Wednesday, 20 September 2017
Headliners

Headliners (1730)

• Ask relatives in S’ East to return home
• Seek global observers to witness dissolution of Nigeria
• MASSOB accepts quit notice, Afenifere warns

Sixteen northern youth groups rose from a joint meeting in Kaduna yesterday to give Igbo residing in their states up to October 1, 2017 to vacate the region. This came days after the shutting down of major towns in the South East on May 30, 2017 as part of the campaign by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) for the actualisation of Biafra Republic.

The action of the northern youths shows that the agitations for self-determination are spiraling out of control. The nation’s leaders need to immediately intervene to stop these agitations from resulting in violence that may consume the entire nation.

The youth organisations in attendance at the Kaduna meeting included Arewa Citizens Action for Change, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Arewa Youth Development Foundation, Arewa Students Forum and Northern Emancipation Network on the Igbo Persistence for Secession.

Mallam Abdulazeez Suleiman who read the statement issued on behalf of others at the Arewa House in Kaduna, said the North was tired of the political marriage existing in the country, hence the need for restructuring as being canvassed by many notable Nigerian leaders, including former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

“The persistence for the actualisation of Biafra by the unruly Igbo of South-Eastern Nigeria has lately assumed another alarming twist which involved the forceful (sic) lockdown of activities and denial of other people right to free movement in the South-East by the rebel IPOB and its overt and covert sponsors.

“This latest action and similar confrontational conducts which amount to a brutal encroachment on the rights of those termed as non-indigenous people residing and doing lawful businesses in those areas illegally demarcated and defined as Biafra by the Igbo, are downright unacceptable and shall no longer be tolerated,” the northern youths said.

Alleging persistent Igbo threat to national integration, the northern youth said they had met with several other people in their region and reviewed the current position of the North and jointly came up with the declaration.

The statement further reads: “The Igbo people of the South-East, without remorse for the carnage they wrought on the nation in the 1960s, are today boldly reliving those sinister intentions connoted by the Biafran agitation that led to the very first bloody insurrection in Nigeria’s history.

“Emboldened by the apparent indifference of the Nigerian authorities, the Igbo secessionist tendency is widening in scope and action at every stage, with adverse effects on the law-abiding people of other regions residing in or passing through the East, while the Igbo leaders and elders by their utterances and direct action or inaction appear to support and encourage it.

“This is happening irrespective of the undisputable fact that Igbo have done and are doing more damage to our collective nationhood than any other ethnic group; being responsible for the first violent interference with democracy in Nigeria resulting in a prolonged counter-productive chain of military dictatorship.

“It is on record that since the inception of the current democratic dispensation, the Igbo have shown and maintained open contempt and resentment for the collective decision expressed by majority of Nigerians at various stages via generally acceptable democratic processes.

“While these provocative acts of aggression persist and grow in dimension with each new move, leaders of the North whose people are at the receiving end of the threats, appear helplessly unperturbed.

“Without pursuing a resolute action-plan, these northern leaders have adopted and have been dragging their people into a pitifully pacifist position in order to sustain an elusive national cohesion that has long been ridiculed by the Igbo.

“From today, June 6, 2017, when this proclamation is signed, the North, a critical player in the Nigerian project, hereby declares that it will no longer be disposed to coexisting with the Igbo and shall take definite steps to end the partnership by pulling out of the current federal arrangement.

“This conclusion is necessitated by the realisation that it since (sic) ceased to be comfortable or safe to continue sharing the same country with the ungrateful, uncultured Igbo who have exhibited reckless disrespect for the other federating units and stained the integrity of the entire nation with their insatiable criminal obsessions.

“Rather than certain sections holding the whole country to ransom at every stage, each should be allowed to go its own way as we categorically proclaim today that the North is fed up with being in the same country with this pack of acrimonious Igbo partners.

“The North hereby openly calls on the authorities and other national and international stakeholders to acknowledge this declaration by taking steps to facilitate the final dissolution of this hopeless union that has never been convenient to any of the parties.

“As a first step, since the Igbo have clearly abused the unreciprocated hospitality that gave them unrestricted access to, and ownership of landed properties all over the North, our first major move shall be to reclaim, assume and assert sole ownership and control of these landed resources currently owned, rented or in any way enjoyed by the ingrate Igbo in any part of Northern Nigeria.

“Consequently, officials of the signatory groups to this declaration are already mandated to commence immediate inventory of all properties, spaces or activity in the north currently occupied by the Igbo for forfeiture at the expiration of the ultimatum contained in this declaration.

“With the effective date of this declaration, which is today, Tuesday, June 06, 2017, all Igbo currently residing in any part of Northern Nigeria are hereby served notice to relocate within three months and all northerners residing in the East are advised likewise.”

The groups mandated all northern civil society and pressure groups to mobilise for sustained and coordinated campaigns at their respective State Government Houses, Houses of Assembly, Local Government Council Secretariats and traditional palaces for steps to be taken to ensure the enforcement of the directives .

“We are hereby placing the Nigerian authorities and the entire nation on notice that as from the 1st October 2017, we shall commence the implementation of visible actions to prove to the whole world that we are no longer part of any federal union that should do with the Igbo.

“From that date, effective, peaceful and safe mop-up of all the remnants of the stubborn Igbo that neglect to heed this quit notice shall commence to finally eject them from every part of the North.

“And finally, all authorities, individuals or groups are hereby advised against attempting to undermine this declaration by insisting on this union with the Igbo who have thus far proved to be an unnecessary baggage carried too far and for too long.”

In its reaction, the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) said it received with gladness the “quit notice” and urged the Igbo to return home immediately.

MASSOB, in a statement by its leader Uchenna Madu said: “The latest quit notice by the coalition of northern youths under the umbrella of Arewa youths is not a surprise gift to Biafrans residing in Arewa land. MASSOB is aware that such rascality will happen. As a matter of fact, this is the only rascality exhibited by sponsored Arewa youths to forcefully (sic) exit the people of Biafra residing in Arewa land that MASSOB will hundred percent support. Their Boko Haram tactics didn’t work as planned.

“MASSOB gladly received the good news of quit notice order to the people of Biafra living in Arewa land. We pledge our total support towards this divinely approved quit notice. MASSOB congratulates the Arewa political, religious, and traditional and opinion leaders who sponsored their youths wing by using Arewa House in Kaduna for this greatest meeting of a coalition of Islamic fundamentalists.

“MASSOB is hereby advising the people of Biafra mostly the Igbo living in Northern Nigeria (Arewa land) to take this quit notice serious (sic) as the plan to violently kill your children, wives and demolish your investments are already perfected. MASSOB will never fight or defend your lives and properties in Hausa Fulani land. The consciousness and realities of Biafra is highly overwhelming now.”

Igbo youths under the aegis of Ohanaeze Youth Council (OYC), said the statement was capable of causing chaos in the country but urged the Igbo to remain “wherever they are and defend themselves if pushed to the wall.”

One of the leaders of the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo said the development was a bad signal for the country. Adebanjo called on the northerner leaders to urgently condemn the statement by the northerner youths by saying that they did not speak for the north. He also urged the Federal Government to make a statement on the issue “otherwise it has far-reaching implications to the unity of the nation. Otherwise nobody is afraid of separation. If the North wants to break, there is nothing wrong but the idea of giving ultimatum to a particularly set of people to vacate their region is unacceptable.”

Earlier yesterday, Prof. Ben Nwabueze described the leader of IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, as a great Igbo man, stressing that marginalisation has robbed the Igbo of greatness.

Nwabueze, who spoke in Enugu when Kanu led the leadership of the Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA) to his office, said that those undermining the agitation for secession were making a huge mistake.

“We are supposed to be one of the leading ethnic groups in Nigeria but today we are in the minority; we have been so marginalised. Nnamdi Kanu’s case teaches that repression is seldom the right response to complaints and agitations for amelioration in the conditions of things in the society. Repression seldom settles grievances. If anything, it forces them underground.

“Another lesson to learn from Kanu’s case is that this self-determination should be a graduated process. It should begin with regional autonomy. The country should be restructured into six more or less self-governing zones or regions, with the powers of the central government drastically reduced, so as to minimise the fierce contest for its control,” the constitutional lawyer said.

Posted On Wednesday, 07 June 2017 10:50 Written by

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the nation’s unemployment rate rose from 13.9 per cent in the 3rd quarter to 14.2 per cent in the 4th quarter of 2016.

The NBS made this known in the “Unemployment/Under-employment Report for 4th Quarter of 2016’’ made available on the bureau’s website on Tuesday in Abuja.

The report said that the period under review showed that population, unemployed was 27.12 million in 3rd quarter, compared to 28.58 million persons in the 4th quarter.

It said that this showed an increase in the number of unemployed labour force by 351,015 persons.

According to the bureau, the percentage increase in both the 2nd and 1st quarter of 2016 were slightly lower at 13.4 per cent and 12.1 per cent, respectively.

It showed that 26.06 million persons were unemployed in 2nd quarter and while 24.5 million were unemployed in the 1st quarter in the year under review.

The report however showed that the underemployed in the labour force in 2016 in the 3rd quarter was 15.9 million persons or 19.7 per cent, while the 4th quarter was 17.03 million or 21.0 per cent.

The report said that it therefore showed an increase of 1.3 percentage points between the 3rd and the 4th quarters of 2016, a steady rise in the rate since 3rd quarter of the year.

The bureau said that keeping with the recent trend in the labour market, unemployment and underemployment continued to be highest for persons aged between ages of 15 to 34.

According to the bureau, the age bracket represents the youth population in the country.

It said that a breakdown into age groups showed that unemployment rate was highest for those within the ages of 15 to 24, while the underemployment rate for the same age group increased to 36.5 per cent in 4th quarter of 2016.

In addition, the bureau stated that unemployment and underemployment were higher for women than men in the 4th quarter of 2016.

It said that during the 4th quarter, 16.3 per cent of women in the labour force were those between 15 and 65 – willing, able and actively working or searching for work were unemployed.

According to the report, 24.2 per cent of women in the labour force were underemployed in the quarter under review.

The bureau said on the other hand, 12.3 per cent of males were unemployed in 4th quarter of 2016, while 17.9 per cent of males in the labour force were underemployed during the same period, NAN reports.

Posted On Tuesday, 06 June 2017 18:57 Written by

Two of the three men who carried out Saturday night's terror attack in London have been named by police.

They said Pakistan-born Khuram Butt, 27, of Barking, London, had been known to police and MI5 but there had not been any intelligence about an attack.

The other attacker was Rachid Redouane, 30, from Barking, who police said had claimed to be Moroccan-Libyan.

The attackers were shot dead by police. All 12 people arrested after the attack have now been released without charge.

The seven women and five men were arrested in Barking on Sunday following the attack in which seven people were killed and 48 injured.

The attackers drove a hired van into pedestrians on London Bridge before stabbing people in the area around Borough Market.

A vigil was held at Potters Field Park near London Bridge on Monday evening to remember the victims.

NHS England said 36 people remained in hospital, with 18 in a critical condition.

Redouane, who was a chef, also used the name Rachid Elkhdar. He had not been known to police.

Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Mark Rowley said: "Inquiries are ongoing to confirm the identity of their accomplice."

He said the investigation into Butt had begun two years ago but "there was no intelligence to suggest that this attack was being planned and the investigation had been prioritised accordingly".

He added: "Work is ongoing to understand more about them, their connections and whether they were assisted or supported by anyone else."

Vigil in Potters Field ParkImage copyrightREUTERS
A vigil was held in Potters Field Park, close to London Bridge

Butt featured in a Channel 4 documentary last year about Islamist extremists with links to the jailed preacher Anjem Choudary.

The attacker, who had older siblings and was married with at least one child, could be seen in the programme arguing with police officers in the street.

An online CV seen by the BBC shows that Butt had achieved an NVQ Level 2 in business administration.

 
Khuram Butt was shown in a documentary about extremists

He went on to work in an administrative role for a company called Auriga Holdings, based in East Ham, which manages Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets.

He had also worked for London Underground for just under six months as a trainee customer services assistant, before leaving in October last year, Transport for London said.

And Butt was the sole director of a now-dissolved company called Kool Kosmetics.


At the vigil

Badeiyah Islam, 14, Hanyah Casam, 14 and Zahra Salamut, 15 from Eden Girls School in Walthamstow
(L to R) Badeiyah Islam, 14, Hanyah Casam, 14 and Zahra Salamut, 15 were among the crowd at Potters Field Park

By Jennifer Meierhans, BBC News

The vigil began as a sombre and quiet gathering under the trees in Potters Field Park, where people stood in quiet contemplation looking out over the Thames.

So many spoke of their desire to stand together with others and show love.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan's speech roused the quiet crowd of thousands into hearty applause when he spoke of his disgust and defiance over the horror of Saturday's events.

After a minute's silence, many went forward to lay flowers beneath the flagpoles of City Hall.

It was a dignified show of solidarity and strength in the face of fear and hate.

 


BBC home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani said two people in Barking had raised concerns about Butt.

One man called the anti-terrorism hotline in 2015, while a woman went to the local police station because she was scared Butt was trying to radicalise her children.

Security officials made him a lower priority than other targets because of a lack of information that he was involved in attack-planning, our correspondent said.

Sources in Dublin said Redouane was understood to have been carrying an identification card issued in the Republic of Ireland when he was shot dead, the Press Association reported.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said he was not a member of a "small group" being monitored by Irish police in respect of radicalisation.

Floral tributes have been building up at a number of locations around the scene of the attackImage copyrightPA

Canadian national Chrissy Archibald, 30, was the first victim to be named. Her family said she had died in her finance's arms after being struck by the attackers' speeding van.

The sister of 32-year-old James McMullan, from Hackney, east London, said he was believed to be among those who died, after his bank card was found on a body at the scene.

James McMullan and Chrissy ArchibaldImage copyrightFAMILY HANDOUT/REUTERS
Image captionJames McMullan is believed to have been killed in the attack, as well as Chrissy Archibald

A French national was also killed in the attack, according to foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

Among other developments:

  • There will be a minute's silence on Tuesday at 11:00 BST in memory of those who lost their lives and all those affected by the attacks
  • Barriers have been installed on Westminster, Lambeth and Waterloo bridges following the attack to stop vehicles from mounting the pavement
  • The Independent Police Complaints Commission said 46 shots had been fired at the three attackers by eight police officers - three from the City of London force and five from the Met
  • The Met Police has set up a casualty bureau on 0800 096 1233 and 020 7158 0197 for people concerned about friends or relatives

It is the third terror attack in the UK in three months, following the car and knife attack on Westminster Bridge in March, in which five people were killed, and the Manchester bombing on 22 May, in which 22 people were killed.

Map of attack scene
Posted On Tuesday, 06 June 2017 00:58 Written by

Forbes Africa has released one of the most anticipated list of 30 “of the brightest, hungriest and most successful entrepreneurs under the age of 30” in Africa.

The average age of the Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 #ClassOf2017 is 27 and 33% of those on the list are women. 53% of the honourees are from Southern Africa with 9 from South Africa, while West and East Africa make up 23.3% each. The average age of women is 28.2 while the average age of men on the list is 26.4

Five Nigerians – Nasir Yammama, 27, Shakeela Tolasade Williams, 29, Muktar Onifade, 26, Edikan Udiong, 29 and Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, 26 – also made the list.

See the full list below:

Knight Ganje, 29 (Zimbabwe), Founder, H&G Advertising Group
H&G Advertising, the Botswana-based ad agency, counts Unilever, Emirates, Coca-Cola and Samsung among its clients. It operates in Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Swaziland, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe; has 80 permanent employees and 600 temporary staff and turns over $38 million a year.

Jean Bosco Nzeyimana, 24 (Rwanda), Founder, Habona Ltd
Habona Ltd offers affordable and environmentally friendly services and energy fuels in the form of biomass briquettes and biogas waste. The company is also diversifying into the installation and operation of clean power plants, ranging from waste to energy, such as solar, biomass, hydro, and wind, as well as climate-smart farming.

Rupert Weterings, 28 (South Africa), Founder, Allied Insurance Brokers
In 2011, he founded Allied Insurance Brokers (AIB) in Angola and in just two years the company grew to become one of the largest Angolan property, casualty, life and medical insurance and reinsurance brokerage companies.

Eugene Mbugua, 26 (Kenya), Founder, Young Rich Television Limited and My Yearbook Kenya Limited
Young Rich Television Limited has produced several popular television shows, among them; Young Rich; Get InThe Kitchen; Stori Yangu and Our Perfect Wedding. These reality shows have aired on multiple stations across the continent, including K24, Maisha Magic East, Kwese, Trigger, Iflix and ShowMax. My Yearbook Kenya Limited, a company that produces yearbooks for schools, companies and governmental organizations.

Sandra Mwiihangele, 29 (Namibia), Founder, Kiyomisandz Beauty Products
Kiyomisandz, a cosmetic and toiletry manufacturing company based in Namibia’s capital, Windhoek. The company manufactures its own products and offers contract manufacturing services to people who want to make their own.

Nasir Yammama, 27 (Nigeria), Founder, Verdant Agri-Tech
Verdant AgriTech is a social enterprise to support rural farmers with mobile technologies for sustainable farming and improved food production.

Sean Drake, 29 (Ghana), Founder, The Wealth Project Holdings
The Wealth Project Holdings is a sustainable investment holding company focused on social impact through financial services and education in Africa. Drake also runs the Wealth Project Institute, an educational, entrepreneurial and investment institution which aims to empower hundreds of entrepreneurs and investors in Ghana.

Shaleen Manhire Nullens, 29 (Zimbabwe), Founder, Conquered Events
In 2014, Nullens was getting married. She couldn’t find a wedding planner so she founded Conquered Events. As part of her marketing strategy and love for media, Nullens also founded Conquered TV, an entertainment online TV channel. Under Africa Petroleum, her new company based in Mozambique, she has also recently invested in fuel tankers she hires to companies. She is also the founder of Celebs 4 Change, an NGO that encourages African A-listers to give their time to charity.

Shakeela Tolasade Williams, 29 (Nigeria), Founder, Sade Hair
In February 2013, she branded her company and sold her car, borrowed money from family and invested all her initial earnings into a boutique store after quitting her job at a bank to pursue a career in the ever-growing hair extension industry.

Zameer Verjee, 30 (Kenya), Founder, Studio AZ
With the £400 he saved at university, Verjee founded Studio AZ, an interior and exterior design firm based in Nairobi, in 2012. Almost five years later, Verjee claims the company turned over just shy of $500,000 last year, has 11 full-time staff and employed 75 subcontractors.

Harun Elias, 25 (Tanzania), Founder, Javis International Trade Co.
Javis International Trade Co., is a global supplier of transport and trade solutions. It employs 40 people, 27 in Tanzania and 23 in China. Elias made $9 million last year.

Muktar Onifade, 26 (Nigeria), Founder, VIZUVLGVDS
VIZUVLGVDS, (pronounced visual gods) is a fashion brand that focuses on contemporary African art. Onifade has released three collections since founding in 2013. All garments are handmade in his Lagos and Detroit studios. By day, Onifade is an engineer at General Motors.

Elijah Lubala, 27 (DR Congo/South Africa), Founder, Naserwa Real Estate
In 2013, he founded Elie Technologies, which specializes in solar-powered wireless routers that act as mobile WiFi hotspots. In 2014, he started Naserwa Real Estate, a construction and rental management company. It has a portfolio of over 25 properties between Johannesburg and Kinshasa.

Mwayi Kampesi, 28 (Malawi), Founder, In-House Interiors
While working as an architect, she saved up about 70% of her salary every month to start the business. It took three and half years. In 2011, she founded In-House Interiors, an architectural, interior décor and space accessories company in Malawi. She makes interior accessories like side lamps, coffee tables and chandeliers out of recycled materials.

Godfrey Magila, 25 (Tanzania), Founder, Magilatech
He taught himself to code and won $200 at a countrywide hackathon. The prize came with a tech mentoring program. In 2012, he registered Magilatech, a software development and security auditing company. Magilatech launched Tigobackup, a mobile security application performing full content backup on mobile device and antitheft commands. It has recovered more than 3,600 lost and stolen devices. Magila employs 14 people, has seven contract employees, made over $1 million last year, has app contracts with Airtel, Vsomo, Maxcom, Selcom and DayOne Softcom.

Alloysius Attah, 27 (Ghana), Founder, Farmeline
In his final year at university, he co-founded Farmerline. It provides information and technology to farmers in Ghana’s most unconnected corners. Through its Mergdata platform, it provides data analytics and through Paytime, a credit scoring and lending app, the company uses alternative data sources for farmers with no credit history.

Jennifer Glodik, 29 (South Africa), Founder, Diva Slimming and Aesthetics Centre
Diva Slimming and Aesthetics Centre has two head offices, one in Sunninghill, Johannesburg and the other in Garsfontein, Pretoria. They have also opened 65 salons across South Africa in the last five years.

Rushil Vallabh, 29 (South Africa), Founder, Secha Capital
Secha Capital is an impact investing holding company that provides patient capital to established African SMEs via innovative strategies. Secha Capital addresses the management gap in SMEs by aligning the interests of investors with business owners through sweat equity and performance-based vesting options.

Mike Chilewe Jnr, 27 (Malawi), Founder, Chilewe Brands
Chilewe Brands Global is a pan-African diversified company involved in financial services, manufacturing, agriculture commodity trading and commercial properties. The company makes $2 million a year and employs 20 people.

Corbyn Munnik, 26 (South Africa), Founder, Sliide
Through Sliide, a technology company with offices in Lagos and London, Munnik helps address this problem by sending targeted news, entertainment and sponsored content to the lock screen of its users’ mobile phones. Seventy percent of all advertising revenue is used to buy mobile data and airtime for users, enabling them to spend more time online for free.

Jishan Ahmed, 30 (Zambia), Founder, Arete Steel
Arete Steel has a 3,000-square-meter workshop space, state-of-the-art machines from Germany and Japan worth more than $150,000, three 20-ton trucks, one crane truck and three five-ton canters, employs over 80 people and turns over $700,000 a year.

Allegro Dinkwanyane, 27 ( South Africa), Founder, Orgella Media
Orgella Media started as an entertainment blog and has now diversified into public relations (PR), charity and property divisions.

Jokate Mwegelo, 30 (Tanzania), Founder, Kidoti Company
Five years ago, Mwegelo used her personal savings and a soft loan from Africa’s youngest billionaire and FORBES AFRICA cover, Mohammed Dewji to found Kidoti Company, a lifestyle brand. It designs and manufactures synthetic hair extensions, sandals and bags. She also launched ‘Be Kidotified’ a campaign which empowers young girls by building sports facilities in public schools, and promoting education and entrepreneurship. She also launched ‘Msusi Wao’, translated ‘their hairstylist’, which connects hairdressers, financiers and customers.

Sibusiso Ngwenya, 25 (South Africa), Founder, Skinny Sbu Socks
There is little more satisfying than a simple solution to an annoying problem, especially when it makes money. Thomas Edison created the long-lasting lightbulb that everyone could afford; Henry Ford did the same with the family car; in South Africa, Ngwenya has invented an item to cover the gap between his pants and shoes.

Edikan Udiong, 29 (Nigeria), Founder, Oleander House
Udiong watched her sister and friends search far and wide for a particular weight loss supplement. Their search came to a dead end. The supplier of that product was no longer in business. She saw an opportunity.In 2012, Oleander House was born. She took advantage of social media advertising to promote the business.

Upendo Shuma, 28 (Tanzania), Founder, Lavie Makeup Studio
In 2013, she resigned from her job and founded Lavie Makeup Studio. After a year, they moved to a bigger place and she employed three more people. A year and a half later, they moved to an even bigger place and added another three people. Lavie Makeup Studio has 40 to 60 brides per month during peak season and 20 to 30 brides when business is slow. Shuma has also developed her first line of products. She says they have sold 3,000 pieces since inception in 2015.

Thato Kgatlhanye, 24 (South Africa), Founder, ‎Rethaka
At 18, Kgatlhanye founded Rethaka, which produces recycled schoolbags that double up as solar-powered lights that children can use to study at night. The company employs 20 people, has many volunteers, and supplies its products to the likes of Standard Bank, Red Bull, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Unilever. It also exports to Namibia, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Brazil. The aim is to expand to 24 African countries.

Lulo Rubushe, 23 (South Africa), Founder, RNDM Network
RNDM Network is a clothing and media lifestyle company which integrates youth through fashion, music, lifestyle events and brands. Rubushe employs 10 people and hopes to keep growing the business. His love for sport led to a partnership with Enhanced Sports, a sports development and coaching company. He plans to supply quality and affordable sporting gear to underprivileged schools.

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, 26 (Nigeria) Founder, Flutterwave
In 2016, Aboyeji left Andela, a talent accelerator that recruits and trains software developers and connects them with employers, to start Flutterwave, a provider of technology and infrastructure solutions for digital payments across Africa. The company processes over $760 million through 7.5 million transactions for merchants in partnership with financial institutions.

Khethi Ngwenya, 26 (South Africa), Founder, School Media
School Media is a company that connects brands with schools by helping clients rent advertising space in schools, in 2010. Khethi also founded Xhuma, a company that uses USSD codes to connect parents with schools. Khethi employs eight people, turns over $375,000 a year and counts Orlando Pirates and the Gauteng Department of Education among his clients. In 2011, Ngwenya founded a Going Green Project which has managed to educate 100 schools on environmental awareness and planted 4,500 trees in schools across South Africa.

Posted On Sunday, 04 June 2017 21:54 Written by

The President of Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN) Dr Frank Jacobs says the spiral effect of the proposed five Naira levy on imported petroleum products will be “unprecedented” on the economy.

The Senate Committee had recommended a five Naira levy, chargeable per litre, on imported petrol and diesel products and on other non-locally refined petroleum products.

The levy is expected to be used to fund roads projects, and maintenance in the country.

Jacob disclosed that though MAN was yet to officially meet over the issue, the proposal was not bad in its entirety.

The president however said the proposal was ill-timed and that the lawmakers should reconsider the appropriateness of the timing of the bill and the choice of products like PMS and diesel.

He noted that its implementation would drive up inflation, further erode the purchasing power of Nigerians and frustrate the growth of the manufacturing sector.

“On the face value, the five Naira levy appears harmless but a critical examination of the transmission mechanism of its economic and political implications revealed enormous resultant challenges

“This is not because the bill is not well taught out but the timing seems inappropriate in view of the prevailing economic circumstance of the country.

“The spiral effect of a levy of five Naira on every litre of fuel imported into the country on the economy, especially in this time and season will be unprecedented,” he said.

According to him the economy is still in the negative growth region and currently on a journey out of recession.

“Capacity utilisation is a little above 50 per cent, cost of production is pretty on the high side with expenses on self-generated power using diesel responsible for about 36 per cent of the total cost profile.

“Interest rate is still hovering around the 28 to 30 per cent mark and inflation is still double digit oscillating within the 17 percentile range.

“The introduction of the five Naira levy will erode the purchasing power of Nigerians and trigger high inventory of unsold manufactured products,” he said.

The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) also did not support the proposal.

President of the ACCI, Mr Tony Ejinkeonye , said it will worsen the plight of the masses.

Ejinkeonye submitted that the proposal, if implemented, would cause untold hardship on people.

The president agreed that budgetary allocations were not enough to fund road infrastructure in the country.

He said though several federal roads across the country were in very bad shape but imposing five Naira levy was not the right approach.

He said: “this levy should not be imposed now as Nigerians are already encumbered with lots of burden.

“This levy if imposed will worsen the plight of the masses because fuel plays a vital role in the life of an average Nigerian.

“Thus, any increase in the price of fuel which the levy will create, will have adverse implications on all other sectors of national life.

“It will lead to sharp increase in cost of transportation, food and other services that depend on fuel for running.

“And, Its multiplier effect would have grave implication for the economy and worsen the inflation rate”.

He said that the fuel levy no doubt would be exploitative and burdensome, therefore, government should spare the citizens the suffering that this fuel levy will impose’

He advised the government to look at other ways of saving money for roads infrastructure such as the reduction of corruption, as well as cut in the cost of running government.

Also, the President National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) Mr Ken Ukaoha said though the idea was good but the timing was also wrong.

Ukaoha said that the nation was in crisis of economic recession already and there was no need of adding to the burden.

While noting the country needs other sources of revenue to augment the depleting oil revenue, he said there was need to combine oil and non-oil revenue sources and tax as a way to survive.

Ukoaha therefore advised the government to deduct five Naira from the present pump price of petroleum products and use it to finance road maintenance instead of collection of extra five Naira for the purpose.

“We must dissect it properly; government should deduct five Naira from the N145 been collected on a litre, instead of adding extra five Naira, and use it to finance road maintenance.

“So that you are not taxing the masses again.

“So, if the government deducts five Naira from that amount and allocates it to the sector to finance road maintenance, everywhere will be calm and everybody will be OK,” he said

 
 
Posted On Sunday, 04 June 2017 20:05 Written by

World leaders have condemned Saturday’s London terror attack which left seven people dead and more than 30 injured.

President Emmanuel Macron said France, which had four citizens injured in the attack, was more than ever at Britain’s side.

Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull said his “prayers and resolute solidarity” were with the British people.

One Australian was in hospital and another was affected by the attack, Mr Turnbull said.

The person in hospital is believed to be 31-year-old Candice Hedge. ABC quoted a friend as saying she was stabbed in the neck but was not in danger.

At least one New Zealander was injured. Oliver Dowling was recovering from multiple stab wounds, his sister said on Facebook.

US President Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday evening: “Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the UK, we will be there – WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!”

Mr Trump also called for his travel ban on visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries to be upheld by US courts, where it is being challenged.

‘United In Horror’

Mr Macron was one of the first world leaders to react to the events.

“In the face of this new tragedy, France is more than ever at Britain’s side. My thoughts go out to the victims and their loved ones.”

Four French citizens were injured in the attack, one seriously, French officials said.

Security measures were being “reinforced” so that French citizens in London would be able to vote in the first round of the country’s parliamentary elections this Sunday, the French news agency AFP reported.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a statement (in German): “Today we are united across borders in horror and mourning, but also in determination.

“For Germany, I reiterate that in the fight against all forms of terrorism, we are resolutely at Britain’s side.”

Spain’s foreign ministry said it shared “the pain of the relatives of the victims deceased in these cowardly attacks”.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he was following the latest incidents “with horror”. He said: “Thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Please stay safe.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin “sends his deepest condolences to Britons and condemns the terrorist act that happened several hours ago in London”, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, quoted by Russian media.

Later in a telegram to UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Mr Putin said joint efforts to fight terrorism “should be a mutual response”, according to a Kremlin statement.

Commonwealth leaders also rallied round the UK.

“Awful news from London tonight. We’re monitoring the situation,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Twitter.

“New Zealand’s thoughts are with the victims of today’s attack,” said Prime Minister Bill English. “Too many lives are being taken by terrorists set on inflicting pain and suffering on innocent people.

-BBC

 
 
Posted On Sunday, 04 June 2017 14:45 Written by

The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has criticised the proposed N5 petrol levy by the Senate, describing it as a huge joke.

Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, the South-West Chairman of NUPENG, said in Lagos on Saturday that the proposal was ill-timed and also smacked of insensitivity to the current economic hardships facing Nigerians.

He wondered how the nation’s Upper Chamber could think of another fuel price increase when Nigerians were “striving to
cope with the current harsh economic realities”.

“How can the Senate propose such a bill at this particular period when poor Nigerians can hardly feed themselves?

“The prices of foodstuffs have tripled in the market, while workers’ salary has not been increased,” Korodo said.

Sen. Kabiru Gaya (APC-Kano), the Chairman, Senate Committee on Works, had on June 1, presented a bill entitled, “National Roads Bill” to the House.

The bill recommends that Nigerians should pay N5 levy on every litre of imported petroleum products and that levy will form part of the proposed national roads fund.

It also recommends the deduction of 0.5 per cent on fares paid by passengers travelling on inter-state roads to commercial mass transit operators as well as the return of toll gates on federal roads, among others.

Korodo said: “Just a year ago, the pump price of petrol was increased from N87 to N145 per litre and Nigerians accepted the increment because of the sincerity of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

“Any attempt to adjust the price of petrol under any guise will be resisted by Organised Labour.”

The NUPENG chief called on well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the leadership of the Senate to step down the bill.

 
Posted On Saturday, 03 June 2017 13:30 Written by

THE Senate is planning a N5 extra charge on every litre of petrol and diesel, as revenues for the proposed National Road Fund, a report of the committee on works commences.

The report of the Senator Kabiru Gaya-led committee, which was scheduled for debate on Wednesday and also on Thursday, but was shelved due to lack of time, recommended the creation of the National Road Fund, which, it said, should be sourced through extra costs on petrol and diesel.

According to the report, which was signed by 12 out of 15 members of the committee, Nigerians would be made to pay N5 more on each litre of petrol and diesel products imported into the country, as well as on locally-refined petroleum products.

The bill is equally proposing the imposition of the 0.5 per cent charges deductible from the fare paid by passengers on inter-state roads.

The Senate committee equally proposed other sources of funding for the road fund to include axle load control charges, international vehicle transit charges, road fund surcharge of 0.5 per cent chargeable on the assessed value of any vehicle imported at any time into the country, 10 per cent from toll fees on federal roads and 10 per cent of revenue accruing from lease or license or other fees pertaining to non-vehicular road usages along any federal road.

Though the report of the bill was already circulated among senators as it was listed on the Order Paper for Wednesday and Thursday, the lawmakers could not consider it this week because of time constraints.

It is most likely the report comes up for debate on Tuesday.

Senator Gaya had laid the foundation for the report on October 19, 2016, when he presented a

lead debate on the bill, submitting that the creation of road fund was the solution to problem of dilapidated roads in the country.

“At the core to the road fund solution is the concept that some of the insufficiency and unpredictability of funding (and, by extension, planning), can be mitigated by extracting additional funds from those that use the road assets in the form of a user-based charge or levy,” he had said during the debate.

Senators who signed the bill were the committee chairman, Senator Gaya; vice chairman, Clifford Odia; Bukka Aba Ibrahim, Ben Murray-Bruce, Abubakar Kyari, Mustapha Bukar, Sani Mustapha. and Mao Ohuanbunwa.

Others were Barnabas Gemade, Gilbert Nnaji, Ibrahim Danbaba and Buruji Kashamu.

Three members who failed to sign were the Senate Chief Whip, Olusola Adeyeye; Biodun Olujimi and Ahmed Ogembe.

Reacting, the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) said any increment of the pump price of petroleum products would be resisted by members.

In a telephone conversation with Nigerian Tribune, Lagos State Zonal Chairman of NUPENG, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, said the union would wait for the Senate resolution to become an official policy before reacting.

He added that the union would be watchful in order not to act on misleading information, until issues became clearer.

“The alleged act is not official, because no formal announcement has been made, but the union is not resting on its oars to get the final deliberation on this imminent action,” he said.

The union leader said any programme or policy initiated to enact the bill, if passed, would be resisted with force, to provide succour to Nigerian masses battling with the current recession.

 

We’ll resist any increment —NUPENG

The Lagos State Zonal Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo in his reaction said any increment of the pump price of petroleum products, would be vehemently resisted by his union members.

In a telephone conversation with Nigerian Tribune, he said his union would wait for the senate resolution to become an official policy, before reactions would follow.

He added that the union would be watchful in order not to act on misleading information, which would necessitate a passive response for now, until issues become clearer.

He noted that any misleading information could evoke grievous reactions.

“The alleged act is not official because no formal announcement has been made but the union is not resting on its oars to get the final deliberation on this imminent action” he said.

He was however very clear on what would be the reaction to any policy that would add to the current hardship.

The union leader was unequivocal that any programmes or policies initiated to bring this unfavorable development to fruition will be resisted with full force because of its pressing negative consequences on the Nigerian masses who are still grappling with the current economic recession.

Posted On Friday, 02 June 2017 10:56 Written by

SPONSORED BY YES434.COM: Vanguard’s market survey revealed that the parallel market exchange rate which closed N385 per dollar last week rose to N391 per dollar yesterday. Market operators however expressed optimism that the Naira will appreciate today once the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) delivers the $20,000 bi-weekly sale to bureaux de change today.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has urged Nigerians to support the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in its activities to diversify the economy, just as it commended efforts of the bank towards resuscitating the nation’s ailing economy. Rising from its 2017 biennial convention in Lagos attended by over 350 editors of media outlets in the country, the guild said efforts of the Federal Government at diversifying the economy are commendable.

The guild commended the CBN for its intervention in the forex market, which it noted not only moderated the exchange rate but also halted the rising inflation in the country. The editors, in a seven-point communique signed by the re-elected President, Funke Egbemode and Secretary-General, Victoria Ibanga, also expressed their support for the CBN’s leading role in advancing patronage for made-in-Nigeria goods. The guild therefore urged all Nigerians to support government the bid to exit the economic recession, which they said has affected all, including the media industry. In spite of current challenges, the guild admonished the media to intensify efforts in promoting government’s policies on economic diversification.


Posted On Wednesday, 03 May 2017 02:28 Written by

SPONSORED BY KODUGA.COM: ABUJA — Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that former President Goodluck Jonathan from his first days as President showed he  was too small for the office, saying he, Obasanjo, acted more as an opponent of Jonathan than a supporter of Muhammadu Buhari ahead of the 2015 presidential poll. Ex President Jonathan and Gen. Obasanjo (Rtd) Obasanjo, who said Jonathan deceived him that he would not give Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke the petroleum portfolio in his cabinet was deceived into believing that he could use money to buy the 2015 presidential election.

Obasanjo in the book, Against the Run of Play: How an Incumbent President was defeated in Nigeria, written by former presidential spokesman, Segun Adeniyi, also revealed that Jonathan was gripped by the fear that Buhari, as president, would jail him or lead him to an early grave. In the 204-page book, former President Jonathan is himself quoted as saying he could not be held accountable for provocative remarks made by some of his supporters, even as former Senate President, David Mark, is also quoted in the book as alleging that he forewarned the former president about the alleged conspiracy against him in the north but to no avail.

Problems of  minority agitation

Obasanjo in the book is quoted as saying that following Umaru Yar’Adua’s death in 2010, he endorsed Jonathan for the 2011 presidential election principally to solve the problems of minority agitation in Nigeria. The former President said: “I saw the emergence of Jonathan as an opportunity to solve the problem of minority agitation. The three majority ethnic groups in Nigeria can always sort themselves out but not so for the minority. A good example is my state here in Ogun. “Despite the best of intentions, nobody from Ogun West has been able to become governor because of this minority issue and it will take a conscious effort to make it happen. So, it was in the context of that I had to plead with prominent people in the North to allow Jonathan run for a term.”

I warned him not to make Diezani petroleum minister

But in a tone laden with regrets, Obasanjo pointed out that there were certain things Jonathan did that fell below his expectations as a former president. “There were certain decisions taken by Jonathan very early in his administration that pointed to the fact that the office was bigger than him and one of them was the appointment of a petroleum minister,” he said.

According to Obasanjo, he cautioned Jonathan not to appoint Diezani Alison-Madueke to such a sensitive sector but the president ignored his counsel. “Jonathan gave me the impression that he was not going to give her the portfolio but at the end he did and we can see the consequence. He, of course, knew what he was doing,” Obasanjo stated.

Why I opposed Jonathan

The former president also hinted at what riled him against Jonathan and why he parted ways with him in the run up to the 2015 election, a development which has given the impression that he was actively working in support of Buhari’s candidature. But Obasanjo denied any direct support to Buhari. He said: “I didn’t join them in supporting Buhari; I joined in opposing Jonathan so Buhari was just a beneficiary of my opposition to Jonathan since my position was AOBJ: meaning Any Option But Jonathan.”, Obasanjo explained that Jonathan and his handlers believed that they could buy the last election and that they were so arrogant about it that the PDP would print only one nomination form for him and him alone. He said: “If he was wise, he would have yielded the ticket to somebody else in the PDP.”

Jonathan was not really afraid about life after office but Buhari

The former president, who also criticised the role played by the military in the last election, said he suspected that Jonathan was not really afraid about life after office but Buhari, his successor. “I believe the President’s concern or fear is not about life after office per se, because he and I have had occasions to talk about this both seriously and jovially. I believe the President’s fear is particularly motivated by the person he sees as his likely successor, that is General Buhari. I believe the people would have been telling him that Buhari is a hard man; he would fight corruption and he (Jonathan) may end up in jail if not in the grave,” Obasanjo narrated in the book. The book also placed the defeat of Jonathan at the 2015 poll on the utterances of those close to the former president, chief among them being his wife, Patience.

The book recalls the allegation by former Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, accusing the former first lady of insulting the North with incendiary language, thereby alienating them from Jonathan during the election. It quoted Mrs. Jonathan as making a denigrating remark against Almajiri in the north, by saying “Our people no dey born children wey dem no dey count. Our men no dey born throw way for street; we no dey like people from the other side”, an apparent reference to the concept of Almajiri common in the north.

Reminded in the book that some persons close to him, especially Chief Edwin Clark and Asari Dokubo, were rather vocal and provocative in their utterances, Jonathan wondered why he should be held accountable for their personal opinions. The former president retorted: “Okay,  let us agree for the sake of argument that Chief Clark and the others were offensive, what about those from other ethnic groups who were also making incendiary statement about my person with insinuations about people who wear bowler hats? “I am not defending whoever may have crossed the line among Ijaw people but let us  be fair, why should I be held accountable for that and you would not hold other leaders accountable for what politicians from their own ethnic groups also said? he queried.

On why Jonathan lost the election, former Senate President, David Mark, said that he saw the defeat coming and had pointed out the unrealistic voting projections made by the party about the North to the former president and the conspiracy against him but he was not taken seriously. He said Jonathan should have seen the handwriting on the wall and done something about what was pointed out to him but no action was taken.

Mark lamented, “I saw it and at difference times, I pointed out to him and the party that the projections being made by some people around the president about what the voting pattern in the north would were wrong. “I could see the conspiracy and the gang-up building up in the north against the aspiration of Jonathan but my  voice was drowned out by those who took it for granted that a sitting president, and one from PDP, could not lose,” Mark said.

The former Senate President also mentioned that the former Vice President, Namadi Sambo, was also aware that Jonathan was not strong in the North but apparently had little to say in the campaign to re-elect Jonathan. “Some people were deceiving the president with the kind of false scenarios they were painting for him. The VP could see the conspiracy but I don’t know how much influence he had on the campaign. Why Jonathan couldn’t see it until it was too late is what I find difficult to understand,” Mark pointed out.

Posted On Thursday, 27 April 2017 00:21 Written by
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