Leadingvthe right thoughts on ways to revamp our secondary schools

By Tope Adaramola


Gone were those days when secondary education in Nigeria was a worthy experience. We had many things that engaged not only our brains but also our brawn. As young people whose greatest assets were their physical strength, the authorities developed the school curriculum to actively engage these potentials.
There was hardly any secondary school, especially the ones owned by government that were not located on an expansive landmass, giving room for effective recreation and all round activities by the students, whether day or border. There were sporting arenas for different games through which budding talents were horned from healthy competitions.

Therewere also geographical and botanical gardens that provided physical expression to what the students learn in class. Without having visited an airport or boarded an air plane, I already could describe different vegetation in several geographical zones in the world. I realized how great those gardens were when I had the privilege of travelling so many years after school only to physically sight some of the topographies that we were taught in class from the windows of the aero plane.

There were also voluntary societies where the students learned leadership, discipline and patriotism. It was out of sync for any student not to belong to either the Boys Scout, Man “O” War, Red Cross, Boys Brigade or Sheriff. These institutions or societies provided recreation and avenues for the young lass or lads to expend their abundant energies as well as redirect their minds to responsible conduct growing up. I must specially commend the boarding facilities that existed in schools those days.

Among other things they served as the platform for understanding mutual respect and love for those outside your personal confines or narrow territories. This writer was most privileged to attend a cosmopolitan school that had a huge mixture of tribes, from different parts of the country under the then national schools exchange programme. It was a baptism into nationalistic orientation. Being a Yoruba boy, I had to relate with my next bunk guy who perhaps was from Benue, of Idoma extraction, while the guy seating next to me in class hailed from Nnnewi, of Igbo nationality. The nuances of the different tribes were easily learned and we were orientated into seeing ourselves as Nigerians who must do away with our various parochial beliefs.

This affected my world view till today as I could hardly come to terms with anyone preaching noxious tribal or religious sentiments. Ofcourse, why would I forget the rich religious activities that were encouraged in schools. The fear of God was made paramount in the budding hearts of the young lads in school. You either belonged to the FCS (Fellowship of Christian Students) or the MSS (Muslim Students Society). Aside from the bond of unity and tolerance, the Societies enculturated the students into life of responsibility, civility and decent conduct.

No student wanted to stay out of these religious folds as they could easily be tagged “children of the devil” or what we called “Omo Esu” in Yoruba parlance.
To allow all these lessons learned from school to fester in our minds was an environment that was fairly conductive in the home front. The parents were quite responsible and had adapted to self-contentment, living within their means, rather than indulging in rat-race for wealth as we have nowadays.

It was a time when crying home that you were canned by a teacher would most assuredly earn you more punishments, with either of your parents or a guardian taking you back to school and requesting that you are thoroughly flogged before all your classmates. Assembly periods were often dreaded by students, especially the serial offenders. The School Principal was like a god that must be venerated. They determined when to discipline and what type of discipline to give depending on the gravity of offence committed by the student. You may be asked to uproot a stubborn tree on the school compound or wash all the toilets

. The gravest offence could attract expulsion or even dismissal and they were under only little strangle hold from the so called authorities as we have in some cases today. It is not a coincidence that many of those who go through those punishments are today priding themselves as today’s leaders, holding commanding positions in the society.
But years down the line, it is saddening when introspecting on how we missed the tangent so widely. How did we lose all those great values that made our schools great? Where is the discipline?

Whereare the “culturing pots” that cooked our own generation? Accepted some may say that was in the days of yore, or better put “old school” culture, yet we should ask whether it paid us better or not. Yes, some felt the environment was harsh, yet we fail to realise that it was that furnace of harshness that the greatness in our generation was fashioned. Many of us, now parents swank about saying we do not want our children to go through what we went through, yet we are where we are today, helplessly seeing our children veering off from the mooring of goodly conduct.

Just as the parents have become more and more irresponsible, obsessively pursuing daily bread at the expense of their “future” so also have the teachers become frustrated partly due to the non-cooperative attitude of parents, fueled by the mollifying of their powers and authority by government authorities who unfortunately are their employers. The centre seem not to hold anymore. Result of this is what we are seeing today. It calls for urgent attention that terrorist and cultists are being groomed in our secondary schools as we could see unfolding before our eyes, yet we seem unconcerned.

Many would have read in the news about how some rampaging students of two secondary schools in Abeokuta battered a superior Police Officer, bathing him with his own blood. News also captured how a student recently ambushed a teacher and shot him dead. Several maleficence that could make one twitch are happening all over the country, courtesy of secondary students on a daily basis.

Without being a pessimist, I beg to say that all these shenanigans are just a tip of the iceberg compared to what we would soon be experiencing. I feel that now is the time for a stakeholders meeting to be convoked by state governments and relevant authorities, in order to revive our secondary schools from the precipice and salvage our collective future.

Those stakeholders need not over belabor themselves. Let them take a look at those traits which I earlier highlighted that made our schools thick and see a way of reinventing them. With that starting point, I think it would be seen that we are serious as a people and government to return sanity to our schools. Surely, this madness has to stop!

Tope Adaramola
is a PR practitioner and public commentator

Over 3m kgs of drugs seized in 10 months – Marwa

By Favour Nnabugwu


The Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marw said that over three million kilograms of drugs have been intercepted and seized by the agency in the last 10 months

Marwa said this during the Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria (CRAN) 2021 Annual Lecture and Award Ceremony in Lagos on Thursday with the theme: “Proliferation Of Drugs, Bane Of Insecurity”

The chairman was represented by the Commander of Narcotics, Lagos State Command, NDLEA, Mr Callys Alumona.

Marwa also said that 10,000 suspects had been arrested and 1,000 had been convicted in the past 10 months since he had been commandeering the agency.

“Collaboration with the press, especially CRAN is one of the things that has made my tenure for the last ten months memorable.

“I request that you continue to give the needed support because without information, it will be very difficult for people to know what is wrong with Nigeria in terms of security, drug abuse and drug trafficking.

“For every criminal intention, especially in violent crimes, drug abuse is behind it,” he said.

The chairman said that banditry, rape, gender based violence and kidnapping was a synopsis to the fact that drug abuse was eating deep into the fabrics of Nigeria.

“Even, bandits and terrorists sometimes demand drugs in exchange for persons and they also export drugs in order to get arms to further terrorise us the more.

“It is a person under the influence of drugs that usually commits heinous crimes, therefore, drug abuse and drug trafficking is a war that must be won,” he said.

Marwa said that one security agency alone cannot fight the issue of drug trafficking and drug abuse unless we come together to rid Nigeria of this menace in society.

“Security agencies such as the police, Army, Navy among others are synergising to ensure that drug proliferation is brought to a minimum in the country as a whole.

“With this, we are sure that the foundations of insecurity will be weakened,” he said.

Marwa said that the police and army recently transferred some arrested suspects to the agency for persecution.

He also said that the agency frequently raided night clubs and many other places to rid hooligans who engage in drug intake before they affect the society negatively.

“We are not stopping only on arrest and seizure but we are also focused on the supply and demand reduction of drugs in the society.

“If we stop the supply reduction then we are making progress,” the chairman said.

Marwa said that President Muhammadu Buhari on June 26, launched the “War Against Drug Abuse” which will be brought to every state to tackle the menace of drug abuse.

“This war is to enlighten the public from the state government down to the local government, to the communities and to the family on the dangers of drug abuse.

“We will further go to secondary schools and market women to preach the gospel of stopping drugs because drug abuse kills and is inimical to growth whether you are poor or rich.

“Therefore, the best is yet to come in terms of eradicating drug abuse in the society,” he said.

The chairman urged the public to come up with information anywhere they see people gathering in the use of drugs.

“This will enable security agencies to sweep into action and curtail such gatherings before they impact negatively on the society,” Marwa said.

CBN to publish names of agric loan defaulters

By Favour Nnabugwu


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it would soon publish in the newspapers names of loan defaulters under its Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme.

This is according to a document titled: “Guidelines for the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme” recently released by the CBN.

The CBN also warned that borrowers who divert the funds provided under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF) might earn a five-year jail term.

According to the CBN, the Fund aims to provide a guarantee in respect of loans granted by lending banks for agricultural purposes under the scheme, adding that in furtherance of the scheme, the bank will do what it must to recover loans from defaulters.

“The Fund, if considered necessary, will publish names of defaulters in the newspapers and report the same to the Credit Information Bureau of Nigeria,” the bank stated.

The apex bank, however, cautioned that the agriculture loans must be used for purposes for which they were obtained, as a diversion would attract a five-year jail term.

“Banks should remind prospective borrowers under the Scheme that it is an offence for which one may be imprisoned for five years, to apply the loan for purposes other than those for which they are given,” the new guidelines instructed.

The programme intends to boost the level of bank credit to the agricultural sector. Loans under the amended act include advances, overdrafts and any credit facility.

The purpose of the Fund is to provide guarantee in respect of loans granted by lending banks for agricultural purposes under the scheme with the aim of increasing the level of bank credit to the agricultural sector.

“Loan under the amended act, according to the apex bank, includes advances, overdrafts and any credit facility and should be taken as such wherever it is used in these guidelines and other circulars.

Banks’ earnings to remain fragile, loans to hit 15% at year end –Report

By admin


Despite the resilience of Nigeria’s banking industry amid COVID-19 and several regulatory headwinds,  banks’ earnings and asset quality are expected to remain fragile with loans rising by 15 per cent at the end of 2021.

This was the view of analysts at Afrinvest in its 2021 Nigerian banking sector report, with experts urging the Federal Government to look at ways of ending crisis in the foreign exchange (FX) and infrastructure deficit in the country.

Speaking during the launch of the 2021 banking report in Lagos on Wednesday, the Deputy Managing Director, Afrinvest West Africa Limited, Victor Ndukauba, revealed that Nigerian banks delivered a 15.6 and 6.8 per cent year-on-year (y/y) growth in total assets and profit respectively in the first half of 2021 despite elevated Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) debits and compulsory Loan-to-Deposit (LDR) levels.

He noted that with the pandemic, the Nigerian banking sector’s vulnerability heightened and requiring swift policy responses from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which response  necessitated a real GDP growth of 13.3 per cent y/y in the financial institutions sector.

Ndukauba further explained that deposits reduction in both consumer and business segments, exposure to currency risk and increased credit default, affected Nigerian bank’s profitability.

“Consequently, aggregate gross earnings for the banks within Afrinvest’s coverage (5 Tier-1 and 8 Tier-2 banks) marginally grew by 2.8 per cent in 2020 relative to 9.9 per cent in 2019.

Meanwhile, earnings weakened as the industry’s profit before tax (PBT) fell 2.3 per cent from a growth of 13.2 per cent in 2019 with profit after tax (PAT) slightly growing by 0.4 per cent y/y compared to 13.1 per cent in 2019.

In terms of asset creation, the banks under our coverage grew loan books by 16.3 per cent y/y to N24.6 trillion from N21.2 trillion in 2019, as banks aimed to achieve the CBN’s LDR target (65.0 per cent )”, he said.

Highlighting key outlook for the sector,  Ndukauba said earnings performance will remain fragile, adding that Afrinvest expects a 15.0 per cent growth in industry loans and advances as the economic recovery strengthens and banks can drive growth in deposits.

According to him, compliance with the CBN’s LDR directive will not be a big driver for loan growth as banks place a higher premium on quality risk asset creation over the punitive measure for non-compliance.

“With the improvement in macroeconomic conditions, we expect a lesser deterioration in asset quality based on the ECL model. We note that the CBN has extended its regulatory forbearance for loan restructuring.”

However, the viability of most of the restructured loans is still questionable

CIBN raises concern over rising financial crimes

By Sandra Adesiyan


The President/Chairman of Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Dr. Bayo Olugbemi, has expressed dissatisfaction over the rising cases of financial crimes in the country’s banking sector, saying it is time the judiciary embraced new technologies for its prosecution.

He also decried the continued abuse of court processes by delinquent borrowers. Besides well-known strategies to frustrate debt recovery efforts by employing different tactics to delay court proceedings, he said there are new efforts to convert loans ostensibly obtained for business purposes into foreign currency and moved to other countries.

Olugbemi said this yesterday at the 21st National Seminar on Banking and Allied Matters for Judges in Abuja. The seminar was themed, ‘Strengthening the quality of Judicial Systems and Banking Operations through Innovations’.

He argued that if creditors were getting more and more innovative in their attempts to evade legitimate legal obligations, judicial officers and regulatory authorities such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigerian Deposit Insurance Company (NDIC) should be more innovative in responding to such antics.

The administrator, the National Judicial Institute, Justice Salis Abdullahi, said the theme of the seminar was tailored towards addressing pertinent issues affecting the financial services sector.

He noted: ‘’We cannot shy away from the fact that numerous challenges are facing the financial services sector, among which is the interplay between financial technology and traditional banking, the complexities of this interface and their attendant consequences, which need the attention of all stakeholders.’’

In his goodwill message, the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, said that a deeper understanding, coupled with technological innovations, would improve the justice system.

Afrinvest Foresees 15% Growth for Banking Sector in 2022, Cautions FG on Debt

By admin


Analysts at Afrinvest (West Africa) Limited have projected that the Nigerian banking sector which has remained resilient amidst the pandemic would grow by 15 per cent next year.

In the same vein, the research and investment company has called for more banks to merge in the sector, noting that the tier one banks – Access Bank, Zenith Bank, GTBank, First Bank, United Bank for Africa – presently control approximately 70 per cent of banking activities.

The Deputy Managing Director, Afrinvest West Africa Limited, Victor Ndukauba, said this yesterday, while unveiling the Lagos-based firm’s 2021 Nigerian Banking Sector Report titled, ‘Resilience Amidst Endemic and Pandemic Constraints.’

Speaking on the banking sector and its outlook, he said: “The banking sector saw a dip in 2018, obviously following a cut back by banks, who are trying to contain the operation from the effect of the recession of 2016, that sort of spilled over into 2017. But otherwise, it’s been growth consistently.

“Tier-one banks accounting for a sizable portion of the total assets. From what we estimate for year 2021, we think includes that nearly N25 trillion loans, up 24 per cent on last year’s numbers, and we expect a further 10.3 per cent growth into 2022.

“Also, the total industry deposits, we can see that we’ve gone from N17.8 trillion in 2016, and expect to close 2021 at N46 trillion and with a projection of 8.4 per cent growth will take us to about N50 trillion by the end of 2022.

“Again, consistent with the other two metrics, you see that the tier one banks continue to control a significant portion of the industry, business and you know, balance sheet.”

He added: “So, I guess what has to be said clearly is that there is some value to consolidation and scale clearly, because when we look at shareholders’ funds, which is essentially the value that has been created by these banks for shareholders over time, you can see that again, tier one banks continue to be the dominant force here nearly 70 per cent of the industry in value creation.”

Also, Ndukauba, in his presentation noted that the current rate at which the federal government was borrowing was not sustainable. He noted that the federal government’s borrowing had tripled by five times in the past five years since the beginning of this administration.

He said: “Revenues have underperformed by these 30 per cent, the income from oil and gas has worsen, at 44 per cent, non-oil income is up slightly at four and a half percent, while independent revenues up 10 per cent and government owned enterprises down nearly 62 per cent. So on the revenue side, clearly, there is a challenge. We’re not tracking what was planned or expected.

“So, in order to keep up with the significant ramp up in spending, the government has had to obviously do a lot more in terms of borrowings, as well as something here that is captured as ways and means which is effectively the central bank providing liquidity in the form of lending or just a stopgap measure to help plug water the shortfalls.

“And what we can see clearly is that we have a rising debt situation. So aggregate debt N16.8 trillion as of 2016, but between then, and now we’re almost at three times that level, with a total of nearly N48 trillion.”

He noted that the debt service ratio which also grew from 45 per cent in 2016, to 83 per cent, was unsustainable.

He added: “We can see that we’ve gone from debt service ratio of about 45 per cent in 2016, to 77 per cent based on our estimates for 2021. Those numbers are higher in 2020 at nearly 83 per cent. So what it means is that for every naira or revenue you’re spending nearly at 80k to service debt. Clearly that is not sustainable.”

In his keynote address at the event, Partner & Chief Economist, PwC Nigeria, Andrew Nevin, noted that the Nigerian economy was stable and predicted sustained growth.

He said: “I have never been more optimistic about Nigeria in the 13 years that I’ve been here than I am today. Despite the fact that every one of us is well aware of all of the challenges in the country in the last two or three years, I’m optimistic and confronted by incredible things going around the country that aren’t necessarily seen by the official statistics.”

In his contribution, the Chief Executive Officer, Centre for the promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), Dr. Muda Yusuf noted that manufacturers were still constrained by access to foreign exchange.

He said, “The bigger issue of manufacturers as well as investors of the real economy is the FX issue because even for some manufacturers who had access to the CBN facility, they could not access foreign exchange to utilise the facility and so it is affecting everything. Secondly the issue is the illiquidity in the foreign exchange market.”