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Court Orders First Bank MD to Sign Sympathy Letter



First Bank Sympathy Letter

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

First Bank of Nigeria Limited has been directed to pay the benefits of one of its deceased staff, Mrs Chika Chukwu, within 30 days, Business Post reports.

This directive was given by Justice Faustina Kola-Olalere of the Port Harcourt division of the National Industrial Court.

The court further orders the financial institution to write a sympathy letter to the husband of the late employee, Mr Ori Chukwu, which must be signed by its Managing Director.

Ruling on the matter, the judge said the lender must pay Mr Chukwu, who is now the administrator of the estate of Mrs Chukwu, N963,504.68 as benefits in addition to N250,000 as the cost of action.

Mr Chukwu had approached the court to compel First Bank to pay him the sum of N4 million as compensation under the Workmen’s Compensation Act, but the judge disagreed with him.

According to the deceased’s husband, First Bank only paid a one-year basic salary of his last wife, who prior to her demise in 2006, was an employee of the bank, to assist the family with burial expenses and has failed to pay the other entitlements despite repeated demands.

But First Bank, through its counsel, Mr Rotimi Aremu, maintained that it had paid the amount of money payable to the family of its late staff upon her death; and averred that the bank insurer for the death of the deceased employee was paid less of the deceased indebted to the bank.

The lender argued that the action of Mr Chukwu was statute-barred and liable to be dismissed on the ground that the action was filed over five years provided under the Limitation Law of Rivers State.

It also informed the court that the claimant had failed to show his right to demand, neither as the husband of the deceased nor as a dependant of the deceased.

The bank stressed that the Letter of Administration issued in Mr Chukwu favour was just a letter of authority to an administrator, not evidence of a marriage between him and the deceased.

According to First Bank, it was not a necessary party to the suit, as the compensation due (if any) to the claimant was to be borne by the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund Management Board and urged the court to dismiss the claim in its entirety.

This argument was countered by Mr Chukwu through his counsel, J. U. Ikorogbudu, explaining that a dependent was someone who relies wholly or partly on the income of the deceased employee.

He denied that the deceased was indebted to the defendant, urging the court to assume jurisdiction and grant the reliefs sought.

Justice Kola-Olalere, while delivering the judgment after careful evaluation of the submission of both parties, dismissed the objections and held that from May 11, 2009, when the case in question was filed in Rivers State High Court to September 23, 2016, when it was struck out for lack of jurisdiction, the limitation period stopped running and then continued running again from September 24, 2016, to August 18, 2017, when the action was filed at the NIC.

The judge held that the deceased was not indebted to the bank before she died as no document was shown to prove to the contrary

“The defendant has admitted receipt of the sum of N963,504.68 from its insurer for the death of the deceased employee; therefore, I hold that the defendant is to pay to the claimant, the admitted sum of N963,504.68 as the deceased/employee’s death in service benefit in line with the provision of clause 5.8.3 (d) of Exhibit C.5 before the court in this case.”

Aduragbemi Omiyale is a journalist with Business Post Nigeria, who has passion for news writing. In her leisure time, she loves to read.


Visa Sponsors Ecobank Cardholder’s Trip to Qatar for World Cup



Ecobank cardholder

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A customer of Ecobank Nigeria, Mr Ejike Michael Eziuche, will have the opportunity to travel to Qatar for the ongoing FIFA World Cup taking place in the country for free.

This was made possible by just being a customer of the financial institution in Nigeria and being issued a Visa card by the bank.

The Ecobank cardholder was among the winners of the payments firm’s Spend & Win Campaign, designed to reward customers and football lovers who were active users of their Visa cards.

The only condition to be part of the promo was spending a minimum of N50,000 in at least five transactions to qualify. The winners will have the opportunity of a first-class experience in the tournament, all expenses covered as Visa is the Official Payments Sponsor of the tournament.

“Mr Eziuche’s emergence as a winner is a reflection of the hassle-free payment experience our customers enjoy with their Ecobank Visa cards.

“At Ecobank, we are always innovating our services to suit our customers’ lifestyles, especially when it comes to how they can effortlessly access our products. I am truly delighted for him and wish him a memorable time in Qatar,” the Head of Consumer Banking at Ecobank Nigeria, Mrs Korede Demola-Adeniyi, commented.

“We understand our role as a leading payments provider, pioneering seamless payments experiences across Africa; this is why we partner with critical stakeholders like Visa to ensure that our customers can have cards that allow them to enjoy financial services from anywhere in the world.

“Our promise to our customers has always been the same; to provide them with access to affordable and reliable financial services.

“We will continue to do so through our digital platforms, including Ecobank Mobile App and USSD *326#, Ecobank Online, Ecobank OmniPlus, Ecobank Omnilite, EcobankPay, Ecobank RapidTransfer, ATMs, POSs and an extensive distribution network of over 250 branches and over 50,000 agency banking locations,” she added.

Ecobank Nigeria is a subsidiary of the Ecobank Group, the leading pan-African banking group with operations in 33 African countries and an international presence in four locations (London, Paris, Beijing, and Dubai).

The lender is a major player in the distribution of financial services in Nigeria, leveraging digital platforms, including Ecobank Mobile App and USSD *326#, Ecobank Online, Ecobank OmniPlus, Ecobank Omnilite, EcobankPay, Ecobank RapidTransfer, ATMs, POSs and an extensive distribution network of over 250 branches and over 60,000 agency banking locations.

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Sterling Bank Sponsors Training of 1,000 Youths at NJFP



Sterling Bank

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Sterling Bank Plc has sponsored the training of 1,000 fellows at the Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme (NJFP), a youth empowerment initiative between the Nigerian government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The programme, launched in 2021, was borne out of rising unemployment and the COVID-19 pandemic, which adversely impacted the ability of young Nigerians to find work.

The initiative seeks to connect talented graduates with local job opportunities that apply their expertise while equipping them with world-class practical knowledge and relevant skills, and it does not matter if an applicant does not have job experience.

It targets a broad range of sectors, including the start-up economy, innovation, and creative industries, the digital and technology sector, the green economy sector, financial services, key public and international development institutions, research and development, agriculture, real estate, construction, transportation, and health services. In other words, there is a place for every organisation in this programme.

The Managing Director of Sterling Bank, Mr Abubakar Suleiman, explained that his company supported the programme because of its interest in the education sector as one of five sectors it is presently concentrating investments in under its HEARTs of Sterling programme. The other sectors are Health, Agriculture, Renewable Energy and Transportation.

It will be recalled that as part of its commitment to the reduction of unemployment among youths in the country, Sterling Bank Plc recently renewed its partnership with iCreate Africa to provide a payment system that allows qualified workers to purchase tools and pay in instalments.

Consequently, the bank has also introduced different packages so that skill-seekers can access soft loans to buy tools, and it is encouraging skill-seekers not to let the opportunity slip off their hands.

Also, as part of this strategy, the commercial bank had also expanded its Café One community to Abuja in partnership with iCreate.

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Zenith Bank Assures Budding Entrepreneurs Necessary Support to Succeed



Budding entrepreneurs

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Budding entrepreneurs in Nigeria have been assured by Zenith Bank Plc of all the necessary support they need to succeed and become corporate organisations capable of employing many people.

The Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank, Mr Ebenezer Onyeagwu, who gave this assurance last Wednesday, disclosed that this was why the bank organised the second Zenith Tech Fair themed Future Forward 2.0.

At the keenly contested hackathon session, the sum of N53 million was won by the participants, with Ecotutu, a cleantech company making cooling affordable and accessible for businesses, especially in the agricultural sector, emerging as the overall winner and taking home the grand prize of N20 million.

This is in addition to a mentorship programme with Seedstars, a company dedicated to implementing high-quality capacity-building programmes for entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

The first runner-up, Foris Labs, an app-based platform that allows students to conduct science experiments individually and in groups interactively via their mobile phones, won N15 million and a mentorship programme.

The second runner-up, Finva, a start-up which helps creditors offer credits at low risk, won N10 million as well as a mentorship programme.

Other finalists who took home N1 million each were Sanwo, Itinu -Ev, Eduvacity, Green Bii, Zion Robotics, Sono Care, Base, and I grow Africa.

Addressing guests at the Eko Convention Centre, Mr Onyeagwu announced that “all finalists would be enlisted into our incubation lab for grooming and mentorship.

“Our expectation is that we are going to scale and grow them just like the zenith brand. So, looking at what we have gone through, I can tell you that so much iron has been loaded on fire. The only thing left is to activate the digital talents, tech skills and entrepreneurship that would culminate in a new digital economy for Nigeria.”

Described as a huge success by participants, the two-day Tech Fair featured presentations on the leading technological innovations that cut across different aspects of life, such as Artificial Intelligence, Computing, Machine Learning, Blockchain, Robotics, Big Data, FinTech, Augmented Reality, Data Analytics, 5G and Communication Technologies, with the keynote address, The Future of Banking: Digital Transformation Journey, delivered by Brett King, the renowned futurist, bestselling author, award-winning speaker, founder of Moven and Author of Bank 4.0.

The event also featured a goodwill message by the founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank, Mr Jim Ovia.

Other eminent IT practitioners from top global brands who also made presentations included Tarik Alatovic, Senior Partner, McKinsey; Juliet Ehimuan, West Africa Director, Google; Ola Williams, Country Manager, Microsoft Inc.; Andrew Uaboi, Vice President/Head, Visa West Africa; Mrs Rakiya Mohammed, Director of Information Technology, CBN; Chris Lu, Managing Director, Huawei Technologies Nigeria, and Dame Ms Adaora Umeoji, Deputy Managing Director of Zenith Bank Plc, amongst others.

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