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Crisis hits Eko Disco as chairman and directors disagree on Dr. Tinuade Sanda’s sacking

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Members of the board of the Eko Electricity Distribution Company are at loggerheads over the sack of the company’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Dr Tinuade Sanda.

We reported that the firm replaced Sanda with Mrs Rekhiat Momoh, who was said to have taken over on Tuesday.

It was gathered that Sanda’s sack was communicated through a letter signed by the EKEDC Chairman, Dere Otubu, on March 25.

According to Otubu, the decision to relieve Sanda of her duties followed a directive from the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission.

“We have received a directive from NERC stating that all staff working for the utility must be employed directly by the utility, bound by applicable service conditions that are applicable to the employees of the utility, and paid through the utility’s payroll.

“The Disco is obligated to comply with these directives due to the powers of NERC as stipulated in the Electricity Act 2023. In compliance with the aforementioned directive, all seconded staff from WPG Ltd are being released by Eko Electricity Distribution Plc and returned to WPG Ltd.

“Accordingly, you are hereby relieved of your role, office, and position at Eko Electricity Distribution Plc effectively immediately, and returned to your employer, WPG Ltd,” Otubu had said.

We reported earlier that some senior staff members of the Eko DisCo were recently accused of ghost worker recruitment, fraud and negligence; a claim the firm said was unfounded.

Reacting to the allegation, NERC ordered thorough investigations, while directing that all existing WPG secondees be returned to their original employer.

While announcing the change of leadership, the DisCo said, “We wish to inform the general public that Mrs Rekhiat Momoh has on 26th March 2024 assumed the role of Acting CEO of Eko Disco.

“This follows the redeployment of our erstwhile MD/CEO Mrs Tinuade Sanda back to WPG Ltd, the core investor who seconded her to Eko Disco.

“We have great confidence in her ability to perform this role effectively and take the company to greater heights,” the EKEDC said.

However, in a rebuttal on Wednesday, a Director and Chairman of the Legal & Regulatory Committee, Mr Babor Egeregor, disagreed with the chairman over the sack of Sanda.

He said the NERC did not order the removal of any staff either seconded to or hired by EKEDC, except those connected to the alleged fraud and negligence.

“It has come to my notice that by a letter dated 26th of March 2024, the Chairman of EKEDC, Mr Dere Otubu, purportedly terminated the Contract of Employment of Dr Tinuade Sanda, the MD/CEO of EKEDC, allegedly in compliance with orders/directives issued by the NERC.

“The said order of the NERC, herein displayed, are unambiguous, incapable of, and unyielding to plural interpretations. There was nowhere in the order where NERC requested the removal of any staff either seconded to or hired by EKEDC, except those connected to the alleged fraud and negligence i.e., Wola Joseph Condotti, Sheri Adegbenro, and Aik Alenkhe,” he said.

According to Egregor, NERC’s directives were issued to compel the board of EKEDC, following picketing by the union and unrelenting staff protests, “to act appropriately in the face of the determined position of a majority of the board members to cover up the alleged use of ghost workers together with the alleged fraud and protect Wola Joseph Condotti, especially”.

“Mr Dere Otubu’s letter, therefore, was done in bad faith and in vengeful revenge against the MD/CEO for escalating the alleged fraud and issuing queries against one of his protégés, whom he has desperately sworn to protect by all means.

“Rather than comply with the orders of NERC, a recourse to subterfuge was hatched with the purported termination. There are no doubts about a deliberate agenda and unconcealed mischief to misread the orders of the NERC to malign Dr Sanda’s reputation for daring to escalate and issue queries to Wola Joseph Condotti for alleged fraud through the use of ghost workers for three years, and continuous payment of salaries to exited staff despite personally receiving their resignation letters,” Egregor stated.

He added that similar queries were issued to the Chief Audit and Compliance Officer, Sheri Adegbenro, and the Chief Human Resources Officers, Aik Alenkhe, “for their failure and gross negligence to audit and detect fraudulent payments on payroll for over three years”.

On the appointment of Momoh as the Acting MD/CEO, Egregor said, “The board of EKEDC, on which I sit, has neither met nor decided on the purported appointment of Mrs Rekiah Momoh as Acting MD/CEO, except Mr Otubu and his close circle of colleagues have transformed themselves into ‘the board’.

“I and all well-meaning members of the EKEDC board, I believe, should vehemently distance themselves from this contrivance.

“The board is not a one-man show, and matters are to be collectively deliberated on and approved by Board members. Mrs Momoh is the Chief Commercial Officer of EKEDC and remains so.”

Amid the allegations of fraud, the director took pride in saying that the EKEDC was known for due process and legality, adding that anything that would erode the commitment to due process and corporate governance would be resisted.

“Therefore, let it be known that Dr Tinuade Sanda remains the MD/CEO of Eko Electricity Distribution Company and has since her assumption of office as the MD/CEO, turned EKEDC around for good, with very great milestones and achievements which every sector player recognises.

“She made EKEDC the number one distribution company in Nigeria. The investors, board, and management of EKEDC believe firmly in her leadership and look forward to many more record-setting and breaking moments,” he submitted.

Contacted, the EKEDC spokesperson, Babatunde Lasaki, told our correspondent that Sanda was not sacked but only asked to step aside “until the realignment of the structural management process is completed”.

According to Lasaki, Momoh was appointed to avoid a vacuum.

Business

JUST IN: CBN reduces banks’ LDR to 50%

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has announced a review of the loan-to-deposit ratio (LDR) for banks, from 65 percent to 50 percent to align with the current monetary tightening.

LDR is used to assess a bank’s liquidity by comparing its total loans to its total deposits.

An increase in the loan-to-deposit ratio allows banks to expand their credits to businesses and individuals, however, a decline in LDR reduces their ability to loan customers from depositors’ funds.

The CBN disclosed the increase in a circular on Wednesday titled ‘Re: Regulatory Measures to Improve Lending to the Sector of the Nigerian Economy’, signed by Adetona Adedeji, its acting director of the banking supervision department.

“Following a shift in the Bank’s policy stance towards a more contractionary approach, it is imperative to review the loan-to-deposit ratio (LDR) policy to align with the current monetary tightening by the CBN,” the apex bank said.

“Accordingly, the CBN has decided to reduce the LDR by 15 percentage points to 50%, in a similar proportion to the increase in the CRR rate for banks.

“All DMBs are required to maintain this level and are further advised that average daily figures shall continue to be applied to assess compliance.

“While DMBs are encouraged to maintain strong risk management practices regarding their lending operations, the CBN shall continue to monitor compliance, review market developments, and make alterations in the LDR as it deems appropriate.”

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Business

WhatsApp launches chat filters to allow users find messages faster

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WhatsApp, the messaging app, has introduced chat filters to allow users to navigate through messages faster and more efficiently.

The Meta-owned platform announced the new feature in a blog post on Tuesday.

WhatsApp said it launched the new feature so that users can get to their important messages without having to scroll through their full inbox.

The social media service said the chat filters have three different features: “All, Unread, and Groups”.

It added that users can choose between any of the three filters that will appear at the top of their chat list.

“Opening WhatsApp and finding the right conversation should feel quick, seamless, and simple,” the post reads.

“As people increasingly do more on WhatsApp, it’s more important than ever before to be able to get to your messages fast.

“We believe filters will make it easier for people to stay organized and find their most important conversations and help navigate through messages more efficiently.

“We will continue to build more options to help you focus on what matters most.”

In recent times, WhatsApp has been actively rolling out new features to enhance user experiences and keep up with evolving communication trends.

In July last year, the Meta-owned firm unveiled an instant video messaging feature.

On August 8, the social network introduced a screen-sharing feature to enhance the video calling experience on its platform.

WhatsApp also introduced a feature that allows users to operate multiple accounts on a single device.

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Business

NCAA suspends three private jet operators for engaging in commercial flights

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The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) says it has suspended the permit of three private jet operators for engaging in commercial flights.

Chris Najomo, acting director general of the NCAA, announced the suspension of the three private operators in a statement read to all airlines on Tuesday.

This is coming a day after Festus Keyamo, minister of aviation and aerospace, said the federal government would arrest and sanction illegal flights and non-certified personnel.

Najomo said the use of private jets for commercial purposes got Keyamo’s attention in November 2023, prompting the minister to issue directives for the cessation of such activities.

“Subsequently, in March 2024, the NCAA had issued a stern warning to holders of the permit for noncommercial flight (PNCF) against engaging the carriage of passengers, cargo or meal for hire reward,” Najomo said.

“The authority had also deployed its official to monitor activities of private jet terminals across airports in Nigeria. As a consequence of this heightened surveillance, no fewer than three private operators have been found to be in violation of the annexure provision of the PNCF and part 9114 of the NCAA regulations.

“In line with our zero tolerance for violation of regulations, the authority has suspended the PNCF of these operators.

“To further sanitise the general aviation sector, I have directed that a reevaluation of all orders of PNCF be carried out on or before the 19th of April 2024 to ascertain compliance with regulatory requirements.”

Najomo also said all PNCF holders will be required to submit relevant documents to the authority within the next 72 hours.

“This riot act is also directed at existing air operators certificate (AOC) holders who utilise aircraft listed on the PNCF for commercial chatter operations,” Najomo said.

“It must be emphasised that only aircraft listed in the operation specifications of the AOC are authorised to be used in the provision of such charter services.

“Any of those AOC holders who wish to use the aircraft for charter operations must apply to the NCAA to delist it from their PNCF and include it into the AOC operations specifications.”

The NCAA also urged travellers not to patronise any airline or charter operator who does not hold a valid AOC issued by the NCAA when they wish to procure chartered operation services.

Najomo also encouraged legitimate players in the aviation industry to report the activities of such “unscrupulous” elements to the authorities promptly for necessary action.

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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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