Yudala Zero Gravity

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Nigeria tops United States visa refusal in 2015

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.

Chuks Egbune/GEE
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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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A year after: Remembering Amb Adebowale Adefuye

One year ago to this day, Adefuye's heart stopped beating, leaving the world of time. If Nigeria is still the indispensable nation in Africa, he was the indispensable A Nigerian diplomat.

When the news of his death got to me this day last year, it was unbelievable Ambassador Adebowale Adefuye, that great, pulsing, vital frame quiet at last.

To countless numbers around the world, that was how things felt with the death of Ambassador Adebowale Adefuye, Nigeria's diplomat extraordinary. On August. 26, Adefuye was rushed to a hospital in Washington, D.C., and notwithstanding hours of constant care, died, aged 68, on the evening of August 27.

In every way, Adefuye was a big man — handsome, broad-shouldered, with a capacious mind and a generous heart.

He was a skilful actor in the international arena whose imaginative skills and unyielding resolve, won for the country plaudits globally.

Restoring honour was something of a Adefuye skill.  Adefuye’s posting to the United States of America (USA) came on the heels of the international infamy caused by the action of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian who attempted to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight headed from Amsterdam to Detroit on December 25, 2009. This development earned Nigeria the odious membership status of America’s terrorism watch list. The consequence was that the US authorities had to subject Nigerians to all sorts of humiliations and indignities at the major United States airports.

In his drive, his boldness, his determination to do anything he could to get Nigeria off that ignoble list, he demonstrated the best of Nigerian policy — actually, more than that, the best of the Nigerian character and diplomacy.

His doggedness paid off when the then Secretary of State, Mrs. Hilary Clinton, announced the good news that Nigeria was removed from ignominious list. This became the first achievement of Adefuye.

That same big spirit was evident in a part of the Adefuye’s résumé that, I would guess, will be little noticed in most obituaries: his dynamic leadership role used in strengthening the US-Nigeria Bi- National Commission bringing investment worth over $15 billion to Nigeria.

He was one of the kindest man I know. I only saw him get angry once. The genesis of the anger stemmed from U.S Republican Senator John McCain’s comment in U.S newspaper the Daily Beast when the Boko Haram Schoolgirls kidnapping story gained traction in 2014.

McCain had in a statement said that the U.S Military should invade Nigeria and free the girls without waiting for permission from Nigeria’s president, whom he referred to as “some guy named Goodluck Jonathan.”

Coincidentally, I was with him and I noticed the visibly anger signs, within a couple of minutes he had written a response which he shared with me.

He wrote, “The ranking Arizona Senator and former Republican presidential candidate has inexplicably seized on the pain of a distressed nation not only to show contempt to our country but also denigrate the office and person of His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

“One wonders what could have happened if the 2008 elections have gone the other way and McCain became the President of the most powerful nation in the world,” he said. “The good Lord has a better plan for the people of the world.”

“We will like to call on his well paid staff to brief him properly on Nigeria and accord our country as well as the Office of the President the respect they deserve,” Adefuye wrote.

He did everything to make America help Nigeria in the fight against terror, at time he was frustrated. He once said that the United States is letting down an old ally in its hour of need, and Nigeria's people and government feel abandoned.

It was evident in the way he brought together State Department officials and the diplomatic community in Washington, even a known, once inveterate opponent of Nigeria in the U.S Congress.

It was evident in the days and months he laboured long and often thanklessly in what I think he regarded his most difficult task of all, bringing a measure of peace, stability and security to Nigeria.

Adefuye’s last major assignment was to receive President Buhari with his delegation during the official visit to the United States last July. The late Ambassador facilitated Mr. President’s several meetings with US leader, Barack Obama and his Vice President, senior state officials and representatives of America’s business community. The success of this visit was largely attributed to Ambassador Adefuye’s skills as a diplomat and a great of Washington.

President Buhari was so happy that he extended his tenure for another month with feelers that Adefuye would be called upon to serve the country in another capacity.

Adefuye was a friend of mine.  He was a father, brother and a confidant.

Just two weeks before he passed, I saw him — and his devoted aides at his office, where he sent me on errand to his relation at First Bank, Folake Ani—Mumuney, the Head Corporate Communications.

I also had the opportunity of meeting him at a dinner event where he proposed a toast with generosity, affection, self-deprecation and the sort of comic timing that made you think he had missed his true profession.

I liked him enormously. But for all that he did over nearly 40 years of service to his nation, and indeed to all humankind, I admired him much, much more. A great hush, indeed.

*Femi Soneye, is the Publisher of PerSecond News
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Pix: Amb. Adebowale Adefuye

WhatsApp routes for targeted adverts

Acclaimed global messaging service (GMS) known as WhatsApp has disclosed plans to share the phone numbers of its users with Facebook, its parent company with undertone to show targeted adverts, reports ITRealms.

This follows the recent acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook in October 2014, to the tune of $21.9bn, about N6,872,450,000,000 trillion.

The latest disclosure on sharing of WhatsApp users’ mobile phone numbers, ITRealms gathered means WhatsApp users would soon start to see more targeted ads and Facebook friend suggestions on Facebook based on WhatsApp information.

This, industry watchers said may not be on the messaging service itself but for the likes of web version of WhatsApp.

According to the Associated Press (AP), the move is a subtle but significant shift for WhatsApp, used by over a 1 billion people across the world.

ITRealms recalls that at the time of acquisition by Facebook for an eye-popping $21.8 billion two years ago, executives promised privacy would be safeguarded.

"This is a strong-arm tactic on the part of Facebook," said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy in Washington, D.C. "They continue on a campaign on to run roughshod on our privacy rights."

AP further revealed that WhatsApp is giving users a limited time to opt out of sharing their information with Facebook, although warranting their extra step of unchecking a box to do so.

WhatsApp officials hinted that Facebook would not post phone numbers online or give them 
out to anyone.

Nenye Dom/GEE
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Friday, August 26, 2016

NBA Confab 2016: Re-Invent now, Ekeh, Zinox chief, charges lawyers

The Chairman of Zinox Group, Dr. Leo Stan Ekeh has called on Nigerian lawyers to re-invent in line with current technological realities or face the threat of losing relevance in the practice of the legal profession, reports ITRealms.

The boss of the acclaimed Africa’s most integrated Information and Communications Technology (ICT) conglomerate, gave this charge at the three-day, 2016 Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) which closes in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Friday August 26th 2016.

He said in his paper entitled “Wealth Creation for the Lawyer in the 21st Century using technology,” serial digital entrepreneur Ekeh challenged the audience which included Learned Silks, Honourable Body of Benchers and distinguished Members of the Bar, among others to wake up to the strong and compelling circumstances necessitating changes in the legal market place and forcing it out of its protective cocoon. 

Ekeh noted that the legal profession is one that is notoriously averse to change, stressing that the survival of any sector, profession or business organisation is directly dependent on its ability to innovate and align itself with the present digital revolution.

“In our present society, technology has permeated almost all sectors, industries and several human undertakings. Many sectors have been overtaken by the internet, mobile phone apps and people’s ability to find free information as against situations they used to pay for. Any organization or sector that refuses to innovate and embrace new technological realities will eventually die. 

Ekeh who posited that the 21st century is a century for only those who want to be successful, said it is a century you can alter your destiny and remain a global success. He said it is a century of knowledge and style.

“The law profession must embrace this change and properly align itself to the benefit maximally from the present digital revolution. In this 21st century, a lawyer’s wealth shall be determined by the application of digital technology to his work. It is either the lawyer reinvents himself to the technological realities of the 21st century and its impact on service delivery to clients or the lawyer would eventually disappear from the radar of the legal profession.”

Ekeh pointed out, the revolutions in the field of ICT puts a lot of pressures on the legal profession which makes it imperative for the contemporary lawyer to re-tool in order to remain relevant in the scheme of things.

“Law has been something of a protected industry spared from some of the general business realities applicable to almost all other industries. Lawyers occupy a unique place with monopoly of access to legal knowledge, and no real competition. For instance, the relationship with the client is controlled by the law firm which decides almost entirely by itself how the services are to be delivered, and dictating the costs, pricing, and strategic direction.

“Hence, as long as the status quo served the lawyer, there is no need to innovate or provide cost-efficient services. It is a closed market. But whereas, the seller (the lawyer) appears comfortable with the status quo, he fails to realize that his earnings can greatly be increased by innovation and technology which invariably would cause a disruption of the status quo in the legal marketplace. 

“But now, there are strong and compelling circumstances necessitating changes in the legal market place and forcing it out of its protective cocoon.”

Ekeh also said, today’s lawyers stand a better chance of building new and sustainable wealth, only if they upgrade their knowledge and leverage on the numerous opportunities available through technology. 

Urging lawyers to explore businesses such as Family Offices which are increasingly being embraced by discreet but very successful clients, Ekeh counselled members of the audience to acquire knowledge on Family Council as well as professional management of Trusts instead of Will which is the cause of unlimited litigations and wastage of saved resources in many families in Nigeria. 

In addition, the Zinox helmsman disclosed other areas such as set-up of virtual/digital law libraries, cloud-computing, e-form and drafting templates, digital law reporting, e-conferencing as well as networking and the use of social media which could help the lawyer lend further technological refinements to the practice of the profession.

The session which witnessed a question-and-answer session also had in attendance the Honourable Minister of Communications represented by the Postmaster General of the Federation, Asiwaju Bisi Adegbuyi as well as representatives from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) among others.

Nenye Dom/GEE

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Pix: Ekeh, Zinox chairman.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Ekweremadu condemns fresh heldsmen attack @Akagbwe Ugwu

Following the early morning fresh attack at Akagwe-Ugwu community in Nkanu West Local Government Area of Enugu State, on Thursday, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu has condemned the onslaught, reports ITRealms.

This attack, ITRealms also gathered left scores including a seminarian dead according to an eye-witness.

Ekweremadu, in a press statement made available to ITRealms, decried the never-ending attacks on parts of the country, especially in the South East by suspected herdsmen, saying they pose a grave threat to the peace, security, and economy of the country.

Also he called on the Federal Government (FG) to restraint the trend in a decisive manner, declaring “This is another heartbreak, not only for Enugu State, but the nation in general; and whatever evil forces behind these reprehensible acts certainly do not wish the country well. It must not be condoned.”

Ekweremadu equally said the primary object of government is the welfare and security of the citizens, stressing that the Federal Government must take decisive steps to put a full stop to this wanton destruction of lives and property; and the security agencies must do everything humanly possible to ensure that the perpetrators of this act of wickedness in Akagbe-Ugwu do not go unpunished.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

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Pix: Ike Ekweremadu, deputy senate president

CAN alleges discrimination over Kerry visit to Sultan, North

The United States (US) Secretary of States, Mr John Kerry's visit to Nigeria has been termed as discriminatory by the Christian Association of Nigerian (CAN) following the limit of his visit to the Palace of Sultan of Sokoto and Presidency, reports ITRealms.
CANN on Thursday said described Kerry visit as discriminatory, personal and divisive and warned him to stop interfering in the internal affairs of the country, alleging the visit was aimed at furthering the federal government’s plan to continue to persecute the teeming population of Nigerian Christians.
Kerry, during the visit had only visited the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, met with the 19 northern governors, whom only three are Christians. At the Presidential Villa, where Kerry was hosted by President Muhammadu Buhari, met with select northern governors, which also irked critics on the selection process of his hosts.
The President of CAN, Rev. Dr. Supo Ayokunle, in an interview with journalists said Kerry’s lack of respect to the heterogeneous nature of Nigeria, amounted to favouring northern Nigeria and Muslims to the detriment of the Christian community. 
According to Ayokunle, the attitude and disposition of the Secretary of States and the discrimination he adopted during the visit supports  accusations that the President Barack Obama’s administration, alongside Kerry and other strategic US politicians in the Obama’s government openly supported the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2016 general elections, which produced the current leadership of the country.
While calling on Kerry to “stop interfering in Nigerian affairs”, CAN president explained that the visit was a complete flop and exposed Kerry’s negligence of Nigeria’s unity in diversity ideology that has remained the bedrock of the country.“Why did he meet with 19 states governors, without southern governors, is Nigeria the north alone, why did you go to the north alone?” 

Ayokunle stated that visit sends a wrong message, affirming the report that Christians under the Buhari’s administration are under a siege.  “There’s a siege on Christians. Kerry, his actions speak volume, his actions, body language were very divisive.

“If US Secretary of States is coming for official visit, it’s understandable, but we demand explanation why he was selective. Has the Sultan Palace become another State House? Was Kerry invited by the Sultan?

“We have 36 States in Nigeria; he only selected northern governors to meet with them. It was a visit to the north, not to Nigeria. It was surely a very divisive visit. With the visit to the north, Kerry’s visit has heightened fear and tension among Christians in Nigeria, if they cannot bring us together, they should not interfere in our affairs” 

Speaking against the perennial killing of Christians in northern Nigeria, The CAN president said, based on government the selective persecution of Christians mostly by the Department of State Service (DSS) and the Nigerian Police, it was obvious the administration was anti-Christians.

“Have the DSS arrested the Muslim youths who burnt down a Catholic Church in Niger State because they were worshiping on Friday? What happened to the ECWA Pastor who was killed in his farm in Obi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State? What have happened with Redeemed Preacher who was murdered in Kubwa, Abuja? he said.

In addition, they said, it “Look at the recent case in Zamfara State, Christians where burnt alive. What has happened? They will tell you, they are still investigating. Have they been arrested and charged them to court? If the government cannot sit up and protect Christians, tolerance is going to break down, they should do the right thing, they should not provoke Christians. Have we ever seen this government bring anybody to book?” 

The CAN president tasked President Buhari “to come out clean”, adding that, “a government that doesn’t listen is not for the people.”

Ayokunle maintained that while the DSS and the Police have been slow in arresting extremists killing Christians in the country, they have been fast persecuting Christians.

The CAN leader called on the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to as a matter of urgency intervene in the case of Mr Joe Chinakwe who was arrested for naming his dog ‘Buhari’. He argued that, naming an animal with somebody’s name is never a criminal offence.

“The NBA should take up that case and ascertain whether the man has the right to give any name to a dog. They should come and protect the man’s human rights and set the record why the case is not a criminal offence", Ayokunle stated.

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE
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Pix: Kerry.

Missing Charity Aiyedogbon: 63 groups petition IGP

In continuation of its earlier call on the Police over the missing Abuja business woman, Charity Aiyedogbon, some 63 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) under the aegis of Coalition Against Crime in Nigeria (CACN) have petitioned the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, urging him to take necessary steps to effect the arrest of a prime suspect in the matter, Paul Chukwujekwu Ezeugo, presently at large, reports ITRealms.

The petition dated 22-8-2016, captioned: Re-Missing Charity Aiyedogbon: pertinent issues; our demands, signed by the group’s National Coordinator, Harrison Pepple and made available to ITRealms, they called on the Police to conduct a DNA test on a body displayed on Facebook by Lagos lawyer, Emeka Ugwuonye, to ascertain the veracity of his claim that it is that of the missing woman.  

The 2-page Petition made a six-point demand and reads in part: 

“Coalition against Crime in Nigeria is a Network of 63 Civil Society Organisations advocating against Crime, Immorality and other social vices in Nigeria.”

“We first write to commend you for your determination towards unravelling the mystery behind the sudden disappearance of an Abuja-based lady, Charity Aiyedogbon, aka Chacha, being handled by the Monitoring Unit of your office (IGPMU).”

“We are aware that the missing woman’s husband, David Aiyedogbon was directly accused by a Lagos-based lawyer, Emeka Ugwuonye of having a hand in her disappearance. He also displayed a corpse on his Facebook group, Due Process Advocates, claiming that it was that of the missing woman, among others.”

“We are also aware that the missing woman’s daughter’s (Juliet) wedding was postponed indefinitely as a result of the controversy generated by misinformation fed to Nigerians by Ugwuonye’s claims over her missing mother.”

“We also have reports that some arrests have been made in connection with her disappearance, while her vehicle and two handsets have been recovered, among other developments.”

Continuing, the Petition urged the Police to address Nigerians on the extent of investigation, while officially declaring Charity Aiyedogbon missing. 

“We demand that you use your good offices to order an immediate conduct of a DNA test on the corpse displayed online by Lagos lawyer, Emeka Ugwuonye to ascertain the true identity of the body; direct the Force Public Relations Officer to address Nigerians on the extent of investigation/findings on the matter and invoke relevant sections of the Police Act by declaring the prime suspect, Paul Chukwujekwu Ezeugo wanted, so Nigerians and the International Community will be on the lookout for him.”

Other demands by the group are that the Police “officially declare Charity Aiyedogbon (Chacha) missing; invite her extended family members (parents and 4 siblings) for questioning, following their continued silence on the matter of their missing daughter since May 10, 2016 and all those that have questions to answer (from your investigations) be charged to Court without further delay.”

ITRealms recalled that an Abuja-based business woman, Charity Aiyedogbon was declared missing on social media by her friends and her whereabouts remains a mystery that the Police is attempting to unravel.
Uboshe Uboshe/GEE
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Pix: IGP Idris