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NAICOM Tasks Insurers On Professionalism

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The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has called on insurance practitioners to be professionals to the core.

Mr. Fola Daniel, the commissioner for insurance (CFI) who made this assertion noted that insurers’ words must be their bonds.

On the Market Development and Research Initiative (MDRI) being pursued by NAICOM, Daniel stated that if insurance operators must propel the people to insure under the compulsory insurance programme, then underwriters must not under any guise fail to meet genuine claim settlement, rather their word must be their bond.

In his words, “The relevance of ethics and integrity to insurance business cannot be over emphasised. Where they exist, it breeds trusts, confidence and creates a boost in business generation.”

“The non-existence of these virtues amongst some practioners has helped in giving the industry a negative image. We cannot continue in this path any longer. There must be a change of attitude and behavior amongst practitioners. We cannot continue to do the same thing all the time and expect a different a different result.”

He noted that in all of these, operators must key in to discipline and professionalism as the Nigerian populace are looking up to insurance industry as an important bastion of security in the face of collapse being witnessed in other financial services sector, “we must not be a harbinger of corruption and improper dealings.”

“For those who will continue to relate as if anything and everything is possible, let me warn that Naicom will deal decisively with aberration and will also collaborate actively  with other regulatory and security agencies to curb market misbehaviour,” Daniel reiterated.

Naicom has warned that under the current reforms taking place in the insurance industry, it would no longer condone a situation where the managing director of an underwriting company has on the sideline a private broking firm as well as a loss adjusting firm.

“This is unethical and it should not be encouraged. There are cases of chief executive officer of an underwriting firm having a broking firm, giving businesses to the company where he is CEO, yet there are issues of outstanding premiums. This will soon be a thing of the past”.

Mr. Sunday Thomas, Naicom director, in charge of inspection who made this notion said in most cases, the success of the managing director’s privately owned companies depend largely on at least 80 per cent of his time and energy. He said this was clearly a case of conflict of interest and divided loyalty and it is unethical.

Henceforth, he said, any managing director that must own a broking firm or loss adjusting firm would be compelled to disclose this to the board of directors of the company where is CEO so that if there are issues of outstanding premiums arising from such broking firm, the board would be able to knew the source of their problem.

He said this is a major source of unethical practice and should therefore not be encouraged.

Other observed unethical practices, he said, include inadequate rating, withholding of premium/commission, claims falsification, deliberate creation of information gap between the management and board as well as falsification of returns to the regulator.

Mr. Thomas said, by the time the commission was through with the reform in the industry, all of these would belong to history books.

He said with nine months gone in the year, not up to half of insurance companies operating in the country have submitted their 2008 financial result to the commission. “This is because they find it convenient to pay the paltry fine of N5,000 per day for as long as the result is delayed,” he said.

Under the current reform, he revealed, the fine would be made very stiff. He said it could be as high as N100,00 per day and the deadline for filing the result could be made shorter. He, therefore, advised all operators to sit up so as not to be caught on the wrong side of the law.

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Farmer Cries Out Over Cattle Invasion

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A farmer in Aluu Community in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, Mr Nwo Nna, has cried out over cattle invasion of his farmland and crops.
Nna made this known in a chat with newsmen in Aluu recently.
He said that the most worrisome aspect of the development was the neglect by the herders of the Anti-Grazing Law passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly.
The farmer who discribed such as vexatious and  provocative, appealed for intervention by relevant agencies in order to secure their future.
“I got to my  farm on Saturday morning only to see my vegetables, cassava, yam and the entire farm devastated by cows”, he said.
He  expressed regrets that his farm, which was not at the road  had experienced such  attack for the second time.
The farmer noted that it would have been a different ball game, if he had met the herders in his farm.
“The saving grace was that  I did not meet them. They should be called to order to avoid problems”, he said.
He also sought for urgent intervention of  the Rivers State Government, Myyetti Allah and other relevant authorities to warn the herders to keep off people’s farms in the interest of peace.
The farmer further explained that it was becoming a regular practice for herders to parade their cows along the roads, and such  cows  stray into farm lands and  destroy people’s means of livelihood.
While declaring that Rivers people are hospitable, the farmer warned stranger elements, who do not have respect for the laws of the land as well as terrorise other people’s means of livelihood, to take their lawlessness elsewhere.
Other farmers who also responded  called for the establishment of a system that monitors the  activities of herders.
According to them, it will enable those who take their cows into farms to be identified and adequately sanctioned in the event of any invasion by the cows.
This, they said will bring a lasting peace and as well  serve as a deterrent to others.

By: King Onunwor

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EFCC Blames Frauds In Banking Sector On Insiders

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission last Wednesday said most frauds in the banking sector were perpetrated by insider Information, Communication Technology employees.
Head, Cybercrime Section of the EFCC, Abbah Sambo, made the declaration at a national seminar on Banking and Allied Matters for judges in Abuja recently.
Sambo, who represented the EFCC Chairman, Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, at the seminar, said that most banking sector frauds handled by the commission showed that bank employees aided the acts.
He also expressed regrets at the increasing rate of cybercrime in spite of efforts by the commission to tackle it.
Sambo observed that in years past, young people involved in cybercrime were not ICT savvy, but today, it was  ICT graduates that are the champions in perpetrating the crime.
He attributed the increase in cybercrime to moral decadence and peer group influence.
“The rate at which young men are perpetrating cybercrime is seriously alarming.
“When we arrest these criminals, one major reason they give for going into the crime is peer influence.Their friends are into it and they want to run with guys that drive the best cars and have the best girls in town”, he said.
He hinted that most times when  the criminals were arrested, a lot of  assets on them,  are  registered in the names of their parents.
“Cars in the names of their mothers and houses in the names of their fathers. There is a fundamental issue relating to decay in moral coverage in the society,’’ he said.
Sambo said that the greatest challenge in fighting cybercrime was the knowledge gap, and  noted  that the criminals were getting more sophisticated.
According to him, the criminals had the ability to talk to one another seamlessly by sharing knowledge, unlike law enforcement agencies.
“A lot of the people trying to combat the crime in the field tend to lack the drive because they do not have adequate training,’’ he said.
He stressed the need for adequate sensitisation and engagement with youths, especially from secondary school level to let them know the ills of crime.
The two-day seminar was organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria in collaboration with the National Judicial Institution.

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SEC Frowns At Resurgence Of Ponzi Schemes

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The Securities and Exchange Commission has frowned upon the resurgence of Ponzi schemes and illegal fund managers in the country’s financial sector.
The Director-General of SEC, Mr Lamido Yuguda, made the observation of the development at an enlightenment workshop with the staff of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning on in Abuja over the week.
Yuguda said  that the unlawful schemes had continued to enjoy massive patronage of the populace and remained a source of concern for regulators in the financial sector.
According to him, the commission was  poised to continue to apply measures and seek the cooperation of relevant stakeholders toward combating the activities of these Ponzi schemes.
He expressed regrets that the upsurge of the schemes had undermined the reputation of the financial markets and dampened investors’ confidence, among other things.
“SEC firmly believes that the country’s capital market can attain its potential if market operators and participants contribute their respective quotas to the growth”, he said.
He also explained that SEC was committed to always ensure and maintain an environment that was enabled by the appropriate regulatory framework, timely and affordable access to market.
“The commission is also committed to zero tolerance for infractions, heightened investor confidence and awareness, innovative product development and good governance practice”, he said
“There is the need to restore investor confidence and improve the participation of retail investors in the market.
He further pointed out that the demography of investors in the country’s capital market showed that the young population do not participate in the capital market, and only a few Nigerians invested in the capital market.
The situation, he said,  created a huge challenge to the market growth and the commission  and added that it was striving to change the narratives by instilling a fair, transparent and orderly market.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, represented by Mr Stephen Okon, Director Home Finance, urged investors to take advantage of the various initiatives in the market.

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