Uduaghan Denies N429m NDDC Contract

Former Delta Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan has described “as laughable and untrue” allegations by Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Senator Godswill Akpabio he benefitted from a N429m road contract from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Akpabio had in a letter to Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila linked Uduaghan and his predecessor, James Ibori , among others with some contracts awarded by NDDC.

Uduaghan was linked to the emergency repairs of Close B, Alhaji Estate & Environs, Rumuodomaya, Port Harcourt at a cost of N429m.

But Udugahan, in a statement by his Media Assistant, Monoyo Edon, debunked the allegation.

He stressed he had never “approached the NDDC for any contract whatsoever.”

Uduaghan admitted reaching out to Akpabio to immediately correct the report as he had never been awarded contracts by the interventionist agency.

Uduaghan said: “We want to state very clearly that the said accusation is false. Dr. Uduaghan has never approached the NDDC for any contract whatsoever.

“It is even more ridiculous that the said contract is a road inside Port Harcourt town.

“Dr. Uduaghan has drawn the attention of the Hon. Minister of the Niger Delta, Sen Godswill Akpabio to the publication and hopes he makes a correction.”

He advised Nigerians to disregard the mischievous publication.

Air Peace Sacks Over 70 Pilots

Air Peace has sacked over 70 pilots across its fleet types as the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a huge toll on its operations.

The airline said it had to take the “painful but rightful” decision in the face of the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on its operations and financial health.

It said the job erasure for pilots amongst it over 3000 staff became imperative because it could not afford to continue fulfill its financial obligations without carrying out restructuring of its entire operations to survive the times.

Besides, the carrier said the painful decision was to keep its operations afloat after it carried out a raft of measures including cut of zero to 40 per cent in the salaries of staff.

In a statement in Lagos on Monday, the airline management said such move was critical to sustain its operations and survive the times.

The statement reads: “This decision is inevitable under the circumstances we find ourselves. In order to protect the continuity of majority of the existing jobs and the possibility of creating new ones in future, the survival of the airline is of paramount importance. When everything comes back to normal those pilots affected today will have a place to come back to in future if they so wish.

“Anything short of what we have done may lead to the collapse of an airline as could be seen in some places worldwide during this period.

“Therefore, we decided to review the salaries being paid to all staff. The new salaries reflect zero to 40 per cent cut of the former salary depending on the salary grades of every staff.

“Even after the cuts, it was obvious for us to be able to sustain our operations and survive the times, some jobs must inevitably have to go.”

Account For Failed $460m Abuja CCTV, $2bn China Loan – APC Replies Atiku, PDP

The All Progressives Congress, APC, on Monday asked former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and his Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to explain to Nigerians the status of the failed $460 million Abuja Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) awarded in August 2010 by the immediate-past PDP administration.

The party also asked the PDP to explain the over $2 billion China loan its administration took between 2010 and 2013 alone; as well as the $16 billion spent on power with no electricity; fuel subsidy rackets; counter-insurgency funds that were diverted and shared to political cronies, among other shocking heists.

APC, in a statement issued by Yekini Nabena, Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, was reacting to a statement issued by the Media Office of former Vice President, Alh. Atiku Abubakar on the standard sovereign guarantee and sovereign immunity clause embedded in Nigeria’s loan agreements with China to fund the ongoing national railway projects.

Party said Atiku’s statement was unresearched, unintelligent and pedestrian, saying that as the Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi had explained, the guarantee/clause in the loan deals was standard irrespective of the the country granting the loan.

“Perhaps, Atiku and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) could redirect their energies to explaining to Nigerians the status of the failed $460 million Abuja Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) awarded in August 2010 by the immediate-past PDP administration.

“Also, they should explain the over $2billion China loan the PDP administration took between 2010 and 2013 alone; $16billion spent on power with no electricity; fuel subsidy rackets; counter-insurgency funds that were diverted and shared to political cronies among other shocking heists.

“Recall that the failed CCTV installation project was initiated by late President Umaru Yar’Adua and awarded in August 2010 by former President, Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to help security agencies in the Federal Capital Territory check the growing insecurity,” it said.

The APC said since the agreement was signed, Nigeria had been servicing this loan to China while Nigerians were yet to attest to the visibility of CCTV project and unable to explain the status of the video surveillance project and that the matter was subject to a legislative probe.

“In all of these we are starkly reminded that the PDP remains a corrupted and damaged product. Nigerians must continue to reject the party at all levels of government.

“In the area of fiscal discipline, prudence, curbing leakages, are we currently getting it right? An emphatic yes! Every kobo expended on infrastructure counts.

“Verifiable evidence abound in the fast expanding national railway projects, airport remodelling among other critical infrastructure projects being undertaken by the President Muhammadu Buhari government. The days of phoney contracts as institutionalised by successive PDP administrations are fast fading,” it stated.

NDDC Contract Saga: Orji Kalu Replies Akpabio

Former Governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has reacted to report by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio that he was one of the beneficiaries of the contracts awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.

Kalu, who is the Senate’s Chief Whip, said the NDDC had not paid the contractors who constructed the roads he facilitated, saying that he believed that the issues at stake in the NDDC had to do with missing funds and not works done.

The lawmaker, in a statement issued by Emeka Nwala of office of the Senate Chief Whip, said was becoming worrisome that his name was being used indiscriminately to sell newspapers without verification.

In the statement, Kalu said he was governor of Abia State between 1999-2007 and never held any public office until June 11, 2019, when he was sworn in as a Senator and that between 2016- 2018 during his tour to several communities; leaders and welfare unions of most communities pleaded for urgent intervention on some dilapidated roads.

Kalu said he wrote to the NDDC informing the body of the conditions of these roads and the need for their attention since Abia is an NDDC State and that the NDDC in their consideration, awarded the roads to companies that duly tendered for the projects and not himself.

According to him, “Whatever link I have with the projects is because it was considered due to my intervention.”

He added that the NDDC that awarded the projects were not part of the interim management in controversy but the fully constituted body of NDDC with its board.

“The roads I requested for intervention as mentioned by the Honourable Minister were repairs of Ezere-Acha-Ndiokoukwu Road; Amaubiri-Eluama-Uru Ring Road, Lokpaukwu, Umuchieze; Ndi Oji Abam-Atan Road; the Okafia-Ozuitem-Bende road and Ozu-Amuru-Abam Road.

“The contractors have completed and delivered these roads a long time ago except Abam-Atani road which I learnt from the contractors was slowed down due to rain but still ongoing.

“Meanwhile, it would interest Nigerians to know that the contractors who built these roads have not been paid any dime.

“It has not been easy with the contractors but because it’s a community project they have only but kept hope alive on the NDDC.

” I am so much concerned about roads because I understand the economic importance of good roads, that’s why I built several roads when I was governor,” he said in a report by The Punch.

LG Electronics Targets 50 Families For Free Wash Centre In Lagos

LG Electronics, last weekend, upgraded its Free Wash Centre in Ogba, Ikeja, suburb of Lagos, with new sets of commercial washers and dryers for efficient free service delivery to families in the community.

The upgrading of the Ogba centre, in line with other centres in Nigeria was the introduction of the company’s commercial washing machine known as Giant C Pro, developed to add value to its teeming customers.

The centres were officially launched in 2018 as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), included the free laundry service targeted at alleviating the problem of residents to efficiently carry out their laundry activities.

The upgraded laundry centre is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities to effectively take care of laundry needs of up to 50 local families each day at no cost.

According to Hari Elluru, head of Corporate Marketing Division, said that “The newly added set of commercial washing machines/dryers will not only improve the living conditions, as well as support the daily washing needs of people in the area, but will also save time, because of its high efficiency.

“It has adaptable controls that provide the space-saving and convenience without compromising capacity while retaining easy to reach controls. The controls are always at a convenient height and are versatile enough to match your needs,” Elluru added.

Jiung Park, general manager, Home Appliances Division, LG Electronics, said the upgraded washing machine has enabled LG to use its capabilities through the Life’s Good with LG Wash, to help local communities solve some of their regional issues, and allow residents spend more quality time with their families.

“For us, we believe that ‘Life’s Good’ when shared with others. We have remained competitive while improving sustainability; we have enabled investment and innovation required to deploy new technologies and to safely and responsibly develop progressive products. With this upgrading, LG Electronics will continue to support communities even in the future,” Park further said.

How To Recover Hacked Whatsapp Account

There is no doubt that hackers are on the prowl, personal WhatsApp, and Facebook accounts are the most targeted nowadays. The Facebook-owned platforms have more than 3.7 billion combined users worldwide.

However, because of its popularity, the messaging app(Whatsapp) is targeted by scammers to spread misinformation after gaining access to your user account.

Fraudsters trick WhatsApp users to reveal the six-digit verification code, which is basically One Time Password(OTP) used by WhatsApp to log-in to an account. The good news is that since the chats are stored on your phone, the hacker cannot access your old chats.

In order to get back your hacked WhatsApp account, you need to delete and reinstall WhatsApp on your device with your phone number. You will receive a six-digit verification code via SMS that WhatsApp reads and logs you in automatically. Once you log-in, the hacker will be automatically logged out of your account.

If the hacker activates the two-step verification after gaining access to your WhatsApp account, you will have to wait for seven days to recover your account.

To secure your WhatsApp account from scammers, never share your activation code with anyone. Beware of the calls that ask you to share your personal information or ask you to install certain apps.

Another way to stop hackers from further using your WhatsApp account is to deactivate it. To do that, send an email to Support at support@whatsapp.com with the title “Lost/Stolen: Pls deactivate my account” in the body. After deactivation, you have 30 days to reactivate your account.

Make sure to always check the Whatsapp web. Whatsapp Web is the extension of the Whatsapp messenger, used to synchronize your phone with your Computer. When hacked, Log on to your PC and click on the option ‘Log out from all the computers’.

Do not forget to activate the two-step verification. Using two-step verification shields your account from being compromised even if someone gets their hands on your SIM card or your verification code. It is a layer of additional security that acts like a password for your WhatsApp account. Another key thing to do is to quickly alert family and friends before they become victims.

Stay Safe.

Elumelu Advocates Collaborations to Boost Africa’s Fortunes

As He tips Continent as Key Investment Destination

The Group Chairman, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Tony O. Elumelu  has said that the Corona virus pandemic has presented a perfect opportunity for foreign investors to invest in Africa, owing to the huge opportunities that are inherent in the African economy.
“This is the time to invest. Africa is a land of opportunities; There is huge population and there is now the realisation by African leaders who are creating an enabling environment to encourage these investments,” Elumelu said on Thursday, while speaking at a virtual session organised by the TIME100TALKS on the theme, ‘Empowering Entrepreneurs’.
Bill Gates, Founder of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and United States Senator, Tammy Duckworth were other thought leaders who also spoke in sessions at the event.
While pointing out that the African continent is well positioned to emerge into a strong digital economy, Elumelu said, there is now more macro-economic stability than ever before, especially given that the young African is energetic, restless and has the ambition to succeed, in the face of difficult circumstances.
“Challenges exist in Africa, but we have huge returns on investments. There is huge population and there is realisation by African leaders who are now creating an enabling environment to encourage investments into Africa.  There is no better time to make the multi-million dollar bet I made in Africa, than the times we live in now,” he said in a chat with Kimberly Dozier, a Time Correspondent who moderated the session.
Speaking on the effect that the pandemic has had on the operations of UBA in the last few months, Elumelu noted that there has been a rapid increase in technological embrace and called for the strengthening of infrastructure, networks and digital platforms to support the growth.

“In banking business this whole digital transformation is heightened further by COVID-19, right now, you have less than 15% of our over 20million bank customers that are transacting in the bank. Most of them now transact online, which is 85% of over 20million customers. That is significant. Before COVID, it was about 65%. UBA is seeing an explosion in its digital platforms. Thankfully, the bank invested significantly in technology, and now, they are investing even more so that they can serve their customers better. So, the digital connectivity technical infrastructure should be strengthened in such a way as to aid this explosion we are seeing,” Elumelu said.
He also spoke on how the Tony Elumelu Foundation, which he founded, has been supporting the growth of its entrepreneurs especially in the tough business climate presented by the ravaging coronavirus pandemic.

“Through the TEF virtual platform called the TEFConnect, we are able to engage our entrepreneurs on a day-to-day basis; get resource speakers from all over the world and ourselves, to talk to them and to train them and let them know how to manage difficult moments like this. And I can say that at-least 72% of our 9,500 beneficiaries are hanging in there, expanding their businesses. You know most SMEs typically die after their first year, but we are seeing a different trend, where beneficiaries of our programme in different countries are contributing towards fighting the virus in their different countries. We are seeing the creation of jobs, the one million jobs we set out to achieve,” he noted.
The TEFConnect Community is a meeting ground where entrepreneurship ecosystem players share information and ask questions on their business activity. Currently one million entrepreneurs are on TEFConnect
Elumelu seized the opportunity to call on all bodies and key sectors such as the private sector, public sector, development agencies like the African Development Bank and other institutions  to work together to make a difference, adding that “What the world needs today and Africans, in particular, is hope and that to me is what will make the difference but that hope has to be backed by tangibility, some substance so that we can make it work.”

In his submission, Bill Gates sought for collaboration between the private and public sector to end the pandemic, adding “Every country has to think through the right policies to stop the spread, there is need to speed up the process of getting new drugs and vaccines, we need a global response.”
Senator Duckworth who also emphasised the need for funding for teaching and appreciation for teachers, advocated for more teamwork at all levels to fight the pandemic, said, “What the country needs is a team that will step forward to deal with the crisis. It is very significant for me to be on a national stage for other Asian Americans, because we often are the forgotten minority in this country.”
TIME100 Talks, an initiative of TIME magazine, is a new live event series that convenes leaders from every field to spotlight solutions to urgent global problems and encourage cross-disciplinary action.

Shoprite and Our Economy, By Chris Adetayo

Shoprite is planning to leave Naija and we are all genuflecting. If only we know the number of those who have voted with their feet in the last few years.

Why did Etisalat walk from Nigeria?

Where is Intercontinental Hotel today?

Even the oil majors are happily selling off oil fields and no longer investing in the sector like they used to.

Truth is our economy is not FDI friendly. It hasn’t been for the better part of a decade. All the hopes invested in Nigeria post military rule has been betrayed.

Our currency has to be one of the most unstable currencies in the world. The sheer amount of devaluation it has suffered in the last 5 years especially is staggering. Nothing scares investors like uncertainty. And it explains why so many are walking away.

Let me illustrate our predicament with Etisalat.

It took a syndicated $-based loan from Nigerian banks to expand its operations. At the time it took the loan, exchange rate was in the region of N160/$. For as long as the exchange rate stayed at this level, it had no problem servicing the loan. And everyone was happy – banks were getting paid, customers were getting better service, company was growing subscribers and revenue.

Then in 2015/16, the Naira collapsed. For the better part of a year, it swung between N250/$ and N400/$. It eventually stabilized at N360/$. That is more than double the rate at the time the loans were taken.

The effect? The amount of Naira required to pay back the $ loans had doubled. But, crucially, the Naira revenue had not (because increases to the customer was just not possible or viable). In other words, the company was now required to double the amount of its relatively static revenue set aside for debt servicing. It was not sustainable.

At the end, Etisalat walked out of Nigeria.

That same scenario has played out with many other companies. It is playing out now with Shoprite.

COVID has not helped. But it really only worsened and hastened what has been a depressing situation.

Put simply, our macro economic management leaves a lot to be desired.

NDDC Probe: Akpabio Lists Ibori, Uduaghan, Ararume, Others Awarded Contracts

Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Godswill Akpabio has linked two former governors of Delta State James Ibori and Emmanuel Uduaghan to contracts awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

According to Punch, former governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Kalu also appeared in a letter submitted to the Speaker, House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila on July 23 through clerk to the House Patrick Giwa.

Senator Ifeanyi Ararume was also named in the documents which the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice got a copy of.

According to the documents, emergency repairs projects linked to the aforementioned were awarded in 2018.

Kalu identified in the document as OUK-Kalu (the project source) was awarded five projects all in Abia.

He was said to be awarded emergency repairs of Ezere-Acha-Ndiokoukwu Road (N517.9 million) and repairs of Amaubiri-Eluama-Uru Ring Road, Lokpaukwu, Umuchieze (N560 million).

Others linked to Kalu are Ndi Oji Abam-Atan Road (N523.7 million), Okafia-Ozuitem-Bende Road (N508 million) and Ozu-Amuru-Abam Road at the cost of N523.4 million.

Ibori is said to have been awarded the emergency repairs of Onoghove Community Road from Ajanesan to Western Delta University at a cost of N485.7 million.

Uduaghan was linked to the emergency repairs of Close B, Alhaji Estate and Environs, Rumuodomaya, Port Harcourt at a cost of N429 million.

Twelve projects were linked to Ararume in Imo and Rivers states but the costs were not indicated in the documents.

Edo Guber: Ituah Ighodalo Throws Weight Behind Obaseki

Ituah Ighodalo, Senior Pastor of the Trinity House Church, has backed Governor Godwin Obaseki to win the September 19 governorship elections in Edo State.
Ighodalo, while speaking in a radio interview said: “I think he (Gov. Obaseki) stands a good chance of winning the election.”
He said the governor had worked hard in the state, as the educational system had gone up with everybody going electronic now.
“The young children are doing very well and their parents are very happy and the residents have given him a name, ‘wake and see governor.
“He did a lot of roads and infrastructure. He built secretariats that have been abandoned. He is trying to wake up a lot of things even industries and some other sectors,” he said.

On the former National Chairman of the ruling party, APC, Adams Oshiomhole, Ighodalo said Oshiomhole is fighting for his own political relevance and that he felt that Obaseki is obligated to him, having helped him to become governor.

Source: Global Excellence