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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Shipping Magnate, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi Marks A Year Older



One of Nigeria’s most successful business tycoons and biggest shipping magnates, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, Chairman/CEO of Sifax Group of Companies is presently in a joyous mood as he adds another year to Hus age.
The highly enterprising, uniquely hardworking and technically endowed business mogul was full of thanks to the Almighty God who paved the way for him to witness yet another year, Dr. Afolabi who is into a conglomerate of businesses is renowned to be one of the prides of Nigeria and a success story that has ever come out of Africa.
He is reputed to have always had a breakthrough in any business he laid his hands upon, according to those who are close to him is through  the glory of God coupled with his gift of resilient, hard work, tirelessness, positive approach to business and absolute respect for humanity. The multiple award winning boardroom technocrat has always being a front liner in the area of breathing life into almost moribund business ventures. Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, the birthday boy has his hands on several relevant and lucrative sectors of the Nigerian economy like shipping and transportation, oil and gas, real estate, hospitality and others. He has been able to make huge successes from these sectors due to his simple and positive approach to his work and humanity, he is a socialite, a close ally to the media, a friend to other top celebrities both Nigerians and expatriates and he maintains a very cordial relationship with the less privileged in the Nigerian society. Dr. Taiwo Afolabi is a philanthropist who has severally shown his heart of gold to the poor and vulnerable.
He has touched many lives who today are testimonies of his uncommon benevolence. Dr. Afolabi is a caring father and a massive developer of talents in youths, most especially in the areas of businesses, entertainment and sports.
The Ogun-State born socialite and industrial giant remains one of the noble men who wrote the name of Nigeria in gold to the international business community. His company, Sifax Group rates as one of the countries biggest, most respected, most successful and most patronized shipping magnates both onshore and offshore. The entire team of High Celebrity Squard Media Group hereby congratulates our indefatigable, insurmountable and indomitable mentor a very happy birthday in good health and many more successful stories.

BREAKING: MC OLUOMO, POPULAR LAGOS NURTW BOSS LOSES MUM, ALHAJA ABEBI



Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya, aka MC Oluomo, popular Lagos socialite and chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the state, has lost his mum.
A statement by the NURTW boss’ media team on Thursday said his mother, Abebi Zinat Omotonwo, died in the early hours of the day. 
The statement said the ban on large gatherings by the government to curtail the spread of the coronavirus informed the decision to keep the funeral private.
The family urged well-wishers not to visit but send in their condolences via phone call or text messaging.

Dolapo Badmus a unique police officer Says Mega





By Adeyemi Obadimu

The Chief Executive Officer of Nazcam security company both in Nigeria and abroad, Samsondeen Ajayi, populary called Mega has described the celebrity Police officer, Dolapo Opeyemi Badmus as one of the unique and intelligent female Police officer in Nigeria.

"Mega noted that Dolapo is a beautiful soul that always amaze him, shes a woman of timber and calibal who's not just a friend but a sister from another mother, she always have people in mind despite her tight schedule." 



"Today, I am not just appreciating God for her life as a caring and God fearing lady, Mega noted when you see someone who always care for his friends either in the good or bad time, such a person deserve accolades. That is why I am using this opportunity to appreciate the good work of Dolapo Opeyemi Badmus", he said. 



She's ever ready when it comes to helping hand without even knowing the person "Dolapo omo ni e Keep flying and soaring higher like An Eagle, LOVE You like Fat kiddies love Cake. God's Abundant love shall be yours forever Mega added.









Signed by Mega Kiniwun Judah and Lion Adebola Bode oke.

UNION BANK RECORDS N42.6BN GROSS EARNINGS IN FIRST QUARTER OF 2020


Union Bank of Nigeria Plc on Wednesday announced that the institution has recorded gross earnings of N42.6 billion in its unaudited financial statements for the first quarter ended March 31, 2020, Thecitypulsenews reports.
The gross earnings represented an increase of 18 per cent when compared with N36.1 per cent achieved in the comparative period of 2019.
The result released by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) shows that profit before tax stood at N6.2 billion against N5.2 billion, an increase of 19 per cent.
Also, interest income rose by 18 per cent to N29.7 billion against N25.2 billion in the corresponding period of 2019.
The bank’s net interest income before impairment rose by 38 per cent to N14.8 in contrast with N10.8 billion in 2019, driven by the growth in treasury assets.
Non-interest income appreciated by 18 per cent to N12.9 billion against N10.9 billion in 2019, an increase of 18 per cent.

Commenting on the results, Mr Emeka Emuwa, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, said the bank maintained focus on executing its strategic priorities in Q1 2020, thereby delivering double-digit growth across all its major income lines.
“Our gross earnings are also up by 18 per cent to ₦42.6 billion from ₦36.1 billion in Q1 2019.
“Our platforms and channels continue to drive our performance as Non-Interest Income increased by 18 per cent from ₦10.9 billion in Q1 2019 to ₦12.9 billion for the period with e-business fees contributing ₦2.1 billion, a 71 per cent growth compared to Q1 2019.
“The current COVID-19 pandemic presents daunting challenges for the global economy and consequently Nigeria and our business.
“Our focus in the short term is on ensuring business continuity through our strong operational risk framework.
“Ensuring the health and wellbeing of our employees by adopting stringent health and safety protocols at our operating branches and offices; and supporting our customers through the crisis.

“We have reinforced our digital platforms to continue delivering value and convenience to our customers, while aligning our focus areas to where opportunities emerge during and post COVID-19.
“We will continue to support the government, private entities and our communities in the fight against COVID-19,” Emuwa said.


AU, ECOBANK PARTNERS TO SUPPORT MSMES BUSINESS


The African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and Ecobank Group have agreed to partner on a continental initiative to support African Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as they face challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Thecitypulsenews reports.
AUDA-NEPAD Chief Executive Officer Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki and his Ecobank Group counterpart Mr. Ade Ayeyemi, said one of the objectives of the initiative was to create a one-stop platform which will address the challenges of MSMEs during and post-Covid-19.
It will also be an all-encompassing, flexible and comprehensive one-size-fits-all tool for MSMEs in the formal and informal sectors across the continent; identify opportunities and innovative ways to support and protect MSMEs and job opportunities, especially in food and agribusinesses, technology startups, health specialised entities and those operating along with supply chain operations.
Noting that MSMEs account for an estimated 90 per cent of businesses in most African economies, they added that the framework will help coordinate and harmonise initiatives and ongoing efforts that support MSMEs to gain access to information, finance, and fiscal stimulus during the outbreak.

The platform also aims to ensure that MSMEs have continuous access to national, regional and continental markets, recommending to policymakers, solutions on domestic debts as they are projected to face challenges due to the economic difficulties that the member states will face.
On the initiative, Mayaki said: “The COVID-19 pandemic while affecting global economies, will have a devastating effect on African economies and businesses.
“AUDA-NEPAD and Ecobank Group intend to jointly build a continental platform based on our initial ‘100, 000 SMEs by 2020’ campaign, which will provide an immediate response to the potential impact of Covid-19 on SMEs and job creation on the continent.”
Mayaki added that AUDA-NEPAD will leverage on its existing instruments, networks, and programmes to gather stakeholders around a digital platform that showcases and monitors the progress made.
Ayeyemi said the fragility of some of the African economies is more pronounced with the impact of Covid-19. He, therefore, said a continental coordination was essential to support national measures by governments to curb the spread of the virus on the continent

He further underscored that MSMEs, which form a large part of individual economies in Africa, have little or no absorption capacity to the effect of the pandemic.
“As a long-time partner of AUDA-NEPAD, we welcome the opportunity to work with the to co-lead this continental platform that will empower MSMEs with knowledge, resources, mentoring, technical expertise and financial support to ensure the sustainability of their businesses during and post-Covid-19.
“The objective of the continental platform is indeed, aligned with the Ecobank vision of contributing to the economic and social development of Africa, our home,” Ayeyemi added.


Zenith Bank's Profit Before Tax Rises By 3% To N58.7 Billion In Q1 2020

 

Zenith Bank Plc has announced its unaudited results for the first quarter ended 31st March 2020, with profit before tax rising by 3% to N58.7 billion. 



According to the unaudited account which was presented to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Wednesday 29th April 2020, the Group's profit before tax improved 3% from N57.3 billion in the prior-year period to N58.8 billion in March 2020. The increased profits benefited from the twin effects of continuing top-line growth and focused cost-of-funds optimisation. The Bank's cost of funds declined significantly from 3.0% in March 2019 to 2.6% in the quarter, translating to a 10% decrease in interest expense dropping from N36.3 billion in March 2019 to N32.8 billion in the quarter. Despite this drop, the low yield environment necessitated the repricing of interest-bearing assets which in turn resulted in a 13% compression in net interest margin, decreasing from 8.9% in March 2019 to 7.7% in the current period. 

The Group also recorded a 6% increase in Gross Earnings from N158.1 billion in March 2019 to N166.8 billion for the period. This top-line growth was driven by the 43% expansion in non-interest income from N32.7 billion in the prior-year period to N46.6 billion in March 2020. 

Zenith Bank has continued to gain customer acceptance with customer deposits increasing by 5% from N4.26 trillion in December 2019 to N4.46 trillion in the current period. The customer deposit mix rebalancing remains on-track as the Group added N150 billion in savings account balances in Q1 2020, supported by its retail drive. The Bank's total assets increased by 12% growing from N6.35 trillion in December 2019 to close at N7.13 trillion in the current period. In the quarter, gross loans grew by 11% from N2.46 trillion in December 2019 to N2.74 trillion within the period. 

Consistent with this performance and in recognition of its track record of excellent performances, Zenith Bank was voted as the Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria 2019 by the World Finance and the Best Digital Bank in Nigeria 2019 by Agusto and Co. The Bank was also recognised as Bank of the Year and Best in Retail Banking at the 2019 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Awards.

Recently, the Bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria, for the third consecutive year, in the Banker Magazine "Top 500 Banking Brands 2020", Best Bank in Nigeria 2020 in the Global Finance World's Best Banks Awards 2020, and Bank of the Decade (People's Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Wema Bank Celebrates 75 years-Introduces Earn-From-Home Programme


As part of the activities to celebrate its 75th anniversary, Wema Bank, the custodian of Africa’s first fully digital bank – ALAT – and one of Nigeria’s leading commercial banks has introduced an Earn-from-Home scheme.



Celebrated as Nigeria’s most innovative financial institution, Wema Bank has achieved tremendous success over the years from its willingness to reinvent the narrative in the delivery of financial services and experiential banking to its customers.

In this light, the bank has launched the scheme to reward loyal customers with an opportunity to earn extra income. This is coming at a time when the crippling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are being felt by individuals and corporate organizations locally and globally.

This is in furtherance of the bank’s long history of socially responsible projects and is both timely and sensitive as it creates an alternative stream of income for its customers at a time when income channels are drying up.

According to the Head, Retail Banking, Wema Bank, Mr Dotun Ifebogun, “we believe this will empower our transacting customers to effectively leverage on the current lockdown situation and earn while at home by recommending the ALAT App to economically active family members and friends within their social network.”

In addition to the “earn from home” programme, the bank will also host Hackaholics 2.0, a 2-day hackathon and a tech fair event. Set up to promote the development of technological solutions for financial and institutional need and other social issues, Hackaholics was postponed for a later date following the coronavirus pandemic. Themed ‘Connecting Worlds’, the hackathon will bring developers, designers and creative thinkers together to develop products and discover new technologies.

“At 75, Wema Bank sees no limit to the magic she can create, no walls to the relationships she can forge, no barriers to the excellence of service, and no impossibilities in building the bank of the future,” Mr Ifebogun added.

COVID-19: 65 fun seekers arrested for violating the lockdown order in Lagos.


On 29/4/2020 at about 1405hours, acting on credible intelligence, operatives from Area G Command and Oko Oba Division arrested 65 suspects at 84 Park Hotel, Augusto Close, Oko Oba. The suspects were arrested for holding a birthday party and consuming some substances suspected to be hard/illicit drugs. Some of the suspects were found in the swimming pool catching fun, in total neglect of the social distancing regulations and the lockdown order. The suspects who are within the range of 16 to 45 years, confessed to have left their various homes to the hotel in defiance to the sit at home order. The Manager of the hotel is equally arrested and the hotel is sealed off by the relevant agency of the State Government. Investigation is ongoing and the suspects will be charged to Court. The Commissioner of Police Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu psc calls on residents to continue to be law abiding. He advises parents to monitor the activities of their children, especially during this lockdown period. Together we can stop the spread of COVID-19.
DSP Bala Elkana
Police Public Relations Officer,
Lagos State.

How Covid-19 Is Affecting The Economic Fortunes of Nigerians Written by Eniola Awokoya



The depth of a mothers love for her children came to the fore recently when the story of Mama Saheed, a petty trader residing at Agbore, in Abeokuta, Ogun state of Nigeria, emerged on social media.
Mama Saheed had stated categorically that she was willing and ready to sleep with anyone for the paltry sum of N500, so that she would be able to feed her starving children. She had been unable to carry out her petty trading, proceeds of which she had been using to sustain herself and her children, due to the Sit-at-Home order from the federal government.
Her story elicited so much pity, empathy and compassion from members of the public and even the Ogun state government, who all came to her rescue and the goodwill was also extended to her neighbours.
Mama Saheed is just one out of millions of Nigerians who are being badly hit by the Coronavirus pandemic currently wreaking havoc across the globe.
Before the pandemic, Nigeria had been struggling with growing and stabilizing her economy, diversifying from a mono economy solely based on oil revenue to massive agriculture based economy, necessitated because of the global crash in oil prices and the attending negative effect on the nation’s economy.
As a result of dwindling oil prices and limited fiscal balance, the International Monetary Fund IMF, had revised the 2020 projected growth rate for Nigeria from 2.5 percent to 2 percent in February of 2020, before Nigeria recorded its first Coronavirus case.

Meanwhile, the country’s debt service-to-revenue ratio is estimated to be at 60 percent and may most likely become worse because of the paralysed economy and the most recent decline in oil price in the global market.

Unfortunately, this negative precedent will contribute significantly to the devastating effect of Covid-19 on the Nigerian economy and make it quite difficult for government to manage the attendant crisis.
Allover social media, we are daily inundated with photos and videos of people crying out for food, families complaining of hunger, people stubbornly and angrily defying the stay-at-home order simply because an estimated 60% Nigerian households, are dependent on daily income and the lockdown directive by President Muhammdu Buhari, which came into effect in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory on 21st March 2020, has halted their daily work and income and this has brought untold hardship to their households.
The three states especially Lagos had been the worst hit by the novel virus, with the first confirmed case announced on 27 February, in Lagos State. The index case was an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and returned on 25 February from Milan, Italy through the Murtala Mohhamed International Airport, Lagos. He was later transferred to Lagos State biosecurity facilities for isolation and testing after falling ill on 26 February.
Between the first confirmed case on 27th February and April 26, there has been a consistent rise in the infection and death rate despite the lockdown and sit-at-home measures taken by the government to ensure the dreaded virus is contained.
By the 26th of April, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, the federal government agency in charge of handling the health crisis and headed by Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, announced ninety one new cases: forty three in Lagos State, eight in Sokoto State, six in Taraba State, five in Kaduna State, five in Gombe State, Ondo, Edo, Oyo, FCT, Rivers and Bauchi States had three while Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Ebonyi and Kebbi states had one each and Osun state had two.
A total of 64 new cases from five states was also recorded the following day April 27, 2020. Out of the 64 cases, Lagos had 34, Borno state had 11, Gombe had 2, FCT had 15 and Taraba state had also recorded 2 new cases.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that the figures will be going down anytime soon, because by the following day, the NCDC announced another 195 new cases, which is so far the highest number for a single day.
With these staggering figures which keep rising plus a total of 40 deaths recorded nationwide officially so far, there seems not to be an end in sight to the lockdown and sit-at-home order, because the federal government is determined to reduce to the barest minimum, if not out rightly eliminate the virus from the country.
As the nation’s economic activities prepare to resume, following President Muhammadu Buhari’s announcement of gradual ease of lockdown in the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun state from May 4,  there is no doubt that the economic fortunes of many Nigerians have depreciated drastically in the past weeks and the chances of coming back strong is even slimmer because, entrepreneurs and startups are suffering globally due to this rising economic uncertainty.
Besides, the United Nations has stated, that alongside other tragic consequences of coronavirus, the slowdown in global economy will cost the world around $1 trillion within the year.
Considering the not so encouraging changes that has occurred globally and in Nigeria within such a short time, the expectation is that the government, business leaders, stakeholders in the world of digital technology and relevant authorities must focus on assisting emerging startups and entrepreneurs in getting back on track.
Nigerians need to feel the impact of the multiple billions of Naira donated to the federal government by individuals and corporate bodies, in order to ease the stress and devastation of the lockdown on the citizens most especially the vulnerable members of the society.
There are speculations that the impending recession may be the worst we have ever experienced in 30 years and could last until 2021 even after the lockdown is lifted.
Recall that the Managing Director of the IMF Kristalina Georgieva had said in a statement earlier in the year that “Nigeria’s economy is being threatened by the twin shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated sharp fall in international oil prices.”
The Nigerian government must be intentional and conscientious in repositioning the economic fortunes of Nigeria strategically, so that the economy can come out of the looming recession and the post pandemic devastation can be overcome within a minimal period of time.
This is very important because prior to the pandemic, Nigeria’s economy was hinged on a very tight rope, now made tighter by the unprecedented crash in oil prices; raise in exchange rate and the Covid-19 global health crisis.
President Muhammadu Buhari and the Econmic Advisory Team led by Vice-President Yemi Osibajo must make extensive consultations and come up with a workable and actionable economic revamp plan, that will bring a respite to the bus driver, mechanic, market woman, student, civil servants, small business owners, the diverse citizens and masses who voted them into power and entrusted governance into their hands.
Every Nigerian Matters Pre, During and Post Covid-19 Pandemic.

WEMA BANK SWIMS IN IGR CONTROVERSY AS FORENSIC AUDITOR PETITIONS EFCC




By NGIJ team of Oluwasegun Abifarin and Olawale Abideen

Widely reputed as the longest surviving and most resilient indigenous bank in Nigeria, Wema Bank Plc, according to its corporate philosophy, “has over the years, diligently offered a fully-fledged range of value-adding banking and financial advisory services to the Nigerian public.”

But recent development is threatening the bank’s ambition and reputation “to give every customer a delightful and memorable service experience.”

According to the document received by the Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists, NGIJ, Niger State governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani-Bello in a letter dated 23/07/2015 from the office of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Malam Zakari Abubakar appointed Ori Adeyemo, a Lagos based forensic expert as consultants to investigate deductions of unremitted 10% Withholding Tax on Credit Interest by some banks operating in the state.

However, an instruction was passed by the then Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary to its supervised Niger State Board of Internal Revenue of Adeyemo’s full appointments to cover all the banks in Niger State.

At the end the forensic investigation, the total refundable by the Wema Bank stood at N192, 963 million out of the N4.6 billion due to the state by 12 banks and one Micro Finance institution.

In his petition to the EFCC, obtained by the NIGJ team. Adeyemo alleged he was reliably informed that the Board had given clean bill of health and letters of non-indebtedness to the said compromised concerned banks.

He added that by a letter dated 29/01/2019, Wema Bank Plc. also sent in a reply to the Board’s earlier N192, 963,839.30 Best-of-Judgement (BOJ) demand letter as initiated by us.

The consultant also alleged that the Board “went ahead to try and sell-out this assessment to persons unknown so far who relied on our reports in lowering the assessment to sum for reasons unknown after unbridled reports mutilation and suspected behind-the-scene negotiations all in a bid to deprive the Niger State Government of its hard-earned Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).”

He added that the “total commissions and/or dues fraudulently lost thereto and/or withheld by the Niger State Board of Internal Revenue is N910,422,825.32, which “we hereby request that the EFCC use its wide-ranging investigative powers to help recover for us.”

The petitioner also included a compact disk (CD) detailing all completed jobs in intellectual properties as so far executed by the consultant for the Niger State Government enabling it to demand for an additional but unpaid N732,143,601.52 commission sum.

“Consequently, in the light of the mutual agreement that have with the Niger State Government, we are entitled to 15% of the established N1,131,931,579.67 liability assessment per completed assignments for N178,279,223.80 sum, which we hereby demand that EFCC should assist us to collect from the Niger State Board of Internal Revenue and its collaborators”, Adeyemo said.

Meanwhile, Wema Bank’s Corporate Communication Manager, Mrs. Funmi Falola, debunked the allegations, saying that from their investigation, there is no such liability on the neck of the bank anywhere.

HOW MUBARAK BALA INSULTED TB JOSHUA HOURS BEFORE HIS ARREST FOR BLASPHEMY



Mubarak Bala, the well-known atheist arrested in Kaduna State for insulting Prophet Muhammed by describing him as a terrorist, equally has a history of mocking prominent Nigerian clergyman TB Joshua.

Many Nigerians woke on Wednesday morning to find #FreeMubarakBala trending on Twitter in Nigeria, spurred by the arrest of President of Humanist Association of Nigeria, Mubarak Bala, over his social media post comparing Prophet Muhammed to TB Joshua of The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN).

However, it can be revealed that hours before his arrest, the prominent atheist also posted a picture mocking the visit of The SCOAN Founder to a ‘prayer mountain’ for prayers against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bala posted a photoshopped image of Joshua in prayers on his Facebook Page with a scantily dressed lady standing beside him, suggesting she was “satan’s wife” who was “tempting the man of God”.

The day earlier, he shared another taunting post, insinuating Joshua’s visit was merely orchestrated for the purpose of taking photographs.

Bala’s arrest has sparked a deluge of reactions on Twitter, with some Nigerians describing his detention as unlawful and others stating the outspoken atheist was getting what he deserved for making such provocative posts.

In 2014, then 29-year-old Bala was said to have been forcefully committed by his family to a psychiatric hospital in Kano when he renounced Islam.

Though Bala’s family believed he was insane, he was later discharged from the psychiatric hospital after his mental stability was medically confirmed.

Bala has a history of making defamatory statements regarding Islam and other religions, particularly drawing the ire of Islamic fundamentalists in Northern Nigeria.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

UK-Based Nollywood Actress, Princess Elizabeth Onanuga talks on Covid-19


UK-Based Nollywood Actress, Princess Elizabeth Onanuga has for the first time made her opinion about Covid-19 known.
She made this revelation in an interview session via social media by this publication.
She talked on what she feels about the virus, her contributions so far and urged the Nigerian government to remember the citizens
Excerpts Below:
Q – How would you describe this season?
R – It’s a very tough season for everyone, nothing is working anywhere in the world, literally, the world is on total lockdown due to the sudden pandemic that struck the world. It’s a very ugly situation because people find it hard to survive, for over a month, organizations have shut down, it’s really crazy.
Q – How has it affected you?
R – Of a truth, Covid-19 has affected everyone, as an actress, I had planned to release my recent movie titled ‘Too Much’. We have the posters everywhere on the internet, on newspapers before the covid-19 issue came in but since then, I have not been able to do a lot. Apart from that, I’m a business person in the United Kingdom, I haven’t been able to go to work, because of the fear of this deadly virus.
Q – In the United Kingdom, what efforts are the government making to support the needy?
R – Of a truth, the government here is doing fantastic, the government has given out food items, cash, other palliative packages to the citizens who can’t feed this season, they have been awesome. I wish the government of Nigeria can emulate this kind of gesture, it will really go a long way.
Q – How would you say celebrities like you have contributed to Nigerians at this period?
R – Personally, I have done the little I can do, because I am not in Nigeria at the moment, there is limit to what I can do but notwithstanding, I have distributed food items to the old ones in some parts of Nigeria. Other celebrities have done give aways to people too, I can say celebrities have done very well in that aspect.
Q – What Advice do you have for Nigerians?
R – I will advice Nigerians not to mind the conspiracy theories flying around but they should ensure they follow the necessary measures that the NCDC have set. They should maintain social distance, wash their hands regularly, make use of face-masks, take lemon and ginger, above all, pray.

Monday, April 27, 2020

LASOMP Celebrates Top Corporate Affairs Manager, Ramon Nasir on his birthday





The Lagos State Online Media Publishers (LASOMP) felicitates with Top Corporate Affairs Manager, Mr Ramon Nasir as he becomes a year older today.

The astute media expert who currently manages the image of banking giant, Unity Bank Of Africa(UBA) has no doubt paid his dues to be at the stage  he is today.

LASOMP describes him as a top shot in his Industry , one who makes his job a priority and a man who loves to see everyone succeed.

While delivering his birthday message, the president of the association, Sola Adeyemo stated that hardly would the growth of any media organization be said without mentioning the Ramon’s factor, making it known that lots of budding media organizations look up to him for advice and tips about climbing the ladder of success.

‘Personally, Ramon Nasir has been a good friend for a longtime, he’s someone I look up to when it comes to attaining success, he is hardworking and has paid his dues, I’m not surprised at the stage he is now.

As an association, he has been a very reliable person to LASOMP, his advices, his words of encouragement, have been helpful to us all I pray God increases him as he adds a year  today’.

MORE REVELATIONS ON COVID 19 INFRACTIONS, WORKING CONDITION INSIDE FLOUR MILLS NIGERIA’S SUBSIDIARY


By NGIJ team of Oluwasegun Abifarin and Olawale Abideen
As the rampaging Covid 19 pandemic continue to wreak havoc all over the world, fresh revelations have emerged on the alleged coronavirus safety infractions and life threatening working condition by workers of Sunti Golden Sugar Estates Limited, a subsidiary of Flour Mills Nigeria Plc.
Located on the banks of River Niger, in Mokwa, Niger state, Sunti Golden Sugar Estates Limited features 17, 000 hectares of irrigable farmland and a Sugar mill that process 4,500 metric tons of sugarcane per day. At full capacity, the estate is expected to produce 1 Million tons of Sugarcane which roughly translates into 100,000 metric tons of sugar yearly.
There has been accusations and counter-accusations between the company and the workers since the news broke in the media last week.
For instance, the workers alleged that the management had decided to lock down the workers inside the farm without paying their salary or an opportunity to inform their families. Those who defied the order to go and inform their family were said to have been sacked.
The company is also accused of providing hand washing facilities only to places that leads to the expatriates offices, homes or where the expatriates frequently visits, while abandoning the Nigerians to their fate.
Before now, the workers and the community, it is alleged, had been having a running battle with the company over series of workers/community rights infractions which have most times, been suppressed by brutal force employed by police and other security men allegedly at the behest of the company.
Joseph Umolu, FMN’s Company Secretary/Legal Adviser in his response last week debunked the workers’ assertion and explained that the company introduced a strategic response plan for COVID-19.
The new allegation by the workers include the facts that the company had been fumigating premises where the expatriates live at the expense of their Nigerian counterparts.
They also alleged that the ATM machine provided inside the premises had been without money for than two weeks now thereby putting the workers in extreme difficulty. This is aside the fact the suppliers and customers vehicles had been going in out of the premises without covid 19 precautions.
Meanwhile, Samuel Iboroma, FMN Corporate Communication Manager explained in a mail that “our employees who are on-site at Sunti have all voluntarily decided to stay on-site and continue to work to further the company’s objectives of providing healthy and safe food for Nigerian during these tough times.”
And to ensure their safety and reduce their exposure to the virus, he added, “several measures have been put in place, including adequate housing, prompt payment of salaries and proper healthcare including two qualified resident doctors.”
On the frosty relationship between the company and the host community, Iboroma maintained that Sugar Golden Sugar Estates has enjoyed very cordial relations with its host communities.
“Like several of our investments across the country, we believe in partnerships and shared values. We understand that the sustainability of our business depends to a great extent on the socio-economic development of the communities from where we operate. To that end, FMN has, over the years, invested heavily in this regard,” he said.
He also sent a letter of appreciation sent by the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar acknowledging the receipt of four thousand cartons of chicken indomine donated to the community by FMN recently.
On the allegation of poor working condition, Iboroma argued that the “assertions all wrong,” insisting that “Sunti Golden Sugar Estate remains the first and only greenfield investment under the National Sugar Master Plan that is currently producing raw sugar. Like most of our investments in the food value chain, we are creating jobs and empowering our communities through active collaboration.”
But some of the workers who spoke to our correspondent in the estate last week countered Iboroma’s assertion and insisted that no workers actually volunteered to stay as the stay on the farm order was imposed.
“They were asked to leave if they so wish and that no one will be allowed back in, which practically signifies intimidation. Both staff and casual workers here live practically in fear of sack as people are summarily sacked verbally,” one of them said.
On accommodation, the workers alleged that “it was not until a day or two that they started providing accommodation to workers, putting them as many as 8 in a two bedroom flat or containers in this heat period without any provision of cooling system.”
As regards Covid 19 safety procedures, the workers put his poser: “Why are there no washing points at the road leading to the junior staff quarters and containers? Why are there no washing points at the Factory Estate gate as well as the Portal-Cabin where they have kept many of the villagers who are workers?”
According to them, what obtained presently is that all the points where the workers can have contact with the whites have been barricaded and “when it becomes necessary for a Nigerian to access those points, he must have to wash and sanitize his hands to avoid infecting the foreigners who themselves barely use the washing points.”
Iboroma however insists that all safety measures were designed to ensure that we can continue to maintain a safe and healthy workplace, including protecting against the transmission of Coronavirus and other diseases.
“We perform health screenings regularly and encourage high safety and hygiene standards. All our employees are advised to wash their hands, use alcohol-based sanitizers and maintain social distancing always in line with advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO), Federal and State Health Agencies including the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).”

Heritage Bank joins WHO to advocate elimination of malaria endemic by 2030




Heritage Bank Plc has joined the world to commemorate the 2020 World Malaria Day, amid fears that paying much emphasis on the novel Coronavirus Pandemic could reinforce progress on the mosquito-borne disease, especially in Africa.
The theme of the World Malaria Day 2020, is entitled, “Zero Malaria Starts with Me,” which is a grassroots campaign, first launched in Senegal in 2014.
In canvassing for fight against the malaria scourge and calling on all stakeholders to take proactive action in renewing their focus on eliminating malaria by 2030 as targeted by World Health Organisation, the MD/CEO of the bank, Ifie Sekibo said that zero malaria starts with every one of us working together for a more prosperous and healthy future for all.
This call is coming against the backdrop of the global rise in malaria cases with the recent warning by WHO that the number of deaths caused by malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa could double to 769,000 this year, as efforts to curb the disease are disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to WHO, in 2018, there were 213 million malaria cases and 360,000 related deaths in the African region, accounting for over 90 per cent of global cases. The WHO said if the focus on slowing the spread of the new virus leads to a reduction by three quarters of access to anti-malaria medicines, deaths could double to 769,000.
“Countries across the region have a critical window of opportunity to minimise disruptions in malaria prevention and treatment and save lives at this stage of the COVID-19 outbreak,” the WHO said in a statement. It further alarmed that the doubling of the number of deaths represents the worst case scenario, which also assumes the suspension of all distribution of treated mosquito nets due to the pandemic.
However, Sekibo stated that malaria in Nigeria and Africa as a whole has been an unceasing prevalence and dilemma for communities, posing a challenge that has made eradication seem almost impossible.
In his call for collaboration to eliminate the disease in various society, Sekibo emphasized that to attain the global targets on malaria and the goals of Nigeria’s national malaria tactical plan would only be feasible through greater investment and expanded coverage of core tools to prevent, diagnose and treat malaria.
Sekibo stated that as part of the bank drive to support the fight against malaria, Heritage Bank proposes to focus on how malaria makes people susceptible to the present pandemic (COVID-19) in the world, whilst sensitizating the public on its social media platforms on COVID-19 as it relates to malaria. He further hinted that the overly concerns of exposure to COVID-19, as malaria and the virus have some symptoms in common which includes fever, headache and body pain, hence measures normally taken for malaria interventions have been suspended, which leaves vulnerable population (pregnant women and children) at a greater risk of contracting it. Sekibo stressed that early detection of malaria and proper management will reduce the mortality risk associated with COVID-19, whilst noting that community sensitization and mobilization around the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of malaria is of great importance. 

Ebonyi Media Ban: NGIJ Calls For Investigation of Governor Umahi’s Allegat



PRESS RELEASE
Friday, 24th April, 2020/ Lagos.
NGIJ Weighs in on Gov. Umahi, Journalists Face-off
Ebonyi Media Ban: NGIJ Urges NUJ, NGE to Investigate Allegation Crisis
The Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists (NGIJ) has weighed-in on the face-off between journalists and Ebonyi State government, urging stakeholders to intervene and resolve the brewing crisis.
In a statement released to the media on Friday by Mr Israel Bolaji, NGIJ Vice President, Information& Strategy, the Guild specifically called on the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Nigerian Guild of Editors and other media stakeholders in the country to investigate allegations of deliberate peddling of falsehood and creation of public panic levelled against Ebonyi State correspondents of The Sun newspaper, Chijioke Agwu, and the Vanguard Newspaper, Peter Okutu, by the State governor, with a view to resolving the imbroglio.
Following the arrest and release of both journalists in separate instances within a week, the State governor, David Umahi had on Wednesday banned the two correspondents, from entering Government house and Government facilities in the State for life during a statewide live broadcast aired on the State’s Television and Radio stations.
The governor who had expressed disappointment with the state NUJ officials also threatened that ‘Ebonyi people are very angry with the press and let me warn that I won’t be able to control them or know when they unleash mayhem on you if you continue to write to create panic in the State.’
The NGIJ counselled that, ‘As much as the indisputable role of Journalists as partners and critical stakeholders in nation-building is sacrosanct, the profession upholds the highest level of ethics and standards and expects every practitioner to be responsible.’
“As far as we are concerned, journalists must be free to carry out their duty without any fear or hindrance anywhere within the nation. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as well as many other international Charters, guarantee that.
“The State government needs the media to continue to act as a watchdog and sensitise the public; that must be continuously done with the highest level of integrity, professionalism and fairness.
“However, if established, the persistent publication of falsehood, inaccuracies and misleading information amounts to libel, which is criminal and totally frowned upon by the NGIJ. Such has no place in professional journalism.”
The assertion of the governor about ‘withdrawing the allowance of the leadership of the NUJ in his state for failure to call the boys to order’ is of great ethical concern and must be investigated.
Also, the NGIJ took note with great concern, the “peace meeting” today between the Ebonyi Correspondents Chapel and the State Commissioner for Information, where the NUJ pledged ” developmental Journalism”. The Guild is of the opinion that the meeting should not have been facilitated without the leadership of national NUJ and the NGE.
“We call on our highly respected veterans and officials of the media bodies to establish the underlying issues, resolve amicably and assure that Ebonyi State, and indeed, the entire nation, remains safe for all journalists to contribute their quota to national development.”
Israel Bolaji
Vice President, Information& Strategy,
NGIJ

Sunday, April 26, 2020

EXPOSED: LAGOS SPEAKER, OBASA, GETS N17M MONTHLY FOR MAINTENANCE OF PERSONAL RESIDENCE, GUEST HOUSE.

     

  In this expose, Obasa, through a proxy company, made the state Assembly approve N17m for the monthly maintenance of his personal resident, guesthouse and office, Newsextra gathers.

A reliable source has uncovered yet another corrupt act by Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa.

In this expose, Obasa, through a proxy company, made the state Assembly approve N17m for the maintenance of his personal resident, guesthouse and office.

Our source had previously reported how the Speaker, who has been head of the Assembly since 2015, used his office to approve the sum of N47.5m per quarter from the state treasury for social media

The money, according to documents sighted by our source was paid to a media company to help publicise the activities of the house.

In documents, Obasa sent a letter he received from General Manager of Extremely Logistics and Cleaning Services Limited, Omoba Adeyinka Oyediran, charging him N25.5m monthly for the maintenance and provision of other essentials at the office of the Speaker, residence and guest house.


“Please refer to our discussion on the need for our company to take up the facility management and provision of other essentials at the office of the Hon. Speaker, residence and guest house.

“Following our indepth study of what the jobs entail, please see the attached. I wish to inform you that to be able to offer satisfactory performance, the details of the financial requirements of the various jobs on monthly basis are as follows.

“Consequent on the foregoing, kindly approve that the management of the House should henceforth release the above stated sums to the company on monthly basis to facilitate smooth and timely execution of the jobs,” the letter reads partly.

On February 22, Lagos Assembly, through its expenditure account, transferred the sum of N17m to the Wema Bank account of Extremely Logistics and Cleaning Services Limited.

A source at the Assembly revealed that the fund was being transferred monthly to Extremely Logistics and Cleaning Services Ltd following directives from Obasa.

During checks with the Corporate Affairs Commission, Extremely Logistics and Cleaning Services Ltd was registered the same year Obasa became Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly in 2015.

COVID-19: 620 violators of lockdown order arrested in Lagos and charged to Court


. Cleric arrested for holding group prayers in defiance to the social distancing directives.
.39 Strippers/clubbers arrested in a night club.
.7 commercial buses intercepted with 95 inter states travellers.
On 21/4/2020 at about 2000hours, acting on information, operatives from Denton Police Station arrested 95 inter States travellers at Bhojson area, Ebute Metta in seven commercial buses with registration numbers LG 91 BGT, Lagos  to Benue; BDA 690 XA, Lagos to Abuja; BGA 86 EA, Lagos to Abuja; LSD 459 XA, Lagos to Benue; LRN 105 YR, Lagos to Ilorin; LSD 81 XX, Lagos to Ilorin and BWR 975 PN, Lagos to Abuja. The buses were impounded, the drivers and passengers were charged to Mobile Court and sentenced accordingly. In addition, 211 violators of lockdown order were arrested in different parts of the State and also charged to Court.
2. On 23/4/2020 at about 2230hrs, operatives from Maroko Police Station arrested 10 suspects for organising a party at Lekki Garden. The suspects were arraigned in Court on three counts charges and found guilty as charged. They were sentenced to 6 months imprisonment and community service, to run concurrently. Similarly, 121 violators of lockdown order were arrested in different parts of Lagos State and charged to Court. They were awarded fines ranging from #5000 and #10,000 and two hours community services.
3. On 24/4/2020 at about 0130hours, acting on credible intelligence, operatives from Idimu Police Station arrested 39 suspects in a hotel at Idimu, for clubbing and striptease. This is in total violation of the lockdown order and social distancing regulations. Also, on 24/4/2020 at about 2030hours, Enforcement team from the Rapid Response Squad arrested one Suleiman Abubakar, the Imam of Sheik Central Mosque,  Mile 12 Ketu for holding evening prayers (Maghrib and Isha prayers) in the Mosque with a large number of worshippers in violation of the social distancing regulations. A total of 288 violators of the lockdown order were over the weekend, arrested in different parts of the State.
4. The Commissioner of Police Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu psc calls on residents to continue to be law abiding, especially during this lockdown period. He warns against spreading fake news and recycling old videos on social media with new captions that suggest that the incidents happened during the lockdown period in Lagos, mainly to create panic. The Command is investigating sources of such mischievous messages with a view of bringing the perpetrators to Justice. Stop the spread and keep safe. Together we can stop the spread of COVID-19.
DSP Bala Elkana
Police Public Relations Officer,
Lagos State.