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Women Can’t Help in Nation-Building if Excluded by Law, Cultural Practices—Johnson

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omobola johnson Nation-Building

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The chairman of Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mrs Omobola Johnson, has lamented the imbalance in female representation in all facets of life, warning that it could hinder women from being part of nation-building.

She said this on Wednesday, March 2, 2022, when the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited hosted a digital closing gong ceremony to celebrate the accomplishments of female chairpersons of NGX listed companies and their affiliates who were appointed in 2021.

The event was organised in line with the exchange’s ongoing collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) which aimed to reduce the gender gaps in leadership, employment, and entrepreneurship under the Nigeria2Equal programme.

In her presentation, the businesswoman said, “It is quite ironic that we are celebrating the advancements we have made in corporate governance a day after the National Assembly voted very strongly against a bill that was seeking to address the imbalance in female representation in all facets of our national life.”

“Building a greater nation requires all hands to be on deck. Women want to be partners and collaborators on this journey and we cannot be if we are excluded by law, cultural practices and norms,” she submitted.

In her remarks, the Chairperson of NGX Real Estate Limited, Mrs Angela Adebayo, appreciated the board of directors of the bourse for the laudable initiative.

She acknowledged the transition of NGX Group of Companies from a company with less than 30 per cent female representation on the National Council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to a group of four companies with two female Chairs.

She also commended NGX for its continuous efforts in collaborating with renowned organisations such as the IFC and leveraging its platform to make gender issues front and centre in the economic agenda.

On her part, Mrs Catherine Echeozo, Chairman of NGX Regulation Limited, acknowledged and congratulated the board chairperson appointees being celebrated, highlighting the benefits of diversity. “Diversity is about tapping on the full breadth and depth of talent available and equipping companies with diverse talents and viewpoints so that they can better navigate and address challenges in an increasingly complex and competitive global environment,” she stated.

Commenting on the opportunities that corporate organisations can leverage from promoting gender equality, the chairman of Ecobank Nigeria, Mrs Bola Adesola, stated that, “As a pre-eminent Pan-African institution in over 33 African countries, our focus on gender balance supports our mission to contribute to the economic and financial development of our continent.

“This is so because one in four Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, in Africa is managed by a woman. Ecobank is very happy to continue to collaborate with NGX and IFC to Break the Bias. I would like to urge us all to diligently work against actions that threaten the human rights of half the population of our dear country.”

The Chairman of Access Bank Plc, Mrs Ajoritsedere Awosika, congratulated all the recent board appointees and highlighted the importance of celebrating female leaders as a critical step to inspiring younger professional women.

She said, “This closing gong ceremony is a laudable occasion where NGX has shown that evidently, there is a need to celebrate women in order for other women to come up.

“This celebration of women that NGX is implementing in partnership with IFC is going to go a long way to show other institutions the need to promote what is ongoing at all levels of human endeavour that women are actively getting into positions of service to make a positive difference.”

During his opening remarks, the CEO of NGX, Mr Temi Popoola, assured that the organisation will continue to provide the platforms to support issuers and market participants to achieve their gender goals and aspirations.

As for the Senior Country Manager for Nigeria, IFC, Mr Kalim Shah, the IFC will continue to invest in increasing women’s participation in corporate leadership, employment and entrepreneurship.

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Nigerians Groan in Darkness as National Grid Collapses

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By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Many Nigerians have again been thrown in darkness as the national grid has collapsed.

The major distribution companies (DisCos) operating in the country confirmed this development to their customers on Monday.

One of them, Ikeja Electric Plc, sent a message to customers in its coverage area that the national grid collapse happened a few minutes before 11 am today.

“This is to inform you that the outage you are currently experiencing is due to the system collapse of the national grid, which occurred earlier today at 10:50hrs.

“This has affected the Transmission Stations within our network and resulted in the loss of power supply to our customers.

“Kindly bear with us as we await the restoration of the grid. Thank you for your understanding,” the notice from Ikeja Electric stated.

Another operator, Eko Electricity Distribution Company, in a message, informed its customers that, “We regret to inform you of a system collapse on the national grid at precisely 10:52 am.

“Presently, all our injection substations are out of supply.

“We are working with our TCN partners to restore supply as soon as possible. We apologise for the inconvenience.”

On its part, Kaduna Electric said, “We regret to inform you that the power outage being experienced in our franchise states is due to system collapse of the national grid.

The collapse occurred at about 11.07 am, hence, the loss of supply on all our outgoing feeders.

“The power supply shall be restored as soon as the national grip is powered back. Our sincere apologies for the inconvenience.”

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Crown Flour Facilitates Baking Training for Women

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Crown Flour baking training

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Some women have undergone baking training in Lagos sponsored by the flour milling subsidiary of Olam Agri, Crown Flour Mill Limited.

The beneficiaries, who were presented with the National Business and Technical Examinations Board (NABTEB) examination certificates on Friday, September 23, 2022, were chosen through the empowerment initiative of the flour mills tagged Crown Flour Angels (CFA).

The company explained that skills obtained by the women would offer them the opportunity to take up employment in the hospitality sector, even as a good number of them are expected to set up their baking outfits.

“We are committed to enriching the lives of the people across our operating market by providing nutritious, safe and affordable food for the population as well as enabling the actualisation of the fine aspirations of the individuals within the population by supporting the economic development agenda of the government.

“The Crown Flour Angels initiative is one of the valuable levers we are pulling continuously to deliver on the Seeds for the Future programme, our signature value chain development initiative that focuses on supporting farming communities, enabling wider education and skill development for young people, empowering indigent women and promoting health and nutrition across the country,” the Country Head for Olam Agri Nigeria, Mr Ashish Pande, said.

He congratulated the women and urged them to make the best use of the skills they had acquired at the baking academy.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs Cecilia Bolaji Dada, the special guest at the event and presented the certificates to the women, commended CFM for its economic development focus and strong support for women.

“The Lagos State Government is aware of the prevailing economic situation and has been initiating valuable schemes that focus on empowering the active segment to boost their productivity and incomes levels.

“The CFM Crown Flour Angels Initiative would add to the various poverty alleviation and empowerment efforts embarked on by the administration of our hardworking Governor, His Excellency Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. On this note, I thank CFM for being a worthy partner of our dear state,” she said.

Mrs Bola Adeniji, the General Manager/Head of Marketing, CFM, highlighted the importance of the CFA initiative. She explained that the contribution of women to the growth of developing nations is receiving growing attention and that research has shown that a 1% increase in women’s contribution to an economy often raises the level of GDP by 58.4%.

On behalf of the beneficiaries of the initiative, Ms Samuel Oluwaseun Oluwatosin, also a participant in the training scheme, appreciated the efforts of the agribusiness.

She said the training they received would economically uplift them and their families and reinvigorate a desire to contribute to the nation’s economy positively.

A three-day accelerated bakers’ training was organised in Lagos to kick-start the project. The training was facilitated by an International Cake Exploration Société (ICES) expert, amongst others. So far, CFM has trained over 120 ICES women, mainly selected from the lower rung of the socioeconomic spectrum.

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NDLEA Arrests Freight Agents With Cannabis Concealed in Cereal Packs

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By Adedapo Adesanya

Two freight agents have been arrested by officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos, over attempts to smuggle 26.20kg cannabis concealed in cereal packs through the SAHCO shed for export to Dubai, UAE.

The consignment was abandoned at the shed before the airport security transferred it to NDLEA. Further investigation by the agency led to the arrest of Mr Olatunbosun Damilola Abimbola, 34, who works at Ashadox Logistics Services, a cargo company, on Friday, September 23.

He reportedly confessed to the crime but stated that he acted on the instructions of his Managing Director, Mr Oloyede Shakiru Abiola, who was promptly arrested.

The 40-year-old indigene of Ibadan West Local Government Area of Oyo State stated that due to the strict security measures put in place by the NDLEA, he was forced to abandon the cargo to avoid being detected.

In a statement on Sunday, NDLEA spokesman, Mr Femi Babafemi, also disclosed that a 75-year-old grandfather, Mr Usman Bokina Bajama (alias Clemen), was apprehended by the agency as part of 22 suspects arrested in operations across seven states, during which over one million capsules of banned new psychoactive substances were seized.

According to him, over one million bottles/capsules of banned psychoactive substances, Akuskura and tramadol, as well as 2,536 kilograms of cannabis, were taken hold of, adding that over 10 hectares of farms where these substances were being cultivated have been destroyed in Edo and Adamawa.

The septuagenarian was arrested in the early hours of Tuesday, September 20, at Anguwan Sate, Mararraban Tola, Mayo Belwa council area of Adamawa, where he had a cannabis plantation from where 49kg of the illicit substance was recovered.

Meanwhile, in Kwara, at least 19,878 bottles of Akuskura were intercepted by NDLEA operatives along the Ilorin-Jebba highway on Wednesday, September 21 and two suspects: Mr Oladokun Oluwaseun, 49, and Mr Ibrahim Jimoh, 27, arrested.

They claimed the consignment packed in 35 jumbo sacks was loaded in Ibadan, Oyo state, and meant for distribution in Jos, Plateau state. Earlier, two suspects: Mr Ukoro Ifeanyi, 46, and Mr Idowu Toyosi, 20, were arrested with 2,290 capsules of tramadol and 100 bottles of codeine-based syrup at Mararaba park, Ilorin.

According to the NDLEA spokesman, the drugs were brought in from Onitsha, Anambra state.

NDLEA operatives in Lagos, while acting on credible intelligence, intercepted a Volvo truck loaded with 2,146 kilograms of cannabis in the Sangotedo area of Ajah.

Three suspects, Mr Abdulazeez Rasheed; Mr Afeez Raheem and Mr Moshood Suleiman, were arrested.

At least 979,119 capsules of expired pregabalin weighing 733kg were recovered from Musbahu Ya’u, 28, and five others in the Dansarai area of Kano, while in Enugu, 197.8kg of cannabis was recovered in a store at new market, Enugu on Tuesday, September 20.

Similarly, 117.7kg of the psychoactive substance was intercepted along the Okene-Abuja expressway in a truck coming from Lagos to Abuja.

In Edo State, six cannabis farmers were arrested when NDLEA operatives stormed their farms at Chigbite, Utese forest in Ovia North East LGA and Ekudo forest, Uhunmonde LGA, where over 10 hectares of cannabis plantation were destroyed and more than 193kg of the processed illicit substance seized.

Those arrested include Mr David Hanson; Mr Ufuoma Progress; Mr Marvelous Armstrong; Mr Marvelous Efe; Mr Joshua Abubakar and Mr Elijah Abubakar.

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