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2019: INEC releases time table for Presidential, N/Assembly, Governorship election

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A HEAD of 2019 general elections in the country, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has released possible dates for the Presidential and National Assembly Elections.

Presidential and National Assembly Elections is to hold on February 16, 2019 while the Governorship, State Assembly and Area Council Elections in the Federal Capital Territory will take place in March 2, 2019. Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this at the on-going induction retreat for Resident Electoral Commissioners in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital on Friday.

He said, the date for the general elections in 2019 has been fixed stating that, from today, 434 days is left for the Presidential Election and National Assembly Elections adding, it is important to always remind the commission’s personnel of this date and to be appraising their preparations.

According to Him, “All participants at this retreat should be aware that from today, the 2019 general elections to begin with the Presidential and National Assembly Elections on 16th February 2019 are exactly 434 days away. “These will be followed by the Governorship, State and Areas, State Assembly and Area Council elections in the Federal Capital Territory on 2nd March 2019”.

The INEC boss also maintained that, about 3,630,529 new voters had been registered, while the exercise will continue until 60 days to the general elections in 2019 lamenting that, the management and the low rate of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) collection. He used the occasion to state that, about 67 political parties are indicating interest to contest in the 2019 general elections, while the commission had received more than 120 applications from political associations seeking registration as political parties.

Earlier, the Akwa Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Mike Igini expressed the hope that, decisions reach at the retreat would act as a road map to for free, fair and credible elections in 2019. The Country Director of UNDP, Dr Samuel Bwalya who was represented by the Team Leader, Governance and Peace Building, Mr. Kehinde Bolaji described INEC as a pace-setter in elections management in West African sub region, urged the commission to address the issues of violence, internal democracy, accountability and transparency within the political institutions.

Bwala maintained that, without addressing those challenges the expectation of attaining long lasting democratic governance could be disrupted informing that, UNDP would always support the country’s quest in deepening democracy, peace and sustainable development. – Vanguard

Dec 8, 2017 @ 18:08 GMT |

PDP Convention: Kabir Usman emerges as Consensus Candidate for National Publicity Secretary

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The Kogi State chapter of the PDP after intensive deliberations Friday endorsed Barr. Mohammed Kabir Usman as concensus candidate for the National Publicity Secretary position in view of tomorrow’s elective national convention.

This development followed a decision by Kola Ologbondiyan and another aspirant, Farooq Adejoh – Audu to deliberate and intimate their supporters of the outcome of the meeting.

The 13 hours long deliberations which had in attendance prominent party leaders, elders and stakeholders including former Kogi State Governors, Ibrahim Idris and Idris Wada, Sen. Atai Ali Aidoko, Col. Ahmadu Ali, Gen. Tunde Ogbeha, Hon. Emma Egwu of the House of Representatives, Idah Federal Constituency, Hon. Friday Sani Makama and the PDP State Chairman noted that for Kogi State to produce the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP as already ratified by the North Central Zone, the state must as a matter of importance present a united front and present the best from the state.

It was therefore concluded that Barr. Mohammed Kabir Usman on the strength of his capacity, commitment, proven track record and experience in party leadership be unanimously adopted as the concensus candidate to fly the Kogi flag at tomorrow’s elective national convention. – Vanguard

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 17:59 GMT |

Breaking: S-Court sacks APC lawmaker in Edo, gives him 90 days to refund salaries

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THE Supreme Court, on Friday, sacked Hon. Sunday Aghedo of the All Progressive Congress, APC, from the Edo State House of Assembly. Aghedo who hitherto represented Ovia South West constituency, was ordered by the apex court to within 90 days, refund all salaries and allowances he collected from Edo State House of Assembly from May 2015, till date.

In an unanimous judgment, a five-man panel of Justices of the apex court, declared Mr. Godwin Adenomo also of the APC, as the bonafide winner of the legislative election in Ovia South- West constituency of Edo State House of Assembly, held on April 11, 2015. The Supreme Court panel affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Benin which had earlier declared that Mr. Adenomo was the authentic winner of the primary election APC conducted for the costitutency on December 2, 2014.

Delivering the lead judgment on Friday, Justice Dantijo Mohammed ordered the Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly to immediately swear in Mr. Adenomo as member of the Assembly representing Ovia South West constituency. The court further awarded N300, 000 cost against the appelant, Hon. Aghedo, who had challenged the decision of the Court of Appeal Benin delivered by Justice Moore Asiemo Adumein.

Both the Supreme and aappellate court had noted that the pre- election matter arose from a primary election in which Mr. Adenomo scored the highest votes cast, having secured 152 votes as against 140 that was scored by the appellant.

However, instead of submitting Adenomo’s name, the appellant’s name was forwarded as the party’s candidate for the election, with a three man appeal panel that was set up by the party to look into his complaint, upholding the decision of the party. Meanwhile, dissatisfied with the decision of the party’s appeal panel, Adenomo dragged APC and the primary election Committee to court, accusing them of imposing the appellant on the constituency.

He accused the party of denying him the ticket despite the fact that he won the primary election. Based on his suit, the Federal High Court sitting in Benin ordered the APC to conduct a fresh primary for the position. Adenomo however rejected the ruling and took the matter before the appellate court.

Similarly, Aghedo who was also not satisfied with the lower court’s verdict, also filed a cross-appeal to vacate the order setting aside the decision of the party’s appeal panel. Consequently, the appellate court, in its verdict, nullified the high court decision and declared Adenomo winner of the primary election.

Both Aghedo and APC however took the case before the Supreme Court where they contended that a political party reserved the right to sponsor a candidate of its choice at any election, an argument that did not persuade the apex court panel on Friday. – Vanguard

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 17:55 GMT |

 

Anthony Akaeze initiates Prize for Best Graduatiing Student in St. Patrick College

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  • By Anayo Ezugwu

 

ANTHONY Akaeze, journalist with Tell magazine, Lagos, has initiated a prize for Best Graduating Student in St. Patrick College, Emene, Enugu. Akaeze, who graduated from St Patrick in 1990, said the prize was his own way of giving back to the school that moulded him.

At the inaugural award on Thursday, November 30, Akaeze said St Patrick’s played a critical role in his formative years, so, it’s payback time. The award winning journalist said life shouldn’t be about just receiving and expecting favour, it should also be about giving back.

“In the last twenty-seven years since graduating from St Patrick’s Secondary School, Emene, now St Patrick’s College, Emene, I had, prior to this moment, visited the school two times. The first was in 1998 when I came to collect my certificate on my way to pursuing a university education, and the second was in 2015 when I arrived on a sight visit. This third visit, however, is for me, the real homecoming.

“The truth is that, although I graduated from St Patrick’s in 1990, the school never left me. There are times when I simply look back on my days here and think how really privileged I am to have passed through this school, and wondering whether there’s any way I could show appreciation to it. I remember Reverend Bro. F. P. Okeke, the school principal, a great administrator and disciplinarian of the first order, Mrs. Ubani, Literature teacher, Mr Madu, Dom Aziude, Mathematics teacher and Mrs Bridget Ibe, English Language teacher.

“In respect to this prize, which carries a value of N30,000 for now, it is simply my humble way of identifying with my alma mater which I consider an extension of my family. Whichever way we look at it, family takes precedence for the end is inextricably linked to the beginning. St Patrick’s marked my first major beginning in life in terms of knowledge acquisition and I consider it both an honour and privilege to institute this prize which I hope will outlive me. I believe I owe it to the school, after all, whatever I may be today, and whatever I hope to be, it’s thanks to St Patrick’s as I think that the real foundation of my life was laid here,” he said.

Akaeze used the opportunity to congratulate the Okolo William Chibuoke, winner of the inaugural award. He urged him to go on to achieve greater success in life and fly the banner of the illustrious school as a worthy ambassador. He also advised other students not to give up on their dreams, no matter the odds.

On his part, Father Chijioke Eze, principal of the school, thanked Akaeze for remembering the school. He said the award was geared towards picking the best student in the West African Examination Council, WAEC, and appreciating him with a cash award. He stated that he noticed Akaeze’s interest in his alma mater when he paid an unscheduled visit a couple of years ago and since then they have been on talking terms.

According to him, the award coincided with the launch of the school magazine, the Patriarch, and orientation for new students. “Today we are celebrating a tripartite event: first is the orientation of our 2017/18 new students. It is said that if there is no graduation, there will be no matriculation. Life is also mainly about birth and death. In this college we are privileged to maintain an unbroken tradition of experiencing admission and graduation each academic year. Second in our celebration today is the solemn unveiling and launching of the 6th edition of our college magazine, The Patriarch.

“Finally, third in our celebration today is the inauguration and award of Anthony Akaeze Prize for the best graduating student in St Patrick College Emene. This programme is first of its kind in the history of this great college. Anthony Akaeze is noble SPACO Old boy currently making waves as the senior associate editor of the prestigious TELL Magazine,” he said.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 17:45 GMT |

 

 

Oando probe: I won’t succumb to blackmail, Adeosun replies Gwarzo

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THE Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, on Friday said no amount of blackmail by the suspended Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr Mounir Gwarzo, would make her stop the Administrative Panel of Inquiries probe of the embattled SEC DG .

The minister said this during a chat with journalists at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja. Adeosun described as untrue, claims by the suspended DG, that she attempted to stop the forensic audit by SEC into the activities of Oando Plc.

She wondered why Gwarzo could resort to peddling falsehood when in fact he was given a right of fair hearing through an administrative query.

Adeosun said that she decided to speak now to set the records straight, because the actions so far taken by Gwarzo since his suspension by the government is capable of eroding investors’ confidence in the capital market.

She described the allegations against Gwarzo as very weighty as the ministry is in possession of records that shows inconsistencies in the handling of the affairs of the commission by the suspended DG.

Adeosun said, “Mr. Gwarzo has alleged that his suspension was due to his refusal to stop the forensic audit of Oando Plc.

“I would not have ordinarily responded in view of his responsibility for the approval of the Constitution and Terms of Reference for the Administrative Panel of Inquiry into the allegations against Mr. Gwarzo.

“However, given the degree of speculations and the potential impact on the capital market, there is a need to set the records straight as follows:

“The integrity of the capital market is vital to the growth of the Nigerian economy and must be managed in an orderly and transparent manner to ensure investors’ confidence. Its leadership must maintain and be seen to maintain the highest standards of integrity.

“That the original decision taken by SEC on October 20, 2017 to suspend the shares of Oando Plc and conduct a forensic audit, was approved and endorsed by the Federal Ministry of Finance.

“The SEC team, led by Mr. Mounir presented adequate evidence to the minister of finance and her team, that Oando Plc had a clear case to answer with regard to infractions of the Investment and Securities Act.” – Punch

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 17:45 GMT |

PwC urges Nigerian Government to invest in Modular Refineries

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PricewaterhouseCoopers advises Nigerian government to invest in modular refineries

 

  • By Anayo Ezugwu

 

PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS, PwC Nigeria, has advised the federal government to invest in modular refineries because of its cost effectiveness and flexibility. It said that this will ease the challenges of fuel importation facing the country.

PwC Nigeria in its latest report stated that the refineries are usually available in capacities ranging from 1,000 to 30,000 barrels per day bpd.

It indicated that the refineries provide flexibility and can be constructed in a phased manner, adding that the relatively low capital cost and flexibility for upgrades can make it a cost effective supply option for investors.

“Conventional refineries are not as flexible as modular refineries and they require relatively high investment in resources and specialised labour to run, maintain and upgrade.

“The economic viability of a refinery is dependent on the interaction of three elements: type of crude oil used and the complexity of the refining equipment (refinery configuration) and the desired type and quality of products produced. Different types of crude oil yield a different mix of products depending on the crude oil’s natural qualities,” PwC said.

According to it, “Crude oil types are typically differentiated by their density (light/sweet and heavy). Heavy crude tends to produce a larger yield of lower-value products (fuel oils) and also requires significant investment in the refining process. On the other hand, light, sweet crude produces large yield of higher-value products (transportation fuels) and requires less investment in the refining process.

Nigeria currently produces light, sweet crude, meaning Nigerian refineries may be able to source and process crude at lower rates, increasing the viability of refining assets, particularly modular refineries which have lower feedstock requirements,” the report stated.

According to PwC Nigeria, a key requirement for refining profitability is finding the sweet spot between cost of inputs and price of outputs in a highly volatile environment influenced by global, regional, and local supply and demand fluctuations. The report disclosed that refineries have minimal influence over the price of input and outputs and, therefore, must ensure operational efficiency to improve profitability and gain competitive edge.

“This entails reducing operating costs such as labour, maintenance, energy (electricity and natural gas) etc. to the barest minimum. Efficiency is achieved through operational excellence, innovation, maintenance and upgrades and optimisation to produce more output from fewer inputs. Although refineries share certain similarities, each refining asset is a unique and complex industrial facility, with some flexibility in the crude slate it can process and the mix of product yields it can refine.

“Factors such as refinery configuration and complexity directly impact refinery end products while location and transportation infrastructure impact energy, labour and compliance costs.’’

The company added that Over the last four decades, Nigeria has consistently struggled to keep its refineries functioning optimally. Despite having a nameplate refining capacity that exceeds demand, Nigeria ranks as the 3rd highest importer of petroleum products in Africa, importing over 80 percent of products consumed.

“In spite of the setbacks, the inherent opportunity for Nigeria’s erstwhile dormant refining sector holds bright prospects for the future and recognition of key drivers will accelerate the imminent refining revolution,” it said.

The paper provides a studious analysis of the current state of the refining sector and the refining revolution we predict will take place over the next 3-5 years. It draws attention to the existing gaps in the supply of refined petroleum products in Nigeria and the West African region and it highlights the sizeable potential for domestic refining of petroleum products.

“Importantly, it identifies key drivers that will spur the growth of the refining sector in Nigeria. Lastly, it highlights refining asset economics and structural commercial considerations for investors and identifies the modular refinery, an off-the-shelf solution, as the cost effective supply option for investors especially when diesel is the lightest yield. The world is expected to continue to run primarily on fossil fuels to supply its energy in the near to medium term.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 17:43 GMT |

 

 

Emefiele tasks implementing agencies of FSS 2020

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GODWIN Emefiele, the governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has tasked implementing agencies collaborating with the CBN on the Financial System Strategy, FSS2020, to do more to ensure that Nigeria meets the set strategic vision of being the safest and most diversified financial system among emerging markets supporting the real economy by the year 2020.

Emefiele gave the charge in Lagos on Thursday, December 7, while declaring open the 10th Anniversary Strategic Review meeting on the Financial System Strategy 2020.

He noted that the strategy review meeting was geared towards an appraisal of FSS2020 accomplishments in the past 10 years and to chart overall strategic direction for the next three years and beyond with a view to strengthening Nigeria’s financial system to meet the unfolding challenges in both domestic and international market.

While also noting that much had been achieved in the areas of payments system, mortgage; financial market, Pension, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises;Insurance and Mortgage sectors; and creating linkages in the financial system, he said a lot still needed to be done to ensure financial inclusion and the overall growth of the financial system.

Emefiele also disclosed that some Bills had been initiated by FSS2020 to strengthen and deepen the financial system including the Financial Ombudsman Bill for consumer empowerment. Accordingly, he said the FSS2020 would be resubmitting to the National Assembly a Bill for establishment of specific financial consumer ombudsman to address the challenges of protection of consumers of financial services as well as the protection of the integrity of the financial system

As catalysts to growth and development, he said the next three years provided the collaborating implementing agencies opportunities to do more to include people in the financial sector, stressing that the goal remained to get 80 percent of Nigerian adults included in the financial system. He further noted that though demographics favoured Nigeria, the nation’s population, with a growth rate of three per cent per annum, could also be an albatross if nothing concrete was done to provide for the future.

He, therefore, challenged all the collaborating agencies to work closely together to achieve the strategic themes of the project which are to: Strengthen and deepen the domestic markets, enhance integration with the external financial markets and promote sustainable economic development. He particularly tasked the agencies to assess what had worked well for the implementation of the project and identify what must be done to ensure the success of the project.

“This cooperation includes funding support, capacity building and making FSS2020 an animal of its own,” Emefiele added.

The CBN governor also used the occasion to pay tribute to the coordinator of the FSS 2020 Office and Suleiman Barau, CBN deputy governor in charge of Corporate Services Directorate, whose tenure as deputy governor ends in December 2017, for his dedication to the project in spite of the enormous challenges.

Earlier in his opening remarks, Barau said all the implementing agencies agreed that despite being positioned as one of the top 25 economies in the world, in terms of GDP, the Nigerian economy and financial sector were not yet where the agencies desired them to be.

He noted that the collaboration of the different implementing agencies to forge a common objective for the financial system was a major achievement of his tenure, considering that agencies hitherto worked in silos. He, however, advised that more should be done to achieve the targets set for each of the various financial service areas.

Representatives of all the various implementing agencies such as the Federal Ministry of Finance; Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC; Financial Reporting Council, FRC; Debt Management Office, DMO; Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, FMBN; Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS; Nigeria Stock Exchange, NSE; National Insurance Commission, NAICOM; Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, and the National Pension Commission, PenCom, were in attendance at the two-day meeting.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 17:39 GMT |

 

 

ExxonMobil, Instituto de Tecnologia Quimica discover New Material to reduce Emissions

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SCIENTISTS from ExxonMobil and the Instituto de Tecnologia Quimica, ITQ, in Valencia, Spain, have discovered a potentially revolutionary new material that could significantly reduce the amount of energy and emissions associated with the production of ethylene. Depending on the application, use of the new material, in conjunction with other novel separation processes could result in up to a 25 percent reduction in both the energy needed for ethylene separation, as well as the associated carbon dioxide emissions.

Results of the research have been published in the peer-reviewed journal Science. ExxonMobil and ITQ researchers found that the new material, composed of a uniquely structured silica zeolite, can be used in gas separation processes, such as the recovery of ethylene from ethane, with an unprecedented degree of selectivity at ambient temperature.

The new material could provide insights into the design of additional materials to be used as adsorbents or membranes in a variety of different gas separation applications associated with chemical manufacturing. Zeolites are porous materials frequently used as adsorbents and catalysts in chemical processes.

Vijay Swarup, vice president, research and development at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company, said cryogenic distillation, the current commercial-scale process used for ethylene separation, is an energy-intensive process. “If advanced to commercial scale, use of this new material could significantly reduce the amount of energy and emissions associated with ethylene production. This is another great example of collaboration between industry and a university that is focused on driving solutions for improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions from industrial processes.”

Ethylene is a critical component in producing chemicals and plastics. Finding alternative, low-energy technologies to separate ethylene from ethane has been a longstanding challenge due to their similar properties. While chemical manufacturers have evaluated a number of alternatives to cryogenic distillation, including new adsorbents and separation processes, many of these technologies are hindered by low selectivity and an inability to regenerate when exposed to contaminants.

The patented new material, ITQ-55, is able to selectively adsorb ethylene over ethane as a result of its unique flexible pore structure. Built from heart-shaped cages interconnected by flexible elongated pore openings, the material allows the diffusion of the flatter ethylene molecules as opposed to the more cylindrical-shaped ethane molecules. The new material acts as a flexible molecular sieve.

Avelino Corma, Instituto de Tecnologia Quimica and co-author of the research, said, “ITQ-55 is a very interesting material whose unique combination of pore dimension, topology, flexibility and chemical composition results in a highly stable and inert material that is able to absorb ethylene and filter out ethane. We are excited about this discovery and look forward to continuing our fruitful collaboration with ExxonMobil.”

Additional research must be conducted before the material can be considered for larger-scale demonstration and commercialization. Fundamental research will continue focusing on incorporating the material into a membrane and developing additional novel materials for gas separation.

Gary Casty, section head for catalysis at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company, said, “Our ultimate goal of actually replacing cryogenic distillation is a long-term challenge that will require many more years of research and testing, in and out of the lab. Our next steps will focus on better understanding the full potential of this new zeolite material.”

Chemical plants account for about eight percent of global energy demand and about 15 percent of the projected growth in demand to 2040. As global populations and living standards continue to rise, demand for auto parts, housing materials, electronics and other products made from plastics and other petrochemicals will continue to grow. Improving industrial efficiency is part of ExxonMobil’s mission to meet the world’s growing need for energy while minimizing environmental impacts.

ExxonMobil works with about 80 universities around the world to explore next-generation energy technologies. In 2016, ExxonMobil and the Georgia Institute of Technology announced the development of a potential new material focusing on liquids separation that could also reduce the amount of energy and emissions associated with manufacturing plastics. The results of this joint research were published by Science, as well.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 17:35 GMT |

 

 

Obiano lauds persons living with disabilities

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GOVERNOR Willie Obiano of Anambra State has commended persons living with disabilities for voting massively for him during the governorship polls.

The elections were held on November 18, in the state.

Obiano said this at the end of 2017 International Day of Persons Living with Disabilities, PLWD, at his country home, Aguleri.

Obiano said that government would employ more PLWD to balance the workforce of the state civil service.

He said that the Anambra State House of Assembly would ensure that the rights and privileges of disable persons in the state would be protected.

Victoria Chikwelu, the commissioner for Social Welfare, Children and Women Affairs, said the governor and his wife had done so much for PLWD.

She noted that three special disability centres were fully equipped with hostel accommodation in the three senatorial zones of the state.

At these centres, various skills acquisition, like tailoring, vulcanising, hairdressing, computer/phone repairs, poultry/fish farming are taught to students.

The commissioner, pleaded with those already employed in the Civil Service to be diligent and hardworking.

The occasion witnessed various sporting activities by persons living with disabilities. These include running, short put and javelin throws, weightlifting and football.

Bags of rice were also distributed to persons living with disabilities from 21 Local Government Areas of the state.

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 17:29 GMT |

 

Anambra Librarians hold 2017 conference in Awka

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LIBRARIANS have been urged to lead people into knowledge by sharing in all areas of human endeavour as knowledge promotes development.

This is the focal point during a 2-day conference/Annual General Meeting, AGM, of the Anambra State chapter of Nigerian Library Association.

The theme of the conference is: “Library; Sharing knowledge For Development’’.

In their opening remarks, Jeff Okeke, chairman of the occasion, and Uju Nwafor-Orizu, the Chairperson of NLA Anambra State, stressed the importance of library in the lives of people.

She called on stakeholders and government to cooperate to improve the library system in Nigeria.

The National President of Nigerian Library Association, Dr Umunna Opara commended the Anambra State Government for making library, an essential part for its development.

Presenting a keynote address, the Dean Faculty of Social Sciences Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Prof. Stella Okunna represented by Dr Chinwe Uzochukwu emphasised that “development is driven by information and knowledge’’.

Okunna asserted that libraries should not be luxury for a particular set of people, stressing that libraries should be agents for positive change.

The pupils of Ridge Valley Academy featured a drama sketch, and Little Angels presented songs.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 17:27 GMT |

 

 

77 Ndi Anambra for Christian pilgrimage

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NO few than 77 Ndi Anambra pilgrims are set for a journey to Israel for this year’s pilgrimage.

They have since moved to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja from where they would be transported to the Holy Land.

Steve Ibenta, the chairman of the Anambra State Pilgrims Board, said the group would spend 10 days in Israel before returning to Nigeria.

He prayed God to grant them journey mercies as they leave the country.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 17:24 GMT |

DPO declares roadside trading criminal offence

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RABIU Garba, the Fegge Divisional Police Officer, has declared roadside trading as a criminal offence and a contravention of the law.

Garba explained in an interview with Anambra Information Officer when alerted about evacuation of street traders by security personnel.

He criticised the level of road blockages by traders and street hawkers, saying, “ it is a rotten activity’’.

The officer observed, “it is the work of a policeman to stop street trading or to arrest such people’’.

Meanwhile, some security operatives were seen evacuating street traders on Ziks Avenue-Ochanja Roundabout-Iweka Road and other major roads in Onitsha.

These roads were blocked by traders and street hawkers.

The report noted that blocking of streets had become habitual for some traders; most of who see it as their right to display ware indiscriminately and even restricts human and vehicular movement.

There is a subsisting law in Anambra State prohibiting street trading or hawking on roads. This is to stem road accidents.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 17:21 GMT |

 

 

 

Remains of APGA Secretary in Oroma retrieved from River Niger

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THE remains of secretary of All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA,  in Oroma  Etiti Community, Anambra West Local Government Area has been retrieved from the River Niger.

The corpse of the late Julius Chukwudi Chinwuba, secretary, allegedly murdered, floated on November 17, a couple of days after he went missing.

It was believed that he was murdered and corpse thrown into River Niger to conceal the crime and identity of the victim.

The late Chinwuba from Umunzu kindred was until his death the president-general of his community.

He was said to have been murdered two days prior to the conduct of the recently concluded gubernatorial election held on November 18.

It was suspected that some prominent people in the area, who had demanded that he relinquish the position of President- General of the community, might have been behind his disappearance and eventual death.

The late Chinwuba’s corpse which floated on Nov. 17 was identified by some members of the community.

According to a source, Chinwuba attended a meeting of his Umunzu kindred on the fateful day.

At the time his body was retrieved, his hands and legs were bound together with bags of sand and blocks, apparently to weigh it down.

It was gathered that prior to his death, his house was said to have been torched, and his farms destroyed in Oroma Etiti, all in an attempt to compel him to relinquish the two positions – president-general and secretary of the party in the community.

The secretary position was zoned to his Umunzu kindred and he contested and won with popular votes against a candidate of his opponent from same kindred.

Reacting to the incident, Igwe Nwozekwe Okeke, the traditional ruler, Oroma Etiti Community, said the death was regrettable noting that the police had yet to make arrests in connection with the crime.

“The suspects have run away from the community and we cannot pursue them, since it is only the police that can go after them,’’ Okeke said.

He lamented that there has not been any serious action by the Police since the murder.

Confirming the incident, ASP Nkiru Nwode, the state Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, , said she could not speak elaborately on the matter.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 17:12 GMT |

 

 

Awka community stage peaceful protest over parallel monarch

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HUNDREDS of aggrieved youths and elders of Awka Community staged a peaceful protest on December 7, over an individual who alleged crowned himself as traditional ruler of Awka.

The protest, which was largely peaceful, started at Ezibi Square, where protesters marched to Government House, Awka.

The resultant commotion caused traffic jam on the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway.

The youths accompanied by their elders displayed placards with such inscriptions: “Dr Gibson Nwosu, Obi of Awka is our traditional ruler”, “the palace of Awka kingdom is not for sale”, “we stand with Gov. Willie Obiano to stop this impending danger’’.

Benjamin Muorah, one of the leaders of the protest, explained that the protest was designed to create awareness that Awka indigenes have disassociated themselves from the purported coronation of a certain man as traditional ruler of the town.

Muorah noted that, it was an abomination for an individual in Awka to crown himself as the traditional ruler, “when their legally crowned traditional ruler, Obi Gibson Nwosu is still alive’’.

The youth leader urged the state government and security agencies to rise to the occasion by stopping the said man from parading himself as the traditional ruler.

He stressed that the action was abominable and also resulted in disruption of the peace in the area.

Muorah said if urgent steps were not taken to arrest the ugly development, it could throw the community into a state of anarchy.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 17:07 GMT |

 

Anambra head of service enjoins civil servants to emulate predecessors

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CIVIL Servants in the Office of the Head of Service, HOS, Anambra State have been enjoined to follow the footsteps of their predecessors in order to attain greater heights.

Harry Udu, the HOS Anambra State, gave the charge on December 6, at the Chief Jerome Udoji Secretariat Complex, Awka during sent-forth ceremony organised by the staff for their retired colleagues and those on transfer.

Udu, who was represented by Chibueze Okoli, the permanent secretary, Public Service, Manpower Development and Welfare Service, Office of the Head of Service,  commended the organisers of the event.

He thanked God Almighty for keeping the retirees alive to see the end of their service as they retired in good health.

Udu, then, commended the retirees for their efforts and contributions while in service.

He advised them to create positive impact with the wealth of knowledge they garnered from service in any new endeavour.

In a remark, Prince Nwude, the chairman, Staff Member Association of the Office of the Head of Service, thanked everyone who graced the occasion, most especially Udu, the Head of Service and Grand Patron of the Association, for his support.

Nwude, then, prayed for God’s protection on the retirees and other civil servants for peaceful entry into 2018.

In a vote of thanks, P.T. Mbah, one of the retirees, on behalf of his colleagues expressed happiness at the warm sent-forth celebration organised for them.

“Be diligent in their duties and always seek the face of God in all they do in life,’’ Mbah prayed for those still in service.

He wished them long life and prosperity.

The retirees were presented with gift items by Udu.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 17:03 GMT |

Cooperative professionals get new executive

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EMMA Okechukwu, the national president, Institute of Cooperative Professionals of Nigeria, ICOPRON, has formally handed leadership to new executive.

The event took place on December 7, at Cheleku Hotels, Amawbia during the National executive meeting of ICOPRON.

In a valedictory speech by Okechukwu, the outgoing president, recalled that he was given the responsibility of presidency of the Institute on Nov. 9, 2006 at Kaduna.

According to him, he put in his best to raise ICOPRON to the present standard.

Okechukwu said that his executive laid the foundation for the incoming executive to build on and expressed his hope that they would attain greater heights.

In his acceptance speech, Olu Adegoke the newly elected national president, thanked the outgoing president and executive for their efforts in the Institute.

Adegoke called on the new executive to give him maximum support and cooperation in order to perform optimally.

Earlier, in the day, Nwabugo Okonkwo, the head of Department of Cooperatives in the Ministry of Trade, Commerce, Markets and Wealth Creation Anambra State, received the ICOPRON executive on a courtesy call to her office at Jerome Udoji Secretariat Complex, Awka.

Okonkwo accepted their invitation and properly represented the state in the ICOPRON Executive meeting.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 16:55 GMT |

 

 

Decongestion body keeps traffic flowing in Idemili North

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THE IdemilI North Traffic Decongestion Authority, INTDA, Ogidi zone has embarked on war against traffic congestion on major roads in Idemili North Local Government Area.

The aggressive drive by Gilbert Okoye, the Commandant-General, with his entourage to New Parts and other major roads under the LG had brought to a halt the seasonal traffic jam experienced by motorists and pedestrians.

Okoye advised hawkers, traders, tri-cycle operators, motorcyclists and motorists to desist from trading and parking on the roads as they constituted major causes of some road accidents and traffic congestion.

Some vehicles were impounded and motorcycles seized from their owners, who defaulted as caution to other would-be offenders.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 16:53 GMT |

 

Liberian Ruling Party accepts Supreme Court Judgement

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THE ruling Unity Party of the Republic of Liberia has accepted the Supreme Court final ruling on the run-off of the 2017 presidential and legislative elections. The Unity Party through Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai,  its standard bearer, urged the Liberian National Elections Commission to make public the voters’ roll and address other irregularities to ensure a transparent run-off election.

In a press statement made available to Realnews, Boakai said the Supreme Court being the highest court in the land and the final arbiter of the dispute, had ruled and should be obeyed. “We would, therefore, like to state without equivocation that the Unity Party accepts the ruling of the High Court. This decision, and the road we took with collaborating parties, are unprecedented and should give all of us hope that the future of our democracy and country is bright. Liberians can now celebrate the triumph of the rule of law! Liberians can now celebrate their resolved to pursue non-violent means of solving problems,” he said.

Boakai said in the light of the deliberate and mischievous attempts by detractors to distort the intervention by the UP and collaborating parties to ensure a transparent and clean electoral process, void of manipulation of any kind, he was constrained to set the record straight for the benefit of the Liberian people. “The UP’s intervening action in support of Liberty Party’s challenge was not a selfish or opportunistic one, nor was it in any way a strategy to unnecessarily cause delay and prolong the electoral process, as alleged by  detractors,” he said.

According to him, on October 10 this year, Liberians trooped to the polls to fulfill their constitutional mandate, symbolising a determination to consolidate the gains of peace and ensure that the democratic and inalienable rights were duly exercised. He called on the National Elections Commission to adhere to the request made by the Supreme Court, especially in addressing the publication of the voters roll and other key issues to ensure a free, fair and transparent run-off election.

Boakai also called on Liberians to address their concerns and problems through the court of law and avoid every means of violence in the country, and recounted that in 1927, Liberia made history that earned her an unenviable place in the Guinness Book of Record with the most fraudulent elections in the world.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 15:40 GMT |

 

New Zimbabwean Govt returns Land to White Farmer

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PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe has ordered that a white Zimbabwean farmer evicted from his land in June be allowed to return, signalling a shift in land-ownership policy from Robert Mugabe his predecessor in office.

Mnangagwa has also ordered an end to the intimidation and eviction of farmers, regardless of race, with immediate effect, Chris Mutsvanga, presidential adviser, said Thursday, December 7.

Robert Smart, evicted from his Lesbury Estate farm in the eastern Manicaland province by Mandi Chimene, the then-governor, can return immediately, Mutsvanga said by phone interview from the capital, Harare.

Chimene’s whereabouts weren’t known at press time, while a religious leader who participated in the eviction was “told to leave the farmer alone,” Mutsvanga added.

Several ministers and governors loyal to Mugabe, like Chimene, have disappeared from public view since November 15, when Zimbabwe’s military briefly took control of the country.

One of Mnangagwa’s key challenges will be to revive an agricultural industry that collapsed following the Mugabe-sanctioned seizure of mostly white-owned commercial farms starting in 2000, causing food shortages and slashing export earnings and tax revenue.

After taking office two weeks ago, the new president spoke in a speech about the need to revive Zimbabwe’s decimated economy and put the southern African nation back to work. However, his announcement last week of a cabinet that included ruling party loyalists and army generals fuelled scepticism about the likelihood of policy changes.

“Under the new dispensation, all Zimbabweans, regardless of race, color or creed are welcome to work for the development of the country,” Mutsvanga said.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 15:50 GMT |

 

 

Muhammadu Warns Against Fuel Hoarding

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GANA Muhammadu, the commandant general, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, has warned petrol dealers in the country against inflicting hardship on the people by hoarding the product.

Muhammadu gave the warning on Thursday, December 7, in Abuja during a surveillance conducted by the corps on the emerging fuel scarcity in the country, he warned oil marketers against hoarding fuel in anticipation of a rise in pump prices terming the move as illegal.

He said that any fuel marketer caught hoarding the product or selling above the approved pump price of N145.00 would be made to face the wrath of the government.

“Any filling station caught hoarding the product or selling petrol above the official pump price would not only be sanctioned, but will have such filling station sealed off. The NSCDC however appealed to members of the public to always inform them of any wrong doings from any filling stations.

“There should not be any reason for us in Nigeria to be suffering to get the product and that there was no reason for any dealer to hoard fuel when relevant authorities insisted that there were no plans to jerk up the pump price of petrol.

“We heard from a reliable source that many trailers left Depots across the country for states with the product.

“We have however dispatched some of our people to depots to get the names of the filling stations and the quantity.

“We wanted to do this so that we shall be able to trace where the trailers have been diverted to.

“Meanwhile, anyone caught, the dealer, filling station, manager of such station, the trailer and its attendants will be dealt with,” he said.

He, therefore, appealed to the marketers to bring the allotted supply to the different stations to reduce the hardship currently being faced by the people.

Muhammadu further assured the public that the country has enough stocks of fuel and all effort is being made to ensure that the product is available across the country. Consequently, we expect the situation to normalize in the next 24 hours.”

Finally, the corps wishes to caution all oil marketing companies that hoarding of petroleum products in anticipation of an economic gain is illegal and any company found culpable of such an activity risks cancellation of their operating license.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 15:40 GMT |

 

144 LG executives Of Atiku Care Foundation Kaduna State Zone 1 Inaugurated

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A TOTAL of 144 local government executives of Kaduna Zone 1 branch of Atiku Care Foundation have been inaugurated with thousands of supporters of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Wazirin Adamawa, thronging the event held in Zaria.

According to a statement signed by Jacob Onjewu Dickson, the director Media and Publicity North West of the foundation and spokesman to the  national chairman, the occasion, which was prided as the first of its kind in Northern Nigeria, was witnessed by Aliyu Ibn Abbas, the national chairman of the foundation; Maryam Khalid, deputy national Women leader; Lawal Zanna, Northwest director; Fati Muhammad, Northwest director of Women, and many other zonal and states executives.

Also present were Ibrahim Dahiru Danfulani, the Kaduna State Atiku Care Foundation chairman; Iyal D.Waziri, Zone One chairman, and many state executives.

Abbas in his speech, appealed to the people have to be more patient from the untold hardship being experienced as a result of bad leadership.

Tasiu Musa, Kaduna State secretary, briefed the crowd about the aims and objectives of the foundation.

In his welcoming address, Mustapha Abdulhamid, secretary Zone One, thanked everyone for attending the great event.

In her speech, Khalid promised that women would not going to be left behind.

The crowd of supporters filled the hall and outside, making entrance or exit nearly impossible.

Those inaugurated are to oversee activities of the foundation in the eight local government areas that make up the zone.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 15:36 GMT |

 

Baru woos Foreign Investors for NNPC Mega Projects

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MAIKANTI Baru, the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has called on foreign investors to partner with the corporation in its multi-billion dollar projects expected to come up in the New Year.

Baru, who made the call in London at the Forbes Award on him, said the corporation would be involved in a number of projects which would require international collaboration.

“Our programme for 2018 is very aggressive and will require cooperation from the international community in supporting our activities through technical and financial collaboration,” Baru said.

The GMD who had departed the UK, listed some of the mega projects that would be launched in the coming year to include: Bonga SW/Aparo; Zaba-zaba; Bosi; the 7 critical gas projects and gas pipelines; NLNG Train 7 plus expansion; possible divestment of Government Equity in JV and development of modular refineries amongst others.

He added: “Today, the confidence of investors is being restored, thanks to good governance provided by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. I therefore call on you all to utilize this golden opportunity made possible by our supportive President.”

Baru averred that international collaboration between the NNPC and its partners was fast yielding results, adding that within the last three years, NNPC had secured about $3.7bn alternative financing agreements aimed at sustaining and increasing the national daily production and producibility.

He said the alternative financing approach had yielded positive results and helped to renew investors’ confidence resulting in a boost in Foreign Direct Investments in Nigeria.

Baru observed that the financing arrangement had also deepen the participation of local banks in funding the Upstream Sector as it the funds were syndicated from both local and International banks as well as lenders.

He commended the local and international lenders and the Joint Venture partners for their continued faith in Nigeria and their support towards providing the funding.

Thanking Forbes for the 2017 Africa Oil & Gas Man of the Year Award conferred on him, Baru described the recognition as not only special to him, but to all Nigerians.

“This award is so special to me. It is an award to Nigeria which fills me with immense national pride. It also reinforces the long-established and far-reaching impact of the NNPC in national, regional and global economic growth and stability,” he added.

The award, he said, came to him as a big surprise, owing to the fact that the scope of the nomination represents a huge selection of highly qualified professionals across Africa.

While conferring the award on the GMD, Mark Furlong, a representative of Forbes, said his institution was celebrating an embodiment of hard work, integrity and intelligence who was making giant strides in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry and beyond.

“Dr. Baru is admired and celebrated nationwide and internationally. He is a credible and courageous man with high moral virtue. His broad knowledge and positive leadership style are worthy of emulation,” Furlong added.

Also speaking, Bassey Albert Akpan, chairman Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), said having worked closely with Baru when the GMD was GED Exploration & Production, the Forbes award did not come as a surprise.

“Dr. Baru has done well as the GMD of NNPC over the last 18 months. He is a strong-willed fellow whose passion and commitment to his job is incomprehensible. I believe Forbes will find him more deserving for this award,” Akpan said.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 15:10 GMT |

 

Nepal Oil gives back to communities in Abia State

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AS part of its community and philanthropic efforts, Nepal Oil & Gas Services Limited, one of Nigeria’s leading indigenous midstream and downstream oil and gas companies, on Saturday, December 2, 2017, embarked on a massive charity and medical assistance drive in the towns of Umuahia and Aba in Abia State.

The purpose of the initiative, tagged ‘back-to-the-roots’, was to give back to communities in Abia state, where Ngozi Ekeoma, the managing director, Nepal Oil & Gas, was born and brought up, whilst putting smiles on the faces of people ahead of the Yuletide season.

The charity drive initiative kicked off with medical relief donations at the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia and Ensign Private Hospital, Aba. A total of 30 wheelchairs and 15 crutches were donated to the hospitals and patients in the Accident Emergency Ward, Children Emergency Ward, Orthopedic Ward, Female and Male Wards. Most of those who are recipients of the medical aids have been hospitalized beyond their discharged date, due to their inability to procure the necessary medical aids to continue their recovery at homes. The donations now put them in a position to properly heal both psychologically and emotionally.

The team thereafter, left the town in search of one Happiness Nwachukwu, a young lady, the doctors said, was urgently in need of a new wheelchair. They located Nwachukwu at Ayaba Umueze community in Aba, where they replaced her dilapidated and out-of-order wheelchair, she had used for years. An incredibly surprised Nwachukwu was emotional as she received a gift that would change the way she celebrates this year’s yuletide holidays.

In addition to this, the Nepal Oil team also indicated interest to work out concessionary measures with the hospital management to defray the medical bills of up to 10 indigent patients, who for reason of their financial state, could not afford to pay for their medical care and consequently could not leave the hospital facilities for their homes. Some of these patients have stayed in the hospital for 1, 3, 5 even up to 8 months.

Commenting on the charity drive initiative, Umanta Ude Umanta, the company secretary/legal adviser, Nepal Oil & Gas, stated: “At Nepal Oil & Gas, we have a management team that has continually invested in people-building and philanthropy. Our Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, is most of the times charity-driven. We are always on the lookout for people who are in need to provide relevant and sustainable assistance to them. This charity drive is one of the numerous ways we are giving back to the communities/society.

“Earlier this year, Nepal Oil & Gas donated relief materials worth over 10 million Naira to victims of the tragic Benue flood disaster. This Yuletide season, residents of Aba and Umuahia have been strategically chosen for this year’s charity drive, a way of giving back to the community that raised our Managing Director, Mrs. Ngozi Ekeoma and connecting her back to her roots. The choice of hosting the charity funfair at Hospital Road Primary school, Aba was also strategic, as that was where Nepal Oil’s Managing Director received her first formal (elementary) education.”

Victor Nwaiwu, one of the wheelchair beneficiaries at Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, who expressed profound appreciation and commended the Nepal Oil & Gas team stated that he had not been able to get a wheelchair for himself due to financial constraint and this left him bedridden for eight months.

In addition to the medical aids donations and assistance, the Nepal Oil & Gas “back-to-the-roots” charity drive also provided more than 3,000 people with bags of rice, cooking oil, salt, and vegetable to ensure they have a truly merry festive season.

Nepal Oil & Gas Services Limited was incorporated on October 13, 2004 to carry on the business of supply, trading and productivity support in the down, mid and up-stream sub sector of the petroleum industry.

The company is renowned for its importation, warehousing and distribution of massive volumes of petroleum products in Nigeria, leveraging its sizeable fleet of motorized tanker trucks and strategically positioned retail outlets.

The company excels in effective distribution of petroleum products to meet the ever rising demand of the Nigerian market. The company also supply Petroleum Products to several establishments including but not limited to, renowned oil majors within the country on purchase order supply contracts.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 14:56 GMT |

 

Kaduna Electric launches Online Payment Platform

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KADUNA Electric has launched an e-payment platform for the benefit of its pre-paid customers. The online bills payment channel which is a partnership with a renowned payment solutions provider, Buy Power Incorporated, will enable the pre-paid customers obtain energy token from the comfort of their homes and offices.

Garba Haruna, managing director/CEO, Kaduna Electric, disclosed that the disco came up with the idea so as to make bills payments by its customers easy, convenient and stress-free. According to him, the idea, conceptualised shortly after taking over the company three years ago, was aimed at relieving customers of the burden and inconveniences associated with going to service centres to buy token.

He expressed optimism that the availability of the new online payment platform will open a new chapter in customer services delivery and shut the door of meter bye-pass.

Earlier in his remark, Benjamin Ufaruna, managing director, Buy Power Incorporated, assured both the management and customers of Kaduna Electric of the reliability and flexibility of the payment platform, stressing that the channel was developed using modern ICT infrastructure that will accommodate heavy payment traffic.

“Our platform was developed after careful study of most of the challenges that characterized online payment platforms in the country; it is not cumbersome and we have eliminated complex repetitive steps to make it easy to understand and use,” he said.

Ufaruna also disclosed that in the first quarter of next year, Buy Power shall also introduced offline bills payment channels to further ensure efficient service delivery.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 14:55 GMT |

 

EEDC: Over 200 Transformers vandalised in Anambra in 10 Months

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THE Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, EEDC, has said that more than 200 transformers belonging to the company were vandalised by hoodlums between January and November 2017 in Anambra State. Samuel Onuoha, network manager, EEDC Awka, said the company had zero tolerance for vandalisation of its installations,

Onuoha, who made the disclosure while addressing a group of protesters, who stormed the EEDC office in Awka, to express their concerns over several months of power outage, said about 50 transformers had been vandalised in Nnewi, 30 in Awka, over 100 in Onitsha and six in Ekwulobia districts within the period.

“There are different levels of vandalisms; some go for oil and different types of cables, some remove the feeder pillar units, among others. The vandalism escalated in the ember months; we cannot continue to run business like that,” he said, adding that six cases of vandalism were currently at different levels of prosecution in the state.

However, the network manager said the company had commenced replacement of vandalised facilities across the South-East geo-political zone, urging residents and community leaders to protect their transformers. He also urged them to report cases of vandalism to the office or the nearest police station. “What we do in EEDC is also a business that involves buying and selling; so anything affecting our inability to distribute electricity is also affecting our income.”

Onuoha assured the protesters that the company would fix their vandalised transformer soon. On claims by the protesters that two EEDC officials were arrested for the vandalisation and handed over to the police, he said the police as a statutory body had laws guiding its work and should be allowed to handle the matter as the law provides.

He appealed to the protesters to show understanding, noting that the company was collaborating with security agencies and community leaders to minimize vandalism of its installations.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 14:40 GMT |

FirstBank achieves PCI DSS Recertification

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FIRST Bank of Nigeria Limited has received the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, PCI DSS version 3.2. This recertification, according to a statement from the bank, reaffirms its position in the payment card industry in Nigeria.

“Recently, First Bank was named the first financial institution in Nigeria and the West-Africa sub-region to issue 10 million cards to customers across the country. This makes First Bank the second bank in Africa to achieve this feat. With this milestone, the bank has maintained a 95 percent active card ratio and currently processes about 33 percent of card transactions in the entire banking industry,” it added.

The PCI DSS is a set of requirements designed to ensure companies that process, store or transmit credit/debit card information, maintain a secure environment thereby guaranteeing the protection of cardholder data throughout the transaction process.

“The award of this certificate is a strong indicator that First Bank consistently has its customers’ interest at the core of its business operations, is committed to securing customer information as well as maintaining a safe and secure environment for customer transactions. “Consequently, the bank presently has a card transaction volume of over 2700 per minute with one in every three card transactions being a First Bank card.”

According to Adesola Adeduntan, managing director/CEO, First Bank of Nigeria Limited and Subsidiaries, the bank’s recertification was a testament to its high level operational standards as well as its strict adherence to international security standards and other regulations. “In an era of increasing sophisticated attacks on systems; adhering to the PCI DSS represents an organisation’s best protection against cybercrime. First Bank remains committed to excellent information security management and would continue to apply the PCI DSS in its business practices,” he said.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 14:40 GMT |

 

Fidelity’s Guide for Successful Entrepreneurship

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NNAMDI Okonkwo, managing director, Fidelity Bank Plc, has advised young entrepreneurs to adhere to corporate governance principles, proper book-keeping among other best practices for their businesses to survive. He said most of the companies that employ thousands of persons in the country today started as small and medium entreprises, SMEs.

The managing director, who made this remark at the 2017 Africa’s Young Entrepreneurs conference titled: “Networking with the Giants,” regretted that most SMEs in the country die prematurely. “The issue is how many of such SMEs die prematurely and why do they die prematurely? They die prematurely because of infrastructural constraints, lack of access to markets and a couple of other things.

“That is why at Fidelity Bank, about seven years ago, we decided to support SMEs in a different manner by setting up a unit to managed SMEs. We did that because the fundamentals of why businesses fail is not just about financing alone. You must know what to do with the finance. You must know even simple booking-keeping practices,” he said.

According to him, supporting SMEs would help the federal government in its quest to diversify the economy. He put the total number of SMEs in the country presently at 37,000 million, saying they employ between 60-80 percent of the workforce in the country. “We are glad to note that given the recession that the country is just coming out from, a lot of people have gone into various types of SME businesses and we are happy to note that a lot of young Nigerians are now taking to self-employment.”

He urged young entrepreneurs to embrace proper business planning, so as to survive in any sector they chose to operate in. “Another issue is poor corporate governance. Have you asked yourself about all those big names we knew when we were growing up, where are they today?

“So, the question is why do family businesses fail? Poor corporate governance, no succession plan and that is why such businesses don’t grow beyond the operators. You need to bring equity investors and step aside to let that business thrive. Beyond this, the access to suitable finance is also important for SMEs,” he said.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 14:35 GMT |

 

UNIDO, NACCIMA, LCCI partner on SMEs

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THE investment and technology promotion office of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO, has launched another phase of its capacity building programme by training over 40 Nigerian women in financial literacy in Lagos.

The financial literacy project, which was in collaboration with the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, NACCIMA, and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, was initiated to equip the business owners with interactive online learning packages, financial literacy tools and major mechanisms for upgrading and expanding existing enterprises.

Stanislaw Pigon, chief technical adviser, UNIDO-ITPO, said: “Aside from the training, we will also offer the entrepreneurs business counselling and mentoring programmes aimed at facilitating enterprise growth. Our online tools are open to the entrepreneurs as they are expected to ask questions or seek for clarifications. From the perspective of the MSMEs, the most important factor is that they are bank-ready.

“This means we need to offer them some simpler tools to present the financial aspects of their business ideas. We are facing a problem of financial literacy, starting with university graduates, who cannot find jobs, to existing, even successful Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, which cannot find resources to grow.”

Adebisi Olumodimu, head, UNIDO-ITPO, Nigeria, explained that the workshop was designed to support the Federal Government in its bid to diversify the economy, empower business owners, especially women, across the agriculture, manufacturing, and food and beverages sectors and ensure they are equipped with best practices tools for the development of value-added services.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 14:30 GMT |

Dangote crashes Cement Price on Jumia Platform

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IN a move designed to reduce price and ease logistics inherent in the purchase of its products, Dangote Cement Plc has signed a pact with Jumia Nigeria to sell its cement to customers online. Chux Mogbolu, key account director, Dangote Cement, said the company was happy to partner with the online shopping giant in a bid to make Dangote cement available with ease to customers.

At the unveiling of the deal in Lagos, he said Nigerians and corporate bodies wishing to purchase a minimum of 300 bags of 50kg of Dangote Cement and above can now order on Jumia from the comfort of their rooms at a reasonable price of N2,500 per bag and see them delivered to any place of their choice without any extra cost for transportation. Mogbolu, however disclosed that the purchase would only be within Lagos, Port- Harcourt and Abuja for now.

“Dangote Cement decided to work with Jumia Nigeria based on its credibility and excellent performance over the years in online shopping management. The initiative would help arrest the scams perpetrated by online fraudsters who deceived the people by asking them to come and purchase Dangote Cement for N1000 per bag. For now, the pilot scheme is live in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, but we can extend to other cities depending on the level of demand and performance of the new deal.

“With the deal, Nigerians in need of seamless supply of cement from Dangote can now place order and pay online and wait for the delivery in record time from any of Dangote’s nearest cement plant to Lagos, Port Harcourt or Abuja. We are starting with minimum order quantity of 300, 600 and 900. We may increase depending on demand surge as time goes on,” he said.

On her part, Juliet Anammah, chief executive officer, Jumia Nigeria, said the deal with Dangote Cement is part of efforts to deepen service delivery on Jumia Nigeria online platform. She expressed belief that the deal will be beneficial to all parties involved and deepen further online shopping in Nigeria as obtained all over the world.

The Jumia Nigeria chief reflected on the 2017 Black Friday Festival and said it has attracted more than 14 million visits since the campaign started on November 13. “The annual sales event, which was initiated in Nigeria in 2013 by Jumia remains the busiest and largest shopping day of the year on both online and offline stores. This year’s explosive Black Fridaynumbers demonstrates the increasing capacity and flexibility of the online retail space in Nigeria.

“We deliver to the 36 states across Nigeria, and are able to reach neighbourhoods and shoppers who traditionally have not had access to a wide variety of products and deals. This year we also see the increasing interest in groceries and other FMCG products which reflect the increasing relevance of Black Friday to the average Nigerian,” she said.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 14:19 GMT |

 

Edet James Amana

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ENGINEER and politician, 79, December 11. Born in Uyabia Oron, Akwa Ibom State, he was educated in Nigeria and the UK. He is the chairman of Amana Group of Companies and a fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE. He is also a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Association of African Development Experts. Amana is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 14:19 GMT |

 

Clement Ebri

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JOURNALIST, economic consultant and former governor of Cross River State, 64, December 11. Born in Ugep, Cross River State, he was educated at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN. He was chairman of the Presidential Review Committee of the 1999 constitution.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 14:12 GMT |

 

Grace Alele Williams

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FORMER vice chancellor, University of Benin, 85, December 16. Born in Warri, Delta State, she studied in Nigeria and the United States of America. She was appointed professor of Mathematics, University of Lagos, in 1976. She was vice-president, World Health Organisation, WHO, committee for early childhood education. Alele Williams was the first Nigerian female university vice chancellor in Nigeria.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 14:12 GMT |

 

Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar (Birthdays)

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GOVERNOR of Bauchi State, lawyer, 61, December 11. Born in Gombe State, he was educated at the Jos Native Authority Primary School, Kano, 1963-1968; Tundu Wada Primary School, Kano, 1969; Government College, Kano, 1970; Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria, 1974-1978; Nigeria Law School, Lagos, 1978-1979 and University of Washington, Seattle, USA, 1982. Abubakar was appointed state counsel, senior parliamentary counsel, 1979-1983; company secretary and legal adviser, Yankari Games Reserve and Tourism Company Limited, 1982-1986; acting director, Civil Litigations, 1982-1989 and attorney-general, commissioner for  justice, Gombe State, 1990-1992. He was also resident electoral commissioner in Plateau State in 1999. He was elected Governor of Bauchi State under the platform of All Progressives Congress, APC, in 2015.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 14:06 GMT |

 

Wanted: An APGA Administration In Imo

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  • By Chinedu Nzeribe

 

AFTER a whole 10 months without commissioners, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State announced on Monday, December 4, an unwieldy cabinet of 28 commissioners. Among the new appointees is his younger sister, Mrs Ogechi Ololo, as the Commissioner for Happiness and Purpose Fulfilment, a very strange and ridiculous portfolio. With this appointment, Okorocha has not only taken nepotism to new heights, he has taken official comedy too far. Mrs Ololo had previously served as the Deputy Chief of Staff and Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs and Food Security to the Governor. Rochas’ in-law, Uche Nwosu who is married to the governor’s first daughter, is the powerful Chief of Staff Commissioner, having served as Commissioner for Lands, Survey, Housing and Urban Planning. There are widespread reports he is being groomed to succeed Rochas.

It is regrettable that the only state administration in the South East geopolitical zone controlled by the All Progressive Congress (APC), the government party at the national level, has become the butt of all manner of joke across the nation. The Rochas Okorocha administration in Imo State is unfortunately deserving of all the jokes. Governor Rochas Okorocha has in the last few months engaged in a number of bizarre actions. For instance, he invited President Jacob Zuma of South Africa to Imo State in October and treated him like a hero, complete with a chieftaincy title. He even erected a statute for him which the media reported cost tax payers some N500m, even though both retirees and workers in the state are owed a huge backlog of salaries, pensions and gratuities. Zuma is facing some 700 allegations of bribery and corruption in his country. And Nigerians, including indigenes of Imo State, are massacred in South Africa in a relatively new phenomenon in the country called xenophobia, that is, irrational fear of and hatred for foreigners.

Rather than bow to public opinion and stop such practices, Governor Okorocha chose to double down, as the Americans call such behavior. He invited the next month the outgoing Liberian leader, President Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson, to Owerri and gave her royal treatment. Rochas built a statute for her, too. The statue cost probably another N500m. People of Imo State now routinely joke with one another and even with non-Imo indigenes: “Has Rochas built a statute for you in Owerri?”

But Rochas has not always been like this. He showed signs of seriousness and purposefulness for the first two years. He was building roads and paying salaries and gratuities and pensions regularly. This was an important development in a state which some people refer to as a civil service state, in contrast to neighbouring states like Abia which has the commercial city of Aba, and Anambra which has such commercial cities as Onitsha and Nnewi. When Rochas was working for the people, he was in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) on whose ticket he contested the gubernatorial election and won. But the moment he joined the APC, everything changed dramatically. Things changed for the worse for the people of Imo State.

It is doubtful that Rochas could have closed down and demolished the oldest and foremost market in Owerri, Ekeukwu Market, in August if he had remained in APGA. Rochas shut down the market without following due process, and then used soldiers to enforce his will. When the people tried to protest peacefully, which is their right in any democratic environment, they were met with force. One of the casualties was 10-year Somtochukwu Ibeanusi who came to assist his father clear his wares when the market was being demolished.

The magic of Rochas’ maladministration is that the APC, to which he belongs, has never deemed it necessary to call him to order. The institution which should serve as a check on excesses of the administration, the Imo State House of Assembly, has unfortunately long lost its soul; it sees itself as the governor’s chief cheerleader and an extension of the governor’s kitchen cabinet. It would seem that, judging from the current embarrassing drama in Imo State, Baron Montesquieu, the preeminent French philosopher who developed the theory of separation of powers among the three branches of government, made a mistake. While the practice of democracy worldwide rests on the principle of separation of powers among the executive, legislative and judicial arms of government, it is not the same in Okorocha’s Imo State. Hence, the governor gets away daily with blue murder and other forms of sacrilege.

Given the fact that the APC has woefully failed as a party to call Rochas to order and the fact that Governor Okorocha was doing well when he was the APGA governor of Imo State, the time has really come for Imo people to press to have an APGA administration once again in the state. There is no way the APGA leadership could have turned its face the other way while Rochas deepens a culture of maladministration if he had remained in the party. The APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may not have any kind of ideology, but APGA is purpose-driven. This fact manifested glaringly during the electioneering campaign leading to the November 18 gubernatorial election in Anambra State and also during the election proper.

APC members behaved like crass opportunists and mercenaries. They were interested in the huge amounts of money flowing freely from moneybags like Prince Arthur Eze. Many APC members and supporters collected humungous sums meant for the election but pocketed most. APGA members, on the other hand, behaved like true believers. Whatever little money each of them received as allowance to work for the party was used exactly for the purpose. There are therefore no stories of betrayal. In contrast, stories of outright stealing, embezzlement and diversion of funds by APC members are very common. Read, for example, on the Internet the account of what transpired in his native Obosi and the entire Idemmili North Local Government Area by Tony OneWeek Muonagor, a popular musician, comedian and APC member of the Anambra State House of Assembly.

In other words, it is no coincidence that Peter Obi did well as the APGA governor of Anambra State from 2006 to 2014. It is also no coincidence that when Obi left APGA and joined the PDP, he started to behave strangely, thus the people of Anambra State rejected him and his PDP right from his native Anaocha Local Government Area which APGA swept like the other 20 local government areas in the state. It is also not a coincidence that Governor Willie Obiano as the APGA candidate in the November 18 poll set a record which will be difficult for any Nigerian governor to beat. Obiano has a record of solid achievements. He has made APGA synonymous with democracy dividends.

Imolites, who regrettably have had no administration which can in any sector rival any of the APGA governments in neighnouring Anambra State, will have a golden opportunity during the next gubernatorial election to end the vicious circle of misrule in their beloved state. APGA is the way to go.

 

Nzeribe, ex manager with Keystone Bank, is a public affairs analyst.

 

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 14:03 GMT |

Quadri ends 2017 at 21 in Latest ITTF Ranking

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ARUNA Quadri, Nigerian table tennis star, has set a new personal record for Nigeria and himself as he is now ranked 21st in the end-of-the-year ITTF ranking released by the world table tennis ruling body. He said now dwarfed his best of 25th in the ranking to displace Egypt’s Omar Assar as the continent’s best ranked player in the world.

Despite not matching up the record set by Assar as the first African ranked among top 20 in the world, Quadri ends the year as the highest ranked African in the latest rating. Following his victories over top-ranked players at the Swedish Open, Quadri amassed 50 points to improve from 2457 to 2507 points to be rated 21 in the world.

Prior to this latest ranking, the best achieved by Quadri in the world rating was 25 and with this, he has set a new record for Nigeria and himself. However, the inactiveness of Omar Assar may have affected his rating, as the Egyptian dropped from 20 to 26 in the December ranking.

On Quadri’s ranking, Ishaku Tikon, president, Nigeria Table Tennis Federation, NTTF, said the feat was commendable as the player continues to put Nigeria and Africa on the world map with his scintillating performances at global stage. “We are excited about this latest ranking and this goes to show that our efforts are paying off and what we just need to do is to ensure we unearth and nurture more players like Quadri.

“Also, young players need to take a cue from Quadri in terms of his diligent, professionalism and dedication to the trade. I hope and believe they can follow his footsteps in their career to make it to the top,” the NTTF boss said.

In the women’s ranking, Egypt’s Dina Meshref dropped to 110 from 92 but she still remains Africa’s best ranked female player in the world while Nigeria’s Olufunke Oshonaike inactiveness at global level continues to rub off negatively on her world ranking as she dropped from 227 to 262 in the last rating for 2017.

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 13:55 GMT |

Messi wary of Super Eagles

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LIONEL Messi, Argentina and Barcelona FC of Spain superstar, has admitted that he is wary of Nigeria after the teams were pooled together in draw for the 2018 World Cup. The Super Eagles and the South American heavyweights were placed in Group D alongside Croatia and debutants Iceland.

Messi said the Super Eagles are a dangerous team who have powerful attackers, as demonstrated in their 4-2 friendly win over Argentina in Russia during the last international window. “Nigeria is like that, they have two faces. If they have their day, they score four goals,” Messi told TyCSports.

“They have very good players it was clear in the second half (of the friendly); but they also allow you to play, they leave gaps and many spaces are generated,” observed the Argentine superstar.

Messi also expressed his respect for Nigeria captain John Mikel Obi, who voted for the Argentina in the Best FIFA Football Awards Men’s Player of the Year category. “We played many times against each other, but never talked. Simply a greeting and respect forever,” added the Barcelona forward.

 

 

– Dec 8, 2017 @ 13:52 GMT |

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