Stop Press: Nigeria @ 60 Logo Not Plagiarised

The attention of Chain Reactions Nigeria, The Temple Management and TBWA Africa have been drawn to an unfortunate conversation in some sections of the online media regarding the recently unveiled logo for the Nigerian Diamond Jubilee Celebration (Nigeria at 60) by President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR). 

Few hours after the unveiling of the Nigeria at 60 anniversary Logo, myriads of reviews poured in from different stakeholders across the country as expected. As envisaged, the views expressed are symbolic of our diversity as a nation. In fact, it captures what we are celebrating. The theme of the Diamond Jubilee Anniversary, TOGETHER, is all about how we have stayed together as a people despite our diversity.

This isn’t surprising as major brands and government initiatives have undergone barrage of condemnations and commendations in times past.Are we surprised? No.

It is commendable that the Nigerian government has done the right thing by engaging the services of Nigerian professionals to develop the thematic direction, campaign strategy and the logo for the Diamond Jubilee celebration pro bono. In the past, you would have heard that the Nigerian government engaged the services of some foreign agencies for some nerve-cracking and ridiculous sum of money.

PLAGIARISM

The primary allegation of plagiarism on the unveiled logo deserves a quick dissection. To Plagiarise, according to Oxford Language Dictionary, is to take someone else‘s work or ideas and pass them off as one’s own. 

Interestingly, the emptiness of this narrative lies in the fact that peddlersperhaps do not understand the meaning or they feigned ignorance so as to drive their usual hatred for the Nigerian governement. To meet the qualified meaning of this definition, it means the Nigerian professionals who designed the campaign picked another logo that is exactly like this or similar to this and delivered it to the Federal government. Have they shown Nigerians the logo that looks exactlylike the Nigeria @ 60 logo from another jurisdiction? No. Instead of saying that the diamond looks similar to the one they have found on the internet, they have disingenuously alleged that Nigeria plagiarised her 60th Anniversary logo. What a convenient narrative but a disservice to our fatherland.

A quick check on the internet shows that there are thousands of diamonds with crystals that look alike. The images on the Internet are there in any way for creative usage and purposes. Some are backed by rights and paid for while others are free. You can also not copyright an open source material. It is like numbers and words. Let us even assume without conceding that the Nigerian creative professionals who created this design were desperately looking for a logo, where would they have gone? The internet or the mines? Also, a diamond, being a precious stone, cannot be expected to be found anywhere. If a religious institution had used the Diamond as a logo element, will it still pass off as plagiarism? 

OUTRAGEOUS COSTINGWithout an announced budget or costing being declared from the Presidency, some social media commentatorshave hastily concluded that the logo was designed with an outrageous amount. 

Should we put the perpetrators on a national medium to justify this claimwith verifiable evidences, we will be offered with silence and mischief. The Nigeria at 60 logo was designed pro-bono out of sheer zeal and patriotism for Nigeria by a consortium of Nigerian marketing communications and talent management companies. This controversy is a great disservice to these Nigerian professionals who have invested their time into giving Nigeria a beautiful identity in commemoration of her 60thanniversary.

For now, we appeal to millions of good-spirited Nigerians, this celebration is ours. It is a celebration of the Nigerian people. Not even the present feeble wind will dampen our passion for our beloved country.

God Bless Nigeria  

For: Chain Reactions Nigeria

      The Temple Management Company

      TBWA Concept

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Polaris Pearl Account To Equip Women To Run Profitable Businesses

Polaris Bank has pledged that its Polaris Pearl account will equip women entrepreneurs with the requisite knowledge, skills, and support to run their businesses profitably.


The Bank announced that following from its interaction with women across the country, it has discovered that most of them are unable to access finance to either stabilize or scale their businesses mainly because of a lack of awareness on how to leverage bank funding to drive and sustain profit. It notes that this finding is contrary to the popularly, but erroneously held view that unavailability of finance is the main challenge facing the average business woman.


Speaking further on the benefits of the Polaris Pearl Account, the Bank’s Group Head, Products and Market Development, Mrs. Adebimpe Ihekuna, explained that lack of proper guidance on access to opportunities is also a major hindrance to women in their entrepreneurial ventures. She noted that “we have carefully designed Polaris Pearl Account for women or groups of women entrepreneurs who initiate, organize, and operate a business enterprise to fulfill an existing need for the purpose of making profit.”


Furthermore, she affirmed that “with Polaris Pearl, Women Entrepreneurs do not only have access to collateral-free loans but are also regularly supported in understanding vital aspects of business development such as business training, business tips and positioning for new opportunities. We also support them with requisite skills on emerging local and global trends that may impact their businesses”. 
She also said that “many women entrepreneurs who have embraced the Polaris Pearl product have so far enjoyed numerous incentives such as business name registration, health check, business plan development, and a host of other value-adding benefits.”


Speaking on the value proposition of the Polaris Pearl, the Bank’s Acting Managing Director/CEO Mr. Innocent Ike, explained that “Polaris Bank is a member of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and hence a critical stakeholder in the global conversation about gender inclusion and women empowerment especially in enhancing their access to finance and business opportunities.” He explained that the empowerment of Nigerian women constitutes one of the six pillars of Polaris Bank’s corporate citizenship and Sustainability focus. 

Polaris Pearl account can be opened through the Bank’s account opening portal at https://accounts.polarisbanklimited.com/opening/ or visit any of our SurePadi agents in your neighbourhood, as well as any Polaris Bank branch closer to you.
Polaris Bank is a future-determining Bank committed to delivering industry-defining products, and services, across all sectors of the Nigerian economy. 

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FG Hails Kwara Gov Over Social Investment Programme

Federal Government has commended Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq over the state’s social investment programme, hailing him for pushing through the safety net with appreciable improvements on the model that was understudied from the presidency.

Uzoma Nwagba, chief operating officer of the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme (GEEP), said in a commendation letter to the Governor that he was glad that AbdulRazaq followed through on the programme — barely one year after he visited the headquarters of GEEP in Abuja.

GEEP, which comprises MarketMoni, TraderMoni, FarmerMoni, is a component of President Muhammadu Buhari’s National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) that seeks to empower small businesses and lift as many people as possible out of poverty line.

Nwagba said Kwara’s version of the programme has also turned out to be a huge success with at least 21,623 petty traders getting interest-free loan to upscale their businesses and thousands more to benefit from its Owo Arugbo — a part of the social programme that targets vulnerable, old people. 

He specifically commended “the excellent work you are doing with your own programme (Owo Isowo, Owo Arugbo, etc)

“I am really excited to see that you carried on that vision, and it is working in Kwara. You even made improvements (e.g. mandatory BVN, etc) over and above ours.

“The commencement of the programme made me very happy, Your Excellency, especially the replication of the clear process and transparency (of the scheme).

“Because Kwara has built a ready platform and project infrastructure locally, you are ready for the World Bank CARES project.”

*Rafiu Ajakaye

_Chief Press Secretary to the Governor_ 

_September 14th, 2020._

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Nigeria’s Diamond Jubilee Celebration: FG Calls For Active Involvement Of Nigerians In Creating A Brand, Other Event Elements

On the 1st of October, 2020, Nigeria will be celebrating its Diamond Jubilee as it turns 60 years. It is a day that reminds every citizen about the dawn of the nation we call our country, a diverse nation with resilient and hardworking people. Nigerians have gone far and wide, impacting their communities and the world at large.

To celebrate Nigeria’s Diamond Jubilee, the Federal Government of Nigeria, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR has approved an inclusive National Independence Celebration program in line with Covid-19 protocols and guidelines. To ensure inclusiveness, the thematic and creative aspects of the event would be designed by Nigerians for Nigeria. The theme of the celebration is “Together at 60.”

As the saying goes, we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. The Federal Government therefore wants to use this opportunity to celebrate our strength as one indivisible country. Also provide opportunity for Nigerians to choose their brand and harness the power of our creative minds to create other elements that will form the Brand of the Anniversary. The Sub Committee of the Interministerial Committee came up with a challenge in which they are looking for talented, critical thinking and creative individuals or teams to produce the slogan, photograph, and a poem for Nigerians to mark the country’s 60th Anniversary, from 1st October 2020 to 30th December 2021.

To vote for the best brand and participate in the challenge, visit the challenge portal: https://nigeriaAt60.gov.ng. The best brand and concept will be presented to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR and will be used in celebrating Nigeria’s 60th Anniversary. The winners will also receive prizes, in addition to being part of this epoch-making event.

As the country eagerly awaits the unveiling of the winning brand and other elements of the celebration, we look forward to the active participation of all.

Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), FNCS, FBCS, FIIM
Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy,
Chairman, Diamond/Innovation/Change Sub-Committee,
Nigeria @60 Interministerial Committee

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NEC 10th Edition: UBA Foundation Calls for Entries, Introduces Digital Submission Portal for Students

UBA Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has today commenced the 2020 edition of its annual National Essay Competition in Nigeria with a call for entries.

Now in its tenth year, the National Essay Competition (NEC) is part of UBA Foundation’s education initiative which is aimed at promoting the reading culture and encouraging healthy and intellectual competition amongst secondary school students in Nigeria and across Africa. 

This year’s edition, which is the 10th since inception, has been modified to ensure ease of access and increased participation of senior secondary school students from the comfort of their homes through the introduction of a digital submission portal. 

Taking into consideration the effects the Covid-19 pandemic has had on lives and incomes across board, the UBA Foundation has also increased the prize money for the 2020 edition of the NEC by 33 per cent as the first prize winner will get an educational grant of  N2.5m, up from N2m in 2019. The second and third prize winners will now receive N2m and N1.5m educational grants respectively, from N1.5m and N1m which were awarded in the previous year’s competition. 

The Chief Executive Officer, UBA Foundation, Mrs. Bola Atta stated that with the newly introduced digital submission portal, more students in secondary schools across the country will have the opportunity to scan and send in their entries and compete to win educational grants for study at any university of their choice on the African continent.

She said, “As a Foundation, which is the CSR arm of the United Bank for Africa – a fully digitalised bank, we are driven by the mantra to always innovate and adapt to our constantly changing environment. This year, we thought hard about how to ease the pains that everyone is feeling. Students have not been able to go to school and there has been a lot of anxiety in families trying to ensure that educational gaps do not emerge.  It is imperative for us at the UBA Foundation that our impact programmes do not wane. We also need to design them to be as inclusive as possible so that those students who don’t have easy access to computers can still participate in the competition with a chance to win grants towards their tertiary edification.’ 

Atta explained that the choice of topic for this year’s edition is one that helps promote creative and analytical thinking in students whilst helping them become problem solvers. The essay topic selected is Do you think that the lock – down during the Covid-19 pandemic was an essential measure in spite of the hardship it has brought economically? What would you have done differently and why?”

All entrants are to hand write their essays and upload scanned copies of their handwritten entries as well as ID on the digital portal at www.ubagroup.com/national-essay-competitionbefore October 2,2020. They may also drop off the handwritten essays at their nearest UBA business office for onward submission to the UBA Foundation.

The judges who are made up of esteemed professors from reputable Nigerian Universitieswill receive all the essays on a digital drive, evaluate them and select the top 12 finalists all of who will take home consolation prizes including personal computers. 

The finale of the NEC this year will be conducted virtually as the initiative rolls out across 19 more countries in Africa.

UBA Foundation embodies the UBA Group’s CSR objectives and seeks to impact positively on societies through several laudable projects and initiatives. The Foundation has donated hundreds of thousands of books to students across Africa under the ‘Read Africa’ initiative aimed at encouraging and promoting the reading culture in African youths.

Students can apply for the National Essay Competition 2020 at: www.ubagroup.com/national-essay-competition;

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UBA Provides $200 Million For Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry – Timely Financing For Post COVID Economic Growth

The United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), the leading pan-African financial services group, has acted as Facility Agent Bank for the Nigerian Commercial Banks in a consortium with other international banks in a $1.5 Billion Pre-Export Finance Facility for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its upstream subsidiary, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).

UBA is providing $200 million (Naira equivalent) to support investment growth and liquidity requirements.  The facility will provide much needed capital for investment in NNPC’s production capacity, which is of strategic importance to the Nigerian economy and the country’s leading source of foreign exchange earnings.  UBA’s position as Facility Agent Bank recognises the Group’s strength in structuring and deploying financing to the oil and gas sector, and the depth and liquidity of the Group’s balance sheet.

The $1.5 billion facility is structured in two tranches.  The first tranche of $1 billion, to be repaid over a period of five years, will be provided in dollars.  The second tranche of $500 million, will be provided in local currency, over seven years, with UBA acting as Facility Agent Bank, providing $200 million in Naira equivalent.  Both facilities will be repaid from an allocation of 30,000 barrels per day of NPDC’s crude oil.  

UBA has a strong track record in the resources sector across Africa, having facilitated oil prepayment deals with the NNPC, including its 2013 $100 million participation in the PXF Funding Limited transaction, and a further $60 million in the 2015 Phoenix Export Funding Limited transaction.  In Senegal, UBA was responsible for the EUR 240m Revolving Crude Oil Financing Facility for the Société Africaine de Raffinage and in Congo Brazzaville co-funded the $250m crude oil prepayment facility for Orion Oil Limited.

Other participants in the NNPC deal include Standard Chartered Bank, Afrexim Bank, Union Bank and two oil trading companies, Vitol and Matrix.

Speaking on this most recent support for the Nigeria’s petroleum industry, UBA Group Chairman, Tony O. Elumelu stated ‘This has been one of the most economically challenging years that Nigeria has witnessed.  With the sharp drop in the price of oil and the ensuing hardship that followed the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the private sector must come together and contribute meaningfully to the economy.  This facility is clear evidence of this – UBA is providing investment that will significantly improve Nigeria’s production capacity and in doing so also demonstrating the strength, depth, and sophistication of our commercial banking capability.  I believe that together, working with governments, we can create more jobs and more wealth for people, not only in Nigeria, but across Africa’.

The United Bank for Africa is one of the largest employers in the financial sector on the African continent, with over 20,000 employees and serving over 20 million customers.  UBA operates in 20 African countries and globally in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and France, providing retail, commercial and institutional banking services, leading financial inclusion and implementing cutting edge technology.

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Vice President Osinbajo Will Not Be Distracted By Campaign Of Lies, Calumny – Aide

The attention of the Office of the Vice President has been drawn to a series of tweets and online publications by PointBlank News and Newsreel.com.ng today 8th July 2020, credited to the same person, one Jackson Ude.

In essence, Ude’s story is that “embattled former Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, allegedly embezzled over N39 billion and gave Vice President Yemi Osinabjo (sic) N4 billion, after the VP gave instructions to him to release some of the recovered loots…” The same Jackson Ude has also been circulating a video on YouTube with a female commentator, peddling the same lies.

With all emphasis at our disposal, let it be firmly stated that these are totally false and baseless fabrications purporting to reflect goings-on at the Probe Panel investigating Mr. Ibrahim Magu. They are indeed completely absurd in every respect. 

Sadly, such mindless, vicious and reckless publications have now become the preferred tool of unscrupulous and reprobate elements in our society who are procured with monetary inducement to peddle blatant falsehood, tarnish the image of upright public officials and mislead unsuspecting Nigerians.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, will of course not be distracted by these obvious campaigns of lies and calumny. The online publications, being criminally defamatory in nature, have been referred to the relevant law enforcement agencies for investigation and necessary action.

Laolu Akande

Senior Special Assistant to the President

 on Media and Publicity

Office of the Vice President

8th July 2020

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Magu: Reports Linking Osinbajo To Stolen EFCC Billions Another PDP Dubai Strategy By Fake News Merchant Jackson Ude

Jackson Ude, a fake news merchant, PDP Dubai Strategist and partisan hack is in the news again, making fictional claims about fake revelations regarding the ongoing investigation into the activities of the Ag. EFCC Chairman. His claims that Magu gave money to the Vice President is not only an irresponsible lie, but a concocted move that continues a long running smear campaign on Prof. Osinbajo.

Ude, who worked as Media Aide under the PDP Jonathan Presidency is determined to tarnish the enviable image and steerling reputation of the Vice President ahead of 2023. He will use any and all opportunities his devious mind see to achieve that. While he claims knowledge of ongoing Magu investigation, the truth is that Ude has no information whatsoever neither is he connected to any credible source that might hint him about goings on.

His past records of Fake News are enough to nail this partisan operative whose mindless and baseless reporting are becoming legendary.

This is why we, nationwide members of the Buhari Osinbajo Solidarity Front, (BOSF) have decided to call out this shadowy and despicable character called Jackson Ude, as a fraud, mercenary and paid political hireling.

Since Ramon Olorunwa Abbas aka Hushpuppi was linked to PDP leaders, people like Ude and his paymasters have been desperate to divert attention. Pictures of Hushpuppi and PDP leaders like Atiku Abubakar, Yakubu Dogara, Dino Melaye among others leaked after the failed Dubai strategy before, during and after the 2019 election. The current vexations against Prof. Osinbajo, a man a wide cross section of Nigerians have come to respect and admire is part of unending desperation of political interests fearful of another round of defeat from the hands of Nigerians come 2023.

BOSF totally dismisses the claims by Ude that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was mentioned during a Presidential Panel grilling of the suspended boss of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu.

“Jackson Ude is nothing but a fake news merchant and a fraud. He has a long history of spreading falsehood and lies against people with the aim of blackmailing them for money,” the group said.

“On the allegation labeled against Magu, it is on record that the suspended EFCC chairman never mentioned the Vice President’s name and that all the news by Ude was concocted. Not only is he not close to the proceedings, he lacks credibility of any kind.

Here is a few catalogue of some of the fraudulent activities and lies by Ude:

 Not many remember that this element called Ude once tried to dupe former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala after threatening to publish fake news about her ownership of a billion naira mansion in Abuja using Chinua-Ogwu, a dismissed police officer to perpetuate his criminal act.

So this is not the first time Ude will claim an authoritative source gave him an information. It was a lie then and he is still an active liar. 

Ude also once claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari and late Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, were secretly flown out of Nigeria for COVID-19 treatment. He tells this lies with a straight face and after each and every of his lies are exposed, he keeps silence for a while and then come with a new salacious offering. Nigerians have come to realise his folly and should pay no attention to this son of a gun!

This element, Ude also once swindled Mrs Oyindamola Amuka (wife of Uncle Sam Amuka, Vanguard Publisher) of £20,000.00.

He also once claimed via his Twitter account that former Lagos governor, Babatunde Fashola had been dropped from the list of ministers compiled by President Buhari.

If that was not enough, he tweeted a picture and wrote categorically that the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele had been sacked.

There are countless more cases where he claimed an authoritative source told him this or that. He once claimed that the names of Custom and NPA bosses were among the ministerial nominees and in another instance that leader of proscribed IPOB, Nnamdi Kalu is being detained inside Nigerian Navy war ship off coast in Bayelsa.

All were lies, he concocts from his Bronx, New York base, where we would now be seeking means to bring him to some accountability. We shall be making international contacts on the best strategies to properly and legally go after Ude and especially showcase him in the US as an illegal operative and fraudulent character.

Ude is a petty criminal and should be treated as one. We urge Nigerians to disregard this new Dubai strategy from a petty criminal like Ude, they are only trying to divert attention.

In the last two weeks, PDP leaders have been linked to Hushpuppi and they are desperate to deflect attention to something else, so they believe that mentioning Osinbajo is the right fake news strategy but they have failed.

The Vice President’s integrity is rock solid and no amount of fake news can undo his reputation. He built it over the years and has been described as an upright man all across the world.

BOSF calls on well meaning Nigerians to understand what is going on and ignore all fake and evil news designed to cause confusion and mislead.

Signed:
Liberty Olawale Badmus
National Coordinator
Buhari Osinbajo Solidarity Front

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NSITF Management Denies Alleged Suspension, Says Minister Overreached Himself

The Management of NSITF read the press release published by some media outfits that the President has suspended the management of NSITF and announced same.

We wish to state that President Muhammadu Buhari has not suspended the management of NSITF and did not make such announcement. The person mentioned in the media report is not a staff of the President.

For clarity, we need to mention that we received a letter from the Hon Minister of Labour and Employment Sen Chris Ngige stating that he is doing a procurement audit on NSITF and that Management is suspended.

We note that the Minister’s action is against President Buhari’s directive through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation that stated clearly that no Minister should suspend or sack any head of agency appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The memo stated that Ministers should follow procedures by going through the governing board of the agency that will now make recommendations to the SGF to act if there is need. We are sure that President Buhari will not be part of any illegality and lack of due process.

Meanwhile, the management of NSITF is open to any form of investigation by the appropriate agency as there is nothing that the management will hide or is hiding. We have been in receipt of several letters by the minister and several petitions written against NSITF by the Minister of Labour, Sen Chris Ngige and we will make all communications available to the public and relevant authorities.

The Management of NSITF is still discharging its duty as appointed by Mr President.

NSITF Management.

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COVID-19: Group Refutes Allegation Of Inefficient Distribution Of Palliatives

Our attention has been drawn to a Press Release of Monday, 4 th May 2020 captioned “INEFFICIENT COORDINATION AND MONITORING MARS FCTA’S COVID-19 PALLIATIVES DISTRIBUTION EXERCISE “, authored and signed by Ezenwa Nwagwu Co convener “Say No Campaign” a sister anti-corruption and transparency group on the distribution of palliative items in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja by the Federal Capital Territory Administration. He noted that the process of palliative distribution was keenly monitored through its community citizen’s observers and Say no campaign anti-corruption network in the 6 LGAs of FCTA In the said press release Comrade Nwagwu made the following observations, to wit:

Say No Campaign commend the Federal Capital Territory Administration for its COVID-19 Palliatives distribution exercise in the 6 area councils of the FCT and particularly commends its effective exercise in Abaji;

We would like the administration to note some issues that blurred its efforts at achieving a transparent, orderly and accountable distribution, and make effort to address them; citizens are concerned on the modalities deployed by the FCTA in the distribution of the palliatives across the 6 area councils;

Who are the beneficiaries; What was the criteria for selection What exactly were the contents of the package What was the intended duration for household use; When will the second round of the Palliative distribution commence who will benefit from the second round of distribution in the FCT;

The distribution reportedly lacked credibility, transparency and accountability That the conduct of the exercise as with its lapses remained invariably the same all through; replicating inefficient strategy from one area council to the other;

lack of proper monitoring by the FCTA to ensure fair and equitable distribution of items;

lack of a comprehensive beneficiary lists to ensure priority for the most vulnerable and to provide orderliness in the distribution of items, Noting that the relief items were not distributed based on the beneficiary list earlier drafted, which was meant to document the most vulnerable in the community. This list was discarded; hence, indiscriminate sharing was carried out initially and later restricted to the indigenes.

observed were nepotism, inconsistency in observing social distancing regulations Non-indigenes who are resident in Kuje were reportedly discriminated against. This was because according to the report, the distribution officials realized the items were not sufficient for the entire households in their wards.

lack of effective communication raising suspicions and causing speculations

There were some areas, of course, that the FCTA did improve, the most obvious was the stoppage of night sharing and the use of ‘selection pass’ as a determinant of eligibility. Having performed the same exercise in 5 area councils, we had thought that the FCTA would have learnt from its mistakes and become fully experienced to ensure AMAC was a great success.

However, that would be asking for too much as indigent Community members are still waiting and expecting the items to get to them as promised by the officials.

There were no reports of distribution exercise carried out in some major areas like Lugbe, Lokogoma and Mpape, despite the number of villages and vulnerable people in those areas.

Where distribution took place, there were uneven number of items shared; inconsistent social distancing efforts; and reports of councilors politicizing the exercise as they received the items for their wards in private vehicles which some observers perceived as remuneration for voting them to office?

In AMAC that the quantity of items largely fell short of the expectant households despite an earlier submission of the total number of expectant households of vulnerable members to the council, as remarked by a particular resident Some Communities received a little above half of the numbers quoted, while others received more.

This resulted in the scramble for the palliatives experienced in some communities when it was obvious that the items were insufficient Mr Nwagwu argued that beyond the Minister’s announcement of 100 thousand bags of rice and 100 thousand bags of condiments, there were no known means of proving or verifying the actual number delivered or distributed in each area councils.

We are expecting a comprehensive report of the exercise, which will include, the amount earmarked for and spent on the entire process, the verified number of items delivered to each area council, details of logistics, vendors and the procurement processes employed.

We also expect the FCTA to conduct a thorough review of the process as a means of reflection and self-evaluation, to question it’s strategy, it’s coordination exercise as well as the initiative of some area council to introduce and secretly share, in the dead of the night, a ‘selection pass’ for community members.

It is the most responsible thing to do, and we expect that the FCTA will deliver in the interest of accountability.

Consequent upon the assurance by the FCTA minister of state, Dr. Ramatu Aliyu, of a second round of distribution, we urge the minister to consider seriously the issue of beneficiary list, rightly updated for the exercise

Efforts should be made to ensure individuals who were unfairly exempted from the first round are rightly served in the second round. Active monitoring, at both council and community levels should be carried out by the FCTA officials, to ensure a fair and unbiased distribution is carried out;

more hands can be deployed for this exercise We also urge the Minister to employ a simultaneous distribution across the area council.

The almost three weeks duration for the distribution, in a lockdown, only served to further agitate community members who are already frustrated about the quantity of the materials to be received, stalling the process can only aggravate tension and crisis. Social distancing must not be further compromised as Covid-19 is yet to be contained.

The FCTA must enforce it and mandate every area council to submit a working plan that takes into serious consideration the issues of social distancing before they can receive their items 2.

These observations are indeed welcome as it is expected of a pro anti-corruption watchdog. However it is also a correlative duty of us to engage stakeholders and query them before coming to the above damning and speculative conclusions which can indeed derail not only an on-gong process, but then cast aspersion on its credibility and sincere efforts to improve as expected

The struggle a pro-democracy, anti-corruption and good governance initiative would want to note its observation on the above issues raised and further state its experiences on this exercise being among the civil Society, community based groups that participated in the process.

We make these submissions with all sense of responsibility and patriotism in line with our cardinal objectives of “struggle aimed and freedom, enshrined by good governance and accountability”

We shall take up the observations seriatim: i. Say No Campaign commend the Federal Capital Territory Administration for its COVID-19 Palliatives distribution exercise in the 6 area councils of the FCT and particularly commends its effective exercise in Abaji;

We join SNC to commend the Federal Capital Territory Administration for the Palliative distribution as even developed countries are indeed rattled all round with the onset of the Pandemic.

We also note the effective distribution of the palliative not only the global flag off at Abaji but indeed all other Area Councils but with the hitches by miscreants and paid tugs who set out to sabotage the process in Bwari Area Council but was contained.

We would like the administration to note some issues that blurred its efforts at achieving a transparent, orderly and accountable distribution, and make effort to address them;

We view this conclusion by Comrade Nwagwu as not only being judgmental but indeed premeditated having not directly participated in the whole process.

It is also one that’s unfair having commended the FCTA in its flag off at Abaji and with the emergency nature of the operations and obvious structural and logistic infrastructure, it was not meant to go totally unhitched iii. Citizens are concerned on the modalities deployed by the FCTA in the distribution of the palliatives across the 6 area councils;

It will interest SNC to note that we with other Civil society groups were involved in the activities signaling the distribution.

Consultations were held across party lines, civil society groups, religious bodies, and youth groups, People with disabilities, market groups/traders, and council officials.

These efforts were to engender buy-in of all the groups and to ensure standardized modalities for the distribution.

The Area councils were directed to set up committees involving these groups at the Council levels and ward levels to ensure distribution and Monitoring.

This structure is exclusive of the Ministerial monitoring teams and distribution team which were mutually exclusive and independent of these other tiers of distribution and monitoring.

The rationale in this enlarge monitoring and distribution levels is to check abuses whether political, religious or ethnic and to ensure distribution in accordance to lists as submitted by the Committee at the council level having the above stated Membership.

We must note that the various royal fathers also ensured the observance of best practices in their domain.

Every Area Council with its officials and above stated Committees approached the FCTA at any of its designated warehouses at Area 10, TUNGA Maje, Kubwa and three other sites on stated dates to pick its Palliative items in trucks pre-engaged by the FCTA.

The items are loaded according to each ward and its numbers in the list. This is monitored by the committees from the Councils and wards.

With the support combined teams of the Nigerian Police Force, Civil Defence Corps, Federal Road Safety officials, and Department of State Security operatives are taken straight to the wards.

Distributions were done Door to Door. It is further important to state here that every Area Council was enjoined to own the process by these modalities as we must note that it is humans that run processes and thus must be moderated to achieve best results. We witnessed these events and we speak first hand

Who are the beneficiaries; The beneficiaries we must not are the vulnerable as identified by local officials, the FCTA social welfare Department along its social welfare initiatives that involves orphanages, destitute, People with disabilities and the likes.

The Hon. Minister of State made it clear that it is not everyone that is entitled to the Palliative. So that explains some misconception that it is meant for everyone just because there is a lockdown.

We witnessed daily feeding of destitutes at the Old Parade ground, feeding at markets and distribution of Palliatives at the Army barracks.

v. What was the criteria for selection The criteria we have highlighted above in (iii).

This is one designed by the FCTA in determining the vulnerable and challenged persons in their community as signified in the list produced by these broad based committees and monitored by same and the FCTA monitoring committees and Extension and Zonal officers.

As noted above, distribution of Palliatives were also made at social Welfare extant sites in such councils and identified Persons with Disabilities as they have members in every Council that participated

vi. What exactly were the contents of the package We observed that for every bag of 5kg Rice, there was a complementary sack containing salt,3kg bag beans,2kg bag Garri, bottle of groundnut oil, bag of sugar,3kg of Semovita.

All were sealed. At some point at loading certain consignments were identified and defective by the Quality Control Department of the FCTA and the supplier was asked to change them. Such defects that go to packaging are experienced at such emergency and mass procurement and the need for quality checks is indeed necessary for accountability as was done.

vii. What was the intended duration for household use; It is indeed comical to seek for duration of such distributions for Households as no one knows the life span of the effect of the Pandemic that has led to a lockdown, but the FCTA has noted that it is going for another round of distribution, taking into account its review of the first. On enquiries by us, it noted that it was meant to support households for at least 10days, pending subsequent distributions and end of the lockdown. Government is supportive while the Lockdown lasts. Any responsible government will take up its responsibility as at when due. It is for us as watchdogs to hold it accountable and ensure transparency and best practice.

When will the second round of the Palliative distribution commence This the FCTA will have to provide answers to after reviews and assessments from responses like ours.

ix. Who will benefit from the second round of distribution in the FCT; The Hon. Minister of State has noted that that is a continuous process as long as the Lockdown lasts but every new stage will cater for such others either independent or in addition to earlier beneficiaries. Government resources is not infinite and we must hold it accountable for same

x. The distribution reportedly lacked credibility, transparency and accountability This assertion by SNC is a paradox and indeed a sharp and suspicious departure from its noted successes but for its third party reported and faulty hitches in Kuje.

We also noted the overzealousness of certain individuals in Kubwa that led to our advice for certain steps to be taken by the Council CHAIRMAN to thwart such sabotage. It is thus an overkill to baptize such a process as hitherto enumerated as lacking in credibility, transparency and accountability.

Our monitors in the three epicenters of FCT, Lagos and Ogun State that were locked down has noted that only in the FCT did officials of state go the extra mile to work out effective distribution ,which succeeded.

Let us review other issues as the FCTA cannot be found wanting on this critical Public policy drivers as even the Honorable Minister of State placed a curse on anyone that tampered with the process to the detriment of the state and beneficiaries

xi. That the conduct of the exercise as with its lapses remained invariably the same all through; replicating inefficient strategy from one area council to the other; My fellow Comrade at this point became economical with the truth after hailing a wonderful flag off but then relied on third party reporters who ought to have brought any such deficiencies that he claims trialed the process to the notice of senior officials of the FCTA on monitoring. Was SNC sincerely there to ensure success or to ensure failure? We as watchdogs were there to ensure that the Nigerian people got the benefit of funds spent in their name and followed up on lapses for improvement. The strategies which we witnessed and monitored as noted in(X) above proved largely successful. It can be improved upon.

lack of proper monitoring by the FCTA to ensure fair and equitable distribution of items;

This is most uncharitable as officials of the FCTA, Civil society groups and critical stakeholders who defied the risks of infection to them and their loved ones followed ,monitored and reported on this process, which reports are still coming in.

This is most unfair and we believe you at this point are doing a hatchet job. Note that officials of FCTA also carried enumeration of houses and marked same. dis your sources not report that?

xiii. Lack of a comprehensive beneficiary lists to ensure priority for the most vulnerable and to provide orderliness in the distribution of items, Noting that the relief items were not distributed based on the beneficiary list earlier drafted, which was meant to document the most vulnerable in the community.

This list was discarded; hence, indiscriminate sharing was carried out initially and later restricted to the indigenes. This report is false, unverifiable and indeed wicked as none of the broad-based members of the various layers of the distribution committees, we the CSO’s, traditional rulers made this outlandish observations. List was compiled as noted above and owned by all the stakeholders. Did they all including CSO’s, abandon their persuasions to compromise? Please be circumspect in your postulations.

xiv. Observed were nepotism, inconsistency in observing social distancing regulations. Non-indigenes who are resident in Kuje were reportedly discriminated against. This was because according to the report, the distribution officials realized the items were not sufficient for the entire households in their wards. Please let us start speaking truth to ourselves.

We must always bring in the dividing lines in our dealings as a people. Community leaders, tribal heads in these communities led in the identification of individuals and the distribution of items. You seem to sing the same song of a fake bag of bad palliatives that was shared on Social media which did not have the security features we witnessed on the original packages. We stand for a united, peaceful and just Nigeria. We urge you to please present to the FCTA evidence that goes to show this, not arranged. On monitoring, efforts were made to ensure that beneficiaries stayed home and that they received their items at home. However in isolated cases especially in Kubwa, residents breached social distancing protocols and the process was suspended.

Lack of effective communication raising suspicions and causing speculations We must note that contrary to our push alongside other CSO’s for the distribution to commence immediately, the administration delayed to get proper data from the Councils and buy in to ensure proper door to door distribution, security of items and officials of state.

These much were communicated as the Hon. Minister of State had varying levels of consultation with critical stakeholders from traditional rulers, to politicians, youths, market women, people with disabilities, etc.

Moreover it was important to restrict movement in some places to forestall breach of peace and NCDC PROTOCOLS. xvi. There were some areas, of course, that the FCTA did improve;

the most obvious was the stoppage of night sharing and the use of ‘selection pass’ as a determinant of eligibility.

The FCTA directed its officials, security, and the communities that no distribution continued after 5pm on any day. That was why items were picked directly from stores to the wards and if it gets in late, the Wards secure same as was the case in Kubwa. Though you made some commendation but night distribution was never the case xvii.

Having performed the same exercise in 5 area councils, we had thought that the FCTA would have learnt from its mistakes and become fully experienced to ensure AMAC was a great success.

However, that would be asking for too much as indigent Community members are still waiting and expecting the items to get to them as promised by the officials.

There were no reports of distribution exercise carried out in some major areas like Lugbe, Lokogoma and Mpape, despite the number of villages and vulnerable people in those areas.

This is unfounded as distribution by AMAC has been largely successful. Its plan was clinical.

The Council officials are so elated; Note that the distribution will still continue as even AMAC had different level of palliatives at the City center before its Palliative distribution got to it.

No one can be magically be experienced in this global state we find ourselves, it is our collective duty as partners to guide development partners and demand due process at every point.

It’s an ongoing process. Let us ensure it gets better xviii. Where distribution took place, there were uneven number of items shared; inconsistent social distancing efforts; and reports of councilors politicizing the exercise as they received the items for their wards in private vehicles which some observers perceived as remuneration for voting them to office.

It will be useful if you had gone forth to produce evidence of any official that acted in such a manner since you ought to have had your monitors on ground.

We are aware of the possibility of further arrangement of cars for pickups at areas with difficult terrain which we monitored alongside FCTA officials.

But the insinuation cum allegation by you is indeed worrisome and we charge you to please come forth with proof as bad is bad xix.

In AMAC that the quantity of items largely fell short of the expectant households despite an earlier submission of the total number of expectant households of vulnerable members to the council, as remarked by a particular resident Acquaint yourself with paragraph (iii) above.

No Council took less than its listed households as they were handed over Ward by Ward and distributed as stated hereinabove. Please be guided xx. Some Communities received a little above half of the numbers quoted, while others received more.

This resulted in the scramble for the palliatives experienced in some communities when it was obvious that the items were insufficient See paragraph (xix) above and be guided

xxi. Mr Nwagwu argued that beyond the Minister’s announcement of 100 thousand bags of rice and 100 thousand bags of condiments, there were no known means of proving or verifying the actual number delivered or distributed in each area councils.

Mr. Nwagwu, you will do our community some good by presenting facts that are verifiable and consistent. We have just led you through the process of collection of items and its distribution.

We all have our records and I’m aware the FCTA has kept its records robust.

Why don’t you carry out your tasks diligently and clinically before going to press? Even the Area Councils have these records

We are expecting a comprehensive report of the exercise, which will include, the amount earmarked for and spent on the entire process, the verified number of items delivered to each area council, details of logistics, vendors and the procurement processes employed. It is preposterous to expect a public institution not to have a report for such an activity just the way one would have expected you to be diligent in producing yours. We also have ours. You can demand these details from it through the necessary process. xxiii. We also expect the FCTA to conduct a thorough review of the process as a means of reflection and self-evaluation, to question it’s strategy, it’s coordination exercise as well as the initiative of some area council to introduce and secretly share, in the dead of the night, a ‘selection pass’ for community members. It is the most responsible thing to do, and we expect that the FCTA will deliver in the interest of accountability. We entirely support such a review process by the FCTA. We further suggest the involvement of stakeholders by an enlargement of more Civil Society Groups to strengthen future processes. Kudos on this. xxiv. Consequent upon the assurance by the FCTA minister of state, Dr. Ramatu Aliyu, of a second round of distribution, we urge the minister to consider seriously the issue of beneficiary list, rightly updated for the exercise There is need to further review such lists as it can never be water tight. Human existence is dynamic. We join hands with SNC to call for continues review of such data. xxv. Efforts should be made to ensure individuals who were unfairly exempted from the first round are rightly served in the second round. Active monitoring, at both council and community levels should be carried out by the FCTA officials, to ensure a fair and unbiased distribution is carried out; more hands can be deployed for this exercise Monitoring should be re-enforced as more monitors should be engaged. We also suggest the arrest and prosecution of anyone caught subverting the process as it is criminal. These are infact the whole essence of having security officials guard these items. No one was arrested in the Kubwa debacle. xxvi. We also urge the Minister to employ a simultaneous distribution across the area council. The almost three weeks duration for the distribution, in a lockdown, only served to further agitate community members who are already frustrated about the Page 11 quantity of the materials to be received, stalling the process can only aggravate tension and crisis. Simultaneous distribution will raise security concerns and huge logistics. It is possible but undesirable and these may lead to coordination issues. Eventually we will be ripe for such systemic upgrades but for now it may pose a challenge to the authorities from our experience in the field. However its efficacy with regards to execution time can be improved going forward. xxvii. Social distancing must not be further compromised as Covid-19 is yet to be contained. The FCTA must enforce it and mandate every area council to submit a working plan that takes into serious consideration the issues of social distancing before they can receive their items Social distancing is one anthem that officials of the FCTA preach all the time. It is also our duty knowing our history as a people to preach this. 3. We have taken pain to put some of these records straight as our own social responsibility as a responsible body. The process and the problem is novel. It has taken humanity unawares. However we enjoin the government and the FCTA to ensure that due process is followed in all that it does and do take the responsibility of consistently briefing the public on its activities. We commend the enforcement Team for the lockdown as they are doing a wonderful job in ensuring compliance. We further enjoin security operatives to cause investigations over any allegation of diversion, fraud or sabotage of this process.

Thank you

Comrade Abdulakarim Hassan Muazu

Convener Thursday May 7, 2020

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Nigerian Army Approves New Postings And Appointments

In the rekindle spirit of professionalism, the Nigerian Army has released the postings and appointments of some affected senior officers.

The posting which was approved by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt Gen TY Buratai is a routine/normal exercise intended to reinvigorate the system for greater professional effectiveness and efficiency.

The major highlight of the posting includes – the posting and appointment of Maj Gen ACC Agundu from Special Task Force (STF) Operation SAFE HAVEN Jos to Nigerian Army Resource Centre (NARC) Abuja as Senior Research Fellow, Major General HI Bature from Defence Headquarters (DHQ) Defence Liaison Office National Assembly Abuja to Army Headquarters Department of Civil Military Affairs and appointed Chief of Civil-Military Affairs, Maj Gen UM Mohammed from Nigerian Army Property Limited (NAPL) to the Office of the Chief of Army Staff and appointed Special Adviser Nigerian Army University Biu/Deputy Chairman Board of Trustees NAPL, while the erstwhile Special Adviser Nigerian Army University Biu Maj Gen CC Okonkwo now redeployed to STF Operation SAFE HAVEN Jos and appointed Commander, Maj Gen F Yahaya from Headquarters 1 Division Kaduna to Headquarters Theatre Command Operation LAFIYA DOLE (OPLD) Maiduguri and appointed Commander, while Maj Gen OG Adeniyi is redeployed from Headquarters Theatre Command OPLD Maiduguri to NARC as Senior Research Fellow, Maj Gen S Idris from Sector 2 OPLD Damaturu- Yobe State redeployed to DHQ Abuja and appointed Director Liaison.

Others affected include – Maj General AA Adesope from Office of the Chief of Army Staff Directorate of Audit and Financial Management to NAPL and appointed Group Managing Director, Maj Gen MG Ali from Headquarters Theatre Command OPLD Maiduguri to Headquarters 4 Special Forces Command Doma, Nasarawa State as Commander while the erstwhile Chief of Civil-Military Affairs AHQ Abuja Maj Gen US Mohammed has been redeployed to 1 Division Kaduna and appointed General Officer Commanding.

Similarly, Brig Gen HI Daniel from the Defunct Army Special Forces Command Maiduguri to Headquarters Training and Doctrine Command Minna and appointed Director Army Training Support, Brig Gen BE Onyeuko is to remain in DHQ Abuja as Acting Director Defence Media Operation, Brig Gen NM Jega from Training and Doctrine Command Minna to Infantry Corps Centre Jaji and appointed Chief of Staff, Brig Gen LA Araba from Nigerian Army Welfare Limited by Guaranty Abuja now redeployed to Sector 2 OPLD Damaturu, Yobe State as Ag Commander, Brig Gen VO Ita from DHQ, Abuja to Headquarters 402 Special Forces Brigade Azare and appointed Commander while Brig Gen JAL Jimoh from Sector 3 Artillery Brigade OPLD Monguno to Headquarters 31 Brigade Minna and appointed Commander and Brig Gen GTO Ajetunmobi has been redeployed from 31 Brigade Minna to Nigeria Army Welfare Limited by Guaranty, Abuja as Executive Director Operation.

Others are – Brig Gen LG Lepdung from Headquarters Infantry Corps Centre Jaji to DHQ Abuja and appointed Deputy Director Procurement (Logistics), Brig Gen MO Ihanuwaze to remain in Office of the Chief of Army Staff Directorate of Audit and Financial Management as Acting Director, Brig Gen EC Obi – Osang from the defunct Headquarters 707 Special Forces’ Brigade Makurdi to Headquarters 401 Special Forces’ Brigade Makurdi as Commander while Brig Gen GM Mutkut is redeployed from the Defunct Nigerian Army Amphibious Command OPLD Baga to Headquarters 403 Amphibious Brigade Baga and appointed Commander and Brig Gen JR Lar from Nigerian Army School of Artillery Kachia to Sector 3 Artillery Brigade OPLD Monguno as Commander.

Also, Colonel DJ Abdullahi from the defunct Headquarters Nigerian Army Special Forces’ Command Maiduguri to Headquarters 4 Special Forces’ Command Doma Nasarawa State and appointed Acting Chief of Staff, Colonel EC Emere from Nigerian Army Archives to Nigerian Military School Zaria as Deputy Commandant and Col MO Agi is to remain in Headquarters Nigerian Army Armour Corps Bauchi as Acting Chief of Staff among others.

All the postings and appointments take effect from the 1st of April 2020.

While wishing all the officers well in their respective appointments, the Chief of Army Staff enjoins them to take their new responsibilities/appointments seriously and discharge all duties professionally with utmost loyalty to the Nation and the Service.

SAGIR MUSA
Colonel
Acting Director Army Public Relations
31 March 2020

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AHI Trains 60 Girls Leaders In Lagos

Acknowledging the role and importance of adolescent girls in achieving inclusive and sustainable development is crucial to ensuring progress especially in all issues affecting them directly such as their education, health, human rights and dignity.

As part of effort in amplifying girls’ voices, Action Health Incorporated (AHI) with support from Rise Up trained sixty (60) girl leaders ages 13-18 from across Lagos State on leadership and public advocacy during a 5 Days’ workshop held in Lagos. 

The training was focused on strengthening the capacity of the girls on evidence-based advocacy, media engagement, storytelling, public dialogues to raise discourse and demand for change on girls’ issues in Lagos State.

Speaking about the training, Funso Bukoye, Programme officer AHI, said that over times; girls’ voices have been clamp down especially on issues that concern them. But this training has raised a new generation of girls that will speak up for themselves and other girls in their communities.

Following this training, these girls are expected to engage decision-makers and policy-makers at multiple levels on girls’ issues in Lagos State.

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