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ACCESS–DIAMOND BANK M&A: Banks’ share prices skyrocket


Regulators feign ignorance, say deal not concluded….

Following the announcement of the acquisition of Diamond Bank Plc by Access Bank Plc yesterday investors have swooped on the shares of both banks pushing them to the top of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, top gainers and volume transaction chart at close of trading yesterday.

Diamond Bank shares which had been on free fall in the past few weeks rose 9.47 percent to N1.04 from N0.95, while Access Bank’s shares appreciated by 9.40 percent to N8.15 from N7.45 per share.

Also, 70.98 million units of shares were traded in 129 deals in Diamond Bank, making it the most active stock in volume terms in the banking sector, while 13.62 million units were traded in Access bank in 254 deals.

Meanwhile, capital market authorities, the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, and the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, have both indicated that the deal is not yet approved adding that it is just a notice of intention to merge.

Responding to the enquiries from Vanguard NSE stated:

“As an operator of a market, The Exchange’s role is to ensure appropriate disclosures around the discussions between the two listed Banks and related matters in accordance with the rules and regulations of The Exchange.

“Our approval of press releases from listed companies does not extend to approval of the substance of such press releases unless we discern from the face of such intended release that information contained in it is manifestly inaccurate. “Otherwise, our role is to permit the release of information so that shareholders are empowered to form a view and make investment decisions based on such releases and all other information available in the public domain.

“In line with our process, as you may have seen, we approved press releases from both Diamond Bank Plc and Access Bank Plc earlier today (Monday).

“There is a clear process of approvals for mergers, including approval of shareholders of both entities at a court ordered meeting of shareholders, regulatory approvals of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) since both companies are public companies.

“It is only when these approvals have been granted that an application can be filed with The Exchange.

“The Exchange will review such application when it receives it; taking into consideration its rules on such application, regulatory approvals, Board and shareholders approvals and any other relevant matter in line with its rules.

“As the required approvals for the continuation of the proposed merger are primarily from the shareholders of the two entities, CBN and SEC, we advise that you share your concerns with the two statutory regulators and, if you are a shareholder, raise your concerns also during the relevant approval meeting.”

Also SEC in a statement said, “The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is aware of the intention of Access Bank and Diamond Bank to go into a merger. Access Bank and Diamond Bank have both notified the Commission and the general public. It is a notice to merge, they have not merged yet. SEC is awaiting their application on the matter.”

Shareholders reaction

Reacting, Shehu Mallam Mikaili, National President, Constance Shareholders Association of Nigeria, said, “To me, it is a welcome development because it will protect the interest of shareholders instead of the assets of the Bank (Diamond) being taken over by the CBN.”

Speaking in the same vein, Mr Patrick Ajudua, National Chairman, New Dimension Shareholders Association, NDSA, said, “We are not against the merger in this case because we still have our investment protected in the enlarged entity. Rather than face the unacceptable situation of Skye Bank, we are pleased with this development. Therefore, the take over of Diamond by Access Bank is okay by us. The banks in question will both seek the approval of their shareholders before the deal will be consummated since they are both listed on the exchange.”

Igbrude Moses, National Secretary, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, ISAN, said, “If the board and management of Diamond Bank think that the only way to sustain the bank is to merge with another bank, so be it, but they should make sure that all the stakeholders are carried along to avoid litigation. CBN, NSE and any other regulator concerned should ensure that minority shareholders are carried along and not short changed in the whole arrangements. They should also ensure that the process is transparently carried out.”

He advised that the aim of building the biggest bank in Nigeria or Africa should not overshadow the consideration of ensuring that the acquiring institution has the capacity to manage the enlarged entity.

He said that shareholders are becoming weary and skeptical of banks stocks due to issues of constant take overs in the banking industry.

Access, Diamond Bank management speak

Uzoma Dozie, CEO, Diamond Bank, assured that the proposed combination, which is expected to be completed by first half of 2019, with Access Bank would create one of Africa’s leading financial institutions.

He said: “There is clear strategic rationale for the proposed merger and strong complementarities between the two institutions.”….

(Expecting The Deal To Be Completed By First Half Of 2019)

Nigeria election: Oby Ezekwesili to stand for president


Nigeria’s presidential election was shaping up to be a contest between two veteran male politicians, but the candidacy of Oby Ezekwesili could change that.

Women have run for the presidency before but she is the most prominent Nigerian woman to challenge for the top job, the BBC’s Nigeria reporter Chris Ewokor says.

Ms Ezekwesili is well known for leading the #BringBackOurGirls campaign to help free the 276 girls kidnapped from Chibok, northern Nigeria, in 2014. She has also served as the country’s education minister and vice-president of the World Bank.

But come February’s vote it will be a tough challenge to unseat incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, 75, or beat the main opposition candidate, Atiku Abubakar, 72, who both have formidable party machines behind them.

Breaking!!! Train collides with commercial bus in Lagos


A fatal accident involving a bus and a train occurred at Old Abeokuta Road by Odejobi junction on Friday.

According to the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority Twitter handle, the accident occurred on Friday morning. The number of casualties wasn’t stated, except that it hindered the flow of traffic at that end of town.

As of the time of filing this report, the traffic management agency has revealed that the scene of the “fatal train-bus accident has been fully recovered. Our officers are currently flushing the heavy traffic trail it has left behind.”

By Adedotun

(OPEN LETTER): PLEASE SHOW EMPATHY, LIVES ARE INVOLVED – BY. DR. ALEX OTTI OFR


Dr Alex Otto OFR

Dr Okezie Victor Ikpeazu.

My dear brother, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, I bring you greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I beg to let you know that even though this letter of appeal I am sending across to you bothers on issue of governance in our dear state of Abia, it bears little resemblance to my previous interventions that sought to assess your performance or criticize your programs we found fault in.

I must also plead with you to ensure that this letter is not politicized or trivialized like my previous releases so that its essence would not be lost to attacks and counter media attacks.

My dear brother, facts on ground show that Abia Civil Servants are presently owed up to ten months salary arrears, while pensioners are owed up to sixteen (16) months pension arrears. I do not intend to delve into the issues of Leave Allowances and Gratuity which are also as neglected as Salary and Pension.

I chose to make this passionate appeal at this point in time because facts available show that the situation has become very critical and pathetic for serving and retired Abia civil servants.

Like me, I am sure you must have read or been informed of series of reports concerning the untimely, and avoidable deaths of Abia civil servants and pensioners who had need to take care of their health, but had no money, because government chose to owe them unjustly.

I do not just read this sad situation only in the newspapers and on social media, I get text messages and calls that are painful and very pathetic, and which convinced me that the situation has indeed taken a dangerous dimension and thus must not be allowed to continue.

I would not want to bandy figures of Abia’s statutory monthly allocations for the state and the seventeen (17) local governments, internally generated revenues and oil derivation funds, but I do know that they have been more than enough to execute monumental projects as well as pay Abia workers and pensioners up to date if your government had managed such resources with high sense of frugality and responsibility.

Is it not such a provocative tragedy of immense proportion that the state under your watch received little over Thirty Billion Naira (N30B) Naira in Bailout fund and Paris Club Refunds from the Federal Government, and yet could not pay salaries or clear the pension arrears even when the government repeatedly assured it would do so?

Does it mean that Abia State government would have been owing more than one year salary arrears if the Bailout fund and Paris Club Refunds didn’t come in the first place?.

This sincere letter is not anchored on rumour or driven by hearsay, thus I wouldn’t want to believe the insinuation and alleged boast by some agents of your government that you intend to clear the salary arrears just before the 2019 election so as to get the support of civil servants for your re-election bid.

Such selfish political strategy, if it is true, would only increase the number of deaths arising from hunger and sickness due to prolonged non payment of salary arrears. It is only the living that can vote.

It would also confirm the generally held view that your government has the capacity not to owe salaries but intentionally chose to.

In one of my articles, published in my Thisday Column and republished by numerous other media platforms who found it very interesting, I harped on the moral and economic obligations that would have been met when salaries are paid promptly and I would like to revisit and restate a few lines here.

The Bible reminds us that ” We should not muzzle the ox while it threads out the grain, and that the labourer is worthy of his wages”. 1 Timothy 5:18.

God went further to sound more angry as if he was referring to the case of Abia workers when he warned that “Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who moved your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty”. – James 5:4.

The Quaran was also very much in agreement when it stated that “The Prophet said, you should pay the labourer his wages before his sweat dries up”. Sunan Ibn Majah (Volo 3) (2443)

A similar injunction was made in the Quaran with the message that says “And oh my people! Give just measure and weight, nor withhold from the people, the things that are their due”. Quran 11:85

From the economic point of view, I comprehensively explained the positive impacts of payment of workers’ salaries on the economy in times of recession.

Even though our economy has recovered a bit few months after I wrote that piece, yet my argument on the timely payment of workers salaries and positive impacts of money circulation on a struggling economy like ours remains valid. It therefore follows that the failure of your government to prioritize the payment of workers’ salaries and pension arrears, hurts the economy of the state.

One of the most dangerous developments arising from the failure of your government to pay salaries as has been discovered is that, workers now go about begging and borrowing to sustain their families, only to pay back with interest when they manage to receive the meager salaries behind time, thus they are usually left with nothing. The long term implication of this is that, there would be no room for savings and investment, because they were indebted with interest, but owed by the government without interest; what an injustice!

Another dangerous implication of the maltreatment of Abia workers by your government is that it kills their service morale, slows productivity, destroys patriotism and creates room for corruption.

What of the children and wards of civil servants who have been forced to miss exams, miss academic sessions or completely drop out of school because you failed to pay their parents and guardians?

You can see that the spiral effect of your government’s failure to pay Abia workers and pensioners their salaries and pension arrears is horrendous and far reaching, therefore I am appealing to you to have mercy on Abia workers and show some humanity.

Dear Governor Ikpeazu, even if your government can’t do any other thing, let it try and pay workers’ salaries because lives are involved.

Let me thank you in advance for your anticipated immediate action on this matter.

Signed

Dr. Alex Otti OFR

12/07/2019..

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By IkemSamuel

US President Donald Trump has vowed to help end “vicious and violent” conflicts in Africa.


“Africa right now has got problems like few people would even understand,” he said at a Nato summit press conference.

“It is so sad, it is so vicious and violent,” he said, promising that his goal was to build up the US military and bring peace to the world.

The US is active in counter-terrorism operations and training African troops to fight jihadists in the Sahara