including Wale Ayeni, Senior Investment Office, International Finance Corporation; Stephen Tio Kauma, Director Human Resources, Afrexim Bank and Andre Hue, Deputy Country Director, Agence Française de Développement, spoke of a new paradigm, driven by the need for a private sector-led change.

“The private sector working with the public sector can achieve so much by way of development. African governments should move beyond rhetorics and implement their ideas,” Oba Otudeko enthused.

Addressing the 3rd cohort of TEF entrepreneurs the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo said: “This generation of young people will do the exceptional. You are the reason Africa will work. The length and breadth of display of talent have shown that there is indeed hope”.

The Forum also witnessed multiple partnerships between United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Foundation, and between French bilateral development bank, Agence Française De Développement (AFD) and TEF. Commending both agencies for their commitment to promoting youth entrepreneurship in Africa, Elumelu called on other individuals and developmental institutions to partner with the Foundation and expand the scale of its impact. “We call on friends of Africa to partner with the Foundation, to scale our impact beyond the 1,000 entrepreneurs a year. Real opportunity exists to tap into Africa’s potential and our entrepreneurs offer a gateway to participating in both economic success and creating social wealth”.

TEF partners including Microsoft, Sage One and Greentec also held training workshops and side events aimed at approaches to strategically scale up business. The United Bank for Africa (UBA) has proudly supported the forum.

About TEF
Founded in 2010 by philanthropist Tony O. Elumelu CON, The Tony Elumelu Foundation is one of the foremost African philanthropic organisations. The Foundation believes that the private sector holds the key to unlocking Africa’s economic potential.

On Twitter: @AbiodunCoker07











Film Producer Drags Multichoice To Court Over Unlawful Airing Of Yoruba Movie

A film Producer, Mr Lateef Onida and his company LAT -Larry Film Company whose film ‘Aroni Rogun Matidi’ was allegedly infringed by Multichoice Nigeria Limited has slammed N25 million suit on the Digital Satellites Television, DSTV.

In a statement of claim filed before a Federal High Court in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria by a Lagos lawyer, Olu Ogunmola, on behalf of the plaintiffs, it was alleged that, sometimes in 2011, the plaintiff engaged and signed a contract with a film marketing company to market his film titled “Aroni Rogun Matidi,’ which was registered with the Nigeria Copyright Commission and also submitted it to National Film and Video Censors Board and got their approvals.

The marketer was given the right of releasing the film only at the Idumota market in Lagos, and it was further agreed that the agreement shall not cover the right to exhibit the film at Cinemas, Television, Cable Network, or the selling of the film ‘s Porter by the marketer unless as may be agreed by the producer.

However, it was alleged that, Multichoice Nigeria Limited’s DSTV having had unlawful, illegal and unauthorized access to the Plaintiffs’ film aired the said film on the 27th day of July 2012 at about 5pm vide their Network Digital Statellite Television in a Caption Yoruba African Magic and the airing continued through the 30th July, 2012 in flagrant breach of the Plaintiff ‘s Copyright of the film Aroni Rogun Matidi.
The Plaintiffs averred that on becoming aware of this flagrant breach of the Plaintiff ‘s Copyright of the film, instructed their lawyers to demand for a discontinuance of airing of the film, and also demanded for compensation and damages for the breach complained of, but the defendant ignored the two letters written to them, consequently,the Plaintiffs were compelled to write a petition to the Yoruba Video Film Producers/Marketers Association of Nigeria.

While the Plaintiffs were awaiting a response or reply to the petition, Multichoice who had earlier stopped the airing of the film after letters written to them informing it of the breach recommenced the unlawful and unauthorized airing of the film by cleverly changing the film’s caption to something else, while the entire features and theme remained the same.

The Plaintiff’s counsel wrote another protest letter to the defendant, consequent upon this letter the defendant’s lawyer for the first time in their reply requested for necessary proofs, including video coverage evidencing the infringement and this were furnished to the defendant, but the defendant still denied airing the film despite clear proof sent to the defendant and went ahead to send to the plaintiffs a letter of authority purportedly given to the defendant to air other films unrelated to the Plaintiff ‘s film by one Frank Dallas Communications.

The plaintiffs averred that a check at the purported 102, Ogunsanya Drive, Surulere, Lagos address of Frank Dallas Communications shows that no such company existed in the said address. Consequently the Plaintiff wrote a letter to Multichioce demanding for copyright Documents of Frank Dallas Communications on Ayeloja, Owo -Ida and Ofin and the Films Censors Board Certificate of same but the letter was not replied by Multichoice.

Consequently the Plaintiffs is now urging the court to declare that the unlawful and unauthorized airing of its film entitled ‘Aroni Rogun Matidi’ by Multichioce and serialing same by cleverly changing the caption of the film is a flagrant breach of its copyright under the copyright Act 2004.

The Plaintiffs are also urging the court to order Multichoice to pay them the sum of N25 million as exemplary and General damages for the financial trauma, financial hardship, financial embarrassment, loss of income inflicted on them by Multichoice.

However, Multichoice in its statement of defense filed before the court by the law firm of Ogunsanya and Ogunsanya, denied almost all the claims of Mr Lateef Onida and his company and averred that it acquired some Yoruba Soap Opera series titled Ayeloja, Owo ida and Ofin which came in episode formats with 26 episodes each from their lawful owner being Frank Dallas Communications, therefore never had any unlawful, illegal and unauthorized access to the plaintiffs’ movie titled Aroni rogun Matidi and that there was never a time the defendant aired the said movies as alleged, and it is not in any position to know whether the plaintiffs checked the address of Frank Dallas communications being 102,Ogunlana Drive, Surulere to ascertain its existence or not.
The defendant prayed the court to dismiss this suit with substantial cost for being frivolous and an abuse of court process.

The presiding judge, justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo has adjourned till 4 December, 2017 for hearing to commence.

The Aristocrat: Kayode Olanshile Alfred, Celebrity Journalist and Style Genius, Redefines Bespoke Couture

Kayode Alfred, the journalist turned designer has carved a niche for himself among fashion buffs. According to him, being rich shouldn’t be confused with possessing panache but many a deep-pocket mistake extravagance for elegance. “You do not have to be extravagant to be elegant. This is because in matters of grave importance, style, not extravagance, is the vital factor. It is what distinguishes the men from the boys, the pretenders from the pragmatists; it is what differentiates the commoner from the aristocrat.”
Style becomes the essence of every man, according to Kayode Alfred. Thus like an emperor of infinite chic, his fascination with clean cuts and elaborate lines comes alive in his range of bespoke designs and brilliantly cut apparels. Although his specialty encompasses formal and informal male couture, Alfred flaunts enviable understanding of clothing thus his bespoke ensembles feature stylish and daring functional designs cut from premium cotton, silk, wool, damask, lace, and cashmere fashioned with the quality finish.

There is no gainsaying Alfred’s love for classy couture blossomed quite early in his youth; according to him, he developed a fascination with modish couture, particularly its designing and tailoring. “Back then, I used to sketch and experiment with designs even while I was busy writing or covering spectacular events. I knew would definitely carve my niche in the highbrow fashion circuit someday; what I didn’t know was that it would be sooner than I imagined,” said Olanshile-Alfred.

Unlike the proverbial silver spooned kid, the celebrity journalist and fashion aficionado is a self-starter; a self-driven entrepreneur with astounding diligence and sartorial depth. It is no surprise, therefore, that his foray into the fashion world is predicated on the high art and culture of bespoke designs. “I decided to focus on bespoke apparels because of the artistry and sophistication that goes into designing such fashion couture. I personally take the measurements of my clients and pick from a range of choice fabrics to design what the client wants. It takes at least two weeks turnaround time for delivery.”

What makes his designs exceptional, he claims, is that he samples from a diverse yet rare range of fabrics, which he restocks every four weeks. Hence it will be extremely difficult to find someone else donning fabrics and designs produced on the stable of Aristocrat.
You could be forgiven for thinking he keeps the colour palette of his fabrics defiantly posh and upscale as those he makes for his clientele. While his style looks swanky and effortless from a distance, closer, you will find that the artistry, obsessive attention to detail and fervour that goes into it are integral parts of his quest for perfection.

Media magnate, Akogun Lanre Alfred in Aristocrat Bespoke design

Although he recently made his foray into the high couture sector, Alfred is quite discreet about his mostly affluent clientele. “The consistent patronage I enjoy from them is enough comfort to me. I do not have to start mouthing off or reveal their identities as some of them are quite reserved about such issues,” he says. Hence unlike most fashion designers who derive their kicks and leverage from revealing the identities of their celebrity clientele, the celebrity journalist and Aristocrat boss serves his clientele, according to their preferences.

Alfred definitely projects the image of a sartorial sage, one with daring, passion and intuition to forge his own way in Nigeria’s cluttered fashion circuit. The celebrity journalist is no doubt ready to take premeditated risks to actualise his dreams of a highly popular and exclusive fashion empire. At the helms of Aristocrat Clothing and Aristocrat Woman Kayode is fully prised to tame the pedestrian and largely formulaic fashion culture that Nigeria has become accustomed to. And he is doing so with unprecedented verve, enlightenment and innovativeness. Aristocrat brand recently partnered with Twice as Nice, one of the leading fashion companies in Nigeria to sell Aristocrat casuals and face cap. People who love the brand can now buy Aristocrat ready-to-wear at any branch of Twice as Nice. Aristocrat clothing will officially launch the brand at Ikeja City Mall, Alausa tentatively the second week of November.

Journalist and Bitcoin Crusader, Victo Gonzalo in Aristocrats Bespoke design
The Aristocrats

Kayode Alfred’s Aristocrat Clothing and Aristocrat Woman is conveniently located inside upscale Omole Phase 1 Estate, Ikeja, Lagos.


Source: Encomium

Claims Of $25b NNPC Contracts False – Presidency

The Presidency has declared that claims on social and traditional media that $25BN worth of oil contracts were awarded by the NNPC or that $25BN in NNPC funds is missing are both false.

According to Mr. Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, no contracts were procured by the NNPC based on the leaked memo of the Petroleum Resources Minister of State, Ibe Kachikwu, even though such impressions have been maliciously created in the past few weeks.

While responding to media inquiries Sunday on the matter, Akande disclosed that a closer look at each of the said projects indicate clearly that “these are not procurement contracts.”

According to him, “when I tweeted on Thursday morning last week, I had indicated that the Vice President, while acting as President approved Joint Venture Financing arrangements. But for some curious reasons, a few media reports used that tweet to report that I said the then Acting President approved N640 Billion worth of oil contracts. Such reporting is both false and misleading and therefore ought to be completely ignored by all seekers of truth.”

What is more important, Akande submitted, is that “when you look diligently at the referenced projects/transactions one by one, you will see, as NNPC has shown, that none of them was actually a procurement contract.

“Take both the Crude Term Contract and the Direct Sale, Direct Purchase (DSDP) agreements for instance, these are not procurement contracts involving the expenditure of public funds.

“Both transactions are simply a shortlisting process, in which prospective off-takers of crude oil and suppliers of petroleum are selected under agreed terms, and in accordance with due process.

“It is therefore wrong and misleading to refer to them as though they’re contracts involving the expenditure of NNPC funds, or public funds of any sort. As you now know, the Honorable Minister of Petroleum Resources himself has in fact clarified that he meant to focus on administrative and governance issues, not red-flag any fraud – because no fraud exists in this matter.”

For both transactions, Akande said it is not true and also inaccurate to attach $10B and $5B values on them. “Attaching monetary values to these contracts is an arbitrary act that completely distorts understanding of the situation.”

According to him, Nigerians ought to be informed clearly that “whenever there is a monetary value on any consignment of crude oil lifted in this country by any firm, the proceeds go directly to the Federation Account and not to any company.

“In fact, the Buhari administration in the implementation of the TSA has closed down multiple NNPC accounts in order to promote transparency and probity.”

Akande also explained that even in compiling the shortlisting for the prospective off-takers of crude oil and suppliers of petroleum under agreed terms, “there were public placements of advert in the mass media seeking Expressions of Interest (EoI).

“Bids were publicly opened in the presence of NEITI, DPR, BPP, Civil Society groups and the press. In some cases even, these events were televised live.

“For the sake of emphasis let me state clearly that both the Crude Term Contract and the Direct Sale and Direct Purchase agreements are not contracts for any procurement of goods, works or services, and therefore do not involve the use of public funds.

“Instead, they are simply a shortlisting of off-takers. And unlike what has been reported in the media so far, it is important to set the records straight that the list of approved off-takers does not carry any financial values but simply states the terms and conditions for the lifting and supply of petroleum products.”

He also disclosed that the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline Contract “is a contractor-financed contract which has not yet been finalized or awarded; it is still making its way to the Federal Executive Council, FEC.”

There were also three presidential approvals given on Joint Venture financing arrangements, meaning loans to cater for cash call obligations. One of these was okayed by the President in 2015, and two by the then Acting President in 2017, Akande noted.

Lastly, on the NPDC, he said there is no contract in the $3BN to $4BN range as reported in the media.

“You can then see from the foregoing that the $25BN being bandied in the media does not exist. There is no $25BN missing,” Akande concluded.

A Toast To UCH Ibadan At 60, By Folu Olamiti

THE University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, first tertiary hospital in Nigeria, will be 60 years old on 20 November, this year. That was the date it was finally commissioned for operation in 1957 but the story of its existence dates back to 1952 when it was created by an Act of Parliament of the then colonial government of Nigeria. It was named University College Hospital because the University of Ibadan, established in 1948, whose medical students it was meant to provide clinical training for was also then known as the University College, Ibadan, affiliated to the University of London.

From conception to establishment, UCH was destined to be the leader in the field of tertiary medical training, research and healthcare delivery in the West African sub region and among the best globally. It was purpose built for this role. The very interesting story of its establishment says it all. While planning for its establishment, a visitation team from the faculty of Medicine, University of London visited Ibadan in 1951/1952 academic session. The team led by Dr T.C. Hunt rejected a suggestion that the facilities of the Native Authority Hospital, Adeoyo, Ibadan, be expanded and upgraded to form the teaching hospital.

The team rather recommended the construction of a brand new and modern teaching hospital of comparable standard with teaching hospitals in Britain and other developed countries. When the design of the proposed hospital was eventually unveiled, it was a gigantic, imposing and elegant high rise 800-bed complex. But the colonial office of the British government did not have ready funds for it. Many thought it was a grandiose idea. Some officials again suggested the building of several bungalows to house the departments and wards instead of the expensive high rise complex.

However, the then Nigerian Federal Minister of Health , Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola, deputy to Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the Action Group party which was already blazing the trail in Western Region with pioneering gigantic projects adjudged to be first in Africa, understood the vision and took it up. With his unrelenting efforts, the Nigerian government raised the one million, five hundred thousand pounds sterling (£1.5million) needed for construction to commence. The first sod was turned in 1953. And to underscore the importance of the project, Queen Elizabeth II of England partially opened the new hospital complex during her official visit to Nigeria in 1956 while still under construction. It was finally opened on 20 November 1957 by the Princess Royal. A total sum of Four million, Five hundred thousand pounds sterling (£4.5m) was spent to construct it.

The investment was worthwhile because it provided the hospital with what was needed to make it a medical institution of excellence from the onset. It is therefore not surprising that the doctors, nurses and other medical personnel trained by the institution are highly skilled professionals who have distinguished themselves wherever they served around the world. Till date, UCH has indeed lived up to its billing. Its pioneering achievements are legendary. The hospital pioneered open heart surgery in Nigeria in the late 70s and it is still the best hospital in Nigeria today for treatment of cardiac ailments including open heart surgeries and hole in the heart conditions. It has a state of the art Cardiac Catheter Resolution Centre comparable to what is offered in India, United States and Britain. Several people have been successfully treated over the years. In fact UCH made history a few years ago when it successfully performed surgery on the youngest cardiac patient ever operated in any public health institution in Nigeria, a seven month old baby with hole in the heart condition.

For many decades, the hospital has also been performing other specialised operations such as prostrate surgeries, knee surgeries, hip replacement surgeries and neural endoscopic procedures on children with brain lesions. Since 2008, UCH has been performing kidney transplants successfully. Four years ago, the hospital again scored another first by performing what is called awake brain surgery. The surgery was performed on a woman to remove a big tumour in her brain while she was awake but sedated and could hear people talk to her. This kind of surgery is said to be a very delicate and complex procedure used by neurosurgeons to remove brain tumours that are too close to areas of the brain which control vision, speech and body movements. During the surgery, doctors monitor the patient’s responses with series of questions and directions to ensure that these critical areas of the brain are not damaged and the patient does not lose any of the critical functions.

With this enviable track record, it is all too clear that UCH can effectively and efficiently provide even the most specialized treatments that many Nigerians run to India, Europe and America to secure at exorbitant cost. Credit must be given to successive managements of the hospital for keeping the flag flying and being able to sustain the record breaking achievements. In particular, the present management under the able leadership of the current Chief Medical Director, Professor Temitope Alonge, deserves commendation for its resourcefulness, struggling amidst financial other challenges not only to maintain the standard but to improve on it. So many things have been achieved under his management including the refurbishment and upgrading of some facilities, improvement of level of training and research, introduction of patient and community friendly services and other initiatives geared towards sustainable development and continued relevance of the hospital to the tertiary healthcare needs of the country.

Among these innovations is the establishment of the department of nuclear medicine, the first of its kind in Nigeria which is conducting revolutionary diagnosis and treatment of both upper and lower gastrointestinal tract diseases. Research and training of staff is a priority in UCH and the hospital has a lot to show for it. For example, in 2014, UCH was awarded the First Prize for the Best Affordable Technology at the 34th Congress of the Society Internationale d’Urology in Glasgow, Scotland, for the patented UCH invented Bladder Manikin. Prof Alonge has repeatedly said that the hospital is not lacking of tested, highly qualified and skilled manpower to deliver its mandate with the highest standard possible but it needs assistance to acquire more of the latest technology in the industry and also to bring even the specialist treatments within the affordability of most Nigerians who may need them.

According to him, one of the key drivers of management policy is commitment to efficient and effective service delivery. Therefore management has addressed certain critical areas where its services can promptly and effectively provide relief for patients and thereby reduce fatalities to barest minimum. In this regard, the hospital operates day care services at the obstetrics and gynecology unit where pregnant women with one problem or the other can immediately receive attention, thus reducing infant and maternal mortality. The hospital has a special scanning machine that can detect abnormalities in babies in the early stages of pregnancy so that such can be corrected before they become complications. Again, the equipment is the first of its kind in any public hospital in Nigeria.

Another area of intervention is the care of elderly people. UCH has a special Geriatric Centre where it operates day care services for the treatment of various aging related sicknesses and diseases affecting elderly people. The facility named after elder statesman, Chief Tony Anenih who built and funds it is the first purpose built training and treatment Centre for geriatric medicine in Africa. It is run by the department of family medicine. Many old people who used to seek treatment abroad for such conditions have pitched tent with the Centre after receiving satisfactory treatment. In fact a lot of peasants and other less privileged old people have found succour at the Centre under a social health insurance scheme instituted by Chief Anenih. There is no doubt that this intervention will help increase life expectancy in the country.

So far, the UCH Ibadan has demonstrated its capability to attend to the healthcare needs of the country, even at the level of the most specialist treatment and care comparable with what obtains in the advanced countries. It has remained the leader in tertiary healthcare in the country. But its potentials are not exhausted. As it marks the 60th year milestone, it needs to move to next level exploits. And this requires more support from government and the private sector in form of more funding and endowments to adequately equip it with more essential infrastructure and technology as well as other necessities. This is an issue that the Federal Government which is the owner of the hospital as well as well -meaning corporate bodies and individuals should seriously look into and come up with the desired assistance. It is the best way to appreciate and encourage the UCH Ibadan at 60.

Olamiti (FNGE), a media consultant, writes from Abuja.