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Shell emerges best in sustainability innovation in Africa

ITREALMS : Shell Companies in Nigeria (SCiN) have emerged the 2017 Best Nigerian companies in Sustainability Innovation in Africa, beat...

Monday, July 31, 2017

Onigbinde, Onanuga, others for GOCOP confab'17

The Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP) has said, its first annual conference would hold on Thursday, August 10, 2017 at Renaissance Hotel, Isaac John Street, Ikeja, Lagos State, reports ITRealms.

The GOCOP Publicity Secretary, Olumide Iyanda, affirmed to ITRealms that the theme of the conference is “Sustaining Growth through Diversification of the Economy.”

According to him, the theme of the conference would be tackled by speakers from the angle of their professional calling, with the media as a core focus.

Iyanda said, there would be two key note speakers to give an overview of the topic before key players in all sectors, both the public and private, would share their experiences with the audience that are of varied backgrounds.

One of the keynote speakers, he said, is a university teacher, Prof. Akin Onigbinde, who brings experiences into play, including that of overseeing some companies.
The second keynote speaker, he said, is the Editor-in-Chief of the News Agency of Nigeria, Bayo Onanuga, who also once presided over The News magazine.

A former Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the Sun newspapers and now the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Femi Adesina; and the MD/EIC of New Telegraph newspaper and also the President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Funke Egbemode, will participate in the discussion.

So also will several State Governors, Banks CEOs, Ministers and other big time players in both the public and private sectors speak to the topic of the day.

Eminent speakers and guests from the public and private sectors will also speak at the conference, which will also witness the inauguration of a new Executive that will oversee the affairs of the Guild in the next two years. 
Iyanda said the list of confirmed guests will be made available soon.

GOCOP is a non-governmental, non-partisan, non-profit making organisation for the highest strata of Nigerian media professionals in online publishing.

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21st Century Tech rejigs, gears up to tackle major challenges

Nigeria's information technology powerhouse, 21st Century Technologies Limited, has rejigged her operations towards resolving some of Nigeria’s toughest challenges, reports ITRealms.

The chief executive officer, 21st Century Technologies Limited, Mr. Wale Ajisebutu, made this disclosure at the weekend, noting that Nigeria’s socioeconomic challenges includes power and energy infrastructure, food security and agriculture, wealth creation and employment, mass transportation, land reforms, security, and education.

These problems, he said, have significant negative impacts on nation’s economy.
According to him, 21st Century Technologies Limited has developed sets of solutions to address and shape the present and future of Nigeria and Nigerians.

“Central to all these are tailor-made solutions to address these challenges; they are indigenous solutions with global standards. We believe that Nigerians deserve the very best. That is why the solutions are local to address local challenges” Ajisebutu said.

ICT solutions remain the vital instrument that can be used by Nigerians to enhance service delivery strategy and bring about innovations for the development of the economy.

“That is why the solutions have been developed by some of the world’s best brains taking into consideration the Nigerian environments, because we cannot copy what work in other climates and expect them to work perfectly here” he said.

21st Century Technologies, he said, is building infrastructure, platform which include applications that will revolutionise ICT in Nigeria, stressing that the company is the vanguard of IT development with the introduction of various portals and applications.

As said by him, with two decades of experience, Ajisebutu pointed out that his company is fully mobilized and perfectly positioned to build converged, multi-service and efficiently managed communications networks in Africa.

He emphasised that 21st Century Technologies owns and operates the most extensive optical fibre cable metropolitan networks in Nigeria with speeds up to 10Gbps, high-speed Corporate Dedicated Internet Access and IRUs for a total of 10Gbps, fully redundant International subsea fibre capacity with two separate vendors.


Currently, Ajisebutu said, the company is the leading commercial Data Centre Service Provider in Nigeria, specializing in the commercial protection of off-site data, server hosting, indexing, records archiving, etc. in our state-of-the art facilities that meet strict measures of security, stability and fire prevention.

Chuks Egbune/GEE
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Freetel, Japanese smartphone debuts in Nigeria, partners TD Mobile

Freetel, the Japan’s largest selling smart phone brand in open market has debuted in Nigeria with a partnership with TD Mobile, reports ITRealms.

Freetel, ITRealms gathered, was founded in Tokyo in 2012 by few enthusiastic telecom experts with a vision to re-create the Japanese quality smart phones at affordable prices. Freetel has started expansion overseas since November 2015 in Asia, North America, Latin America, Middle East and Africa.

Freetel devices are available in 20 countries including two African markets; Egypt and Ghana.

The Vice President, International Sales, Freetel, Eugene Yoshioka, said Nigeria is the focus market for Freetel, stressing that they are looking forward to reaching out to Nigerian consumers with its latest smartphones.

“We plan to invest in the country with a full-fledged subsidiary to support sales, marketing and after sales support. We are glad that we are partnering with the most powerful and trusted partner of the region: TD Africa,” he said.

Also, he disclosed that Freetel is planning to bring four Android Smartphones in the beginning priced from N13,000 to N38,000, pointing out that all Freetel Smartphones are designed in the state of art design center in Tokyo, manufacturing is overseen by Japanese engineers with over 40 years of experience and Google’s   Mobile Services (GMS) certified.

“All Freetel smart phones are Google’s GMS Certified and quality checked by Japanese engineering experts. The GMS Certification is the confirmation that a specific device meets Google's performance requirements and properly runs the Google Apps.

A subsidiary of ICT distribution power-house Technology Distributions Ltd. (TD Africa), TD Mobile will add the Freetel brand to a growing list of international brands represented in line with its status as the biggest mobile devices distributor in the West African sub-region. 

Considering TD Mobile’s wide reach, distribution network and unmatched presence in major Nigerian cities and other West African capitals; the partnership will see the company deploy its latent capacity in taking the line-up of products from the Freetel stable to every action station in the metropolis as well as every nook and cranny in the hinterlands.

In the words of Mrs. Ijogun, Managing Director, TD Mobile: “As a key driver of technology revolution in Africa, TD Mobile has always strived to bring the latest and best of technology products to Nigeria and the West African region by extension.

According to her, Freetel and TD Mobile have entered into an exclusive partnership to bring Japanese Smartphones to Nigeria.

“We believe we can capture a major market share with the help of our extensive distribution reach and strategic partnerships with operators, dealers and retailers.”

Chuks Egbune/GEE 
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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Constitution amendment: A fatal blow to nation-building

Nigeria has a frightening history of precariously balancing herself on the cliff’s edge from time to time. And each moment usually comes with a fair amount of anxiety and numbing terror, such that it is only through the intervention of some supernatural force that the country has not gone the way of some chinaware smashed on a concrete floor.

By October 1, 2017, the country will roll out the drums to celebrate 57 years of independence from its British colonizers. It survived a civil war, six military coups and eight military heads of states who ruled for a total of 29 years until the will of the people forced the soldiers to return to the barracks in 1999, with a cautionary note never to return to the political arena. Since the last seventeen years, the country has witnessed a succession of civilian governments produced from four general elections, the last being an unprecedented transfer of power from an incumbent government to an opposition party.

But despite these seeming achievements, the national question has remained unanswered. Post-independence Nigeria is contending with a fierce centrifugal pull by popular and fringe tendencies tearing away at the soul of the world’s most populous black country. It seems that the restive elements would hardly be blamed for their actions. Successive governments have not been able to muster the leadership vision and statemanly discipline required to forge a nation from the diverse ethnic nationalities occupying the geographical space called Nigeria.

Rather than strive to construct a proper federal state based on social justice, equity and merit, as envisioned by the colonizers and their local inheritors, otherwise known as founding fathers, the new crop of leaders have stubbornly stuck to a retrograde unitary arrangement imposed by the military since 1966. Thus Nigeria has remained in the backwoods of underdevelopment, pitifully existing not even anywhere near the shadows of countries like South Korea and Brazil with which she rubbed shoulders in the early days of independence.

In this suffocating atmosphere of pathetic leadership, ethno-religious and regional anger is flaring, fuelling a renewed and more intense cry for a restructuring of the so-called federal republic, as well as strident agitations for a dismemberment of the country amid mutual sabre-rattling and hate speeches. Indeed, this moment is reminiscent of the eerie call in the mid 60s for a return to the homestead. For sure, for a particular ethnic group down south, this is the kind of tense situation that warrants an exigent call on those who aren’t moving to get off the way (B’o lo oya).
This country has been in that frame of emergency for a long time. It has perpetually groped in the darkness it brought upon itself. Now, those who argue that we don’t have a country yet really have to be excused. At no time other than this moment does Nigeria need to heal herself of the pathologies that have held it down for decades.

That can only begin by reinventing the country through a total redesigning of its architecture. And the place to start is the constitution. What Nigeria needs today is a brand new, people-driven constitution, not an amendment of an anti-federal, military-imposed 1999 constitution which is currently being operated. In the first place, the idea of amendment is odious as it has been repeated again and again to the point of becoming a cliché that the extant constitution is Decree 24 handed down by the military. And it’s not only that its originators are not known believers of federalism, they are also the least qualified to give the country a constitution that will guide it through its democratic journey.

A democratic Nigeria cannot continue to rely on a military document, for the military cannot give what they do not have. That is why a constitution that originates from their regimented, command-and-obey mindset can only be nothing but a document full of useless unitary principles even for a multi-ethnic society.

Therefore, by embarking on an amendment of a constitution of such massively flawed origin, a dubious document which politicians swore to defend but which the military never allowed them to see before assuming office in 1999, the National Assembly is only carrying out a futile exercise. It is no surprise that the purported amendment turned out a jamboree of self-service. The legislators have proved once again that their interest is more important than that of other citizens and the country. That is why they can afford to fiddle when the country is forever tottering on the brink.

But what is more of a surprise is that even very senior lawyers who ought to know better have weighed in on the side of a hopeless amendment when they should be beating the drums for a fresh people’s constitution. These lawyers, and indeed all those who genuinely love this country, should let the legislators know that the way to go is not amendment, but by putting in place a law for a Constituent Assembly whose duty it is to draw up a constitution that will be approved by a referendum of the people.

Anything short of that, such as the misguided exercise the National Assembly has taken upon itself, will escalate agitations and intensify the drums of war.

Godwin Onyeacholem is a journalist. He can be reached ongonyeacholem@gmail.com  

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Scaling up Nutrition: MeCAM partners GAIN, SBN on 2017 symposium

ITRealms:

MeCAM partners GAIN, SBN on Nutrition Symposium 20...: NaijaAgroNet : A media-based non-governmental advocacy group, the Media Centre Against child Malnutrition (MeCAM) has disclosed its par...

... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology

Corpsocracy of Buhari, sons of Shimmei and deteriorating minds by FFK

I am convinced that President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, has now finally lost his mind. In his latest essay, titled “The Sons of Shimmei”, he compared Buhari to the biblical King David, the greatest King that ever ruled Israel.

One is constrained to ask the following question: what on earth is Davidic about Buhari?

King David was a Spirit-filled believer and a heroic and courageous child of God whilst Buhari is a son of perdition and a tyrannical servant of satan.

In what can only be described as a chilling and irresponsible manner Femi also said that Buhari could have “cut off the heads” of his opponents, meaning he could have had them assassinated. Gosh. Jumping Jehoshaphat! What has happened to my old friend? Poor old Femi.

He has just made a cardinal spiritual blunder the consequences of which I have no doubt that he will deeply regret.

In this game you must never threaten your opponent with death because once invoked the Angel of Death usually returns back to sender. I shall pray for Femi because I want him to live long and prosper.

I knew that he was frustrated but I never knew he was a man of blood.

I never knew that he and his leader believed in murder as a tool of governance.

Yet the truth is that the Lord will see to it that they pay a terrible price for even thinking of taking the life of their detractors and political enemies both in this life and in the next.

The truth is that God alone gives and takes life and whether they like it or not He guards His own jealously. The Bible says “touch not my annointed and do my prophets no harm” . Consequently no-one is intimidated by Femi’s implicit death threat.

One thing is clear though: he ought to be mindful of the fact that whilst he and his associates are planning to take someone else’s precious life they may end up losing your own. Examples of such a course and turn of events are replete in the Holy Bible.

Femi mentioned the great Abishai who was a biblical hero in his own right and one of David’s strong men and allies.

Abishai and David’s other strong men were courageous and righteous men who undertook a noble cause, who shed the blood of evil men and who fought against tyranny.

To compare members of Buhari’s cabal to David’s strong men is like comparing Queen Helen of Troy to a Bombay whore.

One is regal and queen-like in all her ways whilst the other is nothing but a cheap back-street, “short-time”, aides-infested woman of questionable character and easy virtue.

Femi has done a great disservice to Abisha by mentioning his name in the same sentence as the cabal.

I say this because he was a soldier of truth and a gallant man of honor.

This is not the case with anyone in Buhari’s cabal. They are the opposite to the Abishai’s of this world. They are the darkness that seeks the darkness. They are desperate predators who drink the blood of their innocent victims and who feed on their flesh.

They prey on the weak, they destroy the young and they torment and slay the old, the vulnerable, the defenseless and the weary.

Buhari did not emanate from a righteous lineage or noble stock. He is not a child of light, a Prince of Zion or a son of the Living God. He does not have a noble heritage and neither is he a servant of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

He is not a David but a Pharaoh, a Sennacherub, a Herod and a Jezebel all rolled into one. He is a wicked, unforgiving, sadistic, bloodthirsty and vengeful Amalekite.

He has no Abishai’s around him. He has no Joab’s, no Samuel’s and no Nathan’s either. He only has the Absalom’s, Haman’s, Judas’, Jezebel’s, Dalila’s and Ahitophel’s of this world in his inner circle and evil cabal.

His spiritual foundation is nothing but garbage and that is the tragedy and weakness of his Presidency.

That plus the fact that he does not know or fear the Living God and he does not respect the rights of the Nigerian people.

If he did he would have resigned long ago and handed over full power to his number two, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

Finally Femi wrote “when Buhari returns home some people will bury their heads in shame”. He is wrong.

The truth is that when and if Buhari returns home some people will prop him up and pretend that he is well enough to be President until he falls sick and goes back abroad again.

It is called “corspsocracy” and it is defined as “the rulership of the living by the dead”.

That is Nigeria’s biggest burden and challenge today. An ailing President who already has one foot in the land of the dead, who can never be the same again, who will NEVER return to be a full and active President yet who stubbornly refuses to step down and resign.

Instead of telling us that his principal can “kill us all” and “chop off our heads” Femi should consider the monsters failings and chronic ill-health and advise him to resign honorably.

That is what a real believer and a true man of honor would counsel his sick boss to do and not try to intimidate those of us that are in the opposition with blatant, vulgar and bullish threats of death and assassination.

The path of blood is a dark and unpredictable one. I advise Femi not to take it.


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Saturday, July 29, 2017

‘No going back on Broadcasting Code’

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has declared that there is no going back on Broadcasting Code, reports ITRealms.

According to the Minister, the Federal Government will not be stampeded into abandoning the ongoing efforts to amend the Nigeria Broadcasting Code to ensure the production in Nigeria of 'Nigerian content or local content' programmes.

The Minister stated this in Abuja on Friday when he received a delegation from the African Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council (AU-ECOSOC), led by its Nigerian representative, Dr. Tunji Asaolu John.

He said those who deliberately twisted his comments to allege that the Federal Government will ban the shooting of films and music videos abroad are being mischievous, and reaffirmed government's commitment to protecting local creative talents and generating employment.

"We will not be intimidated or stampeded by anybody," Alhaji Mohammed said.

He said the amendment of the Code will also encourage people to invest in the establishment of world-class studios in Nigeria to guarantee that producers get the same quality of work as obtained abroad.

"We are not going to export jobs to other countries and say our economy will grow. Most of the arguments which are being proffered, honestly, are unrealistic. One of them said where in Nigeria are we going to produce our music and our films when there are no studios.
What they don't understand is that nobody is going to invest in (building studios) in Nigeria if the law allows you to go and do the same thing outside Nigeria," the Minister said.

He said the Federal Government is consciously developing the Creative Industry in its renewed drive to diversify the economy away from oil.

The Minister pledged the ministry's support for the African Festival of Arts and Culture, to be hosted in Nigeria in November.

Earlier, Dr. Asaolu said the AU is currently implementing Agenda 2063, which is a framework to promote growth and social development in Africa.

"Out of this Agenda 2063, Aspiration No. 5 talked about Africa with strong cultural identity, common heritage, values and ethics. Sir, even this aspirations alone if you put it out to the market it can solve the problems that we are facing in Africa," he said.

The AU-ECOSOC, which is the AU's platform for the Civil Society, used the opportunity of the courtesy visit to confer the Distinguished Fellowship of African Arts and Culture on the Minister.

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE


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Friday, July 28, 2017

65 days later: Six abducted students released

The six abducted students of the Igbonla Model College near Epe last May, have been released to the Lagos State government, reports ITRealms

The school children, ITRealms gathered were released after 65 days at about 3.30pm in Aboto Creek at Ilaje LGA Ondo State in a joint effort of the Nigeria Police, the Lagos State Government and Ondo State Government, after over .

ITRealms recalls that a few days ago, the Lagos State Government (LASG) had demanded an unconditional release of the students from their abductors.

The Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule, commended the security agencies especially the Police and Department of State Security (DSS).

According to the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, the boys were released Friday, July 28 after spending 65 days in the jungle just as the Lagos State Government has expressed excitement over the release of six students abducted May 25, 2017 in their school premises.

Ayorinde congratulated the parents of students and all concerned stakeholders over the development, stressing the students would undergo series of medical tests and trauma therapy before they are reunited with their families.

“This is a welcome development and the State Government has always believed that the students would be released unhurt. The news of their release is therefore a confirmation of that belief and we are glad that they would be reuniting with their families,” he said.

Ayorinde said the State Government remains resolute in its commitment to ensure the safety of lives and property of residents in the State and has already beefed up security in schools to prevent a re-occurrence.

“It is on record that the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration has invested massively on equipment and welfare of security personnel so as to ensure that the State remains safe for residents and investors.

“This Government has already taken giant steps to secure all our schools especially those in the suburbs and riverine areas and we are confident that the steps taken so far will go a long way in nipping a repeat of such in the bud,” he said, quoting Gov. Ambode as commending the efforts of security agencies who worked tirelessly to ensure the safe release and return of the students.


Uj. N. Dominic/GEE

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Omatek: A requiem for Nigerian SME

Barely four months after the death of the founder of Omatek Computers, Mrs. Florence Seriki, a bank has taken over the company property, thereby bringing to a halt the sad tale of a dream of another Small Medium Enterprise (SMS) in Nigeria. REMMY NWEKE in this report for ITRealms Online, wondered if this is not a requiem for Nigerian SMEs?

Prelude:
Driving through the former Oregun Road and now Kudirat Abiola Way, Ojota, Lagos, one thing that caught my attention at the Alausa Bus-Stop, was the notice of take over of Omatek Ventures Plc, the parent company of Omatek Computers Limited, the Solar energy subsidiary, among others; I have to turn at the next available route, parked and walked to the entrance of what has become the headquarters of Omatek.

According to the notice, my fear was confirmed as the premises have been taken over by an order of a court, with a boldly written notice: “FHC/L/CS/590/17 – Possession Taken Today 18/7/17 by Court Order.”

Takeover:
Omatek prides itself as a Nigeria SME and the first factory to locally assemble computer cases, speakers, keyboards and mouse, in other words, computer systems and notebooks with a good number of network for other system builders and resellers across Africa.

The takeover news, ITRealms recalled was initially in the air, a year ago and precisely in May, 2016, when  it was gathered First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Limited filed a wind-up petition against Omatek, seeking recovery of a loan worth N838,337,562.69, granted the firm, two years earlier in 2014.

N838m bank loan and wind-up genesis:
According to the petition at Federal High Court, Lagos, the bank counsel, Mr Ade Oyebanji had alleged that Omatek Computers, between May 20, 2014 and November 12, 2015, applied for and was granted various type of loans in the sum of N743,224,440, supported with personal guarantee of then Managing Director, Mrs. Seriki who also is an alter ego of the company, in addition to corporate guarantees from two sister companies, namely Omatek Ventures Plc and Omatek Ventures Distribution Limited.

Although Omatek initially objected to the petition via its counsel, Professor Taiwo Osipitan, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), urging the court to dismiss the petition on the ground that it was incompetent and also contended that it did not comply with company winding up rules, because as at the time of filing the petition, the tenor of the loan had not expired. Eventually the case went on and gave birth to the takeover by the Bank of Industry (BoI) on July 18, 2017, now accumulated to the tune of N838,337,562.69.

Loan brought forward:
As at the time of filing this report, ITRealms reports, all Omatek Computers signpost at the promises have been removed, as security officer on site was quick to reveal that employees ever since have been barred from entry  into the company premise.

Also, ITRealms gathered that earlier in July, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) had suspended trading on the shares of Omatek Ventures over failure to submit its account statements and operational reports as required.

Seriki foresaw bank takeover:
Obviously reacting to the bank’s wind-up petition that broke the camel back, late Mrs. Seriki, berated the banks on their inability to understand the difficulties of SMEs in trying to grow and entrench their businesses, mostly when loan is involved.

On probable secrets she may have adopted on managing bank loans, Seriki had noted that they work very hard and believe in production of standard products, in addition to having credibility, which is critical, but lamented that hitherto, Nigerian bank policies messed her company up at a time, leading to sack of so many of workers. Hence, she said they don’t know the ripple effects of some of their policies.

“Then, taking loan from banks is a major challenge. Sometimes, the banks thought we were fighting them, but in actual sense, we were not fighting anyone; we were only trying to explain our line of business to them,” she declared.

On some of the harsh business decisions she has taken to move Omatek forward, Seriki pointed out that if she had a choice, borrowing from Nigerian banks will be a last resort, explaining that on three occasions, they have threatened Omatek over a loan.  Prophesying that “Instead of them to work with us to see how to get their money back, the only thing I saw on the wall was how to take over our company.” She lamented, Nigerian banks have to understand that business is deeper than what they think.

Banks wanted us liquidated:
On the short-lived success of the Omatek listing at Stock Exchange, late Mrs. Seriki emphatically blamed banks over persistent pressure to take over SMEs. According to her, that incident happened because one of Omatek partner banks tried to liquidate it. Stressing that although the company was able eventually to raise capital to pay their money back, adding that initial offer was oversubscribed, “the stock exchange called us that we had broken a record and encouraged us to get listed; I didn’t initially plan to do so. Shortly after that, the stocks crashed but I never regret any decision I take through God. Everything I do, I first commit it into the hands of God, so no regrets. If we didn’t take that step, the banks would have taken over this company.”

She maintained that as SME, Omatek did not get the type of funding needed from the bank, because it would require huge collateral which was not available at the time. That was the issue, reiterating that if she had her way, “I would never borrow from the banks.”

Sunday Takeover debate:
For an industry observers, its alarming how Nigerian banks like taking over businesses entrepreneurs have laboured to build only for them to allow such effort die naturally without thinking beyond mere take over to recover their fund or better seen as loan.

It took a question from an industry observer, Otunba Ebee, at a Sunday roundtable on the state of Omatek now the banks have taken over, perturbed by the thinking that even government should have done something. Reminiscing on the situation, Ogbuefi Machi, another industry observer, lamented “It's very unfortunate how bank loans kill SMEs in this country.”  Yet another observer, Mallam Isaka asked since they took over the company, will it not be in the best interest of the country, the business and even employees, to introduce their own management team instead of wasting the company with attendant job loss, without a blink.                       

For Machi, Omatek should have traded softly in going for another bank loan after what happened in 2009 when Saudi purportedly forced banks to recall their loans to companies, which led to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) decision that seriously affected the fortunes of the company. He insisted that “It's always better to function small than taking bank loan in this country. If you want bank loan, please take loan from abroad.” Arguing that the interests on the loan in Nigeria is killing companies;  saying that Commercial banks give double digits interests, although Bank of Industry (BOI) is better because the loan is single digit, but would not go beyond 9 per cent

As said by Machi, “A bank gives you loan to run your business, it is up to you to manage the funds. If you don't manage it well and start repaying according to the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signed, it will go to court to enforce the takeover of the collateral deposited so that it will recover its money. It's core business is to give loan not to run your business for you. “

He posited that if the company involved is a ‘Too Big To Fail institution,’ there could be some intervention via the regulators to appoint new management to run and stabilize the place prior to sale to new investors. Omatek's key assets, he noted, is the landed property and warehouses on the land.                       

Whilst Ebee insisted and hoped that something could have been done to keep this Omatek dream alive.  Machi was quick to add that despite investing the loan including into solar energy, the returns on investment was not convincing. Thus, debts started piling and banks do not listen to excuses.

Be wary of bank loans:                  
“It is unfortunate that one of the Information Technology (IT) industry iconic businesses has to go that way. This is a company every ICT stakeholder has benefited from one way or the other in the last two decades,” he further decried.                      

This position, Otunba Ebee could not agree less, postulating that sometimes Small Medium Businesses (SMBs) take up loans without proper insight and planning, hence, “You hear people say the most important thing is just to get the loan first. But you must have a plan on how and period for repayment. Let's be wary of loans, especially bank loans.

Conclusion:
Submitting, Machi believes the CBN and Federal Government (FG) policies in the last two years finally killed Omatek, explaining that loans were taken in Naira but the products were to be sourced from China, which requires converting Naira to Dollar at very exorbitant cost and “when you get to China you convert to Yuan to make purchases. Import duties are so high at the airport and seaports.”   Insisting that only if FG had implemented the agreement it signed with China on Remnibi which is the legal tender in mainland China, the Chinese Yuan would have been available to Nigerian banks as one of the forex currencies.

“Cost of mobile phones wouldn't have even skyrocketed,” he alleged, contending that as at time of filing this report, One Chinese Yuan is not more than N40, but Dollar is now N370. Grieving that Omatek is taken over via bank loan, noting that every day he passes in front of the company premises, he is filled with nostalgia.                      
 
For Isaka, he maintained that although the loan went awry, is not enough to take over a promising enterprise like Omatek for the sake of takeover. Positing that there are other assets beyond the landed property which he thinks the bank should also be concerned about. Wondering if it should not have been more beneficial to have a management team takeover the remains of the company, and try to run it back into profitability. “So that instead of job loss, we have more investment” Mallam Isaka insisted, just like was lately done to Arik Air or even Etisalat among others.


He called on the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to do something as respite for Omatek and likes before more SMEs find themselves in the Omatek shoe. Arguing if the National Information Technology Development Fund (NITDEF) should not have been used to save the situation?

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Nigeria’s MDaaS wins healthymagination phase two

Nigeria-based Medical Doctor as a Service (MDaaS) has emerged one of the 14 social enterprises selected for the second cohort of the healthymaginatioon Mother and Child Programme, reports ITRealms.

Other 13 winners selected in this second cohort include Afya Research Africa – STONE HMIS, Cedars Diagnostics, doctHERs, Early Reach, Liberian Energy Network, and Maternity Foundation.
Also on the selected list comprised MOBicure, Neopenda, Sevamob, Sisu Global Health, Southlake Medical Centre - under LiveWell, SubQ Assist and Totohealth Tanzania.

Healthymagination Mother and Child Programme, ITRealms gathered is an initiative to accelerate health innovations in Africa by General Electric (GE) and Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

ITRealms gathered that MDaaS pride itself as an equipment services company, specializing in radiology, patient monitoring, and critical care equipment, as well as created in response to a critical need voiced by Nigerian doctors.

Founded and incubated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), ITRealms reports that its led by a diverse team of engineers, medical professionals, and supply chain experts.


 Nonye Dom/GEE
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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Fake News worries FG, prepares IOs

The Federal Government is seemingly worried over the menace of fake news, and is preparing the Information Officers (IOs) on how to effectively counter this effect with fact-based narratives, reports ITRealms.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made this disclosure in Abuja Wednesday in his key note address at a capacity building Workshop for Strategic Communication Liaison Officers, with the theme "Mainstreaming Strategic Communication Across Government for National Security."

He said though the Social Media has proved to be a powerful tool of public communication, it is plagued with challenges, particularly the prevalence of fake news which makes it imperative for Information Officers to brace up and overcome the challenge.

''Faced with the prevalence of fake news, we took action by preparing Information Officers with the skills to identify and counter such fake news through engagement and counter narrative. Information Officers are assigned to monitor both online and offline news media to identify such fake news and develop timely and credible counter narratives to respond to such fake news,'' Alhaji Mohammed said.

He said the Federal Government is also implementing a robust strategic communication framework, with feedback mechanism, to interface with Nigerians on the policies and programmes of government.

"For example, we engage through Town Hall Meetings across the six geo-political zones to inform Nigerians and the international community about our programmes and to listen to criticism, feedback and advice from the citizens.

''Through these meetings, we are able to shape policy and improve on delivering our promises to the people. The town hall meetings, undoubtedly, have yielded positive results with the kind of direct feedback we received from Nigerians. These interactions with Nigerians underscore the importance this administration attaches to the people in carrying them along in the task of governance," the Minister said.

He underscored the critical role of Information Officers in strengthening government communication to achieve national strategic objectives, particularly in managing the image, reputation and promoting the cultures of the people of Nigeria through a dynamic public information system.

He said because of the dynamics of public communication, ''the ministry is leveraging on various Social Media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, Twitter and Instagram to reach our audiences, especially the youths. These Social Media platforms also provide unique opportunity for the Ministry to aggregate and gauge public opinions and perceptions of government."

The National Security Adviser, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Special Services, Ambassador Aminu Nabegu, challenged participants to come up with a strategic communication plan to counter the propaganda and negative narratives by terror and anti-state groups.

He said the present administration has eliminated inter-agency rivalry in order to achieve seamless and coordinated approach to effective communication.


The Workshop was organized by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP) to build the capacity of Strategic Communication Liaison Officers (SC/LO) across Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs),

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE
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5th Africa DNS Forum kicks off in Tanzania

The fifth Africa Domain Names System (DNS) Forum has kicked off Wednesday, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, reports ITRealms.

The forum, taking place till July 28, 2017, ITRealms reports, follows on the success of previous fora that have taken place in Africa over the past few years - namely (South Africa-2013, Nigeria-2014, Kenya-2015 and Morocco-2016). Organized by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Internet Society (ISOC) and Africa Top Level Domains Organization (AFTLD), this year’s Forum is hosted by the Tanzania Network Information Centre (tzNIC).

Abibu Rashid Ntahigiye, CEO of .tz Registry (tzNIC) and host for the event stated “Most African countries have managed their ccTLDs locally so far. However, significant improvements have been made through the support of regional and global organizations. African Registries are now receiving not only local, but also global support in technical matters as well as problems in marketing and governance issues. With these collaborations, the competition in African domain business is growing.”

Pierre Dandjinou (ICANN), Michuki Mwangi (ISOC), Ali Hadji Mmadi (AfTLD) and Abibu Rashid Ntahigiye (tzNIC) spoke at the opening ceremony of the event. In line with Africa's growing Internet presence, the Forum will cover and open to discussion various topics from regional domain name industry to Internet security.

“Africa is rising with respect to its digital potential and it must make its influence felt at the global Internet governance table to protect its interests” stressed Pierre Dandjinou, VP of Global Stakeholder Engagement in Africa at ICANN. “With this in mind, ICANN is committed to providing equal opportunity to inform the region’s different communities about the domain industry and engaging with them on how best to not only strengthen Africa’s online presence, but also improve their participation within ICANN.” 

Speaking on behalf of Dawit Bekele, Africa Region Bureau Director of Internet Society, Michuki Mwangi said “With less than 2 million domain names currently registered by registries in Africa, there is clear potential for growth in this industry. As Internet access expands throughout the region, there will be a demand for more services online which can contribute to the growth of the Domain Name System industry.” He further added: “ This forum provides a platform for the exchange of ideas, best practices and technical expertise in order to grow the African domain name industry together with the number of Internet users.”

Ali Hadji Mmadi, speaking on behalf of Alex Corenthin, President of AFTLD, stated that “The Africa Top Level Domains Organization, the home of African country code top level domain registries, is committed to working with all stakeholders in the African Internet ecosystem in ensuring sustainable development of the  domain name industry in Africa.”

Chuks Egbune/GEE
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