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UAC retires Larry Ettah, appoints Abdul Akhor Bello as CEO

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Saturday 12th of May, 2018, remains another landmark in the calendars of UAC Nigeria Plc.

It was the day Larry Ephraim Ettah anchored the ship of UAC Nigeria Plc, after steering it for 11 years out of his 29 years and 9 months of his engagement with the company and Joseph Ibrahim Danlami Dada, erstwhile Executive Director, Corporate Services, drew down the curtain on his 35 years meritorious service at Nigeria’s biggest conglomerate.

Leaders from ‘Corporate Nigeria’ represented by Banks’ CEOs, top company Chief Executives and the government, led by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, himself, a former chairman of UAC Nigeria Plc, as well as the diplomatic world, converged to honour these two men who have been serially acknowledged as perfect definitions of hardworking, selfless and committed gentlemen.

Speakers at the high octane event, one after the other, eulogised the retiring UAC Nigeria executives as captains, who were entrusted with the destiny of a ship and have sailed safely to the harbour.

Larry Ettah, the outgoing GMD/CEO’s policy of ‘executional excellence’ manifested throughout his tenure as he successfully repositioned the company for sustainable growth.

A penetrating insight into Larry Ettah’s managerial attribute shows that the University of Benin graduate of Chemical Engineering is focused, deep, humble and urbane; all these, combined with his assiduous work achieved sustainable growth at UAC Nigeria Plc.

Larry Ettah testifies that ‘UAC provided me with the key to the world… A key to a world of opportunities and growth through travel, study, challenges and experience that saw me moving across functions and industries.

In all the jobs I’ve held and the tasks I was assigned, the people I had to manage, I thought one thing and one thing only… “How on earth to do the best and the right thing for the company”

Under his watch, UAC Nigeria Plc. went into joint venture projects such as its strategic partnership with Tiger Brands of South Africa on UAC Foods, Imperial Logistics partnership with MDS Logistics Ltd. and Famous Brands with UAC Restaurants all aimed at driving UAC Nigeria to meet the challenges of modern-day businesses.

Larry Ettah also initiated various expansion programmes ensuring muscular growth of UAC Nigeria Plc, results of which were the company’s acquisition of controlling shares in Livestock Feeds Plc, Portland Paints and Products Plc while Grand Cereals Ltd witnessed increased capacity expansion and UAC Restaurants witnessed the aggressive implementation of its franchising business modules.

Then what follows was the UAC Nigeria’s unique tradition the ‘coronation ceremony’ of the incoming Group Chief Executive Officer, UAC Nigeria Plc., Mr. Abdul Bello with the ‘crown of UAC’

A tradition that has sustained through successive Group Managing Directors till date.

The ‘UAC crown’ is the symbolic cream coloured colonial hat which was inherited by the company’s first indigenous Group Managing Director, Late Christopher Abebe, who passed it on to the 2nd indigenous GMD, Chief Ernest Shonekan and in that order through Bassey Ndiokho, Ayo Ajayi, 3rd and 4th Group Managing Directors respectively.

Ayo Ajayi passed the symbolic UAC crown to Larry Ettah, the 5th Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of UAC Nigeria who in turn is now handing it over with the ‘bill of landing’ to Abdul Bello as 6th Group Chief Executive Officer of UAC Nigeria Plc.

The newly crowned Group Chief Executive Officer of UAC Nigeria Plc acknowledged that ‘to whom much is given much is also expected.  It’s a big task that I received from you today with great passion and I confirm that I will carry on the journey to continue and increase the good pace that you’ve given this organization. Setting us far ahead of others

Larry Ettah is the Chairman of UAC Property Development Company, UPDC, Portland Paints and Products Plc., Livestock Feeds Plc., The former UAC of Nigeria Group Managing Director is a non-Executive Director of Coronation Merchant Bank and President, Nigeria Employers Consultative Association.

Larry Ephraim Ettah, a keen sportsman and fitness enthusiast, has been a squash devotee for over 20yrs. He is the President and Founder of O’Trafford Squash Club, Ikoyi, a former chairman of the Squash section of the Lagos Country Club, is an avid swimmer who also loves sailing.

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FG, Labour to build 200 housing units for workers in Katsina

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The federal government through the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) in collaboration with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and other affiliated unions in Nigeria Saturday flagged off the construction of 200 housing units in Katsina State.

This was even as FMBN said it has committed N1.9 billion through its Estate Development Loan (EDL) to construct 492 housing units situated in estates across the state through selected developers.

The 200 housing unit project is part of federal government’s effort at providing affordable houses to its workforce across the country via the National Affordable Housing Delivery Programme (NAHDEP).

Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony at Kambarwa, in Batagarawa Local Government Area of the state, the Managing Director of FMBN Ahmed Dangiwa said the houses when completed would be in the selling range of between N3.1 million to N8.3 million.

According to Dangiwa, “The housing units would be in the mix of three, two, one bedroom semi-detached bungalows and block of flats that can assuage the sufferings of the beneficiaries.

“The Katsina project is the first phase of the NAHDEP which is to be run as a pilot to deliver 1,400 housing units across the six geopolitical zones in the country.”

Dangiwa reiterated that each zone would have 200 houses with 100 units in two selected states, adding that Katsina is one of the benefiting states due to its tremendous contributions to the National Housing Fund (NHF).

On his part, the state Governor Aminu Bello Masari said the state in collaboration with stakeholders, constructed 500 housing units in line with the culture and religion of people in the state.

“We are also planning to construct hundreds of housing units in seven old local governments of the state,” he said.

The event climaxed with the distribution of N266.5 million cheques to 318 beneficiaries under the FMBN Home Renovation Loan.

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Court orders ICPC to unfreeze Pinnacle Communications’ account

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The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered ICPC to unfreeze the account of Pinnacle Communications Limited and counselled anti-corruption agencies of government against taking drastic action that could prevent private enterprises from flourishing prior to concluding investigations to justify such action.

Delivering his ruling in the case instituted against ICPC by Pinnacle Communications Limited for instructing Zenith Bank to freeze it’s account Friday, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba maintained that the anti-corruption war was as beneficial to the society as flourishing private enterprises pointing out that scuttling the operations of major private organizations like Pinnacle Communications Limited also sends negative signals to the international community about Nigeria’s business environment.

Justice Dimgba described ICPC’s action against Pinnacle Communications Limited as “an overkill just like using a sledgehammer to kill a fly” considering that even after six months since the case was instituted and despite lèeway provided by many adjournments by the court, ICPC could not file any charges against the company, emphasizing that it should not have frozen the account without establishing a prima facie against it.

The judge remarked that anti-corruption agencies should not base their actions on rumours or “beer parlour stories” but on thorough investigations that could sustain judicial scrutiny

It would be recalled the media was agog over a statement credited to the spokesperson of the ICPC, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, who claimed that the agency is investigating an alleged N2.5bn fraud levelled against the DG of NBC, Dr Moddibo Kawu, and other top officials of the corporation.

She added that the money involved was a grant released to the agency by the Federal Government for its digital switch-over programme.

The statement further said “The Presidency in 2016, released N10bn to the Ministry of Information and Culture for the digital switch-over programme which entails migration of telephone lines from analogue to digital platforms and a White Paper was issued directing that the process be specifically handled by government-affiliated companies.

“Based on the guidelines provided by the White Paper, two companies were nominated to handle the process, one of which was ITS, an affiliate of the Nigerian Television Authority. N1.7bn was released to it as seed grant for the commencement of the switch-over.  Okoduwa added that the agency discovered that the process was fraught with alleged corrupt practices.”

The statement also alleged that Kawu fraudulently recommended a private company, Pinnacle Communications Limited, to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, for the release of the money against the guidelines contained in the said White Paper.

The ICPC’s statement was debunked in a statement by the spokesperson of NBC, Hajia Maimuna Jimada, She said “The NBC is not aware of any fraud case involving the DG, and therefore not aware of any ICPC investigation on the DG.”

Jimada said the commission had been carrying out the digital switch-over scheme with utmost diligence and transparency, and would continue to do until the project is completed across the country.

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Julius Berger, Nigerian media faced with similar challenges – Bayi

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L-R: Mrs Shuaibu Nnena, Marketing Manager, The Sun Newspaper, Managing Director, News, African Independent Television, AIT, Imoni Amarere, Director News DAAR Group, Kelly Elisha, Executive Director, Corporate Development, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc; Tobias Meletschus, Director, News, Nigeria Television Authority, NTA, Alhaji Aliyu Baba Barau, Managing Editor, The Nation Newspaper, Alhaji Yusuf Alli, Executive Director, Administration, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc; Alhaji Zubairu Ibrahim Bayi, Coordinator, Human Resources, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Barr Moses Anite, Chairman, FCT Council, Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ; Emmanuel Ogbeche and Head, Media Relations Office, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc among others at the construction company’s management-media parley in Abuja recently.

The Executive Director, Administration of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Alhaji Zubairu Ibrahim Bayi has said that both the Nigerian media and the company are constantly faced with similar challenges in trying to achieve their multi-faceted operational goals. He spoke in Abuja when the frontline construction giant feted media executives to an end-of-year get-together recently.

According to Bayi, within the utilitarian context in which members in the two different sectors operate, Julius Berger as an engineering construction firm and the media establishment face a similar fundamental challenge, adding that, “the challenge lies in the perception we both receive from the public which consumes our works, products and services; the public which we  must  respectfully,  at  all times, continue to serve.”

Expatiating on his position, the Executive Director said commendations and condemnation of efforts by the two sectors depend on the perception of their audiences and consumers of the services and products provided. “Julius Berger receives open commendation and goodwill when the user public is satisfied with the precise engineering infrastructure, which we seriously, innovatively and professionally deliver for the use, convenience and comfort of Nigerians. In a similar manner, the Media gets high accolades when it professionally delivers precise, factual and helpful information to enhance the greatest good of the greatest number of Nigerians” Bayi said. He added, “because of our necessary, mutual and open commitment to excellence, progressive development and the common good, our society understandably asks for more from Julius Berger as well as from the Media.”

However, he told the appreciative audience that this unique demand from the public remains a tonic that gingers both the media and Julius Berger to strive for better service and products delivery to the public. Bayi posited that it is a social demand, “which we understand, appreciate, respect and value immensely. It drives progress.”

Earlier in his speech, the Executive Director said Julius Berger Plc believes that there are three noticeable and interesting operational connections between the work of the company and the work of the Media.

“First, we both must conduct our work in the Public domain, and with excellence and helpful results as our end game. Second, we both must work for the greatest good and benefit of the greatest number of our people; and third, within the above utilitarian context of our occupational operations, Julius Berger and the Media therefore tend to face a similar and fundamental challenge,”, adding that it is within the foregoing context of the mutual challenges, commitment to high professional standards, continuing mutual working harmony; and consistent march to assured progress, that Julius Berger Nigeria Plc finds it cheerful to invite the media to the event. “It is our humble, little way of saying we value and appreciate our media partners, for your understanding and abiding faith in our Company as a faithful development partner of our dear nation.”

He used the opportunity to assure the Media that Julius Berger, being a law­-abiding corporate citizen, will continue to operate a transparent and friendly relationship with the Press for the clarification of any news stories relating to the Company, asking that the Media should feel free to reach out to the company’s Media Relations Office whenever the need arises for clarification of issues. Bayi further asked  for deeper understanding and cooperation between the media and Julius Berger in the years ahead.

In his response, Chairman of the Federal Capital Territory Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Emmanuel Ogbeche thanked Julius Berger for hosting the media executives saying that the company has always been part of the country’s progress.

The NUJ Chairman who is also the Editor of Abuja Inquirer newspaper continued: “Nigerian journalists will continue to hold every public and private institution accountable to the people. However, we have listened to the Executive Director very well. On that note, I must say that Nigerian journalists are ready to deepen our relationship with Julius Berger. We appreciate the mutual respect and harmony that characterise the relationship between the Media establishment and Julius Berger.”

Top media executives beside the NUJ chairman at the event included, the Director of News, Nigerian Television Authority, Alhaji Aliyu Baba Barau, Managing Director, News, Africa Independent Televion, AIT, Imoni Amarere, Managing Editor, The Nation newspaper, Yusuf Alli, Former FCT NUJ Chairman and Executive Editor, Forefront News magazine, Amos Dunia,  Head of News, AIT/Ray Power FM, Kelly Elisha, , Editor, Northern Operations, ThisDay newspapers, Iyobosa Uwugiaren, Head of Broadcasting Cool/Wazobia FM, James Expensive, Bureau Chief, Ogun state Broadcasting Corporation, OGBC, Oladisun Amosun, among several others graced the event.

Several of the senior members of the Media establishment who attended the event commended Julius Berger for the strides it made in the outgoing year, which they severally attributed to the proactive commitment of the company’s Management to the ideals of forward looking corporations even as many prayed for greater achievements for the construction firm in 2019.

Among Julius Berger’s Management team who graced the event, beside the Executive Directors Alhaji Bayi and Tobias Meletschus were; Human Resource Coordinator, Barrister Moses Anite, Head, Media Relations Office, Prince Moses Duku, Manager, Corporate Health, Safety and Environment, Mr. Peter Drillingcourt and others.

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