Four Nigerians Make Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative Top 10 Finalists List

The Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) has identified the top 10 finalists for its grand finale event taking place in Accra, Ghana on 16 November 2019. Among them are four Nigerian netpreneurs.

The finalists were chosen from nearly 10,000 applicants from 50 African countries. After months of judging and deliberation, the finalists were shortlisted and will now go on to pitch their business directly to four finale judges – Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba Group and the Jack Ma Foundation; Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group; Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Founder/CEO of The Chair Centre Group; and Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba Group – during a televised finale event called “Africa’s Business Heroes”. The winners will receive a share of the $1 million USD grant prize pool.

The Jack Ma Foundation will host a full-day Africa Netpreneur Summit, an invitation-only conference where African and global entrepreneurs, investors, educators, and leaders will convene to discuss how best to enable entrepreneurship and the digital economy across the continent. Guest speakers at the conference will include Ban Ki-moon, Former UN Secretary General and Co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens. The conference will be followed by the “Africa’s Business Heroes” event in the evening.

“We launched the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative to identify top entrepreneurs from across the continent, not only to reward them but to inspire a whole new generation of potential gamechangers for Africa. I have been inspired by the entrepreneurs I met in Africa, many of whom are dealing with the same challenges we faced when we started Alibaba years ago. I truly believe the potential of Africa’s business heroes is limitless,” said Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba Group and the Jack Ma Foundation.

“Africa’s Business Heroes” will air on November 29. More details of how to tune in to the program will be released in the coming weeks. Highlights from the Africa Netpreneur Summit will also be shared via ANPI social media handles. Follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The diverse group of 10 finalists represent a range of industries and experience.

Meet the finalists:

Waleed Abd El Rahman, CEO, Mumm (Egypt)

Mumm is a virtual cafeteria for businesses, harnessing the power of shared economy through technology, cloud kitchens and an online marketplace for home-based entrepreneurial cooks. Waleed is a seasoned entrepreneur with 12+ years in food tech. He is also the former founding managing director of MIT Technology Review-Middle East and a member of the Advisory Committee of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community.   

Ayodeji Arikawe, co-founder, Thrive Agric (Nigeria)

Thrive Agric is an agricultural technology-enabled company that works with smallholder farmers to enable them with greater access to finance, as well as improve their income and harvest distribution. Today, Thrive Agric works with 22,000 farmers in Nigeria, but the company is aiming to build the largest network of farmers in Africa. They are on a mission to “build an Africa that feeds the world and Itself.” Ayodeji is an accomplished software engineer and serves as both co-founder and CTO for Thrive Agric.

Temie Giwa-Tubosun, founder and CEO, LifeBank (Nigeria)

LifeBank is a medical distribution company that uses data and technology to help health workers discover critical medical products. The company has saved over 5,300 lives in Nigeria. Founder Temie has over 10 years of health-management experience with Department for International Development, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Development Programme and Lagos State. In 2014, BBC listed her as one of the 100 women changing the world. She was also recognized by Quartz and the World Economic Forum.

Mahmud Johnson, founder and CEO, J-Palm (Liberia)

J-Palm Liberia (JPL) was founded with the goal of making premium consumer goods while creating income-earning and employment opportunities through sustainable palm-oil production. When JPL was first founded, palm oil kernels had been going to waste in Liberia, but founder and CEO Mahmud Johnson found a way to innovate productive uses for this overlooked natural resource. Today, JPL has created a range of beauty and clean-energy products, built a robust network of partnerships across the country, and helped to create jobs for hundreds of Liberians. Mahmud holds a degree in economics from Dartmouth College and is a 2017 recipient of the Order of the Star of Africa conferred by the President of Liberia.

Kevine Kagirimpundu, co-founder and CEO, UZURI K&Y (Rwanda)

UZURI K&Y is an African-inspired ecofriendly shoe brand established in Rwanda. Kevine is the co-founder and CEO of UZURI K&Y, and she is passionate about ending global waste while also leveraging her creativity to create employment opportunities for her community. UZURI has made a direct impact on more than 750 people through employment and skills training. In addition to obtaining her degree in creative design, she has participated in numerous entrepreneurship programs to enhance her skills in business development. In 2017, she was recognized as the winner of the Made in Rwanda Enterprise of the Year.

Christelle Kwizera, founder, Water Access Rwanda (Rwanda)

Water Access Rwanda pioneered INUMA™?, a Safe Water Microgrid that reclaims broken boreholes and transforms them into state-of-the-art solar-powered water kiosks and pipelines. The water is sold for $1/1000 litre and creates off-farm jobs for youth. Currently, Water Access Rwanda employs 68 people, and allows 47,612 customers to access water daily across 86 stations. Christelle is a mechanical engineer and was named INCO’s woman entrepreneur of the year in 2019, among other high-profile awards.

Dr. Tosan J. Mogbeyiteren, founder, Black Swan (Nigeria)

WeMUNIZE by Black Swan Tech Ltd is helping to solve Nigeria’s public-health challenges by deploying an automated scheduling, GPS-enabled software-as-a-service that uses a combination of digital record keeping and community engagement to increase birth registration and early childhood immunizations. Black Swan is working with USAID Nigeria to expand WeMUNIZE coverage in northern Nigeria. Tosan is a public-health specialist with more than 13 years of experience in deploying technology to solve development challenges in Nigeria.

Chibuzo Opara, co-founder, DrugStoc (Nigeria)

DrugStoc is a cloud-based pharmaceutical IT and logistics platform focused on eliminating counterfeit drugs, expanding access to pharmaceutical products and improving transparency in pricing for healthcare providers and the product supply chain. Chibuzo is a health economist and medical doctor with over 12 years of experience in the health sector. He has worked with the World Health Organization, the World Bank, and the International Finance Corporation.

Dr. Omar Sakr, founder and CEO, Nawah-Scientific (Egypt)

Nawah-Scientific is the first private research center in the MENA region focused on natural and biomedical sciences that offers analytical and scientific services online and on-demand. Dr. Sakr has 13 years of pharmaceutical experience, has worked as an adjunct assistant professor of entrepreneurship at Zewail City of Science and Technology, and holds scientific and business awards for innovative product design.

Moulaye Taboure, co-founder and CEO, Afrikrea (Cote D’Ivoire)

Afrikrea.com is the leading “Made of Africa” fashion, art and handicraft online marketplace. The marketplace has processed more than $4 million in sales across 101 countries and supports merchants from all over the world. After growing up in Mali and working for companies like PricewaterhouseCoopers and Alstom, Moulaye now dedicates his time to building the global infrastructure for African culture.

–ENDS–

About the Finale Judges

Jack Ma, Founder and Director, Alibaba Group; Founder of Jack Ma Foundation; United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Advocate
Jack Ma founded Alibaba Group in 1999 and served as Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group from 1999 to September 2019. He served as Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group from 1999 to May 2013.

Jack currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the World Economic Forum, President of the General Association of Zhejiang Entrepreneurs and Chairman of the China Entrepreneur Club. He has been appointed by the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres as Co-Chair of the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation since 2018.

Jack graduated from Hangzhou Normal University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English education.

Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman, Econet Group

Strive Masiyiwais the Founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever and National Geographic, and the Global Advisory boards of Stanford University and the Council on Foreign Relations. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also served as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa until August this year (now Chair Emeritus). In September 2019, Masiyiwa was awarded the prestigious World Food Prize Medallion.

Strive is a Co-Founder of the Carbon War Room and the Global Business Coalition on Education, is Co-Chair of Pathways for Prosperity Commission and serves as Commissioner on the Global Commission on Adaptation. Strive also serves on the Advisory Board of the Bloomberg New Economy Forum and drives continent-wide digital transformation as the only private sector member of the SMART Africa Board.

Since 2013, Strive has devoted his time each week to mentoring the next generation of African entrepreneurs through his Facebook page, which has a followership of over four million young people from across the continent and the world. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signatories of the Giving Pledge.

Strive has been selected twice, in 2014 and 2017, to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” and has received honorary doctorates from Morehouse College, Yale University, Nelson Mandela University and Cardiff University.

Ibukun Awosika, Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria Limited

Ibukun Awosika is the Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and most valuable banking brand. She is also the founder and CEO of The Chair Centre Group.

Ibukun chairs a number of corporate and not-for-profit boards amongst which are: Convention on Business Integrity, Digital Jewel Limited, House of Tara International and Afterschool Graduate Development Centre. She sits on the boards of Cadbury Nigeria Plc., International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge, Imperial Gate School and Peniel Apartments Limited.

Ibukun is a graduate of chemistry from University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Nigeria. She is also an alumna of the Chief Executive Programme of Lagos Business School, the Global Executive MBA of IESE Business School, Barcelona-Spain, and Global CEO Programme of Wharton, IESE and China European International Business School.

As a fellow of the African Leadership Initiative, Aspen Global Leadership Network, Institute of Directors and Society for Corporate Governance Nigeria, Ibukun, through her projects aspires to use her opportunities in life to help entrepreneurs to create jobs for the large unemployed youthful population. She is a member of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, served on the National Job Creation Committee, and sits on the International Advisory Board of IESE Business School, Barcelona-Spain and the Governing Council of Pan-Atlantic University.

Ibukun is a multiple award-winning entrepreneur and the first Nigerian recipient of the prestigious International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge Award as a nominee of the US Department of State in 2008.

Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman, Alibaba Group

Joe Tsai joined Alibaba Group in 1999 as a member of the founding team and has served on the Board of Directors since the company’s inception. He was Chief Financial Officer until 2013 and is currently Executive Vice Chairman. He serves on the Investment Committees of Alibaba Group and Ant Financial, and is a founding member of the Alibaba Partnership.

From 1995 to 1999, Joe was a private equity investor based in Hong Kong with Investor AB, the main investment vehicle of Sweden’s Wallenberg family. Prior to that, he was General Counsel of Rosecliff, Inc., a management buyout firm based in New York. From 1990 to 1993, Joe was an associate attorney in the tax group of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, a New York-based international law firm.

Joe is the governor of the Brooklyn Nets of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and chairman of Barclays Center. He is also the owner of the New York Liberty of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the San Diego Seals, a professional indoor lacrosse team in the National Lacrosse League (NLL).

Joe is qualified to practice law in the State of New York. He received his bachelor’s degree in Economics and East Asian Studies from Yale College and a juris doctor degree from Yale Law School.

###

About the ANPI

The ANPI is a philanthropic initiative spearheaded by the Jack Ma Foundation aimed at supporting and inspiring the next generation of African entrepreneurs across all sectors, who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future of the continent. For the next ten years, the ANPI will host the “Africa Business Heroes” show where ten finalists will compete in a pitch competition to win a share of $1 million USD in grant money. 

Media contact:

Bridget Lombard, Edelman

bridget.lombard@edelman.com

+27 (0)60 360 6271

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Troops Arrest Boko Haram Members, Rescue Kidnapped Victims In North East

As Troops intensify clearance operations within Operation LAFIYA DOLE Theatre, troops of 7 Division Garrison in conjunction with troops of Sector 1 Operation LAFIYA DOLE and elements of Nigerian Army Super Camp 4 while conducting clearance operation along GONI GAMBOMI, KADAMARI, MELIM, GONDORI and JANTILU in KAGA LGA of BORNO State rescued 15 persons who were apparently displaced by criminal insurgents. Among them were 8 adult males, one adult female and 6 children. Preliminary investigation reveals that they spent 3 days wondering in the bush trying to link up with any community where they could find succour. They were promptly evacuated and the adult females and children were handed over to NYSC IDP Camp while the adult males were handed over to 7 Military Intelligence Brigade for profiling and subsequent integration into the IDP Camp.

In the same vein, troops of 82 Div Task Force Battalion at Strong Response Area NGOSHE while conducting clearance operations in NGOSHE and PULKA general area in GWOZA LGA of BORNO State also rescued 12 locals. Among them were 2 female adults and 10 children. They were later screened, documented and handed over to officials of the International Organization for Migrants at PULKA IDP Camp.

In a related development, on 5th October 2019, troops deployed at NJIMTILO and DALORI in KONDUGA LGA and MAIDUGURI MUNICIPAL COUNCIL of BORNO State respectively conducted Operation POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION at various Check Points and Crossing Points. The operation was aimed at identifying and arresting fleeing BOKO HARAM criminals as well as their informants, sympathizers and logistics suppliers who are evidently finding the Theatre more and more untenable. The troops conducted thorough searches and screening of pedestrians and commuters moving in and out of MAIDUGURI MUNICIPAL COUNCIL along MAIDUGURI – DAMATURU – BAMA Road. Those suspected to have links with the criminal insurgents were further investigated at a military facility.

Similarly, troops while acting on information, arrested 9 male suspects in a hamlet in MAINOK general area. Preliminary investigation indicates that suspects are BOKO HARAM criminals’ spies. Suspects are currently undergoing further interrogation.

In an unprecedented display of camaraderie, and cooperation among the LAKE CHAD BASIN countries, the Theatre Commander Operation LAFIYA DOLE, Maj Gen OLUSEGUN ADENIYI, in company of Commander Sector 3 Operation LAFIYA DOLE, Maj Gen ABDULMALIK BIU and the Commander CHADIAN Defence Forces Col BOHKIT ALI of Multinational Joint Task Force conducted a joint fighting patrol to Strong Response Area (RA) GUBIO at about 12:00 noon on 6 October 2019. On arrival at the troops location at RA GUBIO, the 3 commanders took turn to congratulate the troops on their recent exploits against criminal elements within their Area of Responsibility and also enjoined them to remain steadfast in the fight against the criminal insurgents.

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt Gen TUKUR YUSUF BURATAI wishes to call on well – meaning Nigerians to continue to support the Nigerian Army with information to effectively tackle the myriad of the security challenges bedevilling our nation.

You are kindly requested to disseminate above information to the general public for awareness.

Thank you for your usual cooperation.

AMINU ILIYASU
Colonel
Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator
8 October 2019

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Deal Decisively With Criminals, Respect Human Rights, As Chief of Army Staff Addresses Troops in Zamfara Today

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai has once again directed troops fighting bandits, marauders and other criminals in Zamfara, katsina and Sokoto States among others to deal decisively with all criminal elements in their areas of operations.

General TY Buratai made the charge while addressing the troops at the Headquarters 1 Brigade in Gusau, Zamfara State.

He commended the troops for their commitment and professional disposition at sustaining and consolidating on the ongoing peace deal in the state and urged them to maintain aggressive posture against unrepentant bandits, kidnappers and cattle rustlers.

He used the opportunity to reiterate the combat readiness and resolve of the Nigerian Army to protect the lives and property of all law abiding Nigerians. He further enjoined the troops to remain disciplined, committed, dedicated and absolutely loyal to constituted authority at all times.

General Buratai reiterated his charge to the troops to always adhere to the Nigerian Army’s extant Rules of Engagement and Code of Conduct during operations and training exercises, as human rights violations by any personnel will never be condoned. According to him, – “No officer or soldier should take laws into his/her hands, innocent civilians must be protected at all times, rights abuses will never be encouraged, condoned or go unpunished”.

He assured the troops of the commitment of the Army under his leadership to their welfare and that of their families. He further informed the troops of the speedy completion of the numerous ongoing residential and office accommodations, water projects and provision of medical facilities in the newly established barracks in Gusau and others in the newly formed units and formations across the country.

While in Gusau, the COAS inspected ongoing projects in the barracks and visited Wounded In Action soldiers at the Federal Medical Centre Gusau. He was the day before, on 6 October 2019 visited the Zamfara State Governor Bello Mutawalle in Government House Gusau to thank him for the interventions in the Army Barracks Gusau where water and electrification projects are being executed by the state government.

SAGIR MUSA
Colonel
Acting Director Army Public Relations
7 October 2019

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2019 Ember Months: Nigerian Army Sustains Operational Activities Nationwide

In compliance with the Chief of Army Staff’s directives, formation and unit commanders have moved strongly to sustain their operational activities nationwide. To this end, troops continued in their relentless efforts at combatting the threats of criminal insurgency and terrorism, armed banditry, kidnapping, herdsmen-farmers clashes, cultism and communal crises, amongst others. As a result, between 1st and 2nd October 2019, several operational achievements were recorded against the criminal perpetrators of these acts of insecurity particularly by troops deployed on Operation LAFIYA DOLE and Operation MESA nationwide. Some notable achievements recorded were as follows:

OPERATION LAFIYA DOLE

In continuation of their aggressive patrols, and ambushes to detect, deter and decimate marauding criminal insurgents, in the early hours of 2nd October 2019, the gallant troops of 192 Battalion, Sector 1 Operation LAFIYA DOLE conducted an ambush operation at LOKODISSA general area of GWOZA LGA of Borno State. Following the successful springing of the ambush, troops successfully neutralized one criminal insurgent and recovered one bicycle and some food items. Additionally, same troops switched to a position where smoke was sighted. The troops moved swiftly and established contact with the criminal insurgents at BALALGAJE general area, neutralised one of them and destroyed their criminal hideout and other belongings in the process.

Furthermore, troops continued to dominate the general area of TANSAGUA JUNCTION, KEKENO, MAIRARI, LINGIR, CROSS  KAUWA and BAGA among others with patrols and ambushes to maintain the achieved serenity within the entire theatre.

OPERATION MESA

In another development, troops of 82 Division Garrison, while carrying out their Operation MESA activities, rose to the occasion and averted a chaotic situation that could have led to the breakdown of law and order, where some trailer drivers at ONU-EBONYI ABAKALIKI barricaded ABAKALIKI – OGOJA Road to stage a protest over alleged maltreatment of one of their members by a Policeman. The troops were able to restore normalcy in the general area with the employment of their professional crisis management techniques.

In a related incidence, on 1st October 2019, troops of 144 Battalion arrested 27 members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) comprising 4 females and 23 males led by their spiritual leader, one Pa MICHEAL MADUMERE (56 years) who hails from IDEATO South LGA of IMO State. One of the proscribed IPOB members named Mr OLIVER ONYEBUNACHI was arrested with one AK 47 Rifle with Registration Number 562511003 and 2 Magazines containing 8 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition. The suspect was shot on his right leg as he tried to shoot at own troops. Normalcy has since been restored in that area as troops continued to maintain surveillance in the general area.

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt Gen Tukur Yusufu Buratai hereby solicits the support of our good citizens of our great country in availing Nigerian Army formations and units nationwide with timely information that will assist them in ridding the communities of criminal elements and their nefarious and violent activities. All law-abiding citizens are requested to go about their businesses without fear of molestation

You are kindly requested to disseminate above information to the general public for awareness. Thank you for your usual cooperation.

AMINU ILIYASU

Colonel

Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator 

2 October 2019

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Independence Day: Let Us Harness Our Diversity For Nation Building – Bulama

I wish to congratulate fellow Nigerians on the occasion of our nation’s 59th Independence day anniversary.

Indeed, despite our challenges, we have cause to celebrate. Since our independence, we have struggled and survived as a nation through thick and thin. This year marks 20 years of uninterrupted democratic rule – the longest in our history. We have successfully broken free from the strangehold of military rule and it’s attendant costly effect on our socio-political life.

With our collective resolve, we successfully enthroned progressives ideals in 2015 with the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in a historic election in which the opposition defeated an incumbent government – a first, in our nation’s history.

While we cannot say we have tackled all the challenges of underdevelopment, we are definitely not where we used to be. Since 2015 there has been greater commitment to tackling the problems afflicting our great nation and thus strengthening hope.

We have dealt terrorism and organised crime severe blow, our anti-corruption war has recorded significant successes that has generated worldwide acclaim – it is no more business as usual. Accountability and probity has been largely restored to our public service.

Our Social Investments Programme, unarguably the most ambitious in sub-Saharan Africa, is directly impacting tens of millions of Nigerians, in addition to unprecedented investment in Infrastructure, with the power supply situation being tackled with new innovations and uncommon gusto.

The President Muhammadu Buhari led APC administration is blazing the trail in making the welfare of the people, the core of his programmes, in line with the manifesto of the APC.

With the call for institutionalization of our great Party, the progressive ideology of the APC – we must nurture and deepen, such that even after the exit of President Buhari, our development and progress will be sustainable.

We must, as Nigerians magnify our strengths and deemphasize our weaknesses bearing in mind that there is no nation devoid of challenges. Citizens in all great and stable nations rise above them with unity of purpose, and determination.

That the labours of our heroes past may not be in vain, we must eschew bitterness, harness our diversity for nation building, and commit ourselves to putting Nigeria first – subduing the proclivity for religious or ethnic jingoism.

Upon deep reflection, as a nation we have made great progress in nation building largely due to the sacrifices of many citizens and gallant men and women.

The ‘Nigeria Project’ – the abiding aspiration to attain enduring peace and prosperity is an everyday work. Nigeria of our dreams is a task for us all but much more today for the APC, which has been honoured with task of governance by our citizens. Let’s join hands to make her greater everyday.

Congratulations and a Happy Independence Day Nigeria.

God bless The Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Signed: Arc. Waziri Bulama
Deputy Director- General, APC. Presidential Campaign Council

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AFFC Lauds Heritage Bank On Youth, Entertainment Devt

African Freestyle Football (AFFC) Championship 2019 in collaboration with World Freestyle Football Association (WFFA) have commended Heritage Bank Plc for its pivotal role in enhancing youth development and engendering the Nigeria’s entertainment space on the world’s stage.

The 2019 African Freestyle Football Championship ended on a high note, with defending champion Abdul Titi Kone of Cote d’Ivoire emerging as the African Champion once again. This event marked the 2nd edition of the African Championship and the 3rd annual edition of the Nigerian Championship hosted by Feet ‘n’ Tricks International Limited.

The final was a repeat of the 2018 championship, as Kone again defeated Egypt’s Yousef Mohamad just as he did in last year’s final while Ashley Mhkize of South Africa placed third.In the female category, Evelyn Okafor (Nigeria), Hadhara Charles (Tanzania) and Augustina Unamba (Nigeria) placed first, second and third respectively.

This year’s edition accommodated at least 30 African countries that participated at the championship.The Chairman of AFFC, Valentine Ozigbo, who commended bank for being at the forefront of promoting freestyle football for the past two years, said Heritage Bank is “always very innovative and supportive to the cause of entertainment and youth development.

According to him, these achievements would have been impossible without the extensive support of the official bankers (Heritage Bank) for the championship for two years running.Speaking further, Ozigbo hinted, “since inception, Feet ‘n’ Tricks has been committed to promoting freestyle football talent to stardom and we haven’t relented. Through this platform, we have seen talented freestylers get a head start in life, travel to exciting places and represent our beloved continent doing what they know how to do best.”

The MD/CEO, Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo, said the bank has strong desire towards developing and positioning youths to become world-class citizens equipped and ready to be absorbed into an increasing competitive professional skills and endeavours.

Sekibo, who was represented by an Executive Director, Jude Monye advised the youths who were participants to adopt strong positive character to enable them take advantage of the platform being presented to them.“One of the reasons why we chose, as an organization, to support the freestyle championship is to enhance youth development in sport and entertainment, which will empower them play vital roles in the socio-economic development of the country and help curb the high level of unemployment,” he stressed.According to Sekibo, the drive to support youths seeks to create, preserve and transfer wealth across generations.

It is against the backdrop of the competition that Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick, promised to give more support to the entertaining part of football.“We need to encourage this entertaining part of football because what they are doing here is great. Freestyle is quite interesting, and I am happy with what I have seen so far.“With this project, a goal has been achieved. I also want more ladies to come out and do freestyle football because it is highly entertaining and competitive.

“I will see to how we can give more support to freestyle football in the future,”he said.Congratulating the Feet n Tricks team, Daniel Wood, Co-founder and Head of Global Partnerships, World Freestyle Football Association (WFFA) said, “Feet n Tricks have proven that they can produce world class events and we are so excited to be extending our partnership. We are fully committed to creating opportunities for young people and this event is to be the focus point for our sport in the continent of Africa.”

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Report Insinuating Vice President Didn’t Follow Due Process In Supervision Of Agencies Under Him Is False

Our attention has been drawn to a sensational report by The Cable published on September 17, 2019, which claims that His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, has directed Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, to seek approvals for agencies under him.

The report suggests, falsely, that agencies under the supervision of the Vice President do not normally comply with established rules where presidential approvals are required. 

This is obviously misleading and aims only to plant seeds of discord in the Presidency, while attempting to create unnecessary national hysteria.

The agencies in question are established by law and the Vice President has always insisted on due compliance with the enabling statutes and other established regulations. 

Depending on the particular scope of activity in question, agencies may require management approval only, at the level of the Director-General or Chief Executive Officer. In this category falls the great majority of their day-to-day activities. 

However, other activities, or procurements, with value exceeding a certain threshold, require Board approval. These may get to the agency Board chaired by the Vice President. In a few cases where Presidential approval is required, the Director-General must seek such approval from the President, through the Vice President. These rules have always guided the activities of statutory agencies and the ones under the Vice President’s supervision have always been so guided.  

To claim that in the first term of the Buhari administration, agencies of government have not been complying with the provisions (of getting final approvals from the President) is false, and the attempt to suggest the Vice President’s complicity in such irregularities is simply mischievous and reprehensible.

The effective and mutually respecting relationship between the President and the Vice President is well known to Nigerians and it is futile to insinuate otherwise. 

Even though the Vice President has a statutory role as Board Chairman of some government agencies under his office, with appropriate approval limits, which often do not include contract approvals; it is ludicrous to even insinuate that a Board Chairman approves contracts.

Evidently, the Federal Executive Council, which oversees Federal Ministries and agencies of government, is chaired by the President, and it is in its purview to approve or ratify award of contracts within the prescribed threshold. 

The Vice President remains committed to the service of his fatherland and will continue to do so despite the purveyors of fake news. We urge media organizations, as gatekeepers, to uphold truth, balance, fairness and objectivity in their reports.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
17th September, 2019

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Nigeria’s Best Minds And Talent Must Create Unique Solutions To Africa’s Challenges – Osinbajo

REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE FUNDRAISING DINNER FOR THE NIGERIAN UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT ON THE 11TH OF SEPTEMBER, 2019.

PROTOCOLS.

I need not emphasize how honoured I am to join you here today at this historic meeting: a gathering of important thought leaders in business, politics and academia, in aid of the establishment of the Nigerian University of Technology and Management (NUTM). 

Every once in a while, in the life of a nation or community, a vision emerges to do something truly extraordinary, something truly game- changing; to develop a construct capable of decisively making a difference in the community or nation.

Frankly, I think I do not exaggerate when I say that we are at such a moment here today. 

A lot has been said already about the need for the school, and I am sure we have avoided the term, “an elite school”, because it suggests that the school is only for a select few. But the truth is, this is what this school is about, about setting up an elite school in the sense that it brings together the best minds and talents, but does not depend on their capacity to pay. 

Indeed, there must be an institution whose sole objective is to inspire innovation, inventions and research that address the most crucial problems that we face as a nation and the world. How do we solve peculiar African health challenges such as Sickle Cell Anemia, fibroids and cancers, some that are specifically even African? We simply have not addressed those challenges from our institutions. 

Clearly, we need an institution able to provide the atmosphere to invent agricultural inputs that will guarantee the huge yields per acreage or volumes in dairy and livestock to meet the demands of food security in our country today. 

Every time we talk about agriculture, look at what we are producing and the size of our population and how much we import, it is very clear that somebody has to work on uniquely Nigerian solutions to some of these agricultural challenges.

We need an institution that will produce cutting edge Artificial Intelligence applications for education, business, medicine and security. One that can design the educational innovation required to train millions of children in and out of classrooms all across the country. 

I have been around the country, practically every local government, one thing that is obvious is the need to crack (the problem of) education in Nigeria. It is getting increasingly out of hand, the sheer number of young people all over the country who require high-quality education but are not getting anything at all. 

So, the question is, what sort of design or technology would work? In and out of the classroom, what would work? What do we do with languages? Are we going to teach using local language or dialect? 

We must now produce world class economists, managers of commerce in a world increasingly disrupted by technology and innovation. We must convert our best young minds and talents, to creative thinkers, innovators in science, technology, the economy, commerce and public finance and in public sector related endeavors that truly make a difference in governance. Only a deliberately planned and resourced university can deliver these.

We already have several tertiary institutions of science and technology and management sciences all over the country. But what is proposed is an institution intentionally created as a world class centre for the training of the best Nigerian minds and talents. It is not an equal opportunity establishment, except that capacity to pay must not be an object, admission standards will be set very high, only the best are required in such an institution. 

The institution must also engage the best academics and scholars, locally and internationally. This is not an institution that we have seen the likes before locally. The comparators are the deliberate creation of thinkers in the public and private sectors like ourselves here today.

The vision is clear, but the key, of course, is funding.  As is the case with comparable institutions all over the world, the NUTM must have considerable resources to support high-quality research. The implications of this are vast. 

To excite research, the NUTM ought to be able to attract to the residence, Nobel Laureates and international leaders of thought and innovation. Whether they spend 2 weeks, 5 weeks or a year, it will obviously cost money. 

Provisions for the attendance and hosting of academic conferences locally and internationally must be made. The challenge we have is whether we are prepared to dream this big dream, see it through, and consistently fund and creatively find sustainable ways of keeping it adequately resourced. 

I am convinced that the founders have not just the zeal, but the will to see this to fruition.  I was privileged to be invited to the first event to introduce the Nigerian University of Technology and Management to people such as yourselves in Abuja, when ideas were at the preliminary stages. But what we have seen between then and now, is the market. I think so much progress has been made and I’m excited to see the progress. It is not surprising given the calibre of individuals who are the founders.

I think what this evening calls for is how to ensure that this dream becomes a reality. It is only the beginning. A lot of inspiring things have been said already about why we need to participate in this activity, in founding it and sustaining it. But frankly, whether you and I choose to do it, somebody will do it. I am so convinced that it will be done. That is the thing with great ideas, somebody, somewhere, someday will do it.

I really hope people here in this room are the ones that will pick up this great idea and really work towards it and ensure it is done.

I want to congratulate the founders for doing an excellent job so far, and to make my own personal commitment and commit on behalf of the government, to do all that is necessary to ensure that this sees the light of day.

Obviously, I won’t be making any large donations, we are still struggling with a budget deficit, but I am sure that everything else that is required to ensure this happens, especially from the side of government, I will work with others to ensure that. 

I also want to say on behalf of Mr. President, that this a project that he is very keen to see happen and I am sure with his backing and with the able support of so many in and out of government, we will see the NUTM come to life and remain alive and live up to the dreams charted out for it today and in the future.

Thank you

Released by:
Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
12th September, 2019

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FG To Harness Talents of Youth, Women To Develop Tourism – Minister

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the federal government is planning a national summit on the role of youths and women in tourism as part of the efforts to harness their talents to develop the sector.

The Minister made the announcement at the ongoing 23rd General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, on Tuesday.

”It’s incontestable today that the industry that creates jobs fastest is tourism. It’s one industry that creates jobs for women and its one industry that encourages youths,” he said at the meeting, which coincides with the 62nd meeting of the UNWTO’s Commission for Africa (CAF) at the same venue

Alhaji Mohammed said it is clear from the presentations at the ongoing meetings that tourism is gradually overtaking other aspects of the economy as a major player for development and equality.

He said Nigeria will leverage on its comparative advantage, which includes a rich culture and a blooming music and film industry, to take its tourism sector to the next level.

”In many climes before now, tourism was seen merely as a past time, as a vacation, but from the report of the Secretary General (of the UNWTO) at this meeting, tourism has become a key driver in the development of the economy, and also in ensuring equality all over the world, ” the Minister added. 
Segun Adeyemi SA To Hon Minister of Information and Culture 

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Xenophobic Attacks: Nigeria Deserves Better from South Africa – APC

The All Progressives Congress (APC) strongly condemns the recent South African xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals, particularly on Nigerians, their property and businesses.

As a party, we are deeply saddened by these unwarranted attacks. Nigeria deserves better from South Africa. It is too early for South Africans to forget their country’s history. Many of the key players in the struggle against apartheid are still alive and active in the country’s national affairs. We therefore cannot understand why there seems to be a conspiracy of silence on their part.

The barbaric attack on citizens of other countries points to a failure of leadership. South African leaders cannot exonerate themselves from this cowardly act. We call on the South African ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) to urgently step in. This is completely at variance with what ANC stood for. The ANC government can no longer pretend about this obvious contradiction.

The violence being meted to Nigerians under ANC calls to question the very essence of the struggle against apartheid in which Nigeria was a frontline ally of South Africa. How can those who supported you and made huge sacrifices for your freedom become fair games to be murdered in cold blood?

Perhaps there is a disconnect between the younger and older generations of South Africa. The older generation cannot sit back while the uninformed youths and some South African public officials in their quest for inordinate populism destroy what we collectively achieved over several decades of sacrifice and brotherliness.

Today, our Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria over the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians. This is one of the first steps in this government’s proactive response to this unfortunate incident. We assure Nigerians that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration would continue to take decisive measures. The safety of Nigerians – home and abroad – is non-negotiable to the APC administration.

SIGNED:

Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu

National Publicity Secretary

All Progressives Congress (APC)

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Jake Okechukwu Effoduh, Named April9ine’s Brand Ambassador, Inspires New Collection, And Takes Action Towards Sustainable Fashion

At the April9ine headquarters in Abuja, the CEO of April9ine, Aluwaye Philip Ilegar announced Jake Okechukwu Effoduh Esq., as the Brand Ambassador of the company. “I am honored to have a great man represent our brand. Having known Effoduh for 13 years, my team and I are inspired by his personality and his dedication to improving the lives of others” he said.

At the announcement, Effoduh was also named after April9ine’s most recent Fall/Harmattan collection. The entire collection was said to be inspired by Effoduh’s sense of style and creativity. Called “The Sage”, the collection includes Jackets and Kaftans that were said to be produced with inspiration from Effoduh’s work.  Speaking to the press on Monday, the creative lead of April9ine, Emmanuel Isaac II said “Jake specifically selected the fabrics and he chose the preferred colours and designs. He engaged with us through the entire process of creating this collection.” 

Mr.Effoduh who expressed his excitement about being a part of the production process, shared some insight: “for this collection, I chose high quality fabrics that speak of resilience. For the colours, I prioritized “deep” palettes like charcoal, barn, maroon, mahogany, pecan, wood, anchor and white. The designs are bold and vibrant as they demonstrate the creativity that comes from inter-cultural engagement. I believe that every outfit should be able to tell a story, and sometimes a story beyond the self.”

CEO Ilegar narrated how some of the outfits fuse African and American themes: “You will notice that the outfits in this collection are inspired by several cultures within West Africa but are also produced with a North American appeal. The goal here is to promote cultural collaboration between both First and Third World fashions whilst preserving the uniqueness of individuality and cosmopolitanism. This is something that our Brand Ambassador fully embodies.”

Speaking on how the fashion industry can contribute to climate change adaptation, Effoduh stated his commitment to ethical fashion and to reducing the production waste that comes from making clothes. “For this collection, we targeted a thirty percent reduction on production waste from all outfits. It seemed a high ambition initially, but I am happy that April9ine is accomplishing it.”  This is in line with April9ine’s commitment to “sustainable fashion” as well as Effoduh’s duty as a Climate Reality Leader trained by former U.S Vice President, Al Gore. “Our clothes should not come at the cost of people or our planet. It starts with every outfit, every collection”, said Effoduh.

Founded in 2015, April9ine is a bespoke fashion company based in West Africa with outlets across several cities.

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There Is So Much To Do Turning Power Supply Around; And We Shall Do It – Osinbajo

SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE COMMISSIONING OF NDPHC PROJECTS IN ABEOKUTA AND ITS ENVIRONS ON THE 15TH OF AUGUST, 2019.

PROTOCOLS

I am honoured to commission today, the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) reinforcement projects around the Abeokuta environs and also the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) projects.

This commissioning is an important part of the Federal Government’s efforts to improve the supply and quality of power to homes and businesses in Nigeria.

Indeed, in the past few years, resolving the power supply problem has been top priority for the Federal Government of Nigeria. Permit me to give a brief update on the state of the power sector today and a glimpse into the very near future.

Today, we have about 13,427MW of installed capacity, and an available capacity of about 8,342MW. This was achieved through the efforts of government and its private sector partners in the rehabilitation and commissioning of turbines in Shiroro, Egbin, Delta Power, Sapele and Gbarain.

Before the end of the year, new generation is expected from Gbarain and an extra 115 MW; Kashimbilla (40 MW); Afam III Fast Power (240 MW); Gurara (30 MW); Dadin Kowa (29 MW); and Kaduna (215 MW).

In the long term, several solar plants will come on stream. The national grid already has the capacity to transmit 7,000MW, an increase from less than about 5,000MW in 2015 and this is due to the completion and improvement of several transmission projects. We have been told by the MD of NDPHC, Mr Chiedu Ugbo, the completion of projects already done by TCN, like the Ikot Ekpene switching station and the completion of the Ikot Ekpene-Ugwuaji-Makurdi-Jos loop, which was done by the NDPHC in 2017. But distribution capacity in the 11 DisCos are significantly low, hovering at around 4,000MW on average with a peak of about 5,400MW.

So, despite the availability of 8,000MW of generation and 7,000MW of transmission capacity, the lack of DisCos’ infrastructure to absorb and deliver grid power to end users has largely restricted generation to an average of about 4,000MW and sometimes falling below 4,000MW.

Apart from the lack of infrastructure is the inability of DisCos, first, to provide distribution assets generally and also metering, and you have heard what the MD of TCN said about the unavailability of distribution assets, there is also the unavailability to provide metering to consumers. In resolving this issue, the Federal Government stepped in through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (NERC) Meter Asset Provider (MAP) Regulation of 2018. This is essentially regulation to provide metering, through independent or third parties to consumers all across Nigeria.

On May 1 2019, MAPs, commenced meter rollout; over 250,000 applications have been received and processed by DisCos to date and of course, that is then supposed to be forwarded to MAPs for installation. This figure is expected to quadruple by the end of 2019, and double by the end of 2020, largely closing the current metering gap of about 5.3million consumers.

But it is evident, despite all the efforts that has been put into trying to expand the national grid and do a lot more, and of course, we have also heard that there is need to recapitalize the Discos, but despite all the efforts so far, it is evident that the structure of the market today cannot deliver on the government’s promises to give power for domestic and industrial use. A substantial change of strategy is necessary. What we have done in the past has taken us to a point but clearly, there is a need for change of strategy.

At the heart of that strategy is the recapitalization of DisCos. We have to simply come up with more resources. Part of that recapitalization process is in the Siemens Phased Electrification Roadmap which was commissioned by the President recently. 

Now the whole idea of the Siemens Electrification Roadmap is to deploy financing and technology on commercial terms agreed with transmission and distribution companies in partnership with the German Government and Siemens to: [in Phase 1] increase transmission and distribution capacity to enable power delivery of at least 7,000MW to consumers; [in Phase 2] eliminate bottlenecks in transmission and distribution, to enable full utilization of existing generation for power deliver of 11,000MW to consumers; and [in Phase 3], upgrade and expand generation, transmission and distribution for end-to-end power delivery of 25,000MW.

The Siemens Electrification Project must not be seen as all there is to enhancing transmission and distribution. the TCN still has a major role to play in all the various projects that the TCN itself has dedicated itself to doing. At the same time, the DisCos must come up with more capacity and resources to upgrade what they have been doing and ensure distribution assets are available including metering.

Second is the opening up of the market to new investors in generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure, transacting directly with each other to serve willing customers, including deploying off-grid power and using micro-grids, especially for deployment of solar power.

We must ensure that we open up the space for other investors or end-to-end generation to distribution. We cannot restrict the space that we currently occupy, we must ensure that we open up the space. 

Now we have successfully done this in Sabongari market, Kano; Ariaria market in Aba and recently, we launched the first of several solar power plants in Universities with the 2.8MW plant at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University in Ebonyi State. Over the course of the next few months, the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effrun Delta and Bayero University in Kano will have their off-grid Solar Hybrid Systems commissioned.

In each of these places, a private power provider is licensed to provide end-to-end power for a particular community or cluster, usually on a willing-buyer-willing-seller basis.

The policies and regulations to empower customers to get the services they want at prices they agree to, are largely in places because we already have the law that allows willing-seller-willing-buyer arrangement and the different categories of those laws. 

The first is the Independent Electricity Distribution Networks (IEDN) 2012. This allows for the installation of an independent distribution network with the minimum capacity of 1MW where there is currently no distribution network, or where existing distribution network is not sufficient to serve existing customers. That is the first regulation that we have. 

The second is the Mini-Grid Regulation, 2016, which was issued on the 24th of May 2017. This allows for unserved or underserved customers of a distribution company to be supplied power on agreed terms by a developer of a grid-connected or an independent electricity distribution system, with an embedded power station of up to 1MW. 

Then we have Eligible Customer Regulation issued on the 1st of November, 2017. This allows for unserved or underserved consumers of more than 2MW of power, to buy power on agreed terms, directly from generating companies who have contracted with providers and operators of transmission and distribution infrastructure for its delivery.

The last is the Electricity Distribution Franchising Regulation, which is still in public consultation and preparatory to its issuance of regulations that will govern it. The whole idea is that it sets out the rules for a distribution company to appoint, or be compelled to cede consumers who will be connected to a 33kV or 11kV feeder, or a designated area to an agent or third party, willing to make investments in lines, metering, transformers and other equipment to serve the customers better at a mutually agreed tariff.

Now with a lot of these policies, the whole idea of it is to create a regime whereby there can be more willing-buyer-willing seller arrangements. It is in my view completely impossible, to satisfy Nigeria’s power demands from the national grid alone. There must be independent power suppliers and this why we have all these regulations for micro-grid and other willing-buyer-willing-seller arrangements and that is the way by which we can go forward and ensure that we are able to serve many of the unserved and underserved communities that we have today.

These polices when fully implemented, will enable the opening up of the market to new investors in generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure, transacting directly with each other, to serve willing customers and this is the way which the Federal Government will proceed to ensure that we increase some more opportunities to existing DisCos and to other investors who may wish to serve Nigeria’s huge power market, which of course, at the moment is terribly underserved. 

But back to today’s land mark event. Electricity supply to Ogun state, especially along the axis of Otta right up to Abeokuta the State capital, was initially via a Double Circuit 132kV line into Otta. It was supplied from a 330/132/33kV Grid Transformer Substation at Ikeja West, which serves as a marshalling station for several power plant inflows into Lagos.

A 130MVA capacity substation was built at this Otta location for supply to Otta and environs. Out of Otta, a single circuit lower capacity 132kV line was built to connect Abeokuta via an intermediate 132/33kV Substation at Papalanto within the premises of Lafarge Cement Company. The Abeokuta Substation was also equipped with 2X40MVA 132/33kV transformers for suppling Abeokuta and its environs.

Over time, all these facilities became overloaded and lacking capacity to cater to growing demand in these locations. So, this is why government felt the need, through the NDPHC, to design a set of transmission projects to resolve this problem and with various segments which we have heard today. Particularly today we have:

· A 1X60MVA 132/33kV transformer addition to Otta with associated switching bays and a dedicated 33kV Substation to facilitate Four (4) extra 33kV feeders into Otta environs.

· A 70.5km long higher capacity 132kV Double Circuit line to replace the old low capacity 132kV Single Circuit line connecting Abeokuta. This new line (carrying two circuits in place of the pre-existing single circuit) was designed with switching facilities (bays) at Otta, Lafarge and Abeokuta, to accommodate the extra high capacity circuits that now exist along this route.

· A new 2X60MVA 132/33kV Substation was built here at Kobape in Abeokuta and named New Abeokuta with facilities for six (6) 33kV feeders offtake for improved supply to the growing Ogun State Capital and its environs.

· A new 7kmhigher capacity 132kV Double Circuit line to connect old Abeokuta Substation to this New Abeokuta Substation was also built to complete improved power flow from Otta to New Abeokuta through Papalanto and Old Abeokuta.

We expect that these reinforcements of existing transmission and distribution infrastructure will substantially improve power supply in the Abeokuta axis.

We know that with all the work that is being done, and what we have also heard, the various ideas that our very dynamic governor has laid out in Ogun State, we are sure that power supply in Ogun State is bound to grow in leaps and bound. And so, in the next few weeks we will be commissioning and formally declare open the NDPHC Intervention on all the projects in Abeokuta and environs.

I want to say that the Federal Government is committed to ensuring that we have adequate power supply both in our home and also in our various places of business. Power supply is the life blood of any economy and we will remain committed to ensuring that power supply is adequate everywhere. Just as you heard, it is certainly not going to be a short walk, but as we have seen, from all what we have heard so far, there so much to be done and we are committed to doing it.

I want to thank you very much for making the time to attend this event and to thank the NDPHC and TCN, for the very hard work and our host governor, Dapo Abiodun, for ensuring that we are well accommodated and we are very hospitably treated. 

Thank you very much. God bless you.

Released by:
Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
17th August, 2019

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