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African Union Condemns Shooting of #EndSARS Protesters

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African Union

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, has strongly condemned the shooting of unarmed #EndSARS protesters in Lagos on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, by government forces.

The Chairperson of the regional body’s commission offered his sincere condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and wished those who sustained injuries a speedy recovery.

Mr Mahamat used the opportunity to appeal to all political and social actors to reject the use of violence and respect human rights and the rule of law.

He further urged all parties to embrace dialogue in order to de-escalate the situation and find concrete and durable reforms.

In this regard, the Chairperson said he welcomed the decision by the federal government to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) as an important step in this direction.

He reiterated the African Union’s commitment to continue to accompany the government and people of Nigeria in support of a peaceful solution and encouraged the Nigerian authorities to conduct an investigation to ensure the perpetrators of acts of violence are held to account.

The incident has continued to generate reactions from across the globe, with many condemning the use of live bullets on peaceful protesters. The demonstrators were only calling for true police reform as a result of the use of force on innocent citizens in the country, especially the youths.

The notorious disbanded SARS unit of the Nigeria Police Force had been accused of extorting citizens and in some cases carrying out extra-judicial killings without being called to order.

Several youths had been killed as a result of false accusation and in some cases, for looking good and having good smartphones, cars, wearing dreadlocks or tattoos. These atrocities had been going on for a long time without the authorities taking any action to stop them or bring those behind the inpunity to book.

In 2017, the police unit was disbanded by the police authorities, but it found its way back and continued its operations before it was again dissolved in 2018 and 2019 before another disbandment in 2020.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Peter Obi Withdraws from PDP Presidential Race, Quits Party

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Peter Obi PDP

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Former Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, has announced his withdrawal from the presidential primaries of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In a letter dated Tuesday, May 24, 2022, the businessman turned politician said he was also resigning as a member of the PDP.

In the letter personally signed by him and addressed to the National Chairman of the opposition party, Mr Iyorchia Ayu, Mr Obi said he has already informed the chairman of Agalu Ward 2, Anaocha LGA Anambra of his decision to quit the party.

“I am writing to intimate you of my resignation from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which was conveyed to the Chairman of Agalu Ward 2, Anaocha LGA Anambra, effective Friday, May 20, 2022.

“Consequently, I am by this letter informing you of my withdrawal from the PDP presidential primaries.

“It has been a great honour to contribute to nation-building efforts through our party. Unfortunately, recent developments within our party make it particularly impossible to continue participating and making such constructive contributions.

“Our national challenges are deep-seated and require that we each make profound sacrifices towards rescuing our country. My commitment to rescuing Nigeria remains firm, even if the route differs.

“I wish to thank you personally for your graciousness and leadership. I wish you well and best of luck in the service of the country,” the letter stated.

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Edo, US Explore Investment Partnerships in Agric, Others

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Edo State map

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Edo State Government and the United States will explore areas of investment in agriculture, economy, healthcare and education, among others to sustain the gains recorded by the Godwin Obaseki-led government.

According to the governor at a recent meeting with the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs Mary Leonard, on a courtesy visit to the Government House, Benin City, his government was sustaining efforts at engendering sustainable growth and development and ensuring economic prosperity for the people of the state.

He said, “For us, it is all about our economy. We have been able to grow our economy to align with its potential. We are addressing a whole lot of issues, particularly security and healthcare to sort out the economy.”

“We are working to fire our economy to the extent that we utilise the economy to the benefit of our people, and one key driver for us is agriculture; food. The number one pressing issue in Nigeria today is food availability.

“We are going to make sure we focus on food production and economic growth. We are engaging with our young people and trying to position them to take advantage of the opportunities in culture and technology globally.

“In order to be competitive economically, the key asset you need are your people; the key driver they need is education. They have to be educated. We are emphasising education, particularly basic education,” he added.

He also affirmed his government’s commitment to ending the menace of human trafficking and illegal migration in Edo, noting that, “We realised that it is that lack of hope and poor education that fuels irregular migration, and we have tried as much as we can to curtail that menace of irregular migration by creating hope for them; nobody wants to leave home if the home is comfortable.”

Highlighting the success recorded by his administration in the health sector, the governor said the state partnered with the Association of Nigeria Physicians in the Americas (ANPA) to provide free medical outreach to the Edo people.

He said, “A couple of weeks ago, we received 67 medical practitioners in our state and they worked with our personnel on the ground to improve quality healthcare delivery to our people. For us, with healthcare, it’s about the foundation.

“If we have the basic health footprint right, as well as the training of community healthcare heads, then it will not be too challenging dealing with diseases such as malaria and distributing vaccines.

“We are looking forward to working with the Royal Palace in building a royal collection and the whole idea is to build the Edo Museum of West Africa Art (EMOWAA) where you will have a lot to see when you come in.”

In her speech, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs Leonard, acknowledged the government for its anti-trafficking laws, noting that they have helped in curbing irregular migration among young people in the state.

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ICAN, BOI Partner to Drive Stakeholders Inclusion in Tech

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ICAN BoI Tech Hub

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and the Bank of Industry (BOI) have strategically inaugurated an ICAN-BOI Tech Hub that will promote job creation, entrepreneurship and skill development in the technology space.

This was the central point of the tech hub inaugurated on Tuesday at the ICAN annexe office in Lagos which will ensure that members of the institute and the public can access the necessary skills and competencies required to become job creators and productive contributors in today’s tech-savvy world.

According to the Managing Director of BOI, Mr Olukayode Pitan, the project was necessary, given the increasing importance of technology to development and youth empowerment.

Mr Pitan said the dominant role of technology in many professions, including accountancy, had transformed the way businesses operated, resulting in improved efficiency, cost-saving, and simplified processes.

“The tech hub shall encourage development and testing of new ideas, products and business models as well as create an environment to prepare for start-ups and existing businesses for sustainability.

“It also aims at boosting business mentorship, market linkages and accelerated programmes to enable young entrepreneurs to scale up.

“Technology, innovation and entrepreneurship are key factors shaping global trends and there is a need to continually scale up on them for our national economic growth and development,” he said.

The BOI boss noted that young people were embracing an entrepreneurship mindset and technological skills, which had resulted in the provision of innovative solutions servicing millions of people in diverse sectors.

According to him, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector contributed 14.7 per cent to the gross domestic product in 2020 and increased to 15.21 per cent in 2021.

“We can see a perfect example of the value of tech hubs when we consider Silicon Valley, which is one of the earliest tech hubs in the world.

“It houses the headquarters of many of the world’s largest high tech operations as well as thousands of promising start-ups and we have started on that journey here in Nigeria.

“Nigerian Fintechs are fast gaining recognition globally. In 2021, Nigerian FinTech start-ups raised about $1.37 billion out of a total of $4 billion raised by African start-ups despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In Nigeria, we can boast of having technologically-driven products and services such as Flutterwave, Opay, Andela, Interswitch and Jumia.

“This shows the growing significance of ICT in driving the economy,” he added.

Mr Pitan also added that the BOI, through its corporate social responsibility programmes, would proactively continue to support the establishment of tech hubs across the country.

He said the ICAN-BOI tech hub collaboration brought the total tech hubs established by BOI to 10 in six states across the country.

“Structurally, the ICAN-BOI tech hub boasts of over 250 co-work desks, meeting rooms, private offices, a relaxation centre and a hybrid area for organising competitions and hackathons.

“In collaboration with ICAN, we have made provisions for all divider networks, IT equipment, power supply and all required to enable the hub function at optimal capacity.

“The bank is committed to making all its financing products and services available to bankable projects that emanate from users of the tech hub.

“We are confident that this hub will help users to innovate, incubate, collaborate and scale up as they become employers of labour and contributors to the economy of the nation,” he said.

The 57th ICAN President, Mrs Comfort Eyitayo, adding her input said the hub was positioned to empower users through different stages from idea generation to actualisation of products or services.

Mr Eyitayo expressed gratitude to the management of BOI for partnering with the institute to ensure members and youths were equipped with the necessary skills for economic growth and development.

On his part, the ICAN Registrar, Professor Ahmed Kumshe, commended Eyitayo, who through the ICAN Entrepreneurship Development Centre initiative brought about the partnership with BOI that resulted in the establishment of the tech hub.

He urged the institute to enlighten members and students to maximise the benefits of the hub since technology had taken over every aspect of life, especially in finance.

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