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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Development institutions commit to support transformation - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:
Three leading international financial institutions, the African Development Bank the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), have pledged multi-pronged support for the transformation of Sudan as it opens a new chapter to overcome political and economic challenges, reports ITREALMS.

At a high-level Sudan Partnership Conference held virtually and hosted in Berlin on 25 June, the three multilateral organizations and several governments affirmed their strong support for the country’s Transitional Government and its economic recovery efforts.

Over $1.8 billion dollars in pledges for Sudan poured in during the conference, which marked an important step in the African nation’s re-engagement with the international community.

Sudanese Finance Minister Ibrahim el-Badawi highlighted the comprehensive reforms that the Transitional Government of Sudan has launched to put in place a transparent, productive and resilient economy.

“We will pass an anti-corruption law, create an anti-corruption commission and reform the enabling environment for business and investment,” el-Badawi said during the panel discussions on the country’s economic reforms and the way forward.

He promised an era of transparently managed budgets that will focus on health, education and other sectoral reforms, including a transformed public service and a Family Support Programme. The Minister also called for partnerships at “every step of the way,” a position echoed by his colleague, Minister of Labour, Lena el-Sheikh Mahjoub.

The conference marked an important milestone in Sudan’s re-engagement with the international community. African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina assured the Sudanese government of the Bank’s continued support in the country’s transformation journey.

“You can be very sure of strong support from all of us, starting from the African Development Bank in this herculean task,” said Adesina. He went on to praise Sudanese Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, and the country’s leadership “If you are looking for leaders who actually have good ideas about how to come out of tough times and make the economy more resilient, you couldn’t have asked for a better person than Hamdok.”

The Government has approached the Bank for support in the preparation of a long-term development strategy, which will consolidate ongoing reforms to ignite growth, lay the foundation for sustaining high and inclusive growth and spur transformation towards a knowledge-based economy. The Bank currently has a $511 million portfolio in this African country.

IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, reiterated the urgent need to extend support to Sudan. The IMF and Sudan on June 23 reached an agreement to put in a place a 12-month Staff Monitored Program (SMP) aimed at narrowing large macroeconomic imbalances, reducing structural distortions hindering economic activity and job creation, strengthening governance and social safety nets. The SMP will also facilitate progress toward debt relief under the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) initiative.

World Bank President, David Malpass, reiterated ongoing and planned support for Sudan’s reform programme. “At the Government’s request, we have been working to design the Sudan Family Support Program It’s an ambitious cash transfer program to mitigate the impacts of the economic crisis. The program is costed at $1.9 billion and seeks to cover cash transfers of $5 monthly per person to 80 percent of the population, using digital and other delivery mechanisms. Following months of intensive technical work, it is now being piloted and readied for implementation.”

A communique issued at the end of the Sudan Partnership Conference congratulated the African Development Bank for its steadfast support for Sudan through its funding of the country’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and for efforts to clear the country’s arrears to the Bank.

Nenye Dom/Editor


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Eze commends Buhari over Gov. Buni's CTC chair - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:

The former National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, has commended President Mohammadu Buhari on the resolution of APC crisis which led with the setting up of Cate Taker Committee, reports ITREALMS.

The CTC led by Gov. Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, he said, is the right tonic for the crisis in APC to be put to rest.

A press statement available to 
ITREALMS, Eze said that the history of democracy and good governance in Nigeria cannot be complete without the mention of Chief Victor Giadom, whose sterling leadership and public spirit brought back orderliness and harmony to the party.

He also said the party which won elections overwhelmingly with 25 Governors out of 36 States in her kitty has lost grip of five States to her opponents and was on self destruction until the entrance of Chief Giadom who came into the scene and calmed the storm by frustrating the heinous plots to destabilize a party which party members have sacrificed their lives and blood to build.

Chief Eze said Nigerians and the entire world are celebrating the peace that have been restored to the party and that efforts are being made to reposition it for the greater challenges ahead.

"Courtesy the forthrightness of this bold man from Rivers State who took the bull by the horn and courageously surmounted the challenge that nearly tore the party apart," he said.

With Chief Giadom officially handing over the affairs of the party to Gov. Mai Bunni, he said, all is now set to hit the ground running for the project of rejigging the party and restoring her to the winning ways.

Eze maintained that Giadom remains a patriot whose courage, sacrifices and selflessness are worth reckoning. 

Uboshe Uboshe/Editor

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Nwibani writes Abe: Urges him to return, make peace with leader - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Chief Eric Nwibani, has written an open letter to Senator Magnus Abe, urging him to return to his friend, leader – Rt Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi and make peace with nature, reports ITREALMS.

According to him in the letter made available to 
ITREALMS, “It is common knowledge that you, until three years ago enjoyed the best of friendship and strong collaboration with the man, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi whose highest political investment, you said you are.”

Part of the letter read: 
"The friendship earned you uninterrupted and rapid growth in your career. It is true that you met Rotimi Amaechi at the Rivers State House of Assembly in 1999 but testimonies abound to the effect that it is not true that you emerged minority leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly without the support of your friend Rotimi Amaechi. 

"As for the rest of your journey through Dr. Odili’s administration as Commissioner for Information, Amaechi’s administration as Secretary to Government to your Eight years in the Senate, it has been God using Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi to painstakingly push you up there.

"I’m aware of the efforts of very prominent Ogoni leaders to stop your nomination for the Rivers South East Senatorial District in 2011; preferring erudite Professor Ben Nanem. On the strength of your friendship with this same person, you emerged amidst unprecedented rejection by Ogoni people. 
Most, if not all of the prominent Ogoni leaders vowed to withdraw their support for Amaechi if he insisted on Magnus Abe. They made good their threats afterwards. He lost their friendship. Imagine the sacrifice.

"There is no gain saying that you had a good outing in the Senate and worked with your principal, Chibuike Amaechi to build what we have today as the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State. 

"Your intelligence and sagacity can't be taken for granted but I doubt if many people who have dutifully followed your activities recently can “justify your fight against Amaechi.

"I have wondered for over Eighteen months how you sleep at night remembering that you stopped your party and indeed all Sixteen National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives) Candidates, Governorship and Deputy Governorship Candidates, all those who would’ve functioned in different capacities as appointees of the State and Local Governments, Local Government Chairmen and Councillors etc, should the party had won elections. I still wonder.

"Distinguished Senator, thousands of Party faithfuls in their closed doors cry to God on a daily basis for justice against those who have kept them in their current situation. Many Rivers people and residents alike (most of whom are not politicians) attribute the sufferings of our people today to the internal crisis of the APC which prevented them from having a credible alternative in the 2019 elections. You may not know but it is a fact. I’m not sure, it is something to be proud of.

"On the recent developments in our Party which culminated into the dissolution of the National Working Committee; the happenings in Rivers APC heralding this latest development and how it affects Ogoni people, I have these to tell you:

Many have argued that you were part of Igo Aguma’s Zoom meeting where the decision to illegally ‘suspend’ the Victorious Victor Giadom was taken, though unconfirmed, one begins to wonder what happened to your conscience. 

"Assuming you didn’t participate in the meeting, one wonders why you didn’t argue against such a decision to illegally ‘suspend’ your Ogoni brother with whom you enjoyed very special cordiality spanning over three decades even after the decision was taken. Assuming also, you couldn’t stop his purported suspension, one wonders how you can explain the choice of an Ikwerre man as his replacement.

"How do you explain your support for the futile effort to dethrone an Ogoni man who has risen by the special grace of God to be Acting National Chairman of the ruling Party in Nigeria that an Ikwerre man may take his place. Hypocrisy of an unimaginable and dangerous dimension.

"Your supporters were mobilized to invade the old Secretariat of Rivers APC on William Jumbo Street, Port Harcourt, vandalizing properties worth millions of Naira and you weren’t suspended. You stopped the Party in Rivers State from fielding Candidates for the 2019 elections and you were not suspended. Thanks to Rotimi Amaechi who wouldn’t allow all the moves to have you suspended.

"A man who has many friends had five farmlands, one of his friends came asking to be given the first farmland and he gave without hesitation. Same friend came back to ask for the second farmland, he gave him with joy. Same friend returned to ask for the third farmland which was the second largest of them all and he gave him freely. The day he came for the fourth which happened to be the very last and the largest one of the farmlands and he thought it wasn’t farming season yet and asked that he concentrates on the second largest farmland, he became a wicked friend, whereas there are many other friends of his who are yet to have a corner in anyone of the farmlands to farm," he submitted among others.

Uboshe Uboshe/Editor

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Building resiliency in times of uncertainty - ITREALMS

Commentary@ITREALMS:

The recent months have likely been the biggest challenge for all organisations across the continent. With almost no warning, millions of businesses – indiscriminate of size or stature – suddenly went from operating as usual to facing enormous challenges under the weight of uncertainty.

Companies in the region have had to find new ways of working, while establishing new pathways to productivity. Business resilience remains one of the most important and relevant ways for organisations to bypass legacy challenges and to explore new opportunities. Organisations that are paying attention to how digital can reshape their systems are not just readying themselves for the uncertainty of today, they’re fortifying their futures.

Building resilience

In building resiliency, organisations need to focus on building a resilient community amongst employees, customers, partners and suppliers. Having issues of cash flow front and centre forces the cost of talent into the limelight – but it doesn’t mean putting profit before people. This is where the CFO and HR team need to come together, working more closely than ever before. Together, the CFO and HR need to evaluate skills and resources, minimise temporary and long-term loss of staff, and look after their people. All of this will build a resilient business.

Focusing on bringing an overarching view of the health of the organisation is key; data is crucial to shape every discussion, aiding in quick decisions and allowing for agility and innovation. Building resilience is not finance’s job alone, this could be collaborating with the CIO and R&D teams, to ensure any future innovations align with customer strategies as well as the business’ purpose. Or it could mean working more closely with HR to ensure the business can meet changing customer demands.

Right now, cloud based applications such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) (https://bit.ly/38dlrX6) and Human Capital Management (HCM) (https://bit.ly/3igOaio) are immensely valuable as they help build business resilience and innovation in an extremely complicated market. These solutions provide insights that can offer improved control over factors such as supply chain management, inventory and purchasing. They integrate systems and data, connecting systems and information so that data becomes transparent and accessible and relevant. These applications also help the organisation use business intelligence (BI) to analyse data, to create KPIs that are based on strategic targets, and measure performance versus targets to meet goals based on current market conditions.

With this strategic approach, companies are able to manage the complex balancing act more deftly between legacy and adaptability, without whittling away at the bottom line. It has also stimulated greater interest in how digital applications can benefit the organisation. These applications need to support the balancing act between the business and its potential, between the CFO, CHRO, CIO and all lines of business, and ensure that they deliver more value to the organisation.

Learning through others

A leading financial institution in Africa (https://bit.ly/2Vv3kGW) decided to invest into a cloud based human capital management (HCM) system so that employees and the executive could gain deeper control over their own career development and performance. The investment was designed to support the company’s new focus on human capital, empowered growth and improved insights into performance. It was a step away from disconnected systems and multiple sources of information towards a more compliant and connected environment that aligned people to strategy and business to market demand.

This is not a unique case study. Organisations around the world are recognising that investing into technology is one of the best ways for any organisation to create an agile and adaptable foundation. Technology is the great enabler as it allows for process, people and systems to pivot to meet new demands or markets.

Right now, the word ‘unexpected’ defines almost every market, company, business and region and its condition. The intelligent applications used by the Africa-based financial institution provided the analytics, strategy and talent management tools that the company needed to embed agility into its workforce. This is an agility needed right now as the SADC region turns to face the ripples of disruption caused by the pandemic. With legacy infrastructure challenges and limited connectivity, the region was working hard to shift into technology gear so it could fully tap into its potential before the pandemic. Now, the situation is somewhat more challenging.

Digital applications and cloud solutions allow companies to gain access to credible data that can be used to fundamentally change how the business operates. From streamlining processes to cutting away dead areas of the business to leaping into entirely new business directions, data can help direct the company’s decision making at critical points in time.

An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) (https://bit.ly/2Zn4sgT) system is designed to equip the business with resilience and agility. Both of these are beyond vital right now. Why? Because while agility gives businesses the ability to jump and swing when conditions demand, resilience is what ensures the business has what it takes to make that jump, to take that swing.

ERP platforms have evolved so much over the past few years. We can now provide insights into spending patterns, customer demand, market requirements and overall business productivity. If integrated with a cloud based HCM (https://bit.ly/2VxI8jx) solution, ERP can show the business the hidden corners of essential business operations for almost immediate short-term benefits. Want to know more about business spend, profitability and employee retention? That’s what this technology can reveal.

Organisations should strategically consider adoption of the right tools that answer the most important questions – how can we improve efficiency, how can we transform business process, which areas need prioritisation?
*Contributed by George Ferreira, Senior Sales Director: Applications at Oracle South Africa and SADC

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Amaechi: Let Project Managers Report Progress on Rail Projects - ITREALMS

Commentary@ITREALMS:

Nigeria is doing a lot in the railway sector. The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi is a very passionate political leader overseeing the sector. His passion for success in that sector is outstanding and his achievements are quite huge. His weakness however is the muddled up nature of project implementation reporting.

Anytime you listen to the minister narrating progress report, you cannot but get more confused than educated. When he speaks, he appears more political. That is not bad. But he has failed to allow professionals to issue for the public progress reports on major projects. Again, because the Minister is only a politician who wants to deliver on projects, he at times mixed up critical projects details.

I agree there are project consultants but their reports are never used to brief the public. The situation is so bad that you get so many contradictory reports on state of project implementation. For example, more than five differing reports have emerged on the Lagos-Ibadan SGR projects. The reports especially on stage of implementation are unclear. The same apply to other rail projects like the Ibadan -Kano Line, the Coastal railway line,the Port Harcourt -Maiduguri line and many others.

Don’t get me wrong- the minister is doing very well. He is arguably one of the best ministers within the cabinet. Yet, he should allow professionals to handle progress update after issuing his political review. This is in his best interest. Nigerians will be able to appraise progress without current muddling up of the space. The Minister should allow a designated official of the Chinese firm to issue update on the projects. This is the model adopted in Kenya. It helps to ensure right messaging and clears misinterpretation.

Railway project implementation is too important to be reduced to mere political reporting. There is a standard format for project reporting. I know there are technical reports. The head of the technical team should be involved in the media briefing. More critically, the Nigerian Railway Corporation should play more frontal roles. The technical strength of the NRC should never be relegated especially at a time the nation is undergoing such massive railway expansion and modernisation.

There is urgent need for Minister Rotimi Amaechi to embrace standard format of project reporting to the public As noted in many classical books, “depending on the size and complexity of your project, the project management report may be required weekly or monthly. It is provided to all project stakeholders to help keep them up to date on the progress of the project and any pressing challenges the project may be facing.

“The majority of project management reports are single pagers, but may have appendices or links to more information for anyone who wishes to delve into the details. However, in some circumstances, it can be much more in-depth. For example, there is a government template that is ten pages in length.”

What is included in a project management report?
Project management reports should include the following key characteristics namely the project name;the project number (if you have one);name of the project manager;project sponsor;start date of the project;expected end date;customer name and information; and the date the report is released.

Other key metrics of project success include the following : schedule progress against plan-is the project ahead of or behind schedule?; current cost versus budget-are you under budget or over?; current scope compared to plan-has the scope changed since the project began? ; planned versus actual resourcing-are any resources missing or overallocated?

Other issues include: an overview of risks namely – are there any high risks that need to be managed? ; current quality findings- has quality testing been done? Were there any issues?

There are top level project managers involved in the various railway projects . They know the standard reporting procedures. Reports indicate that such projects reports are submitted regularly. The Minister has a duty to ensure accurate release of information on the stages of project implementation. Hence at every media briefing, he should have the project manager with him.

As at today, most Nigerians can hardly speak with certainty the exact implementation stages of most railway projects. Against the background of covid-19 , programmes may have changed. But the reality of the situation should be clearly communicated. As at now, that is not the situation. This needs to change going forward.

The Minister should realise that information sharing with the public is always the saving grace of political office holders. Hoarding vital communication with bureaucracy is always the undoing especially in case of communication crisis. For the future of the present office holders and overriding need for the public to know, time is now to allow professionals to brief the public on progress of work on the many mega rail projects.

Additionally, to help accountability and transparency organisations, information sharing is critical. It is a sure precondition for good governance.

*Contributed by Jude Aghai, analyst at Railway Accountability Hub, writes from Wuse, Abuja, Nigeria. His email-erimedia2013@gmail.com


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Azuh Arinze launches two new books - ITREALMS


ITREALMS:

The publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Yes International! Magazine, Azuh Arinze, has launched two new books that feature success stories of high-profile individuals and lessons from his journalism career, reports ITREALMS.

Disclosing this to ITREALMS after an exclusive virtual media launch on Monday, June 29, 2020 in Lagos, Azuh said the books are entitled "Success Is Not Served A La Carte" and "Encounters - Lessons From My Journalism Career."

He also said that the first book, Success Is Not Served A La Carte, is an enlightening collection of one-on-one interview sessions with 30 high-profile individuals in the country, among them Christopher Kolade of Cadbury/LBS, Tony Ezenna of Orange Drugs, Anselm Madubuko of Revival Assembly, Wole Oladiyun of CLAM, Steve Babaeko of X3M Ideas, Simon Kolawole of TheCable, Azubuike Ishiekwene of TheINTERVIEW, popular footballers, Kanu Nwankwo and Austin Okocha, film director, Tade Ogidan, veteran actors, Olu Jacobs, Pete Edochie and Dele Odule, actresses Funke Akindele and Kate Henshaw, to name a few. The book explores the success stories of these individuals, and also provides key insights into their lives.

In the foreword written by the Chairman, ThisDay Editorial Board, Olusegun Adeniyi, he described the book as “a fascinating collection that would inspire and fire the imagination of its readers.”

The second book, Encounters - Lessons From My Journalism Career, chronicles the experiences of the author so far in his career. Through this book, Azuh Arinze allows readers to examine over 20 years worth of journalistic experience in 60 captivating chapters. By flipping through the pages of this book, readers will see how the author earned his trademark and reputation as a quintessential interviewer and journalist with an eye for details. In the words of Rev Fr Chijioke Azuawusiefe, SJ, of the University of Pennsylvania, USA, he described the book as “beautifully written, captivating, enchanting, engrossing and enriching.”

The book also highlights some of his encounters with the likes of Jim Ovia, Biodun Shobanjo, Udeme Ufot, Dele Momodu, Onyeka Onwenu, Tony Elumelu, Dora Akunyili, Bianca Ojukwu, Olusegun Osoba, Rotimi Amaechi, Festus Keyamo, OCJ Okocha, Gbenga Adeyinka and Julius Agwu among others.

In addition to the tales of his encounters with these top executives, the book equally features a 16-page all colour pullout with photographs of the author and some of the heavyweights he has interacted with over the years. They include E.A Adeboye, Aliko Dangote, Subomi Balogun, Chukwudifu Oputa, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Tunde Bakare, Mike Okonkwo, Sunny Ade, Lateef Jakande, Jim Nwobodo, C.C Onoh, Peter Obi, Ray Ekpu, Stephen Keshi, Shina Peters, Richard Mofe Damijo, Ali Baba, Lagbaja, Femi Kuti, 2 Face Idibia, Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, among many others.

Following the exclusive media launch, the books are now available for pre-order on the Yes International! Magazine website for N2,500 each.

Speaking on the captivating nature of the books, the author, Azuh Arinze, said, “The two books are not only intriguing, but also come with a money-back guarantee. If you buy them and don’t enjoy them, tell me and you will get a refund.”

On his experience writing both books, he added, “Writing these two books has been a deeply personal experience as the process has allowed me the space to honestly reflect on a life-changing career that not only brought me my wife but taught me invaluable lessons.”

Azuh Arinze, who is the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine, owners of the premium website, http://www.theyesng.com, served as the Editor of Encomium Weekly from 2003 to 2011. Prior to that, he had edited Reel Stars Magazine. He is also the proud author of three other books namely, Tested and Trusted Success Secrets of the Rich and Famous, and The CEO’s Bible, volumes 1 and 2.


Uj. N. Dominic/Editor


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HP wins $1.6bn sales in 2019 - ITREALMS

ITREALMS: 
HP has disclosed that it won some $1.6 billion in sales in 2019 with the help of its Sustainable Impact efforts, reports ITREALMS.

The HP 2019 Sustainable Impact Report, available to ITREALMSindicated that these sales raised an estimated 69 per cent, reflecting the growing business imperative for companies to lead with purpose.

Just as HP Inc reaffirmed its commitment to eliminating 75 per cent of single-use plastic packaging by 2025.

The company restated the commitment in its just-released 2019 Sustainable Impact Report, which also highlights the progress HP is making to drive diversity and inclusion, as well as strengthen communities globally.

“The HP culture has long been built on the belief that how we do things is just as important as what we do. Recent events have laid bare the systemic racism and deep inequalities that remain a stain on society, and it’s imperative for all companies to act with urgency on all fronts,” said Enrique Lores, HP President and CEO.

“It’s especially important for companies to hold themselves accountable and publicly report their progress,” Lores continued. “This year’s data shows that HP is making significant strides forward in many areas, while also revealing where we must do better. For example, the number of African American employees is below where it needs to be, and we are taking actions to improve. While we have a lot of hard work ahead, our values-driven culture that unites our teams and our partners gives me confidence in our ability to accelerate our progress and foster a more sustainable, equitable, and just society.”

As part of these commitments, HP announced a new goal to eliminate 75 percent of single-use plastic packaging by 2025, supporting the company’s efforts to drive a low-carbon, circular economy.

Efforts to make a sustainable impact on people, the planet and communities are integrated into HP’s business strategy and operations, and have become an increasingly important driver of customer purchasing decisions. HP’s Sustainable Impact efforts helped drive more than $1.6 billion in sales wins in 2019, up an estimated 69 percent, reflecting the growing business imperative for companies to lead with purpose.

The goal focuses on hardware unit packaging and is predicated on a move to moulded fibre packaging cushions. HP’s environmental packaging strategy aims to eliminate unnecessary plastics and materials of concerns wherever possible.

For instance, in 2019, HP decided to eliminate power cord plastic ties and plastic document bags in hardware packaging. HP also has shifted to more recyclable, paper-based alternatives. To accelerate this shift, the company is transitioning from plastic foam packaging cushions to those made with 100 per cent recycled, moulded pulp for HP’s notebooks, desktops and displays. The transition to moulded fibre Personal Systems packaging cushions eliminated 933 tonnes of hard-to-recycle expanded plastic foam last year.

In Printing, HP reduced plastic foam by 40 per cent and eliminated over 95 tonnes of the material in 2019 just by redesigning the packaging of a printer model.

Launched in 2019, the HP Tango Terra is HP’s first printer with zero plastic packagings, using a combination of moulded fibre cushions and glassine paper to replace the typical plastic foam and bag.

In 3D printing, HP recently announced the availability of a new material called polypropylene (PP), that helps reduce waste by enabling up to 100 per cent reusability of surplus powder.

HP has also sourced more than 60 million bottles of ocean-bound plastic and launched the world’s first notebook, display, mobile workstation and enterprise Chromebook made using ocean-bound plastics.

With 111 Gold and 268 Silver EPEAT-registered products – more than any other company in the IT industry, HP has the world’s most sustainable PC portfolio.

Aside from the environment, HP has also committed to diversity and inclusion at all levels of the company while fighting racial inequality, announcing a new goal to double the number of Black and African American executives inside the company by 2025.

The Company’s Board of Directors continues to be the most diverse of any U.S. technology company, comprised of 42 per cent women and 58 per cent minorities. In 2019, 63 per cent of U.S. hires were from underrepresented groups, including women, U.S. ethnicities, veterans, and persons with disabilities.

Globally, 40 per cent of HP hires in 2019 were women, and the company’s Global Supplier Diversity program spent $374 million with small and diverse suppliers including minority- and women-owned businesses, contributing $698 million in overall economic impact.

Earlier this year, HP re-committed to the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The HP Foundation pledged $500,000 to social justice organizations to confront and combat systemic racism and inequality in society.

HP is also leveraging its platforms to shine a spotlight on these issues globally, and is partnering with Girl Rising, a global non-profit dedicated to eradicating poverty by providing education to women and girls, to launch ‘My Story: The 2020 Storytelling Challenge.’

The challenge will bring to life examples of young leaders fighting for human rights, racial justice, gender equity and the advancement of education for girls.

... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology

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COVID-19: World must review priorities, technology governance says Ajijola - ITREALMS

The Executive Chairman, Consultancy Support Services (CS2) Limited, Alhaji Abdul-Hakeem Ajijola, has declared that Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic, provided the world with the opportunity to review priorities towards building all-inclusive society and technology governance, reports ITREALMS.

Speaking at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN68) Nigerian preparatory virtual meeting held recently on subtheme: ICANN Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) noted that although the Internet may seem not to be broken, according to Vinton Cerf, “but its inequalities need to be fixed.”

He also said that some 81 per cent of the global workforce of some 3.3 billion, have had their workplace fully or partly close and described this as COVID-19 helping to accelerate “migration to online interactions.”

ITREALMS gathered he cited an instance of a security challenge with the relief for registrants in response to COVID-19, which prompted ICANN org to invoke Section 3.7.5.1 of the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) for a record second time.

Ajijola who also is Chair, African Union Cyber Security Expert Group (AUCSEG) advised that based on the contemporary Internet state due to COVID-19, that society must take a human-centred and inclusive approach to technology governance.

“Covid-19 has provided our society an opportunity to review our priorities and focus,” he asserted, stressing that with the evolution of today, “We should not seek to go back to normal but to move forward to what is better.”

As said by Ajijola “We need to develop and implement trusted, inclusive and equitable educational, social, financial and related systems.”

He posited that responsibility to factor in “our virtual development plans the underserved, unserved and unborn as they must live, in the future, with the precedents and decisions we make now.”

Further, Ajijola outlined some of SSAC’s responsibilities to include “Review incidents, issues, and topics that are broadly related to the security and stability of the Internet's naming and address allocation systems; Chartered by the ICANN Board of Directors- However, SSAC often studies issues and topics originating from the community at large in addition to issues or questions requested by the Board.

Also, he said, “Many of the SSAC's efforts are prompted by a security event involving the domain name system (DNS) or an abuse of domain name registration services. The multiple origins of activities reveal that the SSAC's role, like other security groups, is both proactive and reactive.”

In addition, Ajijola said, “Other criminals register domain names to lure victims to web sites to trick users into downloading spyware or malware. “

SSAC, he pointed out, issues reports and advisories recommending ways domain name registration service providers could reduce the number of malicious domain name registrations, consult with security, DNS, and law enforcement communities as need arises.

This clause, he said, permits registrars to be temporarily forbidden from cancelling domain name registrations that were unable to be renewed as a result of a natural disaster.

Chuks Egbune/DoP

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Team RM, Untapped seek to connect African start-ups - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:

The Team RM has
 launched a major entrepreneurial program entitled African Program for Investment in Entrepreneurship (Team RM- PAIE), reports ITREALMS.

RM-PAIE, ITREALMS gathered has its objective as to advise, coach, and help competitive young entrepreneurs from the African continent, particularly from Benin and Togo, to access appropriate financing through several components.

One of the instruments of Team RM- PAIE is the fundraising call for projects initiative, "The Nest Francophone Africa", whose process has just been launched. This initiative is the fruit of the partnership sealed between Team RM and UNTAPPED, an international impact technology company. In addition to building on the recommendations of the previous webinar, The Nest Afrique Francophone is an efficient tool deployed to enable competitive African start-ups to benefit from financial instruments that can help them develop their business.

While we are pleased with the outcome of the webinar, which had the merit of highlighting the essential role played by real economy actors in the resilience of our economies towards post-COVID, the Team RM is also pleased to have contributed to the accompanying measures taken by governments and international organizations. Other measures are also being developed and are being closely monitored by Team RM and its partners.

"The Nest" is a framework for connecting young entrepreneurs with potential business angels. Business Angels - in order to raise finance for innovative and profitable projects. These young entrepreneurs from French-speaking Africa in general and Benin and Togo in particular will have the opportunity to access adequate financing from investors around the world.

With already ten editions of The Nest, for the benefit of English-speaking countries and in view of the many entrepreneurs already supported, the first French-speaking edition will be held in July 2020.

As mentioned during the webinar and announced at its conclusion by the honorary president of Team RM, Mrs. Reckya Madougou, this program to finance the competitive entrepreneurs of THE NEST is the fruit of the commitment of the think & do tank Team RM to promote and boost the potential of African youth, an ambition that is in line with the objective pursued by the CEO of UNTAPPED, investor Jim Chu.

To this end, a call for projects has just been launched. It is addressed to young Africans from French-speaking countries, particularly Benin and Togo, who are looking for funding for innovative, productive, and profitable initiatives and projects. The framework for participation to the competition is available on the website www.TeamRM.org.

The pre-selected competitive project leaders will be coached by the RM Team on how to present their projects and will be invited to participate in a fundraising video conference session.

Uboshe Uboshe/Editor

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CACOVID donates 150-bed to Lagos State - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:

The Private Sector led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) has donated a 150-bed fully equipped isolation facility with medical equipment worth millions of naira to the Lagos State Government, to provide support in the fight against the virus within the state, reports 
ITREALMS.

Speaking at the commissioning of the Yaba Isolation center, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu noted that the isolation center would further strengthen the state's healthcare system in dealing with the challenges of the Pandemic as the state currently leads the toll of Nigeria’s COVID-19 infections with over 10,000 confirmed cases.

The Governor commended the Coalition's efforts in mobilising resources quickly to support emergency responses and pledged that the donated facility would be used to provide adequate treatment to those who are infected and help to stop the overall spread of the virus within the state.

He urged all citizens to continue to take responsibility and follow directives of the government and health professionals towards reducing the spread of the virus and saving lives across communities.

“We need to take responsibility because the virus knows no race, ethnicity, religion or boundary. We need to take responsibility for our loved ones by wearing face mask, maintaining social distancing and hand hygiene to reduce morbidity and mortality,” the governor said.

He further disclosed plans by the State Government to build an International Infectious Disease Research Centre, Doctors’ quarters and permanent isolation wards at the Mainland Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba as part of Lagos COVID19 response and other infectious disease preparedness in post COVID19 era.

In his remarks, the State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said that the center was the sixth facility in the state dedicated to the treatment of COVID-19 patients, and is coming onboard at a time when the state is ramping up its testing capacity.

He further said the 150-bed facility donated by CACOVID would be used for the management of moderate to severe COVID-19 patients and would assist in admitting and providing care for more patients.

Also speaking at the event, the Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said that collaboration between the private sector and government was vital to prevent the spread of the virus and save the lives of the citizens,

He further said that the center would enhance the state’s healthcare system and the management of COVID-19 within the state.

According to him, N29 billion has been donated so far by members of the coalition towards supporting government’s efforts in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and that the funds have been used to build and equip isolation centers across the country.

Mr. Emefiele said that 32 isolation centers have been built as of today, with a target to reach 39 isolation centers by the end of July.

The CBN governor added that CACOVID had also provided in-kind food palliatives to members of the public across the country to ameliorate the effects of the virus on their welfare.

He commended members of the coalition for their generous and selfless donations which have helped in achieving its common goal of helping the nation fight the spread of COVID-19. He also lauded the healthcare workers and the state government for their efforts in implementing strategies, caring for the infected patients and reducing the spread of the virus in the state.

Also, the Chief Executive, Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote said the Lagos Isolation Center was a model for what the coalition would build in other states.

Dangote, represented by Ms Zouera Youssoufou, Managing Director Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF), said: “It is with great pride that we hand over the Yaba Isolation Center to Lagos State. More supports will come to the state from the coalition and we appreciate everyone’s contribution towards our goal.”

In his remarks, the Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe said that Lagos was more vulnerable to spread of the virus due to its large population. He commended the state government for its efforts to reduce the spread and effect of the virus on the citizens. He also appreciated the state government’s support to CACOVID.

The Yaba Isolation center comes with a fully equipped medical laboratory and high dependency unit; personal protective equipment and other critical medical consumables; water and sewage treatment plants; 11kv power generator amongst other essentials. This is in addition to 34,000 test kits, sample collection swabs and infrared thermometers recently delivered to the NCDC.

Till date, CACOVID has committed billions of naira to build 38 fully equipped isolation centers across Nigeria with over 5,000 beds and critical medical equipment needed to fight the pandemic, exemplifying sustainable value addition from a partnership that truly works.

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Monday, June 29, 2020

COVID-19: FG relaxes interstate travels, tinkers on opening schools, public places, warns on consequence - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, disclosed the government outline for relaxing lock down on interstate travels and opening schools and public places, reports 
ITREALMS.

FG also warned on the consequence of opening such places without compliance to health protocols.

Speaking during the daily briefing of the task force in Abuja, on Monday, Mr. Mustapha, also said the government has approved the safe resumption of domestic flights in the country.

Further, he revealed that the FG also approved the safe reopening of schools nationwide, as part of plans for the second phase of the eased lockdown.

Part of his address read:

"When the PTF briefed the nation on 1st June 2020, we informed you that Mr. President had approved amongst others, that we should proceed into phase two of the eased lockdown for a period of four weeks to enable the PTF to evaluate the developments properly and continue to ensure a balance between lives and livelihood.

"We also cautioned that the gradual relaxation was subject to review should developments warrant it.

"Within the Month under review, the PTF continued to monitor developments and consistently admonished Nigerians to change their behavior in view of the fact that the spread of the virus had entered the community phase. It is the considered opinion of the PTF that Nigerians, though aware of the existence of the virus, have generally misunderstood the objectives behind the reasoning of government in gradually relaxing the restrictions.

"For the purpose of emphasis, the virus is still dangerous and has continued to wreak havoc at home and abroad. The exponential rise in the number of cases detected and the fatalities give cause for concern. 

NOTE:
(i) For eight out of the days the daily numbers exceeded 500; and

(ii) For every detected case, there is a high possibility that up to five (5) have not submitted to testing and therefore not detected.

As we are all aware, the PTF in conjunction with sub-national entities, the organized private sector, put in place a number of measures. The PTF also escalated its activities around risk communication to Nigerians but we have observed with growing concern, the non-compliances with these measures designed to prevent transmission and protect vulnerable segments of the population. We hold the strong view that if such actions do not abate, experiences of the resurgence of the virus from other jurisdictions including China, the United States of America, Brazil, and across Europe may emerge in Nigeria and we run the risk of erasing the gains made in the last three months.

By way of a reminder, there is presently no known vaccine for the virus and that all over the world non-pharmaceutical measures still remain the most effective fighting opportunity we have for overcoming this pandemic.

To further strengthen our National Response, the PTF in the intervening period vigorously built partnerships locally and internationally. Similarly, we fully have decentralised the National Response with State Governments and communities taking ownership and more responsibility. These efforts have greatly improved our ability to maximally detect, trace, isolate, and treat nationwide successfully.

The PTF has also continued to pursue the strategic thrust of “telling (communicate), tracing (identify) and treating (manage)” cases, with a stronger focus on precision interventions in high burdened LGAs within identified states of the Federation. This precision intervention will be signposted by:

i. Aggressive scaling up of efforts to ensure effective community protection and sensitisation; and

ii. Increased provision of support and guidance to states in their response to the outbreak.

Ladies and gentlemen, the focus on the important roles to be played by the States is underscored by the following considerations:

i. The spread has entered the community phase which only States and LGAs should drive;

ii. The inaction of a particular State could endanger its neighbours and compromise the entirety of the response;

iii. States will be encouraged to make considerable efforts to ensure a push for compliance within the guidelines issued by the PTF;

iv. States must also take greater care in leading on public health measures in the LGAs under their jurisdiction, by working on surveillance, case finding, testing, isolation, tracing and quarantining contacts; and

v. FG will predicate its resource deployment to States on the level of compliance and the extent of collaboration received on this public health emergency.

Notwithstanding the challenges faced in the last one month and the fact that Nigeria’s statistics have been on the rise, substantial progress has been made in the following areas:

i. Harnessing of data, which shows that 60% of the confirmed cases are in a handful of local governments in the country (18 out of 774 LGAs nationwide), and putting in place targeted interventions;

ii. Increased capacity to detect, test and trace those infected with the virus, through the activation of 38 molecular testing laboratories, resulting in raising the test count nationwide in excess of 130,000;

iii. A shift in focus to a targeted community-based approach, enhanced risk communication;

iv. Increased collaboration with the legislature, State Governments and the organised private sector;

v. Activation of a new, cost-effective policy on the evacuation of returning Nigerians;

vi. Increased awareness of COVID-19 among the population;

vii. Cushioning the socio-economic impact of the restrictions through the provision of palliatives to vulnerable members of various communities nationwide; and

viii. Successful re-opening sectors of the economy despite initial challenges in areas such as the banking sector, industry and agriculture.

Today, the PTF submitted its 5th Interim Report to Mr. President for his consideration. In the Report the PTF specifically reviewed the issues around the general level of compliance with prescribed measures, while taking note of the following:

i. Implications of the lack of general compliance with measures;

ii. the global and domestic developments especially in the area of rising statistics; and

iii. the continued restrictions in the education and transportation sectors as well as for activities that attract mass gatherings such as operations of markets, worship centres, and entertainment.

In doing the foregoing, the PTF considered the need for the continuation of the policy of striking the delicate balance between lives and livelihood as well as inputs received from different stakeholder groups.

The PTF similarly identified the underlisted areas of concern that would require attention under the on-going restrictions:

i. International travel;

ii. Entertainment activities;

iii. Educational services/sector; and

iv. Public and Private Sector offices.

You will recall that the PTF had in previous briefings stated that the aim of Phase Two was to sustain the gains from earlier steps taken for pandemic control and to enable additional sectors of the economy to restart activities. Given the challenges and the visible danger ahead occasioned by skepticism, poor public perception both leading to lack of compliance, it has come to the inevitable conclusion that the extension of phase two of the eased lockdown will be needed to:

i. consolidate the gains in the areas of the economy that have restarted,

ii. ensure better compliance with the health-based response;

iii. support the states in enforcing guidelines and protocols as well as strengthening the LGAs build community-level structures for ownership and effective risk communication; and

iv. help to better achieve the balance between saving lives and ensuring that the wellbeing and livelihood of citizens are protected.

I am pleased to inform you that Mr. President has carefully considered the 5th Interim Report of the PTF and has accordingly approved that, with the exception of some modifications to be expatiated upon later, the Phase Two of the eased lockdown be extended by another four weeks with effect from Tuesday, June 30, 2020, through Midnight of Monday, 27 July 2020.

17.Specifically, however, the following measures shall either remain in place or come into effect:

i. Maintaining the current phase of the national response, for another four weeks in line with modifications to be expatiated by the National Coordinator;

ii. Permission of movement across State borders only outside curfew hours with effect from 1st July, 2020;

iii. Enforcement of laws around non-pharmaceutical interventions by States, in particular, the use of face masks in public places;

iv. Safe re-opening of schools to allow students in graduating classes resume in-person in preparation for examinations;

v. Safe reopening of domestic aviation services as soon as practicable;

vi. Publication of revised guidelines around the three thematic areas of general movement, industry and labour; and community activities;

vii. Provision of technical support for states to mobilise additional resources for the response;

viii. Strengthening partnerships with States, Local Governments, traditional rulers, community/religious leaders and civil society to ensure increased public awareness and compliance with preventive guidelines;

ix. Encouraging State governments to empower Local Government Authorities to intensify contact tracing efforts and ensure stronger grassroots mobilisation to support the response;

x. Encourage States and Hospital authorities to ensure continuity of other health services to prevent fatalities from other life-threatening conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic; and

xi. Deepening of collaboration with other mandate groups at States/Federal levels to harmonise the country’s COVID-19 response in the short, medium and long terms.

"The National Coordinator will in due course announce and publish the details of the revised guidelines while relevant MDAs including Education, Transportation and Aviation will respectively consult further with stakeholders and issue guidelines for their sectors."

Chuks Egbune/DoP

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Ecobank Nigeria extends zero charge for digital money transfers - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:

The Ecobank Nigeria has extended its zero-charge fee for digital money transfers below N5,000 till the end of September this year, reports 
ITREALMS.

In addition to the free USSD session fee currently enjoyed by Ecobank customers, users of Ecobank Mobile, Ecobank Online, USSD - Ecobank *326# can continue to enjoy zero fee charge for digital money transfers below N5,000. New customers can also benefit from this by opening an Xpress account from the comfort of their homes by simply dialling *326#.

The zero charge for mobile money transfers by Ecobank commenced in March as part of the bank's corporate action to cushion the rising spread of Coronavirus. The decision to extend the zero-charge policy is hinged on the bank's drive to continuously encourage citizens to adopt digital banking particularly with the ongoing social distancing campaign targeted to check the spread of COVID-19.

According to Olukorede Demola-Adeniyi, Head, Consumer Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, "As a bank, our priority is people's wellbeing. We place great emphasis on rewarding and identifying with our customers and citizens of Nigeria especially at a time like this. We are determined to ensure that the impact of the pandemic is minimal on citizens. We encourage our customers to utilize our digital self-service solutions including Ecobank mobile app, Ecobank Online, EcobankPay, Ecobank Omniplus, Omnilite and the rapid transfer app; where they can easily access their bank accounts, make payments, transfer funds, process salaries and carry out ancillary banking transactions from the comfort of their home and offices without having to visit the branches”.

She further stated that, "At Ecobank, we are always finding ways to improve our customer experience digitally, which is why I encourage our customers to upgrade to the new Ecobank mobile app 4.0. Customers can carry out banking transactions and enjoy some of the new features that the app provides, such as the ability to send money via email or SMS and of course, take advantage of the zero charge on money transfers below N5,000”.

She added that the bank was also supporting over 50,000 farmers across the country to grow maize, under the CBN Anchor Borrowers program with the Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN).

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Malami: Portrait of a “Barrier-in-Chief” - ITREALMS

Commentary@ITREALMS:

Much as one tries, it has been difficult to find something for which to commend Nigeria’s current Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami. He has been the chief law officer of the country since he was first appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari at the take-off of his administration in 2015, and re-appointed in 2019 as Buhari returned for a second term. Malami is one in the privileged club of distinguished lawyers who tag their names with that smug title of SAN (Senior Advocate of Nigeria), a legal title keenly coveted by the typical Nigerian lawyer. But he also comes across as one who is essentially unfaithful to the law.

As in a number of other appointments, Buhari’s choice of Malami for the pivotal office had, from the outset, been viewed by the more discerning segment of the populace as a dreadful miscue. Although the new administration rode into office on the wings of change, generally seen to mean a significant departure from the typical unproductive way of conducting affairs by past governments, its choice for the office of attorney general and minister of justice was the first telling sign that the much-touted change would be a sham.

It has nothing to do with Malami’s academic qualifications, but a lot to do with his fiercely guarded reactionary mindset, a feeble moral strength and a perverse sense of common good. Nothing about his past suggests he is the type of chief law officer Nigeria needs at this moment or at any time in the future. His office is supposed to be the fulcrum of the promised change, at the heart of which is supposed to be an all-out fight against corruption. But, almost daily, there is talk all over town that if the fight against corruption exists at all, it is a chaotic mess, floundering about in an embarrassingly unhealthy rivalry among the anti-corruption institutions. Or, at best, halfhearted, thanks to Malami.

So far, he has not disappointed those who say he is not suited for the office. At intervals, the public has been having good treats through reports of how he allegedly uses his office, ironically, to thwart the anti-corruption efforts of the government. It is hard to question this allegation when we recall that this chief law officer himself once told a senate panel of investigation that he had a meeting in Dubai with a fugitive wanted for financial crimes in Nigeria. The outcome of the meeting was the secret re-absorption of the said fugitive to higher office in the Nigerian public service.

Buhari promptly reversed the distasteful employment following public outrage. A scandal beyond description, it was that and many other acts of tendentious interventions in corruption cases that compelled a group of ten civil society organizations sometime in July 2019 to organize an anti-corruption roundtable discussion where they called on Buhari not to re-appoint Malami to the post of attorney general and minister of justice. They went on to describe him at that event as the “barrier-in-chief” in the anti-corruption war.

Indeed, the description would seem like a fitting cognomen in light of the fact that there is no record of his office successfully prosecuting a single high-profile corruption case since 2015. Instead, Malami is accused of parlaying his office to frustrate the prosecution of some big-time thieves, and also seizing cases from original prosecutors whenever he likes in the hope of steering them, as widely believed, toward a predetermined end.

The latest of such unworthy moves is the case of the kidnap kingpin Bala Hamisu, popularly known as Wadume. On August 6, 2019, Wadume was rescued by some soldiers from 93 battalion Takum, Taraba State, after his arrest at Ibi by a crack squad of the police from Abuja. As he was being transported to the state capital Jalingo, the soldiers manning a checkpoint gave a hot pursuit and opened fire on the police bus, killing three police officers and one civilian on the spot and freeing the notorious kidnapper. The incident led to a face-off between the army and the police. After an investigation, some police officers and ten soldiers, among them a Captain Tijani Balarabe who apparently is Wadume’s friend and collaborator, were found liable for that heinous crime.

The police were determined to secure justice for the slain officers and their families. Three months ago, they went to court to begin prosecution of the suspects, including the ten soldiers. The army blatantly refused to cooperate with the police by not handing over the soldiers for prosecution. At the commencement of hearing, the soldiers were not available for arraignment. The judge had to make an order that the chief of army staff, Tukur Buratai, a lieutenant-general, should produce them at the next adjourned date. But instead of that to happen, the chief law officer’s agent appeared in court, used the powers of the office to knock the police off as prosecutors, and then went on to strike off the names of the soldiers from the charge sheet.

The resultant outrage has yet to subside. There is no justifiable reason for this action. At that stage, what was expected of Malami was to force – yes, force, because they are not above the law – the army to obey the order of the court by producing the soldiers for trial. Any other thing is a perversion of justice.

Thankfully, Femi Falana, a renowned justice-minded senior advocate, is engaging Malami’s office on this serious matter. It is hoped that he gets his learned colleague to see reason and toe the path of honour.

But if one does not know Nigeria at all, the little one knows of her, at least in the context of this case, tells one that the prognosis is bleak. The police, the families of those murdered by the soldiers, and the society may never get justice.

*Contributed by Godwin Onyeacholem, a journalist and could be reach via gonyeacholem@gmail.com

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In Digital Era: Inspire women to own digital games, cartoons says Uwaje - ITREALMS

The founder and Chief Architect at Mobile Software and former president of Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Chief Chris Uwaje, has advocated for African women and girl-child to be encouraged to own and create their gender-based digital games and cartoons, reports ITREALMS.

Uwaje made this call during his remark at the second edition of Digital Rights webinar series hosted recently by ITREALMS in collaboration with DigitalSENSE Africa, Domain Name System ([DNS] Women – Nigeria) and NaijaAgroNet, on the theme: ‘Women and Rights in Digital Era.’

He said that the call has become imperative for the eco-system to support women and girl-child to own their own online games, which would be a boost for the womenfolk due to their peculiarity in dealing with issues.

Uwaje cited the olden days ABC slate, saying that “When we have ABC slates, its the women who use it to teach our children at home.”

He pointed out that now we have eCommerce surging up, “its the women that will still drive it because the man makes the money and woman spends it.”

RELATED STORY: Speakers @2020 ITREALMS series: Digital era offers...


He decried that presently the architecture of the environment have created a fearsome environment, which needs to be revisited.

“Our environment is fearful for the girl-child,” he declared.

In addition, he said the ecosystem, needs to develop a play tools which focus on women and girl-child, by allowing “our women to create games to educate our society.”

Stressing that this could be done by considering actively “our women as component of our being.”

“Look at it, who is going to training us at home, its the women. When we have ABC blackboard, its the women that use that to teach us at home.

Uwaje pointed out that would still lead as eCommerce evolution increases, and looking at he propensity of eCommerce consumption so far.


The lead speakers at the second edition, included an author, activist and social entrepreneur, Morenike Adebayo and parliamentary aide and development actor, Abimbola Junaid, who dwelt on “Nigerian Youth, Women and Rights in Digital Era” and Roles of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Safeguarding Women and Rights in Digital Era respectively as well as the Executive Director, Operations and founding President, DNS Women Nigeria, Mrs Nkem Nweke among others.

RELATED STORY: 2020 Digital Rights series: DNS Women commends NGF...

Chuks Egbune/Editor

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MainOne marks 10 years of enabling West Africa’s digital revolution - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:
The West Africa’s leading provider of Wholesale and Enterprise connectivity and data center services, MainOne, is celebrating 10 years of delivering innovative, world-class service in the subregion, reports ITREALMS.

Ten years ago, the company launched its operations with the commissioning of the first private submarine cable on the West Coast of Africa. The company has played a critical role in enabling internet access across West Africa where penetration rates have grown from less than 10% in 2010 to close to 40% ten years later.

Since inception, MainOne has invested over $400m in infrastructure in West Africa as part of its efforts to bridge the digital divide and enable the digital economy. The investments include submarine cables, terrestrial fiber networks, and Points of Presence (POPs) across the region. Within this period, the company has delivered services to 10 West African countries and has built Tier III data centers in Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire hosting the largest institutions and global content in the region, with on-going expansions of its data center footprint in Nigeria and Ghana.

These investments and contributions to the economy have led the company to numerous awards on both local and global stages. Prominent of these awards are the Datacloud Africa Award for Excellence in Data Center (Africa) and Africa Cloud Service Provider of the Year, Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) Impact Award, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry Award for Excellence in Broadband Infrastructure, NTITA Telecoms Wholesale Provider of the Year, Frost & Sullivan Best Practices winner for the Nigerian Data Center Customer Value Leaderships Award, Ghana Telecoms Awards: Telecom Wholesale Carrier of the Year and Nigerian Telecoms Awards: Broadband Company of the Year, among others.

Reflecting on 10 years in business, Ms. Funke Opeke, Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, said “We started on this journey to deploy critical infrastructure to bridge the digital divide in West Africa. While we are pleased that we have made an impact, there is so much more work to be done. The recent challenges we have faced with COVID-19 Pandemic highlight the need for additional investment and smarter policies to deploy shared infrastructure required to make access to broadband a reality for more Africans at a price they can afford. MainOne has been leading that charge across West Africa for ten years and we are even more committed to realizing our vision today than we were 10 years ago”.

While it is an accomplishment for any company to reach the 10-year milestone, it is particularly significant for us as we hold on to our vision which is to be West Africa’s communication solutions provider of choice. Through the commitment of our shareholders, hard work and dedication of our employees, and collaboration with partners, we have been able to deliver services that balance innovative solutions with excellent service delivery. I thank our valued customers for the opportunity to be of service and remain grateful to our board members and shareholders for their faith in us. Many thanks also to our devoted employees and partners who have enabled us grow and thrive. We are confident that we will witness continued growth over the next ten years as we continue to provide excellent services to our clients and enable businesses and the digital economy across the region.

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