Why Obla Is In Trouble With The Presidency

Activities and conduct of the Chairman of the Special Investigation Panel for the Recovey of Public Property, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla has been under critical review for sometime in the Presidency and his outright dismissal and prosecution is imminent, a top government official has disclosed.

Specifically the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Justice Minister had earlier recommended to the Presidency, among others “that a thorough investigation be conducted into the allegations of forgery levelled against Mr. Obono-Obla,” while also proposing suspending him from office.”

The Presidency has also received more recently an indicting report on the Panel Chairman bordering on acts of forgery and misconduct.

According to the Office of the Attorney-General, Obla has been accused on various issues “ranging from abuse of office, intimidation and unauthorized malicious investigations, financial impropriety, administrative misconduct, and allegations of forgery/falsification or records, to mention but a few.”

In fact late last year, the matter of the madate of the Panel became an issue of judicial interpretation at the Appeal Court in the case of TIJJANI MUSA TUMSAH V. FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA.

In that case, the Appeal Court held that the Panel headed by Obla lacks prosecutorial powers and cannot seize properties belonging to anyone or obtain forfeiture orders against any public official.

The Court also held that the duty of the Panel upon conclusion of an investigation is to submit its report to the head of government and that the Panel, as against the conduct of the Chairman, cannot act outside its enabling Statute, the Recovery of Public Property Special Provisions Act of 1984.

Actually once when confronted with some of his alleged misconduct and other allegations, Obono-Obla pleaded profusely and was  made to sign a written undertaking to mend his ways. However, no sooner he signed that he abandoned the undertaking and continued singularly violating the law and regulations in place in the conduct of the work of the Panel.

According to an authoritative source, “following a series of violations for which he was queried, Mr. Obla submitted a written undertaking to the effect that the panel under his leadership would only act on a written mandate received from the Presidency, and will seek authorization from the Presidency to undertake fresh mandates in accordance with extant laws of the Federation.”

The main grouse against the Panel Chairman was that while the Panel was supposed to investigate only cases referred to it by the government, according to the law establishing the panel, the Chairman has single-handedly taken on cases outside of its mandate and in gross violation of Rule of Law, including violations of people’s fundamenetal human rights.

Said the source, “inspite of the specificity of the mandate of the Panel, the FG has been inundated with complaints against Mr. Obla. These include complaints of violation of the specific mandate of the Panel, human rights abuses and conduct unbecoming of an official of Government, which conduct and actions had a number of times subjected the Panel and the Government to ridicule.”

Matters however came to a head when the other four members of the 5-man Panel wrote a petition against Obla, asking for urgent action to curtail the “several identified unlawful conducts of the Chairman of the Panel.

According to the Panel members, while two cases involving NEXIM Bank and CBN, Finance Ministry, Nigeran Ports Authority were referred to the Panel, the Chairman single-handedly took on over 50 cases outside the mandate of the panel.

They also stated that “contrary to the fact that the Panel is an investigative panel by its enabling law, which lacks prosecutorial powers, Mr. Obla has unlawfully engaged lawyers to file charges against suspects without recourse to the Attorney-General’s office.”

“The man has been busy extorting money running into millions from suspects and engaged in excessive behaviour towards individuals, government agencies, private companies and even foreign missions in Nigeria,” another government source noted.

For instance after an illegal secondment of over 100 policemen to himself, Chief Obla attempted to arrest the Executive Secretary of TETFUND “with a truck of mobile policemen which led to the petition written to the Attorney-General’s office over the incessant illegal harassment.”

Among several petitions against Obla which has caused considerable concern in the government is the one by the Human Rights Writers Association bordering on allegations of forgery of WAEC result used for admission into the Law Faculty of the University of Jos.

The Office of the Attorney-General in its recommendation to the Presidency also mentioned Obla’s “unauthorized investigations of several judges initiated by Mr. Obla through the issuance of notices to them to declare their assets, an obligation which these Honorable Jugdes had hitherto complied with through the authorized agency-the Code of Conduct Bureau.”

It was also stated that Obla had used the Panel to arrogate the powers and functions of the EFCC and the ICPC.

“In the circumstances, the Government is left with no choice than to review his appointment and possibly prosecute him for allegations of forgery and possibly also for criminal extortion, “ a source noted.

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Governor Abu Lolo’s Giant Steps Towards Providing Portable Water For Nigerlites

By Abubakar Usman

Water, everywhere but none to drink.

Niger state is one of the many states in Nigeria that best fits the above description. The state is blessed with an enormous amount of water resource that it is arguably the state where it is most present. The nickname “power state” was given to the state largely because it houses most of the hydroelectric power plants Nigeria has been deriving its power supply from and this was made possible with the presence of all three dams of the Niger dams project. From the Shiroro dam on the Kaduna River to the Kainji Lake and the one Located at Jebba, Kwara State but with a large part of its reservoir located in Niger state, the state has enough water not only to generate electricity but also to sustain irrigation and fishing as an industry in the state.

The presence of all these water bodies notwithstanding, access to portable drinking water has continued to elude the people. Since the creation of the state and the corresponding influx and increase in population, the number of people that have lost access to portable drinking water has continued to rise so much that wells and boreholes have taken over as the major source of water supply for the people. The source notwithstanding, most residents who are unable to sink boreholes or dig wells still have to depend on water vendors who buy and then sell to the end users. There are reports that a 20 litter Jeri-can of water now sells for as high as N70 in most places, while sachet of pure water which has become the easiet alternatives for the people is now being sold at the rate of N10 instead of N5. As distasteful as this may be, this is even so for those living in the urban areas. In the rural areas, where the larger part of the state’s population resides, residents depend on rivers and streams as their source of water supply. Water obtained from these sources are consumed in their raw state without any form of treatment. The resultant effect of this are ill-health suffered by people and a drain on their resources which are expended on drugs and medicine in pursuit of good health.

The problem of water supply in Niger state has become perennial because successive governments have abdicated their responsibilities to the citizens by not investing enough resources to the provision of safe and good quality water, and where resources are provided, they are never utilised for the purposes intended. For example, over N3billion was said to have been pumped to the water sector between 2007 and 2015, yet the taps could not run until the administration at that time left office. The much needed overhaul of the state water board, reticulation of old pipes and the overhaul of the entire mechanical system of water collection, processing and supply remained largely on paper. The coming of the Governor Abubakar Sani Bello however renewed the hope of the people especially when he declared emergency on water with a promise to undertake turn round maintenance of all the equipment at the water works so as to increase production capacity from the present 20% to at least 80% in addition to ensuring the reticulation of water in all parts of the state. Three years down the line, water is still not running on the taps, save for some few towns where minimal repair works were required and had been done. However, going by what one has seen in various parts of the state, the dry taps would soon be a thing of the past, but how exactly?

Last week, I joined a few other enthusiasts on a tour of some projects in the state. The tour took us to Minna, Suleja, Bida, Kontagora and a few other locations inspecting projects the Abu Lolo administration has embarked upon his coming to power in 2015. I however picked particularly interest on projects in the water sector especially knowing how much water has been a problem in the state. Below, I attempt to present a vivid picture of what we met on ground during the tour and why I believe that the water problem in the state would soon be a thing of the past.

Kaduna Road Booster Station

Our first point of call was at the ever busy Abuja-Kaduna road where the the booster station connected to the Suleja water works which supplies water to the people of Dikko, Sabon Wuse, Babban Tunga, Gajiri and environs is located. According to available information, there was only one functional water pump installed at the station since 1995 and this pump has been unable to meet the demand of the people in the target areas. But with the coming of the Abu Lolo administration, 3 new sets of 250KW 400VAC pump soft-starter and additional 3 Termistor pumping machine (PTC) MMV-2.5vdc were purchased and installed. The installation of the three new water pumps has greatly enhanced water supply to the areas under coverage.

Buntu Water Pumping Station

Also within the Suleja axis is the Buntu water pumping station where the Abu Lolo administration has also added value in his drive to provide water for the people. Here, the governor provided and installed three water pumping machines which pumps water from the Suleja water treatment plant.

Suleija Water Treatment Plant

The Suleja water treatment plant is the main facility in the processing and supply of water to the entire residents of Suleja and its environs. Here, water is sourced from the Suleja dam and then treated at the plant before it is pumped through the Buntu pumping station and the other booster stations to the environs.

The Governor Sani Bello’s administration carried out a complete overhaul of the treatment plant with the provision of new facilities which has made water treatment less problematic.

Dawaki Pump Station

The Dawaki pump station is one of the pumping stations built around the Suleja water treatment plant with the aim of making water easily accessible to the people around the Suleja axis. The Governor Abubakar Sani Bello administration also procured three water pumping machines for the station, but only one of it has been installed as at date because the process of installing the machines will disrupt the water supply. The old pumping machine at the booster station was 350 cubic metres per/hr, but was replaced with a 700 cubic metres per/hr pumping machine which allows supply of up to 10million litres of water per day.

Bida Water Work

The Bida water works was constructed in 1976 to cater for the then population, but for over two decades, no major work was carried out on the plant to meet the growing demand for water in the emirate. The present government upon assuming office in 2015 took up the challenge to address the problems and equipment procured by the government is still being installed as at the time of the visit. According to the Plant Manager, Engr. Babamini, 90% of the work has been done and the remaining 10% will be concluded immediately after the Christmas holiday and water will begin to flow to Bida town and environs.

In addition to the ongoing work at the Bida Water Work is the work simultaneously ongoing at the booster station located within the emirate which will further enhance the distribution of portable water to the residents of the emirate.

Below are some the equipment procured by the state government which are already been installed.

Mariga Water Work

The visit also extended to the Mariga water work which was constructed in 1991.  According to the Area Manager of the water station, Mallam Abdull Garba, water supply before the administration of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello had been erratic due to the partial operation of the water work resulting from the collapse of four, out of the five submersible machines at the station. The erratic power supply in the station also contributed greatly to the operation of the water work. However, with the coming of the Abubakar Sani Bello administration, the problem of portable water supply in Mariga town, is now a thing of the past. The government procured and installed four submersible pumps to replace the bad ones and a 50 KVA stand-by generator to replace the old rickety 30KVA.

Kontagora Water Works

Just like the Mariga Water Works, the Kontagora water works was constricted in 1991 with the aim of providing water for the people of Kontagora and environs, but the station deteriorated so much that water supply from it had been stopped for a while. The Abu Lolo administration however commenced a complete overhaul of the station with the purchase and installation of 4 new vertical pumps from Germany. The station is  only awaiting the supply of 1000KVA standby generator to make the station fully functional, owing to the station’s protracted battle with an old, dysfunctional transformer.

Conclusion

From the above, it is evident that the government of Abubakar Sani Bello has shown committed towards the provision of water for the people of Niger state. What would just need to be done is for finishing touches to be put where they are necessary and if this is done and the current tempo sustained, the taps in Niger state will begin to run again.

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Online Shopping In Nigeria Is Sky Rocketing

The internet is a tool we all use to our benefit, but it remains underappreciated for various reasons.

What do you use the internet for?  Are you surfing the web with the goal of gathering information? Accessing some of the sources of entertainment such as an online casino? Or do you use the internet to run errands and shop online?

With each passing year, the Nigerian people use the internet more and more to purchase items online. The fact that people prefer to buy things online rather than visit the land-based shops has a substantial impact on the Nigerian economy.

Why is that? How many people shop online? And what does it mean? Find out the answers now!

Stats and Numbers

In 2016, the Nigerian people spent about ?327 billion on online shopping, which amounts to approximately $819 million, using PayPal and other popular shopping methods online.

According to surveys, 77% of those who responded used their computers to pay for grocery food delivery, while 69% used the same method to purchase beauty products and personal care products. A lot of the responders also used the available services to buy clothes and restaurant deliveries.

The majority of the shoppers preferred to pay for their purchases upon delivery, aka via cash. However, as time goes by, more people begin to use debit cards and various e-wallets to make the same transactions.

Explaining Those Changes

Even though the economic state in Nigeria is far from stellar, the e-commerce market keeps prospering despite the odds.

Out of 180 million citizens, 62% of the Nigerian people are young people,  who grew around technology and they are not afraid to use it. Since more people have access to the internet nowadays, there is nothing that can stop them from using it to their advantage.

Experts believe that in the next few years the e-commerce sector in Nigeria will contribute 10% to the nations’ GDP, which is estimated at ?10 trillion.

However, even though those numbers seem to be impressive, the new online shopping trend won’t save the Nigerian economy. The main reason for that is the fact that the Nigerian people prefer to purchase items from foreign shops rather than Nigerian ones.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to trust. People don’t trust Nigerian merchants whatsoever, which is why they prefer to pay for their purchases in cash only after they get the item they ordered.

Often enough when shoppers order items from local merchants, the item may not be in store or it can take too long for it to arrive at its destination. On the other hand, international businesses that offer the option to order items online, have an advanced system in place that prevents those things from happening.

Popular websites such as Ali Express and ASOS ship the ordered items to the buyers within days, and it takes a few short weeks for the item to arrive in Nigeria. That means that the Nigerian people are willing to pay in advance, using debit cards and other payment options, if that means that they will get their order without delay.

In Conclusion

According to statistics, the Nigerian people are willing to buy items online, but it seems that they don’t trust the quality of the local e-commerce options. Due to this trust issue, the money doesn’t go into the local market, and the Nigerian economy suffers from it.

If local businessmen will take the time to perfect their online services, there is no doubt that more people will order items from local shops. That means that with a little bit of effort, the money people spend online will be directed towards improving the local economy rather than funding foreign businesses.

Hopefully, some changes will be made soon, thus allowing the Nigerian e-commerce market to grow and evolve with the rest of the world.

 

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EFCC Responds To Report Of Raid On Atiku’s Sons Home

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has responded to media reports that it carried out a raid on the residence of the son of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

An online newspaper had reported that the home of the sons of Atiku were raided during the weekend in search of some dollars allegedly stashed in the house. The report added that ta similar raid was carried out on the home of the son of former Abia State governor, Theodore Orji.

But the acting spokesperson of the commission, Tony Orilade in response to inquiries over the reported raid said denied the report saying “the EFCC never went after Atiku’s sons.”

“We are investigating the former Abia governor, Senator Theodore Orji over money laundering. We discovered he laundered money through his sons,” Tony said.

Continuing, he said “we have been on a trail of the cars allegedly bought by his sons. Last Friday, we traced the car to a night club in Abuja. In order not to cause panic, we waited until the business of the club was over and when the owner of the  came to enter to take off, we arrested him and his friend who has a similar brand.

Orilade said the incidence took place at about 5am on Saturday, December 8, 2018, but did not mention the club where it took place.

He named the two boys arrested as Ogbonna Orji whose Range Rover car he said is valued at about N100million and another Kelvin ilonah whose Range Rover car us valued at about N35million.

The anti-graft spokesman added that the two boys in the course of further interrogation led operatives of the commission to their apartment which he described as a three bedroom apartment which documents retrieved showed was rented as the sum of N13million per annum.

He said upon visiting the house, another brand new 2017 Prado Jeep was recovered from the boys whom he said has given useful information to the commission which is helping in their investigation.

Orilade emphasized that the EFCC never went after Atiku’s sons and neither were Atiku’s sons among the two boys arrested.

“There is no link with Atiku,” he concluded.

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#NextLevelNigeria: The APC Road Map

Four years ago, we promised Nigerians real change – in what we do and how we do it. Nigerians sent a clear message in the last election, and our platform offered a new, ambitious plan for a secure, prosperous and corruption-free country. We have worked hard to fulfill our promises – and while the road may have been difficult, over the last three and a half years, we have laid the foundations for a strong, stable and prosperous country for the majority of our people.

Foundational work is not often visible, neither is it glamorous – but it is vital to achieving the kind of country we desire. Judging by the prior depth of decay, deterioration and disrepair that Nigeria had sunken into, we are certain that these past few years have put us in good stead to trudge on the NEXT LEVEL of building an even stronger nation for our people.

First things had to come first.

We were a nation at war – but we delivered on our commitment to secure the territorial integrity of our nation in the face of a raging insurgency that devastated many parts of the North East. We liberated 17 Local Government Areas from the grip of insurgency. Brokering and sustaining peace in the Niger Delta has also been crucial to stabilising the polity.

Despite the difficult circumstances presented by weak oil prices and reduced oil production, we delivered on our commitment to make public investments to spur economic growth, job creation, and broad-based prosperity. Agriculture continues to expand our economic base, as do our investments in deficient infrastructure across the length and breadth of this nation.

We implemented a responsible and transparent fiscal plan for the challenging economic times that saw us doing more even with lesser oil revenues. Grand scale corruption perpetrated at the highest level of government is now a thing of the past, just as the Treasury Single Account has made it more difficult for ministries, departments and agencies to exercise the unrestrained liberties that helped foster a climate conducive to corruption. The nation’s wealth is now being invested in capital projects to expand infrastructure and connect people, goods and opportunities by rail, road and air.

Also, the Federal Government supported state governments with bailouts that enabled them to pay workers on their payroll.

We took an unprecedented step towards creating a fairer and more equitable society by implementing Africa’s biggest social investment programme. Through the National Social Investment Programme, we are providing direct support to over 13 million Nigerians who need it by giving relief and assistance to unemployed youth, our children, the weak and vulnerable as well as small and medium businesses. But even as we lay the foundation for a stable and prosperous nation, we acknowledge there is still much to do. The next level of effort focuses on job creation across various sectors.

From an enlargement of the N-Power programme to investing in technology and creative sector jobs to Agriculture and revolutionizing access to credit for entrepreneurs and artisans, there is scope for over 15 million new jobs. The march away from a mono-economy must continue with our industrialization plan coming to fore. With specific plans underway to exploit the comparative advantage of the geo political zones and different states by developing 6 Industrial Parks and 109 Special Production and Processing Centres (SPPCs) across each senatorial district, our incremental move away from oil dependence is assured.

In addition, our development of the Special Economic Zones will quickly concretise our Made in Nigeria for Export (MINE) plan. To sustain food production and value addition, our mechanization policy for agriculture will make tractors and processors easily accessible and available for farmers across Nigeria. We will continue a wide scale training policy, prioritising technology to reach the demography of young people within the productive sector on a massive scale even as we create jobs and growth within our economy.

We believe that our people who are still in poverty have a direct way out and up through our expanded National Social Investment Programme. We believe we can implement the painstaking and comprehensive ;policy and work we have done to bring an end to the perennial conflict between farmers and herders- a conflict which is heightened by a struggle for land, water and pasture and the effects of climate change and every now and then, opportunistic and cynical manipulation by political actors. We are implementing a blend of measures that ensures that justice, order, modernization and new economic paradigms emerge.

Perhaps our biggest ambition yet is the overhaul of our education sector. Every child counts – and simply, whatever it takes to prepare our teachers, curriculum and classrooms to attain the right educational goals that grow our country, will be done. We will remodel 10,000 schools every year and retrain our teachers to impart science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics using coding, animation, robotics to re-interpret our curriculum.

We know that, to succeed, moral integrity and conscience must continue to form the dominant character of our nation and its leadership. Corruption is an existential threat to Nigeria. Despite the gains we have made in closing the gates, we know that there is still much ground to cover to stop systemic corruption. We are committed to deepening the work we started this first term such that the nation’s assets and resources continue to be organized and utilized to do good for the common man.

The next four years will be quite significant for our country. Nigeria is faced with a choice to keep building a new Nigeria- making a break from its tainted past which favoured an opportunistic few. Our choices will shape us – our economic security and our future prosperity. Nigeria, more than ever before, needs a stable and people-focused government to move the agenda for our country forward.

Join us on this journey to the NEXT LEVEL of a prosperous, strong and stable Nigeria! Nigerians, WE ARE ALL GOING HIGHER!

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Debunking Fani Kayode’s Assertion

As Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s Special Counsel, he’s been speaking with me from his location in Israel in the past few days. I want to make it clear to all that Nnamdi Kanu’s brief chat with Fani Kayode earlier today did not include anything close to agreeing to work together with Fani Kayode to vote out Buhari, as is being circulated on social media.

On the contrary, Nnamdi kanu wants all to know that IPOB remains solidly committed to self DETERMINATION and REFERENDUM; and is therefore not interested in any partisan politics of the moment.

I urge all and sundry to take caution and be guided accordingly.

Barr. Aloy Ejimakor, IPOB Special Counsel.

Below are records found of Aloysius Ejimakor, who did to be 60 years old, born on 8/18/1958. Currently, he lives in Lanham, MD, United State.

 

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Report: Why Atiku Abubakar Can Never Step His Foot On US Soil Again

Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar can never step his foot on United States soil again because he is wanted for money laundering and illegal transfer of funds.
Atiku who is the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate was the subject of a probe ten years ago, by a United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Senator Carl Levin.
The report detailed how Atiku Abubakar while still the vice president of Nigeria between 2000 and 2008, used offshore companies to siphon millions of dollars to his fourth wife in the United States, Jennifer Douglas.
Specifically, the report said Jennifer Douglas, an American citizen, helped her husband bring over $40 million in suspect funds into the United States through wire transfers sent by offshore corporations to U.S. bank accounts.
In 2004, the then President Bush barred Atiku and other corrupt politically exposed persons from being issued visa to the United States.
The US Senate probe was motivated by US government concern about corruption in the Third World and its corrosive effects on the development of honest government, democratic principles, and the rule of law.
“It is also blamed for distorting markets, deterring investment, deepening poverty, undermining international aid efforts, and fostering crime. Some have drawn connections between corruption, failed states, and terrorism. Corruption also continues to be a massive problem. The World Bank has estimated that $1 trillion in bribes alone exchange hands worldwide each year,” the committee noted in its bulky report.
The report unveiled violations of US laws by Atiku and his fourth wife, Jennifer Douglas. It also included revelations about Siemens bribe paid into one of the accounts, and it possibly provided the basis for Atiku being barred from entering the United States, since then.
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Paris Park Where Nigerian Women Are Forced Into Prostitution

The Cable News Network (CNN), has exposed how some ladies are trafficked from Nigeria to France and forced into sexual slavery.

Nadège was one of these women before she managed to escape.

Nadège says she was trafficked from Nigeria to France and forced into sexual slavery, at €20 ($23) per client, to pay off a colossal debt to a female Nigerian pimp known as a “madam.”

A madam she met in Lagos promised her a better life in Europe, working as a waitress. “I was told it was like a paradise,” Nadège tells CNN. “But getting here, it was like from frying pan to fire.”
Before leaving, the madam made Nadège swear an oath at a “juju” temple with a native doctor of Ayelala — a traditional belief system from southern Nigeria.
Nadège swore to repay her madam for sending her to Europe, and to never speak of her oath, or her debt, to anyone.
A week after arriving in France with a fake passport her madam gave her, Nadège was sent to work in Bois de Vincennes park, which is on the outskirts of eastern Paris, and has also been part-commandeered by human traffickers.
Her madam gave her a €100 daily target and took away her passport and all her earnings, except money for food and rent.
“Sometimes you work from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in the morning, maybe get home by 8 a.m.,” she says.
She would start work again, elsewhere, from 3 p.m., she says. “Until 6 p.m., then you have to go to your normal place of work.”
Most of the Nigerian women working in the park are “slaves,” she says. “Some are free, but the prostitution has eaten deep into them.”
Nadège said she cut ties with her madam when she got pregnant a year later and decided to keep her baby.
Narrating her escape, she said: “I was waiting patiently for the death or the madness,” she says. “I was like… ‘Should I go over to the street and start working? Should I abort my baby?'”
Nadège discouraged other young ladies against journeying to Europe in search of greener pastures saying: “It’s not easy to be transported to Europe just like a bag of fruit and sold for men to eat. Don’t even think of it.”
Though she has refugee status and a full-time job and has begun learning French, Nadège still feels her life is ruined. The birth of her son, however, has given her a new purpose.
“No matter what I am tomorrow, I’m still going to be useless. Because I can’t proudly say my story. I can’t proudly tell the world who I am.” Her voice falters. “Whatever I’m doing right now, I’m doing it for my son.”
“When I had my documents the first thing that came to my mind was: ‘Thank God I can now give my son a good life,'” she says.
“He’s already teaching me… he speaks French now. And he’s so super smart. When I see him sometimes, I forget my past — I forget myself.”
The International Organization for Migration says the number of potential victims of sex trafficking arriving by boat in Italy has increased by almost 600% in the past three years, and 80% of them are Nigerian.
In March, Oba Ewuare II, the traditional leader of the Edo people, declared a curse on human traffickers and removed the curses on those that had been trafficked under a juju oath.
Vanessa Simoni, of LABF, says the women now “feel less guilty to break the oath” as “they have the approval of their community.”
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2019: Niger Governorship Aspirant, Bello Bwari Picks ADP Nomination Form

Frontline contender for the number one seat in Niger State, Alhaji Bello Bwari yesterday picked his expression of interest and nomination form for the 2019 governorship election in the state.
Bwari who stormed the National secretariat of the party in Abuja with some of his supporters was received by the National Chairman, Engr. Y. Y. Sanni.
Speaking during the presentation of the forms, Engr Sanni urged the aspirant and his supporters to keep working hard to ensure the success of the party at the polls in 2019.
He further said he was encouraged by the quality of the aspirant and his track record in building a strong footing for the party in Niger State.
Responding, Alhaji Bwari assured the national chairman of his commitment to the party and their resolve to ensure that there people of Niger State under his leadership experience a better life and prosperous future.
Bwari said his administration if voted into power will better the lives of the people through the provision of a responsive and responsible style of leadership.
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FG Promises Protection Of Intellectual Property, Investment

For two days, American investors and chieftains from the technology and entertainment sectors of the US and indeed global economies took turns to listen and actively interact with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, and the Nigerian delegation drawn from the public and private sectors.

They came in impressive numbers for two full days to listen and assess investment opportunities in Nigeria and also asked questions.

From the Silicon Valley for instance, well over twenty core American investors in technology spent over hours on Monday afternoon interacting with the Nigerian delegation led by the Vice President alongside others including Industry, Trade & Investment Minister Dr Okey Enelamah, on how to invest in Nigeria.

Top among the US investors were Tim Kendall, a US investor who worked with Facebook monetization and has led PINTEREST, headquartered in San Francisco and valued at about $12B. Pinterest is a “web and mobile application company that operates a software system designed to discover information on the World Wide Web, mainly using images and on a shorter scale, GIFs and videos. Pinterest has reached 200 million monthly active users as of September 2017.”

Others who attended the investment summit in Silicon Valley included representatives of StreetEdge Capital, a Bay Area, California multi-billion dollar family partnership with global footprints including holdings in the US, India and Africa. There were also others including Chika Nwobi and Tom Terbell, partners from Rise Capital, “a private equity firm specializing in early venture and later stage investments. It seeks to invest in the internet enabled sector in emerging markets.” The multi-million dollar investment firm is also based in San Francisco, California.

In the same vein, Prof. Osinbajo also visited the headquarters of LinkedIn where he held a meeting with the Co-founder of LinkedIn, Allen Blue, and other senior executives of the company at its headquarters in California.
The Vice President later also featured as the Special Guest at the firm’s Fireside Chat with a packed full room of Nigerians in Diaspora, which was also streamed live to a global audience.

The next day in Los Angeles, right in Hollywood, the Vice President and his delegation, drawn mainly from the Advisory Group on Technology Innovation and Creativity, an arm of the National Industrial Competitiveness Council, also met with an impressive array of entertainment chieftains and investors in the US.

They included top Hollywood executives like Mark Viane of Paramount Pictures; Steven O’Dell of Sony Pictures; Kieran Breen, Karen Mbanefo and Bryan Song of 20th Century Fox, Betty Lee of Lions Gate; Craig Dehmel and Shehu Garba from IMAX Entertainment; Monique Esclavissat of Warner Bros; Mary Ann Hughes from Walt Disney, John Fithian from the National Association of Theater Owners, and Ryan Gibson of BET International, among others. There were also representatives from Fox Network,

Also at the forum from the Nigerian delegation were renowned names in the film, music & entertainment industry, including Innocent Idibia, popularly known as Tuface; New York-based Nigerian visual artist, musician, singer/songwriter, Laolu Senbanjo; CEO, Ebony Life TV, Mo Abudu, Chocolate City CEO, Audu Maikori; founder/CEO Terra Kulture, Bolanle Austen-Peters; New York artist, Sesan Ogunro among others.

It would be recalled that the Vice President on Monday was received by Google CEO Sundar Pichai and other top Google executives at the global technology company’s corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley, California.

After the meeting in Silicon Valley, the Vice President also interacted with scores of Nigerians working with Google.
Speaking in Hollywood before he left the US early yesterday, Prof. Osinbajo noted that the Federal Government is determined to ensure needed regulations to stimulate the growth of the country’s entertainment and creative industries, including the protection of Intellectual Property and investment guarantees.

The VP stated this during the interactive investment forum on Nigeria’s creativity sector with US-based entertainment outlets, media & investors held in Waldorf Astoria, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, all day Tuesday.

According to the Vice President, “we understand how dynamic the environment is, both technology and creative arts. But we think that the way to go will be to work with those who are actually in the industry, those like yourselves who are putting in their money, their resources, time, and energy into this, and trying to do our regulations in such a way that we are competitive practically with anyone else in the world.

“So what we have done so far is that we’ve been looking at what the specific issues are, and there are quite a few. There are those who want to know about what we are doing in terms of Intellectual Property protection, investment guarantee, and all of that. But I think that the most important thing really, is that we have a government and a lot of those who work in our agencies, who are determined to work through this, day by day, piece by piece to make sure that we get our environment right, and we get the right type of investment environment.”

Prof. Osinbajo further said the Buhari administration will continue to make effort to improve the country’s infrastructure and technology to grow the country’s entertainment/creative sector and the digital economy.

He said, “we are also, of course, very interested in many ways, in deepening infrastructure, especially broadband, connectivity and all of that, because we think that mobile telephony is going to be one of the big ways, especially for the distribution of film and all of that. And we are convinced that with the size of our population, we must find ways of getting film and content unto mobile phones, and also working out payment systems around that because we think that that is the way this is going to go.

“We know that in the next couple of years, that really is where a lot of development is going to go to, and we are very anxious to get our regulations right, to get all of our laws in place and to ensure that we are able to attract all of you who want to do business with us, especially those of you who are coming from other countries. As for the Nigerians, we are, of course, actively engaged with the local industry, and that is one of the reasons why we have the advisory council which takes into account many of our local investors, local artistes and the local entertainment crowd generally.”

The interactive forum in Los Angeles was the last leg of the Vice President’s trip to the United States where he led a Public-Private sector collaborative investment road show, including meetings with global industry leaders in the technology, film, music & entertainment industry in San Francisco and Los Angeles respectively.

The investment road show led by the Vice President showcased the efforts of the Buhari administration in developing Nigeria’s technology, entertainment and creative sectors; and sought to deepen collaboration between Nigeria and the US in these areas.

Also on the Vice President’s delegation were representatives of tech firms, Nollywood and several relevant government agencies.

His earlier meetings with a series of key US technology investors, executives from US-based companies at the “Invest in Nigeria Summit”, was held at the Four Seasons Hotel, Palo Alto, San Francisco, California, while the meeting with Hollywood and US entertainment industry operatives was at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Los Angeles.

At the meetings which were well attended by US and Nigerian investors/industry chieftains, Prof. Osinbajo reiterated Government’s commitment to the growth of the country’s digital economy by creating the right environment for the technology, creative industries to thrive and unlocking the country’s potential.

The Vice President said, “One of the critical things for us also, is the fact that we are very open to ensuring that regulation is competitive, especially in the Tech space. All over the world, this is a very dynamic environment, and we recognise that, and we want to be able to work with players and investors, to get the regulations and environment right.”

Prof. Osinbajo also showcased opportunities for innovation and investment in Nigeria, while also highlighting the growth of Nigerian technology start-ups and young Nigerians taking the lead in innovation and creativity.

He noted that Government was exploring more ways to leverage on technology to improve infrastructure and other areas of the economy, while also highlighting the impact of the Buhari administration Social Investment Programme such as the N-power scheme and how it leverages on technology to train and empower young Nigerian graduates. So far the N-Power scheme has 200,000 beneficiaries, with 300,000 more expected to be added soon.

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Hard Facts: Growth Of Technology, Creative Industry In Nigeria

As Vice President Yemi Osinbajo leads roadshow to showcase growth of Nigeria’s technology and entertainment sectors, here are the fact sheet on the growth of the industries in Nigeria.

Find below highlights of the growth of technology, creative industry in Nigeria
  • Lagos is one of Africa’s largest markets, with GDP of over $136 billion and significant young population
  • Lagos startups are also building to serve the entire African market, with high quality and relatively lower cost talent
  • Startups like Andela, NESA, and Data Science Nigeria are training developers and Data Scientists
  • Strong community and support system through incubators, accelerators & dev communities
  • Nigeria has recorded significant progress made in recent years with local and international VC funds emerging with over $100 million invested in 2017.
  • Over $100 million raised from VC investors by Nigerian startups.
  • Over $ 40 million raised each by Flutterwave and Andela, and SureRemit recently raised $7 million in an ICO.
  • Government led initiatives (LSETF, Startup Mambilla etc) also providing early stage capital.
  • Nigeria’s young population have strong entrepreneurial and risk taking culture, evident in the growing number of innovative companies leveraging technology to solve locally relevant problems.

Several global technology leaders have launched initiatives aimed at Nigeria, including:

  • Google Launchpad for Nigeria, the first ever Launchpad outside San Francisco.
  • Facebook recently launched physical hub space in Lagos.
  • GE operates a GE Lagos garage for startups.
  • Growth of technology hubs in Lagos has attracted gloabl attention with recent visits by CEOs of Google, Facebook, Microsoft.
  • Significant growth in number of Nigerian startups accepted into global accelerators- Y-Combinator, 500 Startups.
  • FinTech’s with significant Nigerian operations also raising major funding e.g. Cellulant raised $47.5 million.

NEW FRONTIERS: Significant strides made by Nigeria’s technology startups:

  • Online and mobile money payment processors and gateways facilitating web payment through different payment methods (card, bank accounts etc.), e.g. Flutterwave processed over $1.2 billion in transactions in 1 year;
  • Paga has acquired 8 million customers since inception
  • Several startups leveraging alternative data sources and data science to lend to the underbanked, e.g. Paylater issuing over 1,000 loans daily with 5-minute disbursements
  • Players leveraging web payment channels to create alternative automated savings products, e.g. Piggybank grew deposits over 3000% in 2017.
NIGERIA’S E-COMMERCE CHAMPIONS
  • Jumia has emerged as Africa’s first unicorn acquiring over 1 million customers
  • Innovative players creating new channels in entertainment and media consumption such as Adtech players like Twinpine which has created a  mobile ad network for Africa leveraging telco data
  • IrokoTV is the largest distributor of Nollywood content globally
  • Players digitizing an offline health industry and increasing access to healthcare for the mass market e.g. Lifebank, which recently raised $1m to help hospitals better access blood & other health supplies
  • Companies leveraging technology to serve small holder farmers and increase funding for agriculture, e.g. FarmCrowdy has raised over $1 million to build a crowd-funding platform for agriculture and bring Nigeria’s farmers online
  • Startups solving the problem of easing access to physical goods in Nigeria leveraging tech solutions, e.g. Kobo360 has built the ‘Uber for trucks’- matching truck drivers to companies who need their services, and recently raised $1.2M from Western Technology Investment
  • Andela is creating the next generation of tech developers across Africa and providing opportunities for global firms to leverage African talent. Has raised over $80 million from several investors including Chan Zuckerberg initiative
  • Several innovative players building solutions across off grid solar solutions, recycling and environmental protection, e.g. Rensource is building the largest off-grid solar network in Nigeria

 

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How Yobe Govt Resettled IDPs After Shutting Down Camp

MUSA M. BUBA in this report, looks at how Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Yobe state were resettled with the camps closed down

Since the commencement of the insurgency in the Northeast, many people were killed others displaced and moved to IDPs camps or with the host communities.

It was in 2009 when the Northeast sub-region started to experience terror attacks and Yobe state witnessed its first attack in the state capital on November 4, 2011. Since then the insurgents has continued to launch attacks on government facilities such as schools, hospitals, worship centres, as well as on individuals and their private properties. Yunusari, Geidam, Gujba and Gulani, were the local government councils worst hit by the insurgency in Yobe. In fact, they were overrun for years especially Gujba and Gulani.

The main bridge linking the state to southern Borno state was blown off and economic activities were crippled.

IDPs voluntarily returned
These led many residents to flee to relatively peaceful areas while government had to establish some camps to accommodate the Internally Displaced Persons IDPs. With the gallantly fight by the military, the aforementioned local governments were recaptured, the state government reconstructed the blown off bridge, the road reconstructed and some of the IDPs voluntarily returned.

This is not unconnected with the support of the Ibrahim Gaidam led- administration in providing hilux patrol vehicles to the military and other securities agencies, apart from the regular logistics provided to ginger their fighting spirit.
In order to meet the needs of the IDPs, Yobe state government set up committee on Reconstruction, Resettlement and Rehabilitation of the displaced persons, headed by the Deputy Governor, Abubakar D. Aliyu, to make sure that all their needs are met at when due.

IDPs that opted to stay in Yobe
The IDPs who voluntarily returned in Gujba and Gulani local governments two years ago after return of relative peace, the government provided them with farming implements of 130 sets of Animal Traction which consist of oxen, agricultural implements and ox-driven carts totaling N49,650.000 for each beneficiary.

Also a good number of 10kg of cowpea, 8kg of sorghum, and millet respectively, 25kg of fertilizer and assorted vegetable seeds to about 33,000 farmers in the state especially the returning IDPs were provided
To provide good health to returning IDPs, the Yobe State Emergency Management Agency (YOSEMA) distributed drugs to twelve medical centres across the state especially those affected by the insurgency. The medicines were brought to the state by the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) with instruction that they should be shared to the downtrodden who passed through series of hazards as a prevalent terrorists attack occasioned by the Boko Haram.

Succour for IDPs
The IDPs who opted to permanently settle in Kukareta a community in the outskirt of Damaturu the state capital, the Yobe state government presented plots of land, assorted building materials and cash support to 307 of them.
It includes 50 x 100 plots and building materials like blocks, zinc, nails, timber, cement among others to the IDPs, which mark yet another milestone in the quest to assists and support the IDPs to build houses and settle in their new communities, apart from the N30,000 each, given to the 307 heads of households.

Yobe state government had also provided additional social amenities like health clinics, water supply facilities and schools to augment the existing ones at Kukareta and other returnee communities.

Last IDPs camp (Pompomari)
The camp was established in 2015 with 4,211 displaced persons from Ambiya Kura, Ambiya Bulabulin, Ambiya Tasha, Sharfuri and Turo Kura all in Gujba local government area.

The Permanent Secretary, State Emergency Management Agency, Musa Idi Jidawa, while closing the Pompomari IDP camp recently, said, state government has so far expended over N140 million since the administration took off, feeding and routine medical upkeep with special referrals to Specialists and Teaching hospitals in Damaturu and Maiduguri as well as, Neuro-Psychiatric hospital in Maiduguri.

Out of the 4,211 IDPs earlier camped, 2,897 IDPs voluntarily left to pursue their means of livelihood after the state government provided them with cash assistance, food items, transport fare and other incentives according to the Musa Idi Jidawa, the permanent secretary SEMA.

As at the time of the closure on 27th June, 2018 the camp had a population of 1,314 IDPs with 318 heads of household and 996 dependents.

Return packages
The Yobe state government had acknowledged received of complimentary supports from federal government and UN agencies like NEMA, VSF, PINE, PCNI, UNICEF, UNHCR, UNFPA, and WFP, internal and local NGOs like ICRC, ACF, NRCS and SMYLE, among others.

What the Yobe state government prepared as return packages for the returning IDPs includes 743 bags of 50kg rice, 596 jerry cans of 25 litres vegetable oil, 541 cartons of tomato paste, 370 cartons of bathing soap, 1000 pieces of mosquitoes nets, 1,272 pieces of nylon mats, 60 bales of used clothes and cash assistance of N9,110,000.00 to be shared among the 318 heads of the households based on family size.

It is significant to mention that, the people of the Northeast have had the test of time that will continue to ring in the minds of generation to generations. Many Yobe residents have acknowledged the importance of peace in every society therefore all should contribute his/her quota to make sure that peace reign in our country.

With this development, Yobe state has shut down all the government established camps but still working toward improving means of livelihood of the returnees.

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