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Court Orders Interim Forfeiture Of 48 Property Linked To Ex -NSTIF Boss

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Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered the interim forfeiture of 48 choice property, allegedly belonging to the former Chairman of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Funds, Ngozi Olejeme.

The affected property is spread across the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Bayelsa, Enugu, Edo, and Delta States, according to a statement from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission spokesman, Dele Oyewale.

The forfeiture order was granted after the counsel to the EFCC, Ekele Iheanacho, convinced the court that the said property was purchased with proceeds of crime.

He buttressed his position with 14 exhibits, attached to his affidavit, filed on May 29, 2020.

The statement said, “Olejeme who was also the treasurer of the Jonathan-Sambo Campaign Organisation in 2015 has been on the run since 2016 and was in September 2017, declared wanted by the EFCC for criminal conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds and money laundering.”

She was alleged to have, along with the former managing director of NSITF, Mr Umar Abubakar, mismanaged and diverted over N69billion, belonging to the Federal Government into their personal accounts through the award of spurious contracts to proxy companies.

In granting the application, Justice Taiwo ruled that the interim order should be published in a leading newspaper within seven days of receipt of the order and for any interested party to show cause within 14 days why the property should not be permanently forfeited to the FG.

He adjourned the matter till July 27, 2020.

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Abiodun Succeeds Balogun As Lasaco Assurance CEO

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The Board of Directors of Lasaco Assurance Plc has announced the appointment of Mr. Razzaq Abiodun as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, to superintendent over the affairs of the insurance company in an acting capacity.

He succeeds Mr. Segun Balogun, the immediate past Managing Director of the organisation, who retired from the Board effective from May 29, 2021.

The underwriting firm disclosed this in a notification signed by its secretary/legal adviser, Gertrude Olutekunbi and sent to the Nigeria Exchange Group Plc.

Mr. Razzaq Abiodun has over 30 years’ experience in the insurance industry with technical expertise in claims, reinsurance, underwriting and marketing.

The new MD is not new to Lasaco Assurance, as he joined the company in 2017 as Executive Director Technical and later became Deputy Managing Director Technical.

He earlier worked for a host of leading insurance companies like the defunct City Union Insurance, Metropolitian Trust Insurance (now Consolidated Hallmark), WAPIC Insurance Plc, among others.

Abiodun is an alumnus of the Lagos State University and the Ghana Institute of Professional Studies (GIMPA), where he obtained a MBA and LLB respectively.

He is an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute of United Kingdom. In 2012, he was awarded the Fellowship of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Ghana.

Recalled that Mr. Segun Balogun, the immediate past MD of LASACO Assurance Plc, is also a financial industry expert with over three decades of experience.

Prior to his appointment as MD of LASACO, he was the CEO of FBN General Insurance Limited. He was also the former MD/CEO of WAPIC Insurance Plc for 13 years.

Balogun is an alumnus of the prestigious University of Lagos and is a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria. He is an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute of the United Kingdom.

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NAICOM Targets Protection Of Policyholders, Improved Confidence In Insurance Sector

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Commissioner for Insurance, Sunday Thomas (4th left) and other top management staff of the National Insurance Commission at the seminar.

By Sola Alabadan

The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has put structures in place to ensure that the insurance policyholders are adequately protected and facilitate improved confidence in the Nigerian insurance sector.

This formed part of NAICOM’s strategic plan for 2021-2023, which was unveiled at the just concluded 2021 NAICOM seminar for insurance journalists in Lagos.

The Commissioner for Insurance, Sunday Thomas, said “The 2021-2023 Strategic Plan has five goals designed to entrench effective and efficient service delivery, ensure safe, sound and stable insurance sector, adequately protect policyholders and public interest, improve trust and confidence in the insurance sector and encourage innovation and promote insurance market development”.

The NAICOM boss informed that since the development of the last strategic plan for the period 2016 – 2020, there have been various events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the End SARS protests, and the rise in kidnappings, armed banditry, communal tensions and conflicts, which have impacted on the activities and initiatives of the Commission.

These new developments, he stated, have ushered in the new normal, hence shaping how the industry conducts its business going forward and the corresponding regulatory response.

“The major thrust of this has been preparing the workforce for the new work order, protection of policyholders, improving human capital, leveraging on technology and alternative channels of insurance distribution to stimulate productivity.

Thomas stressed that the commission is committed to actualising the goals of the strategic plan, noting that NAICOM would adhere strictly to its principles of good governance and core values aimed at creating an enduring, sustainable and conducive environment for accomplishment of the corporate goals and objectives.

He also said that NAICOM will ensure periodic review and performance monitoring of the plan within its life span, bearing in mind the present COVID-19 pandemic.

The insurance sector, he added, must harness opportunities post pandemic period and beyond by leveraging on technology to provide innovative insurance products, amongst others things.

Speaking at the unveiling, Mr Usman Ibrahim Jankara, Head, Strategy and Special Duties, who delivered a paper titled: ‘NAICOM Corporate Strategic Plan 2021 to 2023: Goals, Objectives and Key Deliverables” emphasised that the strategic plan was hinged on five goals, including entrenching effective and efficient service delivery, ensuring safe, sound and stable insurance sector, adequately protecting the policyholders and public interest, improve trust and confidence in the insurance sector, encourage innovation and promote insurance market development.

He pointed out that these goals will consolidate the 2016 -2020 strategic plan with new milestones required to enable the commission accomplish its mission.

Jankara equally lamented that some of the commission’s 2016 to 2020 strategic plans were not achieved due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, among other factors.

“Our strategic plan has simplified what we will focus on and we are now more convinced that we will do much better this year.

“We want to have a stable insurance industry to compete globally and contribute to the country’s economy.”

He said the plan would also ensure that policyholders’ complaints were handled better and promptly.

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Insurance Operators Plead For Media Support

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The Corporate Affairs Managers’ Committee of the NIA (CAMCONIA) has pleaded with the media organisations to support the growth and sustainability of the insurance industry in Nigeria.

The Chairman of CAMCONIA, Oyinkansola Sobande, made this call at the committee’s bi-monthly meeting held with the Executive Members of the National Association of Insurance and Pension Correspondents (NAIPCO), representing both the print and electronic media in the country.

She stated that “the role of the media as watchdog in the society cannot be undermined especially in matters that is in the interest of the general populace. She added that “the media is very critical to the development and sustenance of the insurance industry, considering the fact that there are a lot of challenges facing the sector which are being addressed by stakeholders and business owners in the sector”.

At a point like this, the media as the objective watchdog has a vital role to play in helping to build and reinvigorate the confidence of the insuring public towards the sector.

She further appealed to the media to rescind on exposing damaging reports discrediting underwriters, pointing out that such acts can adversely affect the industry.
Oyinkansola also mentioned that “businesses, at some point in time, faces one form of challenges or the other and that what some of the players are facing currently, is not peculiar to the insurance industry alone, therefore, journalists are required to support positive projection of the industry. The responsibility of the media in this regard is quite phenomenal and must be carried out with astute professionalism.”

She commended the efforts of all the insurance correspondents in the country, saying their intervention in reporting insurance news and happenings is quite commendable, even as she added that more can still be done in pushing the frontiers of the industry.
In the same vein, the Director General of the Nigerian Insurers Association, Mrs. Yetunde Ilori posited that what the industry need more than ever is acceptability and patronage from all strata of the society; both at the Corporate and Individual level and that can only come with a better understanding of the workings of the insurance business which unfortunately, a lot of Nigerians do not have. The education on insurance can never be enough at this point in time. “We must move away from the level of assumptions to that of informed opinion and ultimately, acceptance”.

She said a lot of promotion and advertisement are ongoing by many insurance companies, both on the Electronic and Print Media, to engender sensitization and awareness of insurance in the country for a robust and holistic enlightenment of the insuring public.

The Chairman of NAIPCO solicited the support of member companies and active involvement of the association while pledging the unflinching support of NAIPCO towards ensuring that the Industry is presented in the best light possible to the general public.

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