OPS raises N100b to tackle insecurity

The coalition of top operators of the nation’s organised private sector has raised N100 billion with which to assist security agencies in tackling the persistent insecurity across the country.

The Group Chairman of United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr. Tony Elumelu, who dropped the hint at the Group Chairman’s Forum, in Abuja, Saturday night,  said that it was akin to the N60 billion raised by the private sector under the CACOVID to enable the government tackle the COVID-19 pandemic

According to him, the private sector has been playing increasing roles in helping to keep the economy afloat.

His words, “It was during COVID that some Nigerians were able to know what the private sector could do under the Governor.

“Just in case some don’t know, we set up isolation centres across the country. We spent not less than N60 billion.

“I think the most important thing was the move we made to open up the Nigerian economy once more. We made a strong move. We had no option. The economy would have crashed if we didn’t do so. And there was so much pressure on the government…

“Then, post-COVID (not that COVID is completely over) we spent so much money for people to vaccinate; even supporting government agencies with money to enable them do so many things to keep Nigeria healthy and safe. I like where acts of patriotism are discussed because it gets me happy.

“But the most important thing, I’m sure my members would not like me to talk about it. We have just put N100bn together, private sector again, under this coalition to help fight insecurity or to support our security agencies, to be able to deal with the issues we are having in the country on security.

“We believe that if they are well armed, it will go a long way in helping to assure security in Nigeria.”

In his address, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. GodwinEmefiele, commended Mr. Elumelu for growing UBA into a banking group that now flies the Nigerian flag in 20 African countries, the United Kingdom, United States of America and France, with a recent approval to open another subsidiary in the United Arab Emirate (UAE).

He urged UBA and other banks to invest more in the agricultural sector, in the pursuit of the diversification of the nation’s economy from oil.

According to him, “I would like to encourage the management of UBA to build on the gains recorded by providing access to credit and supporting small businesses in these critical areas with funding and technical assistance.

“Given the extent of your branch networks across Nigeria and indeed in Africa, I believe that you can leverage on your knowledge of the local economy to lend to households and businesses as well as provide tailored products and services that meet the needs of your customers in these critical sectors.

“If we commit today to increasing investments in modernizing agriculture, providing skills, finance and better access to food value chains, agriculture has the potential to become a thriving and successful sector that creates jobs and provides livelihoods for small-scale farmers and rural populations-in particular, for millions of young Africans joining the job market.

“The creation of the appropriate policy initiatives to address the identified challenges is a charge we at the Central Bank of Nigeria have championed with some have results.”

The new policy direction, the CBN boss said, has become imperative given the overdependence on oil for the nation’s revenue and foreign exchange.

He said, “On assumption of office as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria in June 2014, I indicated that my ultimate objective as Governor would be to ensure that the CBN is noted for being a people focused central bank where the decisions taken at the MPC must be those that impact directly on the lives of our people.

“This objective was driven by some of the key challenges facing the Nigerian economy


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