MainOne To Commit N25bn To Digitisation of Lagos

West Africa’s leading connectivity and data centre solutions provider, MainOne launches its “Digital Lagos: Broadband for All” campaign initiative to enable the digital transformation of Lagos state through deployment of ubiquitous broadband infrastructure across the state.
MainOne’s ambitions for Lagos is inspired by the vision of Lagos Governor-elect, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who noted presciently that “Technology will improve the rule of law, education, ease of doing business and government processes of Lagos”.
At the campaign launch organized in Lagos to announce its plans on Tuesday, Funke Opeke, Chief Executive Officer, MainOne, said, the company is keen to collaborate with the Lagos State Government and all other relevant stakeholders to build Digital Lagos and help citizens from all walks of life realize the benefits of broad, sustainable economic growth, modernized education, health, and other services delivery, and improved quality of life.
“MainOne is pleased to have the opportunity to present its plan for Digital Lagos, a proven path to ubiquitous broadband connectivity. This plan will involve the investment by MainOne of over N25 billion over the next 2-3 years to develop critical fiber optic infrastructure to enable broadband services across Lagos state,” she said.
A presentation was made by Mr. Judah Levine, CEO HIP Consult, a Washington DC based, independent, management consulting firm with specialization in ICT in emerging markets. HIP Consult worked with MainOne in developing a concept paper and implementation plan for Digital Lagos. Mr. Levine touched on the research done for Digital Lagos, its implementation plans and subsequent impact in Lagos State.
Opeke said MainOne has pioneered investments in critical internet-enabling infrastructure across West Africa, Nigeria, and Lagos. To date, the company has invested over N120 billion funded by leading African banks and has proven its capabilities in expanding and densifying localized fiber networks in neighboring Ogun and Edo States by deploying almost 1,000kms of fiber in partnership with Facebook to expand broadband access and connect government institutions and other areas of interest.
Opeke said, as the licenced InfraCo for Lagos zone, the resulting network to be built by MainOne would provide essential connectivity to critical State institutions, cover over 300 government agencies, up to 10,000 State CCTV locations, Telecom operators and ISPs, public Wi-Fi hotspots, Smart City components / IOT devices, in addition to Enterprises.
In Lagos, MainOne’s existing 700-kilometer network already covers major population centers and Yaba, where it provides connectivity for the majority of the Yabacon ecosystem and has connected startups like Andela, ccHub, Paga, and Flutterwave and others that have raised up to USD500million Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Nigeria.

Egypt, Ethiopian Airlines Running Drug Cartels In Nigeria — Presidency

The Presidency has accused Egypt Air and Ethiopian Airlines of running drug cartels in Nigeria.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said this when she appeared before the Senate Adhoc Committee set up by the Senate to look into circumstances that led to the arrest of Zainab Aliyu in Saudi Arabia last year over alleged possession of a banned substance, Tramadol.
Dabiri-Erewa also said many of the scanners at Nigerian Airports were not functioning.
Dabiri-Erewa, who is also Chairman of the Nigeria Diaspora Commission, accused Egypt and Ethiopian Airlines of running drug cartels at International Airports across the country.
She explained that Aliyu’s ordeal in Saudi Arabia before the intervention of the Federal Government of Nigeria, which led to her release, was caused by a drug cartel collaborating with officials of the two airlines.
She said: “We have other foreign and local airlines operating at our airports, but Egyptian and Ethiopian Airlines have drug cartels operating at our International Airports.
“They operate alongside local collaborators.
“It is not Air Peace, not Arik Air but Egyptian and Ethiopian Airlines.”

Nollywood: NFVCB, Filmmakers ‘Light Up’ Africa Pavillion At Cannes

Delegates of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), filmmakers, stars and other players in the Nigerian movie industry have ‘lit up’  the Pavillon Afriques at the 2019  Cannes Film Festival.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria has the highest representation at the Pavillon at the ongoing Festival de Cannes holding from May 14 to May 25 in France.

The Pavillon Afriques, situated at the Film Market section of the Festival, is a platform where filmmakers, investors, relevant government functionaries and other stakeholders meet to discuss business of filmmaking in the African continent.

Nigerian Participants, at a special forum tagged ‘NFVCB Day,’ joined key partners and panelists at the Pavillon  to share insights into Nollywood  and how to enhance Africa movie sector through strategic collaborations.

Mr. Adedayo Thomas, Executive Director of the NFVCB and a member of the Advisory Board of the Pavillon Afriques, led the Nigerian team, which included actors, producers and other stakeholders.

Veteran actress Hilda Dokubo , Beverly Naya and award-winning movie director Kunle Afolanya, among others, also hit the pavillon to share ideas.

Award-winning Nigerian and Canada-based writer and director, Kathryn Fasegha had her new movie “2 Weeks in Lagos”,  premiered at the festival .

“ It is not just about directing a movie, it is also about seeing my movie placed at one of the biggest film platforms in the world,” Fasegha said.

Thomas, in a remark, urged Africa filmmakers to do more to maximize opportunities the industry offers in terms of job creation and contribution to GDP.

He noted that market for Africa contents was growing within and outside the continent, and therefore urged filmmakers to work together for enhanced distribution.

Nigeria government is committed to providing the enabling environment and the ease of doing business, so investors are welcomed,” he said.

Representatives of relevant government agencies and industry players of other African countries admired the exponential growth of Nollywood over the years, while urging other countries to learn from it.

They also extolled the NFVCB for its role of steering the nation’s film and video sector reputed to be largest in Africa and second in the world.

Mehret Mandefro, Ethiopian Filmmaker and TV Presenter, noted that Nollywood was a role model in Filmmaking that other Africa countries needed to work with to grow their industry.

“Nollywood is miles ahead of others and there are a lot other countries can learn from it.

“Others can take a lift from Nigeria because stakeholders are very key to each other as filmmaking cannot be done in isolation.”

Mandefro therefore urge filmmakers to collaborate and build strategic partnership toward the collective growth of the continent’s film industry.

NAN reports that the Pavillon Afriques, is in its first year at Cannes with over 15 participating countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania and Ethiopia.

Others include Rwanda, Togo and Djibouti, Jamaica and Senegal among others.

AAC Sets Up C’ttee To Probe Sowore Over $1m

The National Working committee of the African Action Congress( AAC) has set up a committee to probe Omoyele Sowore over claims that he received 1 million dollars during the Rivers gubernatorial elections. The NWC also passed a vote of confidence on its acting chairman,Leonard Enzenwa. In its communique after the members of the NWC met on May 17 in Abuja, and signed by Nzenwa the NWC  also frowned at how the over One hundred and fifty seven million naira (N157,000,000.00) presidential campaign funds donated by party faithful within and outside the country was illegally utilized and not properly accounted for. The NWC also declared that the purported suspension of the Rivers State chairman of the party is  null and void as having been done illegally and the chairman is directed to continue to discharge the duties of his office.

Nzenwa said the meeting was also  “To review the cases of compromise of election petitions of the party in different states and cases of collusion involving the suspended chairman Mr. Omoyele Sowore with some political parties. “That following a review of the petition of some aggrieved members of the Rivers State Chapter of the party alleging the absconding with the sum of $1,000,000.00 received by the suspended Chairman of the Party, Mr. Omoleye Sowore from a Chieftain of a rival political party for adoption of our Party as a general opposition platform for Rivers State, the National Working Committee set up a 3-man Committee headed by Hon. Musa Abu to investigate the allegations and report back in seven days.

“To review all election litigations in court including legal representations to ensure that the chances of the party are enhanced and to wedge bad eggs within the party working to undermine the interest of the party. “That the NWC viewed with concern the decision of one Tawo Tawo SAN, (a lawyer alleged to have close links with one of the chieftains of a rival party) to continue to disrespect the new leadership of the party and continue to relate with the suspended Chairman on election petition issues concerning Rivers State. “The said Tawo Tawo has by some actions shown to have conducted himself in a manner that is injurious to the legal pursuits of the party and allowing him to continue will be damaging to the party hence the decision to remove him as lawyer and appointment of another senior lawyer who will enhance the chances of the party in our quest to reclaim our mandate. “The party has also appointed legal representatives where the suspended former Chairman refused to appoint one because of the collusion and will further review representations that are tainted or influenced by outside elements,” he said.

Book On PREMIUM TIMES Publisher Set For Launch

A book of essays in honour of frontline journalist, Dapo Olorunyomi, will be unveiled on Monday, May 27, at the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja.

Mr Olorunyomi, who was among the team that founded the hard-hitting TheNews/Tempo magazines in the 1990s, is the publisher of PREMIUM TIMES.
The book, edited by Chido Onumah and Frederick Adetiba, has over 90 contributions from a spectrum of his teachers, colleagues, associates and mentees.
The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, is expected to lead dignitaries to the event.
Other special guests are the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, a former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, and veteran journalist and politician, Chris Anyanwu.
Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi, will deliver the keynote address while the publisher of Daily Trust, Kabiru Yusuf, will chair the occasion.
The book of essays was conceived after Mr Olorunyomi’s 60th birthday in November 2017.
Contributors to the volume include renowned academics, media executives, journalists, activists and politicians who offered insights into Mr Olorunyomi’s patriotism, courage, brilliance and acts of generosity through different phases of his life.
Among the contributors are Bola Tinubu, Nuhu Ribadu, Rauf Aregbesola, Biodun Jeyifo, Ropo Sekoni, Umaru Pate, Lai Oso, Femi Falana, Dare Babarisa, Kunle Ajibade, Sola Olorunyomi, Tunde Akanni, Tobi Oluwatola, Kole Shettima, Jude Ilo and a host of others.
The book has a foreword by celebrated poet and author, Odia Ofeimun, and will be reviewed by Chidi Odinkalu.
Co-editor of the book, Chido Onumah, said the idea of the book was to document and celebrate the publisher as an accomplished journalist, and to underline the contributions of the media in the struggle for a better Nigeria.

UBA’s Africa Conversations: Leaders Emphasise Importance of History to African Development

African leading minds have called on Africans to be mindful of their rich history, which according to them creates the path towards the socio-cultural, economic and political development of the continent

The strong African voices which included Group Chairman, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Tony Elumelu, Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka; Professor emeritus and authority in Sahelian history, Djibril Tamsir Niane; Ghanaian Politician, Samia Nkrumah and Famous Musician, Femi Kuti spoke during the first edition of UBA’s Africa Conversations, a symposium organised by the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc at the UBA House in Lagos, as part of activities marking this year’s Africa Day celebrations. The theme of the panel session was “Africa’s History Redefined, Our Past, the Path to the Future”.

Opening the conversation, the Group Chairman, UBA, Tony Elumelu stated ‘UBA understands the past- that Africa as a continent has always been united by the struggle for identity. UBA is a symbol for the development of Africa, for the economic empowerment of our people, the Small and Medium Enterprises as well as the big corporations. Thus, identifying with Africa and indeed Africa Day is synonymous with who we are as a bank. It presents us the opportunity to remind ourselves, the world and indeed Africa that we owe ourselves the duty of making Africa the continent of our dreams.”

Elumelu added that it is important for Africans to remember history as this will help prepare for the future. ‘Our past provides a veritable tool to fashioning the continent’s development, renaissance and economic growth’ he emphasised.

Speaking strongly on the issue, professor Wole Soyinka, who commended UBA’s initiative for opening up discussions on these pressing topics decried the growing erosion of history from the curriculum in African schools, adding that the lack of knowledge of our past makes children’s growth on the continent truncated. “How can we cope with the modern phenomenon if we do not know the past? We should never forget the importance of history as it is not just an academic exercise,” he enthused.

 Corroborating Soyinka’s position, Professor Niane opined thatreminiscingabout Africa’s rich history is important as there is no people without history. He said, “A lot of work has been done by Africans and we have to be happy about it. There is the need to continue the conversation about African unity. Policies  have been put in place and our democracy can only get stronger. Peace will reign and Africa will be reunited. Economic transformation is also important but it is not the only thing we should concentrate on.”

Samia Nkrumah, the daughter of Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, who commendedUBA for prioritising African entrepreneurship, called for a renewed attempt at African unity, which according to her, has to be a collective effort of the people.

Nkrumah said, “As we work in our individual smaller countries, it will be easier to achieve more if we work together and complete unification can only come if we work together; we won’t go anywhere unless we use unity as a political project.’ She added.

On his part, Femi Kuti emphasised the importance ofHistory, saying “Our children need to learn this history so that they can come up and build the continent. We need everyone – both boys and girls to work towards this vision.”

 The UBA Conversations, an initiative of the Pan African financial institution, aims at aggregating discussions necessary for the growth and development of the continent. It is being held as part of the activities to mark the 2019 edition of Africa Day celebrations by the bank.

With presence in 20 African countries as well as in the United States, France and The United Kingdom, UBA’s passion for Africa’s growth is part of who they are.

The bank is set to continue conversations around these important topics that are required to galvanise the African economy with the aim of attracting the much needed support that will boost SMEs and support business growth on the continent. 

Fayemi Emerges Chairman of Governors Forum

Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state has emerged as the new chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF.

Dr Fayemi was elected in Abuja in preparatory to the May 29 inauguration of a new set of governors under the second stanza of the Buhari’s Presidency.

The Ekiti governor will be replacing the outgoing chairman of the governors and Zamfara strongman, Abdulaziz Yari.

Earlier on, Governor Sariake Dickson of Bayelsa state cautioned on a rotational arrangement the forum is known for.

However, Dickson was not a contestant as his tenure expires next December as governor of the oil rich riverine state.

Diezani Alison-Madueke To Be Arraigned Oct 3

The FCT High Court, Apo on Wednesday fixed Oct. 3, for the arraignment of Diezani Alison-Madueke, former Minister of Petroleum on five counts bordering on conspiracy and illegal act of accepting and giving gratifications.

The court granted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission leave to arraign Alison-Madueke, former Chairman of Atlantic Energy Drilling Company, Olajide Omokore, on five counts on Feb. 25.

The date was fixed following the absence of Justice Valentine Ashi, trial judge who was on another official engagement.

Mr Faruk Abdullahi, Counsel to the EFCC had told the court on Feb. 25, that the arraignment would not hold as Alison-Madueke and her co-accused were not in court.

Abdullahi explained that the EFCC had forwarded a request to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) for onward commencement of Alison-Madueke’s repatriation process from the United Kingdom.

He said the absence of the second defendant (Omokore) was linked to the commission’s inability to serve him with the court’s processes.

The prosecutor, therefore, prayed the court for further adjournment to enable the team tidy up its house.

Mr Adeniyi Adegbonmire, SAN, Counsel to Omokore said his client was prepared to stand trial but that the right process to commence the trial must be adhered to.

Alison-Madueke and Omokore, are billed to be arraigned on five-count charge bordering on conspiracy and illegal acts of accepting and giving bribe.

EFCC averred that the accused persons had conspired at different levels to commit the fraud.

The anti-graft body further alleged that the ex-minister accepted gift of properties described as penthouse 22, Block B, Admiralty Estate, Ikoyi, and penthouse 21, building 5, block C, Banana Island, Lagos.

The EFCC said the alleged offence, contravened the provisions of Sections 26(1) and 17 of the EFCC Act, 2000.

On Dec. 5, 2018, Justice Ashi ordered the police, EFCC, Department of State Services (DSS), and others to produce Diezani in court within 72 hours.

Ashi gave the order, following an ex parte motion made before the court by the counsel to the anti-graft agency.

The suspects are also to be arraigned for allegedly accepting and giving gifts of properties described as penthouse 22, Block B, Admiralty Estate, Ikoyi, and penthouse 21, building 5, block C, Banana Island, Lagos.

The EFCC revealed that the alleged offence contravened the provisions of sections 26(1) and 17 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

On Nov. 11,2018, the EFCC confirmed that the process to repatriate the former Minister of Petroleum, Alison-Madueke, from the United Kingdom has begun.

Buhari, Ministers In Valedictory FEC Session Today

President Muhammadu Buhari will preside over the valedictory session of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), on Wednesday, exactly a week before his inauguration for another four-year tenure.

The Federal Executive Council is the cabinet of Nigeria and is made up of the President, Vice-President and ministers appointed by the President. Other members are Secretary to the Government of the Federation, head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) and Chief of Staff to the President.

The body formalises Section 148, subsection 2 of the 1999 Constitution that says that:

“The President shall hold regular meetings with the Vice-President and all the Ministers of the Government of the Federation for the purposes of –

(a) determining the general direction of domestic and foreign policies of the Government of the Federation;

(b) co-ordinating the activities of the President, the Vice-President and the Ministers of the Government of the Federation in the discharge of their executive responsibilities; and

(c) advising the President generally in discharge of his executive functions other than those functions with respect to which he is required by this Constitution to seek the advice or act on the recommendation of any other person or body.”

Most of the 36 ministers were sworn-in on 11 November 2015, with President Buhari holding the Ministry of Petroleum as its substantive minister.

President Buhari essentially kept the team, with few exits in the last three and half years.

Barrister James Ocholi, the minister of state for Labour & Employment was the first to take a tragic bow, about four months after he was appointed. He died 6 March 2016 in an accident on Abuja-Kaduna road.

Next was the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, who went on to become the deputy secretary-general of the United Nations.

Two of the original ministers also resigned to contest for political offices. They were Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, who was then Minister of Mines and Solid Minerals, and Aisha Al-hassan, who went to run for governorship seat in Taraba, after falling out with the All Progressives Congress.

Hajia Khadija Bukar Ibrahim, Minister of State, Foreign Affairs also left to run for a House of Representatives seat in Yobe. She won.

Kemi Adeosun, who was the original Minister of Finance left amidst proof that she forged her NYSC certificate.

In December last year, Alhaji Ibrahim Jibril, Minister of State for Environment quit to become the 13th Emir of Nasarawa emirate in Nasarawa State.

The President also made some new ministerial appointments in the course of the tenure. One of them was Suleiman Hassan, who was initially appointed Minister of state for Power in 2017. Later, he became the Minister of Environment, following the exit of Emir Ibrahim Usman Jibril.

Also appointed in 2017 was Professor Stephen Ocheni, who replaced late Barrister Ocholi.

President Buhari had on April 17 asked for a comprehensive “status reports on policies, programmes and projects” from cabinet members on their respective ministries, departments and agencies.

The deadline for submission of the reports to the Presidential Audit Committee in the office of the Vice President was April 24.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had said that despite the valedictory session today, the cabinet will not be dissolved simultaneously.

In a statement issued in Abuja on 25 April, the minister said it is the prerogative of President Muhammadu Buhari to dissolve the cabinet anytime he chooses.

The statement signed by the Special Adviser to the Minister, Mr Segun Adeyemi, clarified the minister’s earlier statement to State House correspondents after Thursday’s FEC meeting in Abuja.

‘’It is inaccurate to extrapolate from my statement – that the FEC valedictory session will hold on 22 May – to say that the President will dissolve the cabinet on the same day.

“They do not mean the same thing,” he said.

Some of the Original Ministers:
Chris Ngige – (Anambra) Minister of Labour & Employment, Rotimi Amaechi – (Rivers) Minister of Transportation, Babatunde Fashola -(Lagos) Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Abdulrahman Dambazau- (Kano) Minister of Interior, Ogbonaya Onu- (Ebonyi) Minister of Science and Technology, Abubakar Malami – (Kebbi) Minister of Justice & Attorney-General.

Sen Hadi Sirika – (Katsina) Minister of State, Aviation, Barr. Adebayo Shittu – (Oyo) Minister of Communication, Suleiman Adamu – (Jigawa) Minister of Water Resources, Solomon Dalong – (Plateau) Minister for Youth and Sports, Ibe Kachikwu – (Delta) Minister of State, Petroleum.

Dr Osagie Ehanire – (Edo) Minister of State, Health, Audu Ogbeh – (Benue) Minister of Agriculture, Udo Udo Udoma – (Akwa Ibom) Minister of Budget & National Planning, Lai Mohammed – (Kwara) Minister of Information, Ibrahim Usman Jibril – (Nasarawa) Minister of State, Environment.

Cladius Omoleye Daramola (Ondo) Minister of State, Niger Delta, Prof Anthony Onwuka (Imo) Minister of State, Education, Geoffrey Onyeama (Enugu) Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dan Ali (Zamfara) Minister of Defence, Zainab Ahmed (Kaduna) formerly Minister of State Budget and National Planning and now Minister of Finance

Okechukwu Enelamah (Abia) Minister of Trade, Investment & Industry, Muhammadu Bello (Adamawa) Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Mustapha Baba Shehuri (Borno) Minister of State, Power, Aisha Abubakar (Sokoto) Minister of State, Trade & Investment and also took over the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

Heineken Lokpobiri (Bayelsa) Minister of State, Agriculture, Adamu Adamu (Bauchi) Minister of Education, Isaac Adewole (Osun) Minister of Health, Abubakar Bawa Bwari (Niger) Minister of State for Mines, Pastor Usani Uguru (Cross River) Minister of Niger Delta.