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N13bn Ikoyi cash: EFCC takes over NIA’s bank account



EFCC arraigns Bola Labinjo, 4 others, over alleged oil theft
  • As CBN’s $4b intervention narrows official, black market gap

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has taken charge of the bank accounts operated by the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, the latest in a string of measures against the agency in the wake of last month’s discovery of N13 billion in a Lagos apartment, according to online portal, Premium Times.

The cash – comprising $43.5 million, £27,800 and N23.2 million hidden inside Apartment 7B at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi – was uncovered by operatives of the EFCC on April 12. Security sources told Premium Times on Friday that operatives of the anti-graft agency compelled the Director of Finance and Administration of the NIA to hand over the accounts of the beleaguered agency to an Army officer attached to the Office of the National Security Adviser.

The EFCC designated a brigadier general in the Nigerian Army, to assume the position of the Director of Finance of the NIA and commence a holistic audit of the agency’s finances. The development was the climax of a week-long prying operation which saw detectives from the anti-graft agency grill four senior officials of the NIA.

Several sources told the online portal that last week, the NSA made at least two attempts to impose the Army officer on the NIA as its new Director of Finance, but officials of the agency were said to have blocked him from resuming each time he attempted to do so.

Following the Army officer’s rejection, the EFCC was said to have invited NIA’s Director of Finance and Administration and two officials from the same account department but were later released after hours of questioning.

The anti-graft operatives also reportedly visited the NIA headquarters to interrogate some officials during the week. On Friday, the EFCC invited NIA’s Director of Finance and Administration and detained him for several hours.

According to Premium Times, the anti-graft detectives later took him back to the NIA headquarters where he was compelled to hand over to the Army officer. Although the new measures are in furtherance of the EFCC’s investigations of the N13 billion Ikoyi money, security officials have questioned their legality, given the special status accorded the NIA by the National Security Agencies Act of 2004, prohibiting interference in its financial dealings.

In the meantime, the gap between the official and black market rates is shrinking—courtesy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which has pumped over $4 billion into the interbank, bureaux de change, wholesale spot and forwards auction. The injection has been in the last three months.

The exchange rate gap yesterday narrowed to N80 from N214 on February 20. The naira was quoted at N386/$ on the black market and remained at N306/$ on the official market, representing N80 gap. This is a huge improvement from February 20 rates of N520/$ in the parallel market and N306/$ in the official market, representing a N214 spread.

The CBN has also injected additional $457.3 million into various segments of the market. A breakdown of the offers indicates that both the spot and forwards segments garnered a total of $267.3 million while the wholesale segment got $100 million.

Also, the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and invisibles segments comprising of basic travel allowance, tuition fee and medical got $50 million and $40 million respectively.

The currency crisis started after crude oil prices dropped to a new low, which also affected the foreign reserves and created chronic dollar shortages, frustrating businesses and individuals.

Reports on the CBN’s interventions showed that since February, the regulator has sold more than $4 billion to boost dollar liquidity, win foreign investors interest and confidence in the forex market.

The dollar disbursements/ interventions continues as Nigeria’s oil revenue estimated at a monthly value of $2.5 billion. The demand for forex from the market has continued to be about $4.8 billion monthly.

Last week, the CBN auctioned an undisclosed amount of dollars through book building to settle a backlog of demand for airlines, fuel and raw material imports. The apex bank had asked lenders to bid for hard currency for specific sectors in efforts to improve dollar liquidity.

Findings on the volume of trading on the Investors and Exporters foreign exchange window in the past three weeks on the FMDQ platform revealed that the sum of $600 million has for been sold by both the CBN and autonomous sources.

CBN spokesman Isaac Okorafor expressed satisfaction with the level of activities in the market.

Okorafor singled out the Investors and Exporters segment noting that the volume of activities is indicative of the fact that investors were being attracted to the financial market and the economy.

However, speaking on exchange rate stability, Managing Director, Renaissance Capital (RenCap) Nigeria Temi Popoola, said the rate at which the naira exchanged against the dollar is inconsequential. He said the most important thing was for the investors to be able to come into the country and exit at will without encumbrances.

“The argument should not be whether the naira is exchanged at N300 or N450 to dollar. It should be whether investors will be able to come in and go out of the market,” he said adding that the newly introduced Investors/Exporter Window is addressing the challenge.

Vanguard with additional report from Nation


Equity Market Opens With N324bn Gain, eTranzact, Champion Lead Losers Table 



Equity Market Opens With N324bn Gain, eTranzact, Champion Lead Losers Table 

 The Nigerian equity market on Monday opened the week on a positive note with a gain of 0.58 per cent.

Consequently, investors gained N324 billion or 0.58 per cent, as the market capitalisation which opened at N56.128 trillion, closed at N56.452 trillion.

The All-Share Index also closed 0.58 per cent or 573 points stronger to close at 99,793.71 as against 99,221.14 recorded on Friday.

As a result, the Year-To-Date (YTD) return rose to 33.46 per cent.

The market’s positive performance was primarily driven by gains in Seplat, Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO) Zenith Bank, United Bank For Africa(UBA), Transcorp Hotel and Nigerian Breweries, among other advanced equities.

Market breadth closed positive with 30 gainers and 10 losers on the floor of the Exchange.

On the gainers’ chart, Flour Mill led by 10 per cent to close at N41.80 per share.

Total Energies followed closely by 9.98 per cent to close at N353.60 per share.

Access Corporation gained 9.86 per cent to close at N18.95, Chams rose by 9.74 per cent to close at N1.69, and Veritas Kapital Assurance advanced by 9.52 per cent to close at 69k per share.

On the other side, eTranzact led the losers’ chart to close at N4.55, and Daar Communications trailed at 9.52 per cent to close at 57k per share.

Champion lost 6.67 per cent to close at N2.80, Unity Bank shed 6.67 per cent to close at N1.12 and Wapic Insurance went down by 2.86 per cent to close at 68k per share.

Market analysis revealed that trade turnover settled higher relative to the previous session with the value of transactions up by 83.55 per cent.

A total of 963.54 million shares valued at N13.50 billion were exchanged in 8,657 deals, compared to 388.02 million shares valued at N7.35 billion exchanged in 7,106 deals.

Meanwhile, Fidelity Bank led the activity chart in volume and value with 605.26 million shares worth N6.03 billion, Access Corporation followed by 93.07 million shares valued at N1.74 billion.

UBA transacted 58.73 million shares worth N1.26 billion, Nigerian Breweries traded 45.26 million shares valued at N1.27 billion and Zenith Bank sold 16.08 million shares worth N539.55 million.

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Strike: Labour records 100% compliance in Niger, As Anambra Records 90% Compliance



Strike: Labour records 100% compliance in Niger, As Anambra Records 90% Compliance

Mr Ibrahim Gana, Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Niger, on Monday, said the union recorded 100 per cent success compliance with the ongoing strike over the minimum wage in the state.

He said this in an interview with newsmen shortly after monitoring the level of compliance in Minna, the state capital.

Gana said that unlike in the past, the officials of organised labour did not struggle with workers in their offices this time around.

“This is a fantastic strike we have ever had, the level of compliance is 100 per cent, and we didn’t struggle with people in their offices this time around.

“Just a circular that workers should comply with the national directive of both NLC and TUC and virtually everywhere we have gone we have 100 per cent compliance.

He said that the level of compliance indicates that workers were beginning to listen to the labour leaders and also understanding the yearnings of the union in the country.

The chairman said both Federal and state organisations observed total compliance, adding that the strike would continue until the union received further directives from its national body.

It was reported that parts of organisations shut down by NLC included the Minna General Hospital, Bola Ahmed Tinubu International Airport, Federal Inland Revenue and the state High Court.

Other places visited by the union officials were the Niger State House of Assembly, the state Secretariat, the Office of the Secretary to the Niger Government and the Office of the Deputy Governor.

It was also recalled that NLC had on June 1, announced a nationwide strike commencing on June 3, following the tripartite committee’s failure to reach an agreement on a new minimum wage for workers.

In addition, unions are protesting against recent hikes in electricity tariffs, which they said have placed an undue burden on workers and consumers across the country. 

In a related development, Mr Humphrey Nwafor, Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Anambra on Monday, said that the organised labour recorded 90 per cent compliance in the state.

Nwafor told newsmen after going around Awka to monitor compliance in Awka and its environs.

Offices at the federal and state secretariats, the state House of Assembly schools, banks and courts did not open for business.

Nwafor, while commending union leaders for their cooperation, said the strike would continue until the federal government yielded to their demands

“To be honest with you, I am very much delighted with the Anambra workers’ total compliance to the strike.

 “Picketing is ongoing across the state according to the directive from the national body, and it will continue until 6 p.m. to ensure that no office is open for any administrative businesses,” he said

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NGX: Investors Lose N103bn As Trading Continues Amid Strike



Equity Market Opens With N324bn Gain, eTranzact, Champion Lead Losers Table 

…ETranzact, Jaiz Bank lead losers’ table

Opening the week, the equity market halted last session’s winning streak as investors lost N103 billion, following sell-offs in Tier-one banking stocks and cautious trading.

Specifically, sell-offs in FBN Holdings, United Bank For Africa (UBA) and Access Corporation, Fidelity Bank, Transnational Corporation, Nigerian Breweries, WAPCO, and ETranzact, among other declined stocks, drove the market’s weak performance.

Consequently, the market capitalisation which opened at N56.172 trillion, lost N103 billion or 0.18 per cent to close at N56.069 trillion.

The All-Share Index also shed 0.18 per cent or 112 points, to settle at 99,118.86, as against 99,300.38 recorded on Friday.

As a result, the Year-To-Date (YTD) return fell to 32.56 per cent.

However, while investors traded cautiously, the losses recorded on the Exchange were not related to the ongoing indefinite strike embarked upon by workers under the auspices of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress(TUC).

Reacting, a Stockbroker with Global View Capital Ltd., Mr Haruna Kebira, said that trading on the Exchange was not usually affected by such national industrial actions, except public holidays declared by the Federal Government.

Kebira explained that this was because the Exchange Group did not belong to any workers’ union, hence labour union leaders usually did not interrupt trading on the floor of the Exchange during strikes.

The stockbroker noted that the first week of a new month usually experienced a slowdown of activities that might lead to such losses experienced at the day’s trading.

He stated that the bullish run that dominated the equity market last week was a result of month-end effect activities.

“The market is expected to pick up positively by mid-week.

“The month of June is usually positive for the market because investors who just received their dividends are investing back into the market, so the market will surely bounce back,” Kebira said.

However, the market breadth closed positive with 23 gainers and 17 losers on the floor of the Exchange.

On the gainers’ table, Cornerstone Insurance, and Deap Capital Management and Trust Plc led by 10 per cent each to close at N2.09 and 44k per share respectively.

Oando followed by 9.75 per cent to close at N12.95, Veritas Kapital Assurance rose by 8.47 per cent to close at 64k and RTBriscoe gained 8.33 per cent to close at 52k per share.

On the other hand, ETranzact led the losers’ table with 9.82 per cent to close at N5.05 while Unity Bank trailed closely by 9.80 per cent to close at N1.38 per share.

Jaiz Bank declined by 9.65 per cent to close at N2.06, McNichols Plc shed 9.09 per cent to close at N1.00 and Japaul Gold lost 4.78 per cent to close at N1.99 per share.

Analysis of the market activities showed trade turnover settled lower relative to the previous session, with the value of transactions down by 38.92 per cent.

A total of 349.59 million shares valued at N5.24 billion were exchanged in 8,082 deals, compared to 434 million shares valued at N8.58 billion exchanged in 8,525 deals posted in the previous session.

Veritas Kapital led the activity chart in volume with 57.95 million shares worth N35.94 million, while Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO) followed by N47.63 million shares valued at N47.63 billion to lead in value.

Access Corporation traded 46.32 million shares valued at N796.32 million, AIICO Insurance transacted 30.71 million shares worth N30.79 million and Regency Alliance Insurance sold 14.55 million shares worth N5.64 million. 

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