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UPDATED: How Top Nigerian Banker, 5 other family members died in California helicopter crash

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UPDATED: Nigerian Bank CEO, 5 other family members die in California helicopter crash
• Helicopter crashes

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Saturday confirmed the crash of a helicopter carrying six passengers in a Southern California desert near Las Vegas.

All the passengers on board are reported to have died.

Mr Herbert Wigwe, the Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings, and other Nigerians were feared to be in the helicopter.

He was reportedly on board with five others believed to be his wife, son and Mr Abimbola Ogunbanjo, the Group Chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc.

Wigwe and his wife

According to FAA, the crash occurred on Friday around 10 p.m. local time near Nipton, California.

However, the FAA has not made available the list of the passengers involved in the accident as at the time of filing this report.

The family members of some Nigerians suspected to have been involved in the crash did not respond to calls.

But Mr Tunde Moshood, the Specialist, Asset and Communications to the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, described Wigwe as a leader with unwavering dedication to his nation and his indomitable spirit serve as inspiration to us all.

“Though he may have left this world prematurely, his vision and values will continue to guide us as we strive for a brighter future.

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“Adieu, Herbert Wigwe. Your presence will be sorely missed, but your legacy will endure as a beacon of hope and progress,” he said.

Born on Aug. 15, 1966 in Isiokpo, Port Harcourt, Herbert Wigwe has carved a niche for himself in the world of finance.

He obtained a degree in accountancy from the University of Nigeria and further education in Banking and Finance, Financial Economics, and an executive programme from Harvard Business School.

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Wigwe’s impact was not limited to banking. His passion for philanthropy led him to establish the Herbert Wigwe Foundation, fostering education and entrepreneurship in Nigeria.

His dedication earned him the Order of the Niger (CON) and admiration from peers and the public.(NAN)

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Cement price hike: FG threatens to open borders

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Cement price hike: FG threatens to open borders

The Federal Government says it might open the borders for cement importation, if manufacturers of the product fail to bring down the cost.

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Mr Ahmed Dangiwa issued the threat on Tuesday in Abuja at a meeting with Cement and Building Materials Manufacturers.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the meeting was summoned to address the astronomical increase in the cost of cement nationwide.

The minister expressed concerns that in the past couple of months, the country had witnessed a recurring alarming increase in the prices of cement and other building materials.

“Clearly, this is a crisis for housing delivery. An increase in essential building materials means an increase in the prices of houses.

“We are not the only country facing this challenges, many countries are facing the same type of challenges that we’re facing, some even worse than that.

“But, as patriotic citizens, we have to rally round the country when there is crisis, to ensure that we do our best to save the situation,” he said.

The minister added: “Honestly speaking, we have to sit down and look at this critically and know how you should go back and think of it.

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“The government stopped importation of cement in other to empower you to produce more and sell cheaper.

“Otherwise the government can open the borders for mass importation of cement, the price will crash, but you will have no business to do”.

Dangiwa said the reasons given by cement manufacturers for the price increase – high cost of gas and manufacturing equipment – were not enough for such astronomical pricing.

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He expressed his displeasure at the position of Cement Manufacturer Association of Nigeria (CEMAN) that the association “does not interfer with the pricing of cement”.

He said the association should not just fold its arms when things were going wrong.

“One person cannot be selling at N3500 per bag and another selling at N7000 per bag and you cannot call them to order.

“The association is expected to monitor price control, otherwise the association has no need to exist,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Salako James , Executive Secretary, CEMAN, said the housing policy of the administration of President Bola Tinubu was laudable and every responsible Nigerian has to key into it.

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He, however, identified some areas of concerns and appealed to the government to look into them in order to tackle the issue of cement pricing.

Salako identified the challenges of gas supply to heavy users like the cement industry and urged the government to create a window whereby gas will be bought with Naira instead of dollar.

He also complained about the distribution channel, stressing tha there was a great difference between the price from the manufacturers and the market price.

He, therefore called for government intervention to help stabilise the situation and bring sanity to the economy.

NAN reports that at the end of the meeting, the minister directed that a committee should be constituted to review the situation and come out with implementable resolutions that would benefit the common Nigerian.

NAN also reports that the three major cement producers, Dangote Plc, BUA Plc and Lafarge Plc were represented as well as other industry stakeholders.

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NAN

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Many Nigerians can no longer afford beer – NB CEO

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Nigerian Breweries releases new prices of drinks

The Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Breweries Plc, Hans Essaadi, has said that the economic situation in Nigeria has deteriorated to the extent citizens can no longer afford to buy beer.

Essaadi said this on Monday at the company’s investor call following the release of its 2023 results.

“It has been unprecedented year for our business in Nigeria. We saw a significant decline in the mainstream lager market as a result of Nigerian consumers no longer able to afford a Goldberg after a hard day’s work,” Bloomberg quoted Essaadi as saying.

NB suffered a N153bn foreign exchange loss due to the devaluation of the naira for the year ended December 2023.

For the period under review, the company grew its revenue by 8.9 per cent to N599.64bn from N550.64bn. Net finance expense rose significantly by 449.7 per cent to N189.19bn, dragging the brewer to a loss of N106.31bn, from a gain of N13.19bn at the end of 2022.

In comments accompanying the financial results, the NB Board of Directors said, “The Nigeria business landscape experienced significant shifts in 2023 with substantial impact on businesses and livelihoods nationwide. The redesign of the naira notes which resulted in cash shortage that severely hampered social and economic activities nationwide set the tone for a turbulent year.

“High double-digit inflation rates (with food inflation at more than 30 per cent), removal of subsidy on premium motor spirit (fuel), devaluation of the naira, and foreign exchange scarcity further exacerbated the already difficult environment for the populace and businesses.”

He added that despite the headwinds, “The company was able to grow its revenue by nine per cent compared to the previous year aided by a positive price mix. However, the operating profit fell by 15 per cent due to higher input cost and one-off reorganisation costs despite strong and aggressive cost savings and other efficiency measures. Coupled with the impact of the devaluation of the naira which resulted in a foreign exchange loss of N153bn, the Company recorded a net loss of N106 billion during the year.”

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The board went on to state its preparedness to tap into its decades of experience of operating in Nigeria to weather the current macroeconomic headwinds.

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“In a difficult operating environment, the board will ensure that the company builds on its more than 77 years experience of operating in Nigeria to cope with current realities. The company will continue to be resilient and forward-thinking leveraging our broad portfolio, strong supply chain footprint and passionate workforce to drive long-term value creation for its shareholders and other stakeholders,” the board said.

In August, NB reviewed the prices of its products upward to accommodate the continued increase in the cost of inputs.

NB produces alcoholic products like Star Lager, Gulder, Legend Extra Stout, Heineken, Goldberg, Life, and Star Radler.

The Central Bank of Nigeria harmonised the segments of the foreign currency market in June 2023 leading to a devaluation of the Naira.

The effect was felt by different companies that recorded forex losses. However, the banking sector faired better as they enjoyed FX revaluation gains.

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Nigerian Breweries releases new prices of drinks

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Nigerian Breweries releases new prices of drinks

The Nigerian Breweries Plc recently announced an upward price change for its Stock-Keeping Units (STUs) with effect from February 19.

A letter dated February 12 titled: ‘Price review notification,’ by the Zonal Business Manager (West), Lekan Awosanya, reads in part: “This is to inform you that we are constrained to review the prices of some of our SKUs effective from Monday, 19th February 2024. This review has become necessary because of the continued rising input cost and the need to mitigate the impact.

“In appreciation of our great partnership and your commitment, we will deliver at the current prices all open orders that are fully funded and created in our system before 00.00hrs on Monday, 19th February 2024.

“While thanking you for your commitment to our great partnership, be rest assured that we will continue to support your sales/distribution efforts as always. For further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact your Regional Business Manager.”

Here is the new price list

1. GULDER – N950

2. STAR – N850

3. 33 EXTRA – N850

4. HEINEKEN – N1300

5. LIFE – N850

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6. LEGEND – N1250

7. TIGER – N750

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