December 12, 2008

Tom Cruise: More of Les Grossman in the Works!

Forget Tom Cruise's reaction to his Golden Globe nomination for his work in Tropic Thunder for a moment. Mr. Cruise can't help but think of how his foulmouthed alter ego, Les Grossman, would react to the news.

"Les would probably say something unprintable," Cruise told me today in an exclusive interview. "First thing when you hear about that character is, just what would that guy say? It would have to be something unprintable."

And it sounds like this isn't the last we've heard from the balding, hairy-chested studio boss. Read on for all the Grossman details...

"I’ve talked about doing different videos with the character," Cruise said. "I’ve started working with Ben [Stiller] on it, and we’ve kind of talked about different things to do. We were gonna do some in our free time, but we haven’t found the free time…yet."

He doesn't rule out a full-length feature film centered on Grossman: "He’s a fun character," said Cruise, who will next be seen in the real-life WWII thriller Valkyrie. "I gotta talk to Ben, but there could be more to do with that guy."

Grossman's future aside, Cruise said of the nomination, "I’m really thrilled. Kate called me, and family and friends. It’s just very exciting."

Teething mixture: NAFDAC impounds 5,334 batches of drug

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, on Thursday, said that it had seized 5,334 batches of the alleged contaminated teething mixture, My Pikin.

The agency, in a statement titled “Update Report III on the recall process of My Pikin teething mixture,” also said that it had arrested the Kaduna State sales representative of Barewa Pharmaceuticals Limited, the manufacturer of the drug.

Besides the sales representative, the agency said that it arrested an alleged illegal chemical marketer at Ojota, Lagos, Dom Azumuka, who had been on the run.

In the statement by its Deputy Director (Public Relations), Mr. Jimoh Abubakar, the agency said it had donated an antidote for the management of kidney problem caused by contaminated drug to Ahmadu Bello Teaching Hospital, Zaria; Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos; and Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja.

NAFDAC, which had two weeks ago, arrested four persons over the incident, said that 2,247 bottles of the mixture were recovered from the shop of the sales representative.

According to the statement, the shop of the marketer at Ojota was raided and seven drums of diethylene glycol falsely labeled propylene glycol were seized.

Giving the update on Thursday, NAFDAC stated that the illegal marketer, who was arrested at Ojota led its officers to another marker at Isolo where he said he brought the chemical.

According to the agency, the shop of Isolo-based marketer, Marcel Onyegbue, was also raided and a drum of diethyelene glycol was evacuated.

It stated that the owner of the shop was not arrested because he was on the run. The agency, however, arrested his assistant.

The Director-General of the agency, Prof. Dora Akunyili, had at a press briefing in Lagos on November 25, said that the drug was contaminated by the use of diethylene glycol, which is harmful to the kidney.

Oceanic Bank is Bank of the Year

Like the goldfish which has no hiding place, Oceanic Bank International Plc has again been singled out for its outstanding performance, in the process, clinching the Bank of the Year diadem, this time from the EMEAfinance, a UK based financial intelligence magazine covering Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Organisers of the award adjudged Oceanic winner of the keenly contested 2008 best Bank in Nigeria.

The magazine named Oceanic Bank International Plc as emerging Best Bank in Nigeria 2008 among the hordes of banks nominated for the award at its maiden African Bank Awards Luncheon held in London on Monday.

The bank according to EMEAfinance won the awards on account of robust growth in its asset base, profitability, return on equity, and regional expansion, among others. EMEAfinance is a leading financial intelligence magazine and a reputable information source for the financial services industry in Europe, Middle East and Africa .

The feat achieved by the bank is coming on the heels similar award of Bank of the year won in 2006 and 2007 consecutively, a prize instituted by The Banker magazine, a subsidiary of the Financial Times of London
Speaking at the award ceremony in London , Publisher/CEO of Emeafinance magazine, Christopher Moore described Nigeria ’s banking sector as the most dynamic in Africa . He said, “the story of African banking over the last 12 months has, in some ways, has been the story of Nigeria .”

Declaring Oceanic Bank as an outstanding financial conglomerate with consistent impressive performance record, EMEAfinance noted that: “Our winner of the best bank award, Oceanic Bank, has seen its gross earnings grow by an annual average of 65% every year since 2004. Its assets tripled last year. Profit before tax also more than doubled last year.”
Emeafinance also noted that Oceanic Bank’s shareholders’ funds grew by around seven times last year, while the bank recorded the lowest cost-to-income ratio of its peers, at just 56%, for the period under review.

“Oceanic Bank has expanded its branch network aggressively, from 53 branches in 2004 to 320 business offices as of September 2007. It has accelerated its international expansion, with offices and affiliates open in Ghana and Gambia , and operations opening soon in Liberia , Cameroon , Sierra Leone , Chad and Sudan ,” the leading financial solutions magazine added.
Receiving the award, Oceanic Bank's Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. (Mrs.) Cecilia Ibru said the recognition was yet another testimony to Oceanic Bank's consistent impressive performance over the years.

She then dedicated the award to the Bank's staff, noting that their expertise and commitment to excellence and best practices had given the Bank a competitive edge that has made Oceanic a top player in the nation's financial services sector.
"We are grateful to God for this award and I dedicate it to all Oceanic Bank staff. Oceanic remains committed to pioneering innovative changes in the finance sector, and partnering with the government and all sectors in the task of building a stronger Nigeria," she said.

According to Ibru, Oceanic Bank is also working towards creating more jobs in Nigeria to enhance economic empowerment and development. "Oceanic Bank is building lasting structures and devising strategies that will make it possible for many more Nigerians to have access to job opportunities," she added.

It would be recalled that Oceanic Bank posted a profit before tax (PBT) of N52.23 billion, an increase of 127 per cent, in contrast to N23.01 billion posted in the corresponding period of 2007 while gross earning rose by 101 per cent to N150.9 billion as against N74.94 billion made last year, confirming its leadership position in the industry.

Ribadu makes surprise visit to EFCC headquarters

Former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, made a surprise visit to the Abuja headquarters of the anti-graft agency on Thursday.
In what is apparently a new twist to his travails, the former EFCC boss, stormed the headquarters of the organisation unannounced.

He, however, had some discussions with the new Director of Operations, Mr. Tunde Ogunsakin, a Deputy commissioner of police, and the agency’s Chief Security Officer.

Ribadu, our correspondent learnt, was told by the EFCC officials that he would be contacted whenever his presence was required.

When contacted earlier, the EFCC‘s Head of Media, Mr. Femi Babafemi, had told our correspondent that he was not aware of Ribadu‘s visit to the office.

He had promised to get back to our correspondent as soon as he got wind of the visit.

Meanwhile, Ribadu has said that he will neither resign from the Nigeria Police nor succumb to the injustice of his demotion.

The former EFCC boss also debunked his reported flight from the country, saying that he had only chosen to go underground for ‘personal reasons’ and to enjoy some private moments.

Ribadu, who spoke with our correspondent in an interview on Thursday, said there was nothing unusual about his current tribulations adding that many Nigerians had gone through similar travails in the past.

He , however, said that he had left everything in God‘s hands and hoped that the rule of law would prevail.

He said it was important for him to be more careful about his personal security and safety.

Ribadu admitted that there might be a grand design to compel him to resign from the force, but insisted that he would rather allow the court to decide his fate than to resign.

Ribadu said, ”I have not been out of the country and I don‘t intend to be needlessly. I went underground for personal reasons. I just wanted to be alone and enjoy some private moments.

”What I have done is to leave everything in God‘s hands and allow the rule of law to prevail. But I won’t be careless about my security and personal safety.

”I know my adversaries won’t reject the law. They might get me dismissed, but what can I do? I won’t dignify them with a resignation or accept the injustice of the demotion. I will allow the court to decide.

”It is not about now, but for posterity. It might take a while but we will see what God can do. This is about our tomorrow and the need to have a few Nigerians to stand up and be counted for a good cause, it is not about me.”