EXCLUSIVE: How Sam Afolabi’s Eatrich Farms Manipulated Employees To Collect Loans On His Behalf
Eatrich Farms, an agrotech business, recently made news headlines, after the arrest of its six staff and investors.
Information reaching Newsrand has it that the staff members and investors of the company were arrested for physical assault, a charge levelled against them by Bisi Dazuza, Eatrich Farms’ Group Managing Director, for daring to demand their almost N1 billion arrears.
“When they came to my office yesterday, they beat me and I even had a seizure in the process,” Dazuza stated as she justified the reason she reported the case to the Police. “One of them threatened to kill me. After vandalising my property, they stole my money and laptop.”
However, while controversies have continued to trail the ineptitude of Eatrich Fams to pay its staff and investors, Newsrand learnt how the company manipulated its employees to open accounts with Sterling Bank.
The accounts which were mandated to be opened with Sterling Bank, according to our sources, was with the aim of using it to access loans.
It was gathered that Eatrich Farms needed the loans in order to fund its businesses and the company’s leadership asked its staff to get the loans on behalf of it.
“While I was working with Eatrich Firms, Sterling Bank came up with an agro project which was brought to us. In order to access this loan, Sam Afolabi said all employees should open accounts and request loans, after which we should submit all the details to one of the heads of departments.
“But considering my smartness, it just didn’t make sense to me. How will I open a bank account and give you the details? To worsen the situation, he told us his company would access loans via our accounts and just give us stipends. I refused to do it because of the risks I sensed. I couldn’t think of paying another person’s loan. It was just nonsense to me, “former assistant operations manager of the company Ayeni Dolapo stated.
Corroborating Dolapo’s claims, a middle-aged man who worked with Eatrich Farm’s founder as his personal photographer, said although he’s no longer with the company, his bank account with Sterling Bank was used to collect a loan facility.
“One of the many issues am into with Eatrich Farms is the loan Afolabi used his staff members to apply for from Sterling Bank, and as I tell you this, there is N2.3 million in my account with the bank on behalf of the company.
“I cannot access the money, and I have already written several mails to Sterling Bank to declare that I was no longer interested in whatever Afolabi wanted to use that money for. I honestly don’t want to recount the awful things the company had me done during my stay there,” he added.
PEBEC Executive Secretary Challenges Airpeace Over Failure To Comply With Flight Schedules
The executive secretary of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), Jumoke Oduwole has called out Airpeace, an indigenous flight operator over its repeated failure to comply with announced flights schedules as well as its unreliable change of schedules.
Oduwole who is also the Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, challenged the company in a petition titled “Ease of Doing Business Intervention : Request for Urgent Intervention Regarding Service of Air Peace” which she addressed to Musa Nuhu, Director General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA), regulators of activities of airlines in Nigeria.
Other key government stakeholders such as Hadi Sirika, Aviation Minister; Emmanuel Meribole, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Aviation; Managing Director, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Rabiu Yadudu,Managing Director, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Babatunde Irukera, Chief Executive Officer, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) were also copied in the petition.
Giving an account of what she described as a misleading flight rescheduling by the company, she said;
“My personal experience today bears repeating as an example of what many air travelers in Nigeria, including other members of my team and I have experienced firsthand and on various occasions in the past months. On Saturday, April 22, 2023, two Air Peace tickets were purchased to return to Lagos from Akure with a departure time of 3:30PM to return from attending a programme in Omuo–Ekiti, Ekiti State, (near border with Kogi State). On Tuesday, April 25, 2023, a schedule change notification was sent informing of an earlier departure time from 3:30PM to 12:40PM. A subsequent notification was sent at 2:37AM today, April 28, 2023 informing of a further time change from 12:40PM to 8:30AM.
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At 7:30AM, as soon as I became aware of the notification (one hour before the new departure time), I abandoned the event I had come to attend, and proceeded to immediately start making my way down to the Akure Airport, a two-and-a-half-hour journey on the shortest route from Omuo-Ekiti. The PEBEC Secretariat team also called the Air Peace Duty Manager in Akure, Mr Charles, and asked him to please reschedule the flight to a later time to allow more passengers time to see the notification and make the new flight time. He stated that there was nothing he could do.”
“I arrived at the Akure airport at 9:13AM (for what was to be a 12:40pm flight). The Air Peace Lagos-bound flight had departed. Being the only flight of the day from Akure to Lagos, and with another important official engagement to attend at 5PM in Lagos this evening, I was forced to proceed on an unplanned 5-hour road trip to Lagos. This is only one of many such instances of unacceptable inefficiency of this airline operator in recent times, to which most frequent air travelers in Nigeria can testify,” she said.
Oduwole said the implications of these unchecked actions by airline operators on the Nigerian economy, businesses and persons include wasted man hours, high cost and time of doing business in Nigeria, lack of operational transparency of airline operators, difficult ticket refund processes while selling tickets and tying down funds with real and opportunity costs to air travelers.
She called for an investigation of the recurrent situation and necessary actions to ensure that such issues are addressed with airline operators on pain of sanction in order to ensure that the growing monopolistic tendencies of poor service offerings by some of our air transport operators in Nigeria are curbed as a matter of great urgency.
Flutterwave honored with Excellence in Fintech Infrastructure Award for 2023
Flutterwave, Africa’s leading payments technology company, announced it has received the Excellence in Fintech Infrastructure Award. The award celebrates Flutterwave’s dedication to building payment infrastructure that makes lives easier for millions of people globally. The award was presented at the 2023 Africa Fintech Summit (AFTS) in Washington, DC, United States on 12th of April, 2023.
The Excellence in Fintech Infrastructure Award was launched in April 2018 by the AFTS as an integral part of the AFTS, honoring distinct fintech stakeholders for their achievements in creating impactful products or making decisions that advance the continent’s fintech ecosystem. The first session of this year’s summit, themed “The Future of Finance,” provided a platform for discussions of the latest issues around Fintech Africa and awards presentations for worthy companies.
Expressing his excitement and gratitude for the award, Olugbenga “GB’ Agboola, Founder and CEO of Flutterwave, said, “We are deeply honored to receive this prestigious award. It is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our team, who constantly strive to provide innovative and efficient payment solutions that bridge the gap between Africa and the global market.”
During the summit, Oluwabankole Falade, Flutterwave’s Chief Regulatory Affairs & Government Relations Officer, participated in a panel discussion addressing the current state of the fintech connection between Africa and the U.S. Additionally, Chongsi Bi, Flutterwave’s Head of Corporate Development and M&A, joined a panel of experts to share insights on the future of fintech in Africa and the work that needs to be done by players in the ecosystem in the coming years.
“Flutterwave is committed to delivering the best in fintech infrastructure and solutions, and this award reinforces our dedication to serving the African continent and beyond. We extend our gratitude to the Africa Fintech Summit for this esteemed recognition as one of the most trusted Fintech Infrastructure Providers in Africa. We will continue to drive innovation and inclusivity in the fintech space for emerging economies globally,” Olugbenga Agboola said.
Flutterwave is the leading payments technology company that enables businesses across the world to expand their operations in Africa and other emerging markets through a platform that enables local and cross-border transactions via one Application Programming Interface (API). Flutterwave has processed over 400M transactions in excess of USD $25B and serves more than one million businesses, including customers like Uber, Airpeace, Bamboo, Piggyvest, and others. The company’s key advantage is connecting businesses to various local and international payment types to enable them to expand globally. It also enables cross-border transactions from the diaspora to African countries via its SendApp product. Flutterwave processes payments via multiple payment modes, including local and international cards, mobile wallets, bank transfers, and Google Pay. The company has an infrastructure reach in 34 African countries. For more information on Flutterwave’s journey, please visit www.flutterwave.com.
Dangote: Global Partnerships and Investments saved 12m lives from Malaria deaths
As the World Malaria Day is marked globally, President of Dangote Group and United Nations’ Malaria Ambassador for Nigeria, Aliko Dangote has called for joint actions by all stakeholders globally if the collective goal of the disease elimination by 2030 is to be achieved.
Dangote in his World Malaria Day statement titled “With Urgent Investment, Innovation and Implementation, Zero Malaria Spread is Possible” urged that all stakeholders must work together to decimate malaria, which he said had brought untold human suffering with the economic toll of the disease on global productivity.
According to him, urgent investment, innovation and implementation by such stakeholders would help curtail malaria spread wherever the disease is found around the world.
He said “…More than ever, we must collaborate to ensure that no child or person dies of malaria or loses another day to this debilitating illness again. We must also drive further progress toward malaria elimination in Nigeria and Africa at large by focusing on three key areas to ensure that malaria elimination remains high on Nigeria’s public health and development agenda; advocate at all levels to ensure sufficient funding to sustain the progress made so far, as we jointly seek to end malaria for good and encourage private sector leaders to implement malaria prevention and treatment programmes in their companies, as we do across our businesses in the Dangote Group.”
Dangote disclosed that since 2000, global partnerships and investments in the fight against malaria have yielded positive results by preventing some 2 billion malaria cases, saving 11.7 million lives and putting eradication within reach. He, however lamented that 96% of malaria deaths globally were found in 29 countries, with Nigeria sadly among the four countries which accounted for over half of all malaria deaths globally in 2021. He said this year’s World Malaria Day (WMD) has presented an opportunity to galvanise global efforts towards advocacy and sustained political will and investment that will be aimed at ending the scourge of the disease.
In his statement, Dangote expressed his readiness to lead the way, pledging that his Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) will further strengthen its engagements with the various key stakeholders in “Nigeria and globally to support the efforts to address malaria in our workplaces, communities, and especially high burden areas to attain our collective goal of malaria elimination by 2030”.
The philanthropist noted out that billions of dollars were pledged by donors at the historic Global Fund Replenishment meeting in Geneva, Switzerland in 2022 to boost the fight against HIV, TB and Malaria. He however expressed regret that an unprecedented shortfall of more than 50% in global malaria funding is now holding countries back from maintaining life-saving malaria programmes, despite the historic pledge.
Consequently, the Malaria Ambassador said the funding gaps have been contributing to declining progress in the countries with the highest burden of malaria. “Countries will not reap the rewards of these investments without further commitment to scale up and roll out these innovations where they are needed most. For Africa to move forward, he said the Continent has to get rid of malaria once and for all. Now, according to him, is the time to take decisive action to deliver on our goal of zero malaria, spur overall development and achieve the 2030 targets”, he added.
Dangote urged that the theme of this year’s World Malaria Day:“Time to Deliver Zero Malaria: Invest, Innovate, implement”highlighted the need for urgent action and further investments to ensure existing investments deliver maximum impact in the fight to end malaria.
r“As a United Nations (UN) Malaria Ambassador for Nigeria,I would like to add my voice to the global call on governments and partners around the world to: Invest more in malaria programmes to bridge critical funding gaps and accelerate progress towards the total elimination of malaria; Innovate further to deliver improved solutions to end malaria that are tailored to those who need them most and Implement national strategies to accelerate progress against this age-old disease, by demonstrating leadership, adopting innovative and sustainable approaches, and scaling up national malaria programmes to deliver lifesaving tools to those at highest risk.”
Dangote then acknowledged the positive efforts of the Nigerian National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) as the second national drug regulator to approve the use of the R21 vaccine, saying the fight against the malaria scourge has been buoyed by the introduction of the new malaria vaccine -R21/Matrix-M, which was developed by the University of Oxford and will be manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
“As we look forward to its rollout soon. All efforts must be made to sustain the adequate sourcing and application of this innovative vaccine in the fight against malaria; akin to the noble efforts made to ensure the eradication of polio in Nigeria and Africa”, he concluded.