Nigeria Launches Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises Programme (i-DICE)
By Adedapo Adesanya
Vice President Mr Yemi Osinbajo, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Mr Akinwumi Adesina, and some other partners have launched the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (i-DICE) Programme.
The launch, which took place on Tuesday, marked the rollout of a flagship initiative that will drive vital funding for Nigeria’s digital and creative industries.
i-DICE is a major step toward significantly upscaling entrepreneurship and innovation in digital technology and creative industries, which include film, fashion, and music.
The programme is part of the federal government of Nigeria’s efforts to build back better, climate friendlier, bring more inclusivity, and create sustainable jobs for its surging youth population amid a 33.3 per cent unemployment rate.
The initiative is expected to create 6 million jobs, especially for the young creatives in Nigeria.
It will also consolidate the country’s position as Africa’s leading start-up investment destination and youth entrepreneurship hub.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari last year signed the Startup Act 2022 to give businesses an edge.
i-DICE is co-financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Islamic Development Bank (ISDB) and Agence Française de Développement (AFD).
The federal government of Nigeria provides counterpart finance through the Bank of Industry (BOI), which also serves as the executing agency.
A steering committee chaired by the vice president’s office will oversee the initiative in cooperation with a technical committee made up of business leaders, and government ministries, departments, and agencies.
The DICE Fund, a venture capital outfit to be created under the program, will draw additional funding from institutional and other private investors.
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SERAP Takes Buhari, NBC to Court over Threats
By Adedapo Adesanya
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
The organisation explained that the suit was for “the arbitrary use of the NBC Act and broadcasting code to sanction and threaten to revoke the licences of broadcast stations in the country and shut them down over their legitimate coverage of the 2023 general elections.”
Joined in the suit as the defendant is the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed.
The NBC had last week reportedly sanctioned 25 broadcast stations and issued ‘final warnings’ to 16 others for allegedly violating provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code during the February 25, 2023, presidential and National Assembly elections.
But in the suit number FHC/L/CS/469/2023 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Lagos, SERAP is asking the court to determine “whether the broadcasting code used by the NBC to sanction some broadcast stations and threaten to shut down others was not in inconsistent and incompatible with freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom.”
SERAP is asking the court for “a declaration that the sanctioning of some broadcast stations and threat by the NBC to revoke the licences and shut down other stations for their lawful coverage of the general elections is unconstitutional and unlawful, as it violates freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom.”
SERAP is seeking “an order of interim injunction restraining President Buhari, NBC and Mr Mohammed from threatening and sanctioning broadcast stations in the country simply for carrying out their constitutional duties, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed contemporaneously in this suit.
In the suit, SERAP argued that: “It is a travesty of justice to punish and threaten broadcast stations seeking to promote election integrity and citizens’ engagement and participation while allowing perpetrators of electoral violence and grave human rights violations escape accountability for their alleged crimes.”
According to SERAP, “Rather than promptly investigating allegations of election-related violence and other infractions of the Electoral Act and the Nigerian Constitution, and going after suspected perpetrators, the Nigerian government is scapegoating the media by targeting and punishing broadcast stations.”
SERAP noted that “the use of NBC Act and Code in this case would open the door to arbitrariness and fundamentally restrict freedom of expression that is an integral part of the public order protected by the Nigerian Constitution and human rights treaties to which Nigeria is a state party.”
The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Mr Kolawole Oluwadare, Ms Adelanke Aremo, and Ms Valentina Adegoke, pointed out that, “The sanction, ‘last warning’ and threat by the NBC would seem not to meet the strict requirements of the Nigerian Constitution and the country’s international human rights obligations. In particular, it is unclear the scope or object of what these wordings seek to prohibit.”
“Under the constitutional and international requirement of legality, it is not enough that restrictions on freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom are formally stated in press releases and regulations.
“The requirement of legality also serves to define the scope of legal discretion conferred on implementing authorities in order to provide adequate protection against arbitrary implementation,” it added.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.
NDLEA Seizes 1.2m Opioid Pills, Arrests Afro-Europe Cartel Suspects
By Adedapo Adesanya
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have seized no fewer than 1,205,260 pills of opioids in two interdiction operations in Kogi and Gombe states.
This is just as anti-narcotic officers at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja Lagos, disrupted the activities of a drug syndicate that operates between Nigeria, East Africa, and Europe, with the arrest of two members of the cartel.
Operatives at the Lagos airport had on Monday, March 13, intercepted a suspected member of the drug syndicate, Mr Ejezie Vitus Ifeanyi, during the screening of inward passengers on an Ethiopian Airline flight from Malawi via Addis Ababa at the arrival hall.
When a search was conducted on him, it was discovered that one of his two bags had a false bottom concealment. During the preliminary interview of the suspect, he confessed that a member of the syndicate was waiting at the airport car park to pick him up. An immediate follow-up operation led to the arrest of Mr Chukwu Franco Bright, who was waiting in a grey colour Mercedes Benz C180 coupe, marked EKY 973 GQ, to receive the drug consignment.
After his arrest, a proper search of the bag was conducted before the two suspects leading to the recovery of 3.00 kilograms of heroin. Findings reveal that the drug syndicate networks between Nigeria, and Malawi, Mozambique in East Africa and Europe. While Chukwu who lives in Lagos, is responsible for the recruitment and coordination of the activities of mules on behalf of other members of the cartel based in Mozambique and Malawi, another set operates from the South-Eastern part of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, NDLEA operatives at the SAHCO export shed of the MMIA on Wednesday, March 15, intercepted a jerrycan of palm oil going to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. At the point of examination, it was discovered that 600 grams of cannabis sativa were concealed inside the jerrycan of palm oil. A suspect, Mr Tunde Ogunbowale, who presented the consignment for export to Dubai, was immediately arrested.
This is even as an attempt to export 2.7kg cannabis packaged as part of dried onions to Dubai through a postal service firm was frustrated by NDLEA officers attached to the courier company, who seized a carton filled with colourful sachets of dried onions used to conceal the illicit consignment.
In Kogi state, a total of 530,160 pills of tramadol and 99,000 tabs of diazepam were seized along the Okene-Abuja highway from a bus driver, Mr Suleiman Oyedokun, 41, coming from Onitsha, Anambra state and going to Kontagora in Niger State on Monday, March 13.
On the same day, 576, 100 pills of tramadol concealed in bags of rubber slippers were intercepted by NDLEA officers at a trailer garage, old mile 3 road area of Gombe metropolis, Akko LGA, Gombe State. Four suspects, Mr Usman Suleiman; Mr Ya’u Yusuf; Mr Saidu Suleiman, and Mr Abubakar Umar, have so far been arrested in connection with the seizure.
In Kaduna, 367 kilograms of cannabis Sativa was recovered from a vehicle with registration number FKJ141DX. Two suspects: Mr Monday Suleiman, 62, and Mr Sama’ila Mohammed, 30, were arrested while a bribe of N1.2 million offered to NDLEA officers was documented as part of exhibits to prosecute the suspects.
Operatives in Delta state also, on Wednesday, March 15, arrested a local female distiller of Cannabis Sativa and dry gin, Ebi Akpotudua, 52, for producing a cocktail drink popularly known as monkey tail. She was arrested at Ugboroke by river road, Warri, with 19.5 litres of monkey tail and 22.2kg of cannabis.
Mouka Advocates Healthy Sleep as Essential to Well-being
Mouka, the market leader in Nigeria’s Sleep industry, has joined the World Sleep Society and thousands of sleep health professionals and advocates raising awareness of the importance of good sleep for healthy living.
Celebrated annually on March 17, this year’s World Sleep Day with the theme “Sleep is Essential for Health”, is dedicated to spreading awareness about all aspects of sleep. According to the World Sleep Society, just like eating well and exercising, sleep is a behaviour that is foundational to one’s physical, mental, and social well-being.
Speaking on the theme, Mouka’s Managing Director, Mr Femi Fapohunda, stated that healthy sleep on quality products is very crucial for sound health. According to the MD, “sleeping on quality mattresses and pillows keeps the body properly aligned for a great night’s sleep and general well-being.”
Dr Remi Durojaiye of the Nigeria Society Of Physiotherapy (NSP), Lagos Chapter, also shared her thoughts on the 2023 World Sleep Day Theme. She said, “good sleep is required for optimal health. During sleep, your body works to support healthy brain function and maintain physical health”.
Mouka rolled out grassroots education centred around the theme to celebrate this year’s World Sleep Day. In partnership with the Nigeria Society Of Physiotherapy, Mouka is conducting physical sensitisation sessions in selected companies in Lagos. Mouka has also deployed radio communication and educational content in print and social media platforms for a wider reach.
Shedding more light on the World Sleep Day plans at Mouka, Damilola Taiwo, Media Manager, said, “Mouka is committed to investing behind the propagation of the importance of quality sleep in the physical and mental health of every Nigerian.
“We use all media platforms to reach our consumers to sensitise them. The Mouka brand truly cares and intends to add comfort to life through its high-quality brands and health education in partnership with medical professional bodies”.
Mouka is a member of the Dolidol International Group, the market leader in Africa with a head office in Morrocco. The company has a wide range of sleep products crafted to meet the needs of different segments of society. With the popular slogan, “there’s a Mouka for you”, Mouka products are manufactured with the unique age, lifestyle, budget and bodybuild in mind.
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