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NIDCOM ejection: JIFORM berates NCC, Pantami - ITREALMS

ITREALMS : The Journalists International Forum on Migration (JIFORM) has berated the  Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and  Minist...

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

NIDCOM ejection: JIFORM berates NCC, Pantami - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:

The Journalists International Forum on Migration (JIFORM) has berated the 
Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Patami over an untidy eviction of the staff of the Nigerians In Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) from NCC's annex in Abuja 48 hours within the week the notice was served on the agency, reports ITREALMS.

JIFORM also noted that the action generating attention was allegedly carried out based on the orders of Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Patami via a text message on the February 9, 2020.

According to the media foundation comprising of over 200 journalists spread across the continents covering migration issues, the nation and the Federal Government does not deserve the needless distractions and embarrassments the crisis is causing at the moment.

President of JIFORM, Ajibola Abayomi, told 
ITREALMS on Tuesday, the body have analyzed the recent exchanges between the NCC and NIDCOM, and found it extremely unfortunate and uncalled for on the manner the eviction was carried out and the reasons adduced.

“While we consider it as an act of respect to the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy not to delve much into the contradictory explanations offered by the NCC, the agency under his ministry’s supervision to justify the action, we however make bold to say that no ministry or agency can claim exclusive ownership of any property in its care as they all belong to the federal government of Nigeria built by tax payers money.
“We therefore call on the Government to wade into the matter and thoroughly investigate the ugly incident and save the nation from further embarrassment.

“At this moment when all the good energies of the nation are being channeled to contain the corona virus, it is expected that all agencies of government should work with harmonious synergy devoid of undue ego to strengthen the economy.

Ajibola disclosed that JIFORM had been inundated with calls and enquiries from media in several countries on the matter days ago.

We cannot but say we read and watched with dismay the statement of the NCC and the video of the eviction of the NIDCOM staff with uttermost dismay and also found totally unacceptable the explanations offered to justify the action.

“Commissioning of any edifice by President Muhammadu Buhari since his assumption of office, to our knowledge has never caused known distraction or obstruction of any working arrangement in the nation. It was laughable the suggestion by the NCC on one hand that certain measures of restriction to access the office were necessary to stop the NIDCOM staff that are equally under the payroll of the government from accessing the office. Very strange and laughable.

JIFORM stated that Honourable Abike Dabiri-Erewa aside from being the Chief Executive Officer/Chairman of NIDCOM was a ranking member of National Assembly that should have been accorded respect to be duly informed while on official duty outside Nigeria and be allowed to sort out staff under her before the forceful eviction.

“We are fully aware and can confirm the refurbishing of the said office by NIDCOM before the undue eviction with suspicious alacrity. Giving the development, it is our belief that NIDCOM being an agency interfacing on behalf of the federal government on matters relating to her nationals abroad, deserve to be allocated permanent office. Therefore it is expedient for government to do so without much ado” Ajibola demanded.

Ayo Midele/Editor

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Angus Okoye: RULAAC petitions Anambra CJ, urges case assignment - ITREALMS


ITREALMS:

The Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC) has petitioned the Chief Judge of Anambra urging the assignment of the Angus Okoye's case, who was murdered with high-profile suspect arrested and released without due process, reports ITREALMS.

According to RULAAC petition available to ITREALMS, entitled "RULAAC Calls on the Chief Judge of Ananbra State to promptly assign the case of murder of Angus Okoye by Anthony Onyeagolu and others already filed before the Anambra State High Court by the Legal Department of the Anambra State Police Command in order to scuttle the unrelenting plots by the wealthy prime murder suspect to escape arraignment and prosecution" and dated Sunday 24, May 2020.


RULAAC alleged that action of the Anambra State Police Command negates due process in the murder case, recalling that on April 23, 2020, the centre raised alarm exposing the underhand and odious action by the Commissioner of Police (CP), Legal Department, Force Headquarters, Abuja CP Austin Sanomi, who lagedly ordered the release, "at midnight hours, of a wealthy murder suspect Anthony Onyeagolu from custody at SCID Awka."

Onyeagolu and his co-accused, RULAAC said, were awaiting arraignment after investigation into how he "as mastermind and others murdered Angus Okoye in their community, Isuaniocha, Awka North LGA, Anambra State."

RULAAC noted that following the uncovering of this shocking surreptitious release and the alarm raised by RULAAC and the ensuing media attention, the DIG FCID, Force Headquarters ordered the immediate re-arrest and return to custody of the suspect and his co-accused persons and their immediate arraignment at the Anambra State High Court for murder.

"Further, in their desperate bid to deliver on a paid devious assignment, the CP Legal and his cohort hatched another nefarious plot to suppress the murder charge by preferring a lesser charge of attempted murder against the murder mastermind. The CP Legal has also been accused of altering the police investigation report and compromised the entire case file in order to shield and provide an escape route for the wealthy and desperate prime suspect.

The petition stated that "Again, the nefarious plot to change the charge from murder to attempted murder was exposed and scuttled following an SOS sent by the family representative of the victim to the DIG FCID who ordered that the accused be immediately arraigned for murder."

RULAAC pointed out that on May 15, the CP Anambra, CP John Abang, in demonstration of his commitment to allow justice prevail, summoned the O/C Legal, Anambra State Command and gave him a firm directive to immediately file murder charges against the accused.

The O/C Legal, Anambra State Command, Awka has confirmed to RULAAC that "the case has been charged in line with the CP's directive," adding that "If you file a charge at the High court, you wait till the case is assigned to a court by the CJ. As soon as the assignment is done the prosecutor will go to the court where the matter is assigned and obtain a date for the arraignment. So, right now, the matter is in court and there is no going back."

We have further information that the wealthy prime murder suspect and his two co-accused, in their unrelenting desperation to evade arraignment and trial for murder, have filed three fundamental human rights applications before three different High Court Judges in Onitsha Anambra State respectively for each of them.

While we concede to them their entitlement to their fundamental rights including the right to approach the High Courts for the enforcement of their rights, we are only concerned by the revelation that they have filed false information to the courts with a view to misleading the courts to hear and grant them reliefs based on false claims about the nature of their crime and the location of their arrest.

This is therefore, to put the Chief Judge of Anambra State on notice to be alert to ensure the scrutiny of claims in any application brought by Anthony Onyeagolu and his accomplices and to ensure that both the Police and the complainants in the murder case are put on notice before considering and granting any prayers that the murder suspects may bring before the courts.

This is to ensure that suspects in heinous multiple crimes of murder and attempted murder are not allowed to manipulate and use the judiciary to escape justice.

ITREALMS further recalled that a wealthy murder suspect, Anthony Onyeagolu, who is awaiting arraignment and trial for the murder of one Angus Okoye, was freed by the police on 20/04/2020.

Onyeagolu, 
ITREALMS gathered was released by the Officer in Charge of Legal Matters, Anambra Command following the directive of the Commissioner of Police in charge of Legal Matters, Police Force Headquarters, Abuja, Mr Augustine Sanomi.

Okoye, a 48-year-old businessman, was killed after being kidnapped at about 1:30 am on December 16, 2018 at his home in Ifite Isu Village, Isuaniocha, under Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State.

His family members said he was killed for being the star witness in a case of N100m fraud instituted by the community through the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Onyeagolu.

One Chidiebere Okoye, an indigene of the community, who was one of those kidnapped, tortured, shot and presumed dead, survived and was invited by the police to make statement on the incident where he indicted Onyeagolu.

Okoye also named others linked to the incident to include Boniface Enweani, Augustine Adigwe, Mr Moses Emebo, Stephen Ibeania and others.

Elder George Okoye, elder brother to the deceased, in a save our soul message sent to the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Michael Ogbizi, said the family members and community had been thrown into sorrow with the release of the principal suspect.

Okoye narrated the trajectory of the murder and the tortuous efforts to get the police to arrest the suspects and investigate them.

He said, “We petitioned the Force Headquarters on 3/1/19 over the alleged murder of our brother, Angus Okoye, in Isuaniocha, Awka, by Anthony Onyeagolu and others.

“A long drawn investigation by officer Amuche, who is now with the IGP Monitoring Unit, was frustrated by a former DC now CP Anyim of Homicide.

“We were ridiculed as a poor family while our brother's dead body lies in the mortuary till date. God touched your heart, out of our prayers we received a call from the IPO Bitrus sometime in September 2019, who said you invited us to revisit our case under DC Anyim.

“We were reluctant because we knew the end would be like this under the same Ayim, now CP in the same case.

“But we were later convinced by Bitrus to come, which we did and actually the three suspects were arrested a year after the murder.

“After concluding the investigation by the IPO under the same CP Ayim, the case was again killed in connivance with the CP Legal.

“Right now, the murderers are enjoying freedom without going to court, having been released in the midnight of April 20 in suspected circumstance due to their compromise as usual.

“Sir, where is your promise that the deceased family will get justice.

“The same murderer-in-chief was released from SCID Awka in readiness for arraignment that led to the killing of my brother.

“Worst still, the case file was emptied by your legal men in connivance with your CP to get soft landing in court for their wealthy benefactor which they could not even wait to arraign to justify their own side of the bargain with him.”

The Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre called on the Police Service Commission to order a prompt, exhaustive and effective investigation into the release of Onyeagolu while awaiting arraignment and trial for murder on the orders of Sanomia.

The Executive Director, RULAAC, Mr Okechukwu Nwanguma, who made this call in a statement, said the investigation was with a view to determining the grounds and motive, if any, upon which the suspect could be released at midnight and to determine whether indeed the case file had been tampered with as alleged and appropriate remedial and disciplinary action taken.

Nwanguma noted that upon receiving this information, RULAAC first made contacts with the SCID in Awka and confirmed that the suspect was actually released at odd hours but without the knowledge of the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State, Mr John Abang.

According to him, “RULAAC made several calls, texted and sent WhatsApp messages to Mr Austin Sanomia, CP Legal, Force Headquarters, Abuja, to verify the information that he ordered the release and to understand why, but has received no answer or reply till the time of issuing this alert.

“Our repeated efforts to get the CP Legal to confirm or rebut the information have not yielded any result.

“We then also sent the information to the DIG FCID, Michael Ogbizi...”

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CWG: 2019 financial year ends with gross revenue 23.4% rise - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:

The Nigeria’s largest system integration company, CWG Plc has increased its gross revenue by 23.4 per cent, representing N9.6billion from N7.8billion in 2018 in the 2019 audited full-year financial results, reports 
ITREALMS.

Sources close to the Pan-African Information and Communications Technology (ICT) company, informed 
ITREALMS that the firm listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) a few years ago, has a Net Assets growth of 67.4 percent to N192million from N115million in the previous year.

This growth, according to reports was achieved with a reduced OPEX of 23 percent over the 2018 financial year. The reports disclosed that CWG Plc also closed 2019 with a positive EBITDA at N892million, PBT N634million and ended that year with a Profit after Tax of N73 million.
ITREALMS recollects that CWG Plc is one of Nigeria's leading players in the Hardware and IT enterprise solution industry. As part of its efforts to step up its operational value, it got its shares listed on the Nigerian stock exchange a few years ago.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Africa Regional Integration Index underlines key to resilient economies - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:

The second Africa Regional Integration Index (ARII 2019) has underlined key to resilient economies, reports 
 reports ITREALMS.

The 2019 Index, ITREALMS gathered, was launched last Friday by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) and the African Union Commission (AUC), with a call to action to African economies to deepen their integration.

The 2019 Index, which builds on the first edition published in 2016, provides up-to-date data on the status and progress of regional integration in Africa. It also helps to assess the level of integration for every Regional Economic Community (REC) and their member countries.

The report observed that although 20 countries score above average, no African country can be considered well integrated in its region. Even the most integrated country, South Africa, scores 0.625 less than two-thirds of its potential on the scale.

The report found that much more needs to be done to integrate regional economies to make them more resilient to shocks such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, the Index shows that levels of integration on the continent are relatively low with an average score of 0.327 out of 1.

“Whereas the Index edition we are releasing today has data cut off points in 2019, the present COVID-19 pandemic has reopened the question of whether enough is being done in advancing regional integration as a means to help Africa withstand systematic shocks such as the one being experienced today,” said Stephen Karingi, Regional Integration Division Director at the ECA.

“This index is both a measurement exercise and a call to action; to build resilient economies through integration,” he added. “It will identify the solutions needed to truly build an integrated Africa.”

Jean-Denis Gabikini, Acting Director of the AUC’s Economic Affairs Department, welcomed the collaboration in producing the Index. He noted that the Index covers issues of intellectual property, competition policy, investment and digital trade which are critical to the successful negotiations of Phase II and III of AfCFTA.

“To achieve an “integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, representing a dynamic force in the concert of nations”, this ARII report will support AU Member States and RECs to address industrialisation and value addition priorities for the development of the continent,” Gabikini said.

With the establishment of RECs and the creation of AfCFTA, Africa has reinforced regional integration as a major development priority for the continent under the 2012 Boosting Intra-African Trade (BIAT) Action Plan.

The Index ranks the level of integration of African countries within their respective RECs and also with the rest of the continent. It scores across five key dimensions: trade, productive capacity, macroeconomic policy, infrastructure, and free movement of people.

Among the eight RECs recognised by the AU, the East African Community (EAC) scored highest for overall integration, with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) coming last.

The African Development Bank’s Director for Regional Development and Regional Integration, Moono Mupotola, said the Index was a useful tool for tracking progress on the regional integration front and would help countries identify priorities to improve integration.

“The crippling effects of COVID-19 illustrate the need for enhanced production of African finished goods and services that can readily be traded across the continent,” Mupotola said.

David Luke, coordinator of the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) at the ECA pointed out that the productive and infrastructure dimensions of regional integration are intricately linked. Tackling these two dimensions along with implementing the AfCFTA would be a massive boost for trade, he said.

Nenye Dom/Editor


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Role of human capital management in new workforce - ITREALMS

Commentary@ITREALMS
The world of work has been changing for some time, particularly over the last decade as emerging technologies equipped enterprises with the tools to operate with greater efficiency, innovate and explore a new potential. However, unprecedented events in 2020, have accelerated this transformation at an unimaginable pace.

With mandates to work from home if possible, the disruption of traditional business models is being driven by pure necessity. Like other contemporary, cloud-based business systems, Human Capital Management (HCM) has a vital role to play in ensuring business continuity, and resilience, as we march into the new world of work.

First and foremost, cloud-based HCM is essential to provide continued access to and support for remote workers, and at the same time safeguard the safety and health of employees. In the case of the latter, one product example is Oracle’s Workforce Health and Safety solution, currently free to all Oracle HCM Cloud customers. A business’s workforce is its greatest asset and should remain its greatest concern. Especially now. With employees scattered, the data collected, and analytics generated, by next-generation HCM solutions become crucial to combat absenteeism, identify at-risk individual employees and formulate a succession planning strategy across an entire organisation.

Crises, and the manner in which they are handled internally, can have a major impact on talent retention and acquisition, which will have a knock-on effect for business delivery. Reassurance through empathetic communication is essential. Empowering employees with information about the company’s strategy during such periods, as well as providing open channels for two-way conversation, gives people a sense of belonging to an organisation that is looking after and listening to them.

Going hand in hand is the need to help grow employees. Learning and development are often affected when enterprises embark on crisis cost-cutting, but the current climate is the perfect opportunity for HR to equip staff for new roles, or take advantage of employee skills and use them in new ways (possibly gig economy opportunities) that support the organisation, and the individual’s own professional growth.

It is important to note that the new world of work is under a microscope. Business success is no longer solely reflected in revenue. Public perception can have a powerful impact on customer behaviour, as it spotlights caring organisations and their opposite: those enterprises taking advantage of a situation and their staff.  Cloud-based HCM applications help make work inherently more human-focused.

The new world of work is also notable for its drastically altered business processes. Older ways of working are often proving too inflexible to overcome current challenges. Cloud HCM plays its part in breaking down rigid division, not only between departments but data sets as well. As a powerful integration tool, it can bring together information and related components that do not naturally connect. For example, analytical tools can be combined with a combination of absentee data and workforce plans to model scenarios and combat skill gaps in reality. Such is the case with newly available Oracle Analytics for Fusion HCM, which seamlessly draws together and uses cross-functional data.

Cloud HCM’s’ removal of barriers applies to people too. The future of work is about connection, and contemporary applications equip employees to work more diversely within an organisation, collaborating with colleagues across the whole company ecosystem. Hierarchies and silos have given way to a flattened organisational structure of diverse networks working towards a single goal, opening the door to innovation and greater operational agility.

The foundation of a lasting, successful business process change is a culture shift. The latest HCM tools break down resistance to new systems, especially now as workers engage with the modules regularly from their remote work location. HCM is ushering in acceptance of a whole new way of working, with the likes of voice-commanded digital assistants proving their time-saving value, and other benefits, to users.

The new world of work is unquestionably one of co-existence between humans and autonomous systems, underpinned by the likes of machine learning and robotics. Just as traditional HR helped to streamline an employee’s entrance into an organisation, maximise their contribution and bolster their employability, cloud HCM is fulfilling the same function. This, while bringing together man and machine, which is key to business success in the future of work.
*Contributed by Ronnie Toerien, Oracle HCM Sales Development & Strategy Leader – Africa
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Addressing cross-border insurance in Africa - ITREALMS

Africa remains one of the regions with the greatest growth potential in the world with African organisations focusing their growth strategies beyond borders. With these growth strategies come complex new risks which demand sophisticated cross-border insurance solutions. Doing business between different African countries means that all involved need comprehensive cross-border insurance, as this can protect operations by covering all potential risks that may arise between different legal frameworks. DLA Piper’s Luc Bigel and Hamza Akli share insight on Africa’s challenges in this regard and how to structure an efficient, cost-effective insurance programme for cross border risks. Excerpts.

What are the main challenges to trade in Africa, particularly with regard to potential business loss?

We believe there are two main challenges, depending on the situation in which the investor or partner finds themselves. The first is that of solvency. Indeed, in many African countries there is an obligation to use local players to provide insurance cover, at least on the front line. In our view, these protective rules are an opportunity for African countries to develop their own insurance industry. However, the difficulty stems from the fact that the solvency rules of local insurers are not yet uniform, such as in Europe, and they may have limited coverage capacities in terms of amounts. Thus, to these first frontlines, we add second line or other policies (master / umbrella) whose purpose will be to enable compliance with the local requirements of African countries while allowing the investor to match his level of risk exposure with corresponding coverage capacities.

It is clear that the real issue is therefore to match the capacities of the global insurance market while adhering to local constraints. In this respect, reinsurance can be a useful solution. There is also the challenge of agreeing on the typology of insurance to be put in place. Not all insurance has the same purpose. This work of completeness between the market offers and the content of the project contracts must involve collaboration between the lawyer, the risk manager and the broker or insurer. This collaboration makes it possible to limit risk exposure as much as possible.

What are the insurance policies that would cover these potential losses?

There are several insurance policies that are intended to be mobilized and, in this respect, it should be noted that there are several influences on the insurance market in Africa. Some regions, with more Anglo-Saxon influence, will experience slightly different insurance mechanisms from the French-speaking regions of influence.

There are schematically three types of cover relating to the implementation of a project, the exact contours of which vary according to the African countries. The first type of coverage is construction site coverage. The purpose of this cover is to protect against any damage affecting the construction site until the completed project’s delivery. Thus, when the building site is a few weeks old, the eventual compensation is quite low which is not the same as when the building site is a few days away from its delivery and a fire breaks out.

The second type of coverage is contractor's liability. It can happen that, in the course of a project or construction, a contractor realizes the financial consequences of damage that will have to be repaired.

Finally, the third coverage is that attached to the construction itself. Its purpose is to cover construction defects in a manner uncorrelated to civil liability. In addition to these insurance types relating to the conduct of a project, there are also the insurance policies intended to cover the conduct of the infrastructure activity such as multi-risk or business interruption insurance – which are particularly useful. We are also witnessing an emerging phenomenon, that of the implementation of cyber coverage intended to cover damage of this nature.

How does regulation, and the different regulation regimes from state to state, come into play when looking at a cross-border insurance programme?

Such differences need to be considered especially now, as we can witness that the insurance sector in Africa is evolving because of the regulatory changes that are impacting the market. We strongly believe that this new regulatory framework being implemented should not be viewed as a brake or constraint on a cross border insurance program but as a genuine development challenge. The main topic is that of local compulsory insurance, local retention, or the establishment of a local first line. These points are the most important to consider and require case-by-case studies.

What are the key factors to consider in setting up a cross-border insurance structure?

As just previously mentioned, the regulatory environment should be taken into account, particularly at the moment, with the support of local branches that have a clear vision of the hurdles to overcome region by region. The insurance system and the regulatory requirements as well as the market practices may vary greatly, not only the region where the project is considered but also depending on the moment the investors are willing to engage in such a project.

It is necessary to have a clear vision of the risks that may affect a project, of the local insurance market and of the compliance rules of the states in question. Such visions cannot be achieved without a strong local support and a deep analysis of the regulatory environment.

What are the different options or types of cross-border insurance structures? Is there a best option?
Unfortunately, there is no magic formula! The best option is team cooperation as well as legal and insurance cooperation in order to set up a programme that meets the needs of investors and is compliant with each of the local regulations.

Are there legal compliance requirements associated with African trade and the necessity of cross-border insurance?

There are rules for the use of local insurers (especially primary insurers) as well as local compulsory insurance. Each legislation is particular and specific to each region.

*Contributed by Luc Bigel, DLA Piper France Counsel and Hamza Akli, DLA Piper France Associate

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Monday, May 25, 2020

COVID-19: Online publisher lauds FG planned stimulus package for media, creative industry - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:
The Federal Government (FG) has been lauded by a leading online publisher, Femi Soneye, over the planned stimulus package initiated to cushion effects of COVID-19 on Nigerian media and the creative industry, reports ITREALMS.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, also received a pat on the back for the expected intervention.

Soneye, Publisher and CEO of Persecondnews.com, gave the commendation in Abeokuta on Monday while presenting COVID-19 palliatives to the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Ogun State Council at the Press Centre, known as Iwe Irohin House.

Soneye, who was represented by Ayodele Akinsola, Persecondnews Managing Editor, said: “A recent bold step to give a stimulus package to the media and creative industry by the Hon. Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, is cheery news and a timely intervention amid COVID-19 pandemic.

“We urge the Minister to pursue this agenda to a logical conclusion.”

Describing the media as one of the tripod stands on which the nation’s democracy rests, thrives and flourishes, he urged journalists not to spare any effort in holding public officials accountable to the people.

He, however, pointed out that only accurate and factual reports could hold public officials accountable to the citizens.

He said: “Journalists, as members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm after the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, are empowered by Section 22 of Chapter two of the 1999 Constitution.

“Without free press and free speech, democracy is endangered.

“I recall with nostalgia our efforts and struggles on a heroic scale to fight the military to a standstill and return the country to constitutional democracy in 1999 have not been adequately rewarded and reciprocated by the political class with some of them scandalously harassing, brutalising and clamping down on the media.”

Still expounding the role of the media, the publisher added: “The media, in spite of its imperfections like democracy, are indispensable to the nation’s fledgling democracy of about 21 years and to the Nigeria Project.”

On the state of the Nigerian media, Soneye noted that the parlous state of the economy had caused thousands of journalists to lose their jobs due to permanent shut down of their organisations, while others are being owed one or two years salaries.

He said: “I wish, therefore, to make a passionate appeal to those in authority at all levels – federal, state and local government – to patronise the media – newspapers, magazines, online publications, radio and television stations – to stay afloat.”

On the COVID-19 pandemic, Soneye commended the media for its excellent coverage of the health crisis across the country in spite of the attendant risks to lives and urged them to continue to join forces with the government to rout the virus.

He said: “As experts and WHO have said, it is unlikely for the virus to go away soon.

“There is, therefore, the need for us as journalists to be COVID-19 protocol-compliant — stay safe, play safe, observe physical distancing, use your face mask, wash your hands and use sanitizers.”

Soneye also challenged journalists to report research findings and investigations on COVID-19 therapeutics, especially the local cure – herbal or orthodox – to defeat the virus.

Wale Oluokun, Secretary, Ogun State NUJ Caretaker Committee, who received the items on behalf of the chairperson, Omolola Adeyinka, thanked Persecondnews for the gesture, which he described as first of its kind.

Oluokun said: “It is quite novel and welcoming that journalists can look back and give back to the profession; it is equally commendable.

“Apart from the gifts, a strong message has been passed to us to take the fight against coronavirus seriously.”

Among the officers present at the presentation were Lekan Yinusa (Sweet FM), Bidemi Bello (Channels TV), Anthony Gandonu and Bunmi Adigun.

Ayo Midele/Editor

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Asiwaju applauds Aregbesola @63 - ITREALMS


ITREALMS:
The All Progressives Congress National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has applauded the Minister of Interior,
Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, on his 63rd birthday, reports ITREALMS.

Tinubu commended him for his pioneering inspirational leadership in Osun and for his continued service to Nigeria.

In a statement congratulating him on his 63rd birthday issued by his Media Office and signed by Tunde Rahman, Asiwaju Tinubu said: “Ogbeni Aregbesola has done a lot for his state and country. He laid the foundation for the infrastructural development of the State of Osun and turned it to what it is today: a modern state.

“He is creative and innovative. He provided inspirational leadership in Osun and now at the centre in Abuja.

“An engineer and political activist, Aregbesola made the difference in Lagos as Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure for eight years, in Osun as governor for two terms and at present as Minister of Interior.

“He is resolute and committed to worthy causes. He is bold, courageous and always eager to take decisions that would impart the lives of a majority of our people.

“Aregbesola is loyal and dependable. He is someone I describe as my partner, comrade, friend and brother.

“He is an exceptional grassroots campaigner and mobilizer. And he remains invaluable to us in APC.

“I congratulate him as he turns 63. May the grace of Almighty Allah continue to be with him. May He grant him many more years, good health and renewed energy to continue in the service of our people and humanity."

Ayo Midele/Editor

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Pix: Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola

NIDCOM ejection fallout: Abike to Pantami ‘Your disrespect for women is legendary’ - ITREALMS


ITREALMS:

The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has accused the Federal Minister of Communications and Digital Economy (CoDE), Dr. Isa Ali Pantami of forcefully injecting her Commission because she is a woman, reports 
ITREALMS.

She also accused Ali Pantami of notoriety for disrespecting women, declaring that “Your disrespect for women is legendary.”

NIDCOM, 
ITREALMS recalled before now, was housed at the fifth floor of a five-storey building belonging to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which was later renamed Digital Economy Complex, Mbora-Abuja.

Dabiri-Erewa who was replying to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy (CoDE), Dr. Isa Ali Pantami tweet response that she had lied in earlier claim at the weekend which depicted she lied on her earlier video broadcast condemning the Ministers action to forcefully eject NIDCOM.

Also, Pantami had described her video and that of the Secretary to the Commission addressing the staff, saying that its a fat lie from her that he gave any order to that effect.

He also said that the owner of the building, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has replied Mrs. Erewa and in fact, faulted her lies on their social media platforms.

The Minister via his Twitter handle, ⁦@DrIsaPantami, claimed "THIS IS A FAT LIE FROM HER: The owner of the building @NgComCommission has faulted her lies on their social media platforms."

Replying to the above, @Abikedabiri reminded Ali Pantami that "To refresh you Sir. Despite your denial. The Secretary of the Commission seeking for calm after Staff resumed for work and were denied access to the 5th floor office of NIDCOM. Based on your instruction. Turned back by armed men. Haba!!!!”

But in furtherance to clear the air, Dabiri-Erewa noted that as an "Islamic scholar should not lie Hon. Minister (Phd smile, smile). You did that to me cos I am a woman. Your disrespect for women is legendary. Left the ugly incident behind me since Feb. But pls release all our office equipment. Public office is transient. @DrIsaPantami.

Chuks Egbune/Editor

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Blockchain, Fintech and the Future of Banking - ITREALMS

Commentary@ITREALMS:

“Customers besiege banks on first day of partial lifting of COVID-19 lockdown: As early as 8 am, bank premises were already full of people seeking to gain entrance into the banking halls for one transaction or the other. And by 11 am, Twitter was filled with so many posts warning Nigerians about the risks of visiting any bank branch due to the mammoth crowd.” This was Dateline May 04, 2020 on Nairametrics.com. Other blogs had similar screaming headlines.

I wrote this article three years ago on May 04, 2017 when Blockchain and Fintechs finally seemed to be gaining traction in filling the gaps left by traditional banks – and surprised that we are still where we are even today. what will we learn from this, and how will we be better prepared not to be caught desperately unawares again?

Even though cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin tend to steal the limelight, it is their underlying blockchain technology that is proving to be of practical benefit. This technology, which goes beyond financial application, is expected to disrupt global supply chains by boosting transaction speed across borders and improving transparency.

Essentially, the blockchain is a shared virtual public ledger where encrypted transactions are confirmed by outside parties. Confirmed transactions are placed in a “block” and added to the chain, hence the name Blockchain. It is this technology that Fintechs are leveraging to disrupt the traditional banks

Here in Nigeria, blockchain can help to unlock the immense capital locked in Land Assets that are not enumerated because of an antiquated system of land administrated, which is very ripe for disruption.

The most disruptive application of Blockchain Technology, however, is in the Financial Sector; and this will form the focus of my discourse. The consistent complaint about banks has reached a crescendo in recent years. Is this justified?
Should Banks be changing?

Dateline, May 04, 2020 on Niarametrics.com After centuries of conservatism in receiving deposits and making loans, there are two main issues stirring the yearn for change:
The first being that it is a very difficult Club to join as a customer, and hence the large population of unbanked adults.
Secondly, even for the members of this elite club, the relationship is acutely skewed in favour of the banks

They have carried on as protected monopolies with no serious challenge or competition, resulting in very little innovation over the decades.

The biggest threat to the banks has been precisely their seeming success. Centuries of relatively significant higher returns, even during economic downturns that adversely affect the real sectors, has engendered an attitude of invincibility and pomposity, characterized by a loss of touch with their customers.

Considered too big to fail, they take it for granted that they will be bailed out with taxpayers’ money in the event of any missteps – this is a perfect set-up for disruption.
Fintech – the new kid on the block.

Today, there has emerged a powerful force of the challenge from Financial Technology companies or FINTECHs, as they are more popularly referred to. The promise of Fintech is great. It is shaking up a stodgy banking system and helping to build a more efficient one, especially for consumers and small businesses.

Emerging Markets showing the way in Fintech
For years, emerging economies have looked up to developed countries for ideas about how to manage their financial systems. When it comes to Fintech though, the rest of the world will be studying the experience of the emerging markets, embodied by the widely successful MPESA mobile money system, championed by Safaricom in Kenya.

MPESA has made it possible for a large swathe of the population to gain financial inclusion by providing the opportunity to transact financial services via your mobile phone, on a continent where typically 70% of the population is unbanked.

MPESA today has more than 60% of Kenya’s 33 million mobile users and in 2015 transacted $28m on her platform. Similar applications have metamorphosed across Africa, and Mobile Money services are today generating 6.7% of Africa’s GDP.

Nigeria is no exception with Fintechs such as Interswitch, CWG, Paystack and Flutterwave holding sway. Take for instance, Diamond bank with 7m accounts after 23 years was able to add an additional 6m accounts in just one year after the launch of the Diamond Yello Account in collaboration with CWG and MTN.

China is the undisputed World leader in Fintech
By just about any measure of size, China is the world’s leader in Fintech. It is by far the biggest market for digital payments, accounting for half of the global market, according to the Economist Magazine. A ranking of the world’s most innovative Fintech firms gave Chinese companies four of the five top slots in 2016. The largest Chinese Fintech company, Ant Financial, has been valued at about $60b, at par with UBS which is Switzerland’s biggest bank.

Today, digital payments account for nearly two-thirds of non-cash payments in China, far surpassing debit and credit cards. Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lenders in China grew from 214 to over 3,000 in 2015, and P2P loans increased 28-fold from 30b yuan in 2014 to 850b yuan in 2016. This shows what is possible in Nigeria.

Austin’s Five Forces Model and the future of Banking
In the face of the fierce challenge facing banks, I developed a model for analyzing the future of banking called the Austin’s Five Forces Model. There are indeed five major forces at play here: 

The banks - traditional and established, best with cash and ancillary instruments:

Fintechs – the new kid on the block, disrupter, mostly telecom roots, best with digital currencies and mobile services.

Regulators - Central Banks, regulating traditional banks; and Communication Commissions, responsible for telecoms regulation (and thus Fintechs)
Currencies - traditional, such as cash and cheques; or Digital, including Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies
Customers, and the weight of their new-found voice. Typically, they clamour for whatever will give them convenience, security and lower costs.

Customers are the most significant force, and represented by the outermost sector of the concentric circles. As they tend more towards a preference for digital currencies, the Fintechs will tend to assume a more prominent role in the new face of banking, and the Regulatory regime will inadvertently tend towards the Communication Commissions under whose purview the Fintechs fall.

This will introduce a regulatory imbroglio, as future ‘Huge Banks’ may fall outside the regulatory ambit of Central Banks as seems to be the case with the MPESA.

Safaricom, the telecoms promoter of MPESA ironically falls under the regulation of the Communications Authority of Kenya rather than the Kenyan Central Bank.

If the customers however, maintain a strong appetite for traditional instruments of financial transactions such as notes & coins, cheques etc. then the current status quo will remain. The face of banking will thus be more of the same, and the regulatory authority will continue to be Central Banks. Between these two positions may be many variants, depending on the appetite and preferences of customers, and the pace at which they are willing to embrace change. 

Retailers are jumping into Financial Services
Fintechs are not the only ones challenging traditional banks for turf. Retailers are also jumping into the financial services fray. For instance, Amazon has launched Amazon Cash, a way to shop its site without a bank card. This product is meant to appeal to the those who get paid in cash, don’t have a bank account or debit card, and who don’t use credit cards.

Google is also rolling out a new integration on mobile called Google Tez, which allows audio QR Codes and thus opens the door for more basic phones other than smartphones. Users of the Gmail app on Android will be able to send or request money with anyone, including those who don’t have a Gmail address, with just a tap.

Banking is going Mobile
In most emerging markets and developing countries, the current formal financial system only reaches a minority of the working-age adult population. Smallholder farmers, self-employed households, and micro-entrepreneurs have to rely on the age-old informal financial mechanisms such as rotating savings clubs (Isusu or Ajoo). These mechanisms can be unreliable and very expensive.

In Nigeria for instance 84.6m people, accounting for 47% of the population are unbanked. In sharp contrast, mobile phone penetration is very high at 94.5 per cent; a perfect set-up for the Fintechs to exploit in their mobile dominated financial services offering.

The digitization of retail payment systems and financial services has become an important economic development priority. It offers the prospect of reaching far more people at far lower costs with the broader range of financial services they need to build resilience and capture opportunities. This speaks to inclusiveness.

What will be the scale of change of the Blockchain technology?The changes coming with Blockchain will be as large as the original invention of the internet, and this may not be overstated. Who would have imagined a decade ago that e-commerce, championed by Amazon and Alibaba will be displacing high street retailers, or that ride-hailing will be dominated by UBER, a technology platform?

There seems to be a seamless change happening in the Financial Sector. According to Anthony Jenkins, former CEO of Barclays, bank branch traffic has halved in the last five years, and bank profitability could collapse by 60% in the same period. A 2015 Goldman Sachs report estimated $4.7tn of financial services revenue was at risk of displacement from Fintech groups.

Regulators are now helping Fintechs
Fintechs are getting a lot of support from Regulators, believing that Fintech firms are small enough for any problems to be manageable, and on the other hand, might produce useful innovation (the sandbox approach). The intention is to lower market entry barriers for fintech companies. For instance, France’s Central Bank has announced opening up a new innovation lab, aiming to collaborate with blockchain startups.

In December 2015, Nasdaq executed its first trade on a blockchain, through its Linq ledger. The exchange said the blockchain promises to expedite trade clearing and settlement – all the steps needed to transfer the asset from seller to buyer including recording the transaction — from three days to as little as 10 minutes. That’s because the trades remove many manual processes and bypass third parties.

As such, “settlement risk exposure can be reduced by over 99%, dramatically lowering capital costs and systemic risk,”. Other stock exchanges tinkering with the blockchain include Australia, Germany, Japan, Korea, London,Toronto and Myanmar.

The Future of Fintechs
The future of Fintech seems bright. Accenture recently released a report which found that investment in Fintech around the world has increased dramatically from $930 million in 2008 to more than $12 billion by early 2015. Fintechs employ Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Machine Learning to glean the credit habits of customers from their mobile usage, and so have mitigated against the risk of default.

The homepage of LendingClub (NYSE: LC) advertises personal loans of up to $40,000. You can "apply online in minutes" and "get funded in as little as a few days,". Another prominent Fintech lender Funding Circle claims that small businesses can get loans from between $25,000 and $500,000 in as little as 10 days.

These are innovative services that seek to fill important niches in the credit markets. They enable people who have historically been shunned by banks to get loans in order to expand their businesses. 

The lucrative Transfer market will be significantly impacted
The lucrative global transfers markets are major targets by Fintechs. International money transfers, which have long been a thorny issue, are getting easier. For smaller transactions, services like PayPal automatically convert currencies, so it’s easy for a customer to purchase goods from anywhere in the world.

More importantly, a service called TransferWise is streamlining international money transfers, significantly disrupting that sector by offering a 90 per cent discount on traditional bank transfer fees. According to the founder, Taavet Hinrikus, the idea was borne out of his personal frustration in money transfers. ‘It typically took 3-4 days to receive transfers, albeit the exchange rate used by banks was exorbitant, leading to a loss of almost 10% of the value of money sent’.

In this exorbitant regime, Western Union and HSBC typically earned $600m and $800m per annum respectively in profits from only transfers. These huge contributions to their bottom-line will be dearly missed when displaced by TransferWise and their co-travellers. In Taavet’s view Fintechs will command about 40% of the global Financial Services market in the next 10 years. 

Banks and Fintechs’ collaboration for mutual benefit
Fintech companies in emerging markets have shown that with blockchain technology, it is possible to leapfrog to new forms of banking.

Truth be told, Banks are best placed to continue to influence the future of Financial Services because of their huge branch network, solid reputations, and risk controls, as well as years of customer cultivation and loyalty. They, however, have to radically change the mindset of ‘we win when you lose’.
The big take awayThe ubiquity of broadband and the pervasiveness of mobile phones, along with breakthrough technology such as Artificial intelligence, Big Data and Blockchain are expanding the frontiers for business models in ways that were hitherto not possible, and levelling the playing field in the process.

Any bank that does not read the signs and join the innovation train will definitely be disrupted and left behind. Remember that there was a time when the Post Office was at the centre of our lives. When was the last time you visited a post office?

*Contributed by Austin Okere, the Founder of CWG Plc, the largest security in the technology sector of the Nigerian Stock Exchange & Entrepreneur in Residence at CBS, New York. Austin also serves on the Advisory Board of the Global Business School Network, and on the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Innovation and Intrapreneurship. Austin now runs the Ausso Leadership Academy focused on Business and Entrepreneurial Mentorship

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Sunday, May 24, 2020

NCC denies ejecting Diaspora Commission from Digital Economy Complex - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has denied forcefully ejecting the Nigeria Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), reports ITREALMS.

Director, Public Affairs at NCC, Dr. Henry Nkemadu in a press statement available to 
ITREALMS, said their attention has been drawn to a video making the rounds on social media alleging that the Nigeria Diaspora Commission was ignominiously thrown out of the NCC building. 

"It is therefore important that the general public is acquiesced with what really transpired with regard to the incident leading to the evacuation of the Diaspora Commission from the NCC building.

Following the completion of the NCC building at Mbora, Abuja designated as NCC Annex and the acute shortage of accommodation space for the staff of the Commission in the NCC Head Office at Maitama, Abuja, the Board of the Commission directed the decongestion of the Head Office Building. Some of the Departments of the NCC had started moving to the new Office Complex of Five (5) Floors when discussions were held between the NCC and the Diaspora Commission to enable the Diaspora Commission also utilize any free Offices within the Complex. 


"The fifth floor allocated to them had to be used to accommodate other Departments from the NCC Headquarters to ease the congestion. NCC’s offer to house the Nigeria Diaspora Commission was predicated on the long held position of the NCC that agencies of Government will achieve more through strategic collaboration, partnership, synergy and sharing to the extent allowed by relevant laws.

"During this period, the NCC secured approval for the Commissioning of the Office Complex by the President, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari and the launching of four important projects of the NCC and the renamed Ministry of Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (FMC&DE):

1. Launching and unveiling of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020 – 2025;

2. Commissioning of the Communications and Digital Economy Complex;

3. Launching of the Emergency Communications Centre and Toll-Free number 112; and

4. Flag off of the Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Training

These important projects were a culmination of extensive collaboration between NCC and the other Parastatals of the FMC&DE and fittingly the Complex was renamed the COMMUNICATIONS AND DIGITAL ECONOMY COMPLEX in tandem with the new drive of the Federal Government towards a digital economy.

The NCC has not withdrawn the offer but had hiccups arising from the preparation for the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to inaugurate the Communications and Digital Economy Complex and launch other projects relating to the mandate of government. The Board and Management of the NCC took a decision to ensure that every activity in the building was in line with the Federal Government’s digital agenda.

Incidentally, after the offer of the office spaces to the Diaspora Commission, the Director General, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa had not visited the Complex to take possession of any of the offices and also the Commission had not started using any of these spaces as offices.

As is usual in ensuring security and accountability before, during and after presidential visits, the building had to be cleared to allow for only known and identifiable persons to have access within the Complex. Therefore the Honourable Minister of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami could not have sent armed men to drive the staff of the Diaspora Commission out of the Communications and Digital Economy Complex.

At this time, only NCC Staff were accredited to have access within this premises as required by the security officials. All the properties belonging to the Diaspora Commission are safely warehoused in some of the Offices in the Complex. This is contrary to the position of the Director General of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa that the removal of her Commission from the building was punitive. This is not the correct position and we agree with her that there are always challenges in every human activity but the unforeseen challenges that arose in this case are not different but require understanding of all concerned.

Uboshe Uboshe/Editor

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More trouble for NCC, Pantami: NIDCOM lists stolen items over forced ejection - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:

The management of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) has raised another chapter in their alleged forced ejection, saying some of their working tools have been carted away, reports 
ITREALMS.

This, 
ITREALMS gathered may involve attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Presidency to the matter.

NIDCOM in a press statement in response to a similar statement by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) denying claims of forced ejection and even exonerating the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, endorsed by the Head, Media and Public Relations Unit, NIDCOM, Abdur-Rahman Balogun and made available to 
ITREALMS, said their attention has been drawn to a statement signed by Dr. Henry Nkemadu, Director of Public Affairs at NCC dated Sunday May 24, 2020, which described the forced ejection of NIDCOM staff from the occupied fifth floor of NCC Annex Mbora as mere “allegation”.

According to Balogun, the fact of the matter is that the said fifth floor was allocated to NIDCOM by NCC Management since June 2019 and handed over by Mrs Maryam Bayi, its Director, Human Resources.

“But due to lack of basic facilities in the complex, NIDCOM staff could not move in gradually until October 2019.

“But while our Chairman/CEO, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, was on official assignment with Mr President in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the 9th of February, the staff were given one week by the Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Ali Pantami, to pack out but within 48 hours of the said quit notice, they were forcefully evicted by security operatives attached to the complex on the orders of the Minister on February 11.

“On the allegation that NIDCOM did not move into the offices when allocated, this is untrue, false accusation and contradictory to the statement of NCC to the effect that NIDCOM properties were warehoused and intact in the annex.

He also said that 11th of February when the Secretary of the Commission was addressing the staff during the shock quit notice, a video evidence was made available.



Details of the press statement reads:
“The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) offered its annex office located at Mbora District Abuja to NiDCOM. This offer was made at one of the meetings held with the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta at Maitama, Abuja in June 2019.

Subsequently, directives were given to the Director Human Resources; Mrs Maryam Bayi who liaised with NiDCOM staff and delivered the building to the Commission. Furthermore, as part of its goodwill gesture, NCC then approved and supplied some furniture items to NiDCOM which was received in December, 2019.

The furniture supplied were similar to those supplied to NCC, so as to fit into the design of the building.

Meanwhile, NiDCOM, upon taking delivery of the building, made provision of some furniture, equipment and infrastructure in the building. It proceeded to install workstations for over 140 staff of the Commission which was completed by November, 2019.

It also went ahead to install a PABX supported International Call centre in conjunction with Airtel Nigeria Ltd. Likewise, since the executive offices were not tiled, ceramic tiles that were already bought were installed the same week the evacuation notice was given. That is, the Commission commenced the installation of high-quality ceramic tiles in the offices of the executive’s officers on the 5th floor which was occupied by the Commission. This went on alongside painting works, general plumbing and fixing of doors handles etc.

Prior to this, the Department of Technology Transfer & Innovation of the Commission and some staff of Finance department and administration moved into the building at the end of October 2019 while the other departments followed subsequently.

The executive chairman’s office was also in preparation for her to move by mid-February 2020. This movement into the building required that several computing and electronic devices as well as many sensitive documents and personal belongings were also moved.

On the 9th February, 2020, the Chairman of NiDCOM was notified by the EVC of NCC on the need to evacuate the building within one week without any prior notice. This was said to be on the instruction of the Hon. Minister of Communications & Digital Economy who also want to occupy the same office space & location. The Chairman was at that time on an official Presidential delegation to Ethiopia

By Tuesday 11th February 2020, just two days after the initial notice which gave one-week ultimatum, the staff of NiDCOM were denied access into their offices by armed security men from the NSDC who ordered them not to go into the fifth floor office of the commission.

Thereafter, the Director Special Duties of NCC informed NiDCOM staff that he is acting on the instruction from the Hon Minister Pantami to evacuate / refuse them entry into the building until further directive is given.

The NiDCOM staff obliged on the instruction of the executive chairman of the Commission not to resist the directive and complied on the condition that no items in any of the offices will be tampered with until the management of the two agencies are involved and modus-operandi agreed upon.

Unfortunately, on Friday 14th February after the Chairman returned from Ethiopia a day before, she visited the complex to shockingly find that offices were broken into and all items including the 140 work stations, personal computers, printers, sensitive documents and personal belongings of staff were carted away. The call centre was locked up.

For the avoidance of doubt, the following is the list of some of the items which NiDCOM believes have been carted away.

1. Two units of single face data ports

2. 24 port patch panel

3. 1 Mikrotik RB 750G router

4. 1 Mikrotik cloud router switch

5. 2 Headsets with microphones

6. 2 Digital PABX

7. 1 4u Server racks

8. Patch cables

9. 3 UPS

10. 1 HP desk jet 1012 all in one printer

11. 1 HP desk jet all in one printer (brand-new with the Carton)

12. 1 Mercury UPS (brand-new with the Carton)

13. 1 Ellington extension cable (brand-new)

14. 2 3meter extension boxes

15. Data Antenna

16. 7 HP All in one desktop

17. Camera tripod

18. Cannon 700 digital camera

19. Xenon laptop

20. 144 Work stations & 144 Swivel office chairs

21. 2 Meter mini conference table

22. 6 Conference table chairs

23. 3 Meter executive office furniture set

24. 1 Executive sofa set

25. 4 Executive office furniture set

26. 12 Executive office visitors’ chairs

27. 5 4-seater work stations

28. 2 Reclineable executive chairs

29. 4 Ergonomic executive office chairs with lumbar support

30. Technology Transfer & Innovation department files and documents

31. Legal department files and documents

32. Accounts department files and documents

33. Secretary to the Commission’s office entire files and documents

34. Admin department entire files and documents

35. Diaspora relations department entire files and documents

36. Media department entire files and documents

37. Roll up banners

38. Staff personal belonging such as printers, UPS, extension cables, stationeries (cartons of Chamex papers, staplers, pins, notice board) files & documents & toiletries etc.

39. 140 work stations.

It is our humble opinion that an agency of government ought not to be shabbily treated in a dehumanising manner.

The Hon. Minister should have acknowledged the fact that the aim of NiDCOM for using the office spaces was not for personal functions but rather for governmental functions with regards to Diaspora engagements.

The Hon. Minister should have seen the need to give the Chairman of the Commission audience so as to let the Commission staff evacuate their belongings by themselves rather than breaking into the offices without their consent.

The Commission still has no access to all equipment, furniture and other items carted away on the instructions of the Minister.

The Hon Minister’s claim that the space was allocated for years is definitely false as NIDCOM is just one year in existence.

We must, however, thank the Chairman/CEO of NIDCOM, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who despite all these was determined to ensure that the work of the Commission did not suffer in any way through her doggedness and dynamism.

As stated in the Chairman’s remarks as the commission marked its one year in office, the Hon. Minister’s arrogance and utmost humiliation of a government agency is totally unwarranted.

However, the commission has since moved on and put the ugly incident behind it as it looks forward to settling into any available office space after the Covid-19 lockdown."

Uboshe Uboshe/Editor

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Task force rates Ekiti high on Covid-19 response, management - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:

Ekiti State Taskforce on Covid-19 has hinged the low prevalence of the pandemic in the state to the prompt response and proactive nature of the state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi in combating the disease in the state.

The Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr (Mrs) Mojisola Yaya-Kolade, who stated this during the 48-hourly briefing of the Taskforce on Friday, said the molecular laboratory recently purchased by the state government was ready for use. She added that the laboratory would still be useful after the covid-19 pandemic.

She hailed the leadership of Governor Fayemi in curtailing the spread of the pandemic in the state as well as the support of the state’s Covid-19 Response Resource Mobilisation Committee. She said the prompt response of the state government has helped to curtail the coronavirus in the state.

Dr Yaya-Kolade, said the last fatality recorded in the state was a referral from a General Hospital in Omuaran, Kwara State, adding that the 75 years old woman died of an underlying ailment.

Giving the background story of the woman, the health commissioner explained further that the deceased’s test result came out positive on 20th May while the woman died earlier on the 19th with no contact in the state. She therefore ruled out community spread of the disease through her.

According to her, “The woman was an elderly woman, 75 years old that lived in Kwara State, she actually lived in Ayedun in Kwara State, went to General Hospital in Omuaran, after receiving some treatment in Omuaran for her medical condition which is called congestive cardiac failure, she was referred to the Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido-Ekiti.

“She came straight from Omuaran to Ido on the 14th, two days after her admission, the doctor suspected a possibility of Covid-19, the state was informed, we collected specimen, unfortunately, the test came back on the 20th, the 75year old woman died on the 19th. We know where she came from and we know she did not get infected in Ekiti State. We are still ruling out community spread.

“As of today, our patients are stable, I don’t know if you would remember an older man that I said was in a teaching hospital, we managed the patient in collaboration with the teaching hospital, he has since turned negative, he is no more Covid-19 positive.

“Our success rate in treating and getting people negative is high, we are getting good result. The only concerns and issues that we have had are those cases that come into Ekiti State un-announce. They have underlying issues and when they come, they usually come because of something.”

The commissioner also restated that efforts were in top gear to launch the molecular laboratory situated in the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti. She added that the new Isolation centre of 120 beds would also be open along the launch of the laboratory.

Dr Yaya-Kolade said the laboratory would be useful in testing for some other viral diseases like Lassa fever as well as useful for training.

The state coordinator of the taskforce, Prof. Mobolaji Aluko hinted that the security situation in the state was stable as there was no new incursions and hoped that at the end of the day, all the quarantine centres would not have any inmates.

Prof. Aluko, who is also the Director General, Office of Transformation and Service Delivery (OTSD) urged the residents of the state to make proper use of the face mask , adding that the state would intensify creating more awareness on the use of masks at all nooks and crannies of the state.

He assured the people of the state that government would ensure proper de-congestion of markets in the state by moving them to other markets with less congestion.

Ayo Midele/Editor

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COVID-19: Curfew now 8pm to 5am in Oyo - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:
… Mass testing to commence weekend—Task Force

The Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force, on Sunday, relaxed the existing curfew imposed on the state in respect of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic to between 8.p.m. and 5 a.m.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, confirmed that the decision was reached at the COVID-19 Task Force meeting presided over by the governor on Sunday.

According to the statement, the state has so far recorded 233 COVID-19 positive cases, while 171 of them are active cases.

It stated that a number of creative measures were approved for implementation by the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), which coordinates the operations of the thematic segments of the containment drives.

One of such is the approval of a facility in Ibadan for use as observation and isolation centre for a category of patients after thorough reviews.

“The Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force headed by His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde has approved that the curfew currently in force in the state runs from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. The new directive replaces the initial order which pegs the curfew at between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m.

“Agreement has been struck with the management of a facility in Ibadan to provide bed spaces for a number of positive cases, whose status have been well considered by the experts,” the statement read.

It advised farmers in the state to take advantage of the decision to stop the curfew at 5 a.m. to enhance their farming activities.

According to the statement, the state government is also wrapping up further renovation and face-lifting activities at its Isolation centres located at Agbami, Jericho, Ibadan, Igbo-Ora, Ogbomoso, Saki and Aawe, near Oyo town.

Besides, the statement also indicated that the planned community testing, which could not be kickstarted at the weekend owing to the festivities and public holidays, would commence by the end of the week.

The Task Force stated that training of health workers who will participate in the exercise will commence in the 10 locations after the holidays.

Signed:

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