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

ITRealms : The former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) , Prof. Chidi Odinkalu has replied Hon. Umar Buba Jibril...

PC Summit

Thursday, March 31, 2016

2016 budget controversy: No rift between executive, legislature - Minister

ITRealms:
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said there is no disagreement whatsoever between the Executive and the Legislature on the 2016 Budget, which has been passed by the National Assembly.
''There is absolutely no rift, no issue of budget being sent back. Things are just taking their due course,'' the Minister said in Abuja on Thursday when he visited the corporate headquarters of the Leadership newspaper, as part of his continuous engagement with stakeholders in the media industry.

He said it was not true that the President has refused to sign the Appropriation Bill passed by the National Assembly, adding: ''It takes a few days (after the passage) for the National Assembly to clean up the document in readiness for the President's assent.''

Speaking further on the budget, Alhaji Mohammed said when it is eventually passed into law, it will lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty, thanks to the six focal areas of social intervention contained therein.

“The first is the employment of 500,000 unemployed university graduates who we are going to train as teachers. Two, we are also employing 370,000 unemployed non-graduates, people with National Diploma and Technical Certificate. The third tranche is the social intervention targeted at 1 million people made up of market women, traders and artisans to be trained and given loans through their cooperatives. 

“The fourth one is the home-grown One-Meal-A-Day Programme. Here we are targeting several millions of pupils in primary schools all over Nigeria. The exponential effect of this one meal a day is huge. Even if we are targeting five million pupils and we are giving each of them one egg a day, you are talking about five million eggs that will be provided by our poultry farmers. This will also help to increase the demand for maize and then you are going to employ people all around,” he said.

The Minister further disclosed that the Federal Government will also commence the Conditional Cash Transfer to the most vulnerable Nigerians, in collaboration with some development partners, to bring succour to such people.

He said that a special bursary scheme will also come on stream to grant scholarships to students of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in a deliberate effort to support the students financially while also bolstering the nation’s drive for industrialization.

Alhaji Mohammed also disclosed that the sum of N350 billion will soon be injected into the economy to enable contractors to resume work on abandoned infrastructural projects, with  timeline and target on project delivery and job creation.
He thanked Nigerians for their patience and the understanding of the challenges facing the government, saying rather than give excuses, the government was working round the clock to alleviate the pains of Nigerians.

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Microsoft’s intelligence vision debuts for Windows 10

Microsoft Incorporate, Thursday, announced the debut of its intelligence vision for the Windows 10, reports ITRealms.

The Chief executive officer at Microsoft, Satya Nadella in the company of executive vice president of Windows and Devices Group, Terry Myerson, while disclosing this told thousands of developers about the work Microsoft Corporation is doing to aid the embrace of the new era of conversational intelligence and to create more personal computing for every customer, industry and business.

Nadella showcased improvements in Cortana and announced previews of new cloud services and toolkits designed to understand the world around us and create intelligent bots. Myerson announced the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, which will deliver significant new innovations for consumers and developers for the Universal Windows Platform.

“As an industry, we are on the cusp of a new frontier that pairs the power of natural human language with advanced machine intelligence,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “At Microsoft, we call this Conversations as a Platform, and it builds on and extends the power of the Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Windows platforms to empower developers everywhere.”

“With Windows 10 now running on over 270 million active devices, we’re celebrating with our fans by delivering the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. This significant update will help you interact with your Windows 10 devices as naturally as you interact with the world around you — using your pen, presence and voice,” Myerson said. “We are dedicated to making Windows the most productive development environment for all developers, with all-new capabilities for the Universal Windows Platform and all-new tools for bringing apps to Windows 10 from any platform.”


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Galaxy Backbone nominated for .Ng Web awards, calls for votes

Leading Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure and services provider, Galaxy Backbone Ltd,  has been nominated into the finalists for the “Public Sector: Star Website Award” category of the .ng Web Award by Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA), reports ITRealms.

The category, ITRealms gathered, recognizes websites/portals of a government agency that provides best user experience and is doing business with .ng domain name.

Galaxy Backbone alongside nine others including jamb.org.ng, WAEConline.org.ng, CAC.gov.ng, NIMC.gov.ng, FIRS.gov.ng, Immigration.gov.ng, Galaxybackbone.com.ng and Nigeriatradehub.gov.ng) was assessed by the Award Jury as fulfilling the criteria.

ITRealms equally gathered that the winner would be determined by the number of votes received.

“The organizers have therefore advised nominated organizations to reach out to their employees, customers, friends and fans to vote for them,” a press statement from Galaxy Backbone read.

According to the letter of notification, the more votes received by an organization the better the chances of emerging winner in this category.

The voting mechanism is available on NIRA website.

“The strategic position taken by Galaxy Backbone Limited to register and use the .ng domain name, demonstrates the organization’s commitment to relate with the .ng online identity of Nigerians, Nigerian businesses, local content and culture. This key to doing business within and outside Nigeria and this qualifies Galaxy Backbone Ltd as an invaluable asset in this our historic celebration of the .ng online identity, excellence and creativity.”

Head, Stakeholder Management, Galaxy Backbone Ltd, Mr. Franklyn Ginger Ekeh said..

ITRealms recalls that Galaxy Backbone Ltd also handles the registration of .ng top domain name in the nation’s public sector.

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Ghost workers: Dickson promises to block loopholes for fraud

The Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson has said that the verification exercise carried out on workers in the oil-state, has started yielding the desired results and promised to block loopholes for fraud, reports ITRealms.

Dickson disclosed that preliminary reports turned in by the state verification team have identified some loopholes through which payroll criminals defrauded the state, expressing optimism that the process would save resources for the development of the state.

The Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, in a press statement available to ITRealms quoted Gov. Dickson as saying this during the March edition of the state Monthly Praise Night held at the King of Glory Chapel, Government House, Yenagoa.

As said by Dickson, the on-going exercise would also help government in addressing the ghost workers syndrome to employ more young people into the state civil service.

He said that the exercise was being was being carried out in the best interest of the state.
Dickson advised Bayelsans especially workers to show greater understanding and cooperation to enable government win the fight against payroll fraud and other corrupt practices.

He restated his call on people of the state to steer clear from all crimes particularly kidnapping stressing that the present administration would soon launch a major crackdown on issues threatening the continued peace and stability of the state.

While expressing gratitude to Bayelsans and the church for their prayers and support, Dickson assured the womenfolk of more dividends of democracy particularly in terms of appointments and economic empowerment schemes.

Drawing the text of his sermon from the Book of Proverbs 18 verses 20 and 21, Chaplain of the king of Glory Chapel, Government House, Bishop Dotimi Egbegi highlighted the power of the tongue.


Egbegi therefore enjoined the congregation to always make positive pronouncements about themselves, their families and the state irrespective of life’s challenges.   

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE  
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ITU takes ICT regulators to Egypt for symposium

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has concluded plans this year to take its prestigious annual Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) to Egypt, reports ITRealms.
GSR 2016, ITRealms gathered is the world’s pre-eminent assembly of the global Information and Communication Technology (ICT) regulatory community.
ITU in a press statement made available to ITRealms says it decided to take GSR slated between May 11 and14 2016, at the Red Sea Resort of Sharm el-Sheikh at the invitation of the Government of Egypt,

The GSR-16, ITRealms reports would welcome world-class speakers with a dynamic programme focused around the theme of ‘Be Empowered, Be Included: Building Blocks for Smart Societies in a Connected World’. 

ITRealms further gathered that the symposium would be chaired by Mostafa Abd El-Wahed, Acting Chairman of the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Egypt (NTRA).
Equally, ITRealms recalls that ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technologies, driving innovation in ICTs together with 193 Member States and a membership of over 700 private sector entities and academic institutions.
Established over 150 years ago in 1865, ITU is the intergovernmental body responsible for coordinating the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promoting international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, improving communication infrastructure in the developing world, and establishing the worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems.
From broadband networks to cutting-edge wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, oceanographic and satellite-based earth monitoring as well as converging fixed-mobile phone, Internet and broadcasting technologies, ITU is committed to connecting the world
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FG pleads with Nigerians, says ‘We’re working hard to relieve your pains’

The Federal Government has said it is keenly aware of the difficulties that Nigerians are currently facing over the lingering fuel scarcity and poor power supply, and that it is working round the clock to provide the relief for the citizenry.

''As a government that was propelled into office by the power of the people, we cannot but feel the pains of our compatriots, and we deeply empathise with them,'' the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in Abuja on Wednesday.

''Our message to our compatriots is that this Administration, under the able leadership of 
President Muhammadu Buhari, is working round the clock to ease the pains of Nigerians, and that very soon, the efforts of the government will begin to yield fruits for the benefit of Nigerians,'' he said during a visit to the corporate headquarters of Daily Trust newspaper, as part of his tour of media establishments in the country.

Alhaji Mohammed said the Government is aware that Nigerians have started questioning the genuiness of its Change Agenda, adding: ''We understand the skepticism of Nigerians in questioning whether this indeed is the change they voted for. I can tell Nigerians that our Change Agenda is real, and that indeed Nigerians will get the change they voted for.''

On the fuel situation, the Minister said immediate measures are being taken to end the scarcity while medium and long term solutions are being worked out to prevent a recurrence.

''Petroleum supply and distribution have been ramped up across the country by the NNPC to ensure product availability in the country, but repeated trips to filling stations and the backlog are making it impossible to immediate feel the impact
''Monitoring has also been intensified to ensure full compliance with approved prices. 

Violations of approved prices and hoarding of petroleum products attract severe penalties, including ‎giving  out of petroleum products free to the public, sealing off of fuel stations found to be hoarding petroleum products, payment of fine as well as withdrawal of Marketer’s License,'' he said.

Alhaji Mohammed said that in the medium term, the supply constraints due to foreign exchange challenges are being resolved through collaboration with the Central Bank of 
Nigeria on innovative ways of closing the gaps in accessing foreign exchange.


Segun Adeyemi/GEE
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Pix: Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

SPDC increases gas production in Agbada field, Eastern Niger Delta


The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC) Joint Venture has said it has increased gas production capacity from Agbada field in the Eastern Niger Delta, reports ITRealms.

This, the company said is in support of government’s aspiration of increasing domestic gas production for manufacturing and power generation.


General Manager Projects at SPDC, Mr. Toyin Olagunju, said some 10 million standard cubic feet of non-associated gas per day (MMscf/d) was produced from the Agbada Early Gas Production Facility (EGPF), into the eastern domestic gas network on March 8, 2016 and has already ramped up to 20MMscf/d of gas, with 1,500 barrels per day of oil.
 
A peak production of 40MMscf/d is expected to be achieved, in addition to oil production of about 2,500 barrels per day. The milestone comes as SPDC JV’s Afam VI - with 650MW capacity - continues to deliver power to the national grid.
 
“We’re pleased to support efforts towards increasing gas supply for manufacturers and power plants. We’re also pleased that the project was delivered in record time - 14 months from initiation to first gas – within budget and most importantly, safely. We acknowledge the support of NAPIMS and other JV partners, without which the milestone would not have been possible,” he said.
 
Olagunju also said that the additional gas will further boost gas availability on the eastern domestic gas network and will be available to enhance power generation by over 150MW, stressing that the early gas project was initiated in January 2015 pending the completion of the main Agbada non-associated gas plant.
 
ITRealms recalls that SPDC pioneered the production and delivery of gas to domestic consumers and export markets. Just as early this year, SPDC signed a gas sale agreement with the Bayelsa State Government under which it will sell gas to the Bayelsa Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC) for the purpose of power supply to the Kolo Creek Gas Turbine.

Presently, ITRealms further gathered from
Corporate Media Relations Manager, Precious Okolobo that Shell is the only international oil and gas company to have set up a gas distribution business in the country, Shell Nigeria Gas (SNG).  
 
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Nigeria needs framework for data protection

Participants arising from a one-day breakfast session on “Identity is the new money,” says Nigeria lacks the framework for data protection, reports ITRealms.

The event organized by eMaginations Limited under its eNnovators Breakfast Series (EBS), is a quarterly breakfast event packaged for the Dreamers, Drivers and Doers (3Ds) of technology business in financial services industry across Africa.

According to the Event Director, Sola Fanawopo, EBS offers opportunities to network, learn and plan strategically.

A communique endorsed by Fanawopo, participants called for the government to enact data privacy law to protect consumers’ personal information and ensure that they have the confidence to take advantage of benefits of the ever-changing marketplace.

Also, the government was advised to encourage to establish identity brokerage services, ‘banker for data’ or ‘ISP for identity services’ I-Brokers is  trusted third party that helps individuals and organizations share private data the same way banks help exchange funds and ISPs help exchange e-mail and files.

They also pointed out that i-brokers when licensed will help bridge the gap between relying (RP) party and identity service provider (IDP) by providing public infrastructure for digital identity, security, and privacy using the open standard data interchange protocol. Besides, I-Brokers will alleviate the number of integrations required between RPs and IDPs.

Government, they further said, should make life easy for consumers of ID services by promoting the concept of “Connect to One, Connect to All.”


While those in the private sector as Information Technology (IT) firms should exploit the opportunities of absence of ID management platforms to invest in identity management services so that local competence can be developed in the industry.

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Soludo, Funmi Iyanda lead debate on how to fix Nigeria at Royal African Society

The former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Professor Charles Soludo, and a panel of experts would today, Wednesday in the evening, share their practical solutions to Nigeria’s current economic crisis in a special event organised by The Royal African Society, in partnership with Creation TV and The Frontline Club in central London, reports ITRealms.

Correspondent reports that the series is the brainchild of award-winning broadcaster, Funmi Iyanda and is on its second year, thus, How to Fix Nigeria brings together a broad range of speakers to discuss practical solutions to Nigeria's contemporary challenges.

The current series, ITRealms gathered that Professor Soludo would be joined by well-known commentator on Nigerian economic affairs, Feyi Fawehinmi, and Head of Africa Country Risk at IHS, Natznet Tesfay, to delve into the currency crisis and its deeper structural problems.

Also noted, Iyanda would lead the discussion unpacking the current economic climate in Nigeria from deindustrialisation and over dependence on oil to social media campaigns such as #BuyNaijaToGrowTheNaira.

The organisers recalls that less than a year after the excitement surrounding the historic 2015 election which peacefully transferred power from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), Africa’s largest economy and the continent’s biggest oil producer is on the brink of an economic crisis. Oil prices have fallen to around $33 a barrel, the lowest since the 1990s – resulting in serious consequences for Nigeria where oil accounts for 35 per cent of GDP and 75 per cent of the government’s revenues.

The interactive discussion will include questions from the live audience in the Frontline Club in London as well as audiences in Nigeria and globally joining the discussion via the event’s livestream channel using the hashtag #HowtoFixNigeria.

Funmi Iyanda also said that the talk show starts at 7pm Nigerian time.


The Royal African Society is a membership organisation that fosters a better understanding of Africa in the UK and throughout the world, with a goal to promote Africa globally in the spheres of business, politics, academia, arts and culture.

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Emirates extends online check-in to 48hrs

The Emirates, has extended its online check-in to 48 hours before departure, from 24 hours, effective immediately, reports ITRealms.

Customers around the world, ITRealms gathered, could now check in online on both desktop and mobile devices from 48 hours to 90 minutes before flight departure.

Alex Knigge, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications Marketing and Digital Brand, said the increased lead time offers customers greater flexibility in choosing their seats, and reduces waiting times at the airport as they would already have their boarding passes before arriving at the airport.

Passengers, he said, could then drop their luggage at online check-in counters before heading straight through to immigration and security.  For flights to and from the United States, while online check-in is available 48 hours before departure, boarding passes will only be issued 24 hours in advance.

“We have always taken into account feedback to improve the customer journey and the extension of online check-in is a result of that. By allowing check-in from 48 hours before departure we are providing our customers added flexibility to choose their preferred seats for a more comfortable journey. This is just one of the many initiatives we are implementing to enhance our customers’ experience online,” he explained

The earlier check-in window will also enable more seamless communication with customers should there be unexpected flight delays or disruptions. For members of Emirates Skywards, the airline’s frequent flyer programme, the extended check in time will also mean better availability of upgrades.

In addition to online check-in services, the airline also operates car park check-in facilities around the clock at its hub in Dubai.  Customers can choose to check in and drop their luggage at the car park check-in facilities from 24 hours to six hours prior to departure easing the crowds during peak travel periods. Alternatively, customers travelling out of Dubai can choose to drop their luggage at one of the 46 dedicated bag drop counters in Economy Class or separate counters in First Class and Business Class at Dubai International Airport from six hours to 90 minutes prior to departure. 

An additional 10 bag drop counters are available in the dedicated USA flight check-in zone. As a result of these initiatives, customers can look forward to shorter queues at the various check in and bag drop points.

The extended check-in window is one of many features on emirates.com that aims to improve the customer experience. Another feature is the recently introduced ‘Hold my fare’ option, which gives customers the opportunity to hold their reservations and lock in competitive Emirates fares for a nominal fee. This feature has now been extended to 72 hours.

Emirates customers can easily plan and manage their flight booking, accommodation and transport rentals on emirates.com.


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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Breaking News: Kidnapped army Colonel, Samaila Inusa, found dead

The Nigerian Army has announced that the kidnapped Colonel Samaila Inusa is dead, reports ITRealms.

Late Col. Inusa, ITRealms reports, who was kidnapped on Sunday 27,  but was found dead Tuesday evening at about 6:00 p.m.

The Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, in a statement in Abuja, said investigations have commenced, but with likelihood that the late Col. Inusa was killed same day he was kidnapped.

“Preliminary investigation revealed that most likely the late senior officer was killed same day he was kidnapped by his abductors. This is because the body was found already decomposing around Ajyaita village off Eastern Bypass Kaduna, Kaduna State,” he said.

“Arrangements  are in progress to move the body to 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna. May His soul rest in peace, Amen,” the spokesman disclosed.

Usman also said that the Army is determined to fish out the abductors and murders of late Col. Inusa.

“We wish to state in unmistakable terms that whoever is behind his abduction and murder would be fished out to face the full wrath of the law,” he vowed.


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•Pix:Late Colonel Samaila Inusa.

Bandits in uniform, or a country of anything goes

I had a few sleepless nights last week. It had nothing to do with the searing heat in the country or the epileptic power supply by Nigeria’s eternally dysfunctional electricity company. My discomfiture had to do with the report about the heist at the Nigerian Air Force. The dizzying allegations of sustained robbery by the officers in charge, though not completely surprising, left me breathless. I ruminated on the trial of Alex Badeh. I reflected on the figures, did the math, and was driven to despair.

I then asked myself the same question I asked a few years ago while researching grand corruption in Nigeria and the looting of the Nigeria Police Force by an ex-Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun. From all accounts, Mr. Balogun was a pathological criminal who rose to become the chief law officer of Nigeria. By the time he was forced to retire in January 2015, he had stolen billions of naira belonging to the Nigeria Police in what would go down as the most barefaced stealing spree by a public officer in Nigeria. The question I posed was: what kind of country or system makes it possible for public officers to loot their establishments so easily, ceaselessly and shamelessly? To understand the Badeh and Balogun syndrome, this is the question every sane Nigerian ought to be asking. I shall return to this.

Alex Sabundu Badeh, 58, until his retirement last year was a four-star flag officer of the Nigerian Air Force who served as the 18th Chief of Air Staff (October 4th, 2012 – January 16th, 2014), the 15th Chief of Defence Staff of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (January 16, 2014 to July 13, 2015), and Commander of the Presidential Fleet during Olusegun Obasanjo's presidency, according to a Wikipedia entry. He was born in Vimtim (a town sacked by Boko Haram in October 2014) in Mubi Local Government Area of Adamawa State, North East Nigeria, into a family of peasant farmers.

Fast forward to Wednesday, March 16, 2016. The trial of Badeh began at a Federal High Court in Abuja where we were told that as Chief of Air Staff, Badeh made N558.2 million ($2.8 million at the official exchange rate of N197 to a dollar) monthly from the salary account of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), an account we were informed predated Badeh’s tenure. N558.2 multiplied by the 15 months that the diversion lasted (between September 2012 and December 2013) comes to N8.3 billion. We know that not all of that money went to Badeh. He had to settle the boys, perhaps going as high as the ministry of defence and the budget office of the federal government! But whatever the balance, as Chief of Air Staff, Badeh was a stupendously rich man. I don’t know any business, not even that run by Bill Gates or Warren Buffet that boasts of that kind of return on investment in 15 months. 
  
Badeh’s loot, we understand, was the leftover after salaries and allowances of workers from NAF had been defrayed from the N4 billion received monthly and it was conveniently earmarked “for general administration for the office of the Chief of Air Staff”. And he administered it in the interest of the Badeh clan. Badeh bought a retirement home for N1.1 billion, a deserving prize for his trouble in ending the war against Boko Haram. He bought a commercial plot of land for N650 million and paid N878 million for the construction of a shopping mall and another N304 million to complete the mall. When his sons wanted to own houses, he bought a house worth N260 million for his first son, renovated it with N60 million and furnished it with N90 million. And when his second son turned down a house worth N340 million, he ordered that a second house be bought for N330 million to compensate for the indiscretion of his man Friday.

“The amount in most cases was usually converted into US dollars by the Finance Officer at Nigerian Air Force Headquarters, Abuja. Thereafter, it is brought to the Director of Finance who in turn takes it to the Air House which is the official residence of Chief of Air Staff at the Niger Barracks,” revealed a prosecution witness, Air Commodore Aliyu Yishau (retd.), who said he served as former Director of Finance and Account of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF). You still wonder why the country has a foreign exchange crisis.

Badeh obviously had no business being in the Nigerian Air Force or building a career as a pilot trained at the expense of Nigerian tax payers. But this is Nigeria, a country of anything goes, where perverse actions perpetually multiply and endure as instruments of governance. Badeh, of course, is not alone. The man who succeeded him as Chief (Thief?) of Air Staff, Adesola Nunayon Amosu, a retired Air Vice Marshal, has been indicted in the arms procurement scandal during his tenure. One of the criminal deals involved the procurement of two second-hand Mi-24V helicopters instead of the recommended Mi-35M series at a cost of $136.9 million. The second-hand helicopters were allegedly not operationally airworthy at the time of delivery while a brand new unit of the same helicopters costs about $30 million. On November 13, 2014, two officers were killed when the Air Force chief allegedly pressured them into flying one of the unserviceable helicopters which crashed in the North-east region.

According to reports, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has seized houses and other properties belonging to Amosu, Air Vice Marshal J.B. Adigun, the immediate past Chief of Accounts and Budgeting of the Nigerian Air Force, and Air Commodore O. O. Gbadebo, who was the Director of Finance and Budget at NAF. When Amosu’s wife, Mrs. Omolara Amosu, was arrested by EFCC operatives, the sum of N3 billion was allegedly traced to her bank accounts. She has voluntarily returned N381 million in three tranches of N180m, N101m, and N100m.

Amosu’s putative boss, ex-National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (retd), alongside Shuaibu Salisu, a former Director of Finance and Administration, Office of the National Security Adviser, Aminu Babakusa, a former General Manager, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Acacia Holdings Limited, and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited, is currently being prosecuted by the EFCC on a 19-count charge bordering on money laundering and criminal breach of trust to the tune of N13.5 billion. A committee set up to investigate Dasuki’s office indicted more than 300 companies and individuals, including serving and retired military officers. In one case, the committee found out that a company, Societe D’Equipment International, was overpaid to the tune of 7.9 million and $7.09 million.

True to form, the trial of Dasuki could not continue last week because he refused to show up in court. But he doesn’t have to. The important thing is for the trial to go on and if he is found guilty, bundled to jail. I am reliably informed that the rot in the military is far worse than what we have experienced with our politicians. And that is saying a lot considering the criminal proclivities of Nigerian politicians. We have seen a bit of the rot in the Air Force. We await the revelations from the Army and the Navy.

If you want to understand why Nigeria is not working, why we are a fourth rate nation, look no further than the Dasukis, Badehs, and Amosus of Nigeria, their compatriots in agbada (the grand boubou) and their partners in wigs. People like our billionaire judges, like Olisah Metuh, Stella Oduah, and Bukola Saraki, the Teflon President of the Nigerian Senate who is currently standing trial for false asset declaration and for repaying his personal loans with state fund. 

There are others like Ikedi Ohakim who as governor of Imo State paid $2.29 million cash for a property in Abuja, Ahmed Sani Yerima, Mohammed Danjuma Goje, Abdullahi Adamu, George Akume, and Josuah Dariye – executive scoundrels who have found refuge in one of the most disreputable institutions in Nigeria – the Senate. Not even the colonial masters could have damaged this country the way these men and women who claim to be Nigerians have done. Indeed, it’s a safe bet that the legendary unfeeling colonial chieftain, Lord Lugard, will weep no end if he were to return to the house he built in 1914.

Clearly, these thieving individuals like their alter ego, the fiendish late military dictator, Sani Abacha, have no concept of a nation of people. Their moral universe is limited to family and friends. That is why their politics, to paraphrase radical scholar and activist, late Prof Eskor Toyo, is reduced to a grabbing game, a cake sharing contest. So, for example, while Abacha was head of state, pretending to love Nigeria and working to uphold her honour and glory, he, his family, and accomplices were busy looting the country and stashing the loot where their hearts were: Switzerland, Liechtenstein, etc. In just one instance, in December 1999, the Swiss government announced the freezing of $550 million in different banks belonging to Abacha and his family, former National Security Adviser Ismaila Gwarzo, and Abubakar Atiku Bagudu (current Governor of Kebbi State). It is simply impossible to know exactly how much Abacha and those around him stole from Nigeria in the five years of his tyrannical rule.

There are many Abachas, Dasukis, Badehs, Amosus and Sarakis in the system, people who “pledge to Nigeria my country, to be faithful, loyal and honest”, yet they will steal from the same country at every opportunity. But why are millions of Nigerians who bear the brunt of the licentiousness of our thieving public officers not outraged? There is no outrage because most of us will behave the same way if we found ourselves in the shoes of Abacha, Dasuki, Badeh, Amosu or Saraki.

And the reason is simple: “Much of what passes for corruption is not simply a matter of greed but rather the byproduct of legislators or public officials who feel more obligated to family, tribe, religion or ethnic group than to the national community and therefore divert money in that direction.” That was Francis Fukuyama writing about the relationship between nation building and state building in his book, Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy. These bandits in uniform and agbada, according to Fukuyama, “are not necessarily immoral people, but their circle of moral obligation is smaller than that of the polity for which they work”.

Savagery rears its head when we believe something that belongs to us is stolen, when anyone comes into our small circle of moral obligation. So, somewhere in Aluu, Rivers State, four undergraduates are lynched and burnt by mortally offended fellow citizens for allegedly stealing laptops and cell phones; somewhere in Lagos a woman is beaten and sexually assaulted by an incredulous and bloodthirsty mob for stealing pepper; in Ondo State, a man is mercilessly bludgeoned to death by “irritated angry youth” for being gay; and somewhere in Kano, a man is set free after more than two decades in prison for allegedly stealing a transistor radio. Yet each time Dasuki, Badeh, or Saraki appears in court, oozing splendor, they are not tailed by “ordinary” Nigerians mocking and jeering but by a throng of well-heeled lawyers, friends, associates, and family members. These high-profile supporters know that it is not only Dasuki, Badeh, or Saraki that is on trial. 

What they seem to be saying is, “That is the way the system works. Only a fool would want to be law abiding in a patently lawless society.” So, Dasuki, Badeh, Saraki, and company, can sleep comfortably at night knowing full well that there is a chance that in the end they will be free to enjoy their loot. As a people, we have imbibed the dictum that when evil is commonplace it becomes a tradition. That is the case with corruption in Nigeria. Corruption is a national tradition. It has been with us since independence, got worse through many military regimes and became a directive principle of state policy in 1999 when the military again foisted one of their own, Olusegun Obasanjo, that exemplar of everything wrong with Nigeria, on a hapless nation.

It is for this reason that these indicted public officers, rather than going to court to prove their innocence, shout “persecution” and “political witch-hunt” at every opportunity. You can’t really blame them! Why should they be punished for upholding tradition? It is for the same reason that we have not heard a word from the military high command or from retired military officers, including ex-heads of state, on the revelations about our military. 

Knowing how powerful the thieving class is in Nigeria, President Buhari should be praised – I can’t think of any politician who would have done this – for his courage and political will. Of course, the issue goes beyond President Buhari to the question posed at the beginning of this essay. As long as Nigeria remains the way it is, public office will be nothing but sinecure for self-serving individuals.

We need to create a country where there is no incentive for Nigerians to steal from Nigeria. No sane person steals from himself. When people feel ownership of this country, we won’t see the high incidence of wanton pillage of public fund currently going on at all levels and in all sectors.

In the interim, let Nigerians who suffer the effect of corruption pick up the gauntlet and act. After all, the enfant terrible of Rivers State and now Honourable (emphasis mine) Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, once remarked publicly that he and other thieving politicians get away with murder because Nigerians have not risen to defend their patrimony by stoning those who gratuitously steal from them.

By Chido Onumah conumah@hotmail.com; Twitter: @conumah

This piece is an excerpt from an upcoming book: We are all Biafrans – A Participant-Observer’s Interventions in a Country Sleeping Walking to Disaster. 
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Commentary: Only Millimeter Wave MMW (E-Band) - 70/80GHz Can Drive QoS For LTE Advanced Deployments in Nigeria

LTE-Advanced
The next turning point in LTE’s exciting journey came on October 21, 2010 when the ITU issued a press release which qualified LTE Advanced (LTE-A) and WiMAX 2 as meeting the requirements for 4G standard. Consequently, 3GPP, the international body that developed the wideband CDMA-based UMTS 3G standard, defined LTE as a 3.9G technology and designated LTE-A as the real 4G technology. LTE-A is going to be built on the prior OFDM/ MIMO-based LTE architecture to further increase data rate and subsequently defined in 3GPP Releases 10 and 11.
The LTE-A standard ( expected to offer peak rates up to 1 Gbit/s fixed speeds and 100 Mb/s to mobile users) will be forward and backward compatible with basic LTE, meaning that LTE handsets will work on LTE-A networks, and LTE-A handsets will work on standard LTE networks. That makes LTE a stepping stone to the much-higher-capacity LTE-A systems. The deployment of LTE-A is expected in 2014 and beyond. The LTE-A standard promises three times greater data speeds than LTE. It boasts five major features: carrier aggregation, increased MIMO, coordinated multipoint transmission, heterogeneous network (HetNet) support, and relays. Carrier aggregation combines up to five 20-MHz channels into one stream to increase data speed, making possible a peak downlink data rate of 1 Gbit/ s and uplink data rate of 500 Mbit/ s. Next, while the standard LTE defines MIMO configurations of up to 4x4 arrangement, LTE-A extends that to 8x8 stream with support for two transmit antennas in the handset. Third,cooperative MIMO— is a set of techniques using different forms of MIMO and beamforming to improve the performance at cell edges. Finally, LTE-A defines a virtual base station type called relay station. Relays use repeater stations to help coverage in selected areas, especially indoors where most calls are initiated. The five key technology features of LTE-A system are carrier aggregation, increased MIMO, coordinated multipoint transmission, heterogeneous network support, and relays. Image credit: EE Catalog
SMALL CELL NETWORKS
The first critical juncture in mobile industry’s quest for multifold increase in capacity and flexibility of cellular networks came with the realization that the big tower-based macro-umbrella networks that fueled two decades of voice services weren’t going to cut it in a data-centric world. So mobile carriers and their infrastructure vendors began designing new types of small cells and base stations intended to deliver intense levels of bandwidth over limited areas. 
These small cell deployments— pico, micro, metro, femto, etc.— are to evolve into the new heterogeneous network, or HetNet, which will transform cellular systems from coverage- to capacity-focused systems. This implies that the upcoming broadband mobile networks will have hundreds of thousands if not millions of cells. LTE became a driving force behind the small-cell movement. In retrospect, mobile operators could have created far more capacity if they deployed smaller cells, reusing the spectrum they had to the nth degree. But they couldn’t build the density of cells necessary to support the demands for mobile data. It was a hard feat to pull off because at any time, when two signals used the same frequency in the same space, there would be interference. So, for several years, the mobile industry had been trying to figure how to mitigate that interference. That’s why it had taken so long to convert an ordinary picocell into a true small cell. Now, instead station, typically designed for use in a home or small business.
Typically, the range of a standard macrocell is up to 35 kilometres or 22 miles; a microcell is less than two kilometers wide; a picocell is 200 meters or less; and a femtocell is on the order of 10 meters. At first, small cell network will function much like an extension of the large cell counterparts. The network will pass mobile users from big cell to small cell and vice versa. However, the key difference is that when mobile users occupy the small cell, they will have a lot more bandwidth at their disposal. Mobile devices will be able to link to multiple cells simultaneously, and the same signals that once interfered with one another will reinforce one another creating an even more powerful connection. 
The high-capacity Wi-Fi networks will also get layered in, creating a heterogeneous network in which mobile devices can establish multiple simultaneous connections using multiple radio technologies. Apparently, that boils down to an awful lot of bandwidth. The two main deployment scenarios for small cells are in rural areas with poor or no indoor coverage, probably using co-channel deployment, and in dense areas to provide high data rates and capacity. 
Femtocells and other microcell schemes are an integral part of the LTE deployment strategy. With revenue per bit falling, costs for deployment must be kept to a minimum while ensuring that the network is operating to its greatest efficiency. In 2013, the U.S. mobile carriers were getting ready for their first small cell deployments with an aim of implementing multi-technology heterogeneous networks. Networking equipment maker Cisco estimates that Wi-Fi and femtocells will handle nearly half of all mobile traffic by 2017.
MILLIMETER WAVE COMMUNICATIONS 70-80GHz
Cellular networks have always occupied frequencies lower on the spectrum, where carrier waves tens of centimeters long— hundreds of megahertz— pass easily around obstacles and through the air. But this coveted spectrum is now heavily used, making it difficult for mobile phone operators to acquire more of it.
At the same time, many 4G networks have just about reached the theoretical limit on how much data they could squeeze into a given amount of spectrum. So, wireless engineers are now looking toward higher frequencies, where radio use is lighter. Here, regulators can free as much as 100 GHz of millimeter-wave spectrum for mobile communications— about 200 times what mobile networks use in 2013. Wireless systems that use millimeter waves already exist for fixed, line-of-sight transmissions.
Moreover, because a single millimeter-wave antenna has a small aperture, it needs more power to send and receive data than is practical for cellular systems. Beamforming is a signal processing technique that is used to direct the reception or transmission of a signal in an array in a chosen angular direction. Each user's signal is transmitted and received by the base station only in the direction of that particular user; that drastically reduces the overall interference in the system and improves the system capacity.
Therefore, not only could millimeter-wave technology merit for those small cells,it could also provide a simple, inexpensive alternative to backhaul links, which connect cellular base stations to mobile operators’ core network. Today millimeter-wave deployments in Nigeria can provide up to 10GBps with a single ODU. Deploying a 2+0 configuration provides 20Gbps as well as a failover if one link goes down.
The small cells would be mounted on street poles, building walls and every form of urban fixture where access to cable or fiber isn’t readily available and the cost of laying fiber is prohibitive. LTE requires fat backhaul pipes and millimeter wave technologies can provide both the reach and capacity at the right prices for the HetNet backhaul.
Millimeter wave transmission systems suit to small cell backhaul for two reasons. First, it is relatively easy to get licenses for big blocks of millimeter wave spectrum, which will allow mobile operators to deploy large backhaul pipes of over 1 Gbit/ s. While a single small cell might not need that much capacity, the complexity of HetNets will require daisy-chaining many small cells together, each cell passing its load down the line. The final backhaul link in such a mesh or chain could end up handling dozens of cells worth of traffic before it dumps the data onto a core fiber network. 
Second, by definition, the HetNet will be composed of densely packed cells in urban environments, meaning millimeter wave won’t have to travel far between hops. Millimeter wave communications technology is winning merits in the evolving 5G domain because small cells architecture and HetNets are inherently suitable for millimeter wave-based network configuration. 
In Lagos, a densely congested city of more than 20mil, MMW can cost effectively provide backhaul for LTE to achieve high QoS. It will also be a cost effective means for bringing access to non/underserved population estimated to be around 40mil.  In addition, apart from MMW for LTE, overall increase of QoS  can be realized if more carriers and operators would offload some of their MW transmissions to MMW.  
NCC anticipated the benefits that millimeter-wave technology would provide by releasing a "light licensing" model with low-cost license fees as well as a simple application process soon to be online.  The regulator also envisioned that the millimeter-wave spectrum would provide relief to the overuse of MW often causing interference.  As more operators and ISPs understand the many benefits of this spectrum, QoS will quickly rise for Nigerian subscribers.   
*Ken Spann contributed this from Lagos with credits for content given to Ahmad, Majeed (2013-12-17). Essential 4G Guide: Learn 4G Wireless In One Day (Smartphone Chronicle) Majeed Ahmad Kamran. Kindle Edition.
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