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Sterling Bank suffers more leadership flops under Abubakar Suleiman

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Sterling Bank suffers more leadership flops under Abubakar Suleiman
Abubakar Suleiman, Sterling Bank MD/CEO

Under the leadership of Abubakar Suleiman, a troubled Sterling Bank continues to suffer more leadership flops, ENigeria Newspaper reports.

It has become evident that Sterling Bank’s leadership under Abubakar Suleiman is not up to par, and there are a number of incidences that back this up.

The 48-year-old Nigerian banker and acclaimed economic professional, whose leadership has seen Sterling Bank’s finances wither away, is currently fighting to keep his job as more concerned individuals, corporate bodies, religious leaders, and organizations demand that he be fired following the bank’s latest blunder, an Easter advertorial days ago, ENigeria Newspaper has learnt.

Sterling Bank, headed by Abubakar Suleiman who is the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, ran an Easter advertisement that inadvertently compared Jesus Christ’s resurrection to Agege Bread’s rising. Alternatively, Sterling Bank compared Agege Bread to Jesus, according to some reports.

In reality, the bank wrote “Like Agege Bread, He Rose,” referring to Jesus’ historical resurrection. Many thought Sterling Bank should have known better with a Chief Executive Officer who claimed to enjoy reading and composing poetry, yet the opposite was true.

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Of course, the advertorial, which has been regarded as a premeditated display of insensitivity and rascality on Sterling Bank’s side, did not sit well with many Nigerians, both at home and abroad, who are now angry and asking for a boycott of the struggling lender.

While many people are perplexed as to how a supposedly corporate entity like Sterling Bank could be complicit in such a horrible conduct capable of inciting tension between one religious group over another, while others opined that it borders on poor leadership.

Nigeria is a volatile society and every spark that looks like a slight against one religious belief or another heralds the beginning of a ‘hurricane’, especially across social media platforms, but due to a faulty leadership, Sterling Bank whether deliberately or by error failed to harness a season such as Easter to promote, but to bring its brand to disrepute.

In a recent reaction to the rage occasioned by the controversial advertorial, the Chairman, Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Ibadan Zone, Mr. Eric Akinduro expressed grave concern over the advert slot which he said had the potential of igniting religious disharmony in a sensitive environment like Nigeria.

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He said, “It is not ethically right and it can promote religious crises if not maturely handled particularly in a precarious environment like Nigeria. It shows the insensitivity of the leadership of the bank to a very vital issue like this”.

An Abuja-based businessman and former banker, Abubakar Idris, wondered how Sterling Bank management allowed the controversial advert to pass through the approval process without its knowledge. “This is not acceptable. People of other faith may not accept this with the calm that CAN has demonstrated. But how can someone who is a professional sit down to create such a horrible concept?”

A Stockbroker and the Doyen of the Stockbrokers, Mr. Sam Ndata, cautioned that the Sterling Bank ‘Agege Bread Advert’ could have adverse effects on the financial services industry and the bank will not get away with the offensive and distasteful advert without having punishment meted out to it.

He said, “The offensive, distasteful advert by Sterling Bank will surely affect the financial service establishment one way or the other, now or in the future. They cannot just get away with such offensive, distasteful advert without the punishment coming back to them”, Ndata who is a Chief Dealer/COO at Hedge Securities and Investment Co. Ltd said.

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After a cursory look, ENigeria Newspaper reports that this is not the first, second or third time Sterling Bank has suffered severe ridicule under the leadership of Abubakar Suleiman and ENigeria Newspaper takes a look at some previous reports that buttress this claim.

In a report published on ENigeria Newspaper on January 19, 2022 with headline, “Crisis rocks Abubakar Suleiman led Sterling Bank as investors lost billions”, this newspaper pointed out how Sterling Bank according to a survey conducted in 2021 was the big loser in the review year in terms of percentage. According to the review, the lender’s share price depreciated by 26% to close at N43.5 billion, leading in a huge loss for investors.

The development reportedly sparked a high level of apprehension among investors who continue to question the capability of the lender’s leadership under its current Chief Executive Officer. READ IT HERE

Sterling Bank suffers more leadership flops under Abubakar Suleiman

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Again on February 24, 2022 this newspaper published a report with the headline, “Money Laundering: EFCC grills Sterling Bank CEO, Abubakar Suleiman”

In the report, ENigeria Newspaper revealed how The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) interrogated Abubakar Suleiman, the Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank Plc, and two other senior executives of the bank over ‘hidden’ N20 billion reportedly belonging to the Kogi State government.

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The money was supposed to be a rescue fund for Kogi state to pay workers’ salaries, but it was allegedly moved to an interest-bearing account in Sterling Bank with account number 0073572696.

Although the lender denied at the time but was a subject of public ridicule and shame eventually after the EFCC provided undisputable evidence that further showed the culpability of the bank and its leadership in the scandal. READ IT HERE

Another report in the media space published by The Witness Newspaper x-rayed how Sterling bank shareholders’ returns dipped drastically in the released full year report for 2021.

The report entitled, “FY’21: Shareholders’ returns drop as Sterling Bank reports N3.35bn fraud” revealed another episode of how incessant insider fraud perpetrated by staff of the embattled bank in 2021 caused heavy impact on the bank’s shareholders’ returns.

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The report stated thus, “The increased rate of fraudulent activities in Sterling Bank Plc, in 2021, has signposted its porous internal control, giving depositors serious concern about the safety of their funds.

A review of the bank’s financial statement by The Witness for 2021, showed that perpetuators of frauds and forgeries in Sterling Bank only increased the number of their activities by one to 74 cases, the value of their nefarious deeds by a whopping 1614% to N3.35 billion in 2021 from N195.34 million in the prior year.

Buttressing further, the newspaper further stated that “In the bank’s report to the CBN, the actual/expected Loss was put at N1.60 billion against N123.81 million it reported in 2020, indicating a 1194% loss during this period.
The frauds and forgeries were carried out on the N142.32 billion grew gross revenue the lender raised in 2021, which was higher than the N135.83 billion it earned in the previous year by 4.77%”.

“The rise in Sterling Bank’s income in 2021 was driven basically by 47.93% rise in Net fees and commissions income to N19.36 billion and net trading income which went 134.07% to N6.18 billion, despite interest income dipping 0.43% to N110.98 billion and net trading income going down by 33.00% to N5.80 billion during this period.

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Profit before tax ticked up 16.99% to N14.47 billion, while post-tax profit rose 20.22% to N13.52 billion on the back of 15.13% lower income tax expense of N959 million it paid in 2021 instead of N1.13 billion in the prior period.

Meanwhile, total expenses climbed by 9.93% to N72.83 billion, underpinned on other operating expenses that were up 15.26%, general and administrative expenses which went up by 18.39% and personnel costs that rose 0.51% during the period under review.

The bank recorded 24.22% increase in provision for toxic assets to N9.82 billion compared to N7.91 billion it set aside for the same purpose in 2020.

And about 2% (N14 billion) of the N712 billion Sterling Bank’s total loans and advances were bad as the facilities it extended to customers increased by 19.28% to N711.90 billion in 2021”.

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The instances mentioned above are only a scratch in the surface as there are multiple records of increased insider dealings, scams, fraudulent and nefarious activities recorded in the bank under its current leadership.

From all indices available and studied by ENigeria Newspaper, it suffices to say that the emergence of Abubakar Suleiman as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) has brought more woes than good for Sterling Bank in the past few years and there appears to be no respite in sight anytime soon.

More on this subject in other publications.

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