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11 powerful women heading banks in Nigeria



Historically, the Nigerian banking sector is male-dominated, just like several other professional spheres, with women only left to scramble for lower management positions.

This gender bias constituted a worrying glass ceiling that has, over the years, stifled the growth of the female gender in the banking sector.

However, recent trends have shown that women have broken through the barrier to claim their rightful position among their male counterparts.

On Tuesday, March 19, 2024, Zenith Bank announced Dr Adaora Umeoji as its new and first female Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Umeoji’s appointment was greeted with pomp and pageantry by many Nigerians, particularly staff and stakeholders of the bank.

Amid this development, Pulse presents to you a list of women who are heading banks in Nigeria.

1. Zenith Bank – Adaora Umeoji

11 powerful women heading banks in Nigeria
11 powerful women heading banks in Nigeria

Subject to the approval by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Umeoji will step into the role of the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive of Zenith on June 1, 2024. The accomplished banker with sectoral experience spanning three decades will take over from Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, whose five-year term expires on May 31, 2024.

Umeoji reached the zenith of her career, having climbed the corporate ladder with great dedication and zeal.

She has been with Zenith Bank for 26 years and has held the position of Deputy Managing Director of the bank since October 28, 2016, until her latest appointments.

2. GTBank – Olusanya Miriam

11 powerful women heading banks in Nigeria
11 powerful women heading banks in Nigeria

In comes another banking Amazon, whose panache and tenacity shunted her to the top of her career. Miriam is the Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank (Nigeria) Limited, a subsidiary of Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc (GTCO), a position she assumed in July 2021.

She rose from an Executive Trainee at the bank in 1998 to the upper echelon, with experience that cuts across Asset and Liability Management, Financial Markets, Corporate Finance, Investment Banking, Investor Relations and Transaction Services.

3. Fidelity Bank – Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe

11 powerful women heading banks in Nigeria
11 powerful women heading banks in Nigeria

After playing an integral role in the bank’s transformation over six years, Onyeali-Ikpe assumed the office as Managing Director/CEO at Fidelity Bank on January 1, 2021.

Before her appointment, she was the Executive Director of Lagos and South West, overseeing the bank’s business in the six states that make up the South West region.

Onyeali-Ikpe is a consummate professional with over 30 years of experience, cutting her teeth at various banks, including Standard Chartered Bank, Zenith Bank and Citizens International Bank, where she held several management positions.

4. Union Bank – Yetunde Oni

11 powerful women heading banks in Nigeria
11 powerful women heading banks in Nigeria

On January 10, 2024, the CBN announced the appointment of Oni as the new Managing Director/Chief Operating Officer of Union Bank plc, following an earlier dissolution of the bank’s Board and Management.

The University of Ibadan graduate of Economics comes to the job with over three decades of experience across various banks in Nigeria and abroad.

Oni holds the bragging right of being the first female CEO of the Standard Chartered Bank in Sierra Leone, a position she took in January 2021 until the CBN appointment.

5. Access Holdings – Bolaji Agbede

11 powerful women heading banks in Nigeria
11 powerful women heading banks in Nigeria

Agbede stepped in as the Acting Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings Plc following the demise of Herbert Wigwe in a tragic helicopter crash in the United States.

She is a versatile professional with over 27 years of cognate experience in Human Resources management, customer relationship management and banking operations.

Agbede’s banking journey started at GTBank in 1992, where she joined as an Executive Trainee.

However, she rose through the ranks, serving in various capacities, including Relationship Manager and Vault Custodian, before eventually joining Access Bank in 2003 as an Assistant General Manager.

6. FCMB – Yemisi Edun

11 powerful women heading banks in Nigeria
11 powerful women heading banks in Nigeria

Edun was appointed Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the First City Monument Bank (FCMB) in July 2021, becoming the first woman ever to hold the position.

She joined FCMB in 2000 as Divisional Head of Internal Audit and Control before assuming the role of Chief Financial Officer of the Bank.

Before her banking sojourn, Edun’s career took off at the Akintola Williams Deloitte (member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu) in 1987, where she worked on corporate finance activities and audit of banks and other financial institutions.

7. Unity Bank – Tomi Somefun

11 powerful women heading banks in Nigeria
11 powerful women heading banks in Nigeria

Somefun is one of the trailblazers and pacesetters for women in the banking sector, climbing to become the Managing Director/CEO of Unity Bank Plc in 2015.

Before her appointment, she was the Executive Director overseeing the Lagos and South-West Business Directorates, the Financial Institution Division and the bank’s Treasury Department.

Somefun boasts 35 years of professional career, over 26 years of which were in the banking sector.

8. Citibank – Ireti Samuel-Ogbu

11 powerful women heading banks in Nigeria
11 powerful women heading banks in Nigeria

After 26 years of operating in Africa’s largest economy, Citigroup Inc. appointed Samuel-Ogbu as its first female Country Officer for Nigeria in August 2020.

She is currently the CEO & Country Officer for Nigeria and Ghana at Citibank/Citigroup Inc.

Samuel-Ogbu was the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Head of Payments and Receivables, Treasury and Trade Solutions (TTS) under Citi’s Institutional Clients Group (ICG) based in London, UK, before she was appointed MD/CEO.

9. Suntrust Bank – Halima Buba

11 powerful women heading banks in Nigeria
11 powerful women heading banks in Nigeria

A seasoned banker with over 22 years of cognate experience obtained from working in various banks, Buba is currently the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of SunTrust Bank Nigeria Limited.

Before assuming the position in January 2021, Halima was a co-founder and former Executive Director of Taj Consortium, an organisation of young, dynamic technocrats and financial advisory experts.

10. Lotus Bank – Kafilat Araoye

11 powerful women heading banks in Nigeria
11 powerful women heading banks in Nigeria

Kafilat is reputed as a banker with long and diverse work experience in various leadership positions in the industry, with emphasis on International and Domestic Operations, Payments, General Management, Business Development, Risk Management, Human Resources and Strategy.

Having left as the General Manager of GTBank in 2015, after a spell that started in 1990, Kafilat was appointed the MD Designate for LOTUS Bank in 2018.

Since then, she has been steering the bank’s affairs, deploying her over 25 years of expertise to stimulate growth and maintain stability.

11. FSDH Merchant Bank – Bukola Smith

Smith became the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of FSDH Merchant Bank in April 2021, bringing with her over 25 years of progressive experience in the banking industry with a track record of strategic execution and leadership.


Japa: Six tips for Nigerians to boost their chances of securing US visa




The United States (US) visa, is undisputably, the most sought-after in the world for relocation because of the exceptional life opportunities attached to it.

A US visa is a permit issued by the US government that grants Nigerians and other non-citizens entry into the country for certain purposes, such as work, study, or travel.

This document must be attached to the applicant’s passport before gaining access to enter as an immigrant or non-immigrant to the US.

An immigrant visa is for those who plan to stay in the US permanently, while a non-immigrant visa is for those who intend to visit the US temporarily.

Non-immigrant visas allow people to work or study in the US for up to 180 days, while an immigrant visa allows you to stay indefinitely and work without restrictions.

As a Nigerian, whether you are applying as an immigrant or a non-immigrant, you must master some tips to boost your chances of getting a visa at the US embassy.

In this article, there are six tips to help you increase your chances of securing a US visa.

1. Research your visa category 

As a US visa applicant, you must thoroughly research the visa category that best suits your purpose of travel and gather all the necessary documents accordingly.

2. Begin early

As thousands apply for US visas daily, you must start the application process well in advance to give you enough time for any unprepared delays.

3. Get ready for questions

You must prepare for the visa interview by engaging and familiarising yourself with potential and unexpected questions and practising concise, confident responses.

4. Honesty

Be honest and transparent during the interview, because offering false information can lead to serious consequences and future visa rejections.

5. Prepare all documents

Present your supporting documents in an organised manner, making it easier for the consular officer to review and verify the information.

6. Show commitment to Nigeria 

You need to demonstrate strong ties to your home country, such as stable employment, family, or property, to assure the consular officer that you will return after your authorised stay (if applicable).

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Adesola Adeduntan steps down as First Bank CEO




Adesola Adeduntan, managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) of First Bank of Nigeria Ltd, has resigned from his position.

According to a letter addressed to Tunde Hassan-Odukale, the bank’s board chairman, Adeduntan’s tenure ought to elapse on December 31, 2024.

However, he voluntarily decided to step down on April 20.

“As you are aware, my contract would be expiring on 31 December 2024 after which I would no longer be eligible for employment within the Bank having served as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank for a record time of nine years,” Adeduntan said.

“During this period the Bank and its subsidiaries has undergone significant changes and broken new grounds. We have repositioned the institution as an enviable financial giant in Africa.

“I have however decided to proceed on retirement with effect from 20 April 2024 to pursue other interests.”

Furthermore, he expressed gratitude towards the board of directors of First Bank and FBN Holdings for the support he received from them during his tenure.

Adeduntan was appointed as CEO of First Bank in 2016.

Prior to his appointment, he served as the bank’s executive director and chief financial officer (CFO).

Before joining First Bank in July 2014, he was a director and the pioneer CFO/business manager of Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).

Adeduntan formerly worked as a senior vice-president and CFO at Citibank Nigeria Limited, as a senior manager in the financial services group of KPMG Professional Services, and as a manager at Arthur Andersen Nigeria.

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Customs adjust FX rate for import duties to N1,147/$




The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has again adjusted the foreign exchange (FX) rate for duties to N1,147.02 per dollar.

This represents a 7.3 percent decrease compared to N1,238.1/$ displayed on April 18.

The rate adopted by customs was observed on Friday.

It fell below the official foreign exchange rate, which closed at N1,154/$ on April 18 at the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM).

The drop in the FX rate for customs tariffs and duties is coming amid the Central Bank of Nigeria‘s (CBN) effort to stabilise the naira.

On April 17, the naira appreciated to N1,050 at the parallel section of the FX market, from the N1,100/$ traded on April 15.

Meanwhile, on April 16, President Bola Tinubu inaugurated the national single window (NSW) project to boost trade in Nigeria.

NSW is an electronic portal linking all agencies and players in import and export processes to an integrated platform.

Speaking on the development, Adewale Adeniyi, the comptroller-general (CG) of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), said the country is making progress with consultations on the reopening of the borders with Niger Republic and Benin Republic.

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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