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Court Remands Whistleblower, Blogger in Prison

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Court Remands Whistleblower, Blogger in Prison

Court Remands Whistleblower, Blogger in Prison

By Dipo Olowookere

An online publisher, Mr Tega Oghenedoro, otherwise known as Fejiro Oliver, was on Friday remanded in prison by a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

Mr Oliver was arraigned by the police yesterday alongside a former employee of Sterling Bank, Mr Dennis Ukpabi, author of the book titled The Whistleblower, where he accused the few members of staff of the lender of involving in fraud and infidelity.

Mr Ukpabi said in his book that in November 2014, Sterling Bank Plc introduced a ‘Deposit Mobilization Scheme’ for its entire staff as an incentive to encourage them to source and mobilize deposits from members of the public, promising to reward the most outstanding staff who sourced the highest amount of deposit above the given target with a brand new Ford SUV and 1 percent of the total sum realized.

He narrated that four staff at the corporate headquarters of Sterling Bank Plc namely Adekanla Desalu, Eguru Nyenke, Janet Akpan and Kojusola Ajao colluded and conspired to defraud the bank by pulling together deposits into an account belonging to one of them, Kojusola Ajao, after monitoring funds from dormant accounts belonging to existing customers of the bank and paying it in Ajao’s name in other to win the prize.

He said Ms Ajao was announced by the bank as the winner of the Deposits Mobilization Scheme and on March 10, 2015, was awarded with the sum of N997,000 which was about 1 percent of the total amount mobilized and also given a brand new Ford SUV.

He alleged that immediately she received the money, she transferred and shared it among her three other colleagues with Desalu getting N269,250; Nyenke N240,000; and Akpan N238,500.

Following several emails sent to different management staffs of the bank by the whistleblower, the bank’s Audit Department was asked to investigate the alleged fraud, upon which the four staff were found culpable, leading to Ajao’s sack and the retrieval of the Ford Jeep from her.

Although the three others were placed on three-month suspension, Nyenke was promoted immediately after serving her suspension, a development linked to her alleged amorous affair with the bank’s Executive Director in charge of Operations and Services, Yemi Odubiyi, Mr Ukpabi alleged.

But when it was discovered that Mr Ukpabi was behind the anonymous emails that exposed the bank fraud, the authorities reportedly denied him his due promotion and prevented him from embarking on a Sick Leave for which he duly applied. The situation eventually led to his resignation and publishing of the “The Whistle Blower.”

The Nigerian blogger got involved in the matter when he reportedly used his medium, Secrets Reporters, to publish articles relating to the matter.

Those involved petitioned the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of the Force Criminal Investigation Department in Abuja, alleging “threat to life, malicious publication and defamation of character.”

The police swung into action, arresting both Mr Ukpabi and Mr Oliver and charged them to court for cyber stalking.

At the court on Friday, the prosecuting counsel, a Superintendent of Police, Mr J. Oloruntoba, arraigned the men on a five-count charge bothering on alleged acts of “Cyber Stalking” punishable under the provisions of Section 24 of the Cyber Crimes (Prohibition and Prevention, etc.) Act 2015.

However, the defendants pleaded not guilty to all the charges, but their counsels could not secure the bail.

Consequently, the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, ordered the suspects to be remanded at the Ikoyi Prisons and asked one of the defendants’ counsels, Mr Inibehe Effiong, to bring a formal application for bail and promised to hear it expeditiously.

Additional information from Sahara Reporters

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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There Are People in the Villa Who Want APC to Lose 2023 Elections—El-Rufai

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El-Rufai on Channels TV

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Governor of Kaduna State, Mr Nasir El-Rufai, has disclosed that some persons in the corridors of power are working to weaken the chances of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in this year’s general elections.

On February 25, 2023, Nigerians will head to the polls to elect a new president and members of the National Assembly, and on March 11, 2023, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will conduct the governorship and state houses of assembly elections.

While speaking recently in Ogun State, the candidate of the APC in the presidential exercise, Mr Bola Tinubu, claimed that some powers that be were plotting to ensure that he does not win the presidential poll.

READ: Starting and Managing a Profitable Catfish Farming Business in Nigeria

According to him, these people in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari are behind the current scarcity of premium motor spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol, and the scarcity of new Naira notes, which has affected many businesses in the country.

“They are full of mischief, they could say there is no fuel. They have been scheming to create a fuel crisis but forget about it. Relax, I, Asiwaju, have told you that the issue of fuel supply will be permanently addressed,” he said at the campaign rally,” Mr Tinubu said at the campaign rally in Abeokuta recently.

“Let them increase the price of fuel, let them continue to hoard fuel, only them know where they have hoarded fuel, they hoarded money, they hoarded naira; we will go and vote, and we will win even if they changed the ink on Naira notes. Whatever their plans, it will come to nought,” he added.

READ: Tinubu Lambasts Buhari Over Fall in Naira Value at Forex Market

Speaking on Wednesday on a Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, which was monitored by Business Post, Governor El-Rufai agreed with Mr Tinubu that some people in power were making efforts to contribute to the downfall of the APC at the polls this month, saying some of the policies of the federal government led by the APC were anti-people.

“Nigerians should know that these policies are not policies of our party but some economists who are bent on making sure that we lose the election. Policies purposely designed to crash the political process,” Mr El-Rufai stated.

He further said, “I believe that there are elements in the Villa that want us to lose the elections because they didn’t get their way. They had their candidates but did not win the [presidential] primaries. They are still trying to get us to lose the elections and are hiding behind the President’s desire to do what he thinks is right.”

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Google Unveils Startups Accelerator for African Women Founders

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African Women Founders Startups Accelerator

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

An initiative aimed at empowering and supporting women founders in Africa has been launched by Google. It is called Google for Startups Accelerator: Women Founders Africa Program.

It is an extension of the Google for Startups Accelerator Africa program established in 2017, reflecting Google’s dedication to supporting startups and addressing the unique challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in Africa.

Through the programme, African women entrepreneurs will receive resources and opportunities to scale their startups and address African problems.

Intending participants can apply via g.co/acceleratorafrica before the February 20, 2023, deadline. Eligible applicants must have a working product or service, a viable business model, and a working team. The application process includes a written application and an interview with the program team.

The 12-week program will commence in March 2023 and include one bootcamp per month, held in a hybrid style of online and in-person sessions. Selected participants will receive access to Google’s products, mentoring from industry experts, resources, tools, and technology, as well as networking opportunities and connections with investors to support the growth of their startups.

“We are excited about the open call for applications for our 3-month accelerator program, specifically tailored to address the unique challenges faced by women founders in Africa. We believe that investing in women founders in Africa is critical for economic empowerment that will enable the creation of jobs for the growing African youth population,” says Folarin Aiyegbusi, head of Startup Ecosystem, Africa at Google.

African female founders face challenges in their entrepreneurial pursuits, including limited access to funding. Despite these challenges, women make up a significant portion of African entrepreneurs, with 58 per cent of African businesses owned by women.

“Elevating the participation and leadership of women in the entrepreneurship ecosystem is crucial for promoting gender equality and driving economic growth in Africa. Investing in women-led startups is a key step towards achieving this goal, and Google’s commitment to these goals is reflected in the launch of the Google for Startups Accelerator: Women Founders Africa Program,” added Aiyegbusi.

The Women Founders will be mentored by industry experts who will guide and support the selected participants throughout the program. They will be instrumental in helping startups achieve their full potential and positively impact their communities.

Akua Nyame-Mensah, a mentor for the program, said, “It’s an honour to be a mentor in the inaugural Google for Startups Accelerator Program for Women Founders. As part of supporting the next generation of leaders in Africa, this program offers women an opportunity to grow their networks and the accountability to achieve their professional goals. The focus on mentorship will be invaluable. Participants will benefit and grow from the exchange of ideas and experiences.”

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Egbin Power Renovates Ijede Police Station

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Ijede Police Station

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Egbin Power Plc has been commended for rehabilitating the Ijede Police Station in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State through and Sahara Foundation.

The facility was renovated to boost security in Ijede, Egbin and Ipakan communities. The project was commissioned on Thursday, January 26, 2023, with representatives from the Nigeria Police Force, Egbin Power, Sahara Foundation, and stakeholders from the communities in attendance.

“We express deep appreciation to Egbin Power and Sahara Group for this beautifully renovated project. We want to assure them that what they have done today will be properly maintained, and we extend our hands of fellowship to them and the people of these communities.

“I want to reassure them that we will continue to render better security to the communities,” the Lagos State Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) in charge of Administration, Mr Ewah Bassey, commented.

He further stated that the project would go a long way in boosting the morale of the officers at the station and supporting the police officers’ efforts towards promoting peace and security in the community.

While commending the firms, the Area Commander, Area ‘N’ Ijede Division, ACP S. K. Bawa, noted that the renovation project carried out by Egbin Power Plc, and Sahara Foundation was a noteworthy initiative, which would further boost security in the communities and improve the welfare of officers in the police station.

Similarly, the Obateru of Egbin Kingdom, Oba Adeoriyomi Oyebo, applauded Sahara Foundation and Egbin for enhancing security in the communities through the intervention.

“From the project we have just commissioned, I want to commend the efforts of the management of Egbin Power and Sahara Foundation. This is the kind of cooperation that exists between the organizations, the communities, and the police.

“I want to urge the police, especially at the divisional level here at Ijede, to make good use of the laudable project and make sure that the project is sustained and maintained,” the monarch said.

In his remarks, the chief executive of Egbin Power, Mr Mokhtar Bounour, explained that the company, through Sahara Foundation, has further demonstrated its commitment to sustainability by making an impact in the lives of people and adding value to communities where the organizations operate.

He disclosed that the project was part of Egbin Power’s commitment to enhancing infrastructure development, socio-economic growth, and effective policing to promote safety and security in the company’s host communities.

“This initiative is part of our strategy at Egbin Power Plc to be closer to the communities where we operate. The police are a vital part of our stakeholders in society, and we appreciate the effort and resources they apply to deliver adequate security to protect lives and property. We also know they are doing their best to keep people and property safe in our communities.

“So, through projects of this nature, we will continue to demonstrate our encouragement and support for them in discharging their duties and making a difference,” he said.

In her remarks, the Director for Governance & Sustainability at Sahara Group, Ms Ejiro Gray, said, “the intention of this initiative is to ensure that our Police officers who risk their lives every day and night to secure lives and property in our communities are able to perform their duties in a conducive atmosphere and with the right infrastructure and facilities.

“So, this is one of the ways we are contributing our quota to that agenda of promoting access to energy, a sustainable environment by transforming lives and livelihood at Sahara Foundation, Sahara Group and by extension Egbin Power Plc.

“We cannot talk about making an impact without providing adequate security of lives and property, which is a core component of the wellbeing of every society and community.”

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