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CBN allays fears over indefinite suspension of eNaira launch

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The Central Bank of Nigeria says its indefinite postponement of the launch of the country’s first digital currency, eNaira, has nothing to do with a suit filed to stop the scheme.

It however cited other key activities lined up for Nigeria’s independence anniversary and the mood of the nation as reasons for its action.

The apex bank had launched the website for the operation ahead of the scheme launch proper and informed the citizens to download the eNaira app on their mobile gadgets from October 1, 2021.

But spokesperson for the CBN, Osita Nwasinobi, in a statement on Thursday, announced the suspension of the eNaira launch, saying it was in deference to the mood of national rededication to the collective dream of One Nigeria.

No new date was however given for the launch.

This is coming a day after ENaira Payment Solutions Limited instituted a suit before a federal high court against the Central Bank of Nigeria over the name “eNaira.”

The firm, through its lawyers, had accused the CBN of trademark infringement, notifying it to desist from using the proposed name.

The CBN statement read in part, “Ahead of the anticipated launch of Nigeria’s Central Bank Digital Currency, known as eNaira, the spokesman for the Central bank of Nigeria, Mr Osita, says the planned unveiling on October 1, 2021, has now been deferred due to other key activities lined up to commemorate the country’s 61st Independence Anniversary.”

Nwasinobi said the CBN and other partners were working round the clock to ensure a seamless process that would be for the “overall benefit of the customer, particularly those in the rural areas and the unbanked population”.

He stressed that the digital currency would ease peer-to-peer transfer, pay for goods and services at selected merchants once launched.

The CBN director added that the apex bank had put a structure in place to promptly address any issue that might arise from the pilot implementation of the eNaira.

Meanwhile, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Thursday presided over by Justice Taiwo Taiwo gave a go-ahead for the eNaira launch.

The defendant’s counsel, DD Dodo (SAN) had urged the court to strike out the plaintiff’s motion seeking to restrain the launch of the central bank digital currency, considering its significance to the national economy.

The court was not disposed to striking out the motion but held that the launch of the digital currency could go ahead in the interest of the country, especially as the plaintiff could be adequately compensated.

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As Buhari launches eNaira, CBN unveils 100 for 100 financial instrument

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President Muhammadu Buhari has launched the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) digital currency, the e-Naira.
While launching the digital currency, at the State House,Abuja, this afternoon, the president commended the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, for his efforts towards ensuring a more efficient payment system in the country.
In his address, Emefiele announced a new financial instrument titled “The 100 for 100 PPP – Policy on Production and Productivity,” to reduce the nation’s overdependence on imports.
According to the governor, the instrument, “will be anchored in our Development Finance Department under my direct supervision.
“Under this policy the CBN will advertise, screen, scrutinize and financially support 100 targeted private sector companies in 100 days, beginning from 01 November 2021, and rolling over every 100 days with new set of 100 companies, whose names will be published in National Dailies for Nigerians to verify and confirm.

“The purpose of this instrument is to take further steps to reverse our over reliance on imports.”

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Investigate sources of fake reports about luxury bus hijack, GUO, ALBON tell police

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Luxury bus owners and operators have denied a new report claiming that one of the buses was hijacked and 123 passengers abducted by some gunmen.

The transporters were reacting to what they called the latest in a series of recent fake news that a “fully loaded” Abuja-bound luxury bus belonging to GUO Transport Co Ltd was “intercepted” in Edo by “bandits suspected to be Fulani who kidnapped about 123 passengers on board, hours after departing Owerri.

They asked the police and other security agencies in the country to investigate the sources of such frequent hoax online news reports about the hijack of their vehicles and kidnap of passengers by bandits.

Describing the abduction story which was widely publicised online as a mischievously fabricated falsehood, the Managing Director of GUO, Maduabuchukwu Okeke, disclosed that neither was any of his company’s buses hijacked nor the passengers abducted.

He stated that since the middle of last week when the false report was posted, his company has been inundated with calls and visits by worried members of the travelling public trying to confirm the “news.”

One of the publications went as far as claiming that the bandits were “armed with Ak-47 rifles and machetes.”

The GUO Managing Director recalled that false stories of luxury bus hijack and kidnap of passengers have been recycled several times since banditry became a worrisome issue in the country.

He urged the Department of State Services {DSS}, the police and other law enforcement agencies, to track down the perpetrators who are bent on scaring away innocent long distance road users, putting luxury bus business in jeopardy and causing disaffection among sections of the society.

Okeke debunked the story, saying, “The mischief makers claimed that 123 passengers were abducted. But, what kind of luxury bus can accommodate 123 passengers even with the so called “attachment” seats which are totally prohibited in GUO as a matter of policy. Or, are we talking about pieces of wood here, and not human beings anymore? You do not need to think deep to know that the story is false.”

He stated that if there was any such incident involving GUO buses, the management would have officially issued a statement in addition to a confirmation by the police.

Also speaking on to latest hijack and kidnap hoax, the recently elected National President of Association of Luxury Bus Owners of Nigeria {ALBON}, Nonso Ubajaka, decried the frequent generation of falsehood about his members’ vehicles on the internet.

Ubajaka said he checked with the management of GUO and confirmed that none of their buses was attacked by bandits.

“So, the question is: What is the motive behind the frequent fake news about luxury buses being “intercepted” and occupants abducted by the Fulani? All the transport owners are worried because there seems to be a secret plan to cause fear and disaffection which gives us cause for concern,” he said.

The ALBON President, therefore, echoed the appeal to the law enforcement agencies to swing into action and apprehend the mischief makers before they cause more damage through the internet.

Other luxury bus transporters and members of both ALBON and the bigger amalgam of transport bodies –   Public Transport Owners of Nigeria Association {PTONA}, urged online news readers to disregard such fake news.

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First Bank confirms Otedola highest shareholder

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First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Holdings Plc has now confirmed billionaire businessman Femi Otedola as having the largest shares in the company.

It has thus written officially to the Nigerian Exchange notifying of the acquisition of substantial shareholdings in the holding company by Otedola.

This is coming after it said the firm had not received a notification of a significant holding by a new investor.

The company’s earlier notice on Friday was interpreted as a denial of any knowledge of a takeover of the company by Otedola, having acquired majority shareholding in the firm.

But the FBN Holdings Plc in another press release dated October 23, 2021 and published on the Exchange website, stated that it received a notification from APT Securities and Funds Limited, that their Client, Mr Otedola Olufemi Peter and his nominee, Calvados Global Services Limited, had acquired a total of 1,818,551,625 units of shares from the company’s issued share capital of 35,895,292,791.

It stated that the equity stake of Otedola and his nominee in the Company is now 5.07per cent.

The letter, read in part: “We refer to our communication to the market dated October 22, 2021 on the above subject matter where we stated that we would inform the public of any substantial acquisition upon receipt of any notification from the shareholder.

“This morning, October 23, 2021, FBN Holdings Plc received a notification from APT Securities and Funds Limited that their client Mr Otedola Olufemi Peter and his nominee Calvados Global Services Limited have acquired a total of 1,818,551,625 units of shares from the company’s issued share capital of 35,895,292,791.”

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