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Launchpad Accelerator Africa Class 4 tackles access to financial services, education, agriculture - ITREALMS

ITREALMS : The Class 4 of Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa kicked off in Lagos. Comprising startups from six countries and spanning s...

Monday, September 16, 2019

Launchpad Accelerator Africa Class 4 tackles access to financial services, education, agriculture - ITREALMS

The Class 4 of Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa kicked off in Lagos. Comprising startups from six countries and spanning six sectors, this class is particularly strong, having collectively earned in excess of US$600 000 in revenue over the past six months, reports ITREALMS.

They’re also addressing some big challenges, including access to financial services, education, and agriculture.

“We continue to be impressed by the quality of startups that apply to the Launchpad Accelerator Africa programme,” says the programme’s head of startup success and services, Fola Olatunji-David. “Class 4 is no exception and we expect them to build on the successes of the previous three classes.”

Since Launchpad Accelerator Africa was first announced in late 2017, the programme has helped 35 startups achieve growth, raise millions of dollars in investments, and create hundreds of jobs across the continent.

“With every class, we’ve been able to refine the programme, improve our support for the participating startups and understand the contexts they operate in,” says Olatunji-David. “These startups have worked hard to grow their businesses, understand what they needed to do and in some cases pivot their entire model.”

As with each class, all the selected startups receive working space, and access to expert advisers from Google, Silicon Valley, and Africa. Participants also receive travel and PR support during each three-month programme.

The 12 selected startups, in alphabetical order, are:

Afara Partners (Nigeria): Afara Partners offers platforms that provide services to the financially underserved/excluded.

BrandBook (South Africa): BrandBook is a mobile app that incentives users to take a picture of their receipts, allowing it to harvest consumer purchase behaviour across all channels.

Elewa (Kenya): Elewa is a toolkit for establishing scalable high-quality training programs within existing education- or professional institutions.

Eversend (Uganda): Eversend is a multi-currency e-wallet that allows you to exchange, spend and send money at the best possible rates. It also includes insurance, virtual debit cards, and bill payments.

OZE (Ghana): OZÉ brings African small businesses into the digital era, equipping their owners to make data-driven decisions to improve their performance and access capital.

Phenomenal Technologies (Zimbabwe): Phenomenal Technologies offers low-cost field excursions for learners through virtual reality.

REACH (Nigeria): REACH recognises, categorises and interprets transaction data from SMS and other sources, making this data available as individual financial and market insights.

Sortd (South Africa): Sortd aims to re-invent email with the world's first All-in-One productivity suite for Gmail and GSuite.

TradeBuza (Nigeria): The TradeBuza is a cloud-based web and mobile application which digitises contract farming and trade.

Tulaa (Kenya): Tulaa is an online-to-offline marketplace for smallholder farmers in Africa.

XEND (Nigeria): XEND Allows users to make and receive payments, offline or online.

WorkPay (Kenya): WorkPay is a cloud-based employee management and payment solution using the power of mobile and biometrics.

Chuks Egbune/Editor

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FBNQuest celebrates 40th anniversary - ITREALMS

FBNQuest Trustees Limited, an FBN Holdings company has announced the celebration of its 40th anniversary as a leading provider of world-class trust and estate planning services in Nigeria. 

The event themed “A Legacy that Preserves Legacies” was held on Friday, 13 September 2019 at Landmark Event Centre in Lagos, reports ITREALMS.

The event presented an opportunity for FBNQuest Trustees to share key insights on the importance of Corporate Trust Management, Estate Planning, and Wealth Transfer, which are crucial elements to ensuring the preservation of legacies. Dr. Omobola Johnson, Senior Partner at TLcom Capital LLP and former Minister for Communication Technology, delivered the keynote address at the event.

FBNQuest Trustees was incorporated as Standard Trustees Nigeria Limited on August 8, 1979. The company at the time was a wholly owned subsidiary of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, which was known as Standard Bank of Nigeria Limited. The name Standard Trustees Nigeria Limited was changed to First Trustees Nigeria Limited in March 1980; and in April 2014 it was renamed FBN Trustees Limited to align with the FBNHoldings group naming convention. In November, 2017 it was again re-named FBNQuest Trustees Limited to signal its membership of the FBNQuest family, and its commitment to partnering with its clients on their quest to define and achieve financial success.

FBNQuest Trustees is modelled as a representation of the forward thinking culture of the FBN Holdings Plc, to improve and develop specialised capabilities within the trusteeship, asset and fund management services of the Nigerian financial system. Today, the company specialises in providing Investment Advisory Services, Corporate, Public and Private Trust Management; and as a part of FBNQuest draws on the trailblazing spirit, and a consistent focus on excellence to deliver exceptional services to clients.

Over the past 40 years, FBNQuest Trustees has not only become a leading trust company in Nigeria, but also a key pillar in the business of trusteeship. To highlight some of its key achievements over the years, the company continues to be the preferred local partner for international and multilateral entities looking to have businesses in Nigeria, and in 2013 served as the sole bond trustee on the very first bond issued by a multilateral institution in Nigeria (International Finance Corporation (IFC) $50,000,000 fixed rate senior unsecured bond).

FBNQuest Trustees is the first trust company to publish an educative compendium on estate planning to actively engage, and educate stakeholders, on the importance of Estate Planning in Nigeria, through its Legacy Series; and is a pioneer for Islamic finance in Nigeria, which led to its co-management of the first government issued Sukuk instrument launched by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2017. The company also partnered and organised a stakeholder engagement on Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) and its implications for estate planning.

Speaking about the milestone celebration, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of FBNQuest Trustees, Mr. Adekunle Awojobi, emphasised the firm’s impact on trusteeship business in Nigeria, and by extension, the economy. He said, “From when we began our journey in 1979, FBNQuest Trustees has delivered impeccable solutions for the safekeeping of our clients’ assets, the transfer of generational wealth, and the preservation of their legacies. We are extremely proud to be a part of the 125 year old legacy of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, and the rich heritage of FBNHoldings as we celebrate a 40 year track record of distinction, dependability and professionalism in the trustee business."

“We want to thank everyone who has contributed to the growth of the company over the years, as we continue to provide excellent services to our clients. We also take this opportunity to recommit to excellently serving our clients across diverse sectors to ensure that their legacies are preserved” he said.

In terms of growth and financial performance, the company has continuously delivered shareholder value in alignment with the mandate of the Group. From a share capital of about N30 million in 90s, the company has increased to a share capital of N3billion in 2019; and has grown its profit after tax (PAT) year on year consistently, with liquid trust assets under management in excess of N40 billion as at June 30 2019.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Pix: L-R – Patrick Mgbenwelu, Non-Executive Director, FBNQuest Trustees; Adekunle Awojobi, MD, FBNQuest Trustees; Dr. Oba Otudeko, Group Chairman, FBN Holdings Plc., Dr. Omobola Johnson, Senior Partner, TLcom Capital LLP; Kayode Akinkugbe, MD/CEO, FBNQuest Merchant Bank and Taiwo Okeowo, DMD, FBNQuest Merchant Bank at the 40th Anniversary event of FBNQuest Trustees which took place in Lagos recently.

Cryptography: ETSI, IQC Quantum Safe workshop for November’19 - ITREALMS

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) in partnership with the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC), hosted by ETSI member, Amazon Web Services is packaging a three-day workshop on cryptography, reports ITREALMS.

The 3-day workshop, ITREALMS gathered, is the 7th ETSI/IQC Quantum Safe Cryptography session scheduled to take place on 5 through 7 November 2019 at the Amazon headquarters in Seattle, United States (US).

ITREALMS also gathered that this workshop will bring together diverse players from the quantum-safe cybersecurity community to facilitate knowledge exchange and collaboration that are required to transition cyber infrastructures and business practices in order to make them safe in an era of quantum computers.

On 5 November 2019, ITREALMS reports that the Executive Track on the state of the quantum threat and quantum risk management, designed for business executives, including Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), Chief Technology Officers (CTOs), Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and Chief Information and Security Officers (CISOs).

Between November 6 and 7, 2019, ITREALMS reports that it would be a Technical Track, designed for business, government and research communities with a stake in cryptographic standardization on a global scale.

This, the organisers said, is a unique opportunity to engage with key members of the quantum-safe cryptography community, participate in practical and scientific discussions and move towards a standardized approach to quantum-safe cryptographic solutions.

Just as there would be poster sessions during the technical track.

Remmy Nweke/DoP

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FUOYE Protest: What Fayemi told Ekiti - ITREALMS

Text of a state-wide Broadcast on the Violent Protest at the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, by His Excellency, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Governor, Ekiti State, Nigeria, Sunday, September 15, 2019.


"I have in the last few days agonised over the incident that took place at the Federal University, Oye Ekiti (FUOYE) on Tuesday, September 10, 2019.

"Until the multiple investigations are completed, I am necessarily constrained from talking about the details of what transpired. I however do not need to be constrained about the emotions a tragedy like this evokes.

"Any death is a tragedy. Any shooting arising from legitimate protests diminishes our fledgling democratic dispensation and calls to question our commitment to fundamental human rights.

"Having heard from all parties to the incident, it is pertinent that I now personally convey my deeply felt sorrow for the loss of two promising young lives and for those who suffered injuries.

"To be sure, our government prides itself on its strict adherence to the rule of law. The right of citizens to protest on any issue relating to governmental actions or inactions is a fundamental component of our good governance agenda.

"We could not therefore under any circumstances have directed that deadly force be used on any of our citizens freely expressing their right to protest.

"Even before the conclusion of the investigations into this matter, we have taken a number of steps; a high level government delegation has visited the families of the deceased. This will not be a one-off intervention. We will stand firmly with, and support the families at this time. Those persons with varying degrees of injuries will also be given support whilst their hospital expenses will be defrayed by government.

"I have directed the State Commissioner of Police to urgently commence an investigation into the circumstances that led to the unfortunate shooting incident with a view to identifying possible culprits within and outside the Force. Taken together with the ongoing investigation by the University management, we will consider the need for an independent panel of inquiry, if necessary once these fact finding investigations are concluded.

"In the meantime, I have suggested to our police authorities to explore the use of non-lethal rubber bullets in managing public protests and the Nigerian Governors Forum will take this up at the highest levels in government.

"I note the initial public statement by the University authorities and its Students Union body. We welcome the conclusion that neither the wife of the Governor nor any Government official directed the shootings. Indeed it is obvious that the wife of the Governor and those on her entourage are victims of this unfortunate incident.

"The issue that led to the protest has been the subject of intense disagreement and negotiations with BEDC since I became Governor. Last week, my Commissioner for Infrastructure and Public Utilities was still in Benin to see BEDC management on the matter of inadequate and inconsistent supply of electricity in Ekiti State. Though Governors do not have any control over privatised power distribution companies, the four Governors from the states covered by the Benin DISCO have consistently expressed dissatisfaction with the services of BEDC and taken the matter up with the Vice President who chairs the Privatisation Council.

"In addition to this, I have been talking to the Rural Electrification Agency about including FUOYE in the next round of their University Electrification Project.

"I therefore appeal for calm and caution as we await the reports of the various investigations. No persons or group should attempt to use this tragic incident to destabilise the peace and progress of Ekiti State. It is time for sober reflection as we mourn the dead and care for the wounded.

"Thank you and God bless you all."

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Sunday, September 15, 2019

Bishop Kukah to speak on security, economy at GOCOP annual conference - ITREALMS

The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Most Rev. Dr. Matthew Hassan Kukah would be giving a keynote at the third annual conference of the Guild ofCorporate Online Publishers (GOCOP)  holding on Friday, October 4, 2019 at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos State, reports ITREALMS.

Confirming this to 
ITREALMS, the GOCOP’s Publicity Secretary, Olumide Iyanda, said that the theme of 2019 conference is “Economy, Security and National Development: The Way Forward in Nigeria.”

He also said that former Director-General, West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM), Professor Akpan Hogan Ekpo, and a former Director with the Department of State Services (DSS), Mr. Mike Ejiofor have been confirmed as discussants.

Former Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr Bayo Onanuga, will be the chairman of the occasion.

“Bishop Kukah was chosen to deliver the keynote address because of his global recognition in formulating peace and development agenda,” GOCOP spokesman said.
ITREALMS recalls that Kukah served in prominent capacities in the Investigation Commission of Human Rights Violations (Oputa Panel), National Political Reform Conference and Ogoni-Shell Reconciliation Panel, and is expected to bring an invaluable wealth of experience to the conference.

In addition, GOCOP conference, he said, would bring together policymakers in the private and public sectors.
Just as the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, would represent the Presidency.

Whereas the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) and other stakeholder groups in the media, he said, would equally be represented at the conference.

GOCOP represents media organisations registered in Nigeria with promoters drawn from practitioners who have served at senior levels in the profession.

Remmy Nweke/DoP

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HEDA to SEC: Reject new MTN board members or face court action - ITREALMS

A non-governmental organisation (NGO), the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre) has petitioned the Acting Director-General of the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with a 14-day ultimatum to delist some members of the newly constituted board of MTN Nigeria Communications Plc or face legal action, reports ITREALMS.

HEDA Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju disclosed this to ITREALMS in a press statement at the weekend, alleging that the new MTN Board of Directors were former public officials who were believed to have been picked to offer the communications concern undue advantage in Nigeria's political and economic environment.

The group also said that non-delist of those board members violates the Nigerian constitution and undermines best practices in corporate governance, insisting on immediate rejection of the former public office holders listed as new board members of MTN Nigeria.

HEDA in the petition signed by its Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, said it has been monitoring reports that former MTN local boss, Pascal Dozie’s exit as MTN Nigeria’s Chairman saw a bee rush of new Directors who are anxious to offer strong local pull with Regulatory Commissions and the Presidency.

The anti-corruption group said there were reports that MTN Nigeria’s recent Board members’ selection represents an economic intrigue aimed at insulating the MTN from adverse local political action given its recent history with the regulatory agency, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).

Earlier media reports had listed its designate Chairman, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, an engineer, who was one-time Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission with strong speculations that his presence on the Board will afford the company the benefit of having a regulatory insider available to intervene on its behalf in troubled times.

HEDA listed other figures in the board that may offer undue privilege to MTN.

For instance, ITREALMS gathered that the group rejected Mr. Muhammad Ahmed, former Chairman of the Technical Committee of the Nigerian Code on Corporate Governance and it was alleged that he will bring to the Board technical guidance and public credibility on issues relating to the company’s internal control processes and overall governance standards.

In addition, it said reports indicate that Muhammad Ahmed also Chairs the Boards of two local banks and is also on the interim Board of International Energy Insurance Company (IEI).

Suraju said it was perceived that he has been brought on the Board to provide a sound Board for governance and protect the company from the intrusion of third-party investigators.

The group stated "it was equally reported that the presence of Mr. Andrew Alli on the MTN Nigeria’s Board as a non-Executive Director provides MTNN with the technical expertise of a seasoned banker and the extensive local contacts of a long-standing local Boardroom Executive. As conveyed in the report, Alli’s nomination also seems to give the outgoing Chairman, Dr. Dozie, a backdoor channel to the Board as Alli is known to be a long-time associate of Pascal Dozie and was at one time speculated to have been head-hunted as a possible managing director of Pascal Dozie’s now defunct, Diamond Bank. Alli, a chartered accountant, has extensive investment banking experience and was at one time on the Board of MTNN representing the International Finance Corporation (IFC).”

HEDA expressed worry that Alli may likely be Dr. Dozie’s principal liaison with the MTNN C- suite.

The group also questioned another person on the board, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, a former Minister for Communication Technology between 2011 and 2015 who is believed will reinforce the company’s efforts at ring-fencing its local Nigerian operations from potential institutional and political storms.

According to HEDA, Mrs. Ifueko Okauru who was a former Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) and remains a highly connected local authority on taxation also should not have been listed in the MTN board.

HEDA said with the MTN board  members, transparency, neutrality and accountability will be compromised.

The group noted that Mrs. Ifueko Okauru was a one time Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) when the Nigeria Labour Congress demanded Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) to probe the operations of MTN Nigeria following allegations of illicit financial flow and tax evasion as reported by the Nigerian media.

It noted that the allegations were not addressed by Mrs. Ifueko Okauru as Chairman of FIRS, exposing the country to losses of funds badly needed by the country for developmental purposes.

"As relayed above, Mrs. Okauru was Chairman of FIRS when the allegations of MTN Nigeria’s tax evasion of over $2 billion relating to import duties, VAT, withholding tax on foreign import/payments were revealed and despite this it was reported that tranches of transfers were discovered to have been made to companies in Dubai and Mauritius as reported by Satellite Times on the 8th October, 2018 and these allegations under the nose of the former Chairman was consequent upon the failure of the FIRS to undertake diligent and effective supervision and no record of investigations to confirm the authenticity or otherwise while in office.”

HEDA stated further "It was reported that major mobile companies in Nigeria were fined by the NCC for failure to adhere to the law and were given a week to de-activate unregistered lines. It was reported that while other mobile firms complied, MTN flouted the regulator’s instructions, leaving 5.2 million unregistered users on its network and the fine was due on November 17, 2015, but MTN managed to secure a cover up and delayed fines until a new management and government came into office. It is a complete show of irony that Mr. Ernest Ndukwe who was the Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission during the MTN infractions, the regulatory body solely responsible for the business activities of telecommunications and Mrs. Mobolaji Johnson as the Communication Minister at the time of this infractions will be selected as the designate chairman and Board Member respectively by the telecommunication company”.

The group regretted that the NCC and Communication Ministry under the two public officers watched the same telecommunication company flout rules without actions against the company until a change in government and NCC management .

"It is our firm believe that these persons who were once public office holders who ought to have acted against some activities and alleged infractions of this company but failed in their responsibilities and capacities are now being compensated with appointments into the board. This only goes to suggest that the organisation has compensated these officers for their previous compromise of their oath of offices and would further indulge in cutting corners with the confidence of the influence of these persons in their former respective capacities which we believe will amount to evading sanctions and on the whole rub the nations of its sanctity”

HEDA said that according to Rule 601 of the SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION RULES AND REGULATIONS, 2013, which empowers the Commission to impose sanctions on registered companies, particularly Rule 601(5) and states that the removal of executive officers of a capital market operator, securities exchange, capital trade point and other SROs as one of the sanctions that can be imposed by the Commission.

"We hereby demand that this provision be enforced against MTN Nigeria Communications Plc with respect to the newly constituted board, based on the above relayed and the eventually undue privileges peddling that this may result to" said HEDA

Further, HEDA requested "in the light of the above, we hereby demand that the Commission rejects with immediate effect the nomination of the above stated persons (Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, Mrs. Mobolaji Johnson, Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui Okauru and Mr. Muhammad Ahmed) as members of the Board of the MTN Nigeria Communications Plc. within 14 days of the receipt of this letter or in the event that this is not done within the stated period, we shall without a further recourse to you proceed to a court of competent jurisdiction to demand the performance of this request"

Remmy Nweke/DoP

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Revisiting 'zoning and rotation' - ITREALMS

At the end of the Nigerian Civil War (July 1967 – January 1970), and in preparation for a possible return to civilian rule, the ruling class established—or rather, creatively adapted—the dual principle of “zoning” and “rotation” of key political party offices and government positions among geopolitical segments of their class.

Some leading ideologues of the newly re-united class claimed that the principle emerged from one of the lessons of that bitter conflict: the need to protect and promote “national unity” at all time. The theory was that with this principle and complementary ones, the Nigerian ruling class, following the United Nations at the end of the Second World War, could vow, “Never Again!”. These ideologues were young, brilliant and idealistic. But since their horizon did not go beyond capitalism and the capitalist ruling class, their brilliant idea could not even survive the first substantive test.

It should be conceded, however, that it was not all the main factions and tendencies in this re-united but nonetheless non-homogeneous class that adopted the principle of “zoning and rotation”—or, more correctly, promoted it to a lead ideological principle. It was the dominant ruling class coalition which later appeared as Second Republic National Party of Nigeria (NPN) that was in the forefront of the campaign which it saw as furthering and strengthening the aims of “federal character” principle enshrined in the new (1979) Constitution. The latter was a document whose final shape the party, at its formative stages, had dominantly influenced.

A number of the other ruling class parties of the Second Republic (1979-1983) acknowledged the principle of “zoning and rotation” in their basic documents. Those that did not explicitly endorse or acknowledge the principle underlined the need for the protection and promotion of “national unity” which they all understood as the unity of Nigeria’s ruling class. But the Nigerian Left simply allowed its revolutionary programme of Workers’ Power, Popular Democracy and Socialism to subsume and transcend the principle of “zoning and rotation”. We may as well remark here that in those days, the Nigerian Left had the habit of summarily rejecting any idea that came from the ruling class. Though this was a legitimate protective mechanism, it was undialectical as a political tactic.

From records of what the NPN fed to the nation at the beginning of the Second Republic, the principle of “zoning and rotation,” as it applied to their party at the federal level, can be sketched like this: First, party offices and government positions are aggregated into a single list of positions. Then the states of the federation and the federal capital are grouped into a number of zones set up for the purpose of “sharing” the aggregated positions. The aggregated positions are then grouped into the number of zones. Finally, the groups of positions are shared between the zones in a “fair and balanced” manner—previously agreed upon. At the end of a 4-year presidential tenure, the groups of positions rotate among the zones—again, in a previously agreed order.

This agreement was scheduled to be first tested in late 1981 or early 1982 (that is, half way into President Shehu Shagari’s first tenure) when party congresses and the process of nominating candidates for the 1983 general elections were scheduled to begin. The test collapsed disastrously. The national caucus of NPN was not able to confirm in practice what had been agreed on paper. Neither the grouping of offices nor the rotation of the groups of offices could be confirmed. A “genius” even suggested that the position of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should be above rotation!

The principle of “zoning and rotation” of positions was replaced by “allocations” dictated by the dominant coalition of factions and tendencies in the party. Since then, although neither the ruling class nor any of its leading political formations has disavowed the principle, no attempt to revive and put it into effect has proceeded beyond the stage it reached in 1982 or risen to the 1982 brilliance.

Why did the test of “zoning and rotation” so beautifully set down on paper by the NPN collapse so disastrously? The late Professor Claude Ake appeared to answer this question in a lecture he delivered a decade later at a Guardian event in Lagos. Speaking in 1992 on the prospects of Nigeria returning to civilian democratic rule, the globally-respected social scientist sounded pessimistic. He said something which may be paraphrased like this: “Members of Nigeria’s ruling class, the capitalist class, cannot practise democracy, stand as equals or operate in partnership. If any two of them are together one must be on top of the other, never side by side. That is the logic of their political economy, their history and their culture.”

The immediate inspiration for this particular article came from a media statement made recently by Senator Shehu Sani on the movement of Nigeria’s presidency in 2023. Shehu Sani is recognized as a consistent human rights activist and a progressive Nigerian politician. In 2015 he contested and won the Kaduna Central Senatorial seat on the platform of the rising All Progressives Congress (APC). For the four years he was in the Nigerian Senate (2015-2019), Sani labored to remain true to his credentials of Leftist populism. Failing, predictably, to get his party’s re-nomination for the 2019 general elections, he sought and obtained a nomination from the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), a radical social-democratic party led by the veteran Leftist politician, Balarabe Musa. He lost the senatorial contest, again predictably.

The experience narrated above merely re-confirms the historically-tested thesis that a true Leftist who strays into a bourgeois formation as a “revolutionary-at-large”, that is, without the background support of a revolutionary movement to which she or he is loyal, will either be completely absorbed and neutralized, turned into a traitor or be lucky to crash out alive.

Senator Sani was reported by the Sunday Punch of August 25, 2019 to have told journalists at a press conference in Abuja the previous day that the 2023 presidency “may elude the South if the South-East and South-West clamouring for it are not united”. For the avoidance of doubt, Sani said that “rotation of power is what I prescribe and stand for. Whether that power goes to the South-East or South-West is dependent on the people of the South”. He, however, warned that if any of the dominant political parties refuses to accept “power shift”, presidency may still elude the South. The major parties should therefore be persuaded to accept the principle.

My limited comment on Comrade Shehu Sani’s proposal will be the conclusion to this article. It is clear that the proposal is addressed neither to the Nigerian Left nor to Nigeria’s popular masses. It is addressed to Nigeria’s capitalist ruling class. It is the ruling class that talks of “North”, “South”, “South-East”, “South-West”, etc. as if these entities are classless or class-homogenous. While some fractions of the ruling class actually do not believe in the existence of classes others assume that every reasonable person should know that when rulership is discussed the reference is always to the ruling class. They are “Nigeria”; and the various geopolitical zones are the recognized segments of the ruling class!

Against Shehu Sani’s proposal, let there be a more democratic proposal which, in addition to being a real ideological challenge to the ruling class, will also be seen as issuing logically from this apparent difficulty in locating the presidency!

In place of the present office of the President, let there be a Collective Presidency or Presidential Council of six equal members, each member representing a geopolitical zone. The tenure of the Council should be four years and the headship within that tenure should rotate between the members every eight months.

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

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Saturday, September 14, 2019

False diagnosis: Typhoid must stop in Nigeria - ITREALMS

In Nigeria, if you called in sick and couldn’t make it to work, it was probably because you had Malaria and Typhoid. Did I hear you say Typhoid? You have participated in Fraud!

Let me shock you, the rate of Typhoid fever occurrence in Sub-Saharan Africa based on existing studies is less than 1%, unlike malaria prevalence which currently stands above 60% in Nigeria. Yet, typhoid fever, a disease caused by Salmonella typhi and its paratyphi variant is being diagnosed on a daily basis and treated at an unprecedented rate in Nigeria.

This situation has gotten so bad that almost every patient; male, female, young and old with febrile illness in Nigeria is treated for typhoid. At every turn, what you hear is: ‘I have just been diagnosed and treated for malaria and typhoid’ or ‘since I treated malaria and its not going I must definitely have typhoid. As a matter of fact, patients who believe they have these twin ailments will abandon doctors who refuse to treat the Typhoid component to go see other doctors who are willing to treat.

Perhaps a major cause of this problem is the method used in diagnosing the so called typhoid. It is a widely established fact in medical circles that the serological test (widal agglutination) which is often relied on to make Typhoid diagnosis is unreliable. Several studies (Olopoenia & King (2000), Enabulele & Awunor (2016) etc concluded that Widal test is non specific, poorly standardized, confusing and difficult to interpret.

In other words, Widal test is outdated and has since been abandoned for more reliable tests such as bacteriological culture in other countries.

Nigerian Doctors are aware of this situation, but are probably tired of explaining to patients that they don’t have typhoid, since such patients more often than not will go find another ‘Doctor’ , mostly a quack, to ‘flush out’ the Typhoid from their system with drips, for a tidy sum.

Why should we all be concerned? Because of the dangers inherent in continuing the harmful practice such as:

1) Antibiotics Resistance- consuming antibiotics when not needed breeds resistance and subject patients to unnecessary side-effects.

2) Mis-Diagnosis- and delayed Diagnosis- while ascribing an illness to typhoid, diagnosis of other more dangerous diseases may be missed and mistreated leading to higher morbidity and mortality.

3) Missing malaria resistance- taking antibiotics while recuperating from malaria makes it difficult to detect and differentiate reduced anti-malaria efficacy , drug resistance, or even recrudescence from genuine infection requiring antibiotics treatment.

4) Raising cost of treatment/Lowering value of healthcare- an average citizen who is already resistant to common and affordable antibiotics ends up spending more in procuring expensive antibiotics to achieve the same result. This diminishes the value of healthcare provided by physicians who are sometimes pressured to treat this ‘typhoid’

Therefore, my appeal is first to the citizens to desist from self treatment of typhoid fever without undergoing proper tests prescribed by qualified physicians.

As for Typhoid, you should now know that the test that says



1/160 is no longer useful in diagnosis and you should never take antibiotics on the basis of that test.

It is high time also, that physicians and their various associations insisted on the use of blood or stool culture diagnosis in treating their patients and totally discountenancing Widal test for uniformity of practice.

Lastly, I appeal to the Federal Ministry of Health to start an immediate campaign to change this trend. It is my suggestion that relevant research be launched to determine the true incidence and prevalence of typhoid fever in Nigeria.

Subsequently, a specific national policy on the diagnosis and treatment of Typhoid fever and perhaps other infectious diseases should be promoted.

In addition, citizens may also be sensitized on the low prevalence rate of typhoid and the need to see qualified doctors for proper advice, to prevent them from falling prey to quacks who make money from this not-so-common disease.

I conclude by saying ‘’typhoid is now in your court’’

*Courtesy of Dr Odunayo Talabi, a Harvard Global Health Fellow is the M.D of Prettyhealth Care Ltd Lagos.

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FUOYE Protest: Ekiti govt visits, condoles with families of slain students - ITREALMS

The Ekiti State government has commiserated with the families of Joseph Okunofua and Kehinde Dada, students of the Federal University, Oye Ekiti (FUOYE) who lost their lives during Tuesday’s protest in Oye-Ekiti, reports  ITREALMS:.

The government delegation comprising the Secretary to the State Government, Hon Biodun Oyebanji; Chief of Staff to the Governor, Hon Biodun Omoleye; Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social development, Chief (Mrs) Moji Fafure; Commissioner for Environment, Hon Gbenga Ageyo; lawmaker representing Ido/Osi 1 at the State Assembly, Hon. Abiodun Fawekun, and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs, Dr (Mrs) Enuice Oladimeji, visited the two families in Ido-Ekiti and Usi –Ekiti on Friday afternoon.

The delegation led by Hon. Oyebanji visited Mrs Esther Okunofua, mother of Joseph, who was a 300 level student of Biology Education in Ido -Ekiti and Mr and Mrs Adedayo Dada, parents of Kehinde Dada in Usi Ekiti.

Oyebanji said the visit was at the instance the State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; who was saddened by the unfortunate incident, adding that the visit was to demonstrate that the state government share in their grief and to encourage them during the trying period.

“On the instruction of the governor, delegation of the government is here to condole with the families that lost their loved ones during the unfortunate incident that happened in Oye Ekiti. We are here to commiserate, encourage them to take heart and to assure them that government is with them in this trying period”, Oyebanji said.

The Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Chief (Mrs) Moji Fafure who also spoke with the parents in Yoruba language urged the parents of the deceased to take solace in the word of God as no amount of counselling can fill the vacuum created by the irreparable loss. She also prayed for the families.

“The Governor and his wife sent their condolence messages. They share in your grief over the unfortunate incident and they prayed that God in His mercies will not allow a reoccurrence. The loss is painful but it is our prayer that the Almighty God will keep your remaining children safe. Never again will you bury any of your children”, she said.

At the resident of the late Kehinde Dada, the deceased’s elder brother, Bankole Dada thanked the government delegation for sharing in their grief.

Ayo Midele/Editor

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Friday, September 13, 2019

Q2 2019: 9mobile on impressive lead in porting activities - ITREALMS

Telecom operator, 9mobile has maintained its impressive performance on the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) activity chart as it emerged the highest gainer with more subscribers porting into its network at the end of the second quarter of 2019, reports. ITREALMS.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Telecoms Data Q2 2019 Report, 9mobile gained 19,369 subscribers in porting activities for quarter two in comparison with the number of subscribers which other Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) attracted unto their network during the period in review.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), recently affirmed that 9mobile gained highest ports-in consistently over the past one year. The regulator in the industry report covering the period June 2018 to May 2019 posted on its website, indicated that from June 2018 up till May 2019, 9mobile has consistently maintained double or triple lead in ports-in to stay ahead of other 
Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).

While further affirming the telco’s impressive performance on MNP assessment, the NBS Q2 report showed that 9mobile was ahead of other operators having gained more subscribers from their networks at the end of the second quarter.

The report added that MTN emerged the second largest MNP gainer with 7,560 ports-in; Airtel was third with 1,355 subscribers while Glo was fourth having gained 1,184 subscribers.

The breakdown of the NBS Q2 report shows that in April, MTN gained 3,018 subscribers and lost 942; Glo gained 697 and lost 2,401; Airtel gained 809 and lost 2,792 while 9mobile gained 4,017 and lost 1,808. In May, while MTN gained 3,018 subscribers, 942 ported out of the network; Glo gained 767 subscribers and lost 3,013. Airtel gained 305 and lost 5, while 9mobile gained 6,691 and lost 1,892. For June, MTN gained 1,524 and lost 1,178; Glo gained 420 and lost 3,887; Airtel gained 241 and lost 73 while 9mobile gained 8,661 and lost 1,200.

The total figures for the three months of April, May and June 2019 indicated that 9mobile topped the ports-in list with 19,369 subscribers while 4,900 customers ported out. MTN came second on the ports-in chart with 7,560 subscribers and 3,062 ports-out while Airtel was third with 1,355 subscribers ported-in and 2,870 subscribers exiting the network. Glo came fourth having gained 1,184 port-in subscribers while it recorded the highest port-out figure of 9,301 subscribers.

Chuks Egbune/Editor

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How Erelu Fayemi convoy was attack by EKSG - ITREALMS

The Government of Ekiti State hereby confirms that the convoy of the First Lady of the State, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, was attacked during a protest by students of the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti on Tuesday.

Whilst acknowledging that the protest might have started as a peaceful one, there was an escalation to violence, possibly due to infiltration by hoodlums.

Erelu Fayemi was in Oye Local Government in continuation of her community engagement and advocacy tour of the state. She had commenced the Tuesday’s tour from Moba Local Government and had visited Ilejemeje Local Government before arriving in Oye-Ekiti for the last leg of the tour.

The students had earlier in the day taken over major streets in the town, protesting against the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), over power outage in the area. Government was not petitioned nor alerted of this plight prior to the protest.

The convoy of the Wife of the Governor was attacked with several vehicles vandalised, leaving many people, including journalists, with varying degrees of injuries.

Those injured during the attack have been given first aid treatment, while some are still receiving treatment in the hospital.

While not denying the students the right to express their grievances on any issue, it is expected that such be done without resulting to violence.

Ekiti State Government has been informed that there might have been casualties recorded during the incident. We await more details of this sad development from the school authorities. Nothing is worth the loss of any life.

As a responsible government, it is on record that the State Government has been engaging the electricity company (BEDC) on how to improve the power situation in parts of the State, long before this unfortunate incident, and promise to continue to engage them on the improvement of their service delivery to Ekiti State.

The general public is hereby advised to go about their normal activities as the situation is now under control.

Ayo Midele/Editor

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Tribunal: Vindication of President Buhari’s personal character, electoral victory says Tinubu

All Progressives Congress National Stalwart, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari over his victory at the Presidential Elections Tribunal on Wednesday, describing it as a resounding judicial vindication of Buhari’s personal character and electoral victory, reports ITREALMS.

In press statement entitled “President Election Tribunal Verdict, Justice Served, Democracy Saved,” Asiwaju Tinubu said: “With the unanimous ruling of the Court of Appeal dismissing the Presidential Election Petition of PDP candidate Alhaji Abubakar Atiku today, the rule of law came to the defense of democracy by affirming the sovereign will of the people. Their will was expressed during the February 23 election when a vast, compelling majority of the electorate cast their ballots for President Buhari to serve a second term as Head of State and Commander-in- Chief of our beloved nation.

“Whatever partisan side one might take, all must agree that today was a bright day for the administration of justice. The Court of Appeal rendered a comprehensive judgment of extraordinary thoroughness, reason and breadth on the many issues presented in this important matter. The Court did so in the open air and before the television cameras that gave eyes to the entire nation to watch this fine moment for the Nigerian judiciary. The court did its job by following the law of the land wherever it might lead.

“As a Nigerian, I was proud to see both sides of this dispute behave with utmost civility and decorum despite the weight of the matters at stake and the intensity of the legal arguments presented. It is in this spirit that we must always seek to resolve even our most stubborn differences that we may emerge a stronger yet more peaceful nation.

“Former Vice President Atiku and his legal team put forth some imaginative, if desperate, arguments as was their right. They fought vigorously for their positions and were allowed to do so without pressure and without fear. No one used the power of the state to intimidate them in court just as no one used the power of the state to intimidate them during the election. As the Court affirmed, the election was free and fair and the final result should stand.

“The PDP claimed that President Buhari was unqualified to run for office. To his credit, President Buhari took this assault against his character with customary grace. The court thoroughly vindicated him. Based on his education and the experiences gained through his fine career, the Court determined the evidence presented by Atiku showed that the President was “eminently qualified” and had done nothing untoward in his election filings with INEC.

“Atiku also placed unfounded reliance on the assertion of the use of card readers to send election results to an imaginary server. The court found that the operative law did not provide for the alleged electronic transmission of polling booth results. Atiku could not present evidence that such transmissions ever took place. In fact, such transmissions were technologically unfeasible. Card readers were not meant for this task and the purported mystery server was but a phantom in the PDP’s mind.

“To their credit, Atiku’s team argued and pressed their case energetically; but in the end their claims were based on things that existed only in their minds. They were arguing what they wanted to have happened not what actually took place. The Court, on the other hand, can only deal with facts at hand not the imaginings of the mind.

“Most importantly, the Court found that the election was properly conducted and that President Buhari won by the wide margin counted and recorded by INEC. Atiku was given the chance to prove his case. In the end, he did not produce the requisite evidence. This failure was not from lack of trying; the failure was because such evidence simply does not exist. President Buhari won the election openly and honestly.

“I congratulate President Buhari for this resounding judicial vindication of his personal character and of his electoral victory. I know Mr. President as a magnanimous person who will reach out his hand in friendship to Atiku in the spirit of reconciliation, national tranquility and progress. We may disagree and argue as brothers but never as enemies who cannot resolve whatever difference that has come between us.

“The next step lies with Atiku. He can decide to continue with these claims or he can take the more prudent approach by accepting the express will of the people and placing his ample talents in the service of the nation in his private capacity.

“In the meantime, this day shall stand as a proud day for Nigeria, a day when the rule of law stood in full support of democratic elections and of the sovereignty of the Nigerian people to select the leaders of their choice”.

Chuks Egbune/Editor
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Thursday, September 12, 2019

BREAKING: Pantami appoints Uwa Suleiman spokesperson - ITREALMS

The Honourable Minister of Communications, Dr. Ali Isa Ibrahim Pantami, has appointed Mrs. Uwa Suleiman as his spokesperson, reports ITREALMS.
Mrs. Suleiman was until her latest appointment, the Assistant Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, which effectively position her as spokesperson at the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

ITREALMS recalls that Pantami was the Director-General of NITDA till he was appointed minister by President Muhammadu Buhari , since 2016.

A copy of the appointment letter to Mrs. Suleiman sighted by 
ITREALMS, was personally signed by Dr. Pantami and dated Thursday, September 12, 2019.

According to Pantami in the letter referenced “HMC/026/GEN/Vol.IV” Mrs. Suleiman’s appointment was based on her track record and performance.

“The appointment takes effect from 5th September, 2019,” he declared.

Also, he said, Mrs. Suleiman’s schedule of duties would be communicated to her in due course.

Further, he urged Uwa, to accept his warm congratulations and best wishes on the latest appointment, which he maintained was a testimony of confidence and trust he had on her ability to deliver.

Uwa Suleiman, 
ITREALMS gathered is a graduate of Ahmadu Bello University where she obtained Bachelor of Education (BEd) in English Language and Literature/Letters from in 2002.

Remmy Nweke/DoP

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Vodacom Digital Accelerator makes a debut - ITREALMS

Leading telecommunication company Vodacom Tanzania Plc and Smart Lab, Thursday launched “Vodacom Digital Accelerator,” reports ITREALMS.

This programme, ITREALMS gathered, intends to help early-stage and growth-stage technology startups become profitable and revenue generating businesses.

The new program which will run yearly aims at identifying and supporting startup entrepreneurs in mobile, telecom, fintech, media, health, education, and e-commerce will have three phases which include application, selection and acceleration.

Speaking at the launch event, Vodacom Tanzania Plc’s Managing Director Hisham Hendi said that the partnership between Vodacom Tanzania and Smartcodes is a crucial move towards providing opportunities to startup businesses via technological paths which will result into workable business models which will benefit communities, especially scores of youth across the country. He encouraged more youth to be innovative and take advantage of this opportunity as a path to economic empowerment through solving social developmental issues in their communities.

“Vodacom always aims to create impactful sustainable change in the society where we operate in line with our strategic business focus and, the Vodacom Accelerator aims to do just that,” he added.

He further elaborated that as a company which aims at taking Tanzanians into the digital world, Vodacom Tanzania encourages technology driven ideas that bring sustainable change.

“Digital technology is not only changing the way we do business in Africa but also revolutionizing the way we perceive and solve issues of development. It is therefore with great honor that we will once again create an opportunity for such ideas to be recognized, supported and transformed to maximize social impact”, he said.

He also added, “Vodacom has partnered with Smart Lab, a well-known innovation hub that aims to bring tangible results that will disrupt the innovation eco-system. So, this will be an opportunity for startups and innovators in the selected criteria to showcase their products and also gain from the platform including exclusive partnership deals with Vodacom, mentorship, technical assistance, marketing and exposure to Vodacom and Smart Lab’s large network of partners and finally customers to test and experience their solutions’.

Smart Codes Chief Executive Officer Edwin Bruno shared his excitement for the new program saying that, “we are excited to be part of the “Vodacom Accelerator” and together with Vodacom we hope to create a brand building platform for the tech savvy youth. This program is in line with our corporate strategy to drive messaging around youth support in the digital age and we are grateful for Vodacom Tanzania who saw the need to create the next round of success stories for African entrepreneurs building fast-growing technology companies coming from within the country.”

He detailed that “the innovation community has mushroomed in Tanzania from just a handful of hubs in 2011 to more than 45 in 2019 but there has been a slower involvement from the corporate side whereas Vodacom in this partnership with Smart Lab will lead in bridging that gap. We look forward to a tech-evolved-future for Tanzania that is full of disruptive solutions which will positively impact the coming generations.”

Vodacom’s director of Corporate Affairs Rosalynn Mworia said Vodacom is investing more than 150,000 dollars into the accelerator program which will go towards educating and empowering Tanzania‘s youth.

During the program which also aims at leveraging corporate resources, networks, mentors, and partners, participants will present their progress to a panel of investors and associates at the end of a 3-month acceleration period from which winners will get further support from Vodacom Tanzania Plc, Smart Lab, and partners for an added period of 6 months.

Vodacom is leading in the evolution of the fintech sector in Tanzania which is one of the fastest growing sectors on the continent with technology increasingly defining the day-to-day running of businesses and services.

The launch was also attended by other stakeholders from government, investor community, innovation hubs, financial institutions, corporates, startups, university professors, development partners, embassies and key players in the technology and innovation community.

Chuks Egbune/Editor

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Oloibiri Health Programme: PPP at work for Sustainable Healthcare Systems in Nigeria - ITREALMS

The first phase of the Oloibiri Health Programme (OHP) was recently inaugurated and comprises of the remodelled General Hospital, Kolo; Water Treatment Plant; Hybrid Solar Powered System; Medical Laboratory Equipment at the College of Health Technology, Otuogidi and the Dental Chair at the Demonstration Clinic, Otuogidi (one of the 14 OHP network of facilities). Over 17,000 people and 20 Communities have benefited from the programme over the last three years, in addition to training of 117 facility and community health workers and business mentorship to 100 entrepreneurs. In 2015, GE Healthcare and Shell Companies in Nigeria (Shell) signed an MOU to establish the comprehensive healthcare project in Ogbia Local Government Area (LGA), Bayelsa State.
“The OHP is an expansive initiative being implemented in three phases. As part of the first Phase, the General Hospital Kolo will serve as a referral hub providing 24 hours service with linkages to five Health-for-Life Centres and 13 Ward Health Centres. The second phase projects consists of Oloibiri Health-for-Life Centre, a Ward Health Centre, and a Knowledge Management and Research Centre to be completed by the end of October 2019.The third phase will be the establishment of the pilot Ogbia Community Health Insurance Scheme that will anchor the sustainability of the OHP and will deliver healthcare services using a network of facilities. This is expected to start in December 2019.” Said Mr. Osagie Okunbor, Managing Director, the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria.

The OHP is a transformational health intervention programme championed by Shell as part of its Social Investment Programme, and in commemoration of the centenary celebrations of Nigeria delivered by GE Healthcare from February 2015 to August 2019. Other key programme partners include Bayelsa State Government/ Ministry of Health, Ogbia Local Government Area, Federal University Otuoke, and World Bank/International Finance Corporation.

“Strengthening healthcare systems at the primary and secondary levels is key in accelerating Nigeria’s vision for Universal Health Coverage,” said Eyong Ebai, General Manager, GE Healthcare West, Central & French Sub-Sahara Africa. “The OHP is an excellent example of the impact collaborations in the healthcare sector can attain, in driving sustainable healthcare solutions and access to quality and affordable healthcare for all across the country.” Mr. Ebai added that with over 40 years of operation in Nigeria, GE Healthcare was focused on partnering with public and private health providers to support the country’s sustainable healthcare development.

The OHP through targeted efforts seeks to strengthen the existing health system, promote world class service delivery and uptake, establish a learning and operations research institute, and enhance social determinants of health within communities. The programme has taken a more holistic and unique approach by addressing challenges across the entire health system in a given population, with a wider scope including infrastructure upgrade, capacity building and training, availability of drugs, health insurance, strengthening data and overall health information management. It also has an explicit focus on social determinants of health which are outside the health system but have huge impact on the health of individuals and communities such as employment, water, sanitation and hygiene, electricity among others.

“In the next decades, economic growth in nations will be driven by the extent of human capital accumulation. This is why I am particularly proud of the launch of this programme, because it prepares the people of Ogbia LGA for the challenges of the next century. Human capital development cannot become a reality if the people lack basic healthcare needs, education, skills and capabilities” Said Dr. Olumide Okunola, Senior Health Specialist at the World Bank/International Finance Corporation.

He added that Oloibiri, which was where Nigeria first discovered oil in commercial quantity over six decades ago, has made another first in the country by attaining Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

The Permanent Secretary Bayelsa State Ministry of Health, Dr Inodu Apoku KSC said, “The OHP is a good example of how as a state we are fast-tracking achievement of UHC through collaborations with private, development and other stakeholders as part of our Bayelsa State Strategic Health Development Plan. This will help ensure our citizenry have access to comprehensive, appropriate, affordable quality essential health care through revitalization of Primary Health Care.”

The attainment of UHC for both Nigeria and Africa at large requires continuous innovation of health systems at both primary and secondary healthcare levels. The success of the OHP in particular demonstrates the critical role of the private sector as a source of funding for universal access to a guaranteed package of health services at an affordable price and for provision of services which is used to leverage public financing. Health for all is possible through deliberate public and private collaborations in scalable initiatives such as the OHP, geared towards improving the quality of life for the citizens. 
Uboshe Uboshe/Editor
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NLNG steps up game, issues Train 7 EPC contract letter to SCD JV Consortium - ITREALMS

The Nigeria LNGLimited (NLNG) has made a significant step towards the Final Investment Decision (FID) for its Train 7 Project, with the issuance of a Letter of Intent for the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Contract of the project to SCD JV Consortium, reports ITREALMS.

SCD JV Consortium, ITREALMS gathered, is made up of Saipem of Italy, Japan’s Chiyoda and Daewoo of South Korea.

This came, ITREALMS also gathered, on the heels of the Nigeria Content (NC) plan signed with Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and the recent milestone of the 3rd of September, 2019 when NLNG submitted the summary outcome of the commercial bids evaluation for the Train 7 Project to NCDMB in line with the project certification and authorization procedure.

According to NLNG, in a press statement available to ITREALMS by the General Manager, External Relations, Eyono Fatayi-Williams, the Letter of Intent is one of the key milestones to be achieved on the road to FID by its Shareholders; this expresses the intention to award the main EPC Contract for the Train 7 Project to the preferred bidder, saying that it marks another significant step towards the realization of Train 7 and it’s attendant value to NLNG’s Shareholders and for the benefit of the Nigerian Economy.

The company, Fatayi-Williams said, assured that the contracting process was transparent in full compliance with all applicable laws and good industry practices, stating that it will continue to operate its business in an open manner consistent with its core values of Integrity and Excellence.

The Train 7 Project is expected to ramp up NLNG’s production capacity by 35% from 22 Million Tonnes Per Annum (MTPA) to around 30 MTPA. The Project will form part of the investment of over US$10 billion including the upstream scope of the LNG value chain, thereby boosting the much needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) profile of Nigeria. . The Project is anticipated to create about 10,000 new jobs during the construction stage, and on completion, help to further diversify the revenue portfolio of the Federal Government and increase its tax base. The company said this was in line with its corporate vision of ”Helping to build a better Nigeria”. The construction period after FID will last approximately four to five years.

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

The actualisation of the Train 7 Project comes as NLNG celebrates 30 years of its incorporation and 20 years since exporting its first LNG cargo in 1999.

Remmy Nweke/DoP

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