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$5m Bribe: NCDMB Rubbishes Allegation Against Wabote

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Simbi Wabote $5m Bribe

By Ahmed Rahma

The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has defended its Executive Secretary, Mr Simbi Wabote, saying that the $5 million bribery allegation against him is false.

A few days ago, one Mr Jackson Ude had accused Mr Wabote of receiving $5 million bribe from a German company to violate Nigeria’s local content laws on the Bonny Train 7 contract.

The journalist has said, “Simbi Wabote, the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board, a lackey of Timipre Sylva, actually collected $5 million bribe from Kelvion, German company to violate Nigeria’s local content laws on the Bonny Train 7 contract. Details plenty!”

But responding in a statement signed by General Manager of Corporate Communication/Zonal Coordination, NCDMB, Dr Ginah Ginah, the organisation described this allegation as baseless.

“Our attention has been drawn to a spurious and libellous online publication in Pointblank News of 10th February 2021, in which one Jackson Ude, purported that the Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote, and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva received bribes to undermine the Nigerian content policy in the award of  Train 7 EPC contract.

“The report epitomizes a futile attempt to soil the image of public officials who have worked hard to develop local content in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

“It is apparent that the writer does not even understand the role of NCDMB as enshrined in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act 2010.

“It could have been proper to ignore the fabricated news report, but we have a duty to provide the facts so that unsuspecting members of the public are not misled by blatant disinformation.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the NCDMB is a regulator and does not award contracts in the Nigerian oil and gas industry,” NCDMB explained in the statement.

Explaining further, it stated, “Our involvement in the award process is limited to evaluation of local content requirements in tenders, upon which NCDMB communicates to operators and/or project promoters the outcome of bidders’ compliance or otherwise with the provisions of the NOGICD Act.

“Due consideration and the decision to award a contract to any of the compliant bidders rest with the operator and their partners/ project promoters.

“The process of scaling through local content requirements in a project development is based on the provisions of the Nigerian Content Act and not on a subjective checklist that can be changed at the whims of any individual.”

It revealed that, “Circumventing the rules/requirements attracts stiff sanctions. Therefore, it would have been impossible for the Executive Secretary and the Minister or any other official for that matter to be induced to contravene the provisions of the law they are meant to enforce.

“It would have also been impossible for any official to dictate to the operators or project promoters on their choice of contractors without due regard for the commercial aspects and project economics.

“This fake news by Jackson Ude is a disingenuous attempt to diminish the hard work that engendered the Final Investment Decision (FID) for NLNG Train 7 project even at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

“The allegations are not only reckless but also calls to question the motive of Mr. Ude and his cohorts as the country strives to attract investors and create job opportunities for Nigerians.

“Just to call a spade a spade: the report by Jackson Ude is completely FALSE and makes no sense; it is mere FAKE news that satisfies only the author’s mischief and the selfish interests of his sponsors.

“It is on record that the outcome of the Train-7 Project tenders provided very significant financial savings for the NLNG and the country at large.

“We will therefore not succumb to any mudslinging or blackmail from Jackson Ude or his cohorts, including those business promoters who did not win the NLNG Train-7 contracts but have decided to vent their spleen through channels of disinformation such as the online Pointblank News

“Since creation in 2010, the NCDMB has worked to achieve quantum growth in the Nigerian oil and gas industry from less than 5% to over 35%.

“The in-country capacities and capabilities developed over the years are evident and we will not be distracted from our focus and plan to increase this to 70 percent by 2027 in line with our extant 10-year Strategic Roadmap.”

Ahmed Rahma is a journalist with great interest in arts and craft. She is also a foodie who loves new ideas. She loves to travel and would love to visit other African countries someday. She is a sucker for historical movies and afrobeat.

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No Free Land for Ranching in Oyo—Governor

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By Ahmed Rahma

The Oyo State Governor, Mr Seyi Makinde, has stressed that the state will not provide land for free for ranching as it believes it is a private business.

Mr Makinde said this to clarify a tweet in which he revealed that Oyo State will adopt the National Livestock Transformation Plan, which is already being implemented in Kwara State.

The Governor, after a meeting with his Kwara State counterpart, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, said on Twitter, “We also agreed that the National Livestock Transformation Plan which is already being implemented in Kwara State would be implemented in Oyo State leading to further collaborations between both states on economy and security.”

But his tweet was interpreted by many to mean an implementation of Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) settlements, which many Nigerians had in the past kicked against.

Reacting, one of the app users, @olufunkeajibul1, said, “I hope the National Livestock Transformation Plan is not the same RUGA. If yes, Mr Governor please tread with caution. But no, please fire on all salvos.”

Another @Itee_esq said, “Your Excellency Sir, hope you are not bringing RUGA to Oyo State through the back door.”

@Carol-Ukoha said, “They changed RUGA to National Livestock Transformation Plan, can’t you read between the lines? I hope you have a rethink. You cannot afford to fail your people. This decision is unintelligent please.”

The Governor, who reacted to the concerns raised, clarified that the state will not implement the whole of the National Livestock Transformation Plan, only the aspects it finds beneficial.

Mr Makinde said, “My attention has been drawn to this tweet regarding the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan during the joint security meeting, yesterday. For the avoidance of doubt, when I said we would implement the plan, I didn’t mean a wholesale implementation.

“We will be taking aspects which are beneficial for our state. As I have stated on several occasions, our position in Oyo State is that ranching is a private business and should be carried out as such. Our admin won’t be providing land for free to private investors for ranching.”

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Former Chairman of Defunct Diamond Bank Oluseyi Bickersteth Dies

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Oluseyi Bickersteth Dies

By Dipo Olowookere

The former Chairman of the defunct Diamond Bank Plc, Mr Oluseyi Bickersteth, has died.

Mr Bickersteth was one of those who opposed the merger between the financial institution and Access Bank Plc. The transaction later went through and the marriage consummated in March 2019.

In 2018, the defunct Diamond Bank announced him as the new chairman of its board of directors, taking over from Prof. Chris Ogbechie, who retired after completion of his tenure.

It was gathered that Mr Bickersteth died peacefully in his sleep.

Before his demise, the financial expert of over 40 years of experience was the Regional Managing Partner and Chairman of Andersen Tax Africa.

Mr Bickersteth was also a member of the Global Board, Andersen Global. He oversaw all Andersen Tax member and collaborating firms in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The deceased, who started his career in Arthur Andersen and served clients in various industries in Nigeria, Africa and globally, attended the University of Ibadan for his first degree in Economics.

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Facebook Launches LeadHERs Book to Celebrate African Women

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Facebook LeadHERs

By Adedapo Adesanya

As part of its celebration around International Women’s Month, Facebook has announced the launch of a material titled lLeadHERs: Life Lessons From African Women.

It is a collection of beautifully inspired stories & life advice from 19 women who are breaking boundaries in fields such as media, entertainment, politics, education and business.

Available for free in digital and physical formats, the book provides inspirational real-life stories for future generations and young leaders.

Each chapter focuses on a personal experience and life lesson around how these women have navigated their path to success, alongside the challenges they have had to overcome along the way.

LeadHERs: Life Lessons from African Women is aimed at encouraging, inspiring and guiding the reader – no matter the background, age or ambition.

This launch follows the successful 2020 launch of Inspiring #Changemakers: Lessons from Life and Business in South Africa.

This 2021 book is further brought to life through a series of beautifully illustrated artwork specially commissioned from four female artists from across the continent – Massira Keita from Côte d’Ivoire, Lulu Kitololo from Kenya, Karabo Poppy from South Africa, and Awele Emili from Nigeria.

With over 5,000 copies printed, the book will be provided for free to a number of Facebook’s local training partners including She Leads Africa, Fate Foundation, DigifyAfrica, Siyafunda, Smart Ecosystems for Women and cCHub.

These will be distributed across 15 countries, including South Africa, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Senegal and Kenya – in schools and to beneficiaries of training(s) offered by Facebook partners.

Speaking on this, the Regional Director, Facebook Africa, Ms Nunu Ntshingila, said: “At Facebook, we know that African women are at the helm of shaping the future of our promising continent – they are changemakers, mothers and CEOs.

“This book is a celebration of just some of the exceptional African women who in their own right are trail-blazers, motivating and inspiring people and advocating for good across Africa, and the world.

“We’re excited about their individual stories, inspired by challenges they’ve endured and how they’ve risen above these, and importantly how they’ve turned these into important life lessons to help inspire others.”

The women featured in LeadHERs: Life Lessons From African Women include Tara Fela-Durotoye from Nigeria, Elizabeth Akua Ohene from Ghana, Hawa Sally Samai from Sierra Leone, Saran Kaba Jones from Liberia, Temi Giwa-Tubosun from Nigeria, Baratang Miya from South Africa and Dr Judy Dlamini from South Africa.

Others are Yvonne Okwara from Kenya, Tecla Chemabwai from Kenya, Alice Nkom from Cameroon, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim from Chad, Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu from Ethiopia, Lelemba Phiri from Zambia, Vanessa Hau Mdee from Tanzania, Monica Musonda from Zambia, from Kalista Sy from Senegal, Noella Coursaris Musunka from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Samantha ‘MisRed’ Musa from Zimbabwe and Djamila Ferdjani from the Niger Republic.

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Senate Prohibits Sexual Offenders From Working With Children

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Sexual Offenders

By Ahmed Rahma

To protect children from being sexually abused, the upper chamber of the National Assembly on Tuesday passed a bill prohibiting persons convicted of sexual offences from working with children, either as a teacher in schools or under any other job description likely to expose children to any form of abuse such as rape.

The passage of the Child Rights Act, 2003 (Amendment) Bill, 2020, followed a clause-by-clause consideration of a report by the Committee on Women Affairs chaired by Mrs Betty Apiafi.

The Senate in an amendment to Section 195 of the Principal Act, inserted a new clause 195A which provides that, “In criminal proceedings, a person will be found unsuitable to work with children – (a) on conviction of murder, attempted murder, rape, indecent assault or assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm with regards to a child; or

“(b) Persons whom the court have deemed incapable of understanding proceedings or entering a proper Defence due to mental illness as ruled by the court especially in matters which constitute murder, attempted rape, indecent or other sexual Offences with intent to do grievous bodily harm where the court would have convicted such persons but for the Defence of mental illness.”

The Senate President, Mr Ahmad Lawan, in a brief remark after the bill was passed, said “there was a prevalence of rape, especially of young children and in our institutions as well.”

“So, this amendment is going to cure those kinds of societal ills that will keep away those rapists from our children,” he added.

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AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccines Arrive Nigeria

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COVID-19 Vaccine Nigeria

By Ahmed Rahma

The first batch of the COVID-19 vaccines produced by AstraZeneca in conjunction with the Oxford University, the United Kingdom, has arrived in Nigeria, one of the presidential aides, Mr Bashir Ahmad, has announced.

Nigeria had been expecting to receive almost 4 million doses of the vaccine on Tuesday for free, according to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In a tweet this morning via his official Twitter handle, Mr Ahmad disclosed that the drugs came into the country through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on an Emirates flight. He said the doses touched down at the airport at about 11:46am.

“The first batch of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines has arrived Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja,” Mr Ahmad said in the post.

Also recall that it was reported that the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, had said that the AstraZeneca vaccine will arrive in Nigeria in batches.

According to him, the country has been allocated 16 million doses and from late February 2021, the jabs will begin to enter the country for the use of Nigerians.

At the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing on Monday, the health expert said Nigeria will also stick with the vaccine despite South Africa rejecting it based on its epidemiological and equity assessment done by WHO.

“As earlier communicated, Nigeria is no longer expecting the 100,000 doses of the Pfizer/BIONtech vaccine through the COVAX facility but has been allocated about 16 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“This was based on epidemiological and equity assessment done by WHO,” he said.

He noted that Nigeria was considered one of the countries ready to receive the Pfizer vaccine but because the distribution intended to achieve public health value, it was not practical to provide every capable country with the vaccine due to its limited quantity.

Yesterday, Business Post reported that an online portal for the registration for the COVID-19 vaccination was launched.

Nigeria intends to first inoculate frontline health workers, security officials and others.

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Zamfara Governor Confirms Release of Abducted Schoolgirls

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Jangebe schoolgirls1

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Governor of Zamfara State, Mr Bello Matawalle, has confirmed the release of the students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, Zamfara, abducted by some terrorists last Friday.

Mr Matawalle said the girls were released by their abductors in the early hours of Tuesday after five days in the den of their kidnappers.

Last Friday, nearly 300 students of the institution were taken away in their dormitory by the insurgents. The incident happened just over a week after some students were abducted in Niger State.

“Alhamdulillah! It gladdens my heart to announce the release of the abducted students of GGSS Jangebe from captivity.

“This follows the scaling of several hurdles laid against our efforts.

“I enjoin all well-meaning Nigerians to rejoice with us as our daughters are now safe,” Governor Matawalle announced this morning.

Business Post gathered that the girls were taken to the Government House in Gusau, the state capital before being taken to an undisclosed location for proper care.

The release of the schoolgirls has elicited excitement in the country.

Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari promised that there would not be any kidnapping of students again in the country. He has also warned that the government would not condone such act any longer.

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