Biggest Nigerian Bank Starts First Fund for Protest-Hit Firms


Access Bank Plc, Nigeria’s biggest lender, started a 50 billion naira ($130 million) fund to help companies recover from violent protests that shuttered businesses across Africa’s largest crude producer.

The fund, the first of its kind following the demonstrations, will provide interest-free loans with a two-year tenure, Deputy Managing Director Roosevelt Ogbonna said by phone from Lagos, the nation’s commercial hub.

“We want to support businesses in their efforts to rebuild,” he said. “Making money on this is the last thing on our mind.”

Massive demonstrations by Nigerian youths protesting police brutality have halted business activities across the West African nation in the past weeks, with banks having to shut branches in the fallout. About half of the country’s 36 states imposed a curfew last week to halt further looting, arson and destruction to private and public property, which claimed dozens of lives.

“We’re committed to restarting businesses quickly,” Ogbonna said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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