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ANEEJ urges Buhari to sign bills on POC, MLA into lawyer - ITREALMS

ITREALMS: Leading Asset Recovery Campaign Organisation, the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ has urged Presid...


Thursday, May 23, 2019

ANEEJ urges Buhari to sign bills on POC, MLA into lawyer - ITREALMS

Leading Asset Recovery Campaign Organisation, the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Proceeds of Crime Bill and the Mutual Legal Assistance Bill into Law.

In a statement issued yesterday, shortly after the National Assembly transmitted both Bills to the President for his assent, ANEEJ Executive Director, Rev David Ugolor said when signed by the President, POCA and MLA would strengthen anti-corruption architecture in Nigeria and take the war against corruption to the doorsteps to treasury looters.

“We urge the President to assent to both Bills to strengthen the asset recovery architecture in Nigeria and also institutionalize the enabling frameworks for the effective implementation of the London anti-corruption and the Global Forum for Asset Recovery (GFAR) commitments which the President signed unto in 2016.

“We commend the National Assembly for transmitting both Bills after painstaking negotiations. While we note that the POCA cannot be perfect as passed by both chambers of the National Assembly, if assented to by the President, it will help send a strong message to other jurisdictions withholding our stolen funds,” Rev. Ugolor said.

“This is a significant milestone for all anti-corruption activists in Nigeria and a quantum leap in the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy of the Federal Government. We must ensure that looters of the nation’s treasury are not allowed to keep proceeds of their criminality. When assented by the President, POCA will make our campaign for the recovery and management of looted assets a lot more easier,” adds the Executive Director of CHRICED and North West Partner coordinating Transparency and Accountability in Recovery and Management of Returned Assets (MANTRA) project, Alhaji Zikirulahi Ibrahim.

The Executive Director of CIRDDOG, Enugu and South East Partner of ANEEJ Mantra project, Engr Raph Ndigwe on his part said “ the transmission of both bills to the President for assent signals a significant milestone in the war against corruption in Nigeria. Senator Utazi has written his name in gold in the struggle to rid Nigeria of corruption by this development.”

“We are happy with this development and we call on the President to assent to both Bills and use it as a template to firm up assets recovery institutional framework in the country,” said Executive Director of NISD, Ado-Ekiti and Mantra coordinating partner for South-West Nigeria, Abiodun Oyeleye.

“It will surely give the needed teeth to the ACAs to bite treasury looters. Unexplained wealth can be seized and the onus placed on the owner to showcase why the government will not seize such suspicious assets with POCA,” Oyeleye stated.

The MANTRA team commended the doggedness of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption & Financial Crimes Committee, Senator Chukwuka Utazi for his untiring efforts that eventually led to the passage of the POCA and MLA Bills into law and their transmission to the President for assent yesterday.

“We also want to place on record the excellent support offered by the Senate Committee Chairman on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator David Umaru leading to the passage of this all important Bill. We equally appreciate the leading role of the Honourable Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) and his team in the Federal Ministry of Justice as well as Civil Society Organisations for their relentless efforts towards the passage of the Bills over the years which has led to their final transmission to President Buhari for his assent,” David Ugolor stated.

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ITU Telecom World 2019 to explore 'Innovating together: connectivity that matters' - ITREALMS

ITU Telecom World 2019 to explore 'Innovating together: connectivity that matters' debates will address needs for international collaboration to ensure digital technologies transform lives positively, reports ITREALMS

Also, ITREALMS gathered that the event will leverage "How can we bring affordable, relevant, fit-for purpose connectivity to all the world’s citizens? What tech, policy or strategy innovations will deliver smart development solutions in developed and emerging markets alike?

And, crucially, what core values and principles must be upheld to ensure a beneficial and sustainable digital future? These key questions will form the basis of debates at the ITU Telecom World 2019 Forum on the theme of “Innovating together: connectivity that matters.” 

ITREALMS gathered that session topics on the agenda include:

"Digital integrity: values and principles of the digital future • Future skills for a future world: reforming education systems to evolve with technology • 5G testbeds: laying the groundwork for smart cities 

"The network operator of 2025 • Driving diversity by design: mitigating gender bias in AI • Regulatory dialogue: spectrum challenges ahead of WRC-19 • Broadband today – and tomorrow: from wireless broadband to gigabit strategies Discussions at previous ITU Telecom World events have underlined how, to extend connectivity, solutions must go beyond just providing access and infrastructure.

"They must truly take into account the needs of everyone everywhere, including those digitally disenfranchised, in order to ensure the benefits of digital technology are inclusive. This year at ITU Telecom World 2019, an international audience drawn from across the public and private sectors will come together and take concrete steps to collaboratively solve the challenges around extending the benefits of connectivity to all. 

"ITU Telecom World 2019 takes place from 9-12 September at Hungexpo, Budapest, Hungary. It combines an international tech exhibition, a forum for sharing knowledge, a networking hub for corporates, governments and SMEs and the influential ITU Telecom World Awards programme. 

"It provides a unique international platform that brings together developed and emerging markets, public and private sector leaders, and industry representatives from across the entire ICT ecosystem. At ITU Telecom World, we believe in the power of technology to improve lives everywhere. Supporting sustainable development is also central to our aims and we are working hard to make sure it is central to our events, too," ITU official said.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Helping Organizations Respond to Health Emergencies - ITREALMS

When planning public health campaigns or responding to disease outbreaks, health organizations need information on where intended beneficiaries live, as well as real-time insights from the field. However, in much of the world, information from the most recent census is often out of date and timely insights from remote communities are scarce.

Today, we are launching three types of maps that will help nonprofit organizations and universities working in public health get ahead of disease outbreaks and reach vulnerable communities more effectively.

The maps we’re introducing — population density maps complete with demographic estimates, movement maps and network coverage maps — will help our health partners better understand where people live, how they are moving and whether they have connectivity. All of these maps, when combined with information from health systems, can improve the way organizations deliver supplies and respond to outbreaks.

“Epidemics pose a growing threat to lives and livelihoods,” said Vanessa Candeias, Head of Shaping the Future of Health and Healthcare at the World Economic Forum. “Mitigating their risk and impact requires every tool in the toolbox.”

Our initial partners for this effort, include: Direct Relief, FHI360, Harvard School of Public Health, the Institute for Health Metrics Evaluation at the University of Washington, International Medical Corps, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Malaria Atlas Project, the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College London, Northeastern University, Sabin Vaccine Institute, UNICEF, Wadhwani AI, the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum.

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NCC: MTN has paid N275bn SIM infraction fine, NSE listing to empower Nigerians - ITREALMS

Telecom apex body, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has explained the import of recent listing of the MTN Nigeria in the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) reports ITREALMS.

This, NCC said, followed a negotiated reduction of the N1.04 trillion fine on MTN Nigeria to N330 billion and in line with the staggered payment arrangement, MTN has, so far, paid N275 billion to the Federal Government.

Part of the fallout of the negotiated terms of payment of the fine is the listing of MTN on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), and this is being done.

What this means, according to the staggered arrangement, is that May 31, 2019 would be the deadline for the telecoms company to pay the sixth and final tranche of the balance of N55 billion.

After six months of negotiation and re-negotiation over the fine which led to the reduction to N330 billion, it was agreed that MTN would pay a balance of N280 billion in six tranches. This was in addition to the “goodwill” payment of N50 billion earlier made by MTN to the government.

Specifically, MTN began the payment structure with the payment of N30 billion into NCC’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) 30 days from the date of the agreement dated June 10 2016.

Subsequently, MTN paid N30 billion on March 31, 2017; N55 billion on March 31, 2018; N55 billion on December 31, 2018 and on March 31, it paid N55 billion.

The balance and final tranche of the payment will be paid by May 31, 2019, in line with the staggered payments structure agreed by MTN and Nigerian government.

It will be recalled that the NCC on October 20, 2015, imposed a fine of N1.04 trillion on MTN for infraction of the provision of the NCC Telephone Subscribers Registration Regulations 2011; for failure to disconnect 5.2 million improperly-registered Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM) lines within the prescribed deadline, because these lines had economic activities on them without proper registration.

In agreement reached by the parties involved in a way to avoid decision likely to cripple business interest of the operators the Commission regulates, it was also agreed that MTN shall apologise to Nigerians, subscribe to the compulsory observance of Code of Corporate Governance for Telecoms Industry; as well as undertake immediate steps to ensure its listing on the NSE.

Speaking on the state of MTN fine payment at the valedictory service organised for the Minister of Communications, Barr. Adebayo Shittu in Abuja on Monday, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said the Commission had succeeded in empowering Nigerians “to control, manage and own telecommunications companies in Nigeria by owning shares in MTN Nigeria.”

Danbatta explained that, through the MTN’s listing on the NSE, the Commission had translated into action, an important function of the Commission, which is to promote local investment and ownership in the telecom sector.

According to him, “By MTN listing on the stock exchange, we have given reality to that important function of the Commission. Through this listing, Nigerians will be empowered to control, own and manage one of dominant telecommunications companies in the country.

“With MTN shares available in the capital market, Nigerians will buy shares and by purchasing the shares of MTN, they will be financially empowered and be socially transformed. We consider this a very important milestones in translating the function of the Commission into reality, as enshrined in the Nigerian Communications Act 2003.”

Remmy Nweke/DoP

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Sexual assault & threat to life: Police to investigate Ndudi Elumelu - ITREALMS

The Police has waded into allegations of threat to life, indecent assault and conspiracy levelled against Ndudi Elumelu, a House of Representatives member-elect for Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency in Delta State, reports ITREALMS.

A copy of the petition sighted by ITREALMS was sent to the Delta State Commissioner of Police, a firm of legal practitioners on the instructions of Mr. Anthony Nnabuife Elue, a businessman, who accused Elumelu of threatening to eliminate Elue, their client.

According to the petition which was copied to the Governor of Delta State, the Clerk of the National Assembly and the Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the threat arose from Elumelu’s alleged role played over the collapse of Elue's marriage.

The law firm, M. N. Ugwuiyi and Co, stated that Elue had in 2010 and 2011 “noticed some unusual closeness between his lawfully married wife” and Elumelu.

“When Elue tried to talk to Elumelu who is his brother from the same Ezechima clan over his unwarranted closeness with his wife which is an abomination in their community, Elumelu started threatening his life, boasting that he will influence his wife to divorce him,” the petition which was also copied to the state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a former deputy governor of the state as well as the member representing the constituency in the House of Representatives, read.

The petition alleged that true to his threat, Elue's wife divorced him. “In 2013 he returned from his London business journey that he embarked on in 2012 and discovered to his shock and chagrin that his lovely wife who was living happily with him before he left the country for London in 2012 in pursuit of greener pastures for his family well being had gone to court to divorce him and elope with his two daughters from Asaba where he left them to Elumelu's house who had earlier boasted of it,” the law firm stated in the petition signed by M. N. Ugwuiyi.

Seeing the situation on returning from London, Elue “made efforts to access his lovely children in accordance with the divorce order of the court which unequivocally gave him the right to have access to his children whenever he wishes.”

The petition alleged that Elumelu, “in connivance with Elue’s ex-wife, Winifred Nwakuso Onwuka, refused him access to his children which necessitated him filing a contempt proceeding to enforce the right of access to his children before an Abuja High Court wherein Justice O. O. Goodluck made an order which made it possible for his two daughters to spend a weekend with him sometime in the year 2017.”

Explaining the basis for the allegation of indecent assault on females against Elumelu, the petitioner stated that during a weekend in his home in 2017, his two daughters confided that “Hon. Ndudi Elumelu usually put blue-films and be dancing naked in their presence.”

The law firm alleged that “on many occasions, he (Elumelu) will be chasing them around inside the room while he is naked.” According to the petition, the children “reported this indecent assault on them severally to their mother who will always treat the matter with glove hands and our client is now troubled over the state of his daughters' lives and whereabouts since then till date .”

The firm urged the Police to:

• Arrest Elumelu before his children will be defiled at their tender ages, and

• Initiate criminal prosecution of the lawmaker-elect.

Elumelu was elected to represent Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives during the last general elections on the platform of the PDP. He was earlier in the House between 2011 and 2015.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

GOCOP opposes new NASS guidelines for journalists - ITREALMS


The Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP) is opposing the new guidelines for accreditation of media organisations and journalists covering the National Assembly (NASS).

GOCOP, in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Olumide Iyanda, describes the new guidelines which are due to be effected from June 11, 2019, when the ninth National Assembly will be inaugurated, as a brazen violation of press freedom. 

The Guild notes with disappointment such requirements that a media organisation seeking accreditation must have a functional bureau in Abuja with staff strength of not less than five editorial staff and daily circulation of 40,000 copies for the print media with evidence to support the figure.

Other requirements include: “All online media must have at least 5000 viewership per day, the site must have been in operation for five years and provide satisfactory evidence to this effect with clippings of the news utilised (especially parliamentary news). 

“Only television stations with national coverage and specific independent producers with current running programme on the National Assembly will be allowed access into the Chambers on a permanent basis.”

These guidelines, according to GOCOP, do not only betray an attempt to gag the press and disrespect for the Nigerian constitution, they also expose a National Assembly that is ignorant of the operations and impact of the media in the 21st century.

GOCOP calls on the leadership of the National Assembly to immediately reject the implementation of the guidelines, while calling on all media organisations and lovers of a free press to stand against any attack on the universally recognised freedom of expression.

Orange goes for ENGIE for operation, maintenance - ITREALMS

The ENGIE has been selected for the operation and maintenance of the Orange Services Group's data center in Abidjan, for a five-year contract that will start early June 2019, reports ITREALMS.

This datacenter of the latest generation, built by the Orange Service Group (GOS), is one of the few datacenters existing in West Africa complying with the Level IV classification. According to this classification, it has the required redundancies to ensure continuity of service in all circumstances. It received the ward of Best Data Center from Africa at the 2017 “Datacloud Congress” in Monaco.

The perimeter of the contract includes preventive maintenance of the multi-technical lots of the datacenter buildings, including the electrical substations, high voltage, cooling and air conditioning, Central Management Technology, fire alarm systems, security and control, video surveillance and access control.

This contract demonstrates ENGIE's ambition to accelerate its development in energy services in West and Central Africa and to become one of the leaders in energy efficiency, installation and maintenance services in Africa.

Built on the Free Zone of Grand-Bassam, located 40 km from Abidjan, the economic capital of Côte d'Ivoire, the building has a floor area of 1 450 m² including a 420 m² computer room. This next-generation datacenter has a power capacity of 1.3 MW and a design which is oriented towards reliability and energy optimization of data storage. The center represents a strategic infrastructure for Orange in West Africa and primarily hosts Orange's service platforms of its Middle East – Africa subsidiaries but it is also a colocation space for BtoB customers’ needs in this region.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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ALTON, SystemSpecs, IXPN drum support for DigitalSENSE Forum on Internet Governance, IPv6 Roundtable 2019 - ITREALMS

The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) and the leading financial technology solutions provider, SystemSpecs have thrown their weight behind the 2019 Nigeria DigitalSENSE Africa Forum (NDSF) on Internet Governance for Development (IG4D) and Nigeria IPv6 Roundtable, slated for Thursday, June 20, at the Welcome Centre Hotels, International Airport Road, Lagos, reports ITREALMS.

This is coming as the foremost Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN) has joined a list of those entities drumming support for 2019 edition of NDSF and what it stands for with a pledge for active participation.

The Executive Director, DigitalSENSE Africa Media, Mrs Nkem Nweke, disclosed this in Lagos, describing the support as a welcome development for a forum with theme: ‘Connecting Nigerians for Enhanced Internet Governance' which would now hold on June 20 at the Welcome Centre Hotels, MM International Airport Road, Lagos.

She specifically applauded ALTON for its consistency in drumming support for NDSF among others and urged others like Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) to emulate ALTON in provision of needed assistance and participation at industry events meant to enlighten the Nigerian populace, and create awareness on new products, especially for the benefit of the ordinary Internet users in the country.

ALTON, is the umbrella of all licensed telecom operators in the country and has continued to be very active in fashioning regulatory regime for the country that will be all- enabling and inclusive through telecom infrastructure.

Also, she said, SystemSpecs has proven over time its worth as a Nigerian company leading in financial technology, designs and development of human resource management, solutions, peopled by customer-driven professionals.

Founded since 1992, by Mr. John Obaro, SystemSpecs, she noted, has since extended its worthy services to other African countries with regards to mainstream them into the burgeoning financial technology evolutions.

For IXPN, she said, the eXchange lately has proved itself leadership qualities under the chairman of the IPv6 Council Nigeria, Mr. Muhammed Rudman, who doubles as the chief executive officer of IXPN.

IXPN, she said, prides itself as the local hosting of internet content for businesses in Nigeria and across the subregion to improve the quality of Internet experience by Nigerians and opening up for more revenue opportunities to the Internet Services Providers (ISPs), and facilitate rapid increase in local content creation and hosting at lower cost with the attendant local skills development, employment generation and entrepreneurship.

She recalled that DigitalSENSE Africa (DSA) Media, is a certified At-Large Structure (ALS) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and internationally reputed as award-winning Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry analysts and perception managers; professionally affiliated to African Regional At-Large Organisation (AFRALO) for shaping the future of the Internet, African Civil Society for the Information Society (ACSIS).

The Nigeria DigitalSENSE Africa Forum (NDSF) on Internet Governance for Development (IG4D) is on its 10th edition.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Monday, May 20, 2019

Nigerian journalists enraged over NASS guidelines, its anti-press, anti people - ITREALMS

... NGE kicks
The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) is leading a rejection of the new guidelines for the accreditation of media organisations, journalists cum correspondents covering the National Assembly (NASS), describing it as primitive, undemocratic and blatantly anti-press and anti-people, reports ITREALMS.

The guidelines issued by authorities of the National Assembly (NASS) is due to become effective from June 11 2019. It demands among other draconian provisions that a media organisation wishing to be accredited for coverage of NASS activities should submit a copy of its income tax return for the last two years.

Other requirements include “presentation of evidence of certificate of incorporation of the media organisation, evidence of membership of professional bodies for the journalists, maintenance of a functional Bureau in Abuja (staff strength not less than 5 Editorial staff) and daily circulation of 40,000 copies for the print media with evidence to support the claimed circulation figure.”

The Guild finds this vexatious, disrespectful and draconian. It is a scurrilous attempt to gag the press in a democracy and it cannot stand.

These guidelines run contrary to the grains of reason, democratic ideals and they are a clear affront on the letter and spirit of the Nigerian constitution which empowers journalists to freely practice their profession without any gag, muzzling and restriction.

The NASS guidelines negate the constitutional principle of freedom of expression and run contrary to the African Charter on fundamental rights and the right of the people to know. The Guild strongly objects to these guidelines in their entirety as they serve no public good except the myopic interest of its chroniclers and purveyors.

The Guild is disappointed that the same 8th National Assembly which benefited immensely from free press in its moments of trial has turned round to put the same press in shackles and chains. We reject this crude abrasion of our constitutional rights to freely disseminate information. It cannot stand.

The Guild urges all media houses across the nation to rise up and reject this medieval intrusion into the media space in the 21st century, much more in a democracy which Nigerian media doggedly fought for and for which some journalists paid the supreme price.

Remmy Nweke/DoP

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Disruptive Entrepreneurs can only save Nigerian economy says Ekeh - ITREALMS

Serial digital entrepreneur and Chairman, Zinox Group, Dr. Leo Stan Ekeh, has declared that the only way the Nigerian economy can realize the desired impetus to survive is for the Federal and State Governments to support disruptive entrepreneurs who are now the corporate miracles of every progressive economy.

He cited America as an example which has produced the known whizkids of the century and raised global giants such as the Googles, Facebooks, Amazons and Microsofts, etc. of this world.

He said this while delivering an incisive talk at the Access Bank-sponsored 2019 African Fintech Disrupt Conference held at the Landmark Centre.

Ekeh, whose talk kept the huge crowd cheering for more, noted that Nigeria has a huge stock of smart kids who can change and sustain the developmental story of this country, adding that all they require is an enabling environment which is not too expensive for the government to provide.

While advising entrepreneurs not to see hope as a strategy in business, he reminded them of a critical configuration required for a self-audit before deciding if they really want to be entrepreneurs.

According to Ekeh, who also doubles as a global advisor to Microsoft, success as an entrepreneur in Africa requires 40% common sense, 20% spirituality and 40% knowledge of the business.

In his opinion, the 21st century has defined two types of entrepreneurs - disruptors and regular entrepreneurs.

While advising startups and other budding business owners, he noted that their passion must pay their bills, else there is no justification for the business they are launching.

He reminded startups of the essential few ingredients of success, humility, ability to see the end from the start, an eye for the bigger picture, creative mindset, knowledge and energy to occupy the sector as well as the capacity to manage cash and excitement.

He, however, cautioned that they must be prepared to take reasonable pains before pleasure as they must postpone luxurious life until when they have built enough reserves to sustain such a lifestyle.

Counseling female entrepreneurs, the self-professed disruptive entrepreneur assured them that they will lead in the second quarter of this century as informed women are known to operate efficiently in structured environments with auditable systems.

He affirmed that no government has a choice to deny the youths of progressive infrastructure, except they want to face the wrath of this dominant segment of the populace.

With a round of applause punctuating his speech, Ekeh ended by advising those leaving the country for supposedly greener pastures not to waste their time as the population and lifestyle of Nigeria holds unquantifiable demand structure which is wealth on its own.

Chuks Egbune/Editor

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Osinbajo pledges NGE slot @NIPPS course - ITREALMS

The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), the umbrella professional organisation for the leadership of the print, broadcast and online media in Nigeria, would soon have participants in the prestigious Senior Executive Course of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPPS) reports ITREALMS.

Vice President Yemi Osibanjo promised to assign slots to members of the Guild to undertake the Course, with a view to contributing their quota to nation building and join its forums, where academics of excellence, seasoned policy initiators and executors and other citizens of matured experience and wisdom, meet to reflect and exchange ideas on the great and critical issues of developing the Nigerian society.

The Vice President said members of the Guild would be considered for the rigorous screening into the course and those who are successful would fill the discretionary slots for enrollment on the Course. He said his office would work out a plan for editors to participate in the course from the next batch of the training.

He was speaking when he hosted the newly elected executive of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, led by its President, Mrs. Funke Egbemode. The Vice President congratulated Mrs. Egbemode and the Guild for its recent rancour-free election, which demonstrated that it is a professional body of men and women of integrity and exemplary character.

The VP said he regarded himself as a media person because his first book was on media ethics in Nigeria, he would therefore be open to support specialised trainings for editors and media professionals.

Vice President Osinbajo said he would always support the media and explore means of an intervention fund for specific media projects. He said he would welcome ideas from the Guild on improved government-media relations and in resolving challenges posed by Social media, which is without regulation. He challenged the NGE to explore means of tackling fake news and finding effective means of regulating the social media.

The NGE President had told the Vice president that the Guild was passionate about training and re-training of editors and would be seeking to partner with other agencies of government for capacity building of editors.

Mrs. Egbemode also intimated the Vice President of the current harsh economic atmosphere in which the media industry is operating, saying while most other sectors are out of recession; the media industry is not yet out of the economic quagmire.

She had suggested that the government consider setting up a Media Industry Intervention Fund that media operators who are battling with high cost of importing consumables could resort to for cushioning current harsh economy operating environment.

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Sunday, May 19, 2019

Plans to subvert govt: Lai Mohammed says FG has credible evidence - ITREALMS

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the Federal Government has credible evidence on the unrelenting efforts of the political opposition and their cohorts to subvert the government and cause mayhem in the country, reprots ITREALMS.

The Minister, who made the remarks at the 12th Annual Lai Mohammed Ramadan Lecture in Oro, Kwara State, on Saturday, said the alarm the government raised a few days ago, that the PDP and its presidential candidate are doing everything possible to sabotage the Buhari Administration, is credible.

“As you are aware, a few days ago we raised the alarm that either by themselves or via their proxies, the PDP and its presidential candidate are doing everything possible to sabotage the Buhari
Administration, generally overheat the polity and make Nigeria seemingly ungovernable. Of course you are aware of similar alarms that have been raised by the police, the military and the DSS.

“Our interventions are based on credible evidence, and no government with the kind of evidence that we have, of plans to subvert the power of the state, attack the nation's economic live wire and generally unleash mayhem on the polity, will keep quiet. The security agencies are all alert to their responsibilities and will not sit by and allow anyone to reverse the gains of our democracy under any guise,'' he said.

Alhaji Mohammed said since the government and the security agencies raised the alarm, pseudo and partisan analysts have teamed up with the spokesmen for the main opposition party and its residential candidate to either exhibit their ignorance or to engage in red herring and name calling.

But he assured that the government will neither be distracted nor be dissuaded.

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Pix (L-R): Wife of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaja Kudirat Mohammed; Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Kebbi State Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and Minister of Communications, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu at the 12th Annual Lai Mohammed Ramadan Lecture in Oro, Kwara State, on Saturday.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Sanwo-Olu says technology is new economy @ Microsoft Africa Development Centre - ITREALMS

Lagos State Governor-elect, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has expressed joy over the launch of the Microsoft Africa Development Centre in Lagos, reports ITREALMS.

The governor-elect, who attended the launch on Friday evening in Lagos, reiterated the significance of the technology in the 21st Century, stating that his excitement is borne out of his incoming government's determination to use technology as a major driver of government activities. 

"Congratulations to the Microsoft Nigeria team on the launch of the Microsoft Africa Development Centre in Lagos.

"I am passionate about how technology will help us build a 21st Century economy and ensuring an enabling environment for local and international partnerships will definitely be a priority," Sanwo-Olu said.

Sanwo-Olu recalled how his campaign team jumped on the opportunity to provide free Wi Fi to some identified locations in Lagos including shopping malls and higher institutions and how the free service has been well utilized by the beneficiary communities.

The Governor-elect thanked the Microsoft group for considering siting of the centre in Lagos, which is technology hub in sub Saharan Africa.

The global tech giant, Microsoft Corp, would invest $100 million to open its first Africa Development Centre (ADC) with sites in Nigeria and Kenya over the next five years.

The ADC would serve as a premier centre of engineering for Microsoft, where world-class African talent can create solutions for local and global impact.

“The ADC will be unlike any other existing investment on the continent. It will help us better listen to our customers, develop locally and scale for global impact. Beyond that, it’s an opportunity to engage further with partners, academia, governments and developers – driving impact in sectors important to the continent, such as FinTech, AgriTech and OffGrid energy.

“The ADC supports Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more. The ADC is the first Global Development Centre in Africa with a combined expected investment of US $100 million over the first five years of operation.

“At Microsoft, we’re very fortunate to have played a part in realising this potential, building strong partnerships to accelerate digital transformation and create sustained societal impact. A big milestone for this investment came earlier this year, as we opened Africa’s first hyper-scale datacentres in South Africa, promoting business innovation in the cloud,” Microsoft said in a statement.

Sanwo-Olu promised the tech giant that his administration, when it comes on stream will partner organizations like theirs to bring about effective realization of his technology-driven THEME agenda. 

Remmy Nweke/DoP

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Pix: L-R Ambassador W. Stuart Symington (United States Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Nigeria), Akin Banuso Country General Manager,  Microsoft Nigeria, Alex Kipman Technical Fellow,  Artificial Intelligence and Mixed Reality Microsoft, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu Governor Elect of Lagos State and Phil Spencer Executive Vice President Gaming Microsoft at the Launch of Africa Development Center by Microsoft at the Intercontinental Hotel, Lagos. May 17th 2019.

Glo urges school girls on tech-related subjects for brighter future - ITREALMS

Second national operator (SNO) and acclaimed digital leader, the Globacom, has urged school girls across the country to take active interest in science subjects that could help them play prominent roles in the technology space in the future, reports ITREALMS.

Globacom’s representative at this year’s commemoration of the International Girls in ICT Day hosted by the eBusinessLife magazine, Mrs. Justina Abdulateef, who is also the Account Manager, Public Sector, Lagos Zone, said the ICT space requires a broad range of skills, noting that operators in the sector are continually looking for talented individuals with those skills to play various roles.

Abdulateef said stereotypes and discrimination had deterred many girls from pursuing interests in Information and Communication Technology, adding that there was a need to break the stereotypes early in life in order to create meaningful access to ICT for girls and women.

She opined that increasingly, more women across the world were proving their mettle in the male dominated, technical professions, stating that examples were enormous of women who had distinguished themselves in engineering, medicine and other related professions.

“You must, therefore, never let anyone limit your possibilities. If you set your mind to it, there is nothing you cannot achieve as a girl”, Abdulateef charged the gathering of hundreds of school girls from 15 prominent schools in Lagos. She implored them to diligently prepare themselves for studies in mathematics, engineering, computing and other such fields.

She said studies had shown that there was a correlation between ICT and the economic growth of a country, meaning therefore that more and more emphasis would be placed on ICT by policy-makers in future with a view to ensuring that the sector flourishes.

“The growth potential is therefore enormous for ICT professionals, and there are many areas you can decide to focus on. You could choose to be a software developer, a webmaster, web designer, animator or data analyst, among many others”, Abdulateef advised.

Also speaking at the event, Mrs. Ufuoma Daro, the Chief Executive Officer of eBusiness Life, the organisers of the event, thanked Globacom for supporting the initiative this year again, recalling that the company was also one of the companies that made it possible for the event to hold last year.

She called on other corporate bodies to support initiatives that are aimed at empowering the womenfolk in the overall interest of the country.

The ceremony drew participation from leading lights in the ICT industry, including representatives of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), ICT companies and policy-makers.

Uj. N. Dominic/Editor

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Pix: L-R: Mrs. Justina Abdulateef, Account Manager, Public Sector, Lagos Zone, Globacom; Miss Sanya Eniola of Reagan Memorial Baptist Girls’ Secondary School, second runner-up of a quiz competition; Alaere Peterside of Chrisland College, Idimu, winner; Miss Omotoso Aanu Oluwa of Baptist Girls’ Academy, third runner-up; and Oluwakemi Akinyele of Training and Development Unit, Globacom, at the Girls in ICT Day event co-sponsored by Globacom in Lagos on Thursday.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Critique of abstract politics - ITREALMS

About the middle of 1985, the tendency to which I belonged in Nigeria’s Marxist Left met somewhere on the campus of the former University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife.

We met to review our programme and, in particular, to discuss what I may now articulate as “abstractionism” in the national platforms of the Nigerian Left. And what do I mean by “abstractionism”, a term in which, I fear, I may now have embedded unrelated “attributes”? Let me recall the dramatic procedure used by the comrade who introduced the subject.

The comrade produced a current draft programme in the Nigerian Left and asked the presiding comrade to substitute Kenya or Ghana or Cameroon for Nigeria everywhere the latter appeared in the document. The presiding comrade chose Kenya, and we spent some time doing the substitution. To cut this long introductory story short, the “new” programme obtained after the simple substitution of the word Kenya for the word Nigeria could pass for a good, even brilliant programme for the Kenyan Left. In other words, there was almost nothing specific to Nigeria in the original programme meant for Nigeria!

After this “warm-up” exercise, we next tried to convince ourselves, first: that this practice of writing abstract, non-“nation specific” or “supra-nation” programmes and manifestoes of struggle against capitalism, imperialism and dictatorship and for workers’ power, popular democracy and socialism was widespread in the Nigerian Left; and secondly: that our tendency was not guilty of the error—having, in practice, abandoned it a decade earlier in the locality where we were holding that meeting. What followed was, of course, the imperative: to decide and prepare to wage a struggle against the practice described above, the practice I now call “abstractionism.”

One particular element of this envisaged struggle against “abstractionism” was the writing of a book to be titled “The (Un) Making of Nigeria” (or, in full, “The making and unmaking of Nigeria”). It was to be a stage-by-stage account, a critical and self-critical account of what had been a continuous historical process: the simultaneous building and wrecking of Nigeria and the social forces responsible for the building and those responsible for the wrecking of the nation. This would be followed, of course, by how the “building struggle” would continue more concretely. For several reasons, this writing project did not come out the way we planned it. Instead of a single comprehensive group publication, what we had were single-author internal memos, articles, collections of essays and monographs.

It was not that organisations and tendencies of the Nigerian Left were not connected with the masses or the grassroots. No, they were well connected with and active in the ranks of workers, peasants, women, students, academics, professionals and other strata of the popular masses. But their “connections” and “activities” were either entirely local or—where they were not entirely local and attempted to be regional or national—were fragmented and uncoordinated. Beyond this—and this is the core of the matter-at the national political level, or on the question of state power, what they did, said and wrote did not indicate that revolution or the capture of state power in Nigeria—by whatever means, electoral or nonelectoral—was, for them, a realizable political project, in the foreseeable future—assuming that such a political project was even considered desirable. It was as if the Nigerian Left was, at best, a self-limiting protest movement.

The preceding statement is a strong one, deliberately made so because “abstractionism” is still alive in the Nigerian Left. Were the Nigerian Left not “abstract”, as defined above, were it to consider revolution or the capture of state power as a desirable and realizable political project, it would not summarily dismiss concrete and significant political questions raised by political forces outside or within the Left. And it would not shy away from raising concrete political questions of its own and putting them on the agenda of national political discourse, debate or struggle.

For the avoidance of doubt, by concrete and significant national political questions here I mean questions directly related to the issue of political power, the capture of state power—and not simply those permanent economic, class and popular-democratic struggles (like struggles over wages, employment, prices, human rights, state abuse, social welfare, security, etc.) that the Left must permanently wage to be able to recognize and define itself as Left and be so defined and recognized by its primary constituencies and the nation. Current national political questions would include what is now known as “restructuring”. Related to it, and perhaps historically issuing from the same campaign, was the call for a “national conference” and later “sovereign national conference” or SNC.

What is at present embarrassing to me, as a not-too-young member of the Nigerian Left, is that several Leftists now make it sound as if “restructuring” and “sovereign national conference” were autonomous formulations from the Nigerian Right. Of course, not. For the origins of these two campaigns, I invite interested persons to research the print media of the early 1990s. Such persons will discover the role played by the Nigerian Left in formulating the campaigns and giving them revolutionary and popular-democratic contents and forms.

Recently, I re-organised my current position on “restructuring” around five “clusters” of ideas. I shall conclude this piece with an outline of the “clusters”. The first “cluster” of ideas I called “the impossibility of (pure) ethnic separation in Nigeria”. By this I mean that Nigeria cannot break or separate, peacefully or violently, along pure ethnic lines or even along near-pure ethnic lines. And by “pure ethnic lines” I mean without creating new entities with significant majority/minority dichotomies.

The second “cluster” of ideas, “relates to class-to-class redeployment and redistribution of national resources or, simply, the restructuring of class appropriations. By this I mean the massive movement of resources from the ruling class and blocs to the popular masses through people-oriented radical reforms in employment, education, health, housing, transportation, …” and the lifting of several layers of existential burden from the shoulders of the “common people.”

The third “cluster” is essentially the strengthening of the present six geopolitical zones and the creation of a presidential council of six equal members, each member representing a geopolitical zone. The headship and vice-headship of the council will be rotational within a 4-year presidential tenure. Put differently: Instead of the present office of the president, there shall be the presidential council of six equal members. The tenure of the council is 4 years; and each member will head the council for 8 months. The vice-headship will also be for 8 months. In this way, in a presidential tenure of 4 years, a council member would have acted as head for 8 months and as vice-head for 8 months.

The fourth cluster of ideas is the creation of a level of governance below the present local government council. This I call the “community” or the “neighbourhood” In the fifth and final cluster of ideas: Nigeria will remain a federal republic; the current principles of citizenship, fundamental human rights and principles of state policy will be enhanced; the Federal Government will give up a substantial fraction of its current appropriation to the states and local governments. The states, in turn, will finance the zones and the local governments will finance the communities.

Each of these five “clusters” can be argued and defended by the Nigeria Left on historical, political and ideological grounds. Defended: not just in conclaves, but crucially before the popular masses and the nation. And taken together, the five “clusters” represent a concrete revolutionary platform on the single question of “restructuring.” That platform I have called “popular-democratic restructuring” or “restructuring under popular democracy.”

*Contributed by Edwin Madunagu, mathematician and journalist, writes from Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.

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