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Horrific! 60 toll-gates to Onitsha - ITREALMS

Features@ITREALMS: Preamble: It has become a reoccurring decimal to hear people especially easterners complaining about how tough it ha...

Friday, December 06, 2019

Horrific! 60 toll-gates to Onitsha - ITREALMS

It has become a reoccurring decimal to hear people especially easterners complaining about how tough it has become to travel during festive periods, especially the yuletide, which includes Christmas and New Year.

For the records, yuletide often occurs between December 22 and January 2 of the next year. This has been described by industry observers as the period that records most heavy traffic for the travelling public, despite the mode of transportation.

Import duties on your rice:

Last year it was reportedly gang-up to demand for ‘import’ duties of foreign rice bags being transported to the eastern part of the country both in commercial transport and private vehicles. This year, this may sound less attractive because of the closure of borders at Contonou and widely opened in Katsina border towns like Daura and lately as bags of rice were being transported with security operational vehicles on brazen convey, which was evident in a recent trending video, with of course the security personnel caught in camera shooting sporadically into the air to disperse onlookers as they drove by, thus leaving more questions than answers on whose interest is border closure.

Onyima’s travelogue:

However, the travelogue by a former Commissioner for Information in Anambra State, Chief Tony Onyima, detailing his first-hand experience along the Lagos-Onitsha route, leaves one with perplexity behind the over 60 security checking points which some travelers on that route have since tagged ‘collection points.’

For Chief Onyima, the 60 security tollgates as he named were routinely shared among the Nigerian Police, Customs, Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) and Army; at some spots supported by local vigilantes, who invariably stood in the gap in case of any monitoring team.

60 tollgates to Onitsha:

His travelogue penultimate November 27, 2019, from Lagos enroute Onitsha in the South-Eastern part of the country, encountered 60 tollgates. According to him, Lagos to Ore - 24 (Police 17; Customs 2, Army 2; combined operations-3) Ore to Benin-20 (Police 12, Army 3, Customs 1; combined operations 5; Benin Bye-Pass to Onitsha: 14 ( Police 9, Army 2, Customs 2; combined 1). FRSC was advertently missed in the equation, invariably because they were too focused on controlling traffic than any other activities.

Equally, he noted that the soldiers cause the least offence apart from elongating the traffic snarl. The policemen particularly enjoy it when they seize the car documents and the victims would be following them up and down the road, pleading.

What offences please?

Many of them could not tell because what Policemen at Point A would ask is quite different from what the Policemen 200 meters down the road would ask. Onyima did not share any thought on the amount on exchange for travelers freedom of movement per security agencies; either he did not partake in the settling of the men in black or simply did not want to reckon with that aspect of his travelogue, thereby missed out in capturing the amount extorted from the different drivers.

For another enthused eastern traveler, Ichie Ik Muo, who made his trip precisely on August 8, 2019, informed “we encountered more than 50 checkpoints between Ijebu-Ode and Benin.”

He decried that this will no doubt send wrong signals to some of the Easterners who desire homeward-bound for this Christmas and New Year season, wondering what exactly may have been the sins of the Easterners to be subjected to all manner of humiliation in the name of security checking points, moreso every Yuletide season.

Widespread corruption on our roads:

Human Rights Watch (HRW) had in its 2010 study suggested that everyone is involved in corrupt practices amongst the security agencies, alluding that the widespread of corruption in the Nigeria fuel abuses against ordinary citizens and severely undermined the rule of law, which is an indication that complexity was due to lack of budgetary transparency in the police, whose primary role is to protect the citizens, coupled with inability to investigate and bring to justice security officers at all levels implicated in corrupt practices, mostly on Nigerian roads.

For instance, the 102-page report entitled "‘Everyone's in on the Game': Corruption and Human Rights Abuses by the Nigeria Police Force," recorded myriad forms of police corruption in Nigeria, which further showed how institutionalized extortion, a profound lack of political will to reform the force, alongside other security agencies and impunity combined which have made corruption an entrenched problem.

There have been excuses that they are on the road to checkmate the attacks and kidnaps by suspected herdsmen, which is partly excusable, but the way and manner exhibited by the security agencies showed they are on the road for different purpose entirely, after all ‘body no be firewood’ some may say.

Just as the Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District, Senator Uche Ekwunife had lamented incessant establishment of security checkpoints on Nigerian roads, particularly the roads in the Southeast, which she said is frustrating commuters.

Recounting her personal ordeal, Ekwunife said the number of checkspoints within Awka-Enugu, Awka-Onitsha and Onitsha-Owerri Expressways are numerous and pointless, stressing "The frustrating thing is that these checkpoints have not abated the rising security challenges in the southeast or the localities where these checkpoints are established".

She called on the Senate to urge the heads of the various security agencies to withdraw some of these checkpoints in order to ease the mobility of commuters on the highway.

1.6m vehicles on Lagos roads:

The Lagos State government recently proclaimed that 1.6 million vehicles ply Lagos roads daily. If going by the estimated 60 tollgates along Lagos to Onitsha, and an average collection point takes N100 per approximated 100,000 vehicles per day would give about N10,000,000 per day for illegal tollgates. Observers noted that in some instances, some motorists pay higher than N100 when caught with oblivious traffic offences.

When N10,000,000 is multiplied for some 20 days; which accumulated from 15 days (December 16) to end of year (December 31) when anticipated traffic will double and some five days into the new year, that is till (January 5) when most traffic back to Lagos are expected to take place. This will leave us with some N200,000,000. No heart attack intended, but this is what is lost to corruption and illegal tollgates based on estimation.

Dehumanising Easterners:

As the countdown commenced for most easterners with the Christmas and New Year dates drawing closer, its important that all well-meaning Igbo and south east organisations should cry out from their enclaves on this annual ritual of injustice and dehumanization of easterners at this Yuletide seasons, especially the Ohaneze Ndigbo led Dr. Nnia Nwodo alongside the conglomeration of states town unions to condemn this undue extortion and exploitation of potential Christmas travelers.

Beckons on IG Police:

Except the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, takes a keenly step by declaring ‘no checking point’ aka ‘collection point’ in preferences to stop and search routine alongside other options, the tollgates may actually increase. This could mean many families and travelers being stranded on the roads.

Equally, the governors of the South-East and South-South could send a delegation to the Presidency to get this anomaly of security tamed if not changeable despite the change we expect since 2015.

Sanity demands:

Therefore, it is very worrisome that a journey ordinarily of 451 kilometres, that is, from Oshodi Underbridge in Lagos State to Onitsha BridgeHead in Anambra State, should take some 14 hours instead of 7 hours 16 minutes. We must work on the political will to address this issue permanently, whatever may be the political interest, the peoples’ interest should matter most and should come first.

The time to start the sanity most needed on Lagos-Onitsha road is now. Happy Christmas and New Year in advance.

*Remmy Nweke/DoP

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Taidob College, others emerge winners @2019 FirstBank sponsored national competition – ITREALMS

The Taidob College Abeokuta, has emerged the 2019 winner of the National Company of the Year competition organized by Junior Achievement Nigeria and sponsored by First Bank of Nigeria Limited, reports ITREALMS.

With this, Taidob College would compete against student teams from 10 other Junior Achievement member countries across Africa.

The student team contestants comprise representative from the Kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland), Ghana, Zambia, Gabon, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Botswana, Kenya and South Africa. The event is scheduled for Friday, 6 December 2019 at Alisa Hotel in Accra, Ghana.

The African stage of the National Company of the Year competition is a buildup and sequel to the national event hugely competed by 12 student companies from across the country, including the eventual winner Taidob College Abeokuta. Terra Kulture, Lagos played host to the event on 3 October 2019.

Speaking on the event, Folake Ani-Mumuney, Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, First Bank of Nigeria Limited said “the youngsters from Taidob College are indeed not just solution providers, but also life savers. The impact of their innovation - the Gas Leakage Detector – would go a very long way at solving the problem of fire outbreaks due to gas leakages in homes, offices, and industries. I no doubt believe that they would make Nigeria and indeed the rest of Africa proud at the competition. We are delighted to associate with them and congratulate Junior Achievement on the feats so far attained”.

Last year, Inventive Explorers, from Caro Favored College Ajegunle, emerged the grand winners at the Africa Company of the Year competition in Ghana. Their rechargeable handheld LED traffic lights has solved a real problem in various congested communities and reduced traffic accidents, especially in areas with school children crossing busy streets. Over the years, FirstBank has been at the forefront of partnering with Junior Achievement Nigeria in Company of the year program and competition.

The National Company of the Year Competition (NCOY) is an annual flagship event by Junior Achievement Nigeria’s (JAN), which convenes the winners of the JA Company Program Regional Competitions across Nigeria together to compete for the National Company of the Year Award. The national winner then proceeds to represent Nigeria against other JA Africa member-nation companies.

Chuks Egbuna/DoP

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Oyo state names 14 community Liaison Officers, others - ITREALMS

The Oyo State government has named 14 community liaison officers including an indigene of Kano, Alhaji Ahmed Murtala as Special Assistant Community Relations I, Arewa community reports ITREALMS.

The Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, disclosed this to 
ITREALMS, saying that Dr. Olufunmilayo Salami has been appointed Special Adviser Health.

The Governor also approved the appointment of Chief Jacob Adetoro as chairman, Federal Constituencies Liaison Officers, while naming 14 Constituency Liaison Officers, representing each of the State’s 14 Federal Constituencies.

The Special Assistant (Print Media) to Governor Makinde, Mr. Moses Alao, informed 
ITREALMS that the Governor equally approved the appointments of Hon. Femi Josiah as Special Assistant on Community Relations II for other communities.

The Governor charged the new appointees, whose appointments took effect from November 27, to see their appointments as a call to service, charging them to discharge their duties with absolute loyalty, dedication and diligence.

Dr. Salami, who until her appointment as Special Adviser on Health to Governor Makinde, was a Consultant to the Government on Health, is a United States of America-based Pediatric Emergency Medicine Physician.

The new Special Assistant on Community Relations for the Arewa Community, Mr. Murtala, hailed from Nasarawa Local Government of Kano State and had his primary and secondary school education at St. Brigid Boys School, Mokola, Ibadan and Community Grammar School, Mokola, Ibadan respectively.

He will serve as the bridge between the Oyo State Government and the Hausa/Fulani community as well as other Northern groups scattered across the State.

Governor Makinde had, at a recent forum, while receiving a contingent of the Niger State Youths, which were in Ibadan to present him with a white horse and an award in recognition of his excellent service delivery in the first six months in office, promised to appoint a Special Assistant from the Hausa/Fulani community to serve as the link between the Government and the community, especially in the face of farmer-herdsmen crisis.

The appointments were communicated through letters signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Olubamiwo Adeosun.

The 14 Liaison Officers appointed by the Governor were: Alhaji Ajibike Osuolale Lateef (Iseyin, Itesiwaju, Kajola and Iwajowa); Alhaji Salami Lukman Adisa (Saki East, Saki West and Atisbo); Alhaji Afees Tijani (Orelope, Irepo and Olorunsogo); Hon. Ganiyu Laaro (Oriire, Ogbomoso North and Ogbomoso South); Mr. Sanjo Akintola (Ogo-Oluwa and Surulere); Mr. Wale Ogunmola (Afijio, Oyo West, Oyo East and Atiba); Hon. Monsuru Oduola (Ibarapa North and Ibarapa Central).

Others were: Mrs. Julian Nwachukwu (Ibadan North); Mr. Olumide Akinlade (Oluyole); Alhaja Kafilat Olayiwola (Ido and Ibarapa East); Alhaji Labule Ishola (Ibadan South-West &North-West); Alhaja Yahaya Akinbile (Ibadan South-East and North-East); Mrs. Wulemot Ibitoye (Akinyele/Lagelu) and Mr. Adegboyega Akinlolu James (Ona-Ara and Egbeda).

Chuks Egbuna/DoP

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FG says border drill, boosts rice production, self-sufficiency - ITREALMS

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the ongoing border drill has largely curbed foreign rice smuggling into Nigeria and boosted rice production while fast-tracking the country's quest to achieve rice self-sufficiency, reports ITREALMS.

The Minister stated this at a press conference he addressed after leading a media tour of integrated rice mills and rice clusters in Kano on Thursday.

Quoting statistics from the Rice Millers Association, he said over 200,000 bags of rice were occupying spaces in the warehouses of virtually every integrated rice miller before the border drill started in August, while many small scale rice holders or rice clusters had to abandon their small scale but valuable means of livelihood.

Alhaji Mohammed said farmers were even worst hit since the integrated rice millers, who were the off-takers, were already struggling to save their businesses by laying off staff and finding other means to pay

off their bank loans with mounting interest rates, hence were finding it hard to buy paddies from rice farmers.

“But the story changed in August this year, when the border drill drastically reduced smuggled rice, thus giving the entire rice production value chain a new lease of life. Gentlemen, within one week of the drill, every integrated rice miller exhausted the milled rice in their warehouses, recalled the staff that were laid off and resumed production. All the existing 34 rice mills that we have in the country are now producing at maximum capacity, 24 hours a day,” he said.

The Minister said currently, the integrated mills produce about 150,000 bags of rice every day, translating to over 35 million bags annually, adding that the 34 mills are expanding rapidly in order to increase capacity and meet the rising demands, while the small scale rice clusters in all parts of the country are now back on stream and feeding their local communities,

He said Nigeria's quest to achieve self sufficiency in rice production will be quickened by the increasing activities in the rice production value chain resulting from the border drill in four of the country's six geo-political zones.

''Achieving self sufficiency in rice production will also translate to more jobs for millions of our people as well as cheaper and more nutritious rice for all. I want to congratulate everyone in the value chain for cashing in on the opportunities provided by the border drill, which - like i said - has drastically reduced rice smuggling to the country,” Alhaji Mohammed said.

Uboshe Uboshe/Editor

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Why UK court dismissed Ogoni suit judgment over Shell - ITREALMS

A court in the United Kingdom has given reasons for rejection of the application by some leaders of Ejamah Ebubu community in Ogoniland to register the judgement of a Nigerian Federal High Court in the country for enforcement, reports ITREALMS.

Claimants had applied to register the judgement to enforce a N183 billion judgment sum, which was the judgement sum and the interest over the spill incident in the community in or about 1969, a spill Shell Petroleum Development Company said arose from third party activities during the Nigerian civil war.

The company also said the spill site had since been remediated.

The claimants recalculated the High Court judgement of N17 billion plus interest to be N183 billion as at January 2019, but admitted to the UK court that the sum was overstated.
The claimants also obtained an order of a Nigerian court to seize and sell the assets of SPDC to satisfy the said judgment, while the matter is still the subject of several proceedings, including pending appeals at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

In the judgement, on Thursday, a copy of which was obtained by ITREALMS, the UK court declined the request for registration of the Nigerian court judgment after finding that SPDC suffered a serious breach of natural justice “through being prevented from presenting its defence to the claim” in Nigeria.

The court also the claimants overstated the judgement sum.

Reacting to the ruling, spokesperson for Shell Nigeria, Bamidele Odugbesan, said: “This spill was caused by third parties during the Nigerian Civil War, a challenging period which resulted in significant damage to oil and gas infrastructure in the region. While SPDC does not accept responsibility for these spills, the affected sites in the Ebubu community were fully remediated.

“We are pleased that the English court has rejected the registration of this judgement for enforcement in the UK. This matter is still the subject of several proceedings in the Nigerian Courts, including pending appeals at the Supreme Court of Nigeria, and it remains our position that no payment is due. It is regrettable that the legal process in this case has focused for so long on procedural issues and not the merits of the case when we have always maintained that we are ready to defend this case based on the available facts.”

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Thursday, December 05, 2019

ATCON to host Pantami in Abuja - ITREALMS

The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has concluded plans to host the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami to what it called ‘special reception’ reports ITREALMS.

Disclosing this, the Executive Secretary, ATCON, Ajibola Olude, said that President ATCON, Mr Olusola Teniola, would lead the special and high-powered reception slated for Thursday, December 12, 2019 at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.

He said that among the objectives of the event would be to formally introduce the Honourable Minister of Communications to the captains of the industry.

In addition, he said, the reception would give the industry the opportunity to meet with him and share some of the challenges that are impacting negatively on the telecom industry in Nigeria and to offer the Minister the opportunity to share his plans for the industry with the relevant stake holders.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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MRA set to drag NDLEA to court - ITREALMS

The Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has advanced plans to drag the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to court over blantant refusal to adhere to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, reports ITREALMS.

This follows MRA latest indictment of the agency with an induction the into its “Enhanced Freedom of Information (FOI) Hall of Shame”, saying its attitude towards the FOI Act smacked of arrogance and lawlessness as it has consistently refused to comply with the Act, reports ITREALMS.

The Programme Director at MRA, Mr. Ayode Longe, told ITREALMS that it would take legal action against the agency to compel it to comply with its obligations under the Act.

“It is really quite surprising that the NDLEA, an agency established by Law and given specific responsibilities and powers by the same Act of Parliament, would deliberately decide to disregard another Law validly made by the National Assembly, without recognizing that in so doing, it is in fact depriving itself of the moral right and authority to enforce its own enabling law,” he said.

The NDLEAis tasked with coordinating all drug laws and enforcement functions conferred on any person or authority, including Ministers in the Government of the Federation; enhancing the effectiveness of law enforcement to suppress illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances; strengthening and enhancing effective legal means for international cooperation in criminal matters for suppressing the international activities of illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances; and strengthening co-operation with the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, the police force, customs agencies, immigration agencies, welfare officials, health officials and other law enforcement agencies in the eradication of illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

Noting that these are enormous responsibilities placed on the agency by the same type of instrument that is the foundation of the FOI Act, Mr. Longe contended that by treating the Act with disdain and refusing to implement it, the NDLEA was in effect contesting the authority of the Federal Government, including the National Assembly and the President, to make such a Law in total ignorance of the fact that is own existence and legitimacy is dependent on upholding and vindicating the authority of the Government.

He outlined the failings of the agency regarding the implementation of the FOI Act, observing that in total disregard of the mandatory provisions of section 29 of the Act, the agency had neglected to submit to the Attorney-General of the Federation, seven annual reports on its implementation of the Act and make the reports available to the public by different means, as required by the Act.

According to Mr. Longe, between 2011 and 2019, the NDLEA has submitted only one report to the Attorney-General of the Federation for the year 2012, out of the eight reports that it ought to have submitted as at February 1, 2019.

Besides, he said, although Section 13 of the Act requires every public institution to which it applies to ensure the provision of appropriate training for its officials on the public’s right of access to information and records held by it for the effective implementation of the Act, the NDLEA has, for all the eight years that the Act has been in existence failed to comply with this provision.

Mr. Longe noted that that there is no information on the NDLEA’s website or anywhere else about whom has designated as its FOI Desk Officer, as required by the FOI Act while the list of FOI Desk Officers and their contact details for various federal public institutions, compiled by the Attorney General of the Federation, also does not include any official from the NDLEA.

He said the NDLEA had failed to designate such an FOI Desk Officer despite repeated requests and reminders from the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation to all public institutions for them to appoint such officials and send their names and contact details to the office.

Mr. Longe explained that there are 16 types of information that section 2(3)(a-f) and (4) of the FOI Act requires every public institution to publish proactively and disseminate widely even without anyone applying for such information. But he said the NDLEA has only published one of these categories of information on its website, leaving 15 others unpublished.

According to him, the only class of records that the NDLEA has proactively published is the descriptions of the agency and its responsibilities, including details of the programmes and functions of each of its directorates as well as the addresses of its commands in the 36 states of the federation.

Mr. Longe stressed that the NDLEA had failed to publish a list of all classes of records under its control;a list of manuals used by its employees; documents containing its substantive rules;a list of materials containing information relating to any grant or contract made by or between the NDLEA and any other public institution or private organization; documents containing information relating to its receipt or expenditure of funds, which are among the categories of information that the FOI requires all public institutions, including the NDLEA, to proactively publish and disseminate widely.

He recalled that on October 2, 2018, the same NDLEA was inducted into MRA’s FOI Hall of Shame for these acts of non-compliance with the FOI Act, noting that the agency had nonetheless made no effort to correct these lapses or take necessary steps to enable it comply with its obligations under the Law.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Ikwuemesi advises youths to manage careers beyond degrees - ITREALMS

The Director, Kendor Consulting, Mrs. Adora Ikwuemesi, has advised Nigerian youths especially undergraduates and fresh graduates to carefully build their careers beyond the certificates that they have acquired, reports ITREALMS,

Mrs. Ikwuemesi disclosed this at the 2019 Candle Career Conference themed: “Out of the Ordinary: The bedrock of an extraordinary career.” which held recently at the Civic Towers, Victoria Island, Lagos.

While delivering her presentation on “Understanding your career trajectory: Beyond a degree,” She shared lessons from her journey in pursuing her career.

The Kendor Consulting boss further stressed on the importance for undergraduates and fresh graduates to have a vision while choosing a career path as that was the only way to gain clarity on their careers.

According to her, “An extraordinary career requires an extraordinary investment. This is a key way to develop one’s self and remain valuable to any employer.”

Speaking in the same vein, Mr. Orimolade Oluwamuyemi, Regional Marketing and Communications Coordinator – MEA Philanthropies at Microsoft Nigeria pointed out that undergraduates and fresh graduates should be open to learning and unlearning.

Mr. Oluwamuyemi who spoke on the topic: “Key patterns of an extraordinary career” encouraged participants at the conference to always be ready to embrace change adding that “we are in a changing world.”

The event also featured other speakers in a panel session such as: Mr. Tochukwu Egesi, CEO, Innovation Corner; Mr. Samuel Akinlotan, Talent Acquisition Partner, Sterling Bank Plc and Miss. Ajoke Emekene, a Management Consultant.

A major highlight of the event was the presentation of gifts to some of the participants at the conference.

The Candle Career is founded as an employability and career hub called to tackle unemployment in Nigeria. The community is focused on up-skilling and increasing the pathways to success of undergraduates and fresh graduates to thrive wherever they find themselves.

Uj. N. Dominic/Editor

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Agugoesi emerges Chairman, Times Journalism Alumni Association - ITREALMS

The Times Journalism Alumni Association (TJAA) has elected a seven-man new executive committee to be led by Mr. Clifford Agugoesi, the Editor-in-Chief of Cyber Era Magazine, reports ITREALMS.

ITREALMS gathered, takes over from the erstwhile chairman and Group Executive Editor, DigitalSENSE Africa Media group, Mr. Remmy Nweke, who assumed his latest position as chair, Board of Trustees of TJAA, after an election conducted recently.

The TJAA new chairman was elected alongside Mr. Adelaja Bisi as Vice Chairman; Mr. Adeniran Odufayo, General Secretary; Mr. Abraham Akpabio as Assistant-General Secretary; Mrs. Itunu Olamiotan Ola as Treasurer, Chief Mrs. Folashade Azeez, Welfare Officer, and Mr. Emmanuel Udodinma as the Public Relations Officer (PRO).

A press statement available to 
ITREALMS, and endorsed by Emma Udodinma, Public Relations Officer, Agugoesi was quoted in his acceptance speech, after the online voting exercise, expressed thanks to all those who made their emergence possible, especially the Electoral Committee, headed by Mr. Fabian Anawo of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and his predecessor, Mr. Nweke. He also called on all past students of Times Journalism Institute Lagos to identify with the association and support programmes targeted at moving TJAA forward through active participation.

“Great TJItes, thank you all for voting us to serve you. We will do just that, God helping us. We thank God Almighty for sustaining us and express our gratitude to Remmy Nweke and all who have worked exceedingly hard to bring us to where we currently are. Ours is going to be a Government of Continuity & Innovation. We promise to continue with some good foundations already led by our predecessors, but will not hesitate to effect changes when and where necessary to our structure, processes and procedures.

“Welfare of our members will be a key pillar of our dispensation. We will serve you truthfully and energetically and will be accountable. Our comprehensive agenda have been properly articulated and will be circulated in due course. We heartily solicit your cooperation and understanding as we individually and collectively strive to taking our alumni association to higher pedestals.”

The newly elected officers will pilot the affairs of the association for the next three years and have since taken over the administration of Times Journalism Alumni Association, at a brief ceremony in Lagos, recently. TJAA, a registered organization, promises to extend valuable programmes and activities to promote connections between all alumni for their benefits.

Uj. N. Dominic/Editor

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Fayemi reinstates commitment to complete secretariat complex - ITREALMS

The Ekiti State government led by Governor John Fayemi, has approved the completion of phase V of the State Secretariat complex with the aim of creating a more conducive working environment for workers in the State, reports ITREALMS.

The State Commissioner for Information, Tourism and Values Orientation, Aare Muyiwa Olumilua, made this known in Ado -Ekiti on Monday while briefing journalists on the outcome of the last State Executive Council meeting.

The Commissioner said the Council approved #290,941,856.36 for Lot 1 and #321,055,946.70 for Lot 2 of the State Secretariat complex; adding that the projects are expected to be completed within six months.

Olumilua disclosed that the Council equally approved earth dredging of Osun stream channel, construction of concrete channel at Temidire/ Ifedore street, and the reconstruction of a failed culvert at Ajolagun in Ikere Ekiti at a sum of #140,088,688.25.

He added that a sum of #194,530,627.27 was approved for the earth dredging of critical areas in Ado Ekiti. These areas include Onala – Balemo –Elemi; Ita Eku – Poly road –Emirin; Omisanjana –Ureje – 133KVA; Awajin –Ureje road and Ireakari- Ilawe road covering a distance of 18,500 metres and will be completed within 12 weeks. The dredging works are aimed at arresting the incessant flooding of the areas.

According to Olumilua, the State Executive Council also approved the following Ekiti State Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Bill 2019; which seeks a better outlaw any form of discrimination against persons living with disabilities in the state.

Another major decision of the meeting was the approval for the procurement and distribution of 10,000 bags of customized Safe Delivery kits (aka Mama Kits) across the 16 LGAs in Ekiti State. This is to ensure that pregnant women are well equipped with necessary health care materials for safe delivery. The project will cost the state government a total #54,200,000.00, as approved by the council.

Olumilua who was flanked by the Commissioners in charge of Works and Environment ministries, Mr Sola Adebayo and Hon Gbenga Agbeyo and the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Yinka Oyebode, at the briefing said the Dr Kayode Fayemi-led government was doing everything possible to put smiles on the faces of the people of the state, through effective implementation of the administration’s five- pillar agenda for developmental.

Ayo Midele/Editor

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Next big deal for Nigeria: NLNG Train 7 says MD - ITREALMS

The Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG)’s Train 7 project has been aptly described as the next big deal for country, reports ITREALMS.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of NLNG, Mr. Tony Attah, gave this description in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State at the opening ceremony of the 9th Practical Nigerian Content Conference, Tuesday, saying that Train 7 will increase NLNG’s production capacity by 35 per cent, generate huge value for the company, shareholders and the country.

Attah also said the project is coming into reality, declared that “Train 7 is real; Train 7 is here. If you come to Bonny Island today, you will see that early site work has commenced and we are 97 per cent prepared, just waiting to take that Final Investment Decision (FID). “

He remarked that the relationship between NLNG and Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) on the Train 7 project was that of a partnership for progress. 

“We co-created the Nigerian Content Plan, working in harmony with the agency just to understand the interpretation of the law and then co-creating how we comply. Overall, it’s all about consolidation and co-creating the future. I am proud to say in March 2019, we signed off the Nigerian Content Plan for Train 7 project, delivering 100% Nigerian content in construction, production of cables, welding, valves, scaffolding, furniture, painting and medical. It is going to be 55% of in-country engineering and procurement man-hours.”

Attah equally said that the project will generate over 12, 000 direct jobs during construction phase and in the upstream industry, with multiple spin-off effects in other sectors of the economy, increasing the number of jobs that will be generated over a six-year project window. He stated further that the project will help reduce restiveness in the Niger-Delta region by providing jobs, calling for more projects in Nigeria to change the socio-economic narrative in the country.

Making a case for gas development in Nigeria, Attah said “we believe the future is gas; we believe the future is bright for Nigeria. We are a gas country with some oil because in reality, we have more gas. With the energy transition, gas will play more actively and that is why we say let’s focus on gas. But the question is how focused is Nigeria on gas?

“Let’s put this in perspective. Today, Australia has a gas reserve of 125 Trillion cubic feet (Tcf) but has 88 MTPA LNG capacity. Malaysia has 97 Tcf with over 29 MTPA capacity while Indonesia has 103 Tcf with an LNG capacity of 26 MTPA. Nigeria has a gas reserve of 200 Tcf with just 22 MTPA capacity. We have an unproven reserve of 600 Tcf, and if you add that to the proven reserves of 20 Tcf, we have the opportunity to be the fourth in the ranks of gas producing countries.

“In our positioning in the ranks of LNG producing countries, we moved down to 5th position once Australia and the United States of America came online. If we do nothing, we will continue to slide down. We have to focus on development of gas especially in the upstream sector. Nigeria has ridden on the back of oil for over 50 years. We believe it is time to fly on the wings of gas,” he said.

Attah stated that the partnership with NCDMB has produced the very first business to business service level agreement (SLA) to operationalise the Nigerian Content law, adding that other collaborative efforts with NCDMB have led to huge gains for Nigerian Content especially in his Company’s BGT plus project in six of its vessels were replaced in 2017.

He further said that NLNG in this year celebrated 30 years of incorporation and 20 years of reliable and safe production, adding that the history of the company can be told in blocks of 30 which includes 30 years of the company’s founding fathers trying to make the LNG vision come into reality, 30 years of safe operations and the next 30 years which concerns the future of NLNG.

He stated that within those years of operations, NLNG has been able to help reduce gas flaring from 60% to less than 20% moving the country’s ranking in the league of gas flaring countries from second to seventh position. He pointed out that with Train 7, Nigeria’s gas flaring status will be further improved.

The event was attended by executives in the public and the oil and gas sectors, including the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva; NCDMB Executive Secretary, Engr. Simbi Wabote; Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Faruk Sa’id; Shell Companies in Nigeria Country Chair and SPDC MD, Osagie Okunbor; Chairman and Managing Director of Mobil Producing Nigeria, Paul McGrath; Managing Director, Eni, Lorenzo Fiorillo; and Deputy Managing Director, Total, Guillaume Dulout, among others.

NLNG is owned by four Shareholders, namely, the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (49%), Shell Gas B.V. (25.6%), Total Gaz Electricite Holdings France (15%), and Eni International N.A. N. V. S.àr. l (10.4%).

Chuks Egbuna/Editor

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Pix: (L-R) GMD, Aiteo Eastern Exploration & Production Co. Ltd., Victor Okoronkwo; Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote; Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva; NLNG MD, Tony Attah; Emmanuel Uleh, Head, NC Compliance Assurance & Monitoring, NLNG.

2020: Only technology driven exploration'll attract capital - ITREALMS

Technology driven exploration has been identified as one of the sustainable fiscal reforms expected to attract capital to the continent’s energy sector, according to African Energy Chamber in its latest outlook for 2020, reports ITREALMS.

The chamber, ITREALMS also reports that in African Energy Outlook 2020 that hundreds of blocks and acreages will be up for grab across Africa, from Senegal to Nigeria to Somalia. Competition will be fierce to attract capital from a diversifying basket of explorers now coming from North America, Europe, Russia, China, India, South East Asia and the Middle East.

In 2019, several African countries revised their legal and fiscal framework to incentivize exploration, as new world-class discoveries were yet again made on the continent. With the signing of no less than 9 PSCs in 2019 following the passing of its brand new Hydrocarbons Code, Gabon has shown that investors are ready to keep betting on Africa providing that the right legislation and framework are put in place.

In its Energy Outlook 2020, the Chamber notably stresses investors’ concerns over uncertain fiscal terms in sub-Saharan Africa, and calls on governments to find better ways to reconcile their expectations of short-term tax gains with the need for sustainable and long-term investment in exploration.

The importance of increasing exploration efforts cannot be under-estimated in Africa. The continent is the world’s hottest exploration frontier, with several discoveries made over the past few years. The world’s largest discovery this year was made off the coast of Mauritania by Kosmos Energy. It adds up to other large discoveries made this year by Noble Energy in Equatorial Guinea, or the Springfield Group in Ghana for instance.

“2020 needs to be a drilling year,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and CEO of the Centurion Law Group. “Africa has the highest exploration success rates in the world. In basins like the MSGBC, international explorers like Kosmos Energy have even had a 100 percent success rate from all their exploratory drilling,” he added. “It is up to African governments and legislators to provide the right framework to keep attracting these kind of players ready to take risks and bet on our continent’s potential.”

Promoting and supporting exploration efforts across the continent is a key goal of the Chamber in 2020, as stated in its latest outlook for the sector.

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Oyewole: Lack of information governance, bane of national digital economy policy - ITREALMS

Lack of effective data and information governance has been identified as potential bane of any national digital economy policy implementation in the country, reports ITREALMS.

The President and Chairman, Governing Council, Institute of Information Management (IIM), Amb. (Dr) Oyedokun Ayodeji Oyewole, made this observation in Lagos at the weekend, during the media presentation of the National Information Management Stakeholders’ Forum (NIMSF).

He decried that both government and a good number of organizations were yet to regard data and information as essential corporate assets, with a clear understanding of the difference between Information Technology (IT) and Information Management (IM).

Oyewole, who also is the founder, Records and Information Management Awareness (RIMA) Foundation, noted that the need for information management professionals in the country to be charged with managing the information life-cycle to evolve and assume their rightful position, as Information Management is gross misconceived in Nigeria cannot be over emphasized.

Stressing that for an effective National Digital Economy Policy implementation, there is a need for the industry to effectively and consistently engage the Ministry of Information and Culture, “as effective data and information governance will go a long way in ensuring the success of the initiative.”

ITREALMS recalls that stakeholders in Nigeria may be gearing up for a revolution in the Information Management (IM) industry with their strong demand for the creation of National Information Management Development Agency (NIMDA), reports ITREALMS.

NIMSF also called for the breakout of Information and Archives departments from the current Ministry of Information and Culture by creating NIMDA to enable transformation and repositioning, especially on data and information governance in the country.

In addition, NIMDA, he said, for instance, will be setting the standards and ensuring that qualified and certified personnel are assigned to the management of government data and information.

Also, he said, developing and promoting best practices in government business processes and providing adequate training and monitoring for data and information management personnel in government, will be part of the proposed agency mandate.

NIMDA, he noted that when set up will ensure all government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) comply with standards, processes, procedures, and specifications as it applies to data, information, records, content, and archives use, classification, storage, collaboration, retention, and disposition.

Further, NIMDA, he told ITREALMS, will work with other relevant government agencies in ensuring appropriate information management and technology tools are deployed at all government MDAs for effective information security and governance and so on.

He insisted that for an effective National Digital Economy Policy implementation, there is a need for the industry to effectively and consistently engage the Ministry of Information and Culture, stressing that “effective data and information governance will go a long way in ensuring the success of the initiative.”

NIMDA, he said, will be tasked with managing the “Information Lifecycle of data, information, documents, contents and archives generated by all government agencies, ensuring enabling standards, specifications, processes, laws, and policies are in place for a good data and information governance regime in the country.”

NIMSF, he told ITREALMS was developed by the RIMA Foundation to advance sustainable development at all levels in the information management industry.

“Our activity aims to enhance open, accountable and participatory decision-making and governance on sustainable development through enhancing the involvement of all industry stakeholders. We focus particularly on the effective engagement of stakeholders on information management related policy processes,” he said.

Remmy Nweke/DoP

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Pix: L-r: Protocol Officer, Kitiya James; Member, Governing Council and Director of Training, Dr. Kolawole Oseni; President/Chairman, Governing Council, Dr. Oyedokun Ayodeji Oyewole and Head of HR, Merit Endurance, all members of Institute of Information Management (IIM-Africa) during the press conference by National Information Management Stakeholders’ forum held at IIM-Africa’s secretariat on Friday in Lagos State, Nigeria.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Access Bank offers customers 'More Xtravaganza' rewards - ITREALMS

Leader in retail bank in Nigeria, Access Bank Plc is offering customers more rewards to celebrate the yuletide season, under its ‘More Xtravanganza, campaign, reports ITREALMS.

The campaign, 
ITREALMS gathered would run from November 21 to December 31, 2019.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign in Lagos, Victor Etuokwu, Executive Director, Retail banking, Access Bank plc said “Access Bank is passionate about its customers and everything we do is centred around giving them more. This season, we have decided to launch this campaign to end the year on a high note in celebration of our customers. We appreciate them for their loyalty and support and this is our own way of saying thank you to them.

The More Xtravanganza campaign further demonstrates our promise to provide customers with the best banking products and services whilst rewarding them for banking with us. We will be rewarding 50 active and inactive Diamond Business Advantage customers with one-month free advert broadcast and production for signing up to the Ebony Life Access to Market package or reactivating their accounts respectively”. Victor said.

Commenting further on the campaign, Robert Giles, Head, Insights and capabilities, Access Bank Plc, said “Customers are the reason the bank is in business and they will always come first in our products, processes and services.

To show appreciation for their patronage, he said, they are going to feature three different DiamondXtra draws; Senior citizens draw, Women’s draw and the National quarterly draw this December.

"We will reward 19 senior citizens who are 50 years old and above, 10 Women in which one of them will win a shopping allowance of N100,000 per month for one year and 9 others will win N300,000 each and of course 1,016 lucky customers will emerge winners from our quarterly draw” he said.

Adaeze Umeh, Head, Consumer Banking, Access Bank Plc told 
ITREALMS that “In the spirit of this yuletide season we will be rewarding our first 100 premium savers with daily airtime when they maintain their account balances for 30days. 

"We are also going to reward the first 200 transfers on the mobile app with airtime. XclusivePlus customers who refer 3 new customers of their subscriber type will win one monthly/yearly plan. This reward will be for the first 200 customers. We will also reward our Early Savers with 20% bonus of their 13th savings for maintaining consistent savings over 12-month period.

To join our winning train, Adaeze explained that "all you need to do is to dial *901#, or walk into any Access Bank branch close to you to reactivate or open new account and start enjoying the More Xtravaganza benefits.”

Nenye Dom/Editor

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AfDB lures youth with Coding for Employment - ITREALMS

The African Development Bank and technology firm, Microsoft have unveiled the ‘Coding for Employment’ digital training platform to provide digital skills to African youth across the continent, reports ITREALMS.

This, ITREALMS gathered came on heels to scale up the programme to 130 centers of excellence across the continent over a 10-year period

The platform, launched at the 2019 African Economic Conference in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, aims to promote a continuous learning culture among young people and build their capacity to shape the continent’s future.

The high-level event drew heads of state and government, ministers and leaders from the private sector and academia to discuss how this new tool and other technological innovations could be used to spur development across the continent.

“The youth employment and skills development challenge is a complex issue that requires systemic thinking and bold partnerships … to address the existing skills gap and link youth to decent and sustainable employment,” said Hendrina Doroba, the African Development Bank’s acting director for Human Capital, Youth & Skills Development.

“The skills training platform launched today is a testament to the impact that such partnerships can achieve and the Bank looks forward to strengthening similar partnerships.”

The platform teaches technical courses such as web development, design, data science and digital marketing and will be constantly adapted to respond to market demand. It is accessible on mobile devices, even in low internet connectivity settings and has an affordable, easy-to-navigate, secured and private interface.

“A defining challenge of our time is ensuring that everyone has equal opportunity to benefit from technology,” Ghada Khalifa, Director of Microsoft Philanthropies for the Middle East and Africa, said at the launch.

“Forward-thinking initiatives such as the digital training platform represent our commitment to helping drive the momentum needed. Though there is still much work to be done, we believe that through dynamic partnerships such as these, we can help build a knowledge-based economy in Africa that leaves no person behind.”

The Coding for Employment Program is a crucial part of the African Development Bank’s strategic agenda ( to create 25 million jobs by 2025, and to equip 50 million African youth with competitive skills. The Bank piloted the program in five countries (Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire) in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation and Microsoft and is currently developing 14 ultra-modern centers specialized in ICT and entrepreneurship skills trainings for youth.

The goal is to scale up the program to 130 centers of excellence across the continent over a 10-year period. It will create nine million jobs by building synergies with the public and the private sector globally to deliver demand-driven, agile and collaborative skills to empower young people to become innovative players in the digital economy.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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