By Dipo Olowookere
Friday, February 22, 2019 has been declared a public holiday by federal government.
This is to enable Nigerians eligible to vote in the presidential and parliamentary elections taking place on Saturday, February 23, 2019 return to their polling units after the polls were rescheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) last Saturday.
A statement by the Interior Minister, Mr Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau, said government wants active participation of citizens in the rescheduled elections.
However, he noted that bank officials and those offering essential services across the nation are excluded from the public holiday.
“Federal Government declares Friday 22, February 2019 as work-free day. Those providing essential duties and bankers are excluded.
“The work-free day is to enable citizens return to their poling units for the reschedule Presidential and National Assembly elections.
“Security agencies have been directed to ensure safety of lives and property before, during & after the general election,” the statement said.
Buhari Orders Tighter Security Around Borders
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Security agencies, especially the immigration service, have been given a directive to tighten security around the nation’s borders.
This directive was given on Thursday by President Muhammadu Buhari during the virtual commissioning Ceremony of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) technology building.
The President also said there should be improved surveillance and control around the borders to weed out criminal elements who use the means to perpetrate evil.
The NIS was also asked to collaborate with international security organisations like the INTERPOL in safeguarding the borders, noting that the country’s Global Security Index must be improved.
“It is imperative that our ranking in the Global Security Index improves and I am using this medium to call on all security agencies to step up their activities towards achieving this goal. I assure you that the administration will give the much-needed support to you in your operations,” Mr Buhari said.
He further said, “As a security agency, I charge you to be relentless in carrying out your statutory duties of keeping our borders safe while you ensure that criminal elements don’t find Nigeria as a safe haven to hide and perpetrate their criminality.
“I urge you to actively collaborate with international security organisations like the INTERPOL, in safeguarding our borders. Remember that a safe border is a prerequisite for a safe nation.
“You must develop strong working relationships and ties with the international community and friendly nations as it relates to migration management; adopt and implement workable strategies from them while also sharing your best practices.
“Frontline workers and operators should remember that they are our windows to the world. They must show the best face of Nigeria at all times.”
President Buhari commended the Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, for consistently pushing for the completion of the building, which will serve as the command and control centre of the NIS, as well as the repository of personal data of Nigerians and expatriates resident in Nigeria.
In his remarks, the Minister assured that the security challenges facing the country were temporal and surmountable, pointing out that the “weakest link” had been the land borders and the technology building will play a pivotal role in the control of illegal migration.
Survey Shows Nigerians Don’t Trust Media, Government
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Trust is one element some individuals and corporate organisations and even governments try to build because, without it, it will difficult to achieve believability.
When someone or an organisation cannot be trusted, there is trouble and for the government, it could spell doom as its policies would meet a brick wall, which could scare away investors and plunge the economy into crisis.
In Nigeria, the different administrations have struggled to build trust and this has left citizens to trust foreign organisations more than their government.
Are things getting better? The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer Report seems to emphasise that no improvement has been made.
The survey showed that out of the four institutions of government, business, media and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Nigerians trust civil society organisations the most, with businesses coming second.
On the other hand, most Nigerians expressed distrust for the media and returned the lowest trust quotient in the world for government with 24 per cent.
Conversely, Nigerians overwhelmingly placed the highest trust in their employers and in the process revealed their expectations for CEOs and business leaders to be more pro-active in speaking out on societal issues (92 per cent) and driving positive change (79 per cent) rather than wait for government.
At the virtual unveiling of the report by Edelman and its exclusive Nigerian affiliate, Chain Reactions Nigeria, in Lagos on Tuesday, February 23, 2021, Mr Laolu Akande, the media aide of Nigeria’s Vice President, Mr Yemi Osinbajo, explained that the distrust of government is a result of Nigerians’ natural cynicism and the testy historical relationship between government and citizens.
“Distrust in government is not peculiar to Nigeria. However, the government does have the responsibility to up its game in communication, to demonstrate responsibility and responsiveness,” Mr Akande said, citing the acclaimed National Social Intervention Programmes, and the COVID-19 Survival Fund as some evidence of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s unprecedented responsiveness to Nigerians.
During the presentation of the report by the CEO of Edelman Africa, Mr Jordan Rittenberry, at the event themed Pandemic’s Ongoing Impact on Trust, a foremost journalist, Mr Reuben Abati, while speaking on the finding that Nigerians’ distrust the media, explained that the twin problems of ownership and unfavourable conditions of service combine to make newsmen themselves victims to various agendas.
“Absolute objectivity is utopian. How do you expect journalists to earn trust? It is really embarrassing these days with journalists denied salaries for maybe 10 or 12 months, while some blogs are becoming more authoritative than the mainstream media. And you find the mainstream media, even relying on blogs due to a lack of resources,” he submitted.
On NGO’s emergence as the most trusted institution, the Director, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, noted that “we have always been connected to the people as civil society organisations.
“And during the lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19 last year, we mobilized against a number of issues and demanded accountability. Some organisations stood in place of government; in terms of palliatives, in terms of support. They went to areas the government couldn’t reach.”
Commenting on how institutions can further build trust, the Senior Director, Global Government Relations for Africa at Procter & Gamble, Temitope Iluyemi, identified inter-sectoral partnerships and communication.
“We believe in over-communicating. P&G adopted a two-way communication strategy, we held town halls and bottom-top meetings to provide credible information to our employees and take feedbacks.
“We also leveraged the use of data for our marketing strategies, and this translated into deeper connections with staff and customers.”
No Free Land for Ranching in Oyo—Governor
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.”
Former Chairman of Defunct Diamond Bank 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.
Facebook Launches LeadHERs Book to Celebrate African Women
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.
Senate Prohibits Sexual Offenders From Working With Children
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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