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COVID-19: FG, NITDA to Provide One Million ICT Jobs



ICT Jobs

By Adedapo Adesanya

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), through the support of the federal government, is planning to provide one million jobs in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

Director-General of the agency, Mr Kashifu Abdullahi, said this during the virtual meeting on the submission of report from the agency’s Advisory Committee, mandated to access the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Nigeria’s technology and innovation ecosystem, also known as Tech4Covid19.

He said the team was put in place because his agency knew before hand that the impact of the virus on the economy was unprecedented and that there would be job loss.

Business Post had reported that the advisory committee was constituted in the wake of coronavirus outbreak in Nigeria last month as one the measures put forward by Mr Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, to cushion the impact of the pandemic on information technology ecosystem.

The team was made up of 10 members and were each tasked with sustainable strategies to help maintain technological progress in the face of the slowdown brought about by the pandemic.

Each were tasked on different areas from provision of affordable internet access to individuals and businesses; develop a framework to facilitate access to financing for tech and tech-enabled ventures; devising modalities for encouraging the development and adoption of digital technology, as well as support policies in line with the Work from Home directive of the federal government.

At the meeting, Mr Kashifu maintained that based on the discussion he had with the Minister, government is targeting to create or retain one million jobs in the ICT sector this year.

He said the FG was looking at many different areas in terms of startups doing agricultural value chains, empowering hubs, developing and implementing the framework of business process outsourcing and other areas, to see how thousands of jobs can be created directly or indirectly.

“I urge the committee to develop a business plan; stating facts and figures on how the IT sector will create and protect jobs.

“What I want from the committee are two things: one for example, you state that we have a 100,000 work force and if the government does not do anything to intervene during this pandemic we are going to lose the 100,000 jobs or if government intervenes by doing some certain things we are going to retain all the 100,000 jobs and create additional 30,000 jobs,” he said.

He called on businesses to approach the agency with facts and figures, stressing that government was open to intervene quickly as job creation is one of its top priorities.

“We all believe that a lot of things will change after this pandemic. As some believe that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will take place. As such, we need to unlock this hidden opportunities or identify the silver lining which are the Digital First and keep businesses up and running,” he added.

He further said, “A lot of technologies will come on board and people will embrace them. A lot of things are going to change and a lot of businesses are going to be powered by technologies.”

Concerning the recommendations, Mr Kashifu assured the committee that NITDA and federal government will do everything possible in their capacity to see that all the highlighted recommendations in the four critical areas are tackled accordingly.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Shoprite Workers Protest Inhuman Treatment



Shoprite workers protest

By Ahmed Rahma

Some employees of Africa’s largest food retailer store, Shoprite, in Akure, Ondo State on Tuesday embarked on a protest against an alleged inhuman treatment by the management of the company.

The workers of the organisation, who gathered in front of the mall as early as 8 am today, accused the management of treating them like slaves.

They carried placards with various messages, calling on the company to treat them with dignity.

Some of the messages conveyed in the different placards read, Say no to modern slavery, They want to abandon us and run, 10 years of service without entitlements, and they want to run, Reward our sacrifice, among others.

The aggrieved workers used various songs to press home their demands.

Recall that a few days ago, the National Assembly expressed displeasure over the casualization of works in the country.

Shoprite is a South African company operating in Nigeria and other countries on the continent.

Last year, the firm said it was planning to exit Nigeria because of a decline in sales.

Details later…

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Lagos Civil Servants to Work-From-Home Till March 26



Lagos Civil Servants

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Workers on the payroll of the Lagos State government from grade level 12 and below have been directed to continue to work from home for another four weeks.

They were supposed to resume on Monday, March 1, 2021, but the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has extended the directive by a month.

A statement issued by the Head of Service, Mr Hakeem Muri-Okunola, disclosed that all public servants on salary grade levels 12 and below should continue to work from home with effect from Monday, March 1 to Friday, March 26, 2021.

It was explained that this action was taken to further stem the spread of COVID-19 within the public service and other stakeholders.

The government said it was delighted that measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus in the state were already yielding meaningful results as there has been a steady decline in the number of recorded cases in the preceding weeks.

In the statement, Mr Muri-Okunola maintained that in order to sustain the success so far recorded; the Governor felt it was necessary to extend the policy.

However, the HoS stressed that the directive does not preclude any of the exempted grade levels from reporting for duty whenever the Accounting Officer deems it necessary.

“All public servants are advised to continue to stay safe by observing all COVID-19 protocols such as physical distancing, regular use of face masks and hand hygiene.

“Also, Accounting Officers are to ensure strict adherence to all extant directives aimed to guarantee physical distancing in the workplace by preparation of weekly duty rosters as considered germane to effective service delivery in respective MDAs,” the head of civil servants in Lagos State said.

Recall that Lagos State has witnessed a decline in the number of infections in the recent past due to the government’s regular updates on preventive measures as well as public enlightenment campaigns to create awareness about measures to stem the spread of the deadly virus.

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Former Wema Bank MD/CEO Joins Chams




By Ahmed Rahma

Following the death of its non-executive director, Professor Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, Chams Plc said its board has approved the appointment Mr Olusegun Oloketuyi and Mrs Olamojiba Bakare as non-executive directors effective February 18, 2021, subject to the ratification at the Annual General Meeting (AGM).

In a notification to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the company said until his death, Mr Ibidapo-Obe joined the company as a director on September 29, 2015, and made major contributions to the organisation during his time on the board.

One of the new appointees, Mr Segun Oloketuyi, is a seasoned banker and accountant. He was the immediate Managing Director of Wema Bank Plc.

He had also served as General Manager, Business Optimization Division and Executive Director of Business Development at Skye Bank Plc and Deputy General Manager, Corporate and Commercial Markets at Polaris Bank Plc (formerly Prudent Bank Plc) and as its Executive Director of Finance and Enterprise Risk Management.

On her part, Mrs Olamojiba Bakare is a reputable international lawyer, having qualified as a Solicitor of England and Wales from Inns of Court School of Law.

She also has a Masters degree in The Theory and Practice of Dispute Prevention and Resolution from the University of Westminster.

Mrs Olamojiba Bakare is armed with almost 20 years’ experience in the corporate world, out of which she used 15 years as a practicing Solicitor in the United Kingdom.

Since her relocation to Nigeria in 2010, she has both taught corporate law and practiced as a solicitor.

She comes with a wealth of knowledge, experience, professionalism and passion.

Chams PLC is Nigeria’s leading provider of integrated identity management and identity and payments transactional systems and solutions provider.

Over the last3 decades, Chams has evolved from computer and hardware maintenance to providing enterprise technology solutions in the identity management and transaction payments space to public and private sector institutions.

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Senate Confirms Buratai, Other Ex-Service Chiefs as Ambassadors



Buratai ambassadors

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The nomination of the immediate past service chiefs as non-career ambassadors has been confirmed by the Nigerian Senate.

President Muhammadu Buhari had selected the former Chief of Defence Staff, Mr Gabriel Olonisakin; the former Chief of Army Staff, Mr Tukur Buratai; the former Chief of Air Staff, Mr Ibok Ibas; and the former Chief of Naval Staff, Mr Abubakar Sadique as non-career envoys shortly after they retired from the military.

He had sent their names to the Senate for screening and confirmation on February 5, 2021, in accordance with the law.

On Tuesday, despite opposition to their nomination, the upper chamber of the National Assembly led by the Senate President, Mr Ahmad Lawan, authorised their appointments.

Critics had accused President Buhari of appointing the former military officers as diplomats to shield them from prosecution at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

They were accused of human rights abuses while they were in office, especially the October 20, 2020, incident in Lagos, where it was alleged that soldiers opened fire on some peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate.

The demonstration was for an end to police brutality in the country as well as bad governance. No one has been indicted as a panel instituted to look into the matter was yet to conclude its findings.

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FG Targets 40,000 Jobs from Steel Industry



steel industry

By Adedapo Adesanya

The nation’s steel industry, when fully developed, could generate not less than 40,000 jobs and would drive economic growth, the federal government has said.

According to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, the steel sector has the capability to propel the economic diversification agenda of the present administration.

Mr Adegbite, who was at a facility tour of Premium Steel and Mines Limited, Warri Delta State, therefore, encouraged the management of the firm to begin full operations to help achieve these goals.

“The mandate of the ministry is to expand the sector, use it to diversify the economy and create jobs and also to generate revenue for the government.

“I will encourage you to speed up the process. You are going to employ a lot of people which is a welcome development,” the Minister said.

Mr Adegbite also said that it was important for the nation’s steel sector to produce flat steel sheet, saying it’s vital for the development of the sector.

“For the nation to industrialise, we need to produce flat sheet, which is the ultimate goal of the sector. With flat sheet we can produce many things like engine blocks, vehicle bodies etc’

Mr Adegbite also rallied the steel producer to support the metallurgical Industry bill, adding that the bill when enacted into law would assist in establishing programmes that would aid the private sector to operate optimally, producing competitive high-quality products for both local and international market.

“Government is willing to do everything to support the industry. That’s why we have proposed a metallurgical industrial Bill, which is at the council for approval. When it is approved it will support the industry.

“It will make it a lot easier for you to operate. We would have been empowered by the law to support you. The support we give will have the backing of the law,” he said.

In his remarks, the GCEO of Premium Steel and Mines Limited, Mr Anant Badjatya, said that the management of the company was working towards fully reviving the company.

He said that the company would save the nation more than a million tons of steel in import and conserve about 600 million dollars in foreign exchange when working at full capacity.

“We aim to save the nation about 600 million dollars from import substitution.”

Premium Steel was formerly called Delta Steel Company before it was privatised, the company was designed to produce 1.2 million tonnes of liquid steel per annum to be cast into 960,000 metric tonnes of billets and rolled 330,000 metric tonnes in its rolling mill.

The remaining 630,000 metric tonnes were to feed the 3 inland rolling mills at Jos, Oshogbo and Katsina which have 210,000 metric tonnes capacity rolling mills each.

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Buhari Picks Audi as New NSCDC Commandant-General



NSCDC Commandant-General

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) now has a new Commandant-General and he is Mr Ahmed Abubakar Audi.

A statement issued on Thursday by the Director for Press and Public Relations at the Ministry of Interior, Mr Mohammed Manga, disclosed that the appointment of Mr Audi was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The statement signed on behalf of the Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, explained that the new Commandant-General was chosen by the President following the retirement of Mr Abdullahi Gana Muhammadu from service.

Mr Audi was described as the most qualified officer for the position. He was said to have undergone a transparent selection process and emerged the best candidate.

“President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Ahmed Abubakar Audi as the new Commandant-General of NSCDC following the retirement from service of Abdullahi Gana Muhammadu,” the statement said.

“Ahmed Audi emerged the top best candidate out of those that went through the transparent selection process initiated by the Ministry of Interior through the board to ensure that the most suitable among the top-ranking officers in the service was appointed to replace the out-going Commandant-General of the NSCDC,” it added.

In a related development, President Buhari has nominated Haliru Nababa as the new Controller-General of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS).

However, his appointment is subject to the confirmation of the Senate in line with the provision of the new Act establishing the Nigerian Correctional Service 2019, the statement said.

In the statement, the Minister of Interior, who doubles as the Chairman of Civil Defence, Correctional, Fire and Immigration Board (CDCFIB), “congratulated the new appointees.”

He urged them to “ensure full implementation of the mandate of their services as well as to ensure synergy with other security agencies in the country with the view to providing efficient internal security services and citizenship integrity for Nigerians and foreigners alike in line with the policy thrust of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.”

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