Moving beyond traditional banking to supporting sustainability initiatives

by | January 17, 2018 12:45 am

The Bankers’ Committee at its retreat of July 14, 2012 approved the adoption of the Nigeria sustainable banking principles by banks and other financial institutions.

This was in furtherance of the Committee’s commitment to deliver positive development impacts to society while protecting the community and government in which financial institutions and their clients operate.

Following this agreement, Nigerian banks have embarked on reassessment of their business practices and engaging in sustainability-oriented risk management and product development.

Heritage Bank through its strategic partnerships with government and private organisations has continued to make efforts to transforming Nigeria into a tourism sector destination in Africa and position it as lever of Nigeria’s economic growth and development.

Most prominent of its partnership and supports was the annual Calabar Carnival and festival, tagged “Africa’s Biggest Street Party,” was created as part of the vision of making Cross River State the number one tourist destination for Nigerians and other tourists across the world.

Since its debut in 2004 by a former governor of the state, Donald Duke, the theme of the yearly event has continued to change. The theme of the recently concluded 2017 edition was “migration and climate change.”

The theme was chosen against the backdrop that Africa has always known migration and it has been the home of many cultures for many centuries. From the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade era, colonization and neo-colonialism, the African continent which used to be home to many foreigners, has now become a land of opportunities.

Presently, the world recognizes it as the new frontier, not to be exploited for the benefits of others but to be cultivated on its own. It is against this backdrop that the board of the carnival commission adopted the theme migration in a bid to bring people together beyond the realm of tribal and religious conflict to show case Africa’s talent and several opportunities.

This theme resonates with the greenhouse effect which is the corporate identity of Heritage Bank, Nigeria’s most innovative banking services provider, a development which encourages it to partner with Segaull Band, one of the five bands that participated in the carnival.

Ifie Sekibo, managing director/CEO, Heritage Bank,  says the theme of the carnival this year is migration and climate change and heritage have to do with green, green- house effect and sustainability, protection and human development.

“As far as this is concerned, the bank will continue to support initiatives that have to do with sustainability,” adding that migration is a depletion of human resources, depletion of values and depletion of human capital.

“We are here as an institution to help to facilitate and to create awareness that the grass is not greener on the other side, we can develop ourselves, we can build our nation, we can build our continent and sustain it if we do the right things like planting trees, keeping our environment clean, disposing our wastes properly and living a good life.”

Sekibo was represented by the acting managing director, Jude Monye and was accompanied by a team from the bank which included Godwin Ukwat, Regional Head, South South; Archibong Etim, Team Lead Commercial, Calabar; Queen Essien, Team Lead, SME;. Obo Offiong, Experience Centre Manager, Calabar, Rita Ihunna, Team Member, Commercial, Head office, Lagos and. Blaise Udunze, Media Relations Officer.   

Ben Ayade, governor of Cross River State says that the theme of the event `Climate Change and Migration’ was chosen to create awareness on the need to protect the environment and caution youths against illegal migration.

Ayade says the event afforded the African continent the opportunity to choose another beauty queen that will use her beauty to create awareness on the need for Africans to see themselves as one.

“Migration and Climate Change have become burning and global issues today. Our gathering here today is to choose another African queen that will use her office to create awareness on the theme. Blackness is now a perception, beauty and character in the eyes of the people. The Miss Africa pageant is meant to tell the true story of Africa to the world,” Ayade says.

According to him, “how can a continent like Africa that is blessed with abundant natural and human resources be poor? Africans are intellectually sound. We are not gathered here to pick the most beautiful woman, but rather, we want to pick the true African woman who can use her beauty to change Africa. For us to tell the true African story, we need a face that is appealing. Our theme for this year should caution our youths about the tedious journey through the Mediterranean Sea and Sahara Desert to Europe in search of greener pasture.’’

We commend the initiative of Heritage Bank for supporting efforts to create awareness about the negative effects of migration and climate change and enjoin other corporate organisations to lend their voices as well as in a bid to sustain advocacy against migration and climate change in the overall interest of the African continent as well as restoration of the dignity of the African man and the black race.

In view of the bank’s giant stride of support to tourism, Federal Government Commended Heritage Bank for its commitment to the development and growth of the creative industry. The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed gave the commendation at a two-day Creative Nigeria Summit.

The bank, aimed at boosting Nigeria’s tourism via creative arts industry supported the sponsorship of exhibition at the National Museum Benin, at the Exhibition Gallery of National Museum Benin by the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), in collaboration with the Edo State Government, and the Smithsonian Institute, United States of America.

At the carnival, Ayade tasks the bands to interpret the theme, ‘Migration’ for the youths to see the need to remain in Africa and develop the continent.

The Seagull Band is one of the carnival bands registered in 2005 for the Cross-River State annual Christmas festival. It is the most stylish and coordinated body with the main objective of promoting and sustaining the tourism and hospitality industry and enhance the status of the under privilege through charity. The band display the African culture through aesthetics, talents and innovation, paraded yearly during the carnival.

The Seagull Band is identified by its eye catching distinctive colour – red and maintains defined hierarchical structure. It is the band that recognises and celebrates Nigerians and other artistes, movie stars and beauty queens. The band is under the dynamic and charismatic leadership of the vibrant and distinguished Senator Florence Ita-Giwa.

Ita- Giwa is the wife of late Dele Giwa, a leader who was killed by a parcel bomb during the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida. Since the death of her husband, Ita-Giwa has been a vibrant activist and a fighter for the people of Bakassi Peninsula. She’s also a former senator who represented Cross River State Southern District at the National Assembly and a former Legislative Adviser to late Nigerian President Musa Yar’adua.

Speaking on the theme of the carnival, Senator Ita-Giwa says the relevance of theme to recent and trending ignoble migrant journey and the attendant menace is no less efficacious as it has brought the subtlety and complexities that characterize the infamous movement of people from less attractive zone to a more attractive one.