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Stop using children as human bombs in north-east Nigeria says UNICEF - ITREALMS

ITREALMS : The UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins has condemned in totality the use of children as human bombs in north-ea...

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Stop using children as human bombs in north-east Nigeria says UNICEF - ITREALMS

The UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins has condemned in totality the use of children as human bombs in north-eastern part of Nigeria, reports ITREALMS.

Speaking in Abuja, he said the use of children as human bombs in any combat or non-combat roles in the conflict in north-east Nigeria is condemnable.

“According to several reports, three children - two girls and a boy (ages unknown) – were used to detonate explosives that killed 30 people and injured 40 others at a community football viewing centre in Konduga, Borno today. UNICEF sends its condolences to all those who have been killed or injured in this horrific incident.

“It is unacceptable that children should be used in this way.

“UNICEF appeals to all those involved in this terrible conflict to protect children at all times and to keep them out of harm’s way.

“This incident brings the number of children who have been reported as having been used as human bombs to five, since January 2019. In 2018, 48 children - including 38 girls - were used in suicide attacks.

“We again call on all parties to the conflict in north-east Nigeria to immediately cease all attacks against civilians, to stop using children in this conflict, and to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law.”
ITREALMS gathered that since 2012, non-state armed groups in north-east Nigeria have recruited and used children as combatants and non-combatants, raped and forced girls to marry, and committed other grave violations against children. 

In addition, some of the girls became pregnant in captivity and give birth without any medical care or attention.

Uboshe Uboshe/Editor

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Gwandu advises Ethiopia to avoid telecom liberalization pitfalls - ITREALMS

The Non-Executive Chair of the Commonwealth ITU Group (CIG) and the former Commissioner of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Bashir Gwandu, has advised Ethiopia to learn from Nigeria as it moves ahead to liberalize its telecommunications industry for private sector investment, reports ITREALMS.

Dr. Gwandu stated this while delivering his lead keynote speech at the opening of the Innovation Africa Digital Summit (IAD) 2019 in Addis Ababa last week graced by telecoms executives and governments from Africa and around the world.

Senior executives from Vodacom Group, MTN Group, Etisalat, Safaricom, France Orange, Vodafone, ZTE, Huawei, Ericsson, Cisco, Airbus, Helios Towers, OneWeb, Mastercard, Intelsat, Thuraya, IBM, IFC, and several others attended the summit which also attracted Ministers from Africa, most especially the West and East Africa sub-regions.

The summit was opened by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed accompanied by some of his Ministers. It was anchored by Extensia of the UK -co-organiser of the IAD Summit. The period of the conference coincided with the time a proclamation is being tabled before the Ethiopian Parliament for debate and consideration to liberalise the country’s telecom sector.

According to Reuters, Ethiopia’s telecoms market is considered to be ‘the big price’ and the last greenfield site in a push to liberalise, and end a state monopoly as well as open-up one of the world’s last major closed telecoms markets.

In his speech at the conference, Dr. Gwandu dissected the telecoms market privatisation and liberalisation processes breaking the issues logically from the point of producing succinct legal frameworks for both the privatisation, and that of the telecoms regulation, right down to the market design and to the choices available to the government when it comes to competition planning up to the spectrum management and eventually service providers regulation.

He stated the need for strong and good regulatory framework, encompassing sensible set of rules that encourages investment and protects the consumer and requiring, effective, professionally competent and sufficiently empowered as well as sufficiently financed regulatory institution.

He emphasize that “Good enable laws are not just sufficient but government support must be total and not half-hearted, coupled with adequate funding that would attract good manpower to the regulator.”

Dr. Gwandu, a former acting executive vice chairman at NCC opined that government role should be restricted to policy formulation whilst a strong, independent regulatory authority should provide stable, transparent, fair, and non-discriminatory access to telecommunications resources in a timely manner.

He said the legal framework apart from guaranteeing independence of the regulator, must enable flexibility of the regulator whist remaining predictable, efficient, effective and accountable. “It should be the role of the regulator to ensure the existence of competition in all segments of the market devoid of market abuse or the exercise of significant market power by the participants” he said.

Gwandu emphasized that, “Liberalization of telecom market is essential for rapid network growth as experienced by other countries and private sector participation is essential for attracting investment. Innovation and new technologies in the telecoms sector is fast moving, it cannot wait for slow government bureaucracy to be approving investment funding and yet compete effectively.”

Bashir Gwandu stated that in looking holistically at the telecoms market, international segment should be examined where the complimentary options of international optical fibre and satellite links can be made available in a competitive manner.

According to him, international gateway liberalization and national backbone planning should ensure ubiquitous availability, open access, and finally on the last mile the spectrum remains key in view of the lack of sufficient last-mile fixed infrastructure.

He further stated that “Mobile is the largest technology platform in human history and mobile broadband is the most dynamic segment of the last mile market. Spectrum is a critical resource for mobile broadband but is only valuable if it is effectively deployed to enable appropriate networks and services for socio-economic benefits to citizens.”

Gwandu emphasised further that as wired infrastructure is limited in Africa except perhaps in South Africa, it is expensive to install. Wireless technology on the other hand is easier and faster to deploy and remains critical to expanding broadband access, and spectrum access is critical for wireless broadband deployment, and capacity.

“Robust wireless broadband requires various bands and appropriate slots size for assignment, the slot size determines how many towers an operator will need to cover the area, or re-use pattern or indeed how soon break-even will happen, how sustainable or profitable the telco will be etc” he said. He cited the mistake made by Nigeria in providing just over three megahertz (MHz) to Code Division Mobile Access (CDMA) operators and expected them to perform.

At the international level, he encourage Ethiopia to participate actively in the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and African Telecommunications Union (ATU) activities to enhance regulatory harmonisation, thereby promoting economies of scale and enhancing cooperation on roaming, interoperability, Internet exchange points, and development of backhaul infrastructure.

He posited that Ethiopia should align spectrum release and technology neutrality roadmap to enable flexibility in investment, and in spectrum auction process, he advised the government to set objectives properly and to balance pricing of spectrum with rollout obligations.

“For rapid expansion of networks, Ethiopian government which controls land across the country should streamlined approval for Right of Way (RoW) and site acquisition, and to make the process a simple and one-stop shop activity” he admonished.

He also stated that tax holiday has proven to be useful in some markets but even more importantly, multiplicity of sector specific taxes should be avoided and that the multiplier effect of deferred-taxation will lead to more tax revenue from the sectors that are supported by the telecoms.

Furthermore, Gwandu stated that competition planning should be examined carefully so that resulting companies should remain sustainable –and in selling spectrum, the regulator should ensure appropriate sizes, and also not to sell out all available spectrum at once, which will reduce chances of corrective measures in respect of future competition corrective-intervention.

The Ethiopian government thought it wise to invite telecoms experts from around the world, potential Investors and other market players to partake in the unique forum that examined the best practices that the country can learn from, in its quest to restructure and open its telecoms market for foreign participation.

Chuks Egbune/Editor

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Pix: From Left: Dr Getahun Mekuriya the Ethiopian Minister of Innovation and Technology, in Handshake with Dr Bashir Gwandu Fmr. Ag.EVC NCC, after the Keynote Address by Gwandu and behind are Mr Adrian Hall the COO of Extensia and Mr Jens Schulte-Bockum Group COO MTN, at the IAD 2019 Summit Sheraton Hotel Addis Ababa.

Nigerian Air War identifies gaps in counter-insurgency operations - ITREALMS

•To be graced by IBB, Agu-Iyi Ironsi 
As stage is set for the launch of a book on Nigeria’s air operations in Sierra Leone, it has identified gaps with recommendations towards the successful prosecution of Nigeria's internal and external security operations, reports ITREALMS.

The book entitled: ‘Nigerian Air War in Sierra Leone from the Cockpit of Aggressor 08’, aims to provide vital lessons for the ongoing counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency efforts in Northeast Nigeria.

It will be launched on Wednesday, June 19, 2019 at symposium in Abuja on ‘Insurgency in the North East and the Effects of Post-Traumatic Disorders (PTSD) on soldiers, the family and society’ with the theme: ‘Identifying Potent Threats to our Peaceful Coexistence’, organised by a Non-Governmental Organisation, Green Heroes Foundation with the support of Africa Centre for Strategic Studies (Nigerian Chapter).

The former military President, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB), and former Minister of Defence, Amb. Thomas Agu-Iyi Ironsi are among the dignitaries that will grace the launch.

The aim of the book written by a war veteran, Air Commodore Abayomi Balogun (Rtd), is for three key main purposes: military history, lessons for the counter-insurgency and internal security operations, and more importantly, to expose the deadly effects of PTSD on the Nigerian military personnel in particular, their families and society in general.

Speaking on the issue at the weekend, Balogun said the book stands in the foreground as it looks at the conduct of the operation in the North Eastern part of Nigeria today, and how errors and misdemeanours that occurred in the past war campaigns are still erupting today which from the author’s point of view should have been abolished and corrective measures put in place.

According to him, the book was written to serve as a precedent enabling doors of understanding to be flung open to any armed personnel or military commander(s) within the Armed Forces of Nigeria who wish to add to their knowledge of combat if winning is the target when prosecuting any war.

The former Deputy Director of Air Operations, Nigerian Air Force (NAF), said the central idea of the book is summarized in the expectations of who a military leader should be and the attributes he must acquire before and during combat.

He said: “The need for synergy among security Agencies during operations, the need for adequate preparation, planning and proper coordination between elements involved in an operation are keys to success in battles.

“Joint operations or joint warfare is Team Warfare. The synergy that results from the integration and synchronization of Service components capabilities under a single Joint Force Commander (JFC) often maximizes the effectiveness and efficiency of the force.”

“Furthermore, the need for more intelligence gathering and timely dissemination among security operatives would surely ensure speedy conclusion of hostilities. Finally, efforts are required in the areas of welfare packages for deployed troops to sustain their fighting spirits and recognition of good deeds while at the front to sustain morale,” he added.

The second purpose of the book, according to Abayomi, is studying of military history, which provides an avenue for gaining an accurate assessment of conflicts using all available resources.

The Sierra Leone, Liberian and North East war veteran stressed that wars and conflicts may remain same, what changes in time are tactics, leadership, terrain and technological advancements.

While military history could be studied for various reasons, Abayomi said the most essential reasons to a soldier thus: the cause of the conflict, the social and cultural foundation doctrine on both sides, the leadership, logistics technology strategy and tactics.

He added: “To the military professional, the knowledge of military history is a basis for a true understanding of the nature of warfare.

“The knowledge of warfare can be gained through firsthand experience on the battlefield or indirectly through the study of past and contemporary conflicts from which one is not gifted to draw personal experience.”

“The opportunity for direct personal experience of warfare is limited and more or less beyond the control of the military professional. But he need not await a war to gain the experience; rather, he needs to undertake a study of military history which is essential for the successful prosecution of future wars.”

Abayomi in the book, extended his scope further by subtly standing on a berm and looking into the serious aspects like the dent caused by war through PTSD, stating: “As offence and crime walk hand-in-hand so is war and Post Traumatic Stress Disorders”.

To this, he delved into the effects of war and violence on soldiers, their families and the society

Abayomi noted that for centuries, there have been numerous casualties of war; soldiers with various physical injuries of war can be seen but we really know little of the emotional and the silent injuries of war on Soldiers, their families. These phenomena, he noted, is further aggravated by the effects of PTSD.

He said: “A war veteran affected by PTSD will often recall and re-experience the specific trauma of war when they dream, think or close their eyes. Hallucinations are not uncommon to war veterans as most times, they feel as if they were back in the traumatic environment.

“They may also react strongly to anything that reminds them of the trauma and may react violently sometimes.”

“Wars and violence have been proven to be a deeply scarring experience for many soldiers however, nothing can prepare them adequately for warfare as scenes like witnessing the death of colleagues and narrowly escaping death themselves are bound to be permanently imprinted in their memories sometimes forever.”

“How do we handle this latent threat to our peaceful co-existence Nigerians,” he queried.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Monday, June 17, 2019

URGENT! Veteran Journalist, Ben-Bright Mkpuma, needs kidney transplant - ITREALMS

The Ebonyi-born veteran journalist, Mr. Ben-Bright Mkpuma needs urgent kidney transplant, reports ITREALMS.

Mr Mkpuma, ITREALMS gathered, is a well-traveled and successful Nigerian journalist who has worked with so many local and international media organizations including one he set up himself – Watchdog, until he was diagnosed of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). 

He has been bedridden for some 3 years now since he started battling kidney failure and his condition has not improved and the only hope of survival now is to get a kidney transplant. 

ITREALMS also gathered that to stay alive till transplant is possible, hence he is currently undergoing dialysis at least 3 times a week with a nephrologist. 

"The financial burden has been so much for his family because the dialysis costs, at least N90,000 a week and N360,000 monthly, apart from medications that help control the blood pressure," a close family friend disclosed.

According to our source, the doctors have said that if he is not placed on dialysis, Mkpuma will die.

"Of the 17,000 new cases of CKD that are diagnosed yearly, only 2000 can afford dialysis treatment in Nigeria," according to medical experts.

Further, our source said that "To perform a kidney transplant for Mr Mkpuma, his family needs to raise at least 8.5 million. But even before that, there will be medical tests for possible donors, and each test cost about N2 million."

ITREALMS equally gathered that after a successful transplant, his doctors also said that there will be a Post-Transplant stage of recovery and reintegration. This includes drugs and injections for one year that will cost another N6 million. this is the only way he can be fit and live normal again. 

‘’I am asking for help from all Nigerians. My family has done their best but it won’t be enough unless I get more financial support from others. I need their financial help for the transplant and to live well again even after the transplant. God will reward you as you help me,’’ Mkpuma said on his sick bed. 

Prominent among media organisation Mr Mkpuma has worked with includes CNBC, Abuja Times, Financial Standard, Telegraph and AIT.

Kindly help Mr Mpkuma live again. Below is the bank account information for donation.

Account Number: 1003711887
Account Name: Ben Bright Mkpuma
Bank: Zenith Bank.

Uboshe Uboshe/Editor

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Pantami to keynote @2019 DigitalSENSE Forum on IG4D, IPv6 - ITREALMS

The Director-General (DG) of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami would on Thursday this week in Lagos give a keynote at the 2019 Nigeria DigitalSENSE Forum on Internet Governance for Development (IG4D) and Nigeria IPv6 Roundtable, reports ITREALMS.

Disclosing this development, the Executive Director, DigitalSENSE Africa Media, Mrs Nkem Nweke, and convener of Nigeria DigitalSENSE Forum series, said that at the weekend that the over-arching theme for this year is on “Internet Governance for Development (IG4D) & Nigeria IPv6 Roundtable.”

Dr. Pantami’s participation has been confirmed by his office and would centre on his much expected keynote on “Security & Connecting Nigerians for Enhanced Internet Governance” during the technical sessions on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

She also said that the forum holding at the Welcome Center Hotels, International Airport Road, Lagos, under the chairmanship of Executive Chairman, Connect Technologies, Chief Chris Uwaje, who is a former president, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) would equally have the President of Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA) and Chief Executive of Nigeria Internet Exchange Point (IXPN), Mr. Mohammed Rudman in attendance.

Just as the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta would also be featuring at the forum marking the 10th edition of the Nigeria DigitalSENSE Forum on Internet Governance for Development.

Pantami’s keynote, she said, is anticipated to offer some insights on the security readiness of the country with regards to connecting Nigerians for enhanced Internet Governance and on IPv6 networks, especially at this time the United Nations (UN) is emphasising digital cooperation and interdependence in a digital age.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NITDA, Pantami, she noted, was appointed as DG of the development agency since 2016 and before then he has worked as an Academic in various capacities.

Pantami, she said, obtained first degree of BTech in Computer Science in 2002/2003 session from the Federal University of Technology Bauchi (popularly known as Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University) and later MSc in Computer Science as well as MBA in Technology Management from the same University.

Additionally, Pantami obtained his PhD in Computer Information Systems and Post Graduate Certificate in Research Methods from the prestigious Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland, and United Kingdom. He is a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CSNA) professional, to name a few.

Further, she said, Pantami would be joining the Chief Technology Officer of Medallion Communications, Dr. Krishnan Ranganath, and the Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative, Mr. Gbenga Sesan, to respond to a number of industry issues affecting connectivity in the Internet Governance space in Nigeria, including IPv6 efficacy.

She recollects that the Nigeria DigitalSENSE Forum series on Internet Governance for Development and Nigeria IPv6 Roundtable is organised by the DigitalSENSE Africa (DSA) Media, 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 among others.

Chuks Egbune/Editor

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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Tribune correspondent, Tom Garba, receives death threat in Adamawa - ITREALMS

An Adamawa State based journalist, Tom Garba has raised alarm over his life following a death threat he received in a phone conversation, at the weekend, from a suspected close allay of the Adamawa State Governor, Rt Hon Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, reports ITREALMS.

Garba who has been practicing in Adamawa State in the last nine years, said he has never faced such a threat before.

ITREALMS gathered that Garba reports for the Nigerian Tribune and also runs an online media,

The audio made available to ITREALMS, Garba said he received the death threat during a phone conversation with one Steven Maduwa who warned him that if he ever writes anything ‘good or bad’ about the Fintiri-led administration that he (Maduwa) would personally deal with him.

Maduwa was quoted in the audio as saying “If you ever write anything about Fintiri, whether good or bad. Record me; I will deal with you personally. I will deal with you physically. I will cut your throat if you write anything about Fintiri whether good or bad.”

According to Garba, “I want the general public to be aware that as certified journalist who has worked in Adamawa State in the last nine years, my life is in danger because of the death threat from Steven Maduwa.”

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Friday, June 14, 2019

Federalism, local government autonomy and the crisis of identity in Nigeria - ITREALMS

Local government councils, counties, prefectures, cities, boroughs, municipalities, etc., the world over, are regarded as vehicles of grassroots development because of their closeness to the people. It is for this reason that it is often argued that they be granted enough financial strength and space to operate. However, the question of municipal autonomy—the extent of autonomy that they should be granted—remains a key question in public administration and governance the world over.

In some countries that operate a proper federal system, local government councils are granted enough powers by the federating units to establish and maintain their own local courts, fire service and even police. The general practice in federal systems all over the world is that the councils are often granted enough autonomy, especially financial, which enables them to manage their affairs, establish schools, build roads, clean the environment, build and maintain parks, and provide necessary developmental projects. This is in line with the general recognition of the role of local government as engines of grassroots development.

However, local governments in Nigeria have not lived up to their bidding in this regard. Many reasons are accountable for the pathetic state that the councils find themselves.

First is that the Nigerian state operates a quasi-unitary system of government which likes to call itself a federal system. So, like the nation itself, the local government system is mired in the contradictions arising from this national misnomer.

Second is the confusion caused by the constitution which grants “autonomy” to local government councils with one hand and withdraws it with the other. Section 7(1) of the 1999 constitution, for example, provides that: “The system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is under this constitution guaranteed; and accordingly, the government of every state shall, subject to section 8 of this constitution, ensure their existence under a law which provides for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of such councils.”

This is a typical exemple of the contradictions inherent in our quasi unitary constitution masquerading as a federal constitution. Thus we have a legal framework which in one breath establishes the local governments as units of government at the grassroots level and in another, positions them as appendages of the states to administer as they wish. This confusion is further acerbated by the fact that the same constitution recognizes the local government councils as units of revenue allocation from the centre but falls short of guaranteeing their existence as an “independent” tier of government.

Third is the overbearing, paternalistic and sometimes predatory oversight functions of the state governments (emboldened by the provisions of Section 7(1) of the 1999 constitution) which have been at the heart of policy summersaults and crises of identity affecting governance at the grassroots level.

Fourth, perhaps most crucial and central to the entire issue of nation building is the Nigerian psyche. The military coup of 1966 and the subsequent promulgation of a unitary decree by the General Aguyi Ironsi regime which effectively replaced our erstwhile federal system with a unitary system of government and the long period of military rule that followed did a lot of damage to the Nigerian psyche. As Prof Wole Soyinka once noted, you can take the hippopotamus out of the swamp, but you cannot take the swamp out of the hippopotamus. We have been able to chase the military out of government, but we have not been able to take the military out of our minds. The practice, structure and ideas of the military’s command and obey system are still ingrained in our psyche and have tainted our federalism and practice of democracy. Thus, federalism as currently practiced in Nigeria is paternalistic, feudalistic, tokenistic and executed with military fiat.

The local government councils have been worst hit by these systemic contradictions and military style governance because of their unfortunate position as the weakest tier of government. The constitutional provisions effectively put them in a position of orphans. Added to this is the fact that people today are still under the wrong impression that the local government councils lack the human capital to manage their own affairs. Hence, most often, decisions and policies affecting local government administration are made without the input of the critical stakeholders or people with practical experience in local government administration. Rather, what has been the practice is that we have people with a sense of entitlement, without any knowledge of intricacies of local government administration; people who for selfish or political reasons, rather than the public interest, take decisions for local government councils that end up being merely academic because they lack the practicality of implementation.

All these, in addition to our flawed federal structure and constitution, have been the reason for the failure of past reforms aimed at empowering our local government councils.

It is in this light that I view the recent directive by the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit with suspicion. Has it come to stay? Can it be legally enforced within the present constitution and the type of federal structure that we practice? Was there a stakeholder engagement with actual practitioners of the system to ascertain the practicality of the directive and possible outcomes and how to tackle them?

For example, all the states of the federation presently operate a unified local government system wherein staff are centrally employed, trained, promoted and generally managed. Ditto for pension administration and payment of primary school teachers’ salaries. All these functions are performed by state agencies funded through the contentious Joint State Local Government Account (JSLGA) whose activities the NFIU directive intends to curtail because of the general notion of it being the avenue through which the state governors misappropriate local government funds. It is yet unclear how these functions and others crucial to local government administration will be handled under the NFIU directive.

I will be the first to agree without any reservation that the local government system as we currently have it is fraught with tremendous contradictions that must be resolved if Nigeria must attain grassroots development. I also agree with the popular view that a major way to do this is to empower the local government councils financially for them to be able to carry out their primary functions, hence the push for financial autonomy. I guess this is what the NFUI directive aims to achieve.

The fact, however, remains that financial autonomy is not all that the local government councils need in our current political structure to succeed. It might not be enough and might backfire if all possible outcomes are not taken into consideration and contingent measures put in place to address them. Therefore, with the benefit of hindsight of repeated reform failures, any solution that is geared towards solving the problems of local government within our present set up must be rooted in rigorous systemic analysis that is not artificial nor contrived in other not to produce defective outcomes.

Federalism, local government autonomy and the crisis of identity in Nigeria

The local government councils need financial autonomy, but what they need most is political autonomy: the freedom to be able to choose freely who to preside over their affairs through a process of free and free elections rather than selection. This is the only way to attract high quality representation at the local government level, those whose loyalty will be to the people.

It is noteworthy that the NFIU directive has been received with popular acclaim by the public. This an indication of the direction which the public wants local government administration to go in order to attain better service delivery, which in their perception—wrongly or rightly—the current system does not allow.

The state governors have always complained of the non-viability of most councils and the huge financial burden they have to bear by augmenting the income of the councils to enable them meet their salary obligations. I have no reason to doubt them. The NFIU directive might just be the opportunity to prove them right and erase the wrong public impression that they misappropriate local government funds.

The apprehensions and expectations that the NFIU directive has generated is expected in a polity and system like ours where contradictions, selfish power play and mutual suspicion are a currency in public administration. But instead of being adversarial, I urge all stakeholders to see it as a clarion call for all to join hands to proffer solutions towards empowering the local government councils for better service delivery.

There is no doubt that the implementation of the NFIU directives will throw up some major problems under our confused legal framework, but as a believer in Marxian dialectics, I have the assurance that whatever contradictions that are thrown up in the course of implementing the directives will be resolved within the general system that threw up the directives in the first place.

Pending when Nigeria decides whether to operate a two tier or a multi-tier federal system of government or to embrace full blown federalism as against the quasi unitary-federalism it currently operates, local government system in Nigeria will continue to suffer a crisis of identity.

*Austin Emaduku is a public affairs analyst based in Ekete, Udu Local Government Area of Delta State. He can be reach through:

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Cellular IoT modules reach 221m - ITREALMS

The Berg Insight has estimated that global cellular of the Internet of Things (IoT) module shipments increased by 16 per cent in 2018 to a new record level of 221 million, reports ITREALMS.

Annual revenues grew faster at 24 percent, reversing the previous trend of decreasing average module prices. The 3GPP standards for LTE – Cat M and NB-IoT – will contribute substantially to growth in the next coming five years.

These new standards are designed to be less complex to limit power consumption and are priced more favourably to address the mass market and make it viable to connect entirely new applications. In the first half of 2019, several vendors announced 5G NR modules that will become available to developers in the second half of the year. Early adopters will include companies active in the PC, networking and OEM automotive segments.

The results of Berg Insight’s latest cellular IoT module vendor market share assessment show that the four largest module vendors have 61 percent of the market in terms of revenues. “Annual module revenues for the four largest market players Sierra Wireless, Sunsea AIoT, Gemalto and Telit increased by 13 percent to US$ 1.85 billion, with the total market value reaching approximately US$ 3.0 billion”, says Fredrik Stalbrand, Senior Analyst at Sweden-based IoT analyst firm Berg Insight. 

Sierra Wireless, for instance, leads IoT module revenues, followed by Sunsea AIoT and Gemalto. Sunsea AIoT leads in shipments and Quectel is number two in terms of volumes and in fifth place in terms of revenues. Fibocom reported the highest growth of 122 percent during the year, reaching US$ 189 million in cellular module sales.

The year marks the first in which a China-based vendor ranks as high as the second largest cellular IoT module vendor by revenue and six of the top ten vendors were from China in 2018. Sunsea AIoT emerged as a new major industry player in 2017 through the acquisitions of Longsung and SIMCom, which had been the market leader by volume for three consecutive years.

While there has been some consolidation among the larger suppliers, the long tail of companies with activities in the cellular IoT module market is growing. A number of new players have been attracted to the market, particularly in the emerging NB-IoT and LTE-M segment. Notable examples include the major Bluetooth LE SoC vendor Nordic Semiconductor and the Japanese electronics company Murata.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Accountability Lab rebrands with Integrity Icon - ITREALMS

The Accountability Lab has renamed is Integrity Idol campaign to Integrity Icon, reports ITREALMS.

Founder and Executive Director of Accountability Lab, Blair Glencorse, affirmed to ITREALMS that the decision was endorsed by the organisation’s global board of directors in May and takes effect today, June 13, 2019. 

Integrity Idol, ITREALMS gathered, is a campaign that the Lab has run since 2014 after launching in Nepal. The grassroots program celebrates public servants of integrity and has since expanded to Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Mali, Liberia, Uganda, South Africa and, most recently, Mexico. 

The campaign invites the public to nominate outstanding public servants in various government sectors who demonstrate honesty and integrity under difficult circumstances. It also aims to reframe debates around corruption by ‘naming and faming’ do-gooders, rather than naming and shaming wrongdoers. The Lab then works with the winners to shift norms within institutions, build coalitions for reform and encourage young people to serve with integrity.

As said by 
Glencorse, the profile of the campaign has grown, it has become necessary to differentiate its public image. 

“Integrity Idol has grown tremendously and at this point we want to ensure it has a unique brand that stands out in the minds of people who want better governance everywhere. This rebrand will also allow us to ensure continuity across countries as the campaign grows to new places and with new partners,” Glencorse said.

The Country Director of Accountability Lab Nigeria, Odeh Friday, said the campaign is expected to ramp up significantly this year with a record number of nominations.

“The programme continues to grow and develop to incorporate more meaningful work with government partners and other stakeholders through collaborative effort. This rebrand creates an opportunity for us to refine the look and feel of our efforts as we go through this process, and together create a future where people with power are more accountable,” he said.

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Dell's PC comes with flawless designs - ITREALMS

Dell listens to what consumers want and need from their PCs - convenience, powerful performance, beautiful design and a device that fits their lifestyle, reports 

Timed to Computex 2019, Dell is delivering on this, introducing multiple new products across its consumer and small business portfolio. Starting with its acclaimed, premiere XPS line and weaved throughout its mainstream Inspiron and Vostro brands, the devices create a harmonious balance of both experience and design and take innovation to a new level with precise attention to meaningful details and flawless execution.

“We’re thrilled to be back at Computex further spotlighting the exceptional innovation we kicked off earlier this year at CES 2019”, said Ray Wah, senior vice president and general manager, Consumer and Small Business Product Group, Dell. “We’re always listening to the needs of our customers and we’ve really delivered with smaller and sleeker designs, flawless detail and high performance in each of these new devices.”

The XPS line is Dell’s most awarded line of devices celebrated for its best-in-class technologies, exceptional build and materials, and ability to blend both power and beauty. Dell is taking that commitment one step further with the launch of the new XPS 13 2-in-1, redesigned and higher performing than the previous generation.

To achieve this, the display experience has been elevated on all fronts, refining the InfinityEdge display in a 16:10 format, now offering a stunning edge-to-edge screen and 7% larger viewing experience. The most innovative webcam and Dell’s smallest laptop camera ever is now located at the top bezel, a long awaited ask from customers. The new display offers improved color accuracy and resolution with FHD+ and UHD+ options to capture precise detail and sharp images, as well as the ability to enjoy HDR content with a HDR400 certified UHD+ panel and Dolby Vision*.

With the addition of Eyesafe® display, Dell is helping reduce potentially harmful blue light emissions while maintaining color gamut performance. Because today’s device-driven culture has people staring at devices for hours on end each day and consuming high levels of blue light, Dell has partnered with Eyesafe® to intelligently manage light energy at the source to selectively reduce harmful blue light and disperse it across the light spectrum.

While the display and design are stunning, Dell hasn’t pushed performance aside. In fact, it’s been elevated from what was previously a fanless design to an actively cooled 15W design for up to 2.5 times more performance than the previous generation. *

The XPS 13 2-in-1 is Dell’s first laptop with Intel’s 10th Gen Intel Core processors and features adaptive performance based on the latest Intel Dynamic Tuning Technology, which proactively changes the power of the CPU according to the performance of the workload. Dell has reengineered the thermal design to cool the higher performing processor while creating an overall 8% thinner 2-in-1 than the previous generation.

The new design combines expert craftsmanship and premium materials, including CNC machined aluminum with high polished diamond cut sidewalls, black carbon fiber or arctic white woven glass fiber palm rests, along with Gorilla Glass 5 for both durability and beauty. Dell has also elevated the essentials with a larger touchpad, edge-to-edge MagLev keyboard and new cleverly crafted hinge design, blending together an exceptional user experience and beautiful design, in a remarkably small size.

The beloved XPS 15 is back and better than ever. Dell’s flagship and one of the smallest 15.6-inch laptops, now offers even more power with the latest 9th Generation Intel® Core™ processors up to 8 core i9 and up to NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1650 graphics, enabling creators to experience faster speeds across graphic design, photography and music production.

It includes a stunning UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) InfinityEdge 15.6” touch display option to deliver high brightness, saturated color and precise details, enabling content creators to perform at their best for intensive projects. As previewed at CES 2019, the XPS 15 will offer an OLED option, the first in the XPS line - complete with self-lighting pixels which switch off completely to achieve perfect black for significantly higher contrast, so content comes alive with a wider color range (100% DCI-P3) and breathtaking detail, especially in dark areas. The 4K display paired with Dolby Vision content can deliver highlights up to 40 times brighter and blacks up to 10 times darker, creating an ultra-vivid picture quality experience*.

The addition of Killer™ AX1650 built on Intel WiFi 6 Chipset delivers nearly 3x faster throughput than previous generation in crowded environments*. Coupled with up to 64GB of memory* and up to 2TB PCIe SSD*, and the longest battery life of any 15-inch laptop, consumers have a high performance, unmatched device.

Finally, the XPS 15 comes with the most innovative laptop camera at the top bezel without sacrificing the InfinityEdge display. Dell continues to prioritise beautiful design in the product by leveraging premium materials including CNC machined aluminum, carbon fiber and Gorilla Glass to create a durable yet one of the smallest 15.6-inch laptops of its kind.

Dell’s new Inspiron portfolio includes a range of new, versatile laptops, 2-in-1s and AIOs, with fresh and contemporary designs, features, and prices; so that everyone can find something to fit their needs and spark their potential.

The new Inspiron 15 7000 is an ultralight laptop prioritising performance, equipped with 9th generation Intel® CoreTM H-class processors that offer up to 8 cores, up to 16GB of DDR4 memory and dual NVMe SSD options, along with latest NVIDIA® GTX® 1650 graphics to deliver a high-performance laptop for everyday use and creative side-projects. The laptop is built with magnesium alloy for incredible lightness and maintains the rigidity and stability of traditional aluminum. The power button is incorporated within the keyboard and fingerprint reader for a cleaner look, allowing room for a full number pad on a more compact system. The new Adaptive Thermals of the Inspiron 15 7000 detects if the laptop is on a lap or desk and adjusts the thermal profiles accordingly. Along with dual heat pipes, fans and a drop-hinge, the components work together to keep the system cool by exhausting heat out of hidden vents in the hinge, allowing for an overall thin and light design without compromising on performance.

In addition, Dell is introducing the new Inspiron 13 5000 laptop which combines a 13” display with a thin and light design and mobile broadband connection – a perfect companion for the busy, on-the-go lifestyle. Many consumers want a portable and striking device, so Dell focused on creating a stylish aesthetic with aluminum material, narrow borders, and diamond cut edges around the touchpad, along with contemporary colors, including cool Platinum Silver and calming Iced Lilac*. Finally, users can get work done or stream their favorite show wherever they are, even without a WiFi connection, with optional mobile broadband* via a Micro SIM card slot.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Shell seeks stakeholders’ support to curb oil pipeline vandalism - ITREALMS

Shell Nigeria has called for stakeholders’ concerted efforts to curb the incessant vandalism of crude oil-bearing pipelines, highlighting the danger of continuous sabotage to people and environment. The General Manager, External Relations of The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Mr. Igo Weli, said such efforts to curb pipeline sabotage will save lives, secure communities and protect the environment.

Weli spoke in Lagos on Thursday at a Media Workshop on Pipelines Right of Way Encroachment and Vandalism. “Shell is concerned the repeated sabotage of recently repaired pipelines exposes the environment and people to renewed and worsening pollution. Oil theft is focused on short term fiscal benefits, ignoring the long-term effects of environmental degradation.”

He said, “Since 2017, sabotage spill rate has risen steeply and crude oil theft from SPDC JV’s pipeline network averaged 11, 000 barrels per day in 2018, an increase of about 20% over previous year. The number of sabotage-related spills increased in 2018 to 111 compared to 62 in 2017 and, since 2012, SPDC has removed more than 1,160 illegal theft points.”

Also speaking at the workshop, Shell’s General Manager, Safety and Environment, Chidube Nnene-Anochie, said irrespective of the cause, SPDC cleans and remediates areas impacted by spills from its facilities.”

According to Nnene-Anochie, “SPDC implements work programmes to appraise condition of, maintain and replace key sections of pipelines and flowlines. In 2018, for example, we installed 70 kilometres of pipelines and 188 kilometres of flowlines. Over the last seven years, SPDC has replacedapproximately 1,300 kilometres distance of flow lines and pipelines.”

She said, “In line with industry regulations, SPDC only pays compensation if the spill is operational.”

Towards the UNEP Report-guided Ogoni Clean Up, Weli said, “SPDC actively supports the clean-up process along with other stakeholders. SPDC remains fully committed to providing its share of $900 million (N283.73 billion) over five years to the Ogoni Trust Fund as stipulated in the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) gazette and the agreed governance framework.”

“The SPDC JV has completed its first-year contribution of $180 million (N54.54 billion). Early 2017, the SPDC JV made available $10 million to help set up HYPREP office and in July 2018, joint venture deposited additional $170 million (N51.52 billion) into an escrow account to fund HYPREP’s activities.”

The company said it is also collaborating with communities to effectively patrol pipelines’ rights-of-way through direct surveillance and GMoU surveillance, proactively engaging government security agencies to prevent crude theft and vandalism and carrying out awareness campaigns to educate community members, surveillance contractors and general public of the requirements of the 1990 Pipeline Act which prohibits any third-party activities 100ft from existing oil and gas right-of-way.

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Pic: L-R: Encroachment Management Lead, The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), Ucheoma Amechi; External Relation Manager, Shell Nigeria Gas, Babatunde Olaleke; SPDC’s General Manager, External Relations, Igo Weli; Compliance Monitoring Lead, Temitope Ajibade; and Right-of-Way and Encroachment Lead, Okojie John, at a media workshop on Pipeline Right of Way held in Lagos…

TD shines in Mauritius, claims Philips partner of the year - ITREALMS

Sub-Saharan Africa’s distribution giant, Technology Distributions Ltd. (TD), was the cynosure of all eyes at the just concluded Philips Partners Conference held in Mauritius where the company claimed the 2018 Partner of the Year (Distributor) Award.

TD received the award for attaining over 100 per cent growth in her partnership business with Philips between 2017 and 2018.

Presenting the award, Philips Senior Director, Personal Health, Mr Mike McKechnie, described TD as a resilient company, which has performed greatly in a complex environment. He added that TD has the potential to take the partnership between her and Philips to greater heights in the Nigerian market.

The award is the latest in a long line of honours/awards received by TD from global partners, including Microsoft, IBM, HP, D-Link and APC by Schneider, among others.

Receiving the award, TD Business Manager, Mrs. Chizoba Ezike, expressed appreciation to Philips for the recognition, adding that the award was a call for the company to do more in breaking new grounds in the distribution market.

Ezike said: “I am very happy and excited about the award. It is a global recognition for TD. Getting an award is one thing. It also means we have to live up to the status of the award. The expectation is that TD will win the award come next year. That means a whole lot of work for us. We are working towards that goal. Apart from the award, the experience also gave us insight into what the global Philips business is all about. It also means that there is a lot of business opportunities. We are now going to drive the business to a greater height,” she enthused.

Technology Distributions Limited (TD) commenced business in May 1999 as the pioneer ICT distributor in West Africa and for the past 20 years, has represented a number of global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) including Microsoft, HP, APC, Samsung, DellEMC, Epson, IBM, Dell, Cisco, D-Link, Huawei, Lenovo, Zinox and Emerson, among others.

With a major presence in nine (9) countries and four (4) continents as well as regional hubs in the United States, Dubai, UK and Lagos, TD is unarguably the biggest distributor in the West African sub-region with over 5000 network of channel partners on its trading and credit list.

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Danbatta, Rudman, Krish lead speakers @2019 DigitalSENSE Forum on Internet Governance for Dev - ITREALMS


*ATCON rallies members
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta to lead speakers to the 10th Nigeria DigitalSENSE Forum on Internet Governance for Development (IG4D) and Nigeria IPv6 Roundtable slated for Thursday, June 20, 2019 in Lagos.

Danbatta, would give a keynote on the main theme: Connecting Nigerians for Enhanced Internet Governance, while Rudman, who is the President, Nigeria IPv6 Council would offer some updated insights on IPv6 both locally and globally.

Confirming this, the Executive Director, DigitalSENSE Africa Media, Mrs Nkem Nweke, said that the forum holding at the Welcome Center Hotels, International Airport Road, Lagos, would also have the President of Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA) and Chief Executive of Nigeria Internet Exchange Point (IXPN), Mr. Mohammed Rudman.

While the Chief Technology Officer of Medallion Communications, Dr. Krishnan Ranganath, she said, would give a lead paper on ‘IPv6 for Enhanced Connectivity’ during the technical session, with Cyber Security Expert, Matthew Igbalajobi taking on the security implication in Connecting Nigerians for Enhanced Internet Governance.

Further, she revealed that the Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative, Mr. Gbenga Sesan, will be speaking on the panel on IPv6 for Enhanced Connectivity, even as Francis Uzoh of Wisdom Technologies among others.

Additionally, she said, the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA) have equally drummed support for the 2019 Nigeria DigitalSENSE Africa Forum (NDSF) on Internet Governance for Development (IG4D) and Nigeria IPv6 Roundtable.

“They all will be joining the chairman of the 2019 Nigeria DigitalSENSE Africa Forum (NDSF) on Internet Governance for Development (IG4D) and Nigeria IPv6 Roundtable, Chief Chris Uwaje to proffer solutions on how to best optimise the connection of Nigerians for enhanced Internet Governance,” she said.

ATCON, she noted, is the assemblage of telecom companies in the country as a professional, non-profit, non-political umbrella organization of telecommunications companies of Nigeria since December 10, 1993.

Recall 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) to name a few.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Siemens acquires ESTEQ to accelerate digitalization - ITREALMS

The acquisition of distributor ESTEQ by Siemens, brings an experienced team and long-standing customer relationships to invests in Southern and Eastern Africa to promote Digital Industries Software portfolio.

Siemens Digital Industries Software announced today that it has signed an agreement to acquire assets of ESTEQ, a distributor of product lifecycle management, product design and simulation, and manufacturing operations software and services. ESTEQ is headquartered in Pretoria, South Africa, and has locations across the region serving the Aerospace & Defense, Transportation, Consumer Products, Energy, Electronics, Machinery, Mining & Minerals, and Oil & Gas industries.

“Through the acquisition of ESTEQ, Siemens Digital Industries Software will now have a direct presence in the South Africa market which will enable Siemens to expand and enhance how we support and service our customers across the region,” said Edwin Severijn, Senior Vice President, Europe Middle East and Africa, Siemens Digital Industries Software. “The combination of ESTEQ’s local knowledge and Siemens expertise makes it easier than ever before for manufacturing companies to tap into Siemens’ full software portfolio.”

Siemens will incorporate ESTEQ into new software focused sales organizations in South Africa and UAE, gaining direct presence to expand and grow the support and services to customers across the regions.

“With ever-increasing pressure from their customers and competitors, manufacturers across the region must rethink every aspect of their business,” said Ralf Leinen, Senior Vice President, Siemens Digital Industries, Southern and Eastern Africa. “With our established and comprehensive knowledge of the South African market we can offer our customers the best and most appropriate products, solutions and services that can used to take advantage of new and disruptive technology across their operations. As a leader in software and automation we are continuously expanding our leadership role in industrial Digitalization.”

“For over 25 years, ESTEQ has had a strong partnership with Siemens, developing and growing its engineering and manufacturing software and services business across the Southern African and Gulf regions,” said Cobus Oosthuizen, CEO, ESTEQ. “In that time ESTEQ has helped hundreds of customers, both large and small, by providing technology solutions that assist them with every step of the product development and delivery process. We are excited to join Siemens, so our customers will not only benefit from the existing relationships and local expertise that the ESTEQ team provides but will also benefit from the extended range of technologies and industry expertise that we can offer as part of Siemens.”

The asset sale and purchase transaction is due for completion in the third calendar quarter of 2019. The parties have agreed not to disclose any details of the transaction. The Test and Measurement business which formed part of the ESTEQ Group is not part of the transaction and will continue as a separate and independent business.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Matters Arising from recent exchange of batons - ITREALMS

A few days ago, new governors were sworn-in in many states of the country.

It was the same story of rapine and empty treasuries, amidst heavy debts and unpaid salaries.

I saw the front page of a particular newspaper of that day with the chronicles of the debts states owed – all of them. Let us hope that the story of a few states that have different election days, will redeem the agonizing spectacle of the moment.

Right now, some of the Governors are confused, not knowing where to start from.

I read many articles in the newspapers and one particularly caught my attention. Entitled, “When do we expect another Peter Obi! “ The author eulogised Mr. Peter Obi for changing the narratives of handover by not owing one kobo to any person or institution before handing over. To crown it all, he said that in a move that stunned the financial world, that Obi left over 75 Billion Naira, well documented, in the treasury of the State in the form of savings. 

The author said that even if that legacy was what Anambra will come to be known for – pushing for the handover of cash at the end of tenure – that someday it will become the norm in Nigeria and history would always remember Obi as the person that set established that enlightened standards with his inaugural push.

I share the author’s sentiments.

*Valentine Obienyem Personal Assistant to former Governor Peter Obi.
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WorldRemit launches new product for business payments - ITREALMS

Leading digital money transfer company WorldRemit has launched WorldRemit for Business, a new service that enables small and medium-sized business owners to quickly pay their employees and contractors in 140 countries worldwide, including fast-growing emerging markets such as Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa. The platform will first be available to U.K.-registered businesses. 

WorldRemit’s low fees and exchange rates are shown up-front and customers can send money easily via the company’s website and app. By extending its money transfer service to SMEs, WorldRemit will save businesses time and money when they make international payments.

Each year, the UK imports $471 million in goods and services from Ghana where SMEs represent about 85% of businesses. WorldRemit for Business will make it easier for local enterprises to receive payment by UK-based partners via bank account, mobile money, and cash pick-up. While some banks can take up to one week to process payments, WorldRemit transfers to Ghana are processed within 24 hours or less.

Customers sending funds abroad can easily track their transfers in real-time on the WorldRemit app and opt-in to receive daily exchange notifications to send money abroad at the optimal time.

Ismail Ahmed, Founder and Executive Chairman at WorldRemit, comments: “When I first started WorldRemit, I was frustrated with the high charges and long delays in sending money abroad both as a business owner and consumer. Over the past 9 years, we’ve made it easier for 4 million people around the globe to send and receive money.

Today, we’re pleased to extend that service offering to businesses, and put an end to the steep fees that many pay, especially when sending to Ghana. We’re committed to making it quick, safe and easy for you to pay individuals across borders, leaving you to focus on growing your own business.”

Shane Lennox, Senior Product Manager for Business, comments: “With more people moving and settling across borders, the nature of business is becoming increasingly global. This new product offering is catering for those in need of a digital service that solves a number of pain points faced by SMEs with international staff and contractors. This new product launch will enable millions of SMEs to benefit from our award-winning convenient service.”

WorldRemit customers complete over 1.4 million transfers every month from over 50 countries to over 140 destinations using its app or website and remains committed to providing innovative solutions to meet money transfer needs across the world.

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NIGF 2019 gets date @MUSON - ITREALMS

The Nigeria Internet Governance Forum Multi-stakeholders Advisory Group (NIGF-MAG), has announced its date for the 2019 edition of the Internet Governance Forum in Lagos, reports ITREALMS.

NIGF-MAG in a press statement available to ITREALMS, said it comprises the Federal Ministry of Communications (MoC), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA), Internet Society Nigeria Chapter (ISOC NG), DigitalSENSE Africa Media, Creative Technology Development International (CTDL), and Global Network for Cyber Solution (GNC), in collaboration with the Internet community stakeholders

According to NIGF-MAG, the 2019 edition would take place next month at Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos Island, Lagos State, on July 11, 2019.

In addition, NIGF-MAG noted the overarching theme for the 2019 Edition is ‘‘Enabling Digital Commonwealth for Development’’.

“Overarching thematic sessions of the global IGF and harmonizing the inputs of Nigerian stakeholders into the Regional Global IGF framework covering: Cybersecurity and Trust; Internet Economy; Access, Inclusiveness; Diversity and Openness; Critical Internet Resources; and Emerging Issues,” part of the press statement read.

ITREALMS gathered that the NIGF 2019 will be preceded by two events; namely the Nigerian School of Internet Governance co-hosted with the Nigerian Chapter of the Internet Society holding on the 7th – 9th July, 2019.

While the Nigeria Youth Internet Governance Forum with the theme “Our Internet; Shaping the digital future” has been scheduled for the 10th of July, 2019.

Chuks Egbune/Editor

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What Lawan told Senators - ITREALMS

My fellow Distinguished Senators, I am pleased and privileged to stand before you today to commence a historic journey of selfless service as President of the 9th Senate. This is an extremely special moment for me. I humbly and gratefully accept my election as the President of the 9th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I am deeply grateful to all my Distinguished Colleagues who overwhelmingly elected me to lead the 9th Senate as first among equals and for their gracious concession, I declare myself your Humble Servant and you Distinguished Senators as my true bosses in every sense of the word.

I acknowledge and salute three categories of people: your families and friends for their support and sacrifice; your various political parties on whose platforms you stood for election, and our constituents for their invaluable trust and goodwill in electing us into this position.

To all my fellow contestants, I say this is our collective victory for it was a very hard-fought campaign. They all did well. Permit me to pay a personal tribute to Distinguished Senator Danjuma Goje and others who withdrew from the race and graciously endorsed me. I am deeply grateful. Senator Ali Ndume put up a dogged fight and gave the race added-value. You all have worked tirelessly over the years and in particular in the past few months and I owe all of you Distinguished colleagues a debt of gratitude for your sterling services to our country. I congratulate all of us for the friendliness and camaraderie that was demonstrated during the intensive but rancour free campaign.

The elections are over and we are all back together in the spirit of one indivisible Senate, united in our commitment to work for the Nigerian people. Working together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding our institution and renewing the Nigerian dream. I’ve spent the last 20 years learning the ropes of how to make the National Assembly work better. In this humbling and extremely critical role you have all agreed to assign to me, I pledge to do my best to serve the best interest of the institution, its members and the good people of Nigeria.

Today’s epochal event is symbolic in many respects. It marks the beginning of another decade in the annals of the country’s federal legislature, recognizing that the Fourth Republic National Assembly was first inaugurated twenty years ago, on June 4, 1999. So, today, as we commence the 3rd uninterrupted decade of our National Parliament, we pledge to remake, reform and revitalise the Senate in line with our constitutional duties, the urgent expectation of our citizens and global parliamentary best practices.

Our determination is to evolve a well-resourced Senate with a vision and a great sense of commitment to securing a prosperous future for our great nation. I strongly believe that for the 9th Senate to live up to this declaration, it must be operated as an institution that is largely accountable, participatory, collaborative and responsive to the needs, aspirations, rights and liberties of the masses whose mandate we hold in trust.

Let me reassure my Distinguished colleagues that in the discharge of my duties as the President of the 9th Senate, I will be fair and just to all, irrespective of party affiliations, religious and ethnic extractions. I, therefore, solicit for unalloyed support of all my Distinguished Colleagues. Together, we can reinvent a vibrant, robust and result-oriented Senate.

In the 9th Senate no dream is too big to imagine, no challenge is too great to surmount. We will pursue our goal of a better and brighter future, we will no longer settle for anything less than the best. We will work with and collaborate with other arms of government to reclaim our country and restore our values. We will dream big, aim high and take bold initiatives. To this end, I will work with my colleagues to build actionable consensus around a robust legislative agenda that serves the best interest of majority of our people.

To this end, we will focus on improving the institutional capacity and capabilities of the Senate for effective performance of its constitutional and political duties in the most cost effective and service enhancing manner. Issues such as bill and motion progression and tracking, enhanced internal operations and funding of committees, an open and ICT enabled Senate will be on our front burner.

We are going to work collaboratively with the executive arm of government to strengthen our planning and budget linkage that ensures effective service delivery and fulfilment of essential government obligations to the citizens, while taking care of the perennial delays in our annual appropriation bill passage and implementation.

We will embark upon a sustained pursuit of national ethical renewal, through legislative and political support for the fight against corruption and other major security challenges that Nigeria faces today, namely; rural and highway banditry; inter-ethnic conflicts; herdsmen and farmer conflicts, cattle rustling; kidnapping and all other forms of criminality in the country.

We have a plan to make Nigeria an economic growth hub and the most sought after business destination in Africa. This is to be achieved through legislative and policy coordination with the Executive Arm of Government to put in place the necessary reforms and legal instruments that promote the diversification and investment in the critical (real and service) sectors of the Nigerian economy.

We will frontally address the current high level of youth unemployment, underemployment and high use of illicit drugs as well as depression and high rate of suicide.

At the same time, we will collaborate with the House of Representatives and State Houses of Assembly, with a view to having legislative partnerships that address the existential challenges of corruption, insecurity, emerging criminal gangs, kidnaping, poverty, decayed educational system that has left Nigeria with an embarrassing reported figure of 14 million out of school children.

I want to seize this opportunity to tell the entire nation, particularly those that are in doubt, that the Senate and indeed the legislature is going to operate independently in accordance with its own rules, procedures and time honoured norms and best practices. While working closely with the executive arm to deliver the dividends of democracy to the Nigerian people.

Our legislative agenda must focus on enacting laws and strengthening existing laws to facilitate the reforms required to truly take our nation, our people and our economy to the next level.

Within us as a Senate, our leadership will commit to partnership rather than partisanship and between us and the executive arm of Government, we will choose unity of purpose over conflict and discord while also working towards further strengthening and guaranteeing our independence and that of the judiciary. We will sustain and strengthen our institutional working relationship with critical stakeholders especially the Civil Society Organizations, the Media and Development Partners within and outside Nigeria.

In conclusion, let it be said that we have come to this chamber conscious of the trust our constituents have reposed on us. Dear colleagues, we must not betray that trust. To this extent, in the next four years, we must drive a transformative Senate dedicated to serving the people with confidence, courage and patriotism. Indeed, the urgent task towards socio-economic reforms and transformation through legislative intervention has begun.

In so doing, we are convinced that our past was only a story told while our future can yet be written in gold.

I thank you all,

May God bless Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, Ph.D; CON
President of the Senate, 
Federal Republic of Nigeria 

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