FirstBank Takes Its SMEs Business Clinic To P/Harcourt, Abuja

In recognition of the significant role SMEs play in achieving sustainable growth and development in the economy of the country, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited would host SMEs in its 2020 second edition of the SME Business Clinic. The event themed “Building a sustainable Business” would be held on 25th and 27th February 2020 in Port-Harcourt and Abuja respectively.

SMEs are encouraged to take the FirstBank SME diagnostic tool by visiting order to stand a chance to be amongst the participants that will be in the SME Business Clinic in Port-Harcourt and Abuja. The FirstBank SME diagnostic tool is designed for SMEs to check the health of their business, better understand it and drive profitability. The SME Clinic will feature one-on-one business advisory services, mentoring, networking opportunities and participants will also be acquainted with the requisite knowledge and business tools needed to drive efficiency in the day-to-day operations of their business.

Speaking on the event, Gbenga Shobo, the Deputy Managing Director, FirstBank, said “at FirstBank, we are proud of the giant strides we have taken over the years towards enhancing the SMEs for their businesses to thrive, have a fair play in the market and contribute to the Gross Domestic Product of the country. We remain the trusted financial partner of SMEs and reiterate our resolve to be known as the brand that enables their success; much the same way that we have for over 125 years enabling Nigerians and the economy at large”.

The coaches at the event are Seye Olurotimi, Lead Consult at Cedar Tribe Limited, an SME branding expert and business growth consultant with vast experience helping SMEs grow effective brands and Robert Yakubu, founder of the Instabiz Academy and the Business Mastery Program, a digital entrepreneur and business strategist empowering entrepreneurs, marketers and business professionals in Port-Harcourt and Abuja respectively.

The SME Clinic session is organized in partnership with SME Traction, a leading business coaching platform aimed at empowering SMEs to make informed choices about their businesses, thereby facilitating growth and bolstering their contribution to the development of the economy.

Expressing her delight on the impact the inaugural SME Clinic has had on her business, the CEO, Nibbles Plus More Ventures, Owoeye, Oluyomi, stated that “the first step I took after the SME business clinic was do a strategic road map for my business. Riding on the information I got from the business trend session on consumer landscape, I had a clearer understanding of who my target audience are and have included that in my business plan. The feedback we believe will help us identify untapped markets and problems in our industry, how to reach them and what value we can offer them”.

Like we were told at the clinic, progressing into the counter intuitive zone of the business model reinventing box is what brings about Innovation. Something must trigger innovation and not just our intuition. Hence, we have chosen research, she concluded.

Obaseki Revokes Ibori’s Property C of O

Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo state, has revoked the certificate of occupancy granted to James Ibori, a former governor of Delta, in respect of a property on plot 103A Aiguobasimwin crescent (Pictured) in Benin, capital of the state.
Obaseki said he revoked the property in exercise of the power conferred on him by sections (28) 1 and 38 of the land use decree of 1978 and by virtue of all other laws enabling him on that behalf.
Obaseki, who signed the revocation order, said the property contained an area of approximately 1985.950 square meters.
A United Kingdom court sentenced Ibori to prison after convicting him of fraud and money laundering in 2012.
The former governor ended his jail term in 2016 and returned to Nigeria the following year.
In January, the UK launched a fresh bid to confiscate “proceeds of loot” in the £117 million worth of properties linked to the former governor.
British prosecutors had made the first attempt to confiscate his assets, said to be proceeds of crime, during his jail term but failed as a result of unresolved legal issues.
Jonathan Kinnear, a British prosecutor, was quoted to have said the total value of the “known proceeds of his (Ibori’s) crimes” is £117 million (equivalent of about N55.4 billion) but that “only a portion of that sum is likely to be recoverable.”

Estranged Husband’s Family Rallies Round Ajibola Ponnle, Refutes Reports Of Impending Divorce

In an attempt to put a stop to various malicious reports believe to be targeted at tarnishing the personality of Mrs. Ajibola Yewande Ponnle, the Lagos State Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions, some members of her estranged husband’s family have risen in her defence and rallied support for the hardworking lady.

In a statement made available to The ELITES and signed by Mr. Kolawole Ponnle, a sibling of Mr. Biodun Ponnle, Ajibola’s husband, the family frowned at attempts through articles evidently sponsored by mischief makers who set out to destroy the image of the woman.

“We make clear to say the absurd narrative is a gross distortion of facts and demonstrated a lack of integrity and decency by the perpetrators,” the Ponnle family said in the statement.

According to the family, the marriage of very hardworking lady and former Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management and their brother, Biodun Michael Ponnle, might be undergoing some strain, they would rather find blame on breakdown in communication than agree with some bloggers who heaped the blame on Ajibola.

Dismissing the online reports as figment of the bloggers’ infertile imagination which was evidently sponsored by mischief makers, the family expressed their broken-heartedness at the wicked attempts to deliberately soil the image of the innocent commissioner.

The family came out in unmistakable terms vouching for the unblemished character of their daughter-in-law and sister-in-law, Ajibola.

The full statement reads: “Last week we received a text message that broke our heart. The text message contained weblinks to an article evidently sponsored by mischief makers simply set out to destroy the image of an innocent woman, Ajibola Yewande Ponnle. 

“As such, we make clear to say the absurd narrative is a gross distortion of facts and demonstrated a lack of integrity and decency by the perpetrators. 

“Ajibola (Sister Jibs as fondly referred to by my lovely wife) is a wonderful woman, wife, mother, sister, colleague, mentor and friend.  She is intelligent, honest, hardworking and above all is faithful in her service to God and mankind. 

“She exudes humility, respect and integrity which is evident to all including members of the nuclear and extended Ponnle family.  This is why we cannot keep quiet and watch her good image being maliciously smeared in the public.

“As a wife we saw her as diligent. She served our entire family, always tolerant and accommodating.  She walked tall and earned the respect of all.  She sacrificed her career as a Chartered Accountant which was promising and successful to start self employment in order to have more time for her family.  She’s obedient and thoughtful, content, and selfless. She was an example our late mother referenced always to my wife. 

“So, the pain felt by our father, Prince Ponnle and many members of the family when we read the malicious article in social media attempting to depict Ajibola as a fraud is indescribable.  These are twisted tales and sadly we know the source of this deliberate attempt to pay the media in a smear campaign to assassinate Ajibola Ponnle’s character.

“Consequently, we boldly claim that the impression being circulated about Ajibola is FALSE and is intended by enemies of great deeds and progress who lack the capacity and ability to do what is right and make the right decisions.  

“Typically, through it all, she has kept her dignity with silence, prayer and hard work.  She has refused to let the happenings around her phase her. Ajibola’s story and professional career is unblemished, a champion of many ‘firsts’ (her profile speaks for itself).

“Our late mother, Comfort Olufunke Ponnle was very fond of her and loved her so dearly. We will, as such, always be proud of her and achievements and stand by her. 

In the last few weeks, Ajibola, the Lagos State Commissioner for Establishment, Training, and Pensions, has been in the news.

She is currently enmeshed in a divorce saga before Justice Lateefah Okunnu of Lagos High Court, Igbosere.

In the petition, Ajibola is seeking dissolution of her 22-year old marriage to Abiodun, son of Prince Michael Tunde Ponnle, the founder of MicCom Cable.

The marriage produced three children, all boys.

Popular Music Promoter, Lati Alagbada, Faces Extradition To USA Over Alleged Drug Trafficking

A Federal High Court, Lagos, Thursday, fixed April 22, 2020, for judgement in a suit seeking extradition of foremost music producer, Alagbada Lateef, popularly called Lati Alagbada, to Unites States of America (USA) to answer drug related charges. 

Alagbada a music promoter who promoted Late Fuji Maestro, Sikiru Ayinde Barrister and many others.The court presided over by Justice Sule Hassan, fixed the April 22, for judgment, after taking argument from AGF’s counsel, Mr. Akutah Pius Ukeyima, a Chief State Counsel, International Cooperation Department and Dr. Babatunde Oni, counsel to Alagbada Lateef.

The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) had filed a suit marked FHC/L/CS/2212/19, seeking an order of the court to extradite the music producer, Alagbada, to USA to face two counts charge of conspiracy to distribute, possess and importation of one kilogram of heroine.Moving the application for Alagbada’s extradition, today, Mr. Akutah, told that the application is dated and filed on November 29, 2019 with three paragraphs affidavit and a written address.He particularly told the court to considered exhibit ‘B’, a Certified True Copy (CTC) of warrant of arrest of Alagbada Lateef, case No. 17-CR-227-JMV, dated and issued on June 15, 2017, by a United State’s District Court of New Jersey.

He also told the Court to discountenance one of the exhibits in Alagbada’s counter affidavit to the AGF’s extradition application, a newspaper publication, on the ground that the language which the newspaper was published was unknown to the court. He urged the court to grant the application and order the extradition of Alagbada to USA to face the charge pending against him.Responding, Alagbada’s counsel, Dr. Oni, urged the court to strike out the application for lacking in merit.Oni told the Court that not to discountenance the application on the ground that the Saudi Arabia government had released his client after detaining him six months on the same allegations, as they could not fine any evidence of drug dealing against him.Alagbada’s counsel told the court that in 2017, after the alleged offence was committed, his client applied for visa to USA but same was rejected. Adding that if truly the American Government are looking for him, his visa would have been granted to facilitate his trial in the United State. In urging the ‘Court to discountenance the extradition application against his client, Oni told the ‘Court to hold that the newspaper publication which is marked as exhibit B.Justice Hassan, while adjourned the matter to April 22, for judgment, also ordered that the music promoter be remanded in the custody of Nigerian’s Interpol.

In the AGF’s affidavit in support of Alagbada’s Extradition application deposed to by Henry Tekemeka, an Executive Officer, at the Central Authority Unit, International Cooperation Department, Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja, averred that the United States of America has submitted a request to him to the Extradition of Alagbada Lateef and that he is satisfied that provision is made by the Laws of the United States of America, such that so long as Alagbada Lateef has not had reasonable opportunity of returning to Nigeria, he will not be detained or tried In that Country for any offence committed before his surrender other than the extradition offence which may be proved by the fact on which his surrender is granted. He states that he is satisfied that the request for the surrender of Alagbada Lateef was not made for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing him on account of his race, religion, nationality or political opinions and that the said request was made in good faith and in the interest of justice. And that Alagbada Lateef, if eventually surrendered, will not be prejudiced at his trial and will not be punished, detained or restricted in his personal liberty, by reason of his race, nationality or political opinions. He stated further that he is satisfied that the offence for which Alagbada Lateef’s surrender is sought is not trivial In nature or that having regard to all the circumstances in which the offence was committed it will not be unjust or oppressive, or be too severe a punishment, to surrender him. Adding that he is satisfied that Alagbada Lateef has been indicted of the offence for which his surrender is sought but that 

Mudashiru Obasa: Meet The Yoruba Man Who Predicted Amotekun 4 Years Before Its Establishment 

By Lucky Oserah

It happened on two occasion in 2015 and early 2016. The first was when he sat with some youthful friends, most of whom he often relates with to gauge the pulse of the majority. The venue was Agege, his base. In that meeting, Mudashiru Obasa, the speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, muttered the need for a collective security outfit with a will and goal to support the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), especially in the South Western part of the country.
Obasa understood what he meant. This was at a time there were hush discussions about threats from bandits, alleged herdsmen and kidnappers. Ikorodu was gradually emerging a notorious zone for criminals trying to test their whits. Was Obasa right? Was he wrong? The two questions rested in the hearts of those he was speaking with.
Few weeks later, Obasa again, with few lawmakers, some aides, and friends, during a non-formal discussion, herped on the need for a zonal security outfit. According to him, since the call for state and community policing had constantly hit the brickwall, it would make sense to have an organisation that is considered closest to the grassroots. There was the argument that the police, as much as they try, may not find it easy enough routing crime from every nook and crany of a state.
This is predicated on the fact that there is a central authority in Abuja, many kilometres away from states and this tends to challenge timely interventions in the case of emergencies. For example, a police unit would sometimes have to reach out to the commissioner, who, in turn, follows the chain of command in the case of any emergency till it gets to the Inspector-General. The response then follows same chain till it gets to the unit. The effect of this can only be left to imagination.
Again, his idea remained fallow, maybe to others. Later developments showed that the speaker never discarded the thought. The State Neighbourhood Safety Agency, which also controls the activities of the Vigilante Corps in the state, is the result of that thought.
Single-handedly sponsored by the speaker, the bill, which later became a law establishing the agency, sought for a more refined way of tackling crime, through effective surveillance and proactive actions. Has the Neighbourhood Watch helped the state, which wants to pride itself as a mega city in the near future? The answer is a ‘yes’.
One of its first test happened shortly after it was created. Badoo, the dreaded cult-like body that had a particularly strange way of killing their victims, evolved. It was mainly in Ikorodu. The criminals had suddenly mastered the act of nocturnal practices that left sorrows, anguish, tears and blood behind their trail. They hit at night while their unsuspecting victims slept. In some cases, they killed men, at other times, the women could not escape their attack. On a particular occasion, they reportedly killed a man, his wife and child. It was a pathetic situation that needed to be urgently curbed.
The police, under the supervision of Edgal Imohimi as commissioner, was having sleepless nights. Communities affected were in disarray, those not yet hit could not live in peace. Local vigilance groups were set up. Then, Neighbourhood Watch drafted its men to support the police. It only took a little more time, the cult group was run over, its leaders were arrested and peace returned to Ikorodu.
Since the Establishment of the Neighbourhood Watch, the organisation has assisted in quelling tensions, supported the state’s traffic management agency in resolving traffic issues, liaised with law enforcement agencies and carried out emergency activities. Above all, it has pulled out some residents from unemployment. It has also continued to enjoy accolades.

One cannot say, for sure, whether Obasa later sold the idea to any of the governors in the South West. However, one can confidently say the establishment of the Neighbourhood Watch was the ‘forunner’ for the creation of Amotekun almost four years after.
Amotekun is currently enjoying the support of a majority of the South West people and residents. Taking the shape of the Neighbourhood Watch, it will help to unite the region beyond political considerations. It would not only boost the zone’s economy, since businesses thrive in a peaceful environment, but ensure that the people of the area live happily and sleep with their eyes closed.

-Lucky Oserah, an analyst and social affairs commentator, writes from Lagos.

Husband Killer Maryam Sanda Appeals Death Sentence

Maryam Sanda who was found guilty for the gruesome murder of her husband Bilyaminu Bello has filed an appeal against the death sentence she was handed by a Federal High Court in Abuja.

The convict alleged that the death sentence handed to her by Justice Yusuf Halilu was ”tainted by bias and prejudices”, and that she wasn’t given a fair hearing. She then asked the Court of Appeal to set aside the verdict and acquit her.

Maryam added that she was convicted on circumstantial evidence by the trial judge who reportedly failed to rule on her preliminary objection, challenging the charge preferred against her. She backed her claim by pointing out the evidence of witnesses, lack of confessional statement, absence of murder weapon, lack of corroboration of evidence by two or more witnesses and lack of autopsy report to determine the true cause of her husband’s death.

She said in her application; “The honourable trial judge erred in law when having taken arguments on the appellant’s preliminary objection to the validity of the charge on the 19th of March, 2018 failed to rule on it at the conclusion of the trial or at any other time.

“The trial judge exhibited bias against the defendant in not ruling one way or the other on the said motion challenging his jurisdiction to entertain the charge and therefore fundamentally breached the right to a fair hearing of the defendant.”

According to her, the trial judge erred and misdirected himself by usurping the role of the police when he assumed the duty of an Investigating Police Officer (IPO) as contained in Page 76 of his judgment.

She added; “The circumstantial evidence which the trial court relied upon in its application of the last seen doctrine does not lead to the conclusion that the defendant is responsible for the death of the deceased.”

No date has been fixed for hearing in the matter.

More details later

Slain Aso Rock Director For Burial Today

Late Laetitia Naankang Dagan, the Assistant Director of Administration in Aso Rock Presidential Villa murdered in her home in Abuja on Monday evening will be buried in Jos, Plateau State on Friday, February 21, 2020.

Dagan, who who was murdered at her Lokogoma, Abuja apartment by yet to be identified gunmen was allegedly molested before the assailants set her ablaze on Monday night.
She will be interred at her family burial ground at Kwoor, in Kwalla community of Plateau State.
Details in the burial programmes as reported reads: “Funeral arrangements for Late Laetitia Naankang Dagan “SLOGA Candle lit prayer at Chief John Dafaan’s residence at No B29 Rwang-jeh Rantya, Jos Plateau State on Thursday, 20th February, 2020 at 4pm.
“Wake-keep Mass at St. Benedicts Catholic Church, Efab Estate, Lokogoma Abuja on Thursday, 20th February 2020 at 5pm.
“Mourners assemble at Asokoro General Hospital, Abuja on Friday, 21st February 2020 at 6am. “Corpse departs Asokoro General Hospital Abuja at 6:30am. Corpse arrives St. Patrick’s Catholic Church Kwalla, Qua’an-Pan LGC Plateau State for Requim Mass at 10am”.
FCT Police Command had on Wednesday said it has arrested one suspect in connection with the killing.
The police command’s spokesman, DSP Anjuguri Manzah, said preliminary investigation by the Criminal Investigation Department of the command led to the arrest of one Edirin Ohonre suspected to have conspired with others now at large to perpetrate the crime.

“The suspect, who is currently under interrogation, is assisting the team of police detectives with information that will lead to the arrest of the other suspects connected to the crime, that are now at large,” he added.

‘Yahoo Boys’ Murdered Aso Rock Official After Police ‘Betrayed’ Her

Laetitia Dagan, an assistant director at the state house, was murdered by ‘Yahoo boys’ after the police allegedly betrayed her, THISDAY reports.

‘Yahoo boys’ is a terms used to describe those who engage in advanced fee fraud.

Dagan, 47, was killed about 11pm on Monday at her residence in Abuja.

According to the newspaper, the late director was uncomfortable when she found out that she was living among alleged fraudsters in Lokogoma area of Abuja.

She contemplated relocating from the area, according to the report which quoted some of her friends as saying.

It said Dagan later reported to the police but they allegedly betrayed her confidence and told the criminals that she was their informant.

It was on that note her assailants attacked her in revenge.

Dagan’s security guard, who has been reportedly arrested, was said to have aided the killers.

The police said they have arrested one suspect in connection to the murder.

“Preliminary investigation into the suspected murder by the Criminal Investigation Department of the FCT Police Command led to the arrest of one Edirin Ohonre who is suspected to have conspired with others now at large to perpetrate the crime,” the police said in a statement.

“The suspect, who is currently under interrogation, is assisting the team of police detectives with information that will lead to the arrest of the other suspects connected to the crime, that are now at large.”

Alaafin, 81, Welcomes Baby With Youngest Wife, Damilola

Alaafin of Oyo Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III has welcomed another child at 81-years-old. The Oyo king welcomed the newborn child with his youngest wife, Damilola.

The new wife of the Oba shared the photos of her little prince on her Instagram page to celebrate his arrival.

In the Instagram photo, the little prince was seen wrapped in a shawl while he was soundly sleeping. The queen also shared a photo of herself while she was still pregnant with her baby boy. Damilola was seen in the photo with her baby bump dressed in a purple mesh flowing gown paired with a crown. She captioned her post with words of thanks to God for the arrival of her baby boy. She also congratulated herself and said the son of the king has finally arrived.

“Alliamdullillai on my new born baby boy congratulations to me. oba ti de,” she captioned the photo.

R Kelly Faces New Federal Charges for Sexual Abuse of a Minor

R. Kelly faces another federal charge for sexual abuse of a minor, according to a superseding indictment made public Friday. The minor is question is labeled only as “Minor 6.”

The new charge was filed in Chicago and alleges he abused Minor 6 for four years.

The R&B singer, who is currently already in prison awaiting hearings on other sexual abuse and misconduct charges, was defended by his lawyer on Twitter.

“We are aware of the superseding indictment. We continue to fight for him and look forward to the day he is free,” wrote Steven Greenberg, adding the hashtags “#notguilty” and “#rkelly.”

The new charges, reviewed by TheWrap, seek forfeiture of assets of the singer’s production company, Bass Productions Ltd.

In 2019, Kelly was arrested on 18 federal charges, including for child pornography and kidnapping. He has pleaded not guilty to five of the charges. In December of that year, it was reported he’d been charged by federal prosecutors for bribing a government employee to obtain a fake ID for a Jane Doe in 1994 — and according to reporting by the New York Times, that Jane Doe was none other than late R&B songstress Aaliyah.

According to a person familiar with the matter who spoke with the Times, the fake ID was used to fraudulently list Aaliyah’s age as 18 years old — she was 15 at the time — so Kelly could obtain a marriage license.