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First Bank to host FinTech Summit 4.0 on reinventing banking technology - ITREALMS

ITREALMS : Leading financial inclusion services provider, the  First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has said that the 2020 edition of its annu...

Monday, August 03, 2020

First Bank to host FinTech Summit 4.0 on reinventing banking technology - ITREALMS

Leading financial inclusion services provider, the First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has said that the 2020 edition of its annual FinTech Summit would hold on Thursday, 6 August 2020 by 12.00 noon, virtually, reports ITREALMS.

The 2020 edition of the summit, which is the fourth in its series is themed “How Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence will Disrupt FinTech in Nigeria” and will be discussed by experts, key and leading players, policy influencers and regulatory officials in the Nigerian financial, banking and technological climate.

To participate in the event, click the link to register.

Chinedu Echeruo, founder of HopStop which was sold to Apple for $1bn will be leading the discussion as the Keynote speaker alongside other panelists; Musa Itopa Jimoh, Director, Payments System Management Department and Aminu Maida, Executive Director, Technology & Operations, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS).

Representing FirstBank in the panel of discussants are Callistus Obetta, Group Executive, Technology & Services and Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products

Speaking on the event, Mr. Gbenga Shobo, Deputy Managing Director, First Bank of Nigeria Limited said; “at FirstBank, we have been at the forefront of employing technology in the delivery of financial services in the country exemplified by our various products and services such as FirstMobile, USSD Banking services, FirstMonie Wallet, FirstMonie Agent Banking, FirstAdvance loans provisions

The 2020 edition of our FINTECH summit will build on the successes achieved in the last three editions. We welcome the panelists as we look forward to the shared knowledge which will be integral to deepening the continued growth of banking technology, especially its impact on the Gross Domestic Product of Nigeria and the continent at large.

Technology continues to play a fundamental role in driving financial inclusion and strengthening the growth of SMEs that contribute significantly to the development of the country.

We encourage members of the public, players in the fintech and financial climate to register, as there is knowledge for everyone,” he concluded.


UNICEF, WHO: Breastmilk saves children's lives - ITREALMS

UNICEF has said that the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need for stronger measures to support exclusive breastfeeding, as Nigeria joins the world to celebrate this year’s World Breastfeeding Week themed “Supporting breastfeeding for a healthier planet.”
The call came as UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), in a joint statement, urged governments to find innovative solutions to protect and promote women’s access to breastfeeding counselling, a critical component of breastfeeding support.

Breastmilk saves children’s lives as it provides antibodies that give babies a healthy boost and protect them against many childhood illnesses. While researchers continue to test breastmilk from mothers with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, current evidence indicate that it is unlikely that COVID-19 would be transmitted through breastfeeding.

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, like most emergencies, leaves families with children in an extremely vulnerable position. Given the present lack of evidence that transmission of the virus could occur through breastmilk, we recommend that mothers should be encouraged to initiate and continue to breastfeed their babies while observing good hygiene practices,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF’s Representative in Nigeria.

UNICEF and WHO recommend that babies be fed only breastmilk for their first 6 months, after which they should continue breastfeeding – as well as eating other nutritious and safe foods – until 2 years of age or beyond. Currently, only 29 percent of Nigerian children between the ages of 0 to 6 months are exclusively breastfed.

Breastmilk substitutes such as infant formula, other milk products, and beverages not only contribute negatively to the health and development of the child, but also to environmental degradation and climate change. Breastmilk, on the other hand, is natural, and is the only food a baby needs in the first 6 months of life.

UNICEF called on relevant agencies to strictly enforce adherence to the National Regulation on the Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and relevant World Health Assembly (WHA) resolutions by putting to a stop to the unwholesome marketing of breastmilk substitutes. Civil society organizations should also not seek or accept donations of breastmilk substitutes in emergency situations.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, availability and increased access to health care workers, including midwives and nurses, to deliver skilled breastfeeding counselling to mothers and families is essential. Efforts must be made to increase investment in maternal, infant, and child nutrition interventions at the community level support and to implement policies that support maternity leave for 6 months in the public sector, and an enabling environment for breastfeeding in the private sector. Advocacy for paid paternity leave must also continue to ensure full participation of both parents in the early moments of the child.

“Through strengthened policy provisions and increased investment for breastfeeding, we can ensure that mothers in Nigeria are empowered to breastfeed their babies,” said Peter Hawkins. “Breastfeeding is still the safest during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Dawha, former GMD @NNPC is dead - ITREALMS

The former Group Managing Director (GMD), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Joseph Thlama Dawha, is dead, reports ITREALMS.

Confirming this, the NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Kennie Obateru said 
Dr. Dawha, died after a brief illness.

He quoted the NNPC Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari, in a press statement available to 
ITREALMS, as expressing shock over the sudden death of Dr. Dawha, who was the 16th Group Managing Director of the corporation.

Also, Mallam Kyari said that NNPC family gravely mourned the death of the former GMD, who he noted, provided astute leadership and made immense contributions to the progress of corporation.

He described Dr. Dawha’s death as a great loss to not only NNPC but also Nigeria as a whole.

Dr. Dawha was GMD of NNPC between August, 2014 to August, 2015.
Pix: Dr. Dawha

Mercy Orphanage Home ready for commissioning - ITREALMS

All is now set for the official opening of Mercy Orphanage Home by His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. Martin Igwe Uzoukwu on Thursday, August 6, 2020, reports ITREALMS.

Disclosing this, the Director of the Home, Rev. Fr. Ignatius Makoji, informed 
ITREALMS that the ceremony would commence with a holy mass at the premises.

“The ceremony begins with the Holy Mass at 10:00 a m. Venue: plot 178 Mallam Isa Street Oyus, GRA, Suleja,” he said.

Fr Makoji also said that founder of MDM, and Catholic Bishop of Minna Diocese, Dr. Uzoukwu would be the chief celebrant at the occasion.

According to him, the choice of the date was very instructive because that is equally the date the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of transfiguration of the Lord.

He, therefore, beckoned on well-wishers, “fathers, brothers and sisters, friends, devotees and donors” for their anticipated presence.

Nenye Dom/Editor

Pix: Fr. Makoji

NCS goes virtual with international conference 2020, tackles emerging technologies - ITREALMS

The Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) has advanced plans to host its three-day 2020 international conference virtually, reports ITREALMS.

The three-day virtual meeting, NCS president, Prof. Adesina Sodiya, told 
ITREALMS, would hold between Tuesday, August 11 through Thursday, 13th, with the theme: Emerging Applications and Technologies for Industry 4.0 (EATI 2020).

He noted that 42-year old NCS had always rotated its conference venues annually amongst the six geopolitical zones in the country, stressing that even the 2020 conference was initially scheduled to hold in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State before the pandemic.

“The challenge posed by COVID-19 reaffirms the need for Information Technology Professionals to change their strategies. In fact, Covid-19 has introduced a new normal paradigm shift which the whole is currently battling with,” Sodiya said.

The theme of the conference was carefully and scientifically chosen in order to provide the needed technological supports for industries in this modern society. Industry 4.0 or the Fourth Industrial revolution is simply about smart manufacturing. The technological components of industry 4.0 are full process and production line automation; intelligent control of cyber-physical systems; and adoption of Internet of things (IoT), robotics, big data analytics, cloud computing, and machine learning. As a nation, our industries must leverage on these technologies for enhanced profitability and economic well-being.

This, he said, NCS conference would focus on important issues related to the theme and sub themes such as “Innovative Strategies for addressing cybersecurity and privacy challenges in industry 4.0; A New Generation of Cyber Physical Systems in the Era of AI; Identity and Population management strategies for stimulating digital Economy; Youth Innovation and Sustainable Productivity; and Future Learning.”

Other topics lined up for discussion include “The Future University: Academia-Industry collaboration for Industry 4.0; Applications and Techniques in Industry 4.0; Applications and Techniques in High Performance Computing and Networks; Technology governance, Policy and Regulatory framework; Smart manufacturing: Implications for Small, Medium and Large-Scale Enterprises; Connectivity Infrastructural Requirements for Industry 4.0; Financial Systems and Services for Industry 4.0.

This year’s conference, Sodiya said, promised to provide a multi-stakeholder forum to examine pertinent considerations in showcasing emerging applications and technologies to achieving fourth industrial revolution that will lead to sustainable development.

Just as engagement opportunities will be explored during the conference to present and develop effective strategies, creative approaches and practical solutions.

Shoprite: Real reason we're vacating Nigerian market - ITREALMS

The Shoprite Holdings Limited has conclude plans to vacate Nigeria due to downturn in business performance occasioned by COVID-19 and hyperinflation, reports ITREALMS.

ITREALMS gathered were the real reasons adduced by the company in its “Operational and Voluntary Trading Update (52 Weeks Ended 28 June 2020) for declaring Nigeria's operations insolvent.

Shoprite Group of Companies, is Africa's largest food retailer founded in South Africa, by billionaire Christo Wiese in 1979 and has since operates over 2,934 outlets across 15 countries including Nigeria on the continent and Indian Ocean Island, with head office in Brackenfell in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Shoprite subsidiaries include Checkers, Computicket (Pty) Ltd.

According to the “Operational and Voluntary Trading Update (52 Weeks Ended 28 June 2020) report available to 
ITREALMS on Monday and endorsed in Cape Town, August 3, 2020 by the Chief Executive Officer, Pieter Engelbrecht, Chief Financial Officer, Anton de Bruyn, Corporate Affairs and Communications, Adele Lambrechts, and Investor relations chief, Natasha Moolman, decried poor performance in Nigeria without any option than to vacate the market in this most populous African country.

The trading update sponsored by Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking, showed that Nigerian market it opened in 2005 is no longer favour.

The company, trading in Nigeria as “Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited,” 
ITREALMS gathered, opened in Lagos in December 2005, and has since expanded into seven states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja with its outlets.

Shoprite stated that “Despite difficult circumstances, in a year incorporating the COVID-19 lockdown and accompanying regulations governing trade, transport and operations, the Group increased total sale of merchandise for the 52 weeks to 28 June 2020 (including the impact of hyperinflation in the prior year) by 6.4 per cent to approximately R156.9 billion. Like-for-like growth for the year was 4.4 per cent.

As such, “Following approaches from various potential investors, and in line with our re-evaluation of the Group’s operating model in Nigeria, the Board has decided to initiate a formal process to consider the potential sale of all, or a majority stake, in Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Shoprite International Limited.

Thus, “Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited may be classified as a discontinued operation when Shoprite reports its results for the year. Any further updates will be provided to the market at the appropriate time.”
ITREALMS gathered that this voluntary trading update became important in order to assess the impact of the impairments raised and the aforementioned COVID-19 costs on the group’s results for the year.

“Furthermore, due to the potential classification of our Nigerian business as a discontinued operation, we present continuing operations excluding Nigeria as an alternative,” part of the update read, stressing that they have excluded the after tax effect of exchange rate gains or losses and the impact of hyperinflation.

“In addition, “we have calculated this metric to exclude once-off COVID-19 costs.”

Chuks Egbune/DoP

Stunningly corrupt: Group lists 14 high profile cases against Malami, demands resignation - ITREALMS

A 150-member Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), has listed some 14 high profile corruption cases against the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and submitted same to the Presidency, reports 

Disclosing this to ITREALMS, CSNAC Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, said that Malami is also a close ally of President Mohammadu Buhari, said the letter was delivered at the weekend.

According to him, the allegations ranged from financial sleaze involving him and his family to influence peddling.

Entitled "Compilation of Corruption Allegations and Abuse of Office Against the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice three leading anti-corruption groups call for immediate probe of the Minister" they said the immediate option before the AGF is to resign and give way for full inquiry into the grand allegations that seem to portray the him as stunningly corrupt.

In the petition, available to ITREALMS, President Buhari was urged to put in motion the Public inquiry or risk legal fireworks from lawyers in the country.

“It has to be now or never. There are very strong allegations of corruption against Mr Abubakar Malami with clear evidence. President Buhari should act now. We have listed these corruption cases after painstaking compilation of high profile corruption cases involving the country’s No 1 law officer. The President must act without delay”, the group said in the petition signed by Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL Chairman, Mr Debo Adeniran and Co-founder, Say No Campaign, Ezenwa Nwagwu.

The coalition said the response of President Buhari to the allegations has the prospect of determining the future of the anti-corruption campaign in the country.

“We are perturbed by these reports considering the revered position occupied by Mr. Malami, being the number one law officer of the country. Some of the allegations as conveyed in the media reports go to the root of breakdown of law and order and total disregard for the rule of law. These allegations serve as a slap in the face to your Excellency’s administration foremost goal of ridding the Nation of corruption. These allegations are totally opposite the core objectives of your administration and international perception of the country”, the three groups wrote in the petition to Buhari.

Top on the list is the alleged auctioning of sea vessels holding crude oil seized by the Federal Government, violating Section 31(2) and (4) of the EFCC Act 2004. “The AGF also authorized the sale of these vessels by companies under EFCC prosecution for similar offence of illegal bunkering and this action was admitted by the AGF through his media aide pleading presumption of innocence on the part of the accused, in the case being prosecuted by the Federal Government through EFCC,” the groups wrote quoting a string of earlier media reports.

They accuse Malami of twisting the law to shield his family members, corrupt officials and institutions in the most brazen manners. Malami was said to be responsible for the reinstatement of Abdulrasheed Maina, former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT) into the Federal Civil Service Commission without due process. He was said to have filed for the discontinuation of a 25billion Naira criminal charge against Senator Danjuma Goje without any justification, after over 7 years of diligent investigation and prosecution by the EFCC, whereas in June this year, he allegedly withdrew criminal charges against soldiers who were accused of killing police officers and a civilian in the bid to aid the escape of Wadume, a millionaire kidnapper.

The coalition said that on November 18, 2018, Mr Malami, through a lawyer from his office, Mr Pius Akuta, came to Lagos High Court to withdraw a case of fraud filed by EFCC against one Dr. John Abebe, a businessman and younger brother to late Stella Obasanjo but the EFCC resisted the illegal move before Justice Dada of the Lagos High Court on the ground that the AGF has no constitutional power to take over a case filed in Lagos High Court.

Other examples listed included the withdrawal of the case against the Chairman, Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Mr Danladi Yakubu for criminal charges, demand for the withdrawal of the cases against Bello Adoke, Diezani Alison-Madueke and others involved in the Malabu scandal and his halting investigation of huge fraud in Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NISRAL).

The Malabu scam involves the controversial OPL 245 which has seen Nigeria recover some $78 million from individuals already convicted in Italy as oil giants linked with the graft continue to face prosecution in Milan.

The AGF was said to have sent a letter ordering the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offences Commission, (ICPC) and the Department of State Services, (DSS) and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit, (NFIU) to all stop probe of the NIRSAL scam. He was said to have described the investigations as an "unhealthy competition" and "sheer waste of government resources".

Malami is also accused of being the kingpin in the alleged duplicity of payment of $16.9 million fees to two friends as new lawyers for the recovery of the loot traced to a former Nigerian Head of State, Sanni Abacha, after a Swiss lawyer hired and fully paid by the previous government, Enrico Monfrini, to help in the recovery had completed his brief as reported.

Malami was said to have barred the prosecution of the former Comptroller General of Customs, Mohammed Inde Dikko, through a suspicious deal between the AGF and the Immediate past DSS Director on one side and the Comptroller General of Customs to refund $8 million to the Federal Government. The case was discontinued as Justice Dimgba refused to allow further prosecution of this matter under the guise that Mr. Dikko had kept his promise under the agreement by refunding N1,576,000,000 and more to the FG through the EFCC funds recovery account in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The FG earlier accused Mr. Dikko of stealing over N40 billion.

The groups said its investigations and media reports suggest that Malami own assets worth billions far ahead of what he owned before his appointment as the country’s AGF. Some of the properties listed in his name were a multimillion naira Rayhaan Hotels worth about N500million, located at opposite Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Zaria Road, Kano State, a property worth about N600million Naira locate at Ahmadu Bello Way, Nasarawa GRA, Kano, a newly constructed school at the back of Nitel at Gesse Phase 1, Birni Kebbi worth about N700million, a multi million Naira property built by Mr. Malami for his son located at Gesse Phase II in Birni Kabbi worth over N400 million, a mansion known as Azbir Arena allegedly built by Mr. Malami for his second son. Azbir Arena an entertainment centre worth over N3 Billion, with a big plaza and kids playing centre and hotel all combined in one expansive property.

The groups accused Mr. Malami of other misconducts like using the official letterhead of the office of AGF to seek support for his son’s wedding and that he encouraged the defacing of Naira and other currencies to the embarrassment of the country and in violation of section 21(1) and (3) of the Central Bank Act, 2007. During the wedding of his son, Mr. Malami was also accused of allowing the breach of Covid-19 protocol and regulations putting the lives of Nigerians at risk. In Ghana recently, a similar incidence led to the resignation of a minister for breach of the country’s Covid-19 protocols.

The coalition stated “At ICPC, Mr Malami also displayed his unpretentious hatred for the fight against corruption by writing a letter dated 16th December, 2016 withdrawing the case of fraud filed against Mr. Godsday Orubebe, the former Minister of Niger Delta, in a case involving over N1.97billion, on the ground that in his opinion, there was no basis for filing the charge against him.”

“We strongly believe that the above allegations are deserving of thorough, immediate and urgent investigation through an independent panel of inquiry and the Attorney General suspended from office pending the conclusion of this investigation; the veracity or otherwise of these allegations is essential for the sanity of the public service.”

The groups said “the law presumes any allegation as a suspicion until the suspect is so proven guilty; we as organizations, relentless in seeing transparency and accountability actualized and that due process is deployed in investigating corruption, abuse of power and office belief the allegations leveled against the Attorney General of Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami is deserving of your urgent action.”

The coalitions said they believe in the prevalence and sanctity of the rule of law. “We believe in due process which is why we have forwarded this petition to your Excellency for proper and diligent investigation and timeous action in order to restore the sanity of the core mandate of your administration to fight corruption which is at the verge of collapse as a result of the alleged abuse of power and office by the incumbent Attorney General and Minster of Justice.”

Uboshe Uboshe/Editor

Pix: Malami

Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon 2020 kicks off - ITREALMS

As part of efforts to address the metering gap in Lagos and Nigeria, 
the Lagos State Government has unveiled a Smart Meter Initiative tagged “The Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon 2020” reports ITREALMS.

This initiative is being organised through the Lagos State Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources, in collaboration with Eko Innovation Centre.

The unveiling was performed by the Governor of Lagos, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu and the Honourable Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Power, Goddy Jedy-Agba alongside other government officials at a virtual press conference held on Thursday July 30th 2020.

Through the initiative, which is widely applauded as a game changer, the Lagos State Government will leverage the availability of bright local talents in Nigeria to develop and produce affordable smart electricity meters for consumers. The initiative is expected to significantly reduce the revenue leakages in the sector and ultimately improve last-mile electricity supply.

Governor Sanwo-Olu in his remarks stated that the launch marks a significant milestone in the implementation plan of the State Government towards improving access to electricity in the state and it is also in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 7 of the UN which aspires to drive universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all by 2030.

He added that increased electricity access is one of the priority mandates of his administration given its significance in ultimately driving economic development of the State to enable it achieve the objective of making Lagos a 21st century Economy.

“This Lagos Smart Meter Initiative is an important way for the Lagos Government to demonstrate its commitment to improving electricity access and reliability for Lagosians. We believe that adequate metering of Lagosians and in turn Nigerians, would increase willingness to pay for electricity, improve productivity, and more importantly, continue to improve the living conditions of our people”.

“Now, as we launch the Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon 2020, we call on all relevant stakeholders – electricity sector players, technology experts, investors, regulators – to support this worthy cause as we strive to ensure sustainable electricity for all in Lagos,” he disclosed.

In his keynote address, Jedy-Agba explained that local design and production of affordable meters will be transformational for the industry and the economy at large and therefore urged all to support it.

“Lagos is an important state in Nigeria in terms of size, economy and resources. With a population of over 20million and the 5th highest GDP in Africa, Lagos is by far the biggest economy in Nigeria. Therefore, getting access to electricity right in Lagos is critical for access to electricity in the entire country.

“Electricity is an essential service, and we need to ensure that the benefits of smart meters flow to everyone. I call on all relevant stakeholders in the sector to support this innovative and impactful initiative– industry regulators, electricity sector players, technology experts, and fund providers.”

Similarly, the Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Olalere Odusote said the initiative is expected to provide access to affordable smart meters for Lagosians to improve electricity supply, monitoring, and trust between electricity providers and end users while preventing revenue leakage. It is also expected to drive innovation and creativity while generating new interest in young people for the sector.

“Over the years, despite significant investments and resolutions around power generation and distribution, there remains a huge metering gap of over 60% of electricity consumers in Lagos and Nigeria. This metering gap is what we are seeking to bridge through the Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon”.

“In line with the objectives of the Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu (BOS) Administration to make Lagos a 21st century economy, we have identified the need to intervene and support the facilitation of effective metering across the state, to ensure the provision of reliable electricity for Lagosians and Nigerians in the long-term,” he stated.

Doja Ekeruche, Advisory Board Member, Eko Innovation Centre explained that a call for application has been sent out to local talents in the tech community to submit their proposed hardware and software solutions using the guidelines stipulated on the Lagos Smart Meter website. All concepts will be assessed based on strict but transparent criteria to identify the most viable concepts proceeding to the next stage.

Furthermore, she highlighted that, “Judges with knowledge and expertise within power and tech ecosystem will review the entries and shortlist teams to proceed to the hackathon event. Final Winners of the Hackathon, in both the hardware and software categories, will win N7million. They will also be a part of the co-creation phase with other experts, and then proceed to the production and testing stage before the full commercialization of the smart meter”

Other participants at the event included the Deputy Governor of Lagos State – Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; Olatunbosun Alake, Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Innovation and Technology; other Commissioners, Special Advisers and Heads of Parastatals from the Governor Sanwo-Olu administration; key representatives from the Energy and Technology Industry, journalists and other stakeholders.

Ayo Midele/Editor

Fanawapo, Folayan honoured as Fintech1000+ heroes - ITREALMS

Nigeria’s foremost informal association in the banking, financial and allied technology sector, the Fintech1000plus, has honoured the duo of the immediate-past president of the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), Rev. Sunday Folayan, and co-founder and CEO of eMaginations, Mr. Sola Fanawopo, as FinTech1000+ heroes, reports ITREALMS.

The recognition, ITREALMS gathered was held for partners and volunteers of FinTech1000+ following their prompt contributions to the association’s CSR COVID-19 intervention for the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

ITREALMS also gathered that the latest honours’ list as Fintech1000plus Heroes comprised MTN, Airtel, Globacom, Rev. Sunday Folayan, and Sola Fanawopo among other volunteers.

The heroes’ mementoes were presented by Messrs Abubakar Suleiman, and Omoke Adebanjo, the Managing Director, Sterling Bank plc and Mastercard Senior Vice President, Regional Franchise Lead (Middle East & Africa), respectively.

Both are members of Fintech1000plus, Nigeria’s foremost informal association in the banking, financial and allied technology sector.

Commenting on the event, Iyin Aboyeji, Founder Future Africa and member Fintech1000plus noted that “Some weeks after COVID-19 hit the country, we observed some technology challenges which the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was having. They included; inability to efficiently disseminate mass media communication and information to all mobile phones concurrently, and incidence reporting which includes; tracking, tracing and citizens action points.”

In addition, he said, FinTech1000+ after deliberations among its membership and interaction with the NCDC decided to put together a team of front-end interfaces that will rapidly use the COVID-19 Risk Assessment triage to quickly analyze information from the public, while storing the information in a backend database for subsequent analysis and follow-up.

He pointed out that the front ends were made up of “Interactive Voice Response system (IVR), Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), application in major Nigerian languages, desktop tools for web-based access, and a mobile application. Moreover, as much as possible, make the front ends toll free or ZERO cost to the people, and for the telcos to make the portal access free for such incident response systems.

In acknowledging the support of Fintech1000plus, the Director-General, NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, applauded the group and partnering telecos as well as volunteers for a job well done.

“The fight against COVID-19 is not a government or public sector battle alone. But that of every stakeholder of the Nigeria project. Fintech1000plus support is well appreciated and a commendable partnership from the private sector. It is our wish that such will continue, not just during this COVID-19 pandemic, but in other areas in future,” he said.

Fintech1000plus, ITREALMS recalls, prides itself as an informal association of professionals in the financial technology sector that adopts a pragmatic approach to solving problems, especially those that impact the ability of Nigerians to do business and make payments and settlements electronically.

*Nenye Dom/Editor

AFAWA: Bank aims to unlock $5bn in 6 years - ITREALMS

The Coordinator of the African Development Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa programme, Marieme Esther Dassanou, in this interview spoke on developments recorded so far, and projected unlocking of $5bn in next years.