Union Bank, Google, Shell, Others Lead Jobberman’s ‘Best 100 Companies To Work For’

The recently released 2016 Jobberman’s ‘Best 100 Companies to Work For’ list, which is in its third edition, focuses on recognising and celebrating top employers in Nigeria.

Rated by employees and professionals, the list provides an insight to job seekers on companies they should have their eyes on, for employment and career growth, as well as providing opportunities for business prospecting.

The top 5 positions this year were taken up by international companies – General Electric, Airtel, Ericsson, Google and Shell – while locally set up organisations took up the 6th to 10th positions.

Union Bank, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year took up the 9th position on the list of companies, moving up 24 places from 33rd place in the 2015 list. This ranking reinforces a number of awards they’ve received in the past year, especially the “Best Contributing Employer in Human Resources in 2015″ awardthey received from the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) in August 2016.

It was observed that companies with a consistent commitment to employee welfare, training, work-life balance, good salary packages and an equal opportunity policy took up the top positions. Union Bank for example is known to invest heavily in ensuring it is a great place to work so its employees can give their best to deliver the incredible transformation currently going on in the bank.

Jobberman.com conducted online surveys with experts across all industries utilising its 2 million+ database of entry-level job seekers and seasoned professionals; as well as reaching out through email, social media, and partner channels. The survey captured questions on work experience, salary parameters and working conditions.

The Jobberman’s ‘Best 100 Companies To Work For’ list provides a comprehensive rating of employee satisfaction and commitment to different employers in Nigeria.

It is a good reminder to organisations that their growth and innovation depends on building an engaged, collaborative and committed workforce.

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Debola Williams, Chude Jideonwu, 3 Other Nigerians Make 2017 List Of Forbes 30 Young African Entrepreneurs

Every year since 2013, Mfonobong Nsehe has put together a list of 30 remarkable young entrepreneurs under the age of 35, who are making the most spectacular impact on business in Africa. Last year, we shared with you 5 Nigerians that made it to the Forbes 30 most promising African entrepreneurs list; this year, 5 Nigerians also made the list.

Aigbe Omoregie

Founder, Intercontinental Paints

Aigbe Omoregie, 34, is the founder of Intecontinental Paints, a fast growing paint manufacturing company based in Lagos. He founded the company in 2006 with an initial capital base of ?18,000 and has employed over 50 people since its inception.

He is also the MD of Dutch Construction Limited, convener and founder of the Young CEO Initiative and publisher of the Young CEO magazine.

 Nichole Onome Yembra

Managing Partner, GreenHouse Capital

Nicole Onome Yembra, 29, is the Chief Financial, Risk and Investment Officer for Venture Garden Group (VGC) and a Managing Partner at GreenHouse Capital; VGC’s investment arm.

Venture Garden Group is a holding company of financial technology entities dedicated to innovative and data-driven solutions. GreenHouse Capital, which launched formally in April 2016, began investments in startups since 2014 under the VGG umbrella. The company has so far invested in AppZone, TutorNG, Flutterwave and a couple of other startups.

Onyekachi Ekezie

Founder, Kaptain Foods

Onyekachi Ekezie, 33, is the founder of Kaptain Foods, a Nigerian food processing company based in Lagos. The company produces a range of pre-cooked and packaged ready to eat tomato stews using locally grown fresh produce and spices.

Chude Jideonwo & Adebola Williams

Founders, RED Media Africa

Chude Jideonwo (32) and Adebola Williams (31) are co-founders and Partners of RED — a leading full-service media-content, communication, and development company behind well-known brands like YNaija, Rubbin’ Minds and The Future Awards. The duo built the RED media empire before they turned 30.

You can check the full list of 30 African entrepreneurs on Forbes.

TechPoint

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Eight (8) Facts About Osun’s Agricultural Sector

With a vision “to make Osun the food basket of the South West”, Governor of the State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has so far achieved 8 major things in the vision he laid out six years ago when he took mantle of power on November 27, 2010.

A holistic agricultural policy taken by the government has placed the state on the green map of the South West in a space of 6 years; making it one of the major suppliers of agricultural produce to markets in Lagos and other South Western states. The governor, his deputy and other members of his team were recently seen in one of the major rice farms collaborating with the state government to produce Ofada Osun Rice.

Also, recall that Ogbeni Aregbesola recently led an official government delegation to Germany in search of new insights on modern agriculture in order to further realise the dream of making Osun the food basket of the South West. Germany has in the past four years trained over 40 young people from Osun in modern agriculture techniques such as ‘40days Goat Fattening’ etc.

We present to you, eight (8) facts on the agricultural sector in Osun:

1.      Over 50,000 tonnes of cocoa exported annually.

2.      Over 16,000 jobs created for the indigenes of the State of Osun.

3.      Over 700km of rural roads built to reduce cost of transportation for farmers and increase access to markets.

4.      30 bridges constructed, with access given to areas cut-off from civilization.

5.      Over 2.8 billion naira given to farmers as loans.

6.      Over 11,000 farmers have been supported with direct cash transfers.

7.      5,000 farmers’ co-operatives registered.

8.      Over 71,000 farmers have benefitted from the Governments interventions.

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6 Ways Buhari’s Rail Project Will Benefit Nigeria And You

By Wale Champion

The Federal government of Nigeria, in partnership with the Chinese government have swung into action to restore rail transportation across several states in Nigeria. The most critical, according to the Buhari-led government is the Lagos-Kano link as well as Lagos-Calabar, among others.

Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, at the ground breaking event in Lagos, recently, listed six ways the project being handled by a Chinese construction company will benefit the people of Nigeria and the nation as a whole.

  • Boost Economic Activities: The project will improve links between Lagos which is the national economic nerve centre and major ports to other state capitals and towns across the country.  This in return will boost economic activities in the country and improve the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
  • Fast track Economic Recovery: The project which underscores a critical infrastructural development in Nigeria is expected to enhance quick economic recovery and growth for the most populous black nation in Africa.
  • Job Creation: The FG says it is confident that the national rail project will create up to half a million jobs and facilitate the movement of over 3.2 million tonnes of cargo per annum.
  • Improves Safety of lives and Properties: The ongoing massive investment in rail infrastructure across Nigeria will reduce the burden on national highways, thus reducing the deterioration of the road network and increasing the lifespan of the nation’s roads. Besides, it will save precious lives and goods being wasted daily on our roads as a result of bad roads.
  • Reduce Cost of Doing Business: An efficient rail system will help reduce freight cost; the railway network will support efforts to diversify the economy and enhance Nigeria’s export potential.
  • Boost to Economic Activities along railway lines: Just as several of Nigerian cities are being known as railway towns in the past, a boost to economic activities along the railway lines are expected. This is also expected to eventually cut across the entire country with its multiplier effects on both micro and macro economies.
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9 Jobs You Can Do While Waiting For Your NYSC Posting

The one thing every serious undergraduate looks forward to is the end of their stay in school when they are finally rewarded with a certificate (or a statement of result in schools that are resistant to development). However, they will soon realise that as a typical university graduate in Nigeria, the pursuit of certificates is far from over. The next one in line is the passport to enter the corporate labour market in Nigeria;  the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate.

If you are lucky you will probably spend only a few months waiting for your NYSC posting. However a large pool of graduates spend a significant amount of time waiting to be posted. Typically, this time is spent doing nothing particularly useful which is sad because time lost can never be regained.

As a recent graduate, you can work and earn real money while at it during this period of waiting. We have compiled a list of some jobs you can engage in while you await your NYSC posting. You can also fall back on some of these jobs if you happen to find yourself back to the waiting line even after your service year

Freelance Writing

If you have a good command of English and you don’t suck at putting your thoughts on paper, you should consider becoming an online freelance writer. Even without any real writing experience, there are many jobs available for amateur writers online and you can make reasonable income from your home while on them too.

However these jobs won’t come knocking on your door, for a chance to nail a freelance writing gig, you should;

  • Research about online writing or talk to people that are already involved in the business. Looking up job offers on freelancing sites will help
  • Determine the kind of content you are interested in working on, you may opt for rewriting articles or writing new content about a particular subject such as science or fashion.
  • Advertise your business; you can start by advertising on Nairaland. You should also register on free platforms like Asuqu or Fiverr that facilitate online buying and selling of services
  • Be good at what you do

Web development/ web designing

Regardless of your course of study as an undergraduate, you can venture into web design or development if you haven’t already.

You can utilise the free time before your NYSC posting  to take free courses in coding. W3schoolsCodecademy and freeCodeCamp are great online resources to help you get acquainted with codes.  If you have at least 3 months of waiting to do, then you should consider joining the Switch Fellowship

Do your research, start from the basics and you can go on to choose a programming language to start with. With a little bit of coding skill, you may find a team of developers that will be willing to allow you, work, learn and earn at the same time. Even if you don’t, coding is an interesting way to keep yourself engaged and it is one skill you can always fall back on in the future. If you have sufficient skills in coding, you should register on platforms like Fiverr or Asuqu to source for jobs.

Online tutoring

You have probably never considered lecturing online. Well if you are going to be stuck in the house for months waiting for your NYSC posting and you are a guru in any academic area, you should probably give this a thought.

There are people online who are ready to share your knowledge for a price and online platforms like TotalPrep are on ground to connect you to them. You can also source for jobs on free freelance websites. So you can start a science class or an algebra class or even move away from academics and do something more creative like giving lessons on a skill.

You can also register on ProTeach or PrepClass if you prefer to give physical lessons instead. Don’t forget to advertise your business; talk to family, friends and use social media too.

Translation

If you are bilingual or fluent in more than one foreign language then working as an online translator may be the best way to pass time and earn cash too as you wait for your NYSC posting. With increasing number of businesses trying to reach more customers around the world, translation services are increasingly being sought after too

Getting started is easy especially with freelancing sites like Upwork and Fiverr at your disposal. Alternatively, you can sign up with a website that employs online translators like Gengo.

Take advantage of other platforms too; advertise your new business on social media, Nairaland etc. You never know where your potential customers are hiding.

Digital marketing

As a digital marketer you can market services on the internet from the comfort of your home and get paid , this makes it another interesting job you can do while you are chilling for the clarion call.

If you have no experience in digital marketing, Google’s free digital skill training is a good place to start. You can become a good digital marketer if you are willing to spend time learning the required skills and you have the resources to help you. Upwork, Fiverr and Asuqu are platforms where you can source for jobs. There are different areas of digital marketing;

Search engine optimisation (SEO)  is the process of optimising a client’s website to rank as highly as possible in Google and other search engines for keywords that are related to the content on the website. Discover useful tips on how to get started with SEO.

Social media marketing involves advertising and promoting brands on social media platforms usually with a clear target. You can choose a particular social media platform to focus on. For example, you can decide to promote a YouTube video or promote a brand on Instagram. Catch a grasp of what social media marketing entails

Transcription

Have you considered making money from typing out audio files? If you have good typing skills and you are stuck at home waiting for the NYSC posting, you should give this a thought. Starting a transcription business is not so hard and you can make good money from it too.

Before you start, do your research, practice and decide if you want to provide general transcription services or focus on a particular area e.g medical or legal. Go on to advertise your business and source for jobs, Upwork and social media are good places to source for freelance transcription jobs

Graphic design

 

Graphic design is a skill that can be learnt by anyone and contrary to what a lot of people think, you don’t need to be good at drawing to be a good designer.  You can make money from designing logos, flyers, book covers, business cards e.t.c.  If you have sufficient skills in graphics design, head on to freelancing platforms to source for jobs, you should also market your skills offline too.

If you know nothing about it, you don’t need any formal education to be a good graphic designer. You can learn on your own and this is a good way to invest the time you will spend waiting for your NYSC posting. You can start by taking free online graphic design courses and reading relevant books. Check out Shaw Academy, Alison and other online resources for free courses

 Singer and songwriter

If you have a good voice and can gain access to a music studio, then you may have customers waiting. Online platforms like Fiverr and Asuqu can connect you to people in need of your vocal powers.

You don’t have to do the singing if you can’t, you can simply stick to songwriting instead if you can handle it. You can also specialise in providing DJ drops, or commercial jingles. Just head on to freelancing sites like Fiverr to source for jobs.

Sales consultant for an online store

If you have good negotiation and persuasion skills, then this one is for you. Large online stores like Jumia and Konga sell through sales consultants.

Jumia runs a sales consultant scheme that pays consultants commissions when they sell items supplied by the store. There are no special qualifications for this role and all you will need to get started is a phone or laptop connected to the internet.

Time and tide wait for no man!

You may not be able to control the arrival of your NYSC call-up letter, but it is up to you to decide what goes down while you wait. Don’t lose precious time waiting idly for your NYSC posting. Take charge and get productive!

Source: TechPoint

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10 Amazing Facts About School Feeding Programme In Osun …Number 10 Will Shock You

At the inception of the present government in the state of Osun in November 2010, it undertook a comprehensive review of its school feeding programme inherited from the previous administration and came up with an overhauled and rebranded programme that was officially launched on 30th April, 2012.

The Osun Elementary School Feeding and Health Programme now known as O-MEALS is the template upon which the President Muhammudu Buhari’s Federal Government has initiated its own national school feeding programme.

However, these ten (10) facts about the state of Osun’s school feeding programme will completely amaze you.

1.      The O’Meals programme currently feeds 254,000 school children in the state of Osun, the longest running in the country.

2.      O’Meals currently employs 3,007 caterers, and indirectly employs 7,057 people.

3.      12.7million naira is spent daily to feed all school children for 200 school days in a year. 12billion naira has been spent so far since 2012.

4.      900 cocoyam farmers, 700 small poultry farmers, 310 catfish farmers, 63 cow markets currently benefit from the O’Meals initiative.

5.      School enrollment increased from 155,318 pupils at inception to 252,739, representing a 62% increment in enrollment.

6.      8,400 crates of eggs are consumed weekly, 336,000 crates are consumed annually and 1,344,000 crates of eggs have been consumed in four years.

7.      10 metric tonnes of fish is consumed weekly; 400 tonnes of fish is consumed annually, while 1,600 metric tonnes of fish have been consumed by pupils in 4 years.

8.      35 heads of cows are slaughtered for consumption per week, 1,400 heads of cows are slaughtered for consumption annually, while 5,600 heads of cows have been slaughtered for consumption in 4 years.

9.      15,000 birds are consumed per week, and 600,000 birds are consumed annually by the pupils. 2,400,000 birds have been consumed in 4 years.

10. 0’Meals is the longest running Government scheme of its kind in Nigeria, So far ,202,234,400 hot meals have been served in the last four years.

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The Dollar, Recession, Obasanjo, Jonathan, And Buhari……….The Unknown Truth Behind The Economy.

By Roman Oseghale
________Why we must look at data before reaching a logical conclusion!!!…….

Data allow your political judgements to be based on facts, to the extent that numbers describe realities. ——-Hans Rosling

There are 3 preliminary fundamental factors investors look at before investing in an economy, if these factors are good then they move to the next phase of country assessments before investing their funds… these factors are:

  1. Stability (Political, Regional, and State)
  2. Return on Investments (ROI)
  3. The country’s balance sheet

If these factors are good, investors will flood your economy, but if these factors are not in good order, the investors will either not come in or those already in the country will start divesting their investments…..

In the book “The End of Poverty” by Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs the renowned Harvard Trained Professor of Economics and Director of The Earth Institute, and Professor at Columbia University describes and lays out the 8 factors that can push a country into what is called “Poverty Trap”……….a situation where it is almost impossible to get the citizens of the country out of poverty. Why countries fail to achieve economic growth and how something as complex as a society’s economic system has too many parts and why you cannot focus on one part alone, and how problems can occur from one part and spread to different parts of the economic system bringing the economy to a halt.

He goes on to explain that just like Clinical Medicine where a simple convulsion can lead to brain problem, or heart problems which can spread to the liver, kidneys, and the rest of the organs of the body and may eventually kill the patient……..in Clinical Medicine, doctors sit a patient down to examine the cause of an illness by taking comprehensive qualitative data like history of the illness in the family, what kind of diet the patient eats, past injuries, etc…….these data are collated and transformed into a quantitative data to help trace the PAST source of the illness, how it affects the PRESENT and should be treated, and how it can be averted in the FUTURE to help the patient live a normal life.

Like Clinical Medicine, Professor Sachs describes Clinical Economics as how to diagnose and trace the cause of every economic problem by looking at all the components and how these components have interacted with one another from the past and how they have brought the economy to its present state. To understand Nigeria’s present economic challenges we will look at the major contributing factors from year 1999 to 2016.

Obasanjo, External Earnings, Foreign Reserve, Excess Crude oil Account, and Foreign Direct Investments……..

Between 1999 and 2008, Foreign Reserve increased by USD$47.75 billion (845%) and Foreign Direct Investments net yearly inflow increased by a marginal of USD$7.2 billion (716%).

When President Obasanjo took over office in May 1999, Foreign Reserve was about USD$4 billion, FDI into Nigeria that year was USD$1 billion, and Crude oil price as at May 1999 was USD$24.5. On average, Obasanjo sold crude oil in 1999 for USD$32, his first 4 years in office Obasanjo sold crude oil at an average of USD$46, and his second term he sold crude at an average of USD$70.6, and overall 8 years at an average of USD$58…….Obasanjo ensured political, regional, and state security.

Obasanjo also had the advantage of privatising most government agencies and companies, BPE was said to have privatised over 400 companies and agencies, and the administration racked in billions of dollars from both non-refundable bidding prices and outright purchase. Obasanjo also had the opportunity of launching the innovation of that time “GSM”…..this also brought in billions for the government…..Obasanjo knowing the essence and strategic importance of an increased foreign reserve decided to save most of the funds from both crude sales and the privatisation exercise. Between the Foreign reserve and Excess Crude Account (ECA) Nigeria had USD$102 billion.

Having a large foreign currency reserve is an important indicator of a country’s ability to repay foreign debt, for currency defence, and also used for credit ratings which ultimately attracts Foreign Investors into the country…….and as Nigeria foreign reserve grew with Obasanjo paying off both the London and Paris Club debts, the increasing foreign reserve was able to defend the local currency (Naira) and the naira started to appreciate, when Prof. Soludo became governor of Central Bank in 2004, Naira was N147 to a dollar and by the time he was leaving in 2009, the Naira had appreciated to N117 to a dollar.

What this means is that if an investor brought in USD$500 million in 2004, by 2009 the USD$500 million will be worth USD$628.3 million (500m x 147/117)……..a whopping USD$128.3 million in 5 years just by investing in the economy, an average of USD$25.66 million per year in profits through the currency (Naira) appreciating……..this is not taking into account profits generated through operations in the country.

foreign-direct-investment-net-inflow

“Nigeria reached a deal last October with the Paris Club, which includes the United States, Germany, France and other wealthy nations, that allowed it to pay off about $30 billion in accumulated debt for about $12 billion, an overall discount of about 60 percent”……..The New York Times April 22, 2006.

In 2006, seeing Nigeria’s economic progress Standard and Poor’s, Fitch, and Moody’s started credit ratings on Nigeria, in general, a credit rating is used by sovereign wealth funds, pension funds and other investors to gauge the credit worthiness of a country thus having a big impact on the country’s borrowing costs and investments through FDI’s, Nigeria’s S&P credit rating was BB- (stable outlook), by August 2009 S&P moved Nigeria up to B+ (Stable outlook)……..Why?……..With a reduced external debt, increased foreign reserve and external earning of 43% of a GDP of USD$169.5 billion, Nigeria’s balance sheet was looking good, and investors flooded Nigeria. What this means is that we had huge savings (assets), our income was good (revenue), and most of our debt (liabilities) paid off.

nigerias-debt-profile

“The big three of the credit rating industry, S&P, Moody’s, and Fitch holds 94% of the credit rating market share. S&P includes the factors of the political score, economic score, external score, fiscal score, and monetary score. These broad factors can be classified into two categories and they are political and economic profile, flexibility and performance profile. In terms of Moody’s evaluation process, it includes four factors. They are an economic strength, institutional strength, fiscal strength, and susceptibility to the event of risk. The Fitch’s process for evaluation is quite similar to that of other two”…….Alpha Rating.

“Earlier this year, two credit-rating agencies rated Nigeria’s credit as BB-, which is below investment grade but puts it on a par with developing nations like Turkey, Ukraine and Brazil”…The New York Times April 22,  2006.

At the end of 1999, Nigeria’s Foreign Reserve was USD$5.65 billion and Foreign Direct Investment Net Inflow was USD$1 billion, by year 2004 and Obasanjo’s diversification of the economy Foreign Reserve increased to USD$17.3 billion and Foreign Direct Investment inflow was USD$1.87 billion. By 2005, as Foreign reserve increased to USD$28.6 billion, foreign direct investments inflow was USD$4.98 billion, by 2007 foreign reserved reached USD$52 billion and Foreign direct investments inflow reached USD$6.035 billion……and by 2008 with a foreign reserve of USD$54 billion, Foreign Direct Investment reached USD$8.2 billion. Between 1999 and 2008, Foreign Reserve increased by USD$47.75 billion (845%) and Foreign Direct Investments net yearly inflow increased by a marginal of USD$7.2 billion (716%).

Explanation in Layman’s Term: Suppose you want to invest in a company, you look at the balance sheet…..the assets which is equity plus the liability…….if total assets exceeds total liability (debt) then you know the business is solvent, it can pay its debts, if total assets is increasing and liability decreasing, then you know it’s a good company, but if total liability (debt) is increasing and assets reducing then it is not a good company to invest in.

Or if you want to loan money from the bank…..what the banks does is calculate your net worth, your assets plus your liabilities……this will give the bank a total of what you are worth, but it does not stop there….the bank also looks at your income to see if you are able to service your loan….once your assets exceeds your liability with a good margin and you have a good income to service your debt the bank approves the loan…..this is how the credit score of an individual is calculated.

This was exactly what Obasanjo did with the economy……..he increased Nigeria’s assets (Foreign Reserve), reduced our debt (London and Paris Club debt), and our external earnings (Income) increased as a percentage of our GDP……..this increased our credit ratings and investors flooded the country. This basically showed the investors that the economy was properly managed and it boosted their confidence.

Jonathan Administration!..…Data Shows the FDI had been shrinking since beginning of 2012, and the Economy was in Steady Decline with companies moving their funds out.

total-reserve-and-total-fdi

During the late President Musa Yar’Adua’s tenure in office before his death…..in fact Obasanjo left USD$52 billion in the Foreign Reserve, it was Yar’Adua who increased it to the all-time high of USD$62 billion, what Yar’Adua did was to follow the economic policies of Obasanjo….which boosted investors’ confidence.

When Jonathan assumed office he started out by doing the direct opposite of what Obasanjo had done, the direct opposite of economics……..he was decreasing the Assets (Foreign Reserve), increasing debt (Liabilities) and at the same time External Revenue (Revenue Income) was decreasing. This greatly affected the economy…..most people failed to look at data and hence don’t know this fact……those who support and commend his administration support out of ignorance…..

From 2009, the Jonathan Administration should have seen the warning sign, in fact the warning signs were there but greed they say blinds everyman from reality, as the US produced more oil so did they cut down on import and Nigeria being a monolithic economy that depends on about 90% of its external earning from crude started to take the hit…

The blame has consistently been heaped on President Buhari and his body language, with many claiming that the President brought the economy of the country to a standstill by causing investors to leave the country……but a critical look at the data says otherwise…..Like Investments banking which follows the flow of liquid cash, Foreign Direct Investments follows regional or a country’s stability, Return on Investments, and a country’s good balance sheet.

Amidst the growing believe that the economy was healthy, the economy had been in a steady decline since 2011, Foreign Direct Investment had been reducing, and most of the companies must have been following the country’s balance sheet and security situations, and in-house economists and consultants warning of the dangers ahead.

By 2010 when Jonathan became President, our External earnings as a percentage of GDP had started falling as compared to the size of the GDP…….25% of the GDP….it meant that our External Earning was not growing but our GDP was increasing. Nigeria at this point still enjoyed the S&P rating which put the credit rating of the country at B+ (Positive outlook) till December, 2011.

While crude was sold at an average price of USD$110 per barrel, the depletion of the foreign reserve had not started taking its toll on the country’s balance sheet at this point…..and ironically this was the same time HRH Lamido Sanusi Lamido, then governor of Central Bank started raising the alarm over the long term implications of depleting the foreign reserve. Still enjoying the ratings, FDI reached all time high of USD$8.841 billion in 2011….by this time regional and state security started breaking down.

All that was to change at the beginning of 2012, the depletion of the foreign reserve started taking its toll on the balance sheet of the country coupled with the fact that debt was increasing, by the end of Jonathan’s tenure his administration had added USD$21.8 billion, as debt increased, foreign reserve decreasing, and external earning decreasing, investors started becoming weary of investing in the country as confidence declined in the market.

By 2012, S&P had downgraded Nigeria’s credit ratings to BB- (Negative), this grading according to the Credit ratings is below investment grade, and as soon as they did this investors’ confidence eroded from the market, this rating remained till March 2014 when Nigeria was now placed on BB- (Negative watch outlook) what this means is that they had to monitor the economy……by this period external earnings had reduced to 18% of new GDP…….Nigeria’s credit rating remained in BB- (Negative) till February 2015, it wasn’t until March 2015 before it moved to B+ (Stable outlook) just days to the elections…….while the dollars that should have been saved found their ways into the economy expanding it, making it look as if it was good, the opposite was happening to the balance sheet of the country, people spent like there was no tomorrow, but refused to understand the long term economic consequences.

Ironically……this was the same time Nigerian’s were celebrating Jonathan, but the implications was to follow……….in 2012 as Nigeria was getting ready to rebase its economy showcasing that it was now the biggest economy in Africa……investors were staying away, by 2012 FDI had reduced from a yearly inflow of USD$8.841 billion in 2011 down to USD$7 billion in 2012……by 2013 FDI net inflow had further reduced to USD$5.6 billion, by 2014 with a foreign reserve of USD$37.5 billion…..FDI net inflow further reduced to USD$4.6 billion, and by 2015 with a foreign reserve of USD$31.3 billion, FDI net inflow had reduced to USD$3.1 billion. All time low since 2004.

It was simple!!!!!!!…….investors had seen it coming……Foreign Reserve was being depleted, debt was increasing, external earnings was decreasing……the US which is Nigeria’s biggest oil customer was now producing oil and buying less quantities from Nigeria, and above all, Nigeria as a monolithic economy where oil accounts for about 90% of its external earning…….if crude price should fall they will lose the value of their investments. From 2009 to 2015, Nigeria’s foreign reserve had reduced by about USD$31 billion (50%), ECA reduced by about 95% and Foreign Direct Investments net inflows reduced by a marginal of USD$5.712 billion (65%)……companies had seen it coming and have been moving their funds since 2013……

On February 23, 2015, before the presidential elections the Vanguard Newspapers reported “Capital flight: Economy hard hit by USD$22.1 billion outflow in 5 weeks”….in a survey made by CBN, the apex bank confirmed that USD$22.1 billion went out of the economy in 5 weeks with an average of USD$4.5 billion per week. USD$3.083 billion went out the week ending 31st July, 2014, USD$4.2 billion the week ending 30th, August, USD$4.1 billion week ending 30th of September, 2014, USD$5.29 billion week ending 31st October, 2014, and USD$5.35 billion week ending November 30th, 2014.

“A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep”……Saul Bellow

Nigerians must not invest a great deal of intelligence in ignorance because of the dislike they have for the president who have stood his ground that it is no longer business as usual…..it is tough, but Nigerians must understand that the economy cannot collapse in one month….it is a series of systematic failure over a period of time. Those who saw the problems in its anticipatory stage, the reactive stage and did nothing before it got to the crisis state are those that did the damage.

For those blaming the presidents body language and policies…..data don’t lie, foreign companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually studying market, industry and world business trends before investing, those who have already invested perform either quarterly, bi-annual, or annual review of whatever country they are operating considering these factors, and if they perceive any danger, they divest their funds and move the funds out while they may still remain in the economy for skeletal operations.

Analysing Nigeria’s Balance Sheet and its Credit Ratings……..2006 to 2015

As President, Obasanjo managed the economy with a good balance sheet for the country…..this was what attracted FDI’s into Nigeria. Between 2008 and 2009…..we had USD$102 billion between the Foreign Reserve and the Excess Crude Oil Account (ECA), this represented our assets and was also our Equity. Our liabilities (debt) had being reduced and our External Earnings (Revenue Income) as at 2006 was 43% of our GDP. What this means is that our DEBT TO EQUITY RATIO was low, our Equity superseded our debt, and this was why Nigeria was moved from BB- to B+ in 2009, this was a good balance sheet for investors.

By 2010 the depletion of the external reserve started, and with sales of Crude oil averaging USD$110 per barrel a year, and nothing added to the External reserve, by 2012 Jonathan’s government had started borrowing which further compounded our problems and the country’s balance sheet……by the time Jonathan was leaving External Reserve (Assets) had been reduced to USD$31 billion, Excess Crude Oil Account (Assets) empty, he had increased Nigeria’s debt (Liability) as confirmed by Okonjo-Iweala by USD$21.8 billion to reach USD$USD$63.7 billion, External Earnings as Percentage of GDP (Revenue Income) was 18% of GDP……..which meant that our liquid assets had been reduced from USD$102 billion to USD$31 billion, and our liabilities increased from USD$40 billion to USD$63.7 billion.

This was the disaster!…what this means is that he reversed everything……our DEBT TO EQUITY RATIO as a nation now became higher,……this was the reason that from 2012 when the debt started increasing, our credit ratings started dropping, FDI’s started reducing into Nigeria and were taking out their funds….though Nigeria’s external debt as at 2015 stood at about USD$10 billion, up from less than USD$4 billion Obasanjo had left it….the rest being internal debt…..the problem is that Nigeria does not have a structured system where government can raise taxes to pay these debts, hence the burden on the payment still much rests with government revenue from oil.

IS DEBT BAD????……..OBVIOUSLY NOT!……..But this is the difference, China has a Debt of USD$27 trillion (Liability) though over 90% in internal debt and an External reserve (Liquid Assets) of about USD$3 trillion, China has a DEBT TO EQUITY RATIO of 9 to 1, if we do not value its fixed assets……China’s borrowings (Liabilities) are being converted into fixed assets…..so when you eventually value the TOTAL ASSETS of China it might be greater than its Total Liabilities or a little below it. That is why China’s credit ratings has revolved around A-, A+, A2, A1, Aa3, AA-…..all graded by S&P, Fitch, and Moody’s…..you can see why investors are flooding to China.

SO how did GEJ and Okonjo-Iweala get away with it?…….it was simple!……..dollars flooded the market through both spending and corruption……which falsely created a healthy economy but with a bad balance sheet.

  1. All the Excess crude oil sales were diverted into private pockets that eventually ended up in the economy which would have given Nigeria between USD$30 billion to USD$40 billion.
  2. Depletion of the foreign reserve ended up in private pockets and flooded the economy…USD$31 billion.
  3. The emptying of the Excess cruse account…..USD$40 billion
  4. The borrowing of dollars was used for re-current expenditures (salaries and travels) and they also ended up in people’s pockets and flooded the economy……..USD$21.8 billion.

In essence the supply of the dollar was so much that it created stability for the demand in the economy even when the companies were mopping funds and leaving.

President Buhari and his many challenges!…………

The dangerous assumption is that if something makes sense (at least to the people proposing it) then everybody will fall in line and change their ways of doing things to conform with the new demands. Unfortunately, this seldom happens as easily as anticipated. People do not fall into line, sometimes because they just do not have the understanding and the skills required, and sometimes because they perceive, accurately or not, that the changes are not in their best interests….. From the book “Strategic Analysis and Actions”

What Buhari simply did was to open the books and show Nigerians the true reality of things…..the Jonathan administration only gave the illusion that all was well while things were going bad…..the credit ratings, limited inflow of FDI’s and massive withdrawals of dollars by companies are there to confirm this.

What Buhari is simply doing which many do not understand is the fact that he is restoring the three preliminary factors that encourage Foreign Direct Investments, namely?

  1. Stability (State and Regional).
  2. Increasing the Foreign Reserve to defend the Naira which will increase ROI for investors.
  3. And as Foreign Reserve is increased, it increases the assets base of the country and puts the country’s balance sheet back in green….

Without these factors in good conditions no foreign investors will want to come into the economy, those who feel the president don’t know what he is doing don’t really know how things work…..these are what he is doing and he is taking them one by one because they demand huge funding.

While oil companies were still operating in Nigeria and trying to break even with the new oil prices…..the Niger-Delta militants reduced the country’s capacity from 2.2m bpd to 1.4m bpd…..reducing Nigeria’s capacity by 800m bpd (36%)…..the implications of this is as oil prices fell, companies need more output to break even….so a company that is allocated 300,000 but can only pump 180,000 because of the reduced output might not be able to breakeven…..such company will not wait, they will move their funds to where they are able to make profits….as corruption fights back the economy suffers….the truth is we are our own worst enemies….money does not remain idle, it is always looking for where there are opportunities.

Buhari has been able to restore if not in total……about 95% order back to Borno State and the North East where Boko Haram held sway for years under Jonathan…..regional and state security is one of the main drivers of FDI’s. Buhari is massively investing in Infrastructure…..he has paid for most of the railway lines and construction is fully going on…and most of the funding to be paid for the projects under his administration to take off he has paid…..all with selling crude oil at less than $55 per barrel, output of 1.4 m bpd and he is still increasing the foreign reserve. The recently oversubscribed Euro bond show that investors’ confidence is returning to the market but all these will not happen overnight.

The United States Economy, Fracking, and Crude Imports!……

By end of 2016, the US trade deficit had reached USD$762.5 billion, Budget deficit had reached USD$590 billion and total debt was at USD$19.9 trillion. Without closing both trade and budget deficits, debt will continue to increase.

President Barack Obama inherited a USD$10.4 trillion debt, after he  took office and had to fix the economy, the United States had to borrow massively and as at the end of 2016, the US debt stood at about USD$19.9 trillion.

Apart from borrowing to finance the wars and fixing the economy, the United States have been recording both trade and budget deficits for years. By end of 2016, the US trade deficit had reached USD$762.5 billion, Budget deficit had reached USD$590 billion, Without closing both trade and budget deficits, debt will continue to increase No sitting government likes to raise taxes…why?…..they become unpopular, so the only option is to keep borrowing and each time the government does that the debt increase.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, in the year 2000, fracking accounted for less than 2% of the United States oil production, by 2016 Fracking accounted for more than 50% of the United States oil output.

us-oil-production-and-imports

Prior to 2008, US multinationals had been investing in Hydraulic Fracturing Technology but yielding very little dividends and results, but all that was to change when technology started getting better paving the way to extract crude from huge shale deposits. According to the Energy Information Administration, in the year 2000, fracking accounted for less than 2% of the United States Internal oil consumption, by 2015 Fracking accounted for more than 50% of the United States oil output.

From just 23,000 fracking wells in year 2000 producing 102,000 barrels of oil per day, the US now has 300,000 fracking wells pumping out 4.3 million barrels per day……a whopping 3500% increase in output over 16 years……

By 2009 when the Obama administration took over the Whitehouse, government had to embark on a massive economic bailout to avoid a collapse of the economy, by this time fracking technology had started yielding positive results and the administration seeing the positive impact of reducing trade deficit through local oil production supported the industry with policies in 2013. By 2015, the US Senate also threw its weight behind the move by approving a measure to lift the 40-year ban on crude oil exports as part of a USD$1.1 trillion spending bill approved that will fund the US government until 2016.

From January 2009, oil output from Fracking continued to increase with a decline in net import, by September 2013, both Crude oil Net Imports and Production reached an equilibrium of 7.79 million barrel per day, and by May 2015, the United States Crude production had reached 9.69 million barrel per day and import reducing to 6.62 million barrel per day.

Recommendations………

We cannot continue to depend on oil…..the US output is now more than its import and for Nigeria to survive its economic challenges it must diversify its economy. Nigeria is a country to 180 million people with about 53% falling within the working age group, the country is a powerhouse. The country needs constant power to drive industrialization, we must make this the focus of this administration, for if the government does not put the population to use through productivity chaos could set in.

Oil Multinationals in the US are now pumping millions into research and development to better the processes and procedures of fracking to bring down the prices, the challenges ahead now is if crude from fracking is delivered at $50 to the International market tomorrow, we would be forced to reduce price to below $50…..what happens when Fracking delivers crude at $30 per barrel?….we must move away from crude if the economy has to survive.

Nigeria is a country of 180 million people with over 53%, over 90 million within the working age group, diversifying into massive manufacturing is the best way forward for Nigeria, and the country can supply the whole of Africa using its strategic location.

Government must have a strategic data management centre to that translate data to economic indices for government use to either support existing policies or change policies when data shows a different thing happening in the market.

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Corruption: The Story Of Fathers, Sons On Trial

Sule Lamido and sons  

A former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, was the first high profile politician to be arrested and arraigned with his sons over corruption allegations. The EFCC arrested two of his sons over a N10 billion fraud. Aminu and Mustapha Lamido were arrested and interrogated at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja by a team of detectives. The arrest of the governor’s sons was reportedly in continuation of the investigation that commenced in December 2012 when Aminu Sule Lamido was arrested at the Malam Aminu Kano Airport en route Cairo, Egypt for failure to declare the $50,000 he had on him. Although Aminu has since been prosecuted and convicted by a Federal High Court in Kano, investigation on how he came by the money led to other investigations to uncover an alleged money laundering from the Jigawa State government accounts channeled into the accounts of companies run by the former governor and his two sons.

Over N10billion is said to have been transferred from the Jigawa State government accounts into the accounts in which Sule Lamido and his two sons have interest from 2007 till date.    

The anti-graft agency is said to have traced these transfers to 10 companies where Lamido and sons are directors and signatories to the account.

The former governor and his sons were on September 22, re-arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja on amended charges bordering on corruption and money laundering.

They had earlier been arraigned before Justice Evelyn Anyadike of the Federal High Court in Kano on July 7. All the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Lamido is a veteran politician under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He has been a disciple of the late Malam Aminu Kano political school of thought. He was the minister of foreign affairs during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, having served as a member of the House of Representatives in the Second Republic. He was the governor of Jigawa State from 2007 to 2015. He is a leading chieftain of the opposition PDP.

Musiliu Obanikoro and sons  

Musiliu Obanikoro, a former minister of state for defence, is a Lagos-based politician who has been a leading face of the PDP for many years. He was alleged to have embezzled money from about N4.7 billion arms fund meant for procurement of weapons for the Nigerian military to combat insurgency in Nigeria.

The EFCC reportedly traced funds allegedly linked to the arms fund to the bank account of Sylvan McNamara Limited, a company in which the former minister’s two sons, Ibrahim Babajide and Gbolahan Olatunde Obanikoro had stakes.

The former minister reportedly confessed to the EFCC that he took N800 million out of the funds he collected, using his sons’ Sylvan McNamara Company.

Obanikoro was a strong stalwart in the government of President Goodluck Jonathan. He was the PDP’s governorship candidate in Lagos State.

Before his arrest and subsequent release on bail, Obanikoro went on self-imposed exile, before voluntarily surrendering to the EFCC.

Murtala Nyaka and son  

A former governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako and his son, Abdulraziz, a senator representing Adamawa Central, were arraigned for an alleged N29 billion money laundering.

Nyako was elected the governor of Adamawa State in 2007, but his election was nullified. He contested and won again. Just before the end of his second tenure in 2015, Nyako was impeached by the State Assembly.

The Adamawa politician was a naval admiral, military governor and service chief before he retired and ventured into farming. He was among the five PDP governors that defected to the then newly-formed All Progressives Congress (APC). He was very critical of President Jonathan’s handling of the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East.

Senator Abdulaziz was a very powerful figure in Nyako’s administration. The Adamawa Emirate turbaned him Sarkin Matasa. The traditional title was, however, withdrawn by the Lamido Adamawa when the EFCC arraigned him for money laundering.

The charges against Nyako and son include criminal conspiracy, abuse of office, opening of multiple bank accounts and stealing to the tune of N29 billion.

The EFCC said the accused had opened over 30 different accounts in Zenith Bank Plc with the money between 2011 and 2013.

The accused persons pleaded not guilty to a 37-count of corruption and money laundering.

Bala Mohammed and son

A former minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Bala Mohammed, was also charged for corruption, alongside his son, Shamsudeen.

Mohammed, a retired civil servant, came to national limelight when he served as special adviser to his estranged political associate, Malam Isa Yuguda, who was aviation minister during former President Obasanjo’s administration.

He was elected senator on the platform of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in 2007. He was appointed minister by President Jonathan after the death of President Umaru Yar’adua. He was one of the heavyweight PDP politicians during the buildup to the 2015 elections.

The anti-graft agency had brought a five-count charge against him before the High Court of the FCT sitting in Gudu, but was later withdrawn. The former minister was arrested and detained last year when he went to honour an invitation by the commission.

His son, Shamsudeen, was arraigned before a Federal High Court, Abuja, over an alleged N1.1 billion fraud. He was arraigned with four other companies on a 15-count charge bordering on money laundering offence. The companies are Bird Trust Agro-Allied Limited, Intertrans Global Logistics Limited, Diakin Telecommunications Limited, and Bal-Vac Mining Nigeria Limited.

The Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja, eventually granted the former minister’s son bail in the sum of N100 million. He was remanded in Kuje prison before he fulfilled the bail conditions. They all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Attahiru Bafarawa and son

The EFCC arrested the former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa, in connection with the arms deal involving former National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Colonel Sambo Dasuki.

Bafarawa, a leading northern politician, was the governor of Sokoto State between 1999 and 2007 on the platform of the defunct ANPP and later Democratic People’s Party (DPP). He was the presidential candidate of the DPP in the 2007 elections.

He was also part of the opposition chieftains that formed the APC. But he parted ways with the new party over disagreement with his estranged deputy and successor, Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko. Bafarawa subsequently defected to the PDP before the 2015 elections.

He was arrested on December 1 for allegedly laundering over N4.1billion meant for the purchase of arms to fight Boko Haram insurgency. The ex-governor’s son, Sagir, was arrested earlier. Sagir was alleged to have acted as a front for his father when he collected about N4.6billion from the NSA’s office.

They all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Bello Halliru and son

A former minister of defence, Bello Halliru, was arraigned alongside his son, Abba, for allegedly collecting N600 million in the arms deal.

The Kebbi-born politician is a former comptroller-general of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), minister of communications, and lately, the national chairman of the PDP.

Abba was arrested by the EFCC over the allegation that he collected N600 million as a representative of Bam Properties Limited. His father, Bello, was also charged in relation to an alleged involvement in the diversion of arms funds. The Federal High Court in Abuja granted them a N600 million bail. They pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Alex Badeh and son

During the trial of a former chief of defence staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, for alleged graft, the name of his son, Badeh Junior, featured, but he was not charged.

Badeh was the first retired general under trial, whose son was named in the arms deal.

Dozens of other senior military officers were implicated by the presidential committee investigating arms acquisition during the Boko Haram war. The former defence chief’s village was overrun by the Boko Haram insurgents.

Air Commodore Salisu Abdullahi Yushau (retired), a former director of finance and accounts, Nigerian Air Force, said during a court proceeding that he was directed to buy a property worth N240million for Badeh’s son, Alex Badeh Junior.

Badeh was being prosecuted alongside Iyalikam Nigeria Limited by the EFCC for offences bordering on money laundering, criminal breach of trust and corruption, to the tune of over N3.9 billion.

The retired defence chief has denied the charges.

Source: Daily Trust

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How Abdulmutallab Became A Suicide Bomber

The New York Times, through a Freedom of Information Act request, has obtained documents containing detailed accounts of how slain Al Qaeda leader, Anwar al-Awlaki, mentored a Nigerian, Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to explode a bomb hidden in his underpants, on a flight from Amsterdam in the Netherlands to Detroit, United States, on Christmas Day in 2009.

Mr. Abdulmutallab, commonly referred to as the “underwear bomber” by the U.S. media, is the son of the chairman of Jaiz Bank Limited, Umaru Abdulmutallab. In 2012, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after a defiant guilty plea.

The 200-page redacted documents, which contained information obtained from Mr. Abdulmutallab through extensive interviews, was released to the newspaper after two years of legal struggle.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had kept the account a secret and rejected a request made by an author of a 2015 book on the life of Mr. al-Awlaki, an American-born Islamic cleric, forcing the New York Times to sue to obtain the documents.

Last December, a federal judge, Ronnie Abrams, ordered the FBI to release the document to the newspaper.

Mr. al-Awlaki was killed by a drone strike ordered by former President Barack Obama in 2011. He was the first American to be killed by the deliberate order of a U.S. president since the Civil War.

In a series of interviews with the FBI, Mr. Abdulmutallab, a wealthy 23-year-old who studied engineering at the University College, London, revealed his journey towards radicalisation and how he sought out Mr. al-Awlaki, who mentored him into becoming a suicide bomber.

Mr. Abdulmutallab told an FBI agent about how he first encountered the Al-Qaeda leader through a recorded lecture he bought from an Islamic store in the United Kingdom in 2005. He became enamored by his teachings.

After a trip to the United Arab Emirates in 2009, he said he felt “God was guiding him to jihad”. He travelled to Yemen to meet Mr. al-Awkali, who then had fully embraced violence and was a rising Al Qaeda leader.

From then Mr. al-Awkali transcended from being his religious hero into his tutor on how to become a jihadist. Mr. Abdulmutallab told agents that the cleric did not only oversee his training in Yemen, but also conceived the plot leading to the failed bomb attack.

According to the report, Mr. Abdulmutallab, in series of interviews, described every person he remembered meeting from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as the Yemen branch of the terrorist group is known. He also provided agents with a vivid description of the layout of training camps, Mr. al-Awlaki’s house and many other Qaeda buildings. According to the New York Times, his descriptions were so precise that they may have aided the U.S.in its drone campaign in Yemen.

He said Mr. al-Awlaki, who was called “sheikh” out of respect, introduced him to other Al Qaeda trainers and bomb makers. The American, Mr. Abdulmutallab told the FBI, taught him how to prepare a martydom video, advising him to “keep it short and reference the Quran”.

Mr. al-Awkali told Mr. Abdulmutallab to hide his trail by first travelling from Yemen to an African country before booking a flight on which he planned to detonate the bomb.

Mr. Abdulmutallab flew from Nigeria to Amsterdam before joining Northwest Airlines Flight 253 to Detroit.

He said the choice of the date for the attack had no special significance and was mainly dictated by ticket prices and flight schedules.

Before he departed, Mr. al-Awlaki sent him a final reminder: “Wait until you are in the U.S., then bring the plane down.”

He said he followed the progress of the flight on the seat-back screen. He waited until he approached the U.S. border and went to the plane’s bathroom to make final preparations for the attack.

He thought of detonating the bomb in the bathroom but wanted to be certain that he was doing so over U.S. soil, so he returned to his seat to check the map for a final time before igniting the explosives.

Maybe due to excess moisture, the bomb did not explode but let out a flame. As he tried to get his burning pants off, passengers pounced on him. One passenger punched him and a crew member threatened to throw him out of the plane.

He began confessing to the terror act even before leaving the plane. He said he was a member of Al Qaeda and that he had tried to set off a bomb. He later stopped talking and needed the presence of his relatives who were flown by U.S. authorities from Nigeria to persuade him to become cooperative again.

•Taken from the website of Premium Times

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We Don’t Deserve The Treatment We Are Getting, Police Rank And File Cries Out

An anonymous police officer has cried out over the treatment it is getting from the Police Service Commission (PSC) as regards promotion in the force.

In this piece sent to Abuidiqu, the police officer said despite having personnel in the rank and file who have upgraded their educational qualification to attain higher positions in the force, the Police Service Commission shins them to recruit fresh personnel from outside the force.

The piece reads:

The Nigeria Police Force, without mincing words, is the largest government security agency in Africa. Its work force comprising a large chunk of the rank and file, work assiduously in both fair and inclement season of the year, yet are at the receiving end of everything, yet against all odd, they struggled to earn a higher academic qualification with the belief that it will give them a hope of brighter tomorrow.

The Force has three (3) entry points viz: enlistment into the Constable, Cadet Inspectors, Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) cadres respectively. The Force has never been in short supply of those to fill the Constable cadres, obviously because of its low level educational requirements, unlike the ASPs cadre that entails higher academic degrees. Suffice to say, that was when it became imperative for the Police Acts and Regulation to state in Section 39 of Part IV (Appointments) that:

“When vacancies in the establishment of Assistant Superintendents of Police cannot, by reason of UNAVAILABILITY of SUITABLE candidates, be filled by promotions from within the Force, the Inspector-General shall so inform the Nigeria Police Council, and may request it to arrange for the posts to be filled by direct entry”.

From the above, one could clearly see that two key words: unavailability and suitability in time past, justified the actions of the Police Service Commission to source for ASPs materials, directly from among the educated civilians, through Direct Entry. But that cannot be said of the present crop of well-groomed and educated rank and file, some who are already holders of Masters degree; and who auspiciously thought that the journey of career progression for them as begun by two out-gone Inspectors-General of Police in 2014 – 2015 when they were told to file out for documentation exercise, would end up abruptly in 2016.

Needless to remind the PSC that Police Act and Regulation which governs the whole essence of policing in Nigeria, and allocates it with its powers to hire and fire, is in it very self, subject to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (commonly referred to as the grundnorm). And according to section 1(3) of the 1999 CFRN, if any other law (e.g. the Police Act and Regulation) is inconsistent with the provisions of this constitution, this constitution shall prevail, and that other law shall to the extent of the inconsistency be void.

Statistically, the Nigeria Police cannot at this time in its history, claim ignorance to the growing numbers of her well educated foot-soldiers i.e members of the Inspectorate and Rank and file. Ordinarily, the Police cannot absorb the 13,386 rank and file (as at 2014) who took part in the Cadet exercise, so they put up measures to prune the numbers, but shortly afterward the exercise was jettisoned, owing convincingly to interplay of powers between some forces, especially our dear politicians who are always hell bent on hijacking every process for their wards and cronies.

One would not be wrong also, if the present Police Service Commission Chairman (an IGP emeritus) is indicted for the fall-out of the ill-fated plans to upgrade rank and file who are eminently qualified, and in superfluous supply to fill what Section 39 of Police Regulation requires as per appointments into cadet ASP. Because as the seemingly mouth piece of the gods, he is already aware of the position of the Police Act and Regulation vis-a-viz appointment to the ASP cadre which is believed to be extant, coupled with the demoralized disposition of the rank and file who are holders of first, second and even third degrees in various academic discipline and obviously struggling to live above poverty line. Yet he wielded his powers arbitrarily on the Inspector General of Police, and denied the rank and file such golden opportunity.

The renewed agitation in the camp of the rank and file today, is not for the commission to deny civilian graduates their placement, or halt the already on-going process, but for the present IGP who has shown tremendous interest in the welfare of the downtrodden of the force, to re-present this issue before the PSC Chairman, so that the yearly enlistment, especially into the ASP cadre, will include in-service graduates in bits-and-batches. Once this is done, in no distant time, a large number of the well-educated members of the inspectorate and rank and file would be absorbed.

The essence of this piece is to re-awaken the consciousness of the PSC Chairman and the IGP, that though the rank and file may not have a legal backing to become dissidents overnight, or possess the strike action to engage in demonstrations, they will however do everything possible in line with the provision of Section 39 (i) (ii) of the 1999 Constitution which guarantees Freedom of expression and the Press, to enlist the support of international media organizations, to air our grievances against this perceived arbitrariness and absolute disregard to the provisions of section 39 of Police Act and regulation and section 1(3) of the 1999 CFRN which has the capacity to render the former null and void to the extent of its inconsistency.

It will interest them to note that if members of the rank and file (who have done basic training) are given this opportunity to fill this vacancies of cadet ASP, less money would be spent re-training them, as the only prerequisite would entail advanced training, against the backdrop of pure civilians whose mentality would needed to be “re-configured’ to think policeman-like.

Finally, help alert the powers that be, that it is not an offence to have chosen to serve Nigeria as a Policeman, therefore the present rank and file have done nothing deserving of the life of servitude they are currently been subjected to. If this trend is allowed to continue, the multiplier effects of this will be indiscipline, dejection, lack of motivation, loss of morale among the rank and file which would lead to breakdown of internal security, and those of our colleagues who took out time pursuing wealth whilst we struggled to get further academic qualification to be better police officers, will laugh us to scorn, that with all the educational attainment / qualifications, what is the difference between us and them. There is an undisputed reason(s) while the FUNDAMENTAL OBJECTIVES AND DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY has notably specified government’s commitment to her citizens’ education in section 18 of the 1999 CFRN, because a nation struggling to build up intellectually, must reward those who paid the price for education, this is only what will motivate others to strive, because ‘education is power’.

questions must also be ask of why the Nigeria Police is deciding to convert ASP course one 2010 while she has more than enough qualified rank and files to be elevated to same position

On our part we see this as an act of wickedness but still not unaware that some of this things are done without the knowledge of the IGP

As a good father the IGP should come to our rescue

We are losing all the motivation left within us that we may be forced sooner than later to rebel against authority.

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How African Media Is Dealing With Fake News

“ALERT: Don’t fall victim to fake news!”

This is the message that pops up when you visit South Africa’s Eyewitness News (EWN) website.

The warning advises readers to be more vigilant about the news they consume.

The message goes on to say that the publication is committed to providing news that is accurate, fair and balanced.

It then links to another page that gives tips on how to spot fake news, with a list of websites it has identified as purveyors of fake news in South Africa.

The publication also invites readers to send in fake stories they come across and those, which they are unsure about.

EWN’s attempt to fight the spread of false news content is probably a first on the continent.

Katy Katopodis, EWN editor-in-chief, told the BBC that the publication felt it had a duty to protect the integrity of journalism by educating its audience.

“We have to be proactive to acknowledge the dangers of fake news and to offer our readers advice on how to spot a fake news story,” she says.

“At Eyewitness News we believe we need to counter the lies and the fake news with the truth and a reality check.

“We all have a responsibility to disseminate news that is factual and correct.”

EWN’s fake news guide was implemented last month amid allegations that the governing African National Congress (ANC) had planned to run a campaign to create and disseminate false information to discredit opponents ahead of last year’s local election in which it lost many seats.

AmaBhungane, an investigative journalism team, reported that a covert operation dubbed the War Room, was intended to “disempower Democratic Alliance and Economic Freedom Fighters parties” by using digital media and social media influencers.

The ANC has denied the allegations, with one official accused of being involved in the planning of the operation describing it as “fake news”.

The term fake news, which has been used a lot since last year’s U.S. presidential elections, was meant to call attention to falsified news content that was widely shared on the internet, mostly on social media.

Trump ‘Endorsed by the Pope’

An analysis by BuzzFeed released after the US elections found that top fake election news stories generated more total engagement on Facebook than top election stories from 19 major news outlets combined.

The top five stories under this study were positive spins to prop up the candidacy of Donald Trump, including one claiming that he was endorsed by the Pope.

“Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President, Releases Statement,” the article’s headline read.

The other stories promoted conspiracy theories about his then challenger Hillary Clinton, which some analysts said helped undermine her campaign.

The creation and distribution of misinformation is not new, the difference at the moment is that spreading false information has been incentivised.

Digital publishing platforms like Facebook and Google have built ecosystems that reward clicks on website links and one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to a website is to entice readers with sensational content.

The Macedonian teenagers became infamous after it was revealed they were behind several fake stories shared during the US election, mostly in support of Mr. Trump, earned thousands of dollars by getting thousands of clicks on articles they shared on Facebook.

In Africa, several articles have managed to fool many and garnered a lot of clicks for their promoters. Here are samples of some of the headlines:

  • Eritrean men ordered to marry two wives or risk jail
  • UK Announces Visa Free Entry for Nigeria and Other Commonwealth African Countries
  • Trump says “Africans are lazy fools only good at eating, lovemaking and thuggery”
  • Robert Mugabe says Zimbabweans are “honest people” but “stealing is in every Kenyan’s blood”.

The allure of getting clicks has seen some publishers take advantage of the interest fake stories generate.

Recently, Kenya’s sports website Game Yetu, owned by a mainstream publisher, The Standard, lifted a story from Mzansi Live, a fake news website in South Africa with an unlikely claim – that Zimbabwe had sent its female footballers to Brazil to be impregnated by soccer legends there:

Game Yetu tried to keep editorial distance from the article by placing it under the rumours and gossip section of its website.

Ms. Katopodis says she is concerned about mainstream publishers pursuing click-bait.

The South African paper editor says that it behoves credible newsrooms and journalists to fact-check stories and promote media literacy.

“I am inspired by how the banking sector has been educating its customers to deal with online scams – we should do the same.”

While there is nothing wrong with curating content to lure readers to read stories on your website, overselling and packaging of news items using misleading headlines does a lot to undermine publishers’ credibility.

With traditional revenue sources drying up and with viral content bringing in the money, for-profit media organisations are caught in a conundrum.

Porn Warning

Huffington Post’s South Africa edition exemplified this.

It recently published a handy guide for spotting faking news, which included this important advice: “Reputable media houses will have credible adverts on their pages. Fake news sites often have pornographic adverts. That should raise red flags.”

However, below the article it had a widget containing a series of fake news stories, including one of U.S. President Donald Trump calling South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma “the best ever”.

  • Culled from the BBC
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INTERVIEW: How Nigeria Can Get Out Of Recession – Tambuwal

Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal fielded questions from journalists in Sokoto on wide range of issues affecting his state and the country. He gave his frank assessment of the measures needed to take Nigeria out of recession.

The last administration promised to improve the welfare of religious and traditional rulers in the state. This includes providing them with vehicles and modernising their palaces, why haven’t you done much in that regard?

First of all, this government respects traditional institutions and since we came on board, we have accorded them the respect they deserve. They play important roles in efforts to sustain peace and security, and in a larger sense, they promote religious and communal harmony. Because of their place in our history, we know we cannot do anything less for them. But you will agree with me that our financial situation since we came on board has been precarious. Government has cut back on much expenditure, and has prioritised areas of needs for the whole state. I am happy that our traditional rulers have understood clearly what we are faced with and they have not pressured us to continue with the policy of fixing their palaces when there are more competing needs in our hospitals, primary healthcare centres, agriculture, education, youth, women empowerment among others. Similarly, if you look into the number and importance of projects we met on ground and the pressure to complete them, what we did is the best for the state. We have inherited about 30 large and important projects from the last administration, and we are working hard to complete all of them and put them to use for the benefit of the citizens. These are projects that we have to complete as allowing them rot away will lead to wastage of funds earlier expended to start these projects.

Our philosophy has been to take these gradually, depending on availability of funds, and complete them before delving into new ones. That policy has served us well in the last two years and we are happy to put them to use. What you may not be aware is that many of those projects for traditional rulers were to be executed from the joint accounts with the local government councils. But at the moment, many of those councils cannot carry out any meaningful project outside payment of salaries. We have severally bailed them out from the state government to enable them meet their obligations to workers. In such situations, I don’t think they are buoyant enough to embark on building and repairs of palaces.

You spoke about local government councils, but there are complaints that many of their workers don’t get their salaries on time, what is responsible for that?

We have carried out verification exercise to determine the correct number of workers in each of the 23 local government councils of Sokoto state. What we met on ground was beyond reason because the strength of the workforce in our local governments is twice more than that of Kano that has 44 local government areas. We felt this is not sustainable. We are continuing with the biometric verification to ensure that only genuine workers remain in the schedule of payment, and they will be paid according to their levels. We must do this to sanitise the system and ensure ghost workers or absentee workers do not find sanctuary in the local government system.

Few days ago, you dissolved the management team of the state Board of Internal Revenue, why now and secondly what is the current IGR figure for Sokoto state?

For almost two years, we gave the dissolved team the necessary incentive and support to improve internal revenue base of the state, but they haven’t done that. If you recall, I have stated publicly that we would take action to ensure better performance in revenue generation. After a review of their performance, we decided to bring in new persons to reposition the board. As for the figures, since we came on board, the monthly IGR for Sokoto ranges between N340 to N400 million. When I spoke to the ministry of finance, I was told that the previous administration received up to N500 million monthly. My argument is that this figure they are giving us is meager. What we deduct monthly as PAYE from civil servants alone, should be in the range of this figure, so what happened to other revenue sources? The new team has been mandated to put in place a new framework which will boost performance and improve revenue figures.

With this new target, are we seeing tougher measures against members of the public who are not paying tax?

We are fully aware of the economic situation in the country, especially survival of businesses and the harsh conditions they are operating in at the moment. We will put that in consideration in pursuing what is due for the government. I am saying this because as leaders, we need to be clear about our intentions. Whenever we ask people to make sacrifices, we must reassure them that it is for common good. So we are telling the people that whatever they pay to government as tax, will be applied judiciously for the benefit of all the people of the state.

How will you review the performance of the state’s 2016 budget?

I’ve spoken about this during the presentation of this year’s budget, and in fact when I assented to the budget law a few days ago. Taking a holistic view of the performance of the budget, I feel we can do more. That is why we started this year by making necessary changes in the personnel that drive the budget process, as can be seen from what we did at the board of internal revenue. We will continue to improve the system because time is not on our side. What I’m promising the people is that the performance of the 2017 budget will be better than that of 2016 in terms of implementation, while even distribution of resources will be ensured. We will start new projects across the state, with much emphasis placed on rural areas.

At the meeting of the Northern Governors Forum recently, you agreed to improve the security situation in your states, how far have you gone in that regard?

We discussed many areas of cooperation, for example agriculture, education and the likes. As for security, we agreed to share intelligence and this has been paying off. Take for instance issues of castle rustling; because of renewed onslaught by security agencies and the inter-state collaboration among all the states, this problem has reduced. We still have few scattered instances, but we are working to tackle that as well. This cooperation is extending to cases of kidnapping, armed robbery, civil unrest and the likes. So the more we collaborate the better for us as states, and the better for our citizens.

Your Excellency, the government has done marvelously well in containing the fuel situation which was getting out of hand in the last few weeks, what are you doing with regards to prices of commodities in the market?

We read from the news that the federal government has set up a committee to ensure commodities are not priced out of the reach of the common man. In Sokoto, we’ve already establish the state commodity board which will work to give our farmers and citizens a fair deal. The board will buy grains from farmers and store them. We hope to intervene when situation is getting out of hand as you have stated. We are already taking to the Federal Government and Flour Mill in Nigeria Plc for effective utilization of the Silos here in Sokoto by buying and storing grains so as to do some intervention when the situation arises. We intend to use the commodity board as a platform whereby we can always off-take excess produce from our farmers.

Who or what is responsible for the current economic situation in Nigeria and secondly, what’s the way out of recession for the country?

Experts have called on the Federal Government to inject more money into the system. Personally, I believe creating job opportunities, especially through the construction industry, and injection of more money into the economy, remain a sure way out of the current recession in the country. Ask any Economist about the way out of recession, and I am sure they will inform you that massive construction efforts, backed by release of funds, will create jobs whose multiplier effects will jumpstart the economic barometer. As Speaker of the House of Representatives, I’ve had reasons to disagree with many of the policies of the last administration of President Goodluck Jonathan which we felt were inimical to the overall development and well-being of the people. Many thought we were raising the alarm because we had personal hatred for him. That is not the case. I had nothing personal against the former President. The recession we are currently facing was as a result of the way the economy was mismanaged, largely, by the Jonathan administration. What is the way out? I’ve said we need to inject money into the system and create employment opportunities for the people. And one way to do that is to engage in massive construction projects. It is part of the reason why we encouraged the Federal Government to disburse the funds from the debt relief for states to kick-start activities at regional level. Similarly, we’ve read how immediate-past President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, used this strategy of massive construction works to take America out of economic challenges. So construction projects alone will create a lot of jobs which will benefit the economy. We all know that Nigerians are not happy and are running out of patience, but they should be more patient. It is very easy to destroy but to rebuild the economy takes time.

You have announced an incentive that will benefit some 25,000 women across the state, can you shed more light on this?

What we are doing with the women groups is part of our overall strategy to assist small and medium scale entities to boost their operations. We’ve asked the Sokoto State Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Development Agency (SOSMEDA) to create a data base of all small business run by women in the state. As a starting point, we decided to empower 25,000 of these women who are in the rural areas with a soft loan of N10,000 each. That amounts to N250 million. We plan to expand it as time goes on but we are starting with the first set who are getting the N10,000 each very soon.

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