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Dangote gets hotline, email for monitoring, reporting unscrupulous truck drivers

ITRealms : The management of Dangote Industries Limited has set up hotlines and electronic mail (email) for the public to call in and ...

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dangote gets hotline, email for monitoring, reporting unscrupulous truck drivers

The management of Dangote Industries Limited has set up hotlines and electronic mail (email) for the public to call in and report truck drivers, for recklessness and illegal haulage of contraband goods with a promise to appropriately compensate whistleblowers that lead to arrest of errant drivers, reports ITRealms.

A press statement available to ITRealms, Dangote management, noted that the trucks belonging to Dangote Cement are only allowed to carry cement, high grade gypsum and coal, those belonging to Dangote Sugar (NASCON) are authorized to carry only salt and Dan Q seasoning.

Also, the company disclosed that trucks belonging to Agro Sacks, the bags producing arm of Dangote Group, can only carry bags, belonging to Dangote flour Mills, Wheat, Flour and Danvita.

“The Management of Dangote Industries Limited hereby alerts the public to report any suspected Dangote truck driver involved in illegal haulage. Please call Dangote Industries Management hotline on all information regarding illegal haulage activities on 08070188000, 01-2123567, 08170023846, 08152093133 and or email us at CustomerCare@Dangote.com”.

Dangote Management also issued a stern warning to those illegally transporting unauthorized goods through its trucks. “Dangote Industries Limited also wishes to warn those that illegally transport materials on Dangote trucks that such unauthorized goods, when found, shall be confiscated and such owners prosecuted to the full extent of the law”.

It would be recalled that the company recently intercepted one of the company’s truck loaded with contrabands in Ibadan, arrested the drivers and handed them over the Nigerian customs for further investigations and prosecutions.

The arrest was effected by a crack team of the Company’s security personnel led by its Chief Security Officer who acted on intelligence, bordering on misconduct by some of its drivers.

While handing over the drivers and his motorboy to the Customs Authority, Assistant General Manager, in charge of Security Services, CSP Ali Garba explained that the company has a surveillance section that monitors all his trucks and drivers’ activities.

Ayo Midele/GEE
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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Enugu LG Election: Groups demand replacement of PDP candidate

An amalgamation of civil society and socio-political groups in Nsukka local Government Area of Enugu State, under the aegis of Nsukka Democratic Movement (NDM), has rejected the candidature of Mr. Patrick Omeje as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chairmanship flag bearer, urging the party to replace him, reports ITRealms.

The coalition, comprising Independent Nsukka Solidary Agenda Worldwide, United Nsukka Indigenes for Good Governance, Nsukka Arise for Change, Nsukka Youths Empowerment Initiative, Greater Nsukka Congress, Alliance for Democratic Governance, among others, insisted that if the PDP candidate was not replaced, they would mobilise opposition against the party in the council come November 4, 2017.  

The NDM in a statement signed by its Coordinator, Comrade James Ezema and its Secretary, Dr. Joseph Idoko, accused the candidate of intimidating and harassing Nsukka indigenes with siren even before the election, saying “if he can intimidate people with conveys and siren when election has not taken place, we are not safe if he wins the election”.

The groups maintained that “Beyond doubts about his competence and academic qualification, which is currently under investigation by our coalition, he has so far shown that he lacks qualities of a good leader. Worst of all, he seems not to be disposed to learning.

“We see the emergence Mr. Patrick Omeje as a fulfilment of a policy of marginalisation of Nsukka by political godfathers in Enugu state.

“We advise Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to carry out a secret popularity and acceptance test of the PDP candidate in Nsukka as a whole to understand the danger in retaining him as a candidate for the election.

“We will resist, through every democratic means, the replay of the tenure of Prof. Mrs Rose Onah, which was characterised by underperformance in the council if the PDP insists on foisting an incompetent and irresponsible leadership on the people of Nsukka at this time.

“We learnt that the party ensured that only the candidate purchased form for the primary that produced him by those who want to rubbish the good works of the incumbent state government.

“The people’s Governor, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has recorded giant strides, which we cannot fold our hands while a man who, obviously, would erode all his legacies emerges as chairman and take us back to the dark days of non-performance in the council.

“We call on opposition forces in Nsukka to produce a credible candidate for our endorsement and mobilisation of support ahead of the November 2017 local government election to defeat the ruling party in event that the PDP upholds the process that produced Mr. Omeje as its flag bearer,” the coalition vowed.

Odoh Odoh/GEE
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Pix: Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State.

Nigerians in Atlanta protest @CNN centre against Buhari govt, insist on genocide plot

Nigerians in the city of Atlanta, United States of America Tuesday noon hosted a rally against the militarisation and killings in South-East Nigeria at the CNN headquarters in Atlanta, reports ITRealms.

The convener of the rally, Mr. Pat Okpala, on behalf of  the larger Nigerian Community in Georgia, said all was set for the rally to address the alleged injustices meted against Christians in Nigeria and South-East East particularly.

The rally, he also said is taking place nationwide and at the United Nations (UN) to co-inside with President Buhari's appearance at the UN.

According to Okpala,  a the rally has been duly permitted by the Special Events Office of the City of Atlanta.

Some of the placards, ITRealms gathered will have inscriptions like "brutality and massacre of Christians southerners.

The rally slated for today, Tuesday, September 19, by noon, has been planned to be largely peaceful and urged Nigerians in the US and Atlanta to also invite their friends.

"Rally is planned peaceful, non-violent, and must be orderly. No Road blocks or clusters; side walk rally, only," the convener assured.

Pointing out that it's up to Nigerians to stop the Buhari government ethnic cleansing and alleged attempt to Islamise Nigeria.

In addition, Okpala said the rally tends to drum support to stop the Nigerian army from killing southern Christians, encourage the co-existence of Christians and Muslims in Nigeria.

Further, he said the rally would harp on the demands to disarm the Hausa Fulani herdsmen; for the southern governors to protect their citizens, as well as a referendum on the future of Nigeria; restructuring of the country among others.

While insisting that army is not the Police and urged those who believe in Nigeria of peace and equity to join the rally.

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE

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Official! Zinox GTX Notebook, Kids Legacy Tab make debut

Unrelenting foremost Information and Communication Technology (ICT) entity, Zinox Technologies Limited, has officially launched the GTX Notebook and Kids Legacy Tab, the latest tech products under its Future Visions roadmap in Lagos, reports ITRealms.

The products launched simultaneously at the company’s branches in Port Harcourt, Abuja and Ghana via telepresence, had in attendance teachers and students from over 10 schools in Lagos, while students from schools in aforementioned locations also participated.

ITRealms gathered that these products were designed in partnership with foreign tech firms, namely the Intel Corp., Ashour Corporation, Tecsync Technology Co. Ltd. and Microsoft; which stood the Kids Legacy Tab and ultra-slim GTX Notebooks as cutting-edge devices from Zinox, both of which have been widely embraced by users and recording huge sales in the market.

Speaking at the event, Chairman, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh, disclosed that the products were the outcome of painstaking research targeted at meeting the future needs of a dynamic consumer base, as captured in the company’s Future Visions roadmap.

“The two products being launched today are revolutionary products. They took years to develop and fine-tune and are part of the most recent creations in the Zinox Future Visions. The Zinox Future Visions mandate is to anticipate where the world is headed and be ready with the right products and solutions. It is an ambitious project underpinned by research and development that will see the various companies in the Zinox Group diversify into new business areas with products in critical emerging sectors including Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Healthy Living, Core ICT, Internet of Things, Medicine, FMCG, Entertainment and Education, among others.

“Today, technology has become the currency of the 21st Century. We are already in the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0, as it is described – a period that will be dominated by new and emerging technologies, some of which are already here with us. Examples are driverless cars, Big Data and drones, among others. As a continent, Africa must prepare for this future or stand the risk of being disrupted. This is what the Zinox Future Visions is all about and we are determined to lead in this race to equip the continent for the future that is already upon us,” he said.

Built to meet the computing needs of a dynamic audience, the ultra-slim GTX Notebook is a powerful tool. Available in two models, GTX 100 and GTX 200; the device runs on Intel Cherry Trail OS with 1.9GHz computing power and a durable 10,000mAh battery which offers users up to 10 hours’ average use. Boasting a 2GB RAM and 32GB internal storage expandable to 120GB, the 14-inch GTX weighs a paltry 1.5kg thus making it a light-weight companion for work, travel and leisure.

The Kids Legacy Tab, on the other hand, is a device which parents and care-givers will find fitting to introduce their children to technology and new vistas of learning. The device is designed as a critical foundational tool targeted at children from the ages of 3 – 13. In addition to a device manager to enable parents monitor content, the tablet is pre-loaded with over 50 educational and fun games and rated as knowledge luxury platform for kids. Available in red, blue and fuchsia colours, the Wi-Fi enabled Kids Legacy Tab assures 1.2GHz computing power and extended use with a 2500mAh battery.

Both products will complement the new 8-inch Zpad and will see an expansion of the scope of offerings in Zinox’s mobile devices products suite. The Zpad which offers high speed voice and data services has been widely accepted in the market, a factor that is expected to weigh in favour of the new devices being rolled out.

The new products with global certifications are designed in the company’s long-standing tradition of durability and equipped with surge protectors in consideration of the peculiar power challenges on the continent.

The GTX Notebook and Kids Legacy Tab which have already gone on sale in Africa, Europe and the Middle East are available nationwide at all major online and offline retail stores, with one-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Chuks Egbune/GEE 
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Pix: L-R: Media entrepreneur and founder CFA Tech, Mr. Chukwuemeka Agbata; Head Teacher, St. Saviour’s School, Mrs. Ailsa Griffiths; Zonal Head of Commercial Banking Division - Island Zone and Deputy General Manager, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Adebayo Adesina; Chairman, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh; ICT Correspondent, The Sun Newspapers, Mrs. Bisi Olaleye and General Manager of Western African Region, Shenzhen Kstar Science & Technology Co. Ltd, Mr. Kyle along with pupils from invited schools displaying the new Kids Legacy Tab during the launch of the device and the GTX Notebook held at the Corporate Headquarters of Zinox Technologies Ltd. in Gbagada, Lagos on Tuesday September 19th, 2017.

Nigerian Immigration Service joins ‘FOI Hall of Shame’

The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has joined the notorious Freedom of Information (FOI) Hall of Shame by Media Rights Agenda (MRA) for “egregious acts of non-compliance with the FOI Act” over the last six years, joining 11 other previous recipients of the “award” launched in July this year, reports ITRealms.

Mr. Ridwan Sulaimon, MRA’s Freedom of Information Programme Manager, informed ITRealms noted that as an agency that has firsthand experience of the devastating consequences of lack of transparency and accountability in its practices and operations, the Immigration Service ought not to require any convincing to mend its ways.

“The management of the Nigerian Immigration Service, an institution whose questionable recruitment process led to an avoidable tragedy in March 2014, should be eager to do more to ensure transparency and accountability in the institution rather than shrouding its activities in secrecy. Such an institution should make the extra effort to provide the public with information on its activities and operations, especially as it is required by law and in the face of its involvement in a tragedy arising from allegations of job racketeering and fraud, which led to arrests, dismissals and court cases,” he said.

Mr. Sulaimon observed that despite having a functioning website and other resources at its disposal, the NIS failed to comply with its obligation to proactively disclose some classes of information in accordance with Section 2(3), (4) and (5) of the FOI Act in what appears to be a deliberate decision to disregard or violate the provisions of the Act.

“There is no discernible reason why the institution has not been able to proactively publish the various categories of information required and ensure that the information is widely disseminated and made readily available to members of the public through various means as required by the Act or at the very least, at its offices across the country and on its website,” he said.

Mr. Sulaimon also noted that in the six years since the enactment of the FOI Act, the Immigration Service has not submitted any annual report to the Attorney-General of the Federation as required by Section 29 (1) of the Act.

“The institution’s failure to submit its annual reports to the Attorney-General of the Federation does it no good. Besides being a violation of the law in itself, this also makes it difficult to ascertain how responsive the institution has been to requests for information from members of the public.

“These reports would have provided the relevant information about the number of applications for information that it has received annually over the last six years and the number of such applications that it processed, granted or refused, alongside other details that it is required by the Act to provide in its report to the Attorney-General. Instead, there is no information available on its handling of FOI requests including those sent to it in the wake of the aforementioned tragedy,” MRA said.

Mr. Sulaimon contended that the position of the NIS was made even more untenable by the fact of its non-compliance with Section 2(3)(f) of the Act which requires the agency to designate an appropriate officer to whom applications for information under the Act should be sent and to proactively publish the title and address of the officer.

Equally, he said, “despite the provisions of Section 13 of the Act, there is also no indication that the Immigration Service has provided the required training for its officials on the public’s right of access to information at any time in the last six years.”

MRA explained that these egregious acts of non-compliance with the FOI Act over the last six years, which amount to a flagrant disregard for the law, demonstrated by the NIS has earned it a place in the FOI Hall of Shame and urged the NIS and other public institutions like it, to urgently take necessary steps to ensure the implementation of the FOI Act not only to ensure public access to information but also to improve their image, ensure transparency and accountability of their institutions, and contribute to creating public confidence in them.

MRA launched the “FOI Hall of Shame” on July 3 to draw attention to public officials and institutions that are undermining the effectiveness of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 through their actions, inactions, utterances and decisions.

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Africa launches 5% agenda to bridge $68bn infrastructure finance gap

The African Union’s economic development programme, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) gathered international investors and CEO-level business leaders at the NASDAQ Stock Market on Monday, September 18, for the launch of its 5 per cent Agenda campaign to bridge the $68 billion infrastructure finance gap, reports ITRealms.

This is coming five years after a January 2012 African Union Summit adopted the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) which sets out 51 cross-border infrastructure programmes and more than 400 actionable projects in four sectors.

According to the World Bank, the continent needs to spend $93 billion annually (44% for energy; 23% for water and sanitation; 20% for transport; 10% for ICTs; and 3% for irrigation) until 2020 to bridge its infrastructure gap, which is currently removing an estimated 2% of GDP growth every year. On the other hand, Africa only managed to close 158 project finance deals with debt totalling $59 billion over the decade 2004-2013, which represents only 5 percent of infrastructure investment needs and 12 percent of the actual financial flows.

The 5% Agenda campaign highlights that only a collaborative public-private approach can efficiently tackle these issues and calls for allocations of institutional investors to African infrastructure to be increased to the declared 5% mark.

Speaking at the launch event in New York, Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, NEPAD Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Infrastructure plays a leading role in supporting growth on the continent. At the same time, it can represent an innovative and attractive asset class for institutional investors with long-term liabilities. By launching the 5% campaign in New York today, we invite investors to take advantage of the wide-ranging opportunities Africa has to offer and to move forward with what can only be a win-win partnership”.

The launch of the campaign gathered high-level international investors and business leaders, including members of the PIDA Continental Business Network (CBN) which is spearheaded by NEPAD and constitutes a CEO-level private sector infrastructure leaders dialogue platform on PIDA.

Tony O. Elumelu, one of Africa’s most prominent entrepreneurs and active participant in the CBN said: “Africa is getting stronger every day with new business opportunities and innovative ideas but what is still crucially missing is project implementation. A coherent and coordinated approach is needed to mobilize institutional investors while limiting their risk exposure. African governments need to work on creating conducive environments to attract these investments which are so vital for the continent's growth and development.”

According to a 2016 McKinsey report, institutional investors and banks have $120 trillion in assets that could partially support infrastructure projects.

Now more than ever, Africa needs to tap into this available. As banks face additional regulatory challenges and as governments have limited fiscal space, it is becoming increasingly urgent to unlock additional flows from long-term institutional investors such as insurers, pension funds, and sovereign wealth funds.

For pension and sovereign wealth funds to be able to invest in large-scale infrastructure projects in Africa, a variety of issues need to be addressed to strategically and intentionally facilitate long-term allocations. Chief amongst these matters is the need to reform national and regional regulatory frameworks that guide institutional investment in Africa. Likewise, new capital market products need to be developed that can effectively de-risk credit and hence, allow these African asset owners to allocate finance to African infrastructure as an investable asset class to their portfolio.

All these issues are at the heart of the 5% Agenda roadmap, which is the backbone of NEPAD’s campaign and is foreseen to have the following impact:
1.            Unlocking notable and measurable pools of needed capital to implement regional and domestic infrastructure projects on the continent.
2.            Broadening and deepening the currently very shallow African capital markets, whilst at the same time contributing significantly to regional integration and job creation.
3.            Promoting the development of innovative capital market products that are specific to the continent’s challenges and potential in regards to infrastructure development.
4.            Raising the investment interest of other institutional and non-institutional financiers that so far have been hesitant to include African infrastructure projects as an asset to their investment portfolio based on specific, concrete next steps and project suggestions.

Ayo Midele/GEE 
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SERG rejects labelling IPOB terror group

The South East Revival Group (SERG) has said it was wrong for the Nigerian military to declare the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terror group in a bid to justify an unwarranted invasion of Nnamdi Kanu’s home, reports ITRealms.

While calling on the federal government to immediately withdraw troops from Igboland to allow the leaders to conclude their dialogue with the young people engaged in self-determination, the group condemned the leaders in the region for their hasty ban on the activities of the group at a time its efforts towards resolving the current security challenges in south eastern Nigeria were yielding fruits.

The SERG in a statement by its National Coordinator, Chief Willy Ezugwu urged the Nigerian government to be mindful of the danger inherent in retaining the deployed troops in the region as it has been misunderstood by the agitators, saying that the IPOB should be engaged in dialogue as the government did with the Arewa youths after their quit notice to Igbos in the north.

"For us, there is no alternative to dialogue. Proper communication and enlightenment remain important tools to ensuring harmony in the country at this time as every part of the country is feeling marginalised in one way or the other.

"We imagine what would have happened if troops were deployed to the north after the eviction notice to the Igbos in the 19 northern states despite call for their arrest by some citizens. 

“But the Nigerian government gave the leaders in the region the opportunity to exhaust all possible dialogue windows for the resolution of the issue, even at a time the Arewa youths adamantly insisted that the Igbos in the north must go.

“Why the hasty deployment troops in South East and invasion of Nnamdi Kanu’s home town, under the guise of a military training exercise, at a time dialogue with the youths and consultations were on-going?

"In the same way the Arewa youths were managed, the federal government should handle the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other similar groups in the South East to ensure that the government’s intensions were not misconstrued and the mounting tension in the region is dowsed.

“We recall that the peace efforts of the same South East leaders who now hastily banned the activities of IPOB amid dialogue led to the group recanting its directive to its members to disrupt Anambra State governorship election. 

"While commending the South East leaders for their earlier peace efforts but condemn the ban of IPOB’s activities without concluding its dialogue with them, we call on the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to listen to the voice of restructuring to mitigate the current youth restiveness in the country.

“The only alternative to restructuring is an imminent dismemberment of Nigeria, a sad event that must be avoided by all of Nigerians at any cost.

"Paramount to peace in the South East is the immediate withdrawal of federal troops in the region as the Egwu Eke II exercise is obviously truncating the current peace efforts by the leaders who have been pressured to ban the group.

“The allegations of wanton killing of unarmed south easterners and the images on the social media are very worrisome and the military must be reminded that after their operations, they could be held to account for their deeds if they engage in extrajudicial killings in the region or elsewhere in the country.

“Therefore, the Mohammed Yusuf experience which led to escalation of Boko Haram onslaught of federal troops, establishments and innocent Nigerians must not be replayed in the South East.

“We strongly believe that it is not within the Nigerian military’s constitutional powers to declare any organization a terror group", the SERG stated.

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ASUU calls off strike

Barely one month and five days after the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) embarked on strike to demand for better working conditions and failure to fulfill the 2009 agreement, ASUU has announced a conditional suspension of it nationwide industrial action, reports ITRealms

Information reaching ITRealms newroom indicated that the union had Monday evening, directed its members to resume duty by tomorrow morning, Tuesday.

The latest development follows ASUU meeting with the federal government delegation as confirmed by Daily Trust, and quoted ASUU president, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, had embarked on strike  on August 13 after its emergency National Executive Council meeting.

Uj. N. Dominic/GEE
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Monday, September 18, 2017

South-east: FG denies genocide claims, says Python Dance II, a clampdown

The Federal Government (FG) has denied claims by a section of sympathizers of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) that deployment of the military to the South-Eastern Nigeria, code-named Python Dance II was genocide intended, and described it as a clampdown, reports ITRealms.

Disclosing this in a parley in Lagos, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, told ITRealms that there is no genocide attempt in any part of the country but attempt to qualm some disgruntled elements backed by politician to bring down President Mohammed Buhari administration.

FG also accused IPOB of using fake videos to hoodwink international community, thus misleading the world so as to win their supports, hence, the Minister solicited the support and understanding of online media in nation-building.

According to him, ''We must warn the nation against IPOB's next line of action, which is to externalize their lies and propaganda. Now they are writing to the governments and the national parliaments of some Western nations to give the impression that they are victims of an ethno-sectarian violence orchestrated by the government, hence they need protection.

''Some of the tools that have been employed by IPOB include blatant lies and cheap propaganda, and the medium of choice for the organization is the Social Media. IPOB has harvested gory videos and pictures from other lands and the distant past, which they are now circulating via the Social Media, to deceive the international community into believing that the people of the South-east are being subjected to state-sponsored, ethno-religious violence.

''Such videos, which have very high emotive quotient, are circulating on the Social Media as we speak. These videos are doctored to make them look current. They are fake!'' he said.

Further he alleged that some ill-informed foreign individuals are already trumpeting IPOB's lies and propaganda and even reechoing the allegation of genocide, stressing: ''It is either they do not understand the meaning of genocide or are being mischievous. Either way, there is nothing like genocide anywhere in our country today. What we have in the South-east is a clampdown on a band of lawless people who have no regard for the laws of the land.''

He appealed to the Online Publishers to help counter the fake narrative on the social media on the situation in the South-east, insisting that ''In the interest of the nation and your own interest, you must counter this fake narrative, report the issues responsibly and without sensationalism and present the truth to the public. If the Social Media, your platform, is discredited because of the activities of quacks and Internet Trollers, you too will be discredited and your publications will simply go down.

''That is why you must distinguish yourselves, as trained and tested professionals, from the charlatans who have seized the Social Media by the jugular, those who have no regard for the truth and who do not care whether their fake posts set the nation ablaze,'' he said.

He reiterated his earlier statement that IPOB is being sponsored by a coalition of politically-disgruntled and treasury looters, and that the organization is a contraption against the Buhari Administration.

Chuks Egbune/GEE 
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Terror group: Saraki bemoans IPOB classification

The President of the Nigerian Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has bemoaned the recent proclamation proscribing the Indigenous People of Biafra otherwise known as IPOB by the Governors of the South-east states and its classification as a ‘terrorist’ organisation by the Defence Headquarters are both unconstitutional, which lack due process, reports ITRealms.

Saraki gave this position in a press statement personally endorsed on Monday and made available to ITRealms, saying that there is clear position of the law in taking such a position and without due process being followed, it has no effect.

“I am sure the President will do the needful by initiating the right process. This will go a long way in demonstrating to the world at large that we are a country that operates by laid down process under every circumstance. So, those who have been hammering on this point should maintain their cool,” he said.

The National Assembly, he said, would investigate the crisis that erupted in the South-East leading to the clash between the military and IPOB members, urging all Nigerians to maintain peace and show brotherly love.

Part of the statement reads:
“Following the clash between the military and members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), I hereby call for calm and restraint by all Nigerians so that we would all jointly find the right solution to the current problem rather than worsening the crisis”

“Our brothers and sisters in the South-east, in particular, should continue to maintain peace and tranquility and go about their lawful business. This crisis will not benefit anybody but would only expose innocent people to unwarranted danger.”

“At this point, Nigerians outside the South-east who have worked to ensure that the crisis does not spread to other parts of the country deserve our commendation. I therefore call for continued efforts to sustain peace, unity and stability in all our communities so as to ensure that all residents, no matter their religion, tribe and creed remain protected and safe under the law.”

“It is also important that commentators and purveyors of information on all media platforms should be conscious of the need, at all times, to maintain the unity of the country. Therefore, they must refrain from circulating information that has the potential for aggravating the crisis. We should all realize, as individuals and as a collective, that Nigeria is all we have and it is in our individual and collective interests that we do not stoke the fire of crisis and fan the ember of discord through the message we are spreading. We must all protect and strengthen our country rather than contributing to her collapse and disintegration.”

“I also wish to state that the announcement of the proscription of the group known as Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by Governors of the South-east states and the categorization of the group as a ‘terrorist organisation’ by the Nigerian military are unconstitutional and does not follow due process. Our laws make clear provisions for taking such actions and without the due process being followed, such declaration cannot have effect. I am sure the President will do the needful by initiating the right process. This will go a long way in demonstrating to the world at large that we are a country that operate by laid down process under every circumstance. So, those who have been hammering on this point should maintain their cool.”

“We must commend the military for their efforts in restoring peace to different parts of the country and sustaining the unity of the country. However, in the face of provocation, the military should allow themselves to be guided by their training which emphasizes respect for human rights, even in war. Also, giving the nature of this particular situation, the military has every reason to be hesitant in the use of force.”

“Also, it is my view that we should not over-stretch the military. We need to protect our military against dissipation of their fighting strength. And this means we need to strengthen the police and equip them with the capacity to deal with civil crisis. That is why we, in the aNational Assembly, are already reviewing the Police Act and also looking at the possibility of enabling other para-military agencies to help in curbing civil unrest and maintenance of law and order.”

“I want to also make it clear that the National Assembly intends to embark on a fact-finding investigation aimed at determining what actually happened during the period of the military exercise in the South-east. We want to be able to sift the facts from the fiction and determine who did what. It is quite clear that all the facts are not yet known. We assure Nigerians that there will be no cover up. We intend to lay the facts bare.”

“On a long term, we want to remind Nigerians that the reason for embarking on constitution review by the National Assembly was to enable us look into issues that are agitating the minds of Nigerians and creating tension among us. We have promised that the exercise would be continuous. We intend to keep that promise by further taking decisions that would strengthen and improve on our structures. The Eighth National Assembly, on resumption, will play its constitutional role by addressing all those issues that are agitating the minds of our people and over which they feel so strong. I appeal to all our people to always direct their grievances to the right channels.”

“Let me further reiterate the need for all leaders of thought -political. religious and traditional- to continue to engage with our people on the need to maintain peace and be our brothers’ keepers.”

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE
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Dangote supports FG Sukuk offer

The Nigeria’s foremost entrepreneur and Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, has described the debut N100bn Federal Government of Nigeria Sukuk offer as a paradigm shift in government’s effort at seeking alternative funding for critical infrastructure, reports ITRealms.

Speaking in Lagos when the Director-General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Ms. Patience Oniha, paid him a courtesy visit, Dangote described the Sukuk as a commendable initiative and urged Nigerians to invest in the offer which has the full faith and credit of the Federal Government.

According to him, though the Dangote Group was doing a lot with the government, the company will invest in the financial instrument as a way to promote infrastructural development.

“I must commend the Debt Management Office for having this creativity with this N100 billion Sukuk initiative. It is a right move in the right direction as government seeks for fresh capital to fund infrastructure in the country.

“I want to urge Nigerians to invest in the offer as it is high yielding with 16.47 percent. It is tax free and will be beneficial to all who invest, it will enhance infrastructural growth.

"I encourage each and every Nigerian, including myself, to participate. We as a company will participate," he said. 

“I know we are doing a lot already with government but that will not stop us from investing in this instrument because without infrastructure no economy can grow. That is why I think it is a good investment,” Dangote said.

Speaking earlier, the DG, DMO, Ms. Patience Oniha, said she and her team were visiting to solicit his support for the debut Sovereign Sukuk offer, stressing that the funds will be dedicated solely to road infrastructure.

Oniha explained that the DMO and the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing have identified 25 major road projects across the six geo-political zones which the proceeds from the issuance of the Sukuk will be used to develop. 

She further stated that the Sukuk fund will be applied to critical sections of the 25 road projects to accelerate their completion.
The FG is offering N100 billion in the first sovereign Sukuk offer with a tenor of seven years, rental income will be paid twice yearly and the principal will be repaid in full at the end of the tenor to investors. 

Ayo Midele/GEE

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Diverse leadership in ICT, enabler of innovation – Cathy Smith

Diverse leadership has been described as enabler of innovation by companies, especiaolly those playing within the Information and Communication Technology (ICT), reports ITRealms.

This was made known by the newly promoted Managing Director of Cisco for Sub-Saharan Africa, Mrs. Cathy Smith, noted that as a female in a predominantly male industry, the challenges faced at onset of her career in the industry really had to do with educating oneself and colleagues.

She also said that by educating each other on different backgrounds equally provided everyone the use of different strengths to conquer.

“We are indeed stronger together, as the saying goes,“ she declared.

ITRealms recalls that Cathy Smith joined Cisco in April 2015 as the head of Cisco’s business operations across South Africa. In her role, Smith was responsible for the development and execution of Cisco’s go-to-market sales and digital transformation strategies for the region.

She will now look after the whole of the region reporting to David Meads. Olakunle Oloruntimehin who is the General Manager for Cisco Nigeria and English speaking West Africa and David Bunei (General Manager: East Africa and Indian Ocean Islands) remain in their roles but will work with and report to Smith in her expanded role.

As Sub-Saharan  Africa’s Governments and organizations embrace the next wave of technology transformation and become fully digitized, this presents a new opportunity for new revenue streams, better customer, citizen service delivery, new operating models to deliver greater value, and new job streams. Smith has over 25 years of experience in the IT industry leading diverse teams in both private and public sector organizations, as well as building strong partner and customer relations. Smith spent 23 years with IBM where she held various leadership roles in IT service delivery, HR and Sales.

Before joining IBM, she worked for several companies in the Insurance Industry as an application developer. She also spent three years in the United Kingdom where she consolidated her international expertise and held a number of executive roles for the European and global markets with a focus on outsourcing services business.

Cathy Smith is a fellow of the African Leadership Initiative (ALI), an organization set up to develop the next generation of value-based African leaders who are capable of guiding and leading their countries as they struggle to align the demands of globalization with local visions of a sustainable society. She is a Board Director at Cisco Systems South Africa (Pty) LTD and Cisco Technologies Solutions.

Smith is married and has two daughters. Her passion lies in Leadership Development, particularly as the world transforms to the Digital Era.

Uj. N. Dominic/ED, Ops

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Gender access disparity widens in Africa

Internet access has continued to widen on the continent of Africa despite efforts to bridge the gap between all genders, reports ITRealms.

The latest revelation is coming at the commencement of the meeting of Commission's fall session in New York City which took off yesterday, Sunday, 17 September.

ITRealms also reports that recent studies though showed that the disparities in gender access are becoming wider in developing countries, especially in Africa.

The UN report also decried the growing digital inequality between developed and developing countries.

While 48 per cent of the global population is now online, some 3.9 billion people still do not have access to the Internet – with the digital gap growing between developed and developing countries.

According to UN estimates, Internet penetration in the developing world is projected to reach 41.3 per cent by the end of 2017, while Internet user penetration is projected to reach only 17.5 per cent in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in 2017.

ITRealms also gathered that in the gender divides overview, men have continued to outnumber women in terms of Internet usage worldwide, though women now outnumber men in Internet usage in the Americas.

Commenting on the report, the Secretary-General if the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Mr. Houlin Zhao, and who serves as co-Vice Chair of the Commission said "Broadband is crucial to connecting people to the resources needed to improve their livelihoods, and to the world achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Nkem Nweke/GEE 
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Pix: Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women

MTN, TD Mobile unveil Freetel ICE 2 Android in Lagos

Leading telecommunications operator in the country, MTN Communications Nigeria is partnering with the Sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest mobile device distributor, TD Mobile to unveil Freetel ICE 2 Andriod smartphone in the city of Lagos, reports ITRealms.

This phone described as revolutionary smartphone, ITRealms gathered is backed by Google.

The event graced by industry dignitaries included former Executive Vice-Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, Chairman, Board of Directors, Technology Distributions Limited led by Prof. Anya O. Anya; representatives of Corporate Nigeria and bank CEOs; representatives of partner organizations MTN, Google, TD Mobile, sub-dealers and other stakeholders from the ICT eco-system, saw Chairman, Zinox Group, Dr. Leo Stan Ekeh declaring at the event that “When you are looking for partnerships, go all out and partner with the best.”

According to him, Freetel ICE 2 smartphone is designed for the Nigerian market, and is one of the many devices from the stable of Freetel, Japan’s largest selling smart phone brand in open market.

Designed in the state-of-the-art design center in Tokyo, Japan with manufacturing oversight by Japanese engineers with over 40 years of experience, ITRealms gathered that the device is Google GMS certified, which confirms that it meets Google’s performance requirements and properly runs the Google Apps.

ITRealms reports that book lovers would be thrilled by the ICE 2 which comes pre-loaded with Worldreader’s free e-library of 50,000 e-books, which enables Nigerians to read their favourite books at no cost.

The smartphone, ITRealms gathered would sell for about N13,000 ($35), which the promoters said is an attractive price-point that is expected to deepen the pace of smartphone penetration in the country.

In addition, ITRealms reports that ICE 2 is powered by Google’s most recent Android operating system – Android 7.0, which is fully equipped with the latest software and security updates including Google Play Protect: a newly-developed software which continuously works to keep one’s device, data and apps safe. Just as the smartphone is pre-loaded with MTN’s latest apps including MTN Music Plus.

Massive incentives await the first 200 subscribers to get the Freetel ICE 2. In addition, all customers who buy the device will also enjoy double data bonus on every data bundle they buy for three months, courtesy of MTN.

For MTN’s Chief Marketing Officer, Rahul De, “We are excited by this partnership because our focus over the years has been on connecting millions of Nigerians to each other and the world, thus expanding access to information, entertainment and endless opportunities. The affordable and innovative ICE 2 takes us further along this journey, allowing more Nigerians make the transition to smartphones.”

The Managing Director, TD Mobile, Mrs. Gozy Ijogun disclosed that the launch of the Freetel ICE 2 is a fitting testimony to the company’s landmark strides in making ICT products and devices accessible, affordable and usable across Africa.

“Since inception, TD Mobile has been the leading driver of smart devices penetration in the West African sub-region. The launch of the Freetel ICE 2 resonates with our mission of spear-heading a technology revolution in Africa and further shows why we have remained in the forefront of bringing the best and latest technology products to the sub-region. Through the strategic partnerships with our massive network of operators, dealers and retailers, we are sure to see the ICE 2 Android smartphone in the hands of millions of Nigerians in no time,” she enthused.

On its part, Google’s Head of Nigeria for Android Partnerships, Adama Diallo emphasized: “We have been truly impressed by the quality of the Freetel ICE 2 at this price point. We are excited to continue working with ecosystem partners like Freetel, TD & MTN to offer Android devices at every price point and connect more Nigerians to the internet.”

A subsidiary of ICT distribution power-house Technology Distributions Ltd. (TD Africa), TD Mobile will add the ICE 2 smartphone to a growing list of devices from 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 and unmatched presence in major Nigerian cities and other West African capitals; the company will deploy its huge distribution capacity in taking the device to every action station in the metropolis as well as every nook and cranny in the hinterlands.
The ICE 2 goes on sale nationwide this September and is available at all major online and offline retail stores including MTN’s retail outlets.

Nonye Dom/GEE
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