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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Mark Zuckerberg in Nigeria, visits CCHub @Yaba

The chief executive officer of Facebook, Mr. Mark Zuckerberg commenced official visit to the commercial centre, Lagos in Nigeria on Tuesday with a stop-over at the Co-creation Hub in Yaba, reports ITRealms.

Zuckerberg’s presence in Nigeria, ITRealms gathered is on listen, learn and take ideas back to California on how Facebook could better support technology development and entrepreneurship across Africa.

Zuckerberg who is on his first-ever visit to Africa, met with some developers, partners, and explore Nollywood. He took the occasion to visit a 'Summer of Code Camp' at the Co-Creation Hub (CcHub) in Yaba.

ITRealms recalls that CcHub was opened in 2011 and at the time didn't even have an office. Five years later they fill three floors and the roof of a building, even at CcHub, people could learn how to code, developers could get help launching their first products, and find mentors and funding.

In addition, ITRealms reprots that Mark then visit Andela, an engineering organization that is building the next generation of technical leaders in Africa, set up earlier this year, by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative which invested in Andela after being impressed by the company's innovative model of learning and its drive to connect the global technology ecosystem with the most talented developers in Africa.

Andela is a business that recruits the most talented technologists in Africa and shapes them into world-class developers through a four-year technical leadership program. In the two years since it was founded, Andela has accepted just over 200 engineers from a pool of more than 40,000 applicants. Andela developers spend six months mastering a technical stack and contributing to open source projects before being placed with global technology companies as full-time, distributed teammates, working out of Andela headquarters in Lagos and Nairobi.

Director, Andela Lagos, Seni Sulyman said they are excited and honored to welcome Mark Zuckerberg to Lagos, stressing his visit reinforces not only support of Andela’s mission, but belief that indeed the next generation of great technology leaders will come out of Lagos, Nigeria and cities across Africa.

Andela, Sulyman said, has created a platform for passionate, driven software developers and engineers to break into the global tech ecosystem, but the barriers to entry are still very high, emphasizing that Mark’s visit demonstrates to all Nigerian developers and entrepreneurs that they’ve caught the attention of the tech world, and they are capable of succeeding on a truly global level.

At the end of the day Zuckerberg stopped by an Express WiFi stand in Lagos owned by Rosemary Njoku. Facebook's Express WiFi lets entrepreneurs like Rosemary set up a hot spot to help their community access apps and services built by local developers.

Nenye Dom/GEE


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Pix: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is visiting Nigeria this week on his first trip to Africa

Beware! Text Neck Syndrome in Nigeria

The mobile smartphone-induced syndrome is on the widespread in Nigeria, REMMY NWEKE reports that the alarming aspect is that most subscribers, especially youngsters are ignorant of the potential Scoliosis.
 
NOWADAYS, waking up at 6am, Lebe Onukaogu, an undergraduate reaches out to his mobile phone to access the world of Information and Communications at his fingertips. From checking his electronic mails to social media platforms, mostly What’s App, Twitter, Facebook just to name a few from the over 1,000 social networking sites; and invariably to respond to some he felts passionately about, then the conversation continues for the day.

Of course, in doing the aforementioned, Lebe would either be standing at a corner of the house or sitting but most of the time whilst these checks lasted, he is slantly bent to have a better view of his readings, and keying-in of letters to ensure that those reflect his thoughts and personality.

Over time, the continuous exercise of this lifestyle resulted in Lebe recently developing pains on the backbone of his neck. At first, on visiting a nearby clinic, he was told could have been a fever or malaria. A laboratory test eventually could not show any of the above. 

The pains lingered for some more days and week went by, until he went to a general hospital, where after the initial examination, the medical director referred him to a specialist, a physiotherapist.

DigitalREALMS gathered that Physiotherapy is a science-based profession and takes a ‘whole person’ approach to health and wellbeing, which includes the patient’s general lifestyle, thus Physiotherapists help to restore movement and function when someone is affected by injury, illness or disability, according to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

Nigeria’s 149,179,083 active subscribers:
Like Lebe Onukaogu, are you one of the Nigeria’s 149,179,083 active subscribers of the Global System for Mobile (GSM) communications, tendency is that you are one of those having text-neck pains among every five (10) subscribers, due to constant use of your cherished mobile phone.

Hear this, experts have it that most Nigerians may be suffering from this new-breed ailment from the use of a mobile phone, especially those who use mobile phone extensively in order to stay connected.

With the number of mobile subscribers in Nigeria increasing, it is alarming to note that most Nigerians are unaware about the ‘Text Neck’ disease which refers to the over-use syndrome or stress injury which occurs with persistently having one’s head hung forward and down looking at their mobile electronic devices for presumed extended duration than could have been necessary, according to the American chiropractor who coined the word, Dr. Dean L. Fishman.

Investigations by DigitalREALMS showed that most Nigerians are not aware of the Text-Neck syndrome, even as estimated one in every 10 Nigerian mobile subscriber may be suffering from text-neck disease unknown to them, as each of those interviewed acknowledged having neck-pains, but could not just attribute it to extensive usage until the syndrome was explained.

Respondents also alluded to the fact that they took it for granted as one of those pains but never associated with the supposed syndrome, yet several dosage of analgesics have not been helpful in relieving their miseries.

According to Statista.com forecast on Nigeria, DigitalREALMS reports that the number of smartphone users in Nigeria for 2016, is estimated to reach 15.5 million by December 31, which is expected to pave the way for an increase in social media and mobile devices access and by implication rise to text neck syndrome.

Top 3 apps keeping you fixed on smartphones:
In Nigeria, DigitalREALMS gathered that a range of reasons affect multiple mobile phones usage and ownership, according to recent findings by Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB) Mobile Experience Centre released new report on “How I Use My Phone” series, which aims at gathering and sharing data on the pattern of mobile phone usage of different user demographics in the country.

The survey revealed that students use their mobile phones mainly for social networking with Whatsapp, Blackberry Messenger and Facebook being the top 3 most used applications by 28.4 per cent, 19.4 per cent, 13.4 per cent respectively. Social networking is a major reason and accounts to 89.6 per cent why they subscribe to internet bundles regularly.

Is mobile phone destroying your spine?
Though efforts to speak to the leadership of the Nigeria Society of Physiotherapy led by Taiwo Oyewumi was not fruitful at the time of this report, but a renowned physiotherapist and chief executive of Lagos-based Ageless Physio Clinic, Dr. Oluyomi Aoko, articulated that mobile smartphones after-all may be destroying our spines due to wrong postures.

Modern mobile devices, he said, are changing the way people access information and entertainment, thus, their usage influences human posture and body mechanics in ergonomically dysfunctional ways that contribute to neck, upper back, shoulder, and arm pains. he also said, poor posture while sitting, standing, walking or in a static position could lead to eventual total collapse of the spine in some cases, mainly among youngsters, who recent study in the United States by Adweek.com, showed that 79 per cent of the population between the ages 18 and 44 have their mobile phones with them almost all the time, with only 2 hours of their waking day spent without their cell phones on hand.

Symptoms of text neck syndrome:
As said by Dr. Aoko, the symptoms come as neck pain ranging from a chronic, nagging pain to sharp, severe upper back muscle spasms; Shoulder pain and tightness, possibly resulting in painful shoulder muscle spasm; Pinched cervical nerve, turning to pain and possibly neurological symptoms that could radiate down one’s arm and into their hand; as well as increased curvature in youngsters which could result into scoliosis.

Scoliosis, as defined by experts at WebMD.com is a lateral curvature in the normally straight vertical line of the spine. When viewed from the side, the spine should show a mild roundness in the upper back and shows a degree of swayback - inward curvature in the lower back. When a person with a normal spine is viewed from the front or back, the spine appears to be straight. When a person with scoliosis is viewed from the front or back, the spine appears to be curved.

Therapy for text-neck:
Further, Dr. Aoko of Ageless Physio Clinic proffered some therapy to aid text-neck victims, advising, “Don’t bend your neck to look at a screen- this way you can maintain good posture, relieving your back and shoulders from the strain of being hunched over; Hold your mobile device at about eye level-holding the phone closer to eye level helps maintain a healthy posture and puts less strain on the neck; Practice exercises that strengthen your posture and be sure to stretch often between long periods of extended use of devices. 

You can rotate your shoulders with your arms by your sides to relieve tension. You can also tuck your chin down to your neck and then look up – this helps to relieve some of the tension in your neck built from the common forward-down position you adopt when looking at your device.

Conclusion:
The fact is that though text neck is becoming a common syndrome among phone users globally, Nigerians are not exonerated which could vary from a slight twinge to severe pain across the neck spines down to your back, most people recover quickly from this mobile device induced-back pain, if well and quickly managed properly.

Furthermore, experts at Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) explained how therapies could help, beginning with tips on self-help, bearing in mind there is a lot individuals could do to help their healing process. This comprises continuing with your usual work and activities, as much as possible, could help resolve patient’s back pain in addition to some exercises that could reduce back pain and prevent from it returning. Hence, the right sort of exercise, as may be advised by a physiotherapist, could actually make a big difference.

Research, DigitalREALMS reports, has shown lower back pain may return if it is ignored, while experts insist that lifestyle changes, such as being more active and improving one’s posture, are important elements to remedying the text neck pains along other kinds of backache or pains prevalent in the society.

Additionally, the society concluded by outlining some top tips for back pain including text neck such as exercise and activity are known as the most important ways of helping oneself off the agony of back pains. Just as patients, are advised to keep moving and continue with activities such as walking or swimming; taking analgesics for pain-killers as prescribed by qualified medical practitioner or physiotherapist, could help one to keep moving comfortably; just as they advised against sitting for too long when driving or at work.

Gently stretching to prevent stiffness, the society said, could form part of the healing magic, while taking care when lifting, bending one’s hips and knees to use the power in their legs adequately goes a long way; whereas checking one’s posture when using computers, mobile devices for games or watching television, which tend to last for a duration beyond usual expectation is advocated.

CSP experts added that one needs to check the mattress on the bed to ensure it supports individuals properly; “Don’t smoke – it impairs your circulation, which affects how quickly the body could recover; strengthening of one’s trunk muscles may help to protect the back, emphasizing that car seat and office chair are adjusted correctly in support of one’s back,” while maintaining a healthy eating habit by way of good diet and exercise, as being overweight could be a cause of back pain notwithstanding text neck related activities.


Above all, beware, text neck syndrome is here in Nigeria and likely to stay as long as our addiction to smart mobile devices suffice.

ITREALMS ... everything news digitally!

Special Report on ICANN56 Policy Forum

Special Report@ITRealms:


The 56th Public Meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) ended recently in Helsinki, Finland with focus on policy development to spur the global multi-stakeholder body into the next level. DigitalSENSE Business News x-rays the meeting and reports.
 Letter from Istanbul:
THANK you very much for attending the ICANN56 Policy Forum!
We hope the innovative format fostered collaboration and substantive policy and advice development work. ICANN will continue to evaluate and improve the Policy Forum format in line with the recommendations of the community-led Meeting Strategy Working Group. Your feedback is important to us.

This Post-ICANN56 Policy Forum Report captures highlights from the week including summaries of the cross-community sessions and updates from our Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees. As you see from this infographic, it was a busy four days of robust debate, discussion, disagreement, and compromise.

ICANN congratulates and thanks Chuck Gomes and Keith Davidson, this year’s recipients of the Multistakeholder Ethos Award. This award honors members of the community who demonstrate dedication to ICANN’s multistakeholder model of Internet governance through many years of active participation and leadership.

Above all else, we aspire to support the core consensus-driven policy and advice development work of ICANN by enabling efficient and effective bottom-up participation and engagement in the multi stakeholder model. Again, we appreciate your contributions to a successful ICANN56 Policy Forum.

Best regards, from: David Olive, Senior Vice President, Policy Development Support, General Manager, ICANN Regional, Headquarters – Istanbul.

Overview:
This forum report is divided into two, namely the Cross-Community sessions and Supporting Organisations cum Advisory Committees (SO/AC) updates.

In the Cross-Community sessions includes ICANN56 by the numbers, briefs on Next Generation Registration, Directory Services, Review of All Rights Protection, Mechanisms in All generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs), Charter for the CCWG on Auction Proceeds, New gTLD Subsequent Procedures, Draft Framework of Principles for Future CCWGs, Workload Scheduling and Management and ICANN56 Wrap-Up and ICANN57 Planning.

Whereas the Supporting organisations and Advisory Committees updates cover the Address Supporting Organization (ASO), Country Code Names Supporting Organization (CCNSO), Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), At-Large and At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC), Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC) and Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC).

For the Senior Vice President, Policy Development Support and General Manager, ICANN Regional Headquarters in Istanbul, Mr. David Olive described ICANN56 Policy Forum as successful in a thank you letter to the community.

ICANN, he said hopes the innovative format fostered collaboration andsubstantive policy and advice development work. ICANN will continue to evaluate and improve the Policy Forum format in line with the recommendations of the community-led Meeting Strategy Working Group, adding stakeholders’ feedback is important.

Also, this Post-ICANN56 Policy Forum Report captures highlights fromthe week including summaries of the cross-community sessions and updates from our Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees.

As you see from this infographic, it was a busy four days of robust debate, discussion, disagreement, and compromise.

ICANN congratulates and thanks Chuck Gomes and Keith Davidson, this year’s recipients of the Multistakeholder Ethos Award. This award honors members of the community who demonstrate dedication to ICANN’s multistakeholder model of Internet governance through many years of active participation and leadership.

Above all else, Olive noted ICANN aspires to support the core consensus-driven policy and advice development work of ICANN by enabling efficient and effective bottom-up participation and engagement in the multistakeholder model. Again, we appreciate your contributions to a successful ICANN56 Policy Forum.

What Happened at ICANN56?
This cross-community session was led by Next Generation Registration Directory Services (RDS) Policy Development Process (PDP) working group chaired by Chuck Gomes, supported by vice chairs David Cake, Susan Kawaguchi, and Michele Neylon and by ICANN policy development support staff members Marika Konings and Lisa Phifer.

During this session, working group members drew from their own experiences to share examples and attendees joined in a lively conversation about possible requirements which they believe should be supported by next generation Registration Directory Service (RDS) to replace WHOIS. Inputs gathered during this cross-community session are essential to inform this policy development process working group’s phase 1 recommendations.

The discussion on this topic, including reflecting on the cross-community input received, continued during the PDP working group’s meeting the next day.

Next Steps
The working group will next confirm that the list of possible requirements—including those suggested during the cross-community session is sufficiently complete to serve as the foundation for deliberations. The working group will then continue through its work plan to Task 12. The working group will systematically consider each possible requirement individually with the goal of trying to reach as strong a consensus as possible on working group support for a possible requirement, including how it is worded. Due to interdependencies, working group deliberation will likely be interactive, especially on fundamental questions pertaining to purpose, data, and privacy. As part of this process, the working group is expected to review the input received from GNSO stakeholder groups and constituencies as well as ICANN Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees.
Session Materials
Review the presentation, read the transcripts, or listen to the recordings of this cross-community session here. For the working group meeting materials please visit www.icann.org later.

Review of All Rights Protection Mechanisms in All gTLDs:

What Happened at ICANN56?
This cross-community session focused on the scope of the policy development process (PDP), particularly its current Phase One (of Two) where the Working Group is reviewing the rights protection mechanisms (RPM) that were developed for the new gTLD program of 2012. This topic had been selected so that the community’s input can be taken into account by the working group for the purpose of prioritizing the list of topics it will cover during the PDP. 

At its open meeting, the working group discussed the input that was provided during the cross-community session and continued its analysis of the first RPM –Review Public Meeting - it is reviewing—the Trademark Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure (PDDRP). The two sessions in combination and attendance by non-working group members and participants from other parts of the community made for a very useful discussion.

Next Steps

The working group will use the feedback it received to finalize and refine the non-exhaustive list of topics to be covered in its RPMs review. The working group aims to complete its work on the Trademark PDDRP by late August, and will proceed to review the remaining RPMs in sequence, culminating in a planned initial report on its Phase One work before the end of 2017.

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Open letter: From chant of change to cries of hunger by Anthony Cardinal Okogie

Commentary@ITRealms:
    Dear Mr. President,
Last year, when you assumed office, the chant of “Change”, your campaign slogan, ushered you into the Presidential Villa.
    Today, cries of “hunger” could be heard across the length and breadth of our vast country. Nigerians hunger, not only for food, but also for good leadership, for peace, security and justice.
This letter is to appeal to you to do something fast, and, if you are already doing something, to redouble your effort. May it not be written on the pages of history that Nigerians die of starvation under your watch. As President, you are chief servant of the nation. I therefore urge you to live up to the huge expectation of millions of Nigerians. A stitch in time saves nine.
The way forward
This is the second year of your administration. You and your party promised to lead the masses to the Promised Land. It is not an easy task to lead. But by campaigning for this office, you offered to take the enormous task of leadership upon yourself. Nigerians are waiting for you to fulfill the promises you made during the campaign. They voted you into office because of those promises. The introduction of town hall meetings is a commendable idea. But in practice, you, not just your ministers, must converse with Nigerians. You are the President. You must be accountable to them. The buck stops on your desk. Even if your administration has no magic wand at least give some words of encouragement.
 On this same score, please instruct your ministers, and insist that they be sincere and polite at those town meetings. Their sophistry will neither serve you nor Nigerians. Mr. President, if you want to leave a credible legacy come 2019, in all sincerity, please retool your administration. Change is desirable. But it must be a change for the better. Let this change be real. Change is not real when old things that we ought to discard refuse to pass away.
You will need to take a critical look at your cabinet, at the policies and programmes of your administration, and at those who help you to formulate and execute them. You will need to take a critical look at the manner of appointments you have been making. It is true that commonsense dictates that you appoint men and women you can trust. But if most of the people you trust are from one section of the country and practice the same religion, then you and all of us are living in insecurity.
The Nigerian economy has never been in a state as terrible as this. You as President are like pilot of an aircraft flying in turbulence. Turbulent times bring the best or the worst out of a pilot. We can no longer blame the turbulence on past administrations. You know quite well that some of the officials of your administration served in previous dispensations. Blame for what we have been experiencing is in fact bipartisan in character.
The entire political class needs to come together, irrespective of party differences, to acknowledge its collective guilt and to seek ways of saving the sinking ship that our country has become. This cannot be done if some officials of your administration demonise and alienate members of the opposition.
If a large portion of the blame for the present situation is to be laid on the doorsteps of the entire political class, the search for solution must involve everyone. That is why no one should be alienated. All hands must be on deck. This is the time to revitalise moribund industries, reinvigorate our agriculture, make our country tourist and investor friendly, and enable our young men and women to find fulfillment by contributing to the common good.
None of these lofty goals can be achieved without good education. On this particular issue, recent appointments you have made in the education sector raise a question: have you really appointed the best? Still on education, it is important that our universities be allowed to use their own criteria to admit students. It is a gross violation of the principles of federalism and academic freedom for the federal government to insist that only a federal parastatal can decide on who gains admission into our universities.
It is the role of the university senate, not of government bureaucrats, to decide on who gets admitted and who is awarded a certificate. The war on corruption Mr. President, your desire to wage a war on corruption is just and noble. But a just war must be waged with just means.
Those who have stolen the wealth of this country have broken the laws of our country. They must be treated according to the law and not outside the law, and the outcome of the judicial process must be respected by government. Even accused persons have rights. Where those rights are violated, we risk a descent to anarchy. It is our candid opinion that corruption is not found in only one party. No political party in Nigeria has a monopoly of looters. That is why we need an EFCC that is thoroughly independent of the presidency, and an Attorney General without party affiliation working in partnership with various independent accounting institutes. This will ensure that we come up with an objective list of those who plundered our treasury.
Mr. President, pardon me if I sound like a gratuitous counselor. I owe you the truth and nothing but the truth. In my life as a public figure and a religious leader, I have offered my counsel, for whatever its worth, to quite a number of Presidents in this country. I do this because I desire that you succeed. For the success of the leader is the success of the citizens. If there is no solution to Nigeria’s problem there may be endless war. You strike one town, you gain it, and you come again to regain it.
Remember that you cannot put a crown on your head. It is the people who put it on you. Otherwise one day, you will get tired of it. Please listen to the legitimate cries of your fellow citizens.
*Courtesy: Anthony Cardinal Okogie, emeritus Archbishop of Lagos ArchdioceseITREALMS ... everything news digitally!

Nigeria: Battling Corruption to a Standstill?

Over the years, it has been identified in countless studies that one of the core reasons Nigeria has failed to develop to its full potential is pervasive corruption.

Corruption, it is said, runs through the entire gamut of the country’s life such that many official enquiries and probes have exposed widespread monumental fraud, bribery, embezzlement, rent seeking and kickbacks across the public and private sectors.

It can’t be emphasised enough that funds which ought to have gone into building infrastructure and generally improving the lives of the people invariably end up in the pockets of some people. The result is that healthcare, education, food security, human security, job creation and other areas where funds are needed to make life meaningful to the people are severely neglected. Why? The monies budgeted for these sectors over the years are spirited away by a few heartless crooks.

Today, all over the country evidence of this willful theft and unconscionable looting of public funds can be seen in the appalling healthcare delivery system, deplorable facilities in educational institutions, avoidable food importation, massive youth unemployment, dreadful state and federal roads, as well as shockingly ill-equipped armed forces, police and other security outfits.  

Even the emergence of violent extremism in the North-east, militant agitations in the Niger Delta and the serial abysmal performance of Nigeria’s athletes in the Olympic Games cannot be attributed to anything other than corruption.

In the words of Eghosa Osagie, professor of comparative politics and Vice Chancellor of Igbinedion University, Okada, “It is easy to see how corruption breeds on the ownership of the state on the one hand, and the weak bonds and structures of accountability on the other.” According to him, corruption does not symbolize privatization of public office for private gain, embezzlement and other negative pecuniary transactions that deprive society of much needed resources only. It also includes the manipulation and subversion of institutions, rules regulations, procedures and laws which he said is mostly evident in the flawed electoral process.

Indeed the damage corruption inflicts on society is huge, costing the global economy some $2.6trn annually, according to John Kerry, US Secretary of States during his recent visit to Nigeria. From all indications, going by the manner corruption has torn through its fabric, Nigeria no doubt would be one of the countries contributing a large percentage to the global scam.

Mindful of the havoc it continues to wreak on nations, Kerry describes corruption as not just a disgrace and a crime, but also dangerous. He praised President Muhammadu Buhari for confronting the monster frontally and pledged continual support in that regard. From the way the war is being conducted, he surmised that Nigeria could in fact be a model to other nations.

And truly since assuming office May 29, 2015, Buhari has lived up to his campaign promise of tackling corruption headlong and providing a fresh template for instilling transparency and accountability. On the matter of corruption, credit goes to him for he indeed hit the ground running. Seeing the way the screw has been turned on treasury looters and the big thieves in the society, all those harbouring the belief that there are ‘untouchables’ who would never be called to give account are now beginning to have a rethink.

The message is now out there that under this administration, it would no longer be ‘business as usual.’ But the fight should also not be conducted in a manner that leaves the impression that Buhari as the general of this war has no army behind him. It cannot be denied that at the federal level the battle is raging, but it has to percolate to the state and local government levels for it to register the desired impact. Governors, especially those of the ruling party, must take a cue from Buhari in the quest for zero tolerance for corruption.

But by far the greatest army in this all-important assignment is the now rejuvenated Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The institution has so far demonstrated not just the courage, but also the will and the focus to ensure that corruption is reduced to the barest minimum in the country.

The Acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, has not betrayed the image of him that was awash in the media when his name was announced as the new anti-corruption czar, in November last year. Magu was said to be the squirrel teeth that cracked many cases leading to the conviction of some treasury looters during the tenure of the first chairman of that agency, Mallam Nuhu Ribau. He was described as more ruthless in the anti-graft war front than even his famed former boss, Nuhu Ribadu. The man is proving to us that all that was true, and even more!

Going by the accolades and international respect his work has earned Nigeria from all over the world, Magu is indeed a patriot that should be encouraged.

Rising up to the rots of corruption and challenging the powerful cabals in the temple of graft is no mean task. It is not for the lily-livered nor is it for one with moral deficit.

Under Magu’s stewardship, and with the full support of President Buhari, EFCC has regained its biting teeth by tackling cases of monumental fraud. Several billions of naira have been recovered from looters and many of them have been dragged to courts.

Considering all these, by the time Magu’s appointment is confirmed by the Senate, it is expected that the anti-corruption war would be more invigorated and the EFCC more emboldened in its quest to rein in the monster of corruption and the merciless parasites that have been sucking on our collective patrimony.     


*Contributed by Godwin Onyeacholem is a journalist. He can be reached on gonyeacholem@gmail.com

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Pix: EFCC chairman, Mr. Magu.

Monday, August 29, 2016

PMB promises ease of doing business in Nigeria, eyes top 100 economies by 2019

President Muhammadu Buhari has promised the international community of ease of doing business in Nigeria, just as the country will be among top 100 nations in the next three years, reports ITRealms.

Speaking in Nairobi, Kenya on Sunday, President Muhammadu Buhari said, Nigeria will be one of the most attractive and easiest places of doing business in the world by year 2019.
Buhari who made this disclosure while in a session on "Dialogue with the Private Sector" at the sixth Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD VI), said his administration is implementing policies and measures to create right and enabling environment for business and investors in Nigeria.

ITRealms recalls that Nigeria is currently ranked 169 out of 189 countries by the World Bank, according to the Bank's 2016 Ease of Doing Business report.

The session attended by several African leaders, ITRealms gathered included Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and international business executives, Buhari told participants that his administration’s vision and objective is to make Nigeria one of the top investment destinations in the world, within the shortest possible time.

“We believe government has a particular responsibility to create right and attractive environment for businesses and economic activities to thrive. In furtherance of this vision, we have launched the Presidential Enabling Environment Council (PEEC) and Inter-Ministerial Council to oversee the efforts of government to remove various bottlenecks that stifle businesses and economic activities and thereby create economic activities and the right enabling environment and investment climate in Nigeria.

According to the Senior Special Adviser (SSA) to the President on Media & Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu in a press statement made available to ITRealms, the secretariat of PEEC, Buhari was quoted as sayings, will include strong private sector representation that would be led by experienced business professionals from the private sector.


‘‘We are committed to moving up the ranking of the World Bank’s ease of doing business index 20 places in first year and be in the top 100 within the next 3 years,’’ the President said.

Ayo Omidele/GEE
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Pix: President Buhari

Riot act: Lagos warns owners of illegal structures in Ikoyi, VI, Lekki

The Lagos State Government has read a riot act to all the owners of illegal structures, shanties, street hawkers and those who have converted walkways into trading points and food courts in Ikoyi, Victoria Island and the Lagoon Front of Lekki, giving them 14 days grace to remove such illegal structures, reports ITRealms.

A press statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Tunji Bello, on Sunday, the State Government warned that if such illegal structures are not removed after the 14 days grace, the State Special Task Force on the Clean Up of the areas would move in to enforce the laws.

“The owners of all the illegal structures, shanties, abandoned buildings and all those who have converted road median to commercial uses in Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Lekki have between Monday, August 29, 2016 and two weeks time to comply or have the State Special Task Force on the Clean Up of the areas to contend with,” the SSG said.

LASG cautioned owners of all abandoned buildings in different areas of Ikoyi, Lekki and Victoria Island, which are now harbouring prostitutes, illegal miscreants and unwanted elements must clear the structures of such undesirable elements immediately.

Bello also warned owners of properties on the Lagoon fronts of Lekki Phase 1 who have littered the whole areas with compactors and several other deadweight equipments to remove them outrightly.

The LASG scribe noted with concern the conversion of the frontages of properties and abandoned houses to kiosks and trading points by maids and guards as well as the unregulated activities of horticulturists who have turned setbacks to hideouts and selling points.

He reiterated the determination of the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode administration to restore the original master plan of Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Lekki by checking the activities of roadside automobile repairers who have converted many dual carriage lanes to single lanes with indiscriminate parkings.

The State Government, he said, would no longer tolerate unauthorised parking of vehicles, trucks as well unsightly state of drainage infrastructure, adding that owners of such vehicles and properties with unkempt drainages will be prosecuted.

Bello said it is totally unacceptable for people to stockpile and display wares such as bags of charcoal on major roads like Ahmadu Bello Way and Federal Secretariat Road, Ikoyi, stating that henceforth such goods would be confiscated and the owners prosecuted.

“We are using this medium to sensitise members of the public and residents of the affected areas who are involved in these illegalities to immediately take right action and do the needful as the State Government will take the necessary steps to enforce its environmental and sanitation laws forthwith," he said.


Emphasising that all those engaging in roadside display of wares, illegal street trading and all illegal squatters on undeveloped land and all those who have converted road median to commercial uses in Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Lekki are being advised in their own interest to put a stop to the illegalities.

Ayo Omidele/GEE
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Zinox digital hubs attract $25m investment, to employ 500 Nigerians

Foremost Information and Communications Technology (ICT) company, Zinox Technologies, has attracted $25m counterpart funding investment to establish three digital hubs in Nigeria, which will pave way for employment of some 500 Nigerians, reports ITRealms.

Revealing these while receiving Acting Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Vincent Olatunji, on Thursday in Lagos, the Chairman, Zinox Group, Dr. Leo Stan Ekeh, said the latest investment would increase the share of contribution from the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He explained that work has commenced in one of the digital hub in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, stressing that among other things, will create employment and empower thousands of digitally-minded Nigerian youths in search of the right platforms to develop their skills.

Ekeh also said with the one located in Abuja which is nearing completion and all things being equal will become active by early 2017.  With the current improvements raising hopes of stability in public power supply by first quarter of 2017, the company plans to install the digital plants and commence production thereafter.

Nigerian economy, he said, is in dire need of an alternative to crude oil a role which the ICT sector could effortlessly play in boosting the nation’s dwindling earnings. In the view of the Zinox boss, Nigeria has millions of young Nigerians of digital mindset with the potential to become dollar billionaires.

He cited instance with the case of Nigerian start-up and pioneer composite e-commerce outfit Yudala which received little funding from investors and within one year is a leading e-commerce brand in Nigeria employing over 400 graduates.

Ekeh equally disclosed that their strength is not cash but knowledge of the business backed with strong front and back-end technologies. Just as he affirmed that thousands of such brilliant kids exist in the country, even as he urged the government to partner with technologically-minded companies in unearthing such raw digital diamonds in the country.

“A simple app developed by a Nigerian which achieves global acceptance could usher such an individual into the league of billionaires while putting the country on the world map.

“I had a similar experience when Zinox acquired an Ibadan-based software company Xputer. The young chaps behind Xputer were so talented and had huge capacity to develop amazing content but no individual, corporate or government saw any potential in them. Some of the apps developed by these young Nigerians are being used today by e-commerce companies in Nigeria which they would have paid millions of dollars for, had it been developed by foreign companies,” he enthused, assuring that Zinox will not retrench quality Nigerian staff.

Speaking after a guided tour of the various infrastructure and facilities within the premises including the digital computer hardware manufacturing and assembly plant, telecoms e-Hub unit, Data Centre, bandwidth aggregation, digital security infrastructures and warehousing facilities as well as integrated after-sales service and support centre, among others, Dr. Olatunji affirmed the commitment of the agency in partnering with Zinox Technologies in the task of empowering the youth through the provision of requisite capacity-building programmes and initiatives.

Dr. Olatunji who expressed delight with the infrastructure and facilities on display at the Zinox headquarters during the tour of the company premises, disclosed that NITDA is keen to empower tech start-ups as a means of promoting opportunities in non-oil sectors, noting that a partnership with Zinox Technologies will go a long way in helping to achieve this aim.

“We cannot talk about the ICT sector in Nigeria and indeed in Africa without mentioning Zinox. Zinox has been in the forefront of the digital revolution on the continent and has continued to play a major role. You have shown extreme world class capacity and passion as a leader in the sector and this is why we have come on this visit to restate our commitment towards working with Zinox to achieve our objectives of empowering tech start-ups and boosting the revenue profile of the ICT sector" he said.

Olatunji noted that the government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to supporting local entrepreneurships, particularly in the ICT sector, he further solicited the support of Zinox Technologies in partnering with the agency ahead of GITEX 2016 Technology Week slated for October.


ITRealms recalls that GITEX 2016 is organized by the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), and will feature local technology start-ups, with NITDA facilitating Nigerias participation at three levels including the Nigerian Pavilion, Nigerian Startups cobs inside the Innovation Hub, and the Gitex Africa Investment Forum being co-managed by the NITDA and the DWTC.

Chuks Egbune/GEE
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Pix: Zinox chairman, Ekeh showing off facilities to Dr. Olatunji of NITDA and his team

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Nigeria tops United States visa refusal in 2015

Exclusive@ITRealms:
Out of the $23 million the United States of America (USA) made from rejected visa applications across Africa in 2015, Nigeria is topping the list with a total of 202,267 visa applications out of the 407,652.27 while 65,858 were rejected, reports ITRealms.

Also within the year under review, ITRealms exclusively gathered that Nigeria has a total of 136,409 applications granted visa with none exceeding 24 months validity.

According to data made available to ITRealms by Africa Fact Zone, the Republic of Zimbabwe followed on the rate of unsuccessful applications with 20,965, while Ethiopia has 10,108; Ghana recorded 14,972 and Kenya having 6,174 within the top 5 most unsuccessful countries in 2015.

The Gambia was the most refused country for US visa within the year under review with 75.64 per cent rate, followed by Somalia with 64.60 per cent rate, Ghana – 63.28 per cent; Eritrea scoring 55.67 per cent out of the 143,571 total refusals.

However, most successful rate went to South Africa which has 5 per cent refusal rate whereas having 48,432 total visa granted with 120-month equals to 10 years validity of multiple entries, alongside Senegal which got 120 months validity too, even as The Gambia, Kenya and Ghana has 60 months validity respectively.

Zimbabweans under the review achieved 36 months validity followed by the likes of Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia, Angola; in turn got the award of 24 months for their citizens.


The dataset, ITRealms further gathered covered some 16 African countries included DR Congo, Tanzania, Zambia, Cote d’Ivoire among others.

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Gov. Obiano lites up 3 symbolic flyovers

The Executive Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano has lit-up the three symbolic flyovers completed by his administration in the past two years in the state capital, Awka, reports ITRealms.

Confirming this to ITRealms, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Gov. Willie Obiano on Social Media, Mr. Ifeanyi Aniagoh said that it was a symbolic gesture as it falls within the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the state.

According to him, this took place at the eve of Anambra@25 Anniversary, as he accompanied by Bishops from Catholic and Anglican faiths, traditional rulers and stakeholders to set alight the three state-of-the-art flyovers.

These flyovers, he said, are located at Aroma, Kwata and Amawbia Junctions respectively along Awka - Onitsha Expressway describing it as historic.

“… Being the firsts in Awka capital city and were completed within 2 years... A record time!” he declared.


He further said that the Awka, capital of Anambra State on its 25 ‘Birthday’ bears a new look with 3 modern bridges built to outlive its time with historic profile and street lights.

Emeka Ikeanyi/GEE
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