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FG meets NASS, chief justice on new ease of doing business action plan

ITRealms : The Federal Government (FG) has expanded the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) meeting Tuesday, t...

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

FG meets NASS, chief justice on new ease of doing business action plan

The Federal Government (FG) has expanded the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) meeting Tuesday, to be attended by the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Onnoghen, reports ITRealms.

Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity to the Vice President, Mr. Laolu Akande, confirmed this to ITRealms, saying that in furtherance of the Buhari administration’s ease of doing business reforms, to be chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, considering new and specific initiatives to be implemented over a 60-day period in the National Action Plan 2.0.

“It will be recalled that a previous 60-day National Action Plan on Ease of Doing Business was approved on February 21, 2017, and contained initiatives and actions implemented by responsible Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the National Assembly, the Governments of Lagos and Kano states, as well as some private sector stakeholders,” he said.

Akande also said that the expanded PEBEC meeting, would be attended by the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, and Kano State Governor, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, as well as the Acting Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control, who was invited to the session, based on stakeholder feedback.

PEBEC, ITRealms gathered was inaugurated in 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari, comprising 10 serving Ministers, with the Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okey Enelamah, as Vice Chair, along with the Head of Service, the Central Bank Governor, representatives of the National Assembly, Lagos and Kano States, and the private sector.

Recently, the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat (EBES) of the PEBEC released the 2016/2017 Reform Update document at the 5th Presidential Quarterly Business Forum held in Abuja on September 11, where the role of regulators as business facilitators was further discussed. This event was chaired by Prof. Osinbajo, and attended by ministers and Heads of Agencies, as well as leading companies in the private sector.

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$4m Yidan Prize on education research goes to Dweck, Colbert

The duo of Professor Carol Dweck of Stanford University, the United States and Vicky Colbert, founder and director of Escuela Nueva, Colombia, have emerged winners of the inaugural laurates for the Yidan Prize valued at estimated United States $4m, reports ITRealms.

Yidan Prize, ITRealms gathered is dedicated to creating a better world through education and stands out as the world’s biggest education prize.

Each winner in this inaugural edition of Yidan, ITRealms reports, received approximately $4 million US dollars to recognize their distinguished contributions to education and to help fund their future work.

The chairman of the judging committee of the Yidan Prize and the eighth director-general of UNESCO, Dr Koichiro Matsuura, said the Yidan Prize for Education Research laureate is Carol Dweck, the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University in the United States.

“The first-year result was satisfactory and we see a lot of potentials. The nominees’ work was judged based on four criteria which are sustainability, future-orientation, innovation and transformation, and we were impressed by the extent to which the nominated research and development projects have excelled in all aspects, and their tremendous contribution made to the community,” Matsuura said.

Pointing out that the education research is particularly future-oriented as it has proved, through cycles of experiments, even a brief "growth mindset intervention" in schools could markedly increase student performance.

The education project, Matsuura said, is sustainable for addressing the challenge of developing cost-effective, practical models for the tens of thousands of small rural schools.

ITRealms reports that Dweck’s groundbreaking research focused on the pioneering concept of the “growth mindset” built on a fundamental belief in the malleability of intelligence, which has become an influential concept in how children in the classroom are encouraged to evaluate and realize their full potential.

Dweck, Matsuura noted, conducted decades of outstanding scientific research on the effect of human mindsets on human performance, including demonstrating that some people view intelligence as a fixed quality that a person either possesses or does not. Other people view intelligence as a malleable quality that increases with effort and learning.

Those students with a "fixed mindset" tend, Prof Dweck pointed, take failure as evidence of their lack of ability, proving that they cannot succeed. Stressing that in response, they may curtail their effort and perform worse.

“In contrast, students with a "growth mindset" tend to perceive setbacks as evidence that they have not yet mastered the material. In response, they tend to increase effort, seek out more effective learning strategies, and perform better over time.

“Through cycles of experiments, Dweck and her colleagues have developed techniques that alter mindsets, and they have demonstrated that even a brief "growth mindset intervention" in schools can markedly increase student performance.

Also for the Yidan Prize for Education Development laureate, Vicky Colbert, founder and director of the Colombian organization Fundacion Escuela Nueva and co-creator of the Escuela Nueva educational model, Columbia, was adjudged for her education project Escuela Nueva (“New School” in Spanish) with a transformative “learner-centered” model that integrates the curriculum, teacher training, community involvement and school administration in a coherent and cost effective way.

ITRealms reports that the model has addressed fundamental issues in global education - providing high quality schooling for rural areas, and is proven to be impactful for its scalable outcomes in many countries and has been continuously expanded and developed for over three decades.

Also ITRealms gathered that in the 1970s, Colbert addressed the challenge of developing cost-effective, practical models for the tens of thousands of small rural schools scattered across her nation. With a focus on cooperative learning and cross-peer tutoring, she has used extensive cycles of feedback and continuous improvement to transition from conventional, teacher-centered, schooling practices to a new learner-centered model that coherently integrates the curriculum, teacher training and community involvement. This model has spread, making small, under-resourced rural schools effective in many Latin American nations.

In addition, she has adapted the model to urban environments, demonstrating that the Escuela Nueva form of schooling has great promise for improving the education of the hundreds of millions of disadvantaged children throughout the world.

Further, ITRealms gathered that independent judging committee led by Dr Koichiro Matsuura who selected the laureates comprised of Professor Paul Chu Ching-wu, professor of physics, T.L.L., Temple Chair of Science, University of Houston heads the Yidan Prize for Education Research panel, and Dorothy K. Gordon, former director-general of the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT leads the Yidan Prize for Education Development panel.

Remmy Nweke & Uj. N. Dominic/ED, Ops
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Pix: Prof. Dweck & Vicky Colbert

Anti-NGO bill: Umar Jibril lied over non-inclusion of churches – Caritas, JDPC

The Caritas Nigeria and Joint Development and Peace Centre (JDPC) have revealed that promotor of the anti-Non-Government Organisation (NGO) bill before the National Assembly, Hon. Umar Jibril lied when he claimed non-inclusion of churches and religious organization, reports ITRealms.

Both Caritas and JDPC are the organs of relief and development on behalf of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, duly registered as Incorporated Trustees under the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria.

The National Director, Caritas Nigeria and JDPC, Fr. Evaristus Bassey made this revelations, warning that the anti-NGO bill is equally an anti-Christianity bill.

He noted that most Catholic Dioceses and Archdioceses and Christian Churches that are registered in Nigeria under the CAC are registered as Incorporated Trustees and therefore fall under the NGO categorization; therefore unless a separate categorization is established for religious organisations, by law they are seen as incorporated Trustees and therefore as Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).

Fr. Bassey said Caritas Nigeria and JDPC have refrained from making any public statements hitherto because in the spirit of collaboration, have been working with the House Committee on NGOs and Development Partners, to come up with a legal framework that was mutually acceptable.

“Caritas Nigeria and JDPC have attended public hearings in the past on similar bills on the control NGOs, which did not see the light of the day as Acts of Parliament,” Fr. Bassey lamented, stressing they are now constrained to make public its position based on the groundswell of public opinion and condemnations that have greeted the new NGO bill as presented by the Deputy Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Umar Jibril.

The two groups in a six-point item, he said, have raised issues during interactive sessions with the Hon. Speaker organized by Situation Room on why there have been not less than eight attempts on the floor of the House to control NGOs instead of providing public financial support to NGOs as is done in many nations of the world.  To this end Caritas Nigeria and JDPC and other NGOs would only accept an NGO Bill that would guarantee public financial support especially to humanitarian NGOs without compromising the independence of the NGOs.

In addition, he said, “Caritas Nigeria and JDPC appreciate the need for members of the House to be acknowledged by their constituencies as having put forward a bill for consideration. However this should not be at the expense of the reputation of the entire House; presently the National Assembly is perceived as a cesspool of corruption, and such bills that seem to put the House on a face-off with citizens only portray the House as intent on protecting a ‘Lootocracy’ that should not be questioned, hence the intent on muzzling NGOs. This bill is not in the interest of the House itself.

Equally, Caritas Nigeria and JDPC advocated for more collaboration between House Committees and the leadership; for as the majority leader, Hon. Umar Jubril should have been aware of efforts between the House Committee on NGOs and Development Partners and CSOs, including Caritas Nigeria and JDPC. Hon. Jubril’s disruptive effort is highly suspicious, especially against the backdrop of such security threats as the herdsmen attacks which are being seen as part of a sinister agenda of domination. Knowing fully well that his religion demands him to use his position to promote and protect religion, is this Hon. Umar’s subtle way of promoting and protecting his religion by setting up a framework in which others might be persecuted ?

“We would advise that in the light of all the deep concerns expressed by well-meaning citizens, the National Assembly should drop all attempts to legislate on NGOs and allow NGOs originate such legislation themselves as private member’s bill,” he said.

Fr. Bassey further noted that, while “we may have a few bad eggs among the NGOs, the main concern of all arms of government should be how to change the perception of Nigerians about government as ineffective, corrupt, wasteful and lacking of vision. Now that Hon. Umar Jubilhas made a name for himself, he should withdraw the bill and stop adding fuel to an already heated polity. The bill should not move further than it has reached already.”

Caritas Nigeria and JDPC, he said, have urged all NGOs that employ staff to collect and remit PAYE of their staff to their various States Revenue services, make the mandatory annual returns to Federal Inland Revenue Service(FIRS) after their annual audits, and get the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering (SCUML) certification from EFCC as required, especially if they receive foreign funding, as we believe rightly that there are already enough regulatory frameworks on ground to make superfluous any self-seeking piece of legislation.  

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE 
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Bond: FG rakes N6.3b in 7-Months

In the last seven months, the monthly Federal Savings Bond (FGNSB) has attracted N6.3 billion through 
issuance which began in March this year, reports ITRealms.

The N6.3 billion mark, ITRealms gathered, was realised with the FGN Savings Bond (FGNSB) offer for September, 2017. 

The DMO said that Federal Government Securities are the safest of domestic investments because they are backed by the ‘full faith and credit’ of the government. It explained that it began the issuance of the FGNSB in March 2017 with an initial 2-Year Bond Offer and subsequently added a 3-Year Bond from April.

It said the FGNSB was designed to suit the investment preferences of the retail investor and will continue to take investment opportunities to the grassroots.

“Since March 2017, when the Bonds were first issued, a cumulative total of N6,305,492,000.00 has been raised, with N3,602,949,000.00 raised for the 2-Year and N2,702,543,000.00 for the 3-Year,” the DMO said.

The FGNSB has helped to stimulate and deepen the savings culture among households, while assisting in the diversification of funding sources for the government. It also encourages financial inclusion across the social and economic strata.

Specifically, the FGN Savings Bonds give investors access to investment opportunities enjoyed by institutional investors. The investors in the bonds are given an opportunity to contribute their quota to the economic growth of the nation while earning good income. I foresee a situation where, youths, students, traders, name it, operating in the economic space or playing field, do not have difficulty in investing their money because of the benefits that come with the bonds,” an analyst said.

The FGNSB is capable of boosting savings culture among Nigerians. The minimum amount that can be invested is N5,000 which is accessible to many Nigerians, while the maximum investment is N50 million. 

For the government, the savings bond will shore up access to funds available for investment in the economy, thereby facilitating economic growth. It equally enables the individual to enjoy those benefits which accrue to big investors in the capital market.

The DMO said the Savings Bond would empower Nigerians economically, describing it as a window principally designed for retail investors with a view to providing opportunity for investors to contribute to national development because it improves the savings culture in the country.

Uboshe Uboshe/Doris Minimah/GEE

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Digital economy: Confab speakers admonish students

The necessity for students to embrace digital opportunities to develop their skills and position for better competition in the labour market topped the agenda of speakers at 2017 edition of the Nigeria Digital Innovation Conference, reports ITRealms.

The event which held recently at the Polytechnic Ibadan was organized by the Centre for Cyber Awareness and Development (CECAD) with representatives of top government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in attendance on the theme: ‘Building a new Nigeria in a Digital Economy.

In his presentation, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, represented by Head Public Affairs, Mr. Reuben Muoka, noted that the commission via its regulatory activities kept telecos on their toes to make optimal performances certain.

These expectations, he said, are in both voice and data services since their service is also of great importance to driving the new digital economy.

EVC also said that in September 2016, NCC made a detailed presentation of the status and milestones achieved with the 8-Point Agenda conceptualized alongside the aspiration of government for comprehensive economic growth.

“… And our desire to channel available regulatory resources towards achieving availability, accessibility and affordability of telecommunications services, which are mostly being driven today by broadband, and related technologies and services,” he said.

The eight-point agenda, he enumerated to include “Broadband Penetration, Quality of Service Improvement, Optimization of Spectrum Benefits, Promoting ICT Innovations and Investment Opportunities, Strategic Collaborations and Partnerships, Consumer Protection and Empowerment, Promotion of Fair Competition and Inclusive Growth and the Regulatory Excellence and Operational Efficiency.”

The Director-General, NIMC, Aliyu Aziz represented by Mr. Chris Onyekuruka made a presentation entitled “Annexing Data as a Tool for Economic Development & Innovation” pointed out that as a nation, Nigeria needs to ensure accurate data to help in planning, project implementation for social economic gains. 

Also speaking, the President, Nigeria Internet registration Association (NIRA), Revd. Sunday Folayan took participants through the industrial revolutions of the past upto digital revolution which tends to be the biggest of them all.

For ICT consultant and entrepreneur Gbenga Sesan led other innovators in opening up fresh opportunities to the undergraduates. The Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife graduate of Electrical/Electronic related his experience and odyssey in his ICT journey which according to him started about two decades ago as an undergraduate at the OAU.

Other private entrepreneurs present include Mr. Kingsley Roberts (Cyber Security Expert), Akinmade Akintoye of Cloudware Technology, Ahmed Afolabi (Technology Designer).

The Polytechnic Ibadan Rector, Professor Olatunde O Fawole who was represented by the Deputy Rector, Mr. Bayo Oyeleke said the institution as a citadel of technological innovation.
The Student Union Government’s president, Comrade Kuyoro Olumuyiwa Emmanuel also on behalf of the students applauded CECAD.

The Director of Operations and Strategies at CECAD, Mr. Hilary Damissah said, the importance of broadband internet access and its affordability were critical to sustainable digital innovation, hence CECAD remain committed to creating avenues that will further help articulate more awareness and opportunities. He praised the attendance of students, management and staff of The Polytechnic Ibadan for making this year’s edition a huge success.

Ayo Midele & Chuks Egbune/GEE
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Pix; L-R,Speakers at the Digital Innovation Conference Ibadan. Gbega Sesan (Standing), Reuben Muoka (Head Public Affairs NCC) Dr Bayo Oyeleke (Deputy Rector, The Polytechnic Ibadan) Sunday Folayan (NIRA President) and Chucks Onyepunuka, (Director, IT/IDD NIMC), recently.

Youtap Cloud offers mobile money payment processing platform

Youtap has launched its cloud which offers a payment processing platform as a service for mobile money and payment providers in developing markets, reports ITRealms.

Peter Meredith, chief marketing officer for Youtap in Kenya, said that Youtap Cloud enables real-time transaction processing for contactless mobile money and bank wallet payments. It supports QR code payments, as well as Near-field communication (NFC) technology, including low-cost micro point-of-sale (POS) devices, companion cards and ‘tap and pay’ using tags or wearables.

“The solution is a white-label service with minimal upfront costs, allowing the provider to focus on go-to-market initiatives and merchant acquisition,” he said.

Meredith also noted that Youtap Cloud connects to banking and traditional payment networks through a range of interfaces and to blockchain for digital payments, interbank, interbranch and cross-border settlement.

“The service is deployed from regional PCI-compliant data centres as a public or private cloud service. Based on Java and Oracle, with a range of Android and Apple OS apps, Youtap Cloud provides banks and payment service providers with open APIs to integrate the next generation of mobile payments into their existing banking and payment applications. It can be integrated with an existing mobile wallet or for new entrant companies requiring a mobile wallet,” he said.

In addition, Meredith, said providing the payment platform as a cloud-based service allows for faster delivery and implementation.

“Mobile money providers can transform their business quickly and gain an edge over the competition in their markets,” he said.

“Other merchant payment platforms may take months to install. Youtap’s cloud-based white label solution can be skinned for mobile money services in a matter of weeks. Merchants with a participating service can download the Android app, register and start processing digital payments in less than 24 hours,” he said.

Youtap Cloud, he said, could be integrated with devices from Verifone, Pax and Ingenico, while also supporting Android and Linux based devices from a variety of manufacturers. Youtap’s encrypted payment processing network ensures that transaction data is safe and secure.

He explained that to use cases for the service include merchant payments, airtime top-up, bill payments, toll-road and transport payments, disbursements and welfare to citizens and refugees, loyalty and promotions, microfinance and international remittances.

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE
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Monday, September 25, 2017

Centre LSD join forces with CSOs, media to push LG autonomy bill

The African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) in collaboration with the Civil Society Organisations cum Media Roundtable drummed support for Local Government (LG) autonomy, reports ITRealms.

The one-day roundtable was organized in partnership with Christian Aid with funding from UKAID under her Voice to the People (V2P) project, on Thursday September 21, 2017 in Kaduna to galvanize CSOs and media in the North West geopolitical zone to sustain the momentum around the issue of Local Government Autonomy and push for the passage of the bill at the subnational stages leveraging on the current constitution review process.

The Programme Officer of the Centre, Mr. Vincent Dania, said that Local Government Financial Autonomy bill seeks to abolish the state-local government joint allocation which puts enormous finances and control in the hands of state governors.

“The bill, if passed, will have positive implications for development in Nigeria especially at the grassroots level, hence the need for its engagement at all levels is critical,” he said.

Dania, also noted that a financially autonomous local government system that recognizes the place of citizens’ participation in decision-making, will ensure not just the virility of local governments to deliver services at the grassroots level but also bring about widespread development to communities across the country.

He commended the senate for passing the bill on local government financial autonomy amongst others in the ongoing constitution review process, the release enjoined Civil Society Organizations, the media, social media influencers as well as all well-meaning Nigerian citizens to sustain the push at the subnational level  to ensure the bill (s) scales through with their relevant provisions not tinkered with during the review stage by legislators at the State level.

As said by him, this was in the interest of the federalist principles Nigeria has opted for, and for ensuring that the local government, which is the arm of government that is closest to the people, performs her statutory function of being the engine of community and rural development.

He enjoined all well-meaning Nigerian citizens to share their opinions and contribute to the deliberations on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp to name a few.

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE
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NomCom seeks comments with survey

The Nominating Committee (NomCom) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is seeking comments with a survey over ongoing review, reports ITRealms.

The survey which takes up to between 10 and 15 minutes, is the main instrument in the review process to express community opinion about ICANN's NomCom.

This, ITRealms reports could access the survey directly and has until 13 October.

Also, ITRealms reports that NomCom plays a critical role within ICANN as it appoints individuals to the ICANN Board, the Public Technical Identifiers (PTI) Board, the
Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) and Country Code Names
Supporting Organization (ccNSO) Councils, and the At-Large Advisory

The NomCom organizational review, ITRealms gathered, is assessing how effectively the
NomCom is operating, how well it is achieving its purpose, and if it is accountable to the multistakeholder community.

ITRealms also gathered that following the survey, the independent examiner will attend ICANN60 to conduct further review work.

The draft final report of the independent examiner, ITRealms further gathered, will be posted for public comment, and the review is expected to conclude by mid-2018.

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Lagos Archdiocese inducts CAMPAN, Osu charges members on selflessness

The Archdiocese of Lagos has inducted members of the Catholic Media Practitioners of Nigeria (CAMPAN), reports ITRealms.

Performing the ceremony at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church, Northern Foreshore, Lekki in Lagos, the host and Director, Social Communications Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Monsignor Gabriel Osu said that as Catholics, particularly media practitioners, noting that CAMPAN operates under his office and its also operational in all diocese and archdioceses across the country with the blessing of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria.

He admonished CAMPAN members as Catholic Communicators to be selfless in their support for their church at all times.

“You are expected to give your time, talent and treasures for the advancement of the gospel,” he declared.

Osu also urged members to pull their resources together by bringing their respective expertise and resources towards achieving greatness.

He assured CAMPAN of necessary support from the Church and His Grace, Most. Rev. Dr. Alfred Adewale Martins, provided they abide by the norms of the Mother Church, insisting that they must strive to be truly professionals in all they do so as to bring glory to God.

He recalled that CAMPAN has been in existence in the country over three decades now before fatigue crept in, he expressed delight that finally CAMPAN has come back to life, under Mr. Tony Agbugba as President.

Earlier in his welcome address after the induction ceremony cum mass, Mr. Agbugba said that Communication is at the heart of the Church’s activities, urging CAMPAN members to see themselves as selected few called to utilize their talents, tools of trade and strategic positions to evangelize and defend the Church at all times.

“In doing this, we are invariably taking part in the priestly office of teaching,” he declared.
Agbugba said that under the umbrella of Signis, CAMPAN is a better organized body poised to take its pride of place among the most vibrant lay organisations in the Church.

“We are working also assiduously to partner with other bodies within and outside the Church to ensure the promotion of godly values in our society. By God’s grace, we shall lead while others follow,” he assured.

In addition, he implored other lay organisations and stakeholders in the Church to support CAMPAN to enable the group effectively communicate Christ in tandem with its motto, pointing out that task ahead are enormous, “so also the rewards that comes from the Almighty.”

Over 30 members drawn from various parishes in Lagos Archdiocese participated in the first induction exercise.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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AfDB mourns Senegalese Babacar Ndiaye, names auditorium after him

The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Adesina Akinwumi, has named an auditorium at the headquarters of the bank in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, to honour late Babacar Ndiaye, the group’s fifth elected president, reports ITRealms.

Ndiaye, ITRealms gathered was the Bank Group's fifth elected President, who served two terms between 1985 and 1995, and passed away on July 13, 2017 in Senegal.

In an intensely emotional tribute, Adesina said in Abidjan, that Ndiaye who is fondly referred to as AfDB papa and ambassador for Africa’s development, as AfDB icon, a father and mentor to everyone and who emphatically launched the career of the Bank Group's current President.

“He inspired us. In losing him, Africa has lost one of its best sons," he asserted and underlined the personal ties between late Ndiaye and his predecessor, recalling that he knew Ndiaye when he worked for the West Africa Rice Development Association (WADRA), which was then based in Bouaké, Côte d'Ivoire.

"Babacar Ndiaye was charismatic, and left an indelible mark on our continent. His legacy is vast, because he always saw the big picture. He was quite simply magnificent," Adesina said, stressin that during the campaign for the AfDB presidency, he naturally went to see him in Dakar.

“He welcomed me warmly. I took the opportunity to tell him about my vision for the High 5s. He agreed right away, and told me, 'That's what Africa needs to transform itself,'" Adesina revealed.
ITRealms recalls that Ndiaye had arrived at the institution in 1965 as part of the first group of African managers, he climbed the organisational ladder to become Division Chief, Director, Vice-President for Finance, and then President in 1985. Babacar Ndiaye was the first AfDB President to be re-elected to a second term of office.

Under his leadership, the pan-African financial institution obtained its first Triple-A rating in 1984.

The former President was the force behind the increase in the Bank's capital in 1987, which jumped from approximately US $6 billion to $23 billion, a 200% increase, after approving the process of opening the Bank's capital to non-African countries. He was also responsible for bringing the Bank into the international financial market.

"Babacar Ndiaye accomplished tremendous things for the AfDB and for Africa. He always advocated for excellence. He made the AfDB a credible and respected institution internationally," stated Donald Kaberuka, former AfDB President (2005-2015), in a message read on his behalf by Victor Oladokun, AfDB Director for Communication and External Relations.

Remmy Nweke/ED, Ops
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TV5MONDE, SES partner on distribution in Sub-Saharan Africa

One of the world's leading television networks, TV5MONDE, has signed a long-term distribution contract with SES to broadcast three major free-to-air channels to the French-speaking and Francophile public in sub-Saharan Africa, reports ITRealms.

As part of the agreement, TV5MONDE will use the SES-5 satellite to broadcast three channels: its main channel TV5MONDE Afrique, as well as two themed channels, the youth channel TiVi5MONDE and the lifestyle channel TV5MONDE Style HD. The three signals will be relayed to the satellite by the SES Video team.

Located at 5 degrees East, SES-5 provides optimal coverage for sub-Saharan countries. The video position 5 degrees East is a fast growing neighbourhood, made up of renowned TV platforms and more than 500 local and international channels, including 65 French-language channels.

"Thanks to Africa, the French language is being offered a new opportunity to broaden its reach, which is all the more decisive in a digital world where language is becoming increasingly important," said Yves Bigot, Directeur Général of TV5MONDE. "This partnership with SES Video offers us ideal coverage to reach our numerous viewers and a recognized expertise to broadcast our three channels".

"We are delighted to help TV5MONDE extend the distribution of its channels across sub-Saharan Africa and, in our own way, contribute to the spread of the French language on this continent," said Ferdinand Kayser, CEO of SES Video. 

In addition, Kayer said, TV5MONDE’s decision demonstrates the quality of its infrastructure and assets in these countries. 

"Thanks to its powerful and robust coverage, our SES-5 satellite will allow TV5MONDE to distribute this new content offer in an optimal manner to cable and IP networks in the region, as well as reach the 3.8 million TV homes equipped with direct reception at 5 degrees east" the SES boss said.

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Sunday, September 24, 2017

US denies considering IPOB a terrorist group

The government of the United States has denied any consideration of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist group, reports ITRealms.

The Sunday Punch quoted the spokesman for the American Embassy in Nigeria, Russell Brooks, as saying on Friday that the U.S. Government does not have the notion IPOB is a terrorist group.

As said by Brooks, in an e-mail response to Sunday Punch “The United States Government is strongly committed to Nigeria’s unity.  Important political and economic issues affecting the Nigerian people, such as the allocation of resources, are worthwhile topics for respectful debate in a democracy.

“Within the context of unity, we encourage all Nigerians to support a de-escalation of tensions and peaceful resolution of grievances. The Indigenous People of Biafra is not a terrorist organisation under US law.”

Sunday Punch recollected that just “Last week, the Federal High Court in Abuja gave a judicial backing to the executive order of President Muhammadu Buhari, outlawing the group and its activities in the country.

“The court granted the order to proscribe the group on Wednesday. It declared that the activities of the group constituted acts of terrorism. The Federal Government also accused France and the United Kingdom of aiding IPOB activities.”

Meanwhile, France said they have no link with IPOB especially with regards to financing stronghold of the group.

ITRealms notes that IPOB is a registered organization in the United Kingdom.

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Odinkalu replies Umar Jibril, says NGO bill anti-democracy, inspired by military tendencies

The former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof. Chidi Odinkalu has replied Hon. Umar Buba Jibril on the ongoing controversies surrounding the attempt to regulate Non-Government Organisations (NGO) and Civil Society Organisations (CSO) in Nigeria, reports ITRealms.

Odinkalu also described Jibiril attempt to justify the bill as desperate and poor as well as anti-democratic, military dictatorship inspired NGO bill

Reacting to Hon. Umar Jibril, Deputy Majority Leader of the House of Reps attempt in Abuja at the weekend and who now claimed in a press statement made available to ITRealms, that his NGO Bill is needed because NGO's are sponsoring terrorism.

“That needs an immediate response,” he said, arguing that the desperation in the release “doesn't bear thinking about. Almost every line in the release by Hon. Jibril drips with cheap mendacity. It's difficult to think that Hon. Jibril himself has even read the bill that he claims to be sponsoring.

Prof. Odinkalu decried the fact that this is coming from a supposed National Assembly, which has refused to say categorically, how much its members earn.

“It is irresponsible for the leadership of the NASS to claim that NGOs who are sponsoring terrorism or stealing money in the North East can only be dealt with after we have got a new law, surely. Or violating immigration laws? You mean there are no laws, nor means now to put them out of business? You just need to mention this to realise how specious it sounds,” he said.

Pointed out that Nigeria has a report, done by the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, no less, on the stealing by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, which is being branded under the guess of ‘grass cutting’ in the North East, which is being blocked from being released to Nigerians.

“Would the report still be vegetating on some unknown shelf if it was about some PDP villain?” he asked.

Odinkalu equally noted that in 2011, the Galtimari Report on the situation in the North East made explicit identification and recommendations on those supporting Boko Haram and what to do with them.

“The White Paper on the report explicitly recommended prosecution. Those people are still in, around or hob-nobbing with government. No one in either the Osinbajo Panel's work, or the Galtimari Report or in any of the work since then, has named any NGO as funding terrorism. Obviously, that would be beyond any pale. But the named politicians enjoy protection from the same people conducting this smear,” he observed.

Declaring that “Terrorism has become the currency of the moment” Prof. Odinkalu emphasized that looking at the models they cite: “Israel, where their law is used to target Palestinian NGOs & NGOs that work with Palestinians; Kenya where their NGO law was unlawfully used to try to de-register NGOs that blew the whistle on the rigging of the recent elections.”

The Kenyan Supreme Court decision recently vindicated the NGOs, decrying that in Uganda the NGO law is being used to oppress and de-register those advocating against President Museveni's eternal presidency project as he sets about lifting age limits that bar him from running again.

Chuks Egbune/GEE 
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Saturday, September 23, 2017

NGO bill debate: Umar Jibril alleges some collected IDPs funds, disappeared

The Deputy Majority Leader, House of Representatives, Hon. Umar Buba Jibril has alleged that Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have collected funds meant for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North East and disappear, reports ITRealms.

This, he said, was a core reason for the introduction of the NGO Regulation Bill before the National Assembly, aside the allegation of sponsoring or financing terrorism in the country.
Jubril, “...Some people registered NGOs, solicited for funds and disappeared. That happened recently in the North East,” just as he said, “...Churches, Mosques, Esusu, Market Women Associations not affected.“

According ot him, religious bodies and organizations are “NOT NGOs” stressing that quasi financial institutions at local levels are not NGOs.

“These organizations have existed for centuries to serve businesses and commerce of our market women and traders.

Pointing out that NGOs and CSOs are voluntary organizations that are registered to partner Government at all levels to fill gaps wherever they exist, thus partners in progress with the Government; hence the need for a commission to serve this purpose arises

“Secondly and naturally for them to carry out their activities, the NGOs and CSOs solicit for funds from all over the world and collect billions of naira on behalf of Nigerians. Thirdly they recruit expatriates to help them run their activities in the country with lots of abuses,” he said.

He also “Some NGOs are used to fund the activities of terrorist and insurgents.”

Jubril attempted to explain that the NGOs bill is primarily to set up a commission to regulate their activities and provide a platform for robust relationships between them and the government for the interests of Nigerians.

In addition it is to ensure transparency and accountability in the ways and manners the NGOs collect moneys and use them for Nigerians.

Jubril maintained that the NGOs bill is not new or peculiar to Nigeria. It exists in many countries particularly in the ECOWAS sub- region and all over Africa and other continents. In Europe, Israel passed theirs last year! Kenya has a similar law since 1990.

“Nigeria is and should not be a banana republic where anything goes,” he said.

Emphasising that finally, the way the NGOs are reacting to this wonderful and well packaged bill particularly SERAP is not only shameful, but condemnable.

The Nigerian parliament is an institution governed by rules and traditions, he said, noting, that when a bill is for public hearing you go there and present your views like other interested Nigerians and invited cooperate bodies and government agencies for the standing committee to do justice to the bill.

“Going on cheap propaganda and blackmail and even calling on world bodies including the United Nation to help you withdraw a bill from our National Assembly will not help you,” he insisted

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE
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Friday, September 22, 2017

Nigeria media urged to create 21st century platforms

Leadership of Nigerian media industry have been urged to ensure they create 21st century platforms and professional group befitting this era, reports ITRealms.

In a keynote address to the 13th All Nigeria Editors’ Conference (ANEC) at the Presidential Hotel, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the Managing Director cum Editor-in-Chief of The Interview, Mr. Azu Ishiekwene, called on media business leaderships to make certain they create and maintain website and social media platforms befitting a 21st century organisaton to keep afloat in business.

Ishiekwene who dwelt on “Nigerian Media: Balancing Professionalism, Advocacy And Business” also enjoined them to build networks with other professional groups, especially in more developed, open media environments.

“Rejuvenate the Ethics & Disciplinary Committee and let the public know how they may approach it, if they have any complaints … Publish audited accounts,” he declared.
For those wanting to hire a proven executive director, he said, they must ensure having specific, and measurable business targets.

He also advised getting sponsorships from any of the global media giants, with interest in media in developing countries, as well as creation of open, periodic value-driven conversations that will sufficiently interest partnership with corporates.

In addition, he underscored the need to start periodic research-driven solutions for media and allied industries, whilst de-emphasising physical structures, by way of thinking of network and people.

Remmy Nweke/ED, Ops
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