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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Alleged Conviction Of DSP Ovie Omo-Agege By Court In The USA

Over the past few days, Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege visited the United States of America and Canada for personal and official reasons respectively, holding aloft the beacon of progressive ideology and an agenda for improving Nigeria’s image internationally.

On the contrary, an unscrupulous band of mischief makers at home calling itself a ‘youth group’ purportedly led by one Solomon Adodo is seeking to mislead gullible people with lies and propaganda by calling for the immediate resignation of the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, over a spurious and malicious allegation of a conviction by a Californian court.

Ordinarily, we would have ignored this latest effort by political jobbers to drag the name of the Distinguished Senator into disrepute.

However, in a political environment like ours where silence could be misinterpreted as consent and evidence of guilt, we make haste to dismiss the entire allegation as not only unfounded and illogical; it is the residue of the warped imaginations and misleading rumour peddled without conviction some years back.

While the distinguished Senator remains completely unperturbed by the nattering nabobs of negativity and their faceless sponsors, it remains clear that this is another feeble round of mere shadow- chasing that ultimately amounts to nothing.

For the umpteenth time, we would like to reiterate the fact that Senator Ovie Omo-Agege was cleared of all charges in the said case and he was never a convict in the USA as being alleged; till date, he travels freely to and within the country without any hint of harassment.

We publish herewith details of our response to the same spurious allegation on September 25, 2018: “To this extent, by way of ‘fair commentary’ only, we will speak to the non-existent criminal conviction knowing that the matter is now in court and therefore subjudice. We will meet the blackmailer in court.

The fact is, at a point in his brilliant and bright legal career in California, USA, Senator Omo-Agege (then a young attorney) was alleged to have broken the law in California but in the end, he was found not guilty.

“Accordingly, he was declared innocent by the honourables Lance A. Ito (who presided over the popular O.J. Simpson murder trial case) and G. Magnera of the Court of California, County of Los Angeles. Omo-Agege had to fight hard for his innocence and God vindicated him against the expectations of evil men like the most sadistic blackmailer in the world.

“Today, he remains an active member in good standing at the State of California Bar Association – an impossibility if a valid and subsisting conviction were hanging on him. These are verifiable public facts and truths.”

We state, without any equivocation, that Senator Ovie Omo-Agege is committed to his mandate and would not be distracted by the antics of disgruntled and defeated politicians hiding behind a so-called ‘youth group’ without any meaningful antecedent, seeking to stir up confusion through mere mischief and without facts.

Let it be put on record that while his media office has been strictly instructed not to descend into the gutter to play their piggery games of petty mischief, the Senator has nothing to hide and he would continue with his passionate desire and populist dynamism, towards making Nigeria a better nation for future generations.

Signed:

Yomi Odunuga,
Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the Deputy President of the Senate.

13-01-2020

End.

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Nigeria Most Logical Destination For Investors To Reap Maximum Benefits In Africa, Says Osinbajo At Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit

ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE NIGERIA – CANADA INVESTMENT SUMMIT 2019 (NCIS – 2019), ABUJA, ON MONDAY, 4TH NOVEMBER 4, 2019

Protocols

I am extremely pleased to be here with you at the Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit 2019. I was here at the 2018 summit and I mentioned then, that the summits are important processes, not just events in deepening the socio-economic ties between Nigeria and Canada. There is no question that both our governments and business communities realize that there is enormous potential in our relationship.

Indeed since 2018, aside from summits in both countries, the sheer number of high-level contacts and visits of so many high-level officials, really endorse the fact that this is a very important relationship.

In 2018, the Governor-General of Canada, and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of Canada, Her Excellency Julie Payette visited. There was also an earlier working visit of Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s Minister for International Development and La Francophone (now Minister for Agriculture and Agri-Food) and thereafter, Canada’s Minister in Charge of Immigration, Honourable Ahmed Hussein.

As we have heard, two Royal Canadian Navy ships berth to Lagos for very important joint training in security in the Gulf of Guinea. And as we have also heard, this was the first in the 108 years of the existence of the Royal Canadian Navy.

Our trade and commerce relationship have also been long-standing, and Nigeria has remained a major trading partner to Canada in Africa. We’ve also heard that bilateral trade is in the order of $984 billion. When that is put in context, we really have a long way to go. Canada’s imports include; mineral, fuels and oils, cocoa, rubber, lead and processed foods. Canada’s exports include; vehicles, equipment, manufacturing equipment, software and aircraft. We also have in place a double taxation agreement, which came into force I believe sometime in 1999 and we expect that our Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA) will be concluded and ratified by both countries as early as possible in 2020.

We expect that in the first quarter of 2020, we ought to have that agreement in place.  This summit is particularly important, we have much richer private and public sector participation than before. The focus is on mining, power, agriculture, housing, education and technology. These are sectors that Nigeria has identified as crucial to the success of our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. And we are determined to work collaboratively with investors to create the best possible environment for business in these sectors. We are determined, not just to ensure that we keep to the plans that we put in place, but that we encourage all our partners to work with us.

In mining, our Mining Industry Growth Roadmap lays out the scale of our ambitions in this sector and it goes beyond just extraction and exportation.

We intend to create a broad spectrum of value-added services by fully maximizing the abundant opportunities for mineral resource beneficiation, exploiting the possibilities in support services and support industries that will be nurtured around core mining activities. We are, of course, all excited about the prospects evident in the Spring Fountain and Bullion Mart collaboration and we look forward to that coming to fruition.

In the power sector, we believe that investment in renewable energy is bound to benefit from our focus, especially on off-grid and mini-grid options for delivering power to our huge population and commerce. Our Energizing Education Programme, which is installing private solar power facilities in several of our universities, and the Energizing market programme also, which is private solar power in markets and economic clusters all around the country; these have demonstrated that businesses are prepared to pay for regular power supply, and that this is a tremendous area of growth for renewable energy, for business and commerce in that respect. Given the very high radiation all around the country, the solar option makes perfect sense.

In agriculture and agri-business also, there are tremendous prospects. Our government believes that the next few years are crucial for our vision of food security and especially self-sufficiency in the production of different food and cash crops. But the whole agri-business value chain is open for investment. The sheer size of our market now, and in the immediate future, the export potentials point inexorably to the importance of investment in this sector.

Housing is also a crucial area of focus for us. With a housing deficit of about 17 million, the demand is obvious. Our Family Homes Fund is a special public-private sector fund dedicated to our mass low-cost housing scheme. Solving the off-taker constraints also calls for mortgage finance solutions. There is plenty of room for activity in the housing sector.

The next few years promise to be exciting for industry, trade and commerce in Nigeria, especially with the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement. Nigeria remains the most logical destination for reaping maximum benefit from these agreements. Consequently, we have devoted considerable attention to improving the Nigerian business environment and we have by all accounts, recorded notable success.

Since 2016, we have risen by an aggregate of 39 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings.  Just two weeks ago, the World Bank also rated Nigeria as one of the 10 best reforming economies in the world. We are set for business, and we look forward to continued engagement with the Canadian government and business community in the coming months and years.

Let me commend the Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada His Excellency, Ambassador Ade Asekun, and his team, and Mr. Taiwo Odutola, MD/CEO of the Nigerian Investment Summit, for the incredible hard work that they have put into this summit and previous summits and engagements here and in Canada.

We welcome all the Canadian businesses, government representatives, and all our friends, partners from Canada to Abuja, and to this summit. In particular, we welcome the distinguished delegation from the City of Brampton, and we certainly look forward to meeting with them. 

I urge all our friends from Canada to be sure to take in the sights and sounds of Abuja while you are here and, of course, indulge in some of our well-known culinary delights. My recommendation last year was Suya, this year it is our world-famous jollof rice! I would like you to take part in it.

It is now my special privilege and pleasure to declare open the Nigeria – Canada Investment Summit 2019.

Thank you very much.

Released by:

Laolu Akande

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity

Office of the Vice President

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Nigerian Army Urges Nigerians To Disregard Bricks Publication On The Purported Operation Positive Identification

Following the widespread apprehension on the purported Nigerian Army (NA) operation positive identification from 1 November to 23 December 2019, as mischievously peddled on the social media by a hitherto unknown and fictitious organization the so called Bricks company, which alleges that the NA will conduct the operation and went ahead to state how the operation will be conducted by the Army.

Specifically, Bricks alleges that – “residents shall witness large numbers of uniformed Nigerian Army personnel parading the roads in an exercise known as OPI”.

The NA wishes to inform members of the public that it has nothing to do with the so called Bricks company and its illusionary OPI, it is not an army operation and the NA does not create any operation with such name or abbreviation in all its operations across the nation in a manner maliciously presented by the so called Bricks company.

Similarly, NA has never issued press release through private companies or third parties because it has a full fledged Directorate that coordinates its public relations and Information aspects which has a robust cordial working relationship with the press.

Recall that in order to compliment the ongoing operation in the North East, NA has an ongoing operation positive identification which is intelligence driven, deliberate, targeted operation and not an independent operation but is integral and complimentary to Operation LAFIYA DOLE in the North East. The aim of the operation is to arrest all those terrorists fleeing or escaping the war zone/Theatre of operation to a safe haven or peaceful areas in Nigeria.

Members of the public are hereby enjoined to discountenanced the hitherto faceless and mischievous Bricks company and its alleged NA OPI.

The NA wishes to use this opportunity to enjoin all Nigerians to cooperate with the NA and indeed all other security agencies by giving credible information that will assist in the identification and eventual arrest of the fleeing criminals/terrorists in any part of our beloved country.

SAGIR MUSA
Colonel
Acting Director Army Public Relations
1 November 2019

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Much Is Achieved When Public Resources Are Used For Public Good – Osinbajo

REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF WESTERN NIGERIA TELEVISION, IBADAN, ON THE 31ST OF OCTOBER, 2019.

PROTOCOLS

It is a special honour to be here today, to celebrate the pioneers of the first television in Africa.  Exactly 60 years ago today, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Premier of the Western Region, then flanked by Governor General, Sir John  Rankine, Chief Anthony Enahoro, the region’s Minister of Information, and Chief T.T Solaru, first Board Chair of Western Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation, formally entered the history books by commissioning the Western Nigeria Television, the first in Africa; and ahead of China in 1962, Canada in 1967, New Zealand in 1960, and several European countries, including the Netherlands in 1960, Ireland in 1961, Greece in 1966 and Malta in 1962.

It was not just first in Africa, but first in many parts of Asia and, as you can imagine, even in Europe without even talking about Eastern Europe.

The event was historic for three reasons. Firstly, it demonstrated the capacity of the Nigerian mind to conceive and achieve anything no matter how complex or difficult. Secondly, it demonstrates how visionary leadership can inspire and lead people from the lowest levels to the high points of human imagination.    

Thirdly, it exemplifies the use of public resources for the public good. WNTV was built to inform, to educate and entertain. As Papa Awolowo himself said on that day sixty years ago, television is a powerful influence for good.

It would ordinarily have been unimaginable that somehow in a part of the yet to be independent Nigeria, a man and his team would build a television station in three months, the first as we have seen, in many parts of the world. But for the man, it was not so surprising because Papa (Awolowo) had laid out a plan for the rapid development of the Western Region. It included physical infrastructure and human capacity development.

The plan included free and compulsory education. As of the date of the inauguration of WNTV, almost a million children were in school in the Western Region. Forty-one per cent (41%) of the Western Region’s budget was spent on education, the highest proportion anywhere in the free world, the highest proportion at that time anywhere in the world.

In the free world in particular, it was obvious that those who understood the value of education used it as a powerful proponent for the advancement of their people. Papa Awolowo clearly understood that so long ago.

Today, as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of WNTV, we also celebrate what is possible in our nation and states, what vision, hardwork and a commitment to the public good can do. 

As Ambassador Yemi Faronmbi said, the celebration of the phenomenal achievement in 1959 would be wasted unless we recognize that the achievement represents sturdy shoulders for us to stand on. Today we can do more and the vision of Awolowo was to build a people capable of excelling beyond even his own achievements.

Every generation has a historic responsibility to reach for the highest peaks that human capacity can achieve. Today we are at the most advanced moment in science, technology and innovation in human history.

The smartphones you have in your hands have more computing power than all the computing power that the Apollo spaceship that took men to the moon in 1969 had. All things are possible and we are able! Let us be inspired by Papa’s words, that our only limit is our imagination.

Congratulations to the Foundation for Ibadan Television and to all of us friends, families and admirers of the pioneers.

Thank you very much and God bless you!

Released by:

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
31st October, 2019

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Nigerian Army Approves New Postings And Appointments

The Nigerian Army has released the postings and appointments of its officers. The posting which was approved by the Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen TY Buratai is a routine exercise to reinvigorate the system for greater professional efficiency.

The highlight includes the appointment of Major General FO Agugo, the erstwhile Chief of Army Transformation and Innovation as the General Officer Commanding 6 Division Port Harcourt, Maj Gen J Sarham the former General Officer Commanding 6 Division is now the Commandant Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna, while Maj Gen CO Ude has been redeployed from Headquarters Multinational Joint Task Force Ndjamena, Chad to Nigerian Army Resource Centre, Abuja and appointed Director Nigerian Army Consult.

Others include; Maj Gen IM Yusuf from Nigerian Army Resource Centre, Abuja to Headquarters Multinational Joint Task Force Ndajamena, Chad as Commander, while Maj Gen EN Njoku has been redeployed from Defence Headquarters to Army Headquarters Department of Transformation and Innovation as the Chief of Transformation and Innovation (Army).

Similarly, Brig Gen EJ Amadasun from Headquarters Nigerian Army Corps of Artillery Kontagora, to 35 Brigade Abeokuta and appointed Commander, Brig Gen AM Adetayo of Army Headquarters Department of Army Transformation is now the Chief of Staff Nigerian Army Corps of Artillery, while Brig Gen LM Zakari from Defence Headquarters Abuja to Nigerian Army Institute of Science, Education and Technology, Ilorin, as Acting Commandant, Brig Gen EE Ekpenyong is posted from Nigerian Army Ordnance School, Ojo, Lagos to Headquarters Nigerian Army Ordnance Corps Yaba, Lagos as Director of Land Service Ammunition

Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Yusufu Buratai whilst wishing them well in their respective appointments charges them to take their new responsibilities seriously and discharge all duties professionally with utmost loyalty to Service and the Nation. All the appointments take immediate effect.

SAGIR MUSA 
Colonel
Acting Director Army Public Relations
29 October 2019

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AYCF Obsession With Tinubu Is A Desperation To Meet Deadline For Hatchet Job

The attention of the Arewa Progressive Initiative (API) has again been drawn to a statement credited to a faceless group, the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) in which it alleges that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will not do anything concerning a petition against Asiwaju Bola Tinubu by one Deji Adeyanju owing to the fact that he (Tinubu) is an APC member.

First of all, the pseudo ACYF should note that the person they said wrote a petition against Tinubu lacks the moral right to do so. Adeyanju, as someone who is facing a murder charge in Kano, and having been imprisoned for six years and recently for two months; is not in a position to institute a petition against someone he knows little or nothing about.

The Arewa Progressive Initiative notes the emerging opposition streaks of ACYF and would not have bothered responding to the latest promotion of the proxy political war the unknown group is spearheading, but for the need to correct misrepresentation.

We have it on good authority that the National President of the Arewa Consultative Youth Forum (ACYF), Alhaji Yerima Shettima is on the payroll of major opposition politicians in the country, which explains why he always rushes to issue a statement against APC leaders like Tinubu. As a ‘one-man’ group that is used purely for ‘political business’, we understand the so-called Yerima has a deadline to meet in carrying out the hatchet jobs of his pay masters.

If the Arewa Consultative Youth Forum (ACYF) or its President, Yerima Shettima, bothered to crosscheck their facts, they would not have made the laughable claim that the anti-graft agency, the EFCC, will fail to do its job of verifying the allegations against Tinubu simply because he is an APC member. One only need to ask ACYF the number of APC members that have been convicted under the Buhari government to see the folly in such a claim.

To set the record straight, the EFCC has prosecuted more than five prominent members of APC under President Muhammadu Buhari administration. Their Excellencies, Sen. Joshua Dariye and Chief Jolly Nyame, both two-term governors of Taraba and Plateau states respectively were, at the time of their convictions, members of the APC.

A former Accountant-General of Kebbi and member of the APC, Mr. Mohammed Dakingari was also convicted of corruption and sentenced to 70 years in prison under the administration of President Buhari. As we speak, former Governor Orji Kalu of Abia and serving Senator is still undergoing prosecution in court by the EFCC even as a member of APC.

No doubt, what the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) and its sponsors failed to realise is that the Buhari administration represent a clear departure from the ignoble past of using the EFCC to witch hunt both real and perceived political enemies. The fight against corruption, being one of the cardinal focus of the present government, is one that is being pursued without fear or favor. This fact has been proven, and it can also be verified by all well meaning Nigerians who place the love of this country far above parochial and personal sentiments.

Like we observed in our last statement, It’s indeed quite unfortunate that a group of young people, who represent no one but themselves and their stomachs, would keep playing the role of attack dogs to some unscrupulous politicians who have held this country prostrate for so long. More disappointing is the fact that this small clique of young people are doing so in the collective name of northern youths.

Like we have chosen to do, it’s our hope that more foresighted and serious-minded youth groups in the north would rise to the need to salvage our collective integrity from financially induced and fake associations who pretend to speak for the young people of Arewa. We also challenge the ‘consultative youths’ behind ACYF to show their faces if they truly exist.

Signed:

Abuh Andrew Abuh
Secretary General

For: Arewa Progressive Initiative (API)

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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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