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Davido confirms 'wife' Chioma, is Corona positive - ITREALMS

ITREALMS : Music sensation, Davido, has confirmed that his 'wife' Chioma has contracted Coronavirus after returning to the count...

Friday, January 31, 2020

Police invades WACOL office, brutalizes lawyers - ITREALMS

A lady-lawyer working with the Women Aid Collective (WACOL)’s office in Enugu, Enugu State, Ibangah Goodness Esq, has been reportedly buratalised by members of the Nigeria Police, when they invaded the premises, reports ITREALMS.

The Executive Director of WACOL, Prof. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, who confirmed this in a public statement available to 
ITREALMS Friday, said that the invasion of their office was sequel upon a reported distress call they received on Monday the 27th day of January 2020, from one Miss (Name withheld) aged 21 year, that she was raped that evening by one Mr. Uchenna James Emenike, a 22 year old man at Corridor Layout Maryland Enugu.

“Our legal team considered her report and thought it wise that rape was such a serious criminal matter that should require Police intervention and investigation,” she said, stressing that to that effect, one of the WACOL’s lawyers, Ibangah Goodness Esq. took the victim to Area Command Enugu, Enugu State with a petition informing the Police of the development and requested that the matter be investigated.

According to Prof. Ezeilo, Goodness handed the victim over to the Police and was also present when they obtained a statement from her before taking her leave with the expectation that the Police had formally taken over investigation of this matter from WACOL.

She expressed surprise that the Police later called Ibangah Goodness Esq. requesting that she provides the victim to them as the parents of the suspect had plans of settling the issue with the victim and her family.

Upon which Goodness told Police that she had handed over the matter to them and therefore they should source the victim by themselves with the contact details she provided in her statement with them.

“Rather, the Area commander and some other officers at the station kept calling Ibangah Goodness Esq and trying to intimidate her and coerce her to provide the victim for settlement with the boy’s parent. And to our utmost dismay, yesterday, 30th January, 2020, four Police officers from Area Command Enugu, Enugu stormed our office and still requested that our office should provide the victim for them,” she said.

Ezeilo emphasised that the legal unit repeated to them that they had already handed over the matter to them and that they should look for the victim themselves using the contact details she provided in her statement at their office and still in their presence tried to contact the victim who said that she was on her way to the station.

“These officers failed to listen but instead began entering all the rooms in the office building and when they saw Ibangah Goodness Esq. who happened to be in a meeting. They mercilessly beat up Ibangah Goodness Esq. to a state of near unconsciousness. They extended the beating to Miss Nneka Okwor, another member of our staff when she attempted to plead with them to stop beating Goodness. These police Officers took the phone of Ibangah Goodness Esq. and confiscated the phone of anyone who dared to take pictures, record or video their hideous acts. They also destroyed some WACOL’s office doors in the process.

“It was such a dastardly beating that at a point Goodness ran into the office toilet to save her dear life, yet the four of them chased her like a hardened criminal into the toilet, dragged her out and continued beating this helpless and unarmed lady who was assisting the Police to curb crimes in the state. And what was her offence? She brought a lady who reported to our office to have been raped to them. After beating her to their satisfaction, they whisked her away to their office alongside Ezeani Esq. who was outside when the incident happened.

“While this was going on, the people who came to WACOL with their different matters ran away. This happened around 2pm. And at the Area Command the two lawyers were detained and their two phones collected from them and seized. The officers insisted that the victim must be provided by the lawyers before they would be released.

“On getting to the station the parents of the alleged rapist and the police officers started abusing and maltreating Ibangah Goodness esq. and the other lawyer who was also with her. Ibangah Goodness told them that she was having breathing difficulty and needed medical attention as a matter of urgency, they turned a deaf ear to her plea and continued to force her to make a statement and also produce the victim for settlement,” she narrated.
ITREALMS gathered that about 3:00 pm Goodness Esq. fainted and collapsed while still in custody and was not rushed to the hospital until after 20 minutes when Daniel Onyeonagu Esq. one of WACOL’s Pro Bono Lawyers who saw Police reluctance to provide their own vehicle took her in his car to the National Orthopeadic Hospital, Emergency Unit in company of two Police officers. Just before they got to the hospital, Goodness Ibangah Esq. became totally unconscious and lifeless. It took the timely intervention of the doctors at the hospital who used their oxygen and other necessary medical equipment to revive her.

As said by Prof. Ezeilo, “Immediately they arrived at the hospital and before she was revived, the two police officers who accompanied her to the hospital thought she had died and ran way.”

Further, 
ITREALMS was told that Police detained Ezeani Esq. who was outside WACOL office when they were beating Goodness Esq. inside the office from around 2pm noon till 6:00pm when she was finally released after obtaining a statement from her.

“Up till now, they have not inquired the state of the lady who they beatup and who fainted while in their custody and who they also guarded to the hospital,” she said. Describing the episode as “height of abuse of Police power, harassing and beating up a human rights lawyer working in an office that has set unprecedented records of assisting the Police in curbing crimes in the country. It is a mockery to an office such as ours and is totally unacceptable and must be fully investigated to bring the culprits to book.”

Chuks Egbune/DoP

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AEO2020: African investment expenditure accounts for GDP growth - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:

First in a decade, the investment expenditure rather than consumption accounts for over half of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth on the continent, reports ITREALMS.

According to latest report by 2020 African Economic Outlook (AEO) released by the African Development Bank (AfDB), called for urgent investment in education and infrastructure for good returns in long-term GDP.

Harping on this, Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank noted that “Youth unemployment must be given top priority. With 12 million graduates entering the labor market each year and only 3 million of them getting jobs, the mountain of youth unemployment is rising annually.”  

The AEO indicated that Africa’s economic growth remained stable in 2019 at 3.4 percent and is on course to pick up to 3.9 percent in 2020 and 4.1 percent in 2021.

The slower than expected growth is partly due to the moderate expansion of the continent’s “big five” — Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, and South Africa – whose joint growth was an average rate of 3.1 percent, compared with the average of 4.0 percent for the rest of the continent.

The Bank’s flagship publication, published annually since 2003, provides headline numbers on Africa’s economic performance and outlook. The 2020 edition, launched at the Bank’s Abidjan headquarters, was attended by former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, African ministers, diplomats, researchers, and representatives of various international bodies.

Johnson Sirleaf commended the Bank for upholding the confidence of the people of the continent “… because we trust you. As simple as that. Because we trust you to share our vision. We trust you to understand our limitations.”

Referring to Africa’s fastest-growing economies, she said, “There are stars among us…and we want to applaud them. We want to see more, particularly for countries like mine, which have been left behind, so that more can be done to give them the support that they need.”

In 2019, for the first time in a decade, investment expenditure, rather than consumption, accounted for over 50% of GDP growth. This shift can help sustain and potentially accelerate future growth in Africa, increase the continent’s current and future productive base, while improving productivity of the workforce.




Overall, the forecast described the continent’s growth fundamentals as improved, driven by a gradual shift toward investments and net exports, and away from private consumption.

East Africa maintained its lead as the continent’s fastest-growing region, with average growth estimated at 5.0 percent in 2019; North Africa was the second fastest, at 4.1 percent, while West Africa’s growth rose to 3.7 percent in 2019, up from 3.4 percent the year before.

Central Africa grew at 3.2 percent in 2019, up from 2.7 percent in 2018, while Southern Africa’s growth slowed considerably over the same period, from 1.2 percent to 0.7 percent, dragged down by the devastating cyclones Idai and Kenneth.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Facebook, CcHUB collaborate for 2-day showcase - ITREALMS

Facebook [NG_HUB] is collaborating with Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB) for a two-day Innovation Showcase Week 2020, in Lagos, reports ITREALMS.

The showcase, slated for February 13th and February 14th at NG HUB, 8, Montgomery Road, Lagos, ITREALMS gathered is an exclusive exhibition event where innovative startups in Facebook and CcHUB support programmes for a range of daring solutions to pressing industrial and consumer problems.ITREALMS equally gathered that solutions on display will include balloon-powered satellites, AI-driven fraud detection, blockchain-powered anti-counterfeiting, computer-vision powered glasses for the visually impaired built by 18 startups in the second cohort of West-Africa's first advanced-tech focused accelerator, the Facebook Accelerator, as well as startups from CcHUB’s startup programmes.

"To kickstart the Showcase Week, we are hosting a Press Day on the 13th of February 2020 where invited members of the press will get a first look at the ground-breaking deep tech solutions. Founders and team members of each of the featured companies will be available," source at the hub told 
ITREALMS.

Chuks Egbune/Editor

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Uninterrupted power supply: A professor and his dream - ITREALMS

Dear eeSTee, permit me to start this piece with an apology, although it has been some 20 years ago, the last time you heard from me. I want to presume that I was dreaming.

As you may remember it is not in my character to keep you incommunicado, let alone for so long. Of course, the last time, if my memory serves me right we chatted was year 2000, when I left Times Journalism Institute (TJI) to face the turf of journalism in full gear and continue my educational pursuit.

And thanks to a colleague @Silverline Kezie for asking after you when we met at a class rendezvous, recently.

Dear eeSTee, a lot have gone under the bridge but largely due to exigencies of journalism practice, including official travels both in and out, as well as with and without, which lasted for over 15 years.

I must tell you in a jiffy, apologies to uncle Bill Okonedo, that Ngozi has left the husband shortly after my wedding in year 2002. I learnt, she is now in the South-East trading with the support of her senior in Mazi Trump’s country side. And the husband yet to remarry. Don’t ask why because I may not be able to tell you the story technically as it supposed be.

Remember Mr. Peter Obi of Anambra State, the governor that was impeached sometime ago for doing none of the biddings of supposed “god’s father” had since regained his seat and even concluded his tenure after a long judicial battle at the Supreme Court, forcing Dr. Chris Ngige to go into ritual of contest for the governor of Anambra State at every election. 

Unconfirmed report had it he may be going again for the 2021 Anambra Governorship Election, more now that the All Progressive Congress (APC)-led Federal Government has literally thrown the judiciary independence to the dogs, thereby making a mockery of our democracy viz-a-viz the case of Emeka Ihedioha versus Hope Uzodinma where the highest court in the land cannot employ the services of mathematicians to add-up simple arithmetic, and where a polling unit with 356 votes goes to APC and the major opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) got two votes. I am still dreaming how to work out that arithmetic. 

May be Nigerian Law School should make arithmetic compulsory for intakes.

Dear eeSTee, I am not interested in boring you with a two decades of gist, but they will come intermittently as I have since turned a new leaf with a pledge to keep you updated as long as “Never Expect Power Always (NEPA)” apologies to Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) in Nigeria; permits alongside other Nigerian unpredictable exigencies and internet connectivity too, that is when and if vandals are not cutting the telecommunications cables at the Pacific Ocean and road constructing companies agree.

It may also interest you, Dear eeSTee, that as part of efforts to unbundle NEPA which you as the National Electricity Power Authority and Nigerians christened “Never Expert Power Always (NEPA)” for lack of performance, the Federal Government (FG) based on the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005, unbundled NEPA into 11 Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) with their coverage areas of the 11 companies. They include Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, Benin Electricity Distribution Company, Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, Jos Electricity Distribution Company, Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, Kano Electricity Distribution Company, Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, and Yola Electricity Distribution Company.

Till date, NEPA or Discos, whichever one you may choose to call them, Dear eeSTee, have not improved much despite billions of Naira and Dollars dumped on electricity generation. You may recall that in 2001, we had generated electricity capacity worth 5600 Mega Watt (MW) and as at October 2019, generated around 4,000 MW, which is grossly inadequate considering the number of our population and the fact that Nigeria is endowed with large oil, gas, hydro and solar resource, with potential to generate 12,522 megawatts (MW) of electric power from existing plants.

To crown it all in a recent video, the Chairman of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Prof. James Momoh had revealed he had a dream that Nigeria will become a country of uninterrupted power supply. As if they (NEPA) knew I was on this piece, the light went off as soon as mentioned ‘Prof and his dream’ which went viral.

This came last weekend, after he, Momoh had spent over 12 months following his confirmation as NERC chairman since 2018.

As you can see, Nigerians are still dreaming when this prophecy of Prof. Momoh will come to fruition; we are still paying for our Individual ‘Independent’ Power Supply (IPS), if you have three hours of electricity per day, you thank God and if you are using it for business, it comes at night when you are closing and at home, electricity power supply comes on when you are stepping out to your business location in the morning. Else we forgot, experts have canvassed that the minimum safe distance for generating set is 15 feet from doors, windows, vents, and other openings like your garage door

In fact after watching Prof. Momoh’s video of ‘I had a dream’ I pity Martin Lurther King for populating this phrase. Wondering if that dream does not amount to ineptitude.

Dear eeSTee, I had a dream to update you, as soon as we have power distributed to our side of the country, not minding all the boasts by Babajide Fashola before he was made Power Minister, especially now that Professor Momoh has lured Nigerians into false dreaming without proffering accompanying practical solution. 

Let the dream go on please.

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ABB Ability Smart Sensors for launch @Hannover 2020 - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:

The ABB would next month launch its Smart Sensor for rotating machines operating in hazardous areas at Hannover Messe 2020, reports ITREALMS.

The leading international technology fair, ITREALMS gathered, would also be a ground for  ABB Smart Sensors with a new generation design for powertrains in hazardous areas. 

This coming as chemical and oil and gas customers could now benefit from cost-efficient condition monitoring in a wide variety of applications, says ABB officials.

The wireless smart sensor monitors key parameters to provide detailed insights into the performance and health of assets such as motors and pumps. Equipment installed in difficult or dangerous to access locations can be safely monitored from a distance. Combining connectivity and data analytics means operators can plan their maintenance activities in advance, reduce downtime and extend equipment lifetime.

“Our new generation of smart sensors provide high quality data to enable ABB’s advanced analytics to be used in hazardous areas,” says Teijo Kärnä, Global Product Manager, ABB Ability™ Smart Sensor. “These smart sensors are more sensitive which allows customers to see problems earlier. They also offer more monitoring capabilities, a broader communication range and exceptional battery life.”

This sensor offers a battery life of up to three times longer than most competing designs. It is sealed for life, with an IP66/67 rating, and can be mounted directly to the equipment in a matter of minutes using a simple mounting bracket.

The sensor communicates with smartphones, tablets, PCs and plant gateways using low energy Bluetooth or WirelessHART. A new antenna design has extended its range by a factor of three to four, meaning that reliable communication over distances of a few hundred meters (line of sight) is now possible.

Another crucial upgrade is that the sensors have greater sensitivity to small changes in the condition of the equipment, including advanced warning of bearing damage. This capability to generate a much wider range of data is matched with state of the art integrated electronics that incorporate advanced algorithms based on ABB’s vast experience in electric motors. This helps operators and maintenance teams produce insightful information to predict potential failure, enabling remedial action to be taken before a breakdown occurs.

The Smart Sensor is currently completing certification for hazardous areas - ATEX, IECEx, and NEC. Other certificates will follow over the coming year.

Chuks Egbune/Editor

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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Nigeria in big five economies by African outlook 2020 - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:
Despite lamentations by Nigerians, the 2020 African Economic Outlook (AEO), has listed Nigeria alongside other African countries in big five, saying that the slower than expected growth was partly due to the moderate expansion of this five.

The bigfive according to AEO includes Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, and South Africa. 

For the first time in a decade, investment expenditure rather than consumption accounts for more than half of GDP growth; report calls for urgent investment in education and infrastructure for good returns in long-term GDP; “Youth unemployment must be given top priority. With 12 million graduates entering the labor market each year and only 3 million of them getting jobs, the mountain of youth unemployment is rising annually.” – Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank

Africa’s economic growth remained stable in 2019 at 3.4 percent and is on course to pick up to 3.9 percent in 2020 and 4.1 percent in 2021, the African Development Bank’s (AfDB.org) 2020 African Economic Outlook (AEO) (http://bit.ly/2vABQFU) revealed Thursday.

The slower than expected growth is partly due to the moderate expansion of the continent’s “big five” — Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, and South Africa – whose joint growth was an average rate of 3.1 percent, compared with the average of 4.0 percent for the rest of the continent.

The Bank’s flagship publication, published annually since 2003, provides headline numbers on Africa’s economic performance and outlook. The 2020 edition, launched at the Bank’s Abidjan headquarters, was attended by former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, African ministers, diplomats, researchers, and representatives of various international bodies.

Johnson Sirleaf commended the Bank for upholding the confidence of the people of the continent “… because we trust you. As simple as that. Because we trust you to share our vision. We trust you to understand our limitations.”

Referring to Africa’s fastest-growing economies, she said, “There are stars among us…and we want to applaud them. We want to see more, particularly for countries like mine, which have been left behind, so that more can be done to give them the support that they need.”

In 2019, for the first time in a decade, investment expenditure, rather than consumption, accounted for over 50% of GDP growth. This shift can help sustain and potentially accelerate future growth in Africa, increase the continent’s current and future productive base, while improving productivity of the workforce.

Overall, the forecast described the continent’s growth fundamentals as improved, driven by a gradual shift toward investments and net exports, and away from private consumption.

East Africa maintained its lead as the continent’s fastest-growing region, with average growth estimated at 5.0 percent in 2019; North Africa was the second fastest, at 4.1 percent, while West Africa’s growth rose to 3.7 percent in 2019, up from 3.4 percent the year before.

Central Africa grew at 3.2 percent in 2019, up from 2.7 percent in 2018, while Southern Africa’s growth slowed considerably over the same period, from 1.2 percent to 0.7 percent, dragged down by the devastating cyclones Idai and Kenneth.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Ekiti to reposition economy without oil - ITREALMS


The Ekiti state government has disclosed plans to domesticate the Federal Government’s zero oil strategy for total diversification of the economy in its drive to reposition the state’s finances, reports ITREALMS.

The Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr Femi Ajayi, disclosed this during the presentation of the detailed analysis of the 2020 budget to stakeholders in Ado-Ekiti on Thursday.

Ajayi said the size of the 2020 budget of N124,724,869,355.95 made up of N53,538,093.59 and N71,186,775,549.36 capital and recurrent expenditures respectively was within the ambit of the requirements for the fiscally sustainable plan of the Federal Government

He explained that the budget was in line with fiscal policy of having a purposeful and all-inclusive budget that will serve as a tool for the implementation of socio-economic policy and prudent management of available resources.

The Commissioner said the 2020 budget preparation took into cognizance the interests of all towns, communities and interests groups, adding that the budget was woven round the five cardinal programmes of the administration to deliver on its electioneering promises to the people of the state.”

According to him, “The 2020 budget represents a reduction of N5,199,602,779.06 or (4%) from the 2019 budget size of N129,924,472,135.01. the operational dynamics of the 2020 budget was to reduce the budget performance variance in the 2020 fiscal year to ensure compliance with the requirement of the state fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability programmes for results which allows only 20 per cent variance in implementation.”

Ajayi added that the reduction was also informed by the need to have a more realistic budget, considering the dwindling allocation from the federation account.

Analysing the 2019 budget of restoration upon which the 2020 budget of deliverables was hinged, the Budget commissioner said 2019 budget was prepared to restore the core values of Ekiti people and revamp the state economy which was designed to widen the scope of revenue generation by widening the tax net and blocking all leakages in the revenue accrued to government.

He explained further that the budget was financed principally from revenue from federal allocation, internally generated revenue, value-added tax, funds from international donor agencies, grants from the federal government and other sources.

The commissioner also explained that the focus of the 2020 budget, christened “Budget of Deliverables” was to establish a fiscal framework that would transform the socio-economic activities of the state and situate Ekiti in the right perspective in the committee of states in Nigeria. He added that the budget was to drive Ekiti towards agricultural, industrial and knowledge base of the Nigerian economy through completion of all ongoing capital projects across the state and commencing other legacy projects.

He highlighted the objectives of the budget to include consolidation of the achievements recorded in core values of the state; establishing a fiscal framework that will positively translate the present economic realities to a major viable agricultural and industrial base of the Nigerian economy; to pursue aggressive revenue generation drive within the ambit of the law and reduce the dependence of the state on allocation from the federal government; to invest in human capital and strengthen the human resources base through strategic investments in qualitative education and health care delivery to all as well as improve ease of doing business and provide enabling socio-economic environment required for the success of government reforms.

While seeking the continued support of the people for Governor Kayode Fayemi administration to bring its lofty ideas and programmes into reality, the commissioner noted that the implementation of the budget will further improve the lives of the people and stimulate economic activities in the state.

Ayo Midele/Editor

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Pix: Commissioner speaking at the briefing.

Grammy malware hits 9,000 users - ITREALMS

Kaspersky has found out that a total of 9,000 users have been effected with malware disguising as Grammy selected songs, reports ITREALMS.

Out of this figure, ITREALMS gathered that some 30,982 malicious files that used the names of artists or their tracks in order to spread malware, especially in Nigeria.

Kaspersky protection technologies also said it detected a 39 per cent rise in attacks (attempts to download or run malicious files) under the guise of nominees’ work in 2019, compared to 2018, noting that cybercriminals are actively abusing the names of artists and songs nominated for a Grammy 2020 award, in order to spread malware.

Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift and Post Malone were attackers’ favorites, with these nominees’ names used most often in 2019 as a disguise for malware.

Music has universal appeal – it is not just entertainment, but a form of therapy and education, as well as providing an atmosphere and message platform. Its popularity and widespread availability is the reason why, even in the age of streaming services, music is not free from malicious activity: criminals use popular artists’ names to spread malware hidden in music tracks or video clips.

In light of the biggest music awards of the year, to show the extent of the problem, Kaspersky researchers analysed Grammy 2020 nominated artists’ names and song titles for malware [1]. As a result, Kaspersky found 30,982 malicious files that used the names of artists or their tracks in order to spread malware, with 41,096 Kaspersky product users having encountered them.

Analysis of the nominated artists showed that the names of Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift and Post Malone were used most to disguise malicious files, with over half (55%) of detected malicious files named after them.

The connection between the rise in popularity and malicious activity is very evident in the case of newer artists such as Billie Eilish. The teenage singer became hugely popular in 2019, and the number of users who downloaded malicious files with her name has risen almost tenfold compared to 2018 – from 254 to 2171, the number of unique distributed malicious files – from 221 to 1,556. For instance, while the number of users attacked by Malware disguised as Billie Eilish songs in Nigeria accounted for only 381 in 2018, 2019 saw this number increase to 9,722. Overall, Nigeria saw 55 of such malicious files distributed in this region in 2019, with 94,630 attacks.

However, while nomination for a prestigious award and recognition connected to it affects users’ interest in specific artists and, as a result, a growth in malicious activity, this is not necessarily the case for more established artists such as Lady Gaga, whose name use also experienced a rise in attacks in the past year.

Kaspersky also analysed which records and songs, nominated for a Grammy in 2019, received most attention from cybercriminals. Post Malone’s ‘Sunflower’, Khalid’s ‘Talk’ and Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’, led the way for songs with the most malware attacks.

“Cybercriminals understand what is popular and always strive to capitalise on that. Music, alongside TV shows, is one of the most popular types of entertainment and, as a result, an attractive means to spread malware, which criminals readily use. However, as we see more and more users subscribe to streaming platforms, which do not require file download in order to listen to music, we expect that malicious activity related to this type of content will decrease,” – comments Anton Ivanov, Kaspersky security analyst.



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Court to MRA: Pursue N15m claim against NNPC - ITREALMS

An Abuja-based Federal High Court has granted the Media Rights Agenda (MRA) leave to pursue its N15 million damages suit against the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for violation of the organization’s right of access to information under the the Freedom of Information Act, reports ITREALMS.

Justice Taiwo Obayomi Taiwo fixed hearing in the substantive suit for February 25, 2020 after granting MRA leave to proceed with its claim against the NNPC following a motion exparte argued by the organization’s lawyer, Mrs. Mojirayo Ogunlana-Nkanga.

In the motion in which the NNPC, its Group Managing Director and the Attorney-General of the Federation were named as respondents,Mrs. Ogunlana-Nkanga sought judicial permission to enable MRA apply for nine declarations and orders from the court, including an order to compel the NNPC to perform its statutory duties under the FOI Act within 30 days of the court’s order and to pay MRA the sum of N15 million as exemplary and aggravated damages for the violation of its right of access to information guaranteed by the Act.

Mrs. Ogunlana-Nkanga contended that the NNPC was in breach of several statutory duties under the Act which it has consistently failed, neglected or refused to perform since the Act was enacted into law on May 28, 2011 in violation of MRA’s right of access to information as established and guaranteed by the Act.

She argued that MRA has a right under Section 1(3) of the FOI Act to institute proceedings in court to compel any public institution, including the NNPC, to comply with the provisions of the Act as well as under Section 2(6) to also institute proceedings in court to compel any public institution, including the NNPC, to comply with the provisions of Section 2 of the Act.

Among the nine declarations and orders which MRA is seeking are:

· A declaration that the failure and/or refusal by the NNPC to proactively publish the information specified in Section 2(3)(a)-(f) of the FOI Act and widely disseminate the information as required by Section 2(4) of the Act amounts to a breach of the corporation’s statutory duty under Section 2(3) and (4) of the Act and constitutes a violation of MRA’s rights of access to information established and guaranteed by Sections 1(1) and 2(4) of the Act;

· A declaration that the failure and/or refusal by the NNPC to proactively publish the title and address of its appropriate officer to whom applications for information should be sent as required by Section 2(3)(f) of the FOI Act amounts to a breach of its statutory duty under the Act and constitutes a violation of MRA’s rights of access to information established and guaranteed by Section 1(1) and 2(4) of the Act;

· A declaration that the NNPC’s failure to submit to the Attorney-General of the Federation its annual reports on its implementation of the FOI Act, covering the fiscal years 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 and to make the report available to the public amounts to a breach of its statutory duty and a gross violation of Section 29(1) and (2) of the Act;

· An order compelling the NNPC to comply with the provisions of Section 2(1), (2), (3), (4) and (5) of the FOI Act by publishing and widely disseminating and making readily available to members of the public the information specified in Section 2(3)(a) to (f) of the Act within 30 days of the order of the court;

· An order compelling the NNPC to ensure the provision of appropriate training for its officials on the public’s right of access to information and records held by it for the effective implementation of the Act within 30 days of the court’s order;

· An order compelling the NNPC to submit to the Attorney-General of the Federation its annual reports on its implementation of the FOI Act covering the fiscal years 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, as required by Section 29(1) of the Act within 30 days of the court’s order; and

· An order directing the NNPC and its Group Managing Director to pay MRA N15 million as exemplary and aggravated damages for the flagrant and unlawful violation of the organization’s right of access to information established and guaranteed by Sections 1(1) and 4 of the Act.

Ruling on the motion exparte, Justice Taiwo granted MRA leave to file a “Motion on Notice” which he said must be served on the NNPC, its Group Managing Director and the Attorney-General of the Federation to give them an opportunity to respond.

The judge directed that the Motion on Notice must be filed within seven days from January 29, 2019 and that the respondents should be served accordingly.

He adjourned hearing in the suit to February 25, 2020.

Uboshe Uboshe/Editor
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Internet Fraud: 33yr-old landlord in EFCC along 10 suspects

A 33-year-old landlord, Mr. Stanley Ejike Awam is now cooling off in the net of the Ibadan Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) for housing some 10 suspected Internet fraudsters in his compound, reports ITREALMS.

Their arrest, ITREALMS gathered, took place Wednesday, January 29, 2020, saw the 10 suspected also in EFCC net.

According to ChannelsTv, monitored by ITREALMS, Mr. Awam was apprehended for allegedly providing shelter for the suspected internet fraudsters while the 10 suspected internet fraudsters popularly known as Yahoo Boys were picked up at different locations of the Ibadan metropolis following intelligence on their alleged illegal activities.

In addition, ITREALMS gathered that the suspects were arrested at the premises of the six-flat bungalow alongside the landlord were Henry Echefu, Usman Mustapha, Adeleke David, Olafuyi Josiah, Shorefire Ayokunmi, Riliwan Ajao, Abulsalam Abubakar and Lukeman Salam. Others are Adeyemo Muktarh and Bashir Mohammed.

Ayo Midele/Editor

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Makinde visits IGP of Police, warns 'we don’t want chaos in Oyo' - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:

The Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, Wednesday, visited the Inspector General of Police, IGP Adamu Mohammed in Abuja, warning that his administration would not condone violence in Oyo, reports ITREALMS.

The Governor, who spoke to newsmen at the premises of the Force Headquarters, stated that he had briefed the IGP on the security situation in the state.

A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, noted that Governor Makinde declared that his administration “does not want chaos in Oyo State.”

He added that he would obey the judgment of the court once the pending appeals on the local government dissolution in the state are decided.

The Governor, who stated that as a law-abiding individual, he was ready to work with others to build a new country where the rule of law is supreme, urged everyone to be law-abiding and to ensure that they don’t do anything that would create lawlessness.

According to the Governor, he was in Abuja to meet Abubakar to discuss the issue of local government dissolution crisis in Oyo State and the Western Nigerian Security Network, codenamed Amotekun.

Governor Makinde maintained that the security network was work in progress and that the South-West governors were already operationalizing it, adding that the governors would further meet with the IG to review the situation on the intervention.

The Governor said: “We are here basically to discuss two things. You all must have heard about the issue of local government administration in Oyo State. "There is a court order yesterday restraining the IG, the CP, the AIG from giving unilateral order regarding the issue of local government administration in Oyo State.

“I came to brief the Inspector General that this is the situation. We do not want chaos in Oyo State. I personally, am law-abiding; if there is a court judgement, I would obey it and he has given me the assurance that once he gets the copy of the court order, he would do the needful.

“Secondly, everybody is aware of the issue with Amotekun; we deliberated on it and we had an agreement in principle to have the governors of the South-West meet with him to review the situation. Amotekun is work in progress, we are trying to operationalise it and in doing that, all the relevant stakeholders would have to align.

“We are trying to build a new country where the rule of law is supreme, so everybody should be law-abiding, ensure that they don’t do anything that would create lawlessness.”

Ayo Midele/editor

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Pix: IGP: Oyo State Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde (middle); Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu (left) and Chairman, Oyo State Advisory Council, Senator Hosea Agboola during a courtesy visit to the Inspector General of Police in Abuja. PHOTO: Oyo State Government

Imo Assembly: Defectors must vacate their seats says PDP - ITREALMS

Leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has declared that all those defecting to All Progress Congress (APC) in Imo State, have lost their seats, advising them to vacate with immediate effect, reports ITREALMS.

PDP through the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan informed ITREALMS Wednesday in Abuja,that they received reports that some members of the Imo state House of Assembly elected on the platform of our great party, have decided to abdicate the mandate they hold on the pedestal of our party, to defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC), ostensibly for their very selfish gains.

The PDP also described such action at 
a press conference in as unpatriotic and an unpardonable betrayal of the people of their respective constituencies who chose and identified with the ideal and visions of the PDP as the platform for their representation at the state assembly.

Further, PDP stated:

"The defectors have indeed shown absolute lack of character, failure of leadership capacity in moments of challenges and absence of faith to stand with the people in their most trying moment, but are easily bought by personal pecuniary and political interests.

"The PDP holds that these defectors are fully aware of the grave implication of their actions to the effect that by their defection to the APC, they have automatically lost their seats and membership of the Imo state House of Assembly as they can only hold such position on the mandate of the party on which they were elected; the PDP.

"It is settled under the 1999 Constitution (as amended), that a legislator who decamps from a party upon which he was elected a member of a legislative house automatically losses his or her membership of that house as the seat belongs to the political party upon which platform the election was won and not the individual.

"The vacation of seat, as a direct consequence of decamping to another political party other than the party upon which one was elected to occupy a seat in the legislature, is clear and unambiguous under section 109 (1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

"For the avoidance of doubt, section 109 (1)(g) provides that “a member of the House of Assembly Shall vacate his seat in the House if …(g) being a person whose election to the House of Assembly by a political party, he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that House was elected:

"The Constitution went further to state “provided that his membership of the latter political party is not as a result of a division in the political party of which he was previously a member or of a merger of two or more political parties or factions by one of which he was previously sponsored.”

"Consequent upon the above constitutional provisions, these defectors have vacated their seats, they no longer have a place in the state assembly, as there is no division or merger of any kind in the PDP at any level whatsoever.

"The PDP is therefore left with no other option than to request the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately commence the processes for the conduct of fresh elections into the respective state constituencies where the legislators have vacated their seats, in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.

"The PDP calls on our teeming members and supporters in Imo state to remain calm and focused at this trying time as the national leadership proceeds with arrangements ahead of fresh elections in the affected constituencies.

"Moreover, the national leadership assures the people of Imo state that processes are already on towards achieving a judicial review and reversal of the defective judgment of the Supreme Court, on the Imo state governorship election.

Uboshe Uboshe/Editor

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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Pantami describes Airtel Touching Lives as source of inspiration - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has commended Airtel for touching the lives of millions of Nigerians through its flagship Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, ‘Airtel Touching Lives.’

Pantami was speaking at the premiere of Airtel Touching Lives Season 5, which held at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island and was attended by prominent personalities including the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo; Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II and famous novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, among many others.

The Minister described Airtel as a company that innately cares about the well-being of Nigerians, spurring it to impact and render a helping hand to millions year after year, despite not being bound by the law to do so.

“Corporate Social Responsibility on this scale is not required by law in many nations around the world. It is not a hard law but there are socially conscious companies that truly feel it is part of their own law. While it is not enforceable, I think a company like Airtel coming up with this initiative and sustaining it is highly commendable.”

Isa went on to express his gratitude to the telecommunications giant for its consistency, stating that seeing some of the heartfelt stories of the people, communities, families and underprivileged individuals who have benefited from the Airtel Touching Lives initiative have motivated him to support the company by investing his salary in Airtel top-up.



He further stated that: “CSR goes a long way and I am also a beneficiary of it. I benefited from CSR as a Computer Science undergraduate in Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University in Bauchi, where I was awarded a scholarship by a private organization.



“I must say, one of the beauties of having wealth is being able to touch other people’s lives positively and this is one investment that never fails anyone in life. Seeing Airtel doing this without expecting anything in return is a source of inspiration, not only for public officers in government but also to millions of Nigerians.”



The Minister also assured the company that the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is working resolutely to curtail some of the challenges being faced by telecommunications companies in the country.



“We are aware of the challenges facing mobile network operators and I’ve been having discussions on how to resolve them, including the issue of critical national infrastructure and vandalization, among others. The Federal Government has been working to improve safety by directing security agencies to protect telecommunications infrastructure all over the country. Another issue we recently tackled is the issue of right of way as we addressed this during the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and the Chairman of the forum has assured me it has been resolved. ”, he added.



The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo praised Airtel for bringing millions of Nigerians out of despair and for being a beacon of hope in the country, through its Corporate Social Responsibility.

“I really want to laud the effort of Segun Ogunsanya and his team at Airtel for touching so many lives and for doing so in the past five years without fanfare. Listening to the stories of the lives that have been touched must be a reminder of so many others in despair who need our help and comfort. We still need more resources because we can’t do it all, and that is why socially conscious organizations like Airtel is so vital in bridging the huge gap between what the Government can do and what is left to be done”, said Osinbajo in his remarks.



Babajide Sanwo-Olu also lauded Airtel for its contributions to the State Government through the initiative. In his keynote address, the Governor described Airtel as a partner in progress. He commented: “Companies like Airtel is helping us actualize the reason millions of people stand under the rain and in the sun to vote for us as public officers. We truly appreciate companies like Airtel, who are taking the right narrative and steps to truly impact lives without expecting anything in return.”

The Governor went on to reveal some of the contributions Airtel has made in support of the State Government, including the donation of over 200 lines to its security operatives in the RRS. He cited this as a pivotal gesture as communication is an important tool that security operatives needto effectively discharge their duties.

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MainOne to showcase Managed Cloud Services @NerdsUnite2020 - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:
MainOne is set to showcase its latest in shelve Managed Cloud Services at the fifth Nerds Unite slated for Lagos next month.

Just as over 500 IT professionals from enterprise organisations across West Africa are expected to converge in the centre of excellence on February 21, 2020, on the theme “Enabling the Digital Economy” reports ITREALMS.

This year’s event will showcase the launch of its Managed Cloud Services in partnership with Microsoft and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Operated by Selectium. The event will feature presentations and panel discussions on Cloud adoption, Cloud migration and all things Cloud with MainOne and its global partners.

Featuring over 10 speakers from global tech companies and West African Corporate organizations, #NerdsUnite2020 is designed to facilitate discussions on trending developments in the IT sector to help professionals deliver increased value to their organizations. The event’s keynote addresses will be given by Ernest Sales, CEO Hewlett Packard Enterprises Operated by Selectium and Wale Olokodana, Microsoft Business Group Director.

Speaking on expectations for this year’s event, Tayo Ashiru, Head of Marketing MainOne says, “For the past 4 years, Nerds Unite has delivered powerful technology insights and networking opportunities for organizations and tech enthusiasts alike. This year we expect that with our panel of dynamic speakers, partners and launch of our Managed Cloud Services, the energy around Nerds Unite 2020 will be electrifying. These developments will help accelerate the digital transformation across all sectors and the ICT ecosystem in West Africa, supported by technological innovation and world class partners.”

With over 3,000 participants since inception, Nerds Unite has showcased leading technology solutions available locally and globally and has hosted major players in the international and local IT industry. This year’s edition is set to further empower the tech ecosystem with the industry’s latest developments, centering on unique perspectives on Cloud Computing targeted at C-Level executives and IT professionals of blue-chip organizations across West Africa.


Chuks Egbune/Editor

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Imo Guber: Is our Supreme Court partisan? - ITREALMS

Commentary@ITREALMS:
On Tuesday, January 14, 2020, the Supreme Court of Nigeria, in one of the most controversial judgments in Nigerian history, sacked the Governor of Imo State, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha and declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress- APC, Senator Hope Uzodimma Governor of the state. The judgment has continued to generate more questions than answers.

Senator Uzodinma’s petition was hinged on a claim that elections were conducted in certain 388 polling units, but the results of the elections were wrongly excluded by the Independent National Electoral Commission-INEC in their collation of results of the election, arguing that if the results were included, that he would have won the election.

Respondents in the petition, including INEC refuted the claim, describing the results, as tendered by the petitioner as fake. The burden of proof was therefore on the petitioner. But, did he prove his case? Is the apex court Judgment just? Was there any Order from above? Is the apex Court partisan? Were there other intervening factors? The list of questions goes on.

The Petitioner, in trying to prove his case called 54 witnesses, 28 of which were polling agents. No Ward collation agent(s) testified. Senator Uzodinma himself testified as Prosecution Witness 11; his state Collation Agent testified as PW51 and a certain police officer testified as PW54.

The results relied on by the petitioners were tendered in bags. PW54, a Deputy Commissioner of Police tendered documents in a pack, which he described as result sheets from 366 polling units. He did not open any of them or refer specifically to any. During cross examination, he admitted that he did not know the figures they contained or the polling units they were gotten from.

All the prosecution witnesses, including PW11 admitted during cross examination that the result sheets were not legible and/or did not contain the scores of all the political parties that participated in the election. The witnesses also admitted that the result sheets did not contain any entry to show the number of ballot papers issued to the respective polling units, number used and those not used. Most of the sheets did not show the names and signatures of the presiding officers and the date of issuance. In some, the dates written on them were before or after March 9, 2019. PW11 also admitted during cross examination that some of the results showed over voting.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police who brought the results had no idea about the contents of the result. He came on Subpoena and said he was asked to bring the results. Even when the legal team of the respondents objected to it, the Court admitted them.

During cross examination, the DCP said he was not the maker and knew nothing about the content and scores. So, he was not able to link the results of the election with the documents he brought. He was shown copies of the documents he brought, but he could not read any score as they were not legible. All of these happened in Court and are recorded.

Is it not a case of dumping of documents in Court, which the same apex court has ruled against severally? The Petitioner himself, Senator Hope Uzodinma, when confronted in Court said he could not see the figures on the same results he tendered? When asked the source of the results, he said they were given to the Police.

When the Imo State Police Command was contacted, the Commissioner of Police said there was no record of the said documents as exhibits in custody of the Police. When the Deputy Commissioner came from Jos, there was/is also no record of where he signed to receive the documents, indicating details of the documents/exhibits taken. In fact, the Police have no such records.

Meanwhile, the number declared by the Supreme Court as that of the All Progressives Congress/ Senator Hope Uzodinma is far higher than the total number of registered voters, not to talk of the accredited voters. What about the votes of other political parties? Why were they not taken into consideration?

The entire facts of this case leave one without doubt that, all is not well. What really went wrong? Is this still Nigeria’s Supreme Court, where justice ought to reign?

If, recently, the apex court held that Senator Hope Uzodinma was not a candidate at that election, how did they now summersault to declare same person winner of the election?

The Supreme Court has held severally, including in the case of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in 2019, that dumping of documents is not permissible in any trial. The same Court will say one thing today and tomorrow, it says another, depending on which suits their interest? Why did they change the panel that was handling the Imo State matter? They even resurrected a man that never sat on any matter for over three years to sit on a Governorship appeal?

The Petitioner brought things and dumped on the court. No witnesses from the booths. He called 28 relevant witnesses, but the same Supreme Court earlier held that one must bring witnesses from all the polling units. The Petitioner was therefore required to bring 388 witnesses from the 388 polling units. Who then explained what is in the results? What was the evidence the Supreme Court relied on? What were the figures from the 388 booths that the apex court summed up, considering the fact that most of them were not legible? What are the figures? In fact, many of the Uzodinma’s result sheets were blank.

The people that brought the results themselves said they did not know what was inside. Please, how did the Supreme Court arrive at the figures with which they declared the APC candidate winner?

I have seen a Certified True Copy of the said results. I have interrogated some of them. Number 69 on the sheet is Eziama/Okpala Umuogba village square, in Ngor Okpala village square- boot 008. The total number of registered voters is 492, while Uzodinma’s result, as declared by the Supreme Court is 819. How can a candidate’s votes be higher than the number of registered voters?

Again, number 377, in Umuchoko Town Hall – 006, the total number of registered voters, according to INEC records is 367, while Uzodinma’s APC scored same 367 and the PDP scored 2, according to the Supreme Court result, totaling 369. Apart from the fact that the number of votes is higher than the registered voters, there was not even a single void vote?

More so, number 384 on Senator Uzodinma’s result is Umunkwo Community Primary School, Umuopara- 006, where the total number of registered voters was 526. Here, Uzodinma claims to have scored same 526 and the PDP 2. Again, the total number of votes is higher than the number of registered voters. No other Party got votes and no void votes?

Also, many of the locations recorded as INEC polling units in the results are fake. For instance, in Nwangele Local Government Area, a ‘polling unit’ identified as Umuanu Community Secondary School, Umuanu 11 does not exist. What sort of a scam is this?

In addition, Uzodinma’s table of results from the 388 polling units has no scores for other political parties such as the Action Alliance, which came second at the polls; former Governor Ikedi Ohakim’s Accord Party; the All Progressives Grand Alliance, among others. So, the other political parties, numbering about 68 that contested the same election never got any votes, even from their accredited agents?

Yet, the APC did not win any single seat at the State House of Assembly, even as the elections were conducted on the same day and at the same time?

By the way, while majority of the result sheets presented by Uzodinma, which the apex Court relied on were not legible and the scores could not be read, even by Senator Uzodinma himself, a few legible ones show clearly that the number of votes awarded to the APC are far higher than the total number of registered voters in the polling units; not even accredited voters?

Certainly, this Supreme Court judgment defeats every common sense and logic.

Even in the case of Bauchi and Sokoto States, the apex court refused to award scores to the petitioner in the matter. One of the grounds is that the petitioner did not produce witnesses from each of the polling units to defend the results. What then happened in the case of Imo State? Can our apex Court be speaking from the both sides of their mouth?

The Supreme Court computation of votes and accreditation is strange. One of the documents submitted by the Independent National Electoral Commission- INEC to the Tribunal is Form EC8D. The CTC of FORM EC8D shows that: The total number of accredited voters at the election was 823,743. Total votes cast during the election was 739,435, while total rejected votes was 25,130. Total valid votes cast at the election for all the parties was 714,355.

Nigeria’s Supreme Court added 213,695 votes to Hope Uzodinma of APC from the fake 388 units and 1,903 votes to PDP, thereby making the total votes scored at the election to be 953,083.

This is far above the accredited voters clearly shown in the FORM EC8D before the Tribunal as 823,743. So, a whopping 129,340 votes cannot be accounted for by the Supreme Court decision.

The fundamental question is: how can the Supreme Court declare more votes than accredited voters? This raises an impracticable and unreasonable situation.

This Imo State judgment appears like a script written elsewhere and dumped on the apex Court to deliver. This is not the Supreme Court I used to know. What has gone wrong?

The international community must take steps to impose sanctions on everyone that has a hand in this day-light robbery in my dear State- Imo. There is no armed robbery worse than this.

Nigeria’s apex court must take urgent steps to quickly reverse itself before Nigerians resort to self-help in attending to their problems. Lawlessness is a possible consequence of this injustice.

There is an opportunity to save the face of the Supreme Court and the judiciary at large. The evidence is overwhelming. Take advantage of it and stylishly do the needful.

Ultimately, this judgment must find space in the Guinness Book of Records.



Dr. Walter Duru is a Communications Expert and Executive Director of Media Initiative against Injustice, Violence and Corruption. He can be reached on: walterchike@gmail.com.

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Private Musing About Power Supply in Nigeria - ITREALMS

Commentary@ITREALMS:
Babatunde Fashola, Power Minister
In a world of 3D printing and manufacturing, artificial intelligence (AI), Cloud Computing Big Data and smart cities can a country compete without power? It is doubtful. Steady power supply is essential for the smooth running of any economy. It is the lifeblood of the digital economy. To connect and partake of the digital economy people must first be switched on.

Nigeria has been described severally as the largest economy in Africa, but limitations in the power sector constrain growth. Nigeria’s quest for a digital economy would struggle until it, as a matter of urgency, fixes the poor power supply situation.

To understand how dire the situation is, consider this: Nigeria generates approximately 4,000 MW for 200 million people, whereas South Africa produces over 40,000 MW of energy for her 62 million people. The situation is grave.

Today, the Nigerian economy runs on generators. Nigerians live with the fume, bear the noise and struggled under the burden. This is not sustainable.

Everywhere you turn across this vast landscape small and private power generating plants (aka generators) hum driving the Nigerian economy forward. The really sad part is that running on generators is not cheap. According to a report, “Nigerians and Nigerian businesses spend almost $14bn (about N5tn) annually on an inefficient generation that is expensive of poor quality, noisy, and polluting sources from electricity generators.”

The cost to health and the environment is uncalculatable.

The impact has been intense but who is counting. The cost is extreme but no one seems to care.

It is particularly worrying when one considers the sheer number of companies that have relocated, scaled-down operations or perhaps shut down completely over the last decade. It is disheartening. It is distressing to even talk of others that never got off the ground.

The impact has also been extensive, jobs lost, taxed unpaid and missed opportunities. Besides, the economy has stalled, gross domestic product (GDP) stunted, and productivity left dwindling due to power challenges.

Numerous experts, professionals and policymakers have written about this matter. White papers, seminal communique and technical reports have been published. But no one appears to be listening. If the economy is growing at all it is in spite of these issues.

That is not all. Erratic power supply adds unnecessary cost burden to start-ups, raises production cost astronomically and dampens prospects and projections. Creativity is stifled innovation hampered and ideation is capped. It is bad for business, it is unhealthy for living and it is costly for the economy.

The real wonder, however, is that while the issues are obvious the remedy has eluded us for so long. We must be missing something. In the meantime, Nigeria continues to grope in the dark.

A thousand options have been proposed without a hint of progress. We must change if things are to be different.

It is not optional. If the country wants to key into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, be a part of the information society and benefit from the digital economy, then access to steady power supply is not optional. It is mandatory!

The consensus is that the government is the biggest hindrance to resolving the issues. No, there is no leap of logic necessary here. While the sector has been partially privatized, the government still controls the most important section. Talks of decentralization have gained little traction.

Now, it is time for Nigeria to heed that popular American saying “if you're in a hole stop digging”. Doing the same thing would never produce a different result. So, we must change what we are doing and indeed how we are doing it.

No, we don't need to reinvent the wheel. The solutions are out there. Procure them, harness them and install. Essentially, think sustainability and explore renewable options.



First, decentralise. Let power be generated and distributed within a smaller circle - regional, state, LGA and even estate and gated communities. It can even go down to business districts, trade free zones and hubs. This would involve making the mini and micro plants concept truly functional.



Next, consider the regions landscape and climate to determine the type of power generation to deploy in each region. The northern region with wide flatlands would be great for solar solutions.



Across the southern part of the country, there is a long stretch of coastline and beaches. This is a great place for wind farms. Plus, it has the added advantage of easy access in bringing in and installing Wind Mills.



In the Eastern Region, Nigeria can take a line from President Trump and explore using the massive clean coal deposits in the Eastern states.



It is the hybrid solutions that would work



The current haphazard system sees humongous sums been thrown after poor unsteady power. This would never work. This will never produce the Everyone knows that electricity generation, transmission and distribution are capital-intensive activities requiring huge resources of both funds and capacity. It is only when the funds and strategy are properly directly that Nigeria can produce steady, clean power.



It is said that adequate power supply is an unavoidable prerequisite to any nation's development. This is true. It is time to utilize Nigeria’s resources both human and natural. This is the only way to guarantee the availability of steady power supply. Nigeria needs electric power to maintain connections.



The digital economy awaits.

Elvis Eromosele, a Corporate Communication professional and public affairs analyst lives in Lagos.

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2m Nigeria children to die over pneumonia, warns UNICEF - ITREALMS

Efforts to fight pneumonia could avert over 2 million child deaths from pneumonia and other major diseases in Nigeria, new analysis has found, reports ITREALMS.

The modelling by Johns Hopkins University is being released today as nine leading health and children’s agencies host the world’s first global conference on childhood pneumonia in Barcelona.

Forecasts show that 1.4 million children under the age of five could die from pneumonia over the next decade in Nigeria, on current trends – the highest number of any country in the world and more than 20 percent of childhood deaths from pneumonia globally.

However, an estimated 809,000 of these deaths would be averted by significantly scaling up services to prevent and treat pneumonia.

Researchers also found boosting pneumonia services would create an additional ‘ripple effect’, preventing 1.2 million extra child deaths from other major childhood diseases at the same time.

Interventions like improving nutrition, increasing vaccine coverage or boosting breastfeeding rates – key measures that reduce the risk of children dying from pneumonia – would also stop thousands of child deaths from diseases like diarrhoea (580,000), meningitis (68,000), measles (55,000) and malaria (4,000).

By 2030, that effect would be so large that pneumonia interventions alone would avert over 2 million predicted under-five child deaths in Nigeria from all causes combined, researchers said.

Pneumonia is caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, and leaves children fighting for breath as their lungs fill with pus and fluid.

The disease is the leading killer of children in Nigeria, causing 19 percent of under-five deaths.

Most pneumonia deaths can be prevented with vaccines, and easily treated with low-cost antibiotics. But more than 40 percent of one-year-olds in Nigeria are unvaccinated, and three in four children suffering from pneumonia symptoms do not get access to medical treatment.

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