Nigerian stocks rebounded on Thursday with the benchmark index advancing 1.75 per cent, clawing backgrounds lost at the previous training session as big-cap equities including Dangote Cement and MTN drove gains. A raft of first-quarter earnings reports turned out positive, impelling investors to take a risk-on approach to trade, with companies like Access Bank, Vitafoam, Total, BUA, Okomu Oil, Dangote Sugar, Seplat, and Union Bank posting growth in profit. Also strengthening gains, the industrial index jumped 3.58 per cent to 1,902.59 basis points, recording the best performance of the five sectoral indices tracked by the bourse. A positive market breadth was recorded, with 24 gainers recorded relative to 17 losers. The all-share index went up by 679.72 points to 39,461.20, while market capitalisation rose to ₦20.652 trillion. The index is down by 2.01 per cent year to date.

Nigeria’s central bank removed the boards of FBN Holdings and its main subsidiary First Bank Nigeria for appointing a new CEO without regulatory approval. The CBN ousted Gbenga Shobo as CEO of First Bank and reinstated former head, Adesola Adeduntan, a day after it queried the appointment, Governor Godwin Emefiele said at a media briefing on Thursday. First Bank, Nigeria’s oldest lender and the third-largest by assets, is considered by the central bank as a systemically important bank. This classification is used for lenders that would pose a significant risk to the banking system if they failed. The action against the bank is to protect minority shareholders and customers, Emefiele said. The central bank decided to reinstate Adeduntan because it has worked with him since 2016 to restore the bank to a healthy position after it accumulated bad loans that threatened its existence, Emefiele said. It also named Remi Babalola as Chairman of FBN Holdings and Tunde Odukola as the chairman of the banking subsidiary. FBN has over 31 million customers, deposits of ₦4.2 trillion and a 22% share of the country’s instant payments processing capacity, Emefiele said. Adeduntan, who was due to retire in December this year, was forced out on Wednesday against the wishes of the central bank which had spoken to the company’s chairman, Emefiele said. First Bank’s ratio of non-performing loans to total credit improved to 7.7% at 2020 year-end from more than 20% in 2018, following the restructuring and write-offs of corporate debts. The lender’s capital adequacy ratio, which has hovered around the regulator’s 15% threshold improved to 17% in 2020 from 15.5% the year earlier.

Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in all 23 local government areas of the state with immediate effect. In a statewide broadcast on Thursday, the governor said the decision was taken after an exhaustive deliberation by the state security council at Government House in Port Harcourt. In a statement by Kelvin Ebiri, Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Wike said the council decided to review the present security situation, saying there are possibilities of further deadly attacks on hard and soft targets across the state. On Wednesday, the governor had imposed a night curfew in all the state’s land borders. “Accordingly, the state security council has, today, after exhaustive deliberation, decided and advised that a state-wide curfew on human and vehicular movements be imposed as part of additional measures to prevent the faceless criminals from unleashing their deadly actions,” Wike said. “Consequently, a night curfew is hereby imposed on the entire 23 local government areas of the state, prohibiting any human and/or vehicular movement within or any part of the state from 10pm to 6am from today, 29th April, 2021 until further notice.” Wike said the measure is to secure the state and guarantee the protection of lives and property. The governor urged everyone in the state to be vigilant and promptly report every suspicious movement in their neighbourhoods to the security agencies for immediate action.

Namibia’s Ministry of Finance has accused 84 doctors of stealing millions of dollars through the government’s medical aid scheme. According to Namibian daily, the Namibian, doctors are accused of fraud and abuse of the Public Service Employee Medical Aid Scheme (Psemas). The ministry has launched a civil action against the doctors and has threatened to institute criminal charges against others. The daily said some doctors have allegedly rushed to pay back the alleged amount in question for fear of arrest. The finance ministry has not revealed how much has been lost through these scams, but a 2018 financial report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) indicates the government has been losing about US$600 million per year, according to The Namibian daily. The head of the Medical Association of Namibia Dr David Weber said he was not aware of any misappropriation of government funds and also if the government had initiated legal action against the accused doctors. Every year, the Namibian government allocates millions of dollars to boost the healthcare system. The amount is aimed at subsidizing medical expenditures in the Southern African country. The scheme currently covers 240,000 beneficiaries across the country.