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.”
EFCC Goes After Car Dealers, Real Estate Agents, Others
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Abdularasheed Bawa, has hinted that a searchlight will be beamed on car dealers, jewellery sellers, real estate agents and others.
The anti-money laundering agency, while addressing newsmen in Abuja on Thursday, disclosed that evidence has shown that these set of people use proceeds of corruption for their business transactions.
He said the EFCC was working on a number of proactive strategies including a special control unit against money laundering, established particularly to address non-designated financial institutions including car dealers, real estate, jewellery dealers, among others.
Mr Bawa said that he was confident that when the unit is fully established, corruption will significantly decline in the country.
He added that the agency was equally working towards the development of a biometric ownership database to address money laundering.
According to him, most proceeds of crime are laundered through real estate and have become a huge challenge, giving examples of property acquired especially in Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt where billions of naira were laundered through this means.
He, however, declined to disclose actual perpetrators or the properties involved but revealed that since his assumption, a number of recoveries have been made including N6 billion, $161 million, £13,000, €1,730, among others.
He further said internet fraudsters numbering 1,502 have also been apprehended between January and June 2021, noting that efforts were underway to file about 800 of them.
Mr Bawa was at the Presidential Villa yesterday to clarify the specific Minister involved in the laundering of about $37 million into real estate to which he referred in his earlier statement.
He said the matter was an old case involving a former Minister of Petroleum, Ms Allison Diezani Madueke.
KedCo Warns Customers Against Meter Bypass
By Adedapo Adesanya
The management of Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) has cautioned customers in its franchise areas against meter bypass as it intensifies efforts in meter installation.
According to a statement by KEDCO’s Head of Corporate Communications, Mr Ibrahim Sani Shawai, “the warning had become necessary as a way of ensuring that renewed efforts at speeding up metering are not sabotaged.
“Anyone caught bypassing our meters would not be spared as we will go all out within the provisions of the law of the land to ensure that violators are made to pay penalty after prosecution.
“We are speeding up processes to ensure that 87,747 meters are installed by the end of the month under the zero phase.
“We have met with all vendors and mandated them to increase manpower to ensure speedy deployment and installation of meters to customers.
“We appeal to our numerous customers to give vendors the necessary cooperation to ensure that estimated billing system is brought to an end in KEDCO franchise within the shortest time possible.”
The distribution company had recently warned customers against meter apathy as it observed that some customers were deliberately refusing to get metered, which it considers unacceptable.
KEDCO is one of the major Nigerian electricity distribution companies. KEDCO operates in the northwestern geopolitical zone of Nigeria and generates, distributes and markets electricity in three states. It covers the franchise states of Kano, Katsina and Jigawa.
Navy Seizes 251 Bags of Smuggled Rice in Akwa Ibom
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base (FOB), Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom has impounded 251 bags of rice smuggled through the waterways.
The Commanding Officer of FOB, Navy Captain Suleiman Abdullahi, disclosed this in Ibaka on Thursday when he handed over the bags of contrabands to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
He said that the 251 bags of rice were seized from smugglers on June 15 during routine patrol operations by the unit, explaining that the suspects abandoned the rice and the boat and fled on sighting the naval patrol team, emphasising that the Base would not relent in putting an end to illegalities on the Akwa Ibom waterways.
“What you are witnessing here today is the handover of 251 bags of rice suspected to be smuggled into the Nigerian maritime border.
“By the directive of the Flag Officer, Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Sanusi Ibrahim, we have zero tolerance for smuggling.
“By the directive, we have carried out intensive patrol and on June 15, 2021, we seized one wooden boat and 251 bags of smuggled rice.
“On sighting the patrol team, the smugglers abandoned the rice inside the boat and flee to escape arrest.
This is an indication of their awareness of the crime perpetrated by these suspects for them to have abandoned their boat and flee,” Mr Abdullahi said.
The commanding officer warned smugglers to relocate out of the Nigerian maritime borders, stressing that it would not be business as usual for them.
He urged them to desist from smuggling and other illegal businesses, but they should engage in legitimate endeavours.
“I will like to use this opportunity to warn those maritime criminals that it is not going to be business as usual.
“That they should desist from their criminal ways and engage in genuine business, otherwise the long arm of the law will catch up on them,” he said.
Receiving the 251 bags of rice on behalf of the customs, the Comptroller of Sector 1, Port Harcourt, Mr Shehu Abubakar, said the agency would do everything possible to stop smuggling in the country.
Mr Abubakar, who was represented by the Superintendent of Customs, Border Drill Patrol Team, Oron Axis, Mr Mustapha Ahmed, warned smugglers to desist from the illegal trade, stressing that the organisation would continue to checkmate all economic sabotage in the country.
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