" ITREALMS: May 2019

Friday, May 31, 2019

Vodacom reiterates commitment to Nigeria’s tech evolution - ITREALMS

The Vodacom Business Nigeria has reiterated its commitment to ensuring that Nigeria keeps pace with the evolution of telecommunications technologies, reports ITREALMS

To achieve this, ITREALMS gathered, Vodacom organized the second edition of the annual Inter-School Robotics Training Workshop for students across nine Lagos Secondary Schools.

Managing Director for Vodacom Business Nigeria, Wale Odeyemi says: "As an organization, our aim is to help empower the next generation, with relevant technical skills in order to drive positive change in the Nigerian economy through the use of communications technologies.”

Odeyemi says: “As the world progresses further into the fourth industrial revolution, there has never been a better time to infuse some much needed STEM training in the education sector through such initiatives as the annual Inter-School Robotics Training initiative. This initiative further demonstrates Vodacom's support for education at the grass root level to encourage further budding of aspiring youths who are interested in participating in the digital revolution.

Among the schools that participated in the one-day workshop were; Dansol High School, Avi-Cenna, Holy Child College, Edgewood College, and Adrao International School. Others were; Rainbow College, Greensprings International School, D-Ivy College, Halifield College and Chrisland College. The participating students ages 12 to 15, received firsthand opportunities to immerse themselves in the complexities that surround the Internet of Things (IoT) and how these will shape society in the near future.

As part of the programme, students were taught how to build, program, and control various kinds of robots which are being used to perform numerous functions in today's world. This demonstrated the essential use cases of such technologies in everyday life, ranging from manufacturing to transportation, as far as even securing lives and property.

The inter-School Robotics Training Workshop provided participants the opportunity to explore various ways in which technology is shaping the world around them. The training covered areas such as Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Iternet of Things (IOT) and Virtual Reality (V.R.). The students were also equipped with useful mechanical and programming skills which can be honed and developed as they progress through the various levels of education. Edgewood College Lekki came top in the competition that took place after the training, while Holy Child College Obalende and ADRAO International School, Victoria Island were first and second runners-up respectively.

Participants in the workshop commended Vodacom for introducing them to the world of robotics as this has opened them to the opportunities that lie ahead in the future. One student from Edgewood College, Josephine Aghedo said: “I found the workshop educative and inspiring. It has given me a glimpse about what being a computer engineer means and how I can help the world with knowledge gained, thanks to Vodacom for this great opportunity.”

Vodacom Business Nigeria recently partnered with eBusiness Life Limited for the 2019 edition of the International Girls in ICT Day Celebration held at the Oriental Hotel Lagos. Girls in ICT Day is an initiative of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) designed to sensitize young girls on the need to take up careers in Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Chuks Egbune/Editor

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Leveraging technology to awaken greater Lagos by Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu - ITREALMS

1. By the grace of Almighty God and Your votes, I stand before you today as your Governor. (Pause)

This day marks the beginning of a new chapter in our journey to greatness. Today, I ask you to join me on this journey to awaken a Greater Lagos.

When we speak of a Greater Lagos, we speak not empty words. It is a deep and profound assertion we mean.

2. We intend to make history by making for ourselves and our children a better future.

Therefore, on this day, on this precious land we call our home, let us stand together in the very face of history.

Let us vow to ourselves, and to posterity that we shall not just dream of a Greater Lagos. Let us agree this day that we shall collectively rise up to build the Lagos of our dreams.

We need not be discouraged by the challenges that may be apparent. Today is an opportunity for us to forge ahead in our quest for a Greater Lagos.

It is possible!

No one should ever underestimate the spirit of Lagos and the resilience of its people. Yes, hard problems may confront us, but we will also confront them. Every problem will lose its potency to our unity.

Therefore, Lagosians, in this new chapter of our lives, we need not cry or fret. We are united by our common purpose of a Greater Lagos and fulfilling future.

Posterity has given us this day to commence our journey to greatness. We need to envision the glorious end of working together, tirelessly and committedly, towards achieving a Lagos of our dreams. By our individual and collective efforts and the Grace of God, these dreams will become a reality.

In Lagos State, our story has been of successes and achievements. Since 1999, our tradition of progressive governance has set Lagos apart and strengthened people’s belief in our ideology.

And that is the very reason I stand before you on this historic day as your Governor. While we celebrate the victory of progressive governance and democracy, tomorrow we must be ready to stand on guard and be fully vigilant.

Democracy and progressive governance hold only to the extent that we protect and nurture them. While Lagos glimmers as a beacon of progressive and quality governance, our nation now undergoes a historic battle to establish progressive and just governance.

Lagos must again rise and help lead this nation to fuller progress and to a closer realization of the greatness that exists within all Nigerians.

This inauguration symbolizes such an awakening.

Today, I stand before you as your governor, but also as your friend, brother; neighbor and your servant. I stand here to ask that you join me to script and fashion this greater Lagos with the creativity of our minds.

Let the ingenuity of our hands, the sweat of our labor and the compassion that resides in our hearts be committed to this common goal.

We are but human beings. Our time on this earth is finite, and shall one day pass. At some point, we shall all enter the book of history. This is inevitable.

But we can choose how we walk into history. Shall we do so as masters of our fate, or as slaves to things that seek to suppress us?

When the history of our moment is written, let it not be told in tears of defeat, rather let it resound with the anthem of collective victory.

Let our time be proclaimed in golden celebration of a state, and of a people who stood in unity of purpose to make their home a Greater one.

In this, we simply adhere to the tradition of enlightened government set by those who came before us. We owe a large debt of gratitude to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and to Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN.

Asiwaju led the team that created the blueprint for development; both administrations faithfully executed that economic blueprint and established the structures and institutions of progressive governance in the process.

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode pushed forward in a special manner. His efforts and actions shall be duly remembered.

As your Governor, I know fully well who I am, because I know where I am from. More importantly, I know where I am headed.

I have been a part of this progressive journey since its very inception. I know first-hand the concerted efforts that went into planning so many of the innovations we now see and enjoy.

It will be my job to continue that process by refining and perfecting the foundation laid by the preceding administrations.

In this regard, I shall forever remain loyal to the aspirations of the people and to the developmental blueprint that has brought so much success to our dear state.

The Babajide Sanwo-Olu you see today shall not change and try to become something I am not. My prayer is only that I grow and improve as your Governor to implement good policies and bring the prosperity you deserve.

On this day, I speak to the young and old, Christian and Muslim, those who trace their earliest ancestry back to this land, and to those who came last week.

I speak to the poor and to the rich. I speak to the Danfo driver as much as to the millionaire, to the fruit vendor and much as to the real estate titan.

I speak to employer and employee, I speak to teacher and student, I speak to mother and father. The civil service as well as the private sector - We are all Lagosians.

I say to you all let us explore how we can best establish a harmony of interests and avoid the growing tendency to focus on those things that differentiate and divide one Lagosian from another.

By the dint of Providence, this small tract of land intersected and surrounded by waterways and lagoons has become home to roughly 22 million people, with their various dreams and aspirations.

Not only is Lagos home to so many people and their aspirations, it is also the catalyst of economic growth for much of Nigeria.

The world outside sees Lagos as Nigeria. We are Nigeria’s door to the global economy and the global economy’s door to Nigeria. 

As long as Lagos flourishes, Nigeria has more than a fair chance to enjoy the development and growth needed for its deserving population. If Lagos falters, Nigeria also stumbles.

The reality of the integral role we play in Nigeria’s ascent to national greatness coupled with the untapped potentials we hold to produce even greater wealth to improve the living conditions of our people are the things that make Lagos a magnificent place.

These strategic aspects of our current reality, and of our immediate future, bestow on me and my administration a profound responsibility.

My goal is to advance the social and economic progress of this state and its people; regardless of your faith, social class, or your origin of birth.

As long as you adopt the spirit of Lagos, Lagos in turn shall adopt you.

As I said in my acceptance speech, I am too focused on moving Lagos forward to give a second thought to where a person may have come from. As long as you are animated by the spirit of achievement, cooperation and tolerance, then you are Lagosian. This is my motto.

This is how I see our home and this is how I shall run my government. I shall select the best and most qualified people to hold positions in our government.

My door shall remain open to all. I shall seek the advice of the learned, the wise and the ordinary Lagosian, for in the common man resides much wisdom and fairness of thought.

While one cannot help but hear the kind words of friends, I must pay even closer attention to the voice of my critics.

In constructive criticism lies the seeds of improvement. With these things in mind, let me quickly outline my goals for a Greater Lagos.

The Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat and I are single-minded in our desire to bequeath to our successors a far Greater Lagos than the one we inherited today

And to do so, we have formulated a concise framework that encapsulates our collective vision for the state and ensures that our undertaking remains focused and our communication remains clear as we endeavour to build a Greater Lagos we can all be proud to call home.

The framework, as our six (6) Pillars of Development Agenda, is captured by the acronym, “T.H.E.M.E.S, which I will briefly talk about:

T – Traffic Management and Transportation

Here, we must act with urgency to execute a transport masterplan that will fully integrate road, rail and water transportation into a multi-modal transport system that makes commuting easy for Lagosians.

We must also ensure compliance with all traffic rules and regulations on our roads.

H – Health and Environment

Because we know the significance of a clean environment in preventive healthcare, we have a moral duty to provide basic health care for our people, especially those who cannot afford it. Under our comprehensive health program, we will place special emphasis on maternal healthcare, malaria and water borne diseases.

We will also focus on sanitation and waste management, by ensuring that our drainage systems are functional and kept clean.

E – Education and Technology

We will invest in the education of our children and young adults. By increasing the budgetary allocation to education, this government will empower teachers in every local government and strengthen their capacity to deliver quality education to our children.

New educational infrastructure will cultivate a learning environment that prepares our children for a new world that demands creativity, intuition and critical thinking.

We will ensure technology is integrated into our school curriculum and empower our youths with the much-needed skills for the jobs of tomorrow.

M – Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy

By investing in critical infrastructure, we will accelerate the growth of our economy and empower the private sector who are the real engines of growth.

We must break the deadlock that shackles our power distribution, provide sustainable urban settlements that addresses the current deficit; while at the same time building a smart city that achieves urban harmony and sets a new bar in our nation.

E - Entertainment and Tourism

We will nurture and showcase our cultural heritage and unique hospitality, support our entertainment, visual arts and sports sectors, and inspire the kind of creativity from our most talented individuals that will enhance our reputation at home – and abroad.

S – Security and Governance

The last of these pillars of development is Security and Governance.

It is important to ensure that we set the right tone for good governance and accountability at the top.

To this end, my administration will ensure that we walk the talk as far as transparency, the rule of law and fiscal discipline are concerned.

We will make sure that we create the right environment in which security and safety of lives and property are guaranteed.

Our ultimate goal would be to ensure that Lagos state

remains one of the top destinations on the African continent to live, work and invest in.

These six (6) Pillars of Development represent our response to the yearnings of the people. They constitute the foundations that must be restored for future generations.

And should we fulfill our promise and deliver on these pillars, we are most confident that we will have succeeded in setting Lagos on a new trajectory of economic growth and development that would be unprecedented in our entire history.

Let me also add that in doing all of these, the welfare and socio-economic well-being of our hardworking civil servants would equally be given the priority that it truly deserves.

Similarly, our youths and women would be well integrated into our governance structure to equally contribute their utmost to our developmental strides.

The mission upon which we embark today, shall happen. As we gather force and momentum, there will be no mortal power that can stop our movement towards greater prosperity, justice and hope.

I urge you all therefore to lend yourself to this excellent cause and join our march to victory over our social and economic challenges. Do not stand aside and let this good development pass you by.

The hearts and hands of the Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat and myself are extended to each and every Lagosian.

Join us on this noble journey as we strive together to birth and nurture a Greater Lagos.

However, make no mistake, the success of our development agenda must be a shared and collective responsibility.

I implore us all as Lagosians to rededicate ourselves to contribute our individual quotas positively and responsibly in this new drive to reform our society and take it to a higher pedestal.

We must imbibe the spirit of being our brothers’ keeper in our daily lives at home, work, recreational places and worship centers, and most especially on our roads.

With these goals, we embark on a new social contract that will ultimately be beneficial to all; irrespective of age, religion, socio-economic status or ethnicity.

Every Lagosian has a role in this government and we will on our part, certainly walk the talk in all that we would do as your elected officials.

As I conclude, I agree that Lagos has many challenges before it, challenges that have the power to consume us.

We must therefore be prudent, yet not afraid to act, to ensure that this large population enjoys the economic prosperity and social security that our developmental agenda has to offer.

We have, without doubt, been placed here at a momentous time. Let us make the most of what God has given us. We cannot afford to do less than that.

On this day, I vow as your Governor that I will serve the public cause with my utmost ability and commitment. With your help, I know we can make Lagos Greater still.

Indeed, our best days lie ahead of us.

Thank you

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria,

God bless Lagos State

God bless you all.

*Contributed by H.E. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, Governor, Lagos State.

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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Ekuwem retains SSG to Akwa-Ibom position - ITREALMS

The Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government (SSG), Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem has retained his position in the second tenure of Governor Udom Emmanuel, reports ITREALMS.

Confirming this Thursday to 
ITREALMS via a press statement in Uyo, the Akwa-Ibom State capital, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Ekerete Udoh, said that Ekuwem was sworn in later today at the Banquet Hall of the Government House, Uyo by 5pm.

He also explained that Ekuwem’s reappointment was in line with the governor’s determination to keep the engine of governance running seamlessly.
ITREALMS recalls that Dr. Emmanuel E. Ekuwem, was first appointed in January 2018 by Gov. Udom Emmanuel.

Ekuwem, an alumnus of the Queen of Apostles Seminary, Afaha Obong, Abak and Obafemi Awolowo University (former University of Ife) Ile-Ife, holds a Bachelor Degree in Engineering Physics, Masters Degree in Physics, Masters Degree in Electronic & Electrical Engineering (Microcomputer-based Instrumentation and Control Engineering) and a PhD in Electronic and Electrical Engineering (Computer-based Instrumentation and Control Engineering).

Renowned telecoms engineer, Dr. Ekuwem was a one-time National President of the Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria, former President of the Nigeria Internet Group, and the Founder of Teledom Group and is married with four children.

ITREALMS management join his family and friends in wishing Dr. Ekuwem a successful tenure in this second coming.
Uboshe Uboshe/Editor

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Annual spending on Artificial Intelligence to reach $290m - ITREALMS

The Artificial intelligence (AI) spending in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) is poised to reach $290 million this year, and rising to $530 million in 2022, according to the latest forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC), reports ITREALMS.

The global technology research and consulting firm expects investment in AI across the region to grow 42.5 per cent year on year in 2019 and continue increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.2 per cent over the 2019-2022 period.

IDC's research shows that the top three industries in terms of AI investment in 2019 will be banking, manufacturing, and retail. These industries will remain the top three through 2022, although spending by federal/central governments across MEA will see the strongest growth of the region's top five verticals, increasing at a CAGR of 26.3 per cent.

The three most popular use cases – automated customer service agents, automated threat intelligence and prevention systems, and fraud analysis and investigation – will account for a combined 31.4 
per cent of AI investment across MEA in 2019. These use cases are expected to retain their positions throughout the forecast period, with spending on automated customer service agents growing the fastest at a CAGR of 25.8 per cent to reach $66 million in 2022.

According to an extensive IDC survey conducted earlier this year among CIOs from across the Middle East, the top five drivers fueling demand for AI systems are the desire to improve customer support, augment marketing activities, boost overall efficiency, enhance the quality of products and services, and drive sales. Such benefits have become the hallmark of artificial intelligence as the technology advances and organizations wake up to its groundbreaking potential to revolutionize the way they work.

"Spending on AI in the MEA region this year is set to almost double from where it stood in 2017, which reflects the huge growth in interest we have seen around this technology over the last 18 months," says Jyoti Lalchandani, IDC's group vice president and managing director for the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa. 

"Investments in artificial intelligence are being driven by the promise, opportunity, and excitement of a new wave of automation that not only drives inefficiency out of processes but also changes how people interact with the digital world around them. Indeed, the use of AI-based automation and the changing relationship between employees and increasingly intelligent machines will drive opportunities to evaluate and enhance existing business processes in ways that have not been seen since the early 1990s."

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Gombe to host NCS international confab 2019 - ITREALMS

The 2019 international conference of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) has been scheduled to hold in the city of Gombe, Gombe State, reports ITREALMS.

National president, NCS, Prof. Adesola Aderounmi disclosed this in Lagos to ITREALMS, saying that the 2019 four-day conference would hold at the International Conference Centre, Gombe, Gombe State with the theme “Smart Nations, Digital Economies and Meaningful Lives”.

He also said NCS is preparing for the best and has assembled an impressive line-up of leading researchers, entrepreneurs, educators, industry experts, thought leaders, international scholars and subject matter experts as speakers and resource persons to share their extensive knowledge and experience on the theme and sub themes.

“Attendees will benefit greatly from their knowledge and insights,” he declared.

The conference, he said, would focus on important issues related to the theme and sub themes such as “Innovative and Disruptive Technologies in the New Economy; Smart Broadband, Digital infrastructure and Sharing Frameworks; Coding the Future of Agriculture, Health, Education and Services; Smart Culture, Communities and Inclusion; Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship for the Future; Open Data, Open Government and Digital leadership; Women, Gender Balance and Innovation in Technology; Digital Law, Intellectual Property and Data Protection; IT in Education Policy and Management, Cyber Security Innovations and Opportunities; Smart Skills and Capabilities shaping the Digital Future; Economic Growth and Meaningful lives in the Digital Economy; Enabling the Smart Nation: Strategies and Policies; Education, Research and the Fourth Industrial Revolution; and Digital Transformation and Data Innovation.”

ALSO READ: FG sets aside Executive Orders 003, 005, refuses to pay SystemSpecs, Chams plc - ITREALMS

For him, the theme: Enabling Smart Nations, Digital Economies and Meaningful Lives, was drawn from the recognition that digital disruption is becoming the norm and the need to exploit unique data approaches to growth enable nations to become smarter.

“NCS and its members will explore how innovative and emerging technologies can be developed and utilized to create new services and improve solutions in the public and private sectors,” he said, stressing that for NCS, forward looking nations should be focused on leveraging the power of fast changing digital economies to boost economic growth and address disease, education, poverty and security, and enable sustainable development.

For instance, he noted that Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, etc are some of these disruptive technologies - the conference will address best practices, opportunities and challenges. The gathering will provide opportunities to share important ideas and experiences, showcase initiatives, examine vital issues and proffer solutions that are actionable and sustainable. Building Smart Nations and Digital Economies that foster growth and make a difference to the lives of people is integral to progress in this era. NCS calls on IT professionals, interest groups and stakeholders to be part of this historic event.

Additionally, he told ITREALMS that the conference would comprise plenary, parallel and technical sessions, networking meetings, panel discussions and special focus forums.

“Specifically highlights include the official opening and keynotes, plenary and parallel sessions, technical sessions, seminars, research consortium, induction of new members, youth innovation and entrepreneurship platform, exhibition and products launch, public sector ICT showcase, social media masterclass, NITDA session, National IT Competitions, fellows’ forum and Annual General Meeting to be culminate into election of new national executives,” he disclosed.

Remmy Nweke/DoP

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Lagos NUJ congratulates BOS, Hamzat on their inauguration - ITREALMS

The Lagos State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), has congratulated, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu and Dr. Obafemi Kadri Hamzat on their inaugurations as Governor and Deputy Governor of state respectively, reports ITREALMS.

A press statement made available to ITREALMS and signed by the chairman, Lagos NUJ Council, Dr. Qasim Akinreti and Secretary, Mr. Alfred A. Odifa, described the epoch event as a demonstration of the beauty of democracy.

The Council noted that, the combination of the two will bring more meaningful and purposeful development to Lagos State going by their track records, both in public and private sectors where they have served.

Also, the Union noted the tenacity of purpose in their electioneering campaigns and urged the Governor and his deputy to use the same vigor for governance in tackling perennial problems facing Lagosians, especially in roads, housing, water, electricity and workers welfarism.

The Union promise to continue the good and robust working relationship that has existed between the government and the Council.

Further the Council stressed the urgent need for the Sanwo-Olu-led administration to complete all unfinished projects embarked upon by the Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration.

The Union prays to Almighty God to guard and guide them aright, as they steer the ship of the Centre Of Excellence to the 'Next Level' and wish them a successful tenure.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Digital Africa Conference attracts endorsements 'For The Age Of Abundance' - ITREALMS

The preparations for the successful hosting of this year’s Digital Africa Conference & Exhibition billed for June 25-27, at the Baze University, Abuja Federal Capital Territory, with leading technology firms and players already indicating interest to be part of this annual technology show are on top gear, reports ITREALMS.

This year’s Digital Africa Conference & Exhibition has as its theme: “Africa Tech Renaissance: Preparing Africa for the Age of Abundance,” and promises to capture the salient issues and the way forward to enjoying the Age of Abundance in Africa.

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution making a speedy entry into the globe via exponential technologies such as Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data & Analytics, Machine Learning, Augmented Reality (AR), Blockchain technology, etc, the global economy is now at the mercy of these disruptive technologies.

As technology is changing every part of human life – jobs, relationships, economies, industries and entire regions, it has been argued that Africa's greatest resource is its people and they alone can determine the direction for Africa’s digital revolution.

There is therefore, the need for an Africa with clean water, nutritious food, affordable housing, personalized education, top-tier medical care and non-polluting, ubiquitous energy. The time is now ripe to position Africa for Abundance through exponential change.

Speaking on the choice of the theme for this year’s event, Chairman of Digital Africa Group, Dr. Evans Woherem said “An Age of Abundance? Yes, it is coming, in fact, almost here with us. It is being fuelled by the exponential technologies. With the right type of decisions and actions by citizens, we can ensure that each of the countries in Africa will benefit from this new age of abundance’’.

“Imagine a situation where just by wearing a t-shirt in form of a technology tool, heartbeats are measured, uploaded to the Cloud via Bluetooth, and algorithms process them to accurately detect the irregular heartbeats.

“Imagine converting wastes from the coffee industry into biofuels for heating buildings and powering transportation or disrupting the air surrounding a fire and quenching it eventually by the pressure waves of sound. These are some of the things going to be prevalent in the Age of Abundance driven by technology.”

Dr. Woherem warned that in getting ready for the Age of Abundance, Africa should avoid sitting idle and letting the train of the new industrial revolution pass her by, insisting that governments must take this challenge very seriously and do something with a great sense of urgency.

“However, regardless of what the government does or does not do, the challenge is on us all, especially the youth to ensure that this new train of development does not pass us by. I implore you all thus: arm yourselves with knowledge, start research and projects in AI and other exponential technologies, even if it is from your bedrooms or garages.

“We must not miss this opportunity. If you don’t, especially if your children do not, they won’t be economic active members of society. For the sake of your economic well-being at least, do something, embrace these new technologies,” Woherem warned.

Picking out one of the exponential technologies, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Dr. Woherem said it will be the key driving force behind the 4th Industrial Revolution, with the global economic returns of the revolution expected to be in the region of US$16 trillion, adding that along with these returns, AI is also expected to create 2.3 million new jobs by 2020, going by Gartner’s prediction.

He said that Digital Africa Conference & Exhibition was established some seven years ago to act as advocates and active participants for the bridging of the gap between Africa and the rest of the world in ICT.

So far, this year’s edition of Digital Africa Conference & Exhibition has attracted the endorsement of big industry regulators and players including the Federal Ministry of Communications; the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA); the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); and the Nigerian Communication Satellite (NigComSat).

Others include MTN Nigeria, Chams Plc, Chams Access, Interswitch, SystemSpecs, NIBSS, VDT Communications, Zenith Bank, NIMC and the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC).

 Uboshe Uboshe/Editor 

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Pix: Dr Worem.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

FG sets aside Executive Orders 003, 005, refuses to pay SystemSpecs, Chams plc - ITREALMS

The Federal Government (FG) may have set aside its own Executive Orders 003 and 005 by refusal to pay SystemSpecs and Chams plc, reports ITREALMS.

The Executive orders 003 and 005 are reputed as landmark and were part of the three orders signed on May 18, 2017 which encourages government businesses and operations to be conducted in the country, especially in support for local content in public procurement by the Federal Government.

Speaking to ITREALMS on the inability of FG to pay the two local technology companies owned by Nigerians, the President of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Prof. Adesola Aderounmu, lamented that FG should be seen as leading by example.

He said that local content contributions to the economy cannot be over-emphasised due to the number of jobs they offer for the youthful population.

“This is integral to Nigeria’s economic revival,” he declared, noting with concern that compliance to the orders is not 100 per cent.

“This is in view of the doubts and questions such issues raise about full commitment to the much needed prioritization of local content development,” he declared.

ALSO READ: Season 2 NCS scholarship: Jim Ovia fulfills support, doles out N15.75m

One of the pertinent cases, he said was that of Remita, a payment gateway adopted by the Federal Government for its Treasury Single Account (TSA).

Remita, ITREALMS gathered, is a product of SystemSpecs, an indigenous ICT solution provider.

“Up till now the FG has not been able to fulfill its obligation with regard to the services rendered to her through Remita software,” NCS president decried.

Also, he said that despite official declarations, this in practical terms shows extremely low commitment to the implementation of the ICT Local Content Policy.

“It does not show much evidence exists of a structured approach to ensure Nigerian ICT firms are prepared by Government to take advantage of emergent National ICT opportunities,” NCS president bemoaned.

NCS highlighted also the plight of one of its corporate members, Chams Plc (and Chams Consortium Ltd, (CCL)), a forefront operator of the National Identity Management System Concession (the Concession) which commenced officially in the year 2010.

“It is on record that Chams made huge investments, in excess of N9bn, into the concession. Chams however suffered many frustrations which eventually snowballed into an unresolved state of affairs.

“This is despite the fact that Chams Plc has submitted to an amicable resolution in furtherance of her faith in the present administration.”

NCS further said that Chams Plc’s position should be looked into by allowing Chams Plc and Chams Consortium Ltd reap the fruits of an amicable resolution freely entered into with the NIMC as at 19th December, 2017.

The computer society of over 20,000 memberships, therefore called for urgent and decisive intervention by President Muhammadu Buhari as he takes charge of the second term in office to salvage local companies trying to improve the Nigeria's footprint in the ICT-map for the world to see through payment of their deserved transaction fees as agreed.

Remmy Nweke/DoP

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Madam Maggie's burial sets Isuikwuato agog - ITREALMS

The burial of a community leader, Madam Margaret Onuaku Umunna Edeyi and mother of the News Express Online Newspaper, Mr Isaac Umunna, set the sleepy Umuokogbuo community in Eluama, Isuikwuato, Abia State, agog, reports ITREALMS

Mourners, numbering in the hundreds, ITREALMS gathered, came from far and near, including Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna, Minna, Warri, Port Harcourt, Owerri, Aba and Umuahia as the expansive Umuokogbuo Town Hall, venue of the reception, was filled to the brim, as were the five canopies outside.

The burial which took place Saturday, May 18, 2019,  
ITREALMS also gathered, saw enough to eat and drink, while the DJ dished out hit tunes non-stop and a clown further enlivened the atmosphere with a live performance.

Mourning the late Maggie, as she was fondly called, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Vice Presidential Candidate and former Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, said in a condolence message: “On behalf of my family, I wish to sincerely condole you and your family on the death of your beloved mother. May God Almighty whom it pleases to call her at this time grant her eternal rest and grant the family fortitude to bear her irreplaceable loss.”

MD/CEO of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, said: “Please accept my condolence and take solace in the fact that she was a kind and caring mother, a devout Christian and respected community leader. She will be greatly missed.

“May the Almighty God grant her eternal rest and to the family, the fortitude to bear the loss. Amen.”

On his part, Mr Femi Adesina, Special Adviser (Media & Publicity) to President Muhammadu Buhari, wrote: “Very sorry to hear this. The pain of losing a mother is unbearable. I can tell. Please be comforted. Mothers are from Heaven. She has simply gone back home.”

A devout Catholic who hardly missed early morning Mass, Maggie was widely known as a virtuous woman outstanding for her devotion to God, her family and humanity. Though she became widowed at a rather young age, she remained chaste for the rest of her life. During the packed funeral service which preceded the reception, she was hailed as one of the pillars of St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Umuokogbuo, where the service took place.

Maggie, who died peacefully at about 103 years of age on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, is survived by five children, several grandchildren and great grandchildren, as well as a host of relatives. Her last child, Isaac Umunna, is Publisher of the influential daily online newspaper, News Express Nigeria (newsexpressngr.com).

Maggie has been immortalised by means of a popular blog known as Maggie’s Blog, published every Tuesday and Friday in News Express Nigeria.

Uboshe Uboshe/Editor

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•Pix: Late Madam Margaret Onuaku Umunna Edeyi

AI in broadcasting makes debut -ITREALMS

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can optimize the process of making and distributing television and radio content, e.g. by improving workflows, quality evaluation and targeting of content

​ITU has just published a new report that lays out how Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be used during the process of making and distributing television and radio content.

The report discusses how AI is now being used to optimise workflows for broadcasting programme making, to improve audio and visual quality evaluation, to efficiently utilize the frequency spectrum in television and radio distribution and recently even to create new programmes by mining archives as well as automatically targeting content to specific audiences or individuals.

For example, AI is being used for extracting content from vast archives; automatically localising content for international distribution; and generating access services such as captioning, audio description, text to speech and signing far faster and far more accurately than could be achieved in the past.

The report – Artificial Intelligence systems for programme production and exchange – reflects the work ITU has been doing on these issues, profiting from the experiences of programme makers and broadcasters who are doing just that.

"ITU is collaborating with stakeholders to harness the power of AI to improve lives worldwide and seek solutions to the world's greatest challenges," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. "This helps us to identify practical applications of AI that can accelerate progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which is what we are doing this week at the AI for Good Global Summit."

"There is still an incredible amount of work needed to ensure that the use of AI in programme making and content distribution is for the benefit of the audiences," said Mario Maniewicz, Director of ITU's Radiocommunication Bureau. "We also need to make sure that the systems employed interact with each other. This and other Reports and Recommendations from ITU help to achieve that."

Chuks Egbune/Editor

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N150m housing scam: Subscribers condemn NUJ’s ban on comments, demand refund - ITREALMS

Condemnations have trailed the recent step by the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) to gag members on obvious fraudulent N150 million Penjewel Housing Scheme in Abaren, reports ITREALMS.

The NUJ in statement released by its Senior Assistant National Secretary, Gbemiga Bamidele, on Tuesday, barred its members from making public statement on the matter.

The statement came after intensified outcries from journalists in Lagos and a public discussion of the fraud on Channels Television amidst avalanche of media reports hitherto.

The condemnation was heightened as the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) of the Lagos High Court was unable to settle the matter as main respondents through their lawyers took excuses at the final sitting last Friday, while they were actually hiding in a car outside the court and took to their heels on sighting some of the applicants, especially members of the Action Subscribers.

Further, the NUJ letter claimed it has summoned those parties involved including NAWOJ president, Ifeyinwa Omo’ole and former chairman, NUJ Council, Mr. Deji Elumoye, with hope for wider stakeholders meeting.

Stakeholders who spoke to ITREALMS on NUJ letter said that the leadership has not taken the clamour to resolve the fraudulent scheme seriously, otherwise NUJ should have intervened much earlier than waiting until ADU session has ruled the case is moving to the High Court.

According to them, the only seriousness they will accept is when NUJ hands those involved over to the security agencies and disassociate itself from fraudsters parading as NUJ leaders with tinted images.

Ayo Midele/Editor

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Bet9ja: Lottery, essential ingredient for socioeconomic development - ITREALMS

The Nigeria's preferred sport-betting operator, Bet9ja, has declared that lottery is an essential ingredient for socio-economic development, reports ITREALMS.

The Managing Director, Bet9ja, Ayo Ojuroye, made this assertion at a media launch of the ‘More than a bet’ campaign in Lagos, at the weekend, noting that lottery  is a social resource that is positively changing the economic fortunes of countries across the world.

"In Nigeria, the operation of lottery has precipitated increase in state revenue through payment of taxes and other levies paid to the government," he said,  revealed that Bet9ja pays all taxes and levies due to it as an organization promptly in compliance with every Federal, State laws and best corporate governance practice.

He also posited that for any nation to grow, it must possess the power to generate income internally so that the government can meet its civic obligation of providing infrastructure, such as roads, electricity, water, among others, as well as meeting recurrent expenditure.

Lottery, Ojuroye also noted, invariably contributes to curbing unemployment as opportunities exist in gaming, for instance oddsmakers, analysts, security, cashiers, among others.

Indeed, the job opportunities in lottery and sports betting are limitless and the revenue can help sustain the economy of the country.

The gaming enthusiast noted that the induced impacts on the economy arises as employees/beneficiaries of the industry spend their wages in the broader economy - payment of rent, school fees, transportation, food, beverage, and entertainment.

Bet9ja offers the most exciting and rewarding experiences to our customers with the best odds, best bonus and fast payout of winnings, he stated.

He said that the firm's most critical assets include its integrity and commitment to ensuring it provides the best service always.

"Bet9ja is MORE THAN A BET!," he enthused. 

Our 'MORE THAN A BET' campaign is a cue from the average customer. The singular ticket for a bet placed is MORE THAN A BET to that individual, that ticket is an opportunity to change one’s life.

He said that the company will continue to thrive to empower Nigerians economically to achieve dreams of enhanced standard of living.

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Pix: R-L: Senior Marketing Manager, Osobajo Olufemi; Head of Human Resources & Organisational Development, Kikky Boboye; Senior Legal Adviser, Adewale Akande, and Assistant Legal Adviser, Fatoye Seyi, all of Bet9ja, at the media unveiling of the "MORE THAN A BET" campaign in Lagos weekend

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

AfRALO, NCC, Medallion collaborate DigitalSENSE Africa 2019 Forum on Internet Governance, IPv6 Roundtable - ITREALMS

The African Regional At-Large Organisations (AfRALO) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), is collaborating with DigitalSENSE Africa Media for the 2019 Nigeria DigitalSENSE Africa Forum (NDSF) on Internet Governance for Development (IG4D) and Nigeria IPv6 Roundtable, scheduled for Thursday, June 20, at the Welcome Centre Hotels, Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road, Lagos, reports ITREALMS.

This development is coming alongside the collaboration for NDSF 2019 by the apex telecommunications regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Medallion Communications, the secured interconnect switching center.

According to the organisers led by the Executive Director, DigitalSENSE Africa Media, Mrs Nkem Nweke, the collaboration with AfRALO, NCC and Medallion for this year’s forum with theme: ‘Connecting Nigerians for Enhanced Internet Governance' will make NDSF series more exciting especially for participants and urged all to ensure they register and participate.

She noted that the forum which would now holds on June 20 at the Welcome Centre Hotels, MM International Airport Road, Lagos, was earlier scheduled for June 6, but has to be shifted due to public holidays in Nigeria.

Experts from AfRALO, she said, like NCC and Medallion have been lined up to lead discussions at the 10th Nigeria DigitalSENSE Africa forum series on IG4D and Nigeria IPv6 Roundtable.

She noted that AFRALO is the home of the individual Internet user community for the African region, providing news, key resources and interactive information sharing tools for individuals and end-user groups in the African region who are interested in ICANN and in shaping the future of the Internet.

DigitalSENSE Africa, she pointed out, as ICANN At-Large Structure (ALS) is a member of AFRALO, which aims to strengthen users’ participation in ICANN decision-making structures, to ensure that members actively encourage more direct participation by end users, build Internet policy making capacity in the region, reach out to Internet users on the issues in the scope of ICANN, as well as represent users’ interests and defining public interest aspects of Internet governance with specific focus on the areas of privacy, transparency, and accountability.

“Thereby strengthen consumer protection in ICANN policies and identify social impacts of technical infrastructure design like the uptake of IPv6 or otherwise,” she declared.

NCC, she also said is the apex telecommunications regulator in Nigeria and has been the champion of Internet Governance role player in the public sector and licenses internet service providers and telecommunication service providers among other players in the information and communication technology sector.

Further, NCC mandate of 2003 Nigerian Communications Act, she said avails the Commission to properly carry out its regulatory functions and activities including licensing and approving guidelines for keeping of accounts and cost allocation formula of licensees.

NCC, she disclosed, would be sending a high-powered delegation to the 2019 Nigeria DigitalSENSE Forum series on Internet Governance for Development and Nigeria IPv6 Roundtable.

On the other hand, Mrs. Nweke said that Medallion Communications has proved itself as a leader in infrastructure provisioning through its interconnection and data centre facilitation in the industry, with the vision of bridging the digital divide between the developing and the developed economies of the world. Medallion has operational base in North America and across several African countries, offering Interconnect Houses where operators leverage interconnect with multiple operators in one location, but equally share the available telecom infrastructure thereby reducing overhead.

Medallion’s infrastructure, she said, has been designed to be robust and protocol independent to enable all classes of operators to interface seamlessly, for both Time-division multiplexing (TDM) and Internet Protocol (IP)-based telecom operators with any internet exchange points to ensure that local content providers are adequately catered for.

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).

Chuks Egbune/Editor

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APRM, UCT, Nelson Mandela partner on regional integration - ITREALMS

The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), in collaboration with the University of Cape Town (UCT) Convocation and the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance (NMS), hosted a Public Symposium on the role of Young African leaders on Pan-Africanism and Regional Integration.

The Symposium was a commemoration of Africa Month, which among others seeks to increase the appreciation and demand for arts and culture, goods and services, and to stimulate competitive markets for trade among African countries.

The Symposium was structured in the form of keynote addresses and interactive panel discussions focusing on topical issues and themes relating to Nationalism and Pan-African Citizenry, African Integration and the Free Movement of People, as well as Youth and Business Innovation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The event was preceded by a networking dinner and keynote address by Professor Ibrahim Gambari, Chairperson of the APR Panel. Prof Gambari noted that the platform is critical, among other efforts, to secure Africa’s future through youth and women. He discussed the nexus between peace, security, democracy and development and the imperative of leadership in achieving the Africa which the Africans want, in the context the African Union Agenda 2063. Prof Gambari asserted that to achieve the “Africa we want”, youth must be at the centre of this change.

The APRM CEO, Professor Eddy Maloka, in his capacity as the President of the UCT Convocation, delivered the opening statement for the symposium. He noted that Africa Day is commemorated by the African Union on 25 May each year, and that discussions on the themes of Pan-African Africanism and Regional integration, including the Free Movement of People, are timely. He stated that one of the outcomes of the Symposium would be to create a platform where all those in attendance would work together to find solutions to the challenges facing the African Continent. In particular, that the APRM Continental Secretariat would work with, among others, Youth Envoys to ensure that the youth is part of creating Africa’s future.

In her Opening Statement, Prof. Mamokgethi Phakeng, the Vice-Chancellor of UCT highlighted that the theme of the symposium is aligned to the AU agenda 2063: “The Africa We Want”. Furthermore, she indicated that as Africans we want this continent to thrive, and to achieve this we need to support one another and mould and support leaders who can make this vision a reality. She also emphasised the need to take advantage of the ingenuity and innovative thinking that is springing up across the continent. In her concluding remark, she urged those in attendance to, as an African community, continue to communicate, share ideas and exchange expertise because the “Africa we want to see has to do with our young people”.

Prof Alan Hirsch, Director of the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, UCT introduced the relevance of the topic: African Integration and the Free Movement of People and stated that it is the responsibility of this generation to rethink African boundaries and unite all 55 African countries.

Hon. Brigitte Mabandla, Member of the APR panel of Eminent Persons, congratulated the University of Cape Town and the UCT Vice Chancellor for organizing this event in celebration of Africa Day. She highlighted the importance of sharing APRM’s experience in assessing regional integration, youth leadership and free movement. She indicated that the free movement of people can be a catalyst for economic growth in Africa.

In the same vein, Prof. Carlos Lopes of the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance at UCT, and Former Head of UNECA and Advisor to UN Secretary General on Africa, stated that there is a need for the revision of the regional integration instruments that have been used in the past, as it is evident in the case of African Union’s Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA). The session theme centred around the promotion of African Unity and Integration and discussions further touched on areas of trade, intra-Africa migration and immigration.

The second session discussed issues of Nationalism, Identity and Pan-African Citizenry. Panellists interrogated what it means to be African, the advantages and disadvantages of Nationalism, securing the rights of marginalized people, and advancing Africa’s transformative agenda.

The third session focused on vibrant discussions on youth leadership in Business Innovation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Panellists alluded to technology as an enabler of Africa’s Development. It was noted that African States must embrace technological change and empower young leaders to promote better governance. Questions centred around the preparedness of Africa’s policy landscape for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The session concluded with a call to Africans, especially the youth, to be the ones who define what the Fourth Industrial Revolution looks like for Africa.

The Symposium Panellists comprised representation from across the continent, including Mr Msingathi Sipuka of the United Nations (UN), South Africa; Prof. Faizel Ismail, Director-Designate at the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, UCT; Ms Maureen Achieng, Chief of Mission at the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Ethiopia, and representative to AU, UNECA and IGAD; Dr Omar Badsha, Chief Executive Officer, South African History Online (SAHO); Prof. Lungisile Ntsebeza, Professor and holder of the AC Jordan Chair in African Studies, UCT; Dr Siphokazi Magadla, Senior lecturer in the Political and International Studies Department, Rhodes University; Mr Rendani Mamphiswana, member of the Presidency’s Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), South Africa and Ms Asanda Lobelo, SRC President at UCT, amongst many others.

The symposium was attended by over 200 delegates comprising the UCT Alumni and student community, APRM member state Ambassadors, academics, representatives of international development agencies, policy practitioners, independent researchers and civil society.

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Monday, May 27, 2019

Family businesses must maximise advantages, strong values - ITREALMS.

Family businesses should seek to maximise the competitive advantage that comes from their strong values-led culture, according to the Nigerian report of PwC’s 2018 Family Business Survey launched on the 22 May 2019, in Lagos, reports ITREALMS. 

The Family Business Survey is a global market survey among key decision makers in family businesses within a number of PwC's key territories. The goal of the survey is to get an understanding of what family businesses are thinking on the key issues of the day.

This year’s report with the theme “Building a lasting competitive advantage through your values and purpose in a digital age” saw family business leaders globally reporting robust health, with levels of growth at their highest level since 2007.

Regionally businesses in the Middle East and Africa were the most optimistic, with 28% expecting aggressive growth. They are followed by those in Asia Pacific (24%), Eastern Europe (17%), North America (16%), Central/South America (12%) and Western Europe (11%).

Growth among Nigerian family businesses over the last 12 months is lower than the global average with only 53% reporting growth in the last 12 months against 69% globally. However, 87% expect to grow over the next two years with 40% saying growth will be quick and aggressive against 16% globally.

The top three challenges cited by Nigerian family businesses as militating the personal and business goals are economic environment (70%), corruption (67%) and regulation (57%). 

Corruption which PwC estimates could cost up to 37% of Nigeria’s GDP by 2030 if unchecked, is associated with lower investment, higher prices as well as barriers of entry for businesses.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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MIIVOC backs NFIU on LG funds, petitions Buhari

An advocacy-based Civil Society Organisation, Media Initiative against Injustice, Violence and Corruption (MIIVOC) has thrown its weight behind the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit-NFIU over recent directive on the management of Local Government funds, reports ITREALMS.

In a letter dated 22nd May, 2019, signed by the group’s Executive Director, Dr. Walter Duru, MIIVOC urged President Buhari to ignore calls by the Nigerian Governors’ Forum to compel the NFIU to rescind its decision on Local Government funds, capable of making state governors to lose control of local government funds.

The letter reads in part: “We have observed with shock, the needless controversy over the recent directive by the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) on the management of the accounts of Local Governments in Nigeria. We are aware that the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) says the effective date for the new regulations on local government funds remains June 1. The new guidelines would make the joint account system currently in use by state and local governments only exist for the receipt of allocations from the federation account but not for disbursement.”

“With the guideline, governors may lose control of local government funds. The new guidelines make provision of a cumulative cash withdrawal not exceeding N500,000.00 per day. The new measures were introduced to restore LGA’s financial autonomy.”

Continuing, the letter stressed:

“We are not surprised at the outburst of some Governors in Nigeria over the latest development, particularly, as the new directive will take away control of the age-long mismanaged local government funds from them.”

“There is no gainsaying the fact that Local Government funds in Nigeria have been mismanaged over the years by state governments/governors. This development has practically defeated the primary objective of creating the Local Government as the third tier of government- taking the government closer to the people.”

“The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, no doubt provides for Joint account for State and Local Governments. However, it holds that "No debit is allowed on any Local Government Funds unless and until the funds are credited to the bank of a local government.”

“The new NFIU directive does not in any way violate the provisions of the 1999 Constitution. It rather strengthens it. The receipt of allocations from the federation account has not been tampered with. The crux is disbursement.”

“Successive state governments in Nigeria have continuously violated the provisions of the 1999 Constitution by not obeying the wordings of the Constitution to the latter.”

“Ultimately, does the NFIU have the powers to do what it did? Yes! Indisputably, the NFIU Act 2018 expressly gives the Unit the powers to do so. Such powers and functions do not in any way violate any section or part of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.”

“Local Governments in Nigeria should be allowed to receive their allocations/funds in tact from the Federation account. This will enable the citizens at the grassroots level hold them to account and will entrench an era of transparency.”

“Why do state governments want to continue to mismanage local government funds? We therefore advise that His Excellency ignores the calls by the Nigerian Governors’ Forum for the NFIU to rescind its decision. Nigerians now know their real enemies. Please, His Excellency, ignore them! Let the decision of NFIU stand!”, the letter stressed.

Uboshe Uboshe/Editor

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