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Telecommunications operators in Nigeria have threatened to withdraw their service support to the banks as the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) debt hits N80 billion.

The Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo disclosed this in Lagos while speaking with media at the NITRA ICT Growth Conference 2.0 organised by the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters’ Association.


Adebayo stated that the matter has remained unresolved and the USSD debt has now increased to N80 Billion.

Recall, that the Nigerian Communications Commission last year said a meeting was convened to resolve the N42 billion USSD debt between the telecom operators and the banks in the country.

USSD is a Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) protocol that is used to send text messages. This is similar to Short Message Service (SMS) but in the banking industry, allows users without a smartphone or data and internet connection to do mobile banking through the use of codes. USSD-based mobile banking can be used for fund transfers, checking account balances, and generating bank statements, among other uses


The huge debts came as a result of deductions made by way of commission by the banks during banking transactions but were never remitted to the telecomm operators that own the infrastructure on which the transactions thrive.

The ALTON boss said that the telcos have continued to provide access to USSD infrastructure despite the debt owed by the banks, the major beneficiaries of the USSD code.

The ongoing crisis had therefore led to a new threat by the telcos, which planned to disconnect the banks from further having access to the service.

Adebayo also clarified that since the banks debit their customers for use of the USSD channels and also plan to increase the charges, the debt has to be settled.

An All Progressives Congress (APC) leader has said claims that presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is sick and recuperating in a London hospital are false.

The source, who was privy to the former Lagos governor’s trip, said: “Tinubu is not sick. I saw him before he travelled on Saturday night to London.”


Asked whether the APC presidential candidate had met with Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and his allies in London, the source said: “I am sure if the opportunity presents itself, they will meet.”

Until yesterday when a picture of him with some APC bigwigs surfaced on the internet, Tinubu has not been seen in the public for almost four days, his absence became even more worrisome considering the fact that it’s coming at one of the most crucial period in the build up to the 2023 general election as electioneering finally began on Wednesday and the presidential candidates also signed peace accord for the election yesterday.

Friday, 30 September 2022 06:30

NECO releases 2022 SSCE results

National Examinations Council, (NECO) has released this year’s Senior School CERTIFICATE Examinations, (Internal) results.

The number of candidates who made Credit and above in the English language is 889,188 representing 74.89% while the number of candidates who made Credit and above in Mathematics is 929,140 representing 78.23%.


The result also shows that the number of candidates who made five credits and above including English and Mathematics is 727,864 representing 60.74%.

Total number of candidates who actually sat for the examination is. 1,198,412 out of 1,209,703 actually registered for the examinations.

The spokesperson for Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign, Senator Dino Melaye, has claimed that the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu’s absence from the Presidential Peace Accord signing ceremony on Thursday was on purpose.

Recsll that while the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar and other party candidates were physically present at the event which took place in Abuja, Tinubu was represented by his running mate, Kashim Shettima.


Amid speculations that the APC candidate may be battling some health crisis, reports emerged on Thursday that he is currently in London, United Kingdom.

Reacting to Tinubu’s absence, Dino in a video on his Facebook page, said he knows why the former Lagos governor was absent.


He however failed to state the reason the APC candidate was absent.


He said, “I noticed that Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the only presidential candidate who was absent at the signing of the National Peace Accord today. He was obviously the only one absent.

“I know why he was absent. Unfortunately, there was no provision for thumbprinting. You definitely have to sign. Atiku signed and that is all I have to say”.

Urges citizens to come out & vote

 

 

A Kaduna based political activist and public analyst, Dr. Kailani Muhammad, has said that Nigerians should consider returning the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) following its remarkable achievenments in the last seven years.

He said that prior to Buhari’s administration, the citizens had experienced many challenges ranging from Boko-Haram, corruption and maladministration.


Kailani who is also the National Chairman of Network for Election Education, Sensitization and Awareness , spoke a press conference in Kaduna.

While applauding Buhari’s administration, the political activist explained that the present administrion had successfully mitigated the challenges of Boko-Haram, while also aggresively tackling banditry and kidnapping, particularly in the north western states.


” There is no doubt, the country had its rough times and challenges, but yet, significant successes have been recorded in the areas of security, economy and infrastructural developments and other sectors of societal development.

” It is our ardent hope that Nigeria will witness once again a very peaceful election that will usher in the next set of leadership that will carry on with the good work started by the APC administration,” he said.


Kailani however, explained that his group is ready to sensitize the public and educate them about the importance of their votes, adding that citizens must ensure that all votes count and minimize instances of voter apathy.

” We are aware that electing good leaders who are patriotic enough to advance the successes already recorded by the APC administration cannot be achieved when the electorates are ignorant of the tasks ahead of them, hence, we take it as a duty to mobilise and sensitize Nigerians towards understanding their rights as citizens.”


” The Network is desirous to see a robust campaign that is based on issues and not about personalities or character assassination,” he said.

Bukka Hut’s founder and chief executive officer, Rasheed Jaiyeola, has opened up about his relationship with late, Laolu Martins.

According to the report, Martins passed away in Lekki on Tuesday. A wide range of Lagosians are questioning the death.


In a statement, Jaiyeola said the board, management and staff were mourning the “key stakeholder and a minority shareholder”.

The founder regretted that some persons were capitalising on the incident to maliciously misrepresent the facts.


Jaiyeola said he built the restaurant in August 2011 and jointly owns majority shares of the company with his wife and sister.


“Bukka Hut is not a one man business as there are two other shareholders/directors but they are not involved in the daily management.”

The clarification said Jaiyeola and Martin’s were co-owners of Nigerian International Securities Ltd (NISL) but the deceased invested in the eatery at inception.

“Rasheed resigned from NISL in 2016 to focus on building Bukka Hut while Olaolu remained the MD/C.E.O of NISL and its related businesses.”

Noting that the family already reacted to the untimely demise, the statement appealed to the public to respect their wishes.
Martins, a stockbroker and accountant, had over a decade of experience in investment and banking, asset management, and pension fund management.

He started his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) in 1999 and later Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc where he served in Financial Control and Trade Finance/Foreign Operations.


Martin’s was transferred to Stanbic IBTC Asset Management Ltd as Financial Controller, Head Asset Management and lastly Head Stockbroking.

The deceased resigned in 2005 to join Shell Nig. CPFA Ltd, the Fund Manager of Shell Pensions Scheme. He was Head of Investments up till 2008, and joined NISL afterwards.

Friday, 30 September 2022 06:23

2023: Furore in APC over campaign council

There is confusion within the ranks of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, following a protest letter purportedly written by its National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, to its presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, regarding the composition of its Presidential Campaign Council, PCC.

Hours after the letter was leaked, the spokesman of the party, Mr Felix Morka, issued a statement, yesterday morning, saying it was not authored by Senator Adamu.


The denial nonetheless, party officials knowledgeable about developments in the APC said the party’s current position was a mere recant.

“That letter is the position of the NWC. Whatever is happening now is an attempt at a recant,” a party official said.

An aide of Tinubu who pleaded anonymity had earlier told Vanguard that his principal will not react to the letter as published in the media, saying: “No letter was sent to Asiwaju. So, how do we react to a leaked letter that was never sent?”

 

However, an ally of Tinubu accused Senator Adamu and members of the National Working Committee, NWC, of trying to hijack the campaign council.


He said: “I think Adamu and members of the NWC are just being clever by half. What they want to do is hijack the campaign council.

“For instance, officials of the party do not like the fact that Tinubu made James Faleke secretary of the campaign council. What most of the NWC wanted is to retain the same position in the campaign council as they are currently holding in the party.

“They wanted to take control of the council which is not possible because that will be to the detriment of the campaign.

“There are a lot of people who are not happy with the NWC, especially the way they handled the conduct of the presidential primary. Most of the APC governors are on the same page with Tinubu because he is carrying them along.

“I also know that governors are not happy with the NWC but I am sure the crisis will be resolved soon.

“I also know that Adamu is only trying to blackmail Tinubu because there is no time the party chairman requested for Asiwaju’s attention that he (Tinubu) does not answer him.

‘’There is more to the letter he wrote, otherwise, why should he write a letter and then leak it to the press? We all know there is an ulterior motive but what I know is that Adamu’s plan will fail.”

Purported letter

In the letter, Adamu accused Tinubu of breaching the agreement he had with the NWC with regard to the composition of the campaign council.

The composition of the council had been serially delayed as the NWC was said to have set up a three-member committee to interface with Tinubu’s team.

NWC’s recommendations

The recommendations of the NWC team are to have Senator Adamu as Deputy Chairman of the Council; the APC Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Abubakar Kyari as Deputy Regional Co-ordinating Chairman (North) and his counterpart in the South, Mr. Emma Eneukwu, as Deputy Regional Co-ordinating Chairman (South).

The demand also includes having APC National Secretary, Sen. Iyiola Omisore as Vice Chairman (Party Affairs); the National Organizing Secretary, Alhaji Sulaiman Argungu as Deputy Director-General (Organizing); the APC National Vice Chairman (South South), Hon. Victor Giadom as Deputy Zonal Campaign Coordinator, South-South and the APC National Vice Chairman (South-West) as Deputy Zonal Campaign Coordinator of the zone.

Others are APC National Vice Chairman (South East) Deputy Zonal Campaign Coordinator; APC National Vice Chairman (North Central) as Deputy Zonal Campaign Co-ordinator; APC National Vice Chairman (North East) as Deputy Zonal Campaign Co-ordinator and APC National Vice Chairman (North West) as Deputy Zonal Campaign Co-ordinator of the zone.

The NWC team was said to have also recommended the creation of more directorates like the Directorate of Media Relations to be headed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary; Directorate of Compliance to be headed by the National Legal Adviser; Directorate of Organizing, Contact and Mobilization to be headed by the National Organizing Secretary.

“The NWC also wants the National Women Leader to coordinate the Women Wing; the National Youth Leader to be in charge of Youth Wing and the National Leader, People with Disabilities (PWD) to coordinate people with disabilities in the Presidential Campaign Council PCC”, said a top-ranking party official who pleaded anonymity.

However, in the letter Adamu wrote to Tinubu in London, the party said the presidential candidate is operating solo whereas winning elections is supposed to be a collaborative effort.

“This correspondence has become necessary in view of developments that took place over the last few days around the purported appointments into the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) that was announced precipitately by officials of the Council, without making recourse to the NWC for approval. All along, the NWC had been disposed towards the campaign in a cooperative spirit that is driven by the overall interest of the Party and the singular desire of victory for our candidates, in the persons of your esteemed self and your running mate.

“It is against this background that the NWC received with astonishment and regret, the press release by the PCC on 23rd September 2022, in which a purported list of (422) appointees was announced, which effectively served as the approved roster of participants in the Party’s Presidential Campaign Council.

“The purported list not only came as a complete surprise to the NWC and the party’s leadership, but also contravened the principles and purposes of the arrangements that you and I had led towards the adoption of the organogram of the PCC, and its principal officials.

“Without further admonishment or complaints, I wish hereby to call upon Your Excellency to restrain the PCC from undertaking solo projects of this nature and agree to work with all stakeholders towards taking our Party to victory. I shall not find it necessary to reiterate the importance of the party in the overall scheme of things in these campaigns, and the singular position of the NWC in driving the process towards our securing of victory in the polls.

“It suffices for me to convey the general and overwhelming sentiment of the NWC with regards to the ill-timed and unfortunate release of the PCC list, which confounded rather than pleased the members and whose withdrawal will assure the NWC of Your Excellency’s respect and disposition towards the party, as well as the magnanimous spirit of cooperation towards achieving victory together with the NWC,” Adamu’s purported letter read in part.

Letter didn’t come from Adamu

Describing the letter as a “draft”, Morka said it did not emanate from the chairman.

His words: “Our attention has been drawn to a ‘draft’ letter in circulation purportedly written by His Excellency, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the National Chairman of our great party, addressed to His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Presidential Candidate of our great Party, expressing dissatisfaction over the recently released list of the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC).

“To be clear, the ‘draft’ letter did not emanate from the party. An unsigned letter that marks itself as a ‘draft’ cannot and should not be attributed to its purported author.

“The National Chairman of our party and our Presidential Candidate maintain cordial and effective communication channels and enjoy full liberty of open and frank conversations on matters of interest to the party and our Presidential Campaign.

As such, an unsigned ‘draft’ letter of the kind in circulation is patently unnecessary and of no qualitative value to engagement between the Party and the PCC.

“We will not be distracted by the wishes and actions of detractors that wait gleefully but in vain for some kind of crisis to erupt between the party and the PCC.

“We stand united, as a Party, in our resolve and commitment to execute a focused and issue-driven campaign to persuade Nigerians to renew our mandate in next year’s general election”.

Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, Governor of Anambra State, has banned tricycle and shuttle bus unions in the state. The governor also sacked touts operating in motor parks in the state.

In a press release made available to newsmen on Thursday in Awka, the capital of Anambra State, Solido made this claim. The press release was written by the state’s commissioner for information, Mr. Paul Nwosu.


Tricycle and bus operators in Awka protested in large numbers on Thursday and Friday of last week. They were upset about the N15,000 and N20,000 monthly tax the government had imposed on them.

But the state government in its reaction to the protest said the union and touts masquerading as revenue agents were misleading and overtaxing the operators.


Part of the release read: “In order to forestall breakdown of law and order, the state government hereby suspends all tricycle and shuttle bus unions in the state with immediate effect for six months.


“This is pending further investigations and possible harmonization of the unions which shall have a leadership known to, and recognized by, the State Government.

“This is as a follow-up to the government’s recent consultation with the direct representatives of tricycle and shuttle bus operators.

“Government has considered their plea and decided to offer them a convenient payment option and other fringe benefits that could add value to their well-being.”

The state government continued, “Tricycle operators now have the option of paying N4,000 weekly or N15,000 monthly. However, tricycle operators in the 8 Local Government Areas that are affected by the curfew will pay N3,000 weekly or N12,000 monthly.

“They will revert to the normal rates of N4,000 weekly or N15,000 monthly as soon as the curfew is lifted. Shuttle bus operators will pay N5,000 weekly or N20,000 monthly.”


Considering operators around the university environment and the current ASUU strike, the government said NANS shuttle buses in the area will pay N2,500 weekly or N10,000 monthly.

“This group will also revert to the normal rates of N5,000 weekly or N20,000 monthly as soon as the strike is called off. Taxis will pay N4,375 weekly or N17,500 monthly.

“Township bus will pay N5,000 weekly or N20,000 monthly. Mini truck and Pickups will pay N5,000 weekly or N20,000 monthly respectively. Intra-state will pay N6,250 weekly or N25,000 monthly.

“Loading and offloading in government (public) parks will now be free. Moving forward, every compliant commercial vehicle driver will get a free Health Insurance cover that would enable the insured have access to basic health and emergency services in any Anambra State hospital.

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“Government wishes to reiterate its ban on touts (agbero) and cult groups that are used to enforce illegal collection of tolls and taxes.

“Only government accredited agents are entitled to collect tolls. Alternatively, the commercial vehicle operator could go and pay at any of the banks or any Anambra State Internal Revenue Service (AIRS) pay-point nearest to him,” the release read.

The Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) has announced that due to the poor state of basic education in the North East, approximately 1,500 schools have been forced to close.

Professor Olusegun Ajiboye, TRCN’s Registrar and Chief Executive Officer, made these revelation while delivering a speech in Ibadan, Oyo State.


He stated that terrorism-related insecurity forced the schools to close.
He spoke during the NUT National Delegates Conference in Ibadan.

Ajiboye also disclosed that over 910 schools have either been damaged or destroyed while about 2, 295 teachers have been killed in the insurgency between 2009 and 2022.


Ajiboye asked the Federal Government to review its security architecture, insisting there is a need to address the security situation in the region.


He said, “Over 1,500 schools have been forced to close in North eastern Nigeria due to terrorism and insurgency.

“Over 910 schools have either been damaged or destroyed while 2, 295 teachers have been killed in the northeast between 2009 and 2022.

“Federal Government should review its security architecture to address the “deteriorating security situation because of its effect on education

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“Government should implement fully the safe schools’ declaration guidelines endorsed by Nigeria in 2015 and ratified by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.

“The presence of armed forces in and near schools can make it a target of retaliatory attacks increasing the risk to children and teachers as well as the likelihood that education will be disrupted”.

What “geographically, historically and ethnically, by custom, tradition and practice, Lagos belongs to the Western Region was settled during the Ibadan 1950 Constitutional Conference” (Lord Milverton.) “Payne, Mabogunje, Forde, Akinsemoyin, the Idejo chiefs etc., according to Dr. P. D. Cole agreed that the Aworis of Isheri were the first inhabitants of Lagos. Olofin, a legendary Yoruba whose descendants are the Idejo landowning white cap chiefs founded Lagos”. Addo, Ashipa’s son from his Benin wife, a good mediator and a peaceful envoy from Benin, was only invited by Olofin, following Ashipa’s death, to fill his father’s position. (P. D. Cole: Modern and Traditional Elites in the Politics of Lagos)

 

Lagosians like their fellow Yoruba compatriots are social and therefore very receptive to outsiders. This unfortunately has led to serial betrayals by visiting fortune seekers who lust over their land. First it was the British who initially came to trade in pepper and other items. By 1840 they had turned Lagos to a slave port. In 1861, after obtaining a treaty of the cession of Lagos from King Dosunmu under duress in a typical act of banditry, they drove away Kosoko, his successor in order to take possession of Lagos.

Lagos by 1872 had become part of colony of Gold Coast with her resources coming under William Macgregor and Walter Egerton. From a colony in 1886, it became part of the colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria in 1906. It acquired a new status as the capital of Nigeria in 1914 where by 1925 those born within it were no more subjected to the laws of the protectorate.

As prospect of self-rule drew near, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and his Igbo political elite were scheming to become the new colonisers. At a period, C.C. Mojekwu was leading a protest by non-Onitsha Ibos for representation in Onitsha Town Council, Zik, described by Richard Sclar as “persuasive teacher, an effective propagandist, an astute political tactician, a rugged antagonist, was as the adopted son of Herbert Macaulay and leader of NCNC for a decade (1944-1953), winning election all over the west while Mbonu, another Igbo man was a deputy Mayor of Lagos.

What truncated Zik and his group’s plans was the NCNC intra-party crisis which led to the suspension of Dr Olorunnibe who in turn as one of the four elected Lagos NCNC members to the legislative council refused to step down for Zik. The crisis forced Zik to retrace his way back to the east where he replaced Eyo Ita , an Efik minority as premier.

 

But Zik’s supporters did not forgive Lagos. Dr. Mbadiwe, not long after, moved a motion to turn Lagos to a federal territory, a motion ignored by Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa. Then Zik’s NCNC Igbo supporters taking a cue from Mbadiwe coined a song “Lagos was no man’s land” to which Dr Olorunnibe and Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, NCNC supporters retorted “Oponu alailero to ni gedegbe l’Eko wa” (meaning: unthinking fools who claimed Lagos is floating in the air without a supporting pillar). Zik with the support of Ahmadu Bello finally had his pound of flesh during the 1957 London Conference when Lagos became a federal territory despite protest from Awo and his group.

The selective killing of eight northern senior military officers on January 29, 1966 and the retaliatory July 29, 1966 mindless hunting down of 33 Igbo military officers and the civil war that followed were all for the soul of Lagos. And when the war broke out, Lagos, repeatedly bombed by Biafra forces instead of northern towns where killing of Igbo took place during the pogrom and where the war was coming to the east, underscored the importance of Lagos to Ojukwu.  Because Lagos was Ojukwu’s big prize, he followed his troop’s Benin victory, with a letter to Col Victor Banjo promising to appoint him administrator of Yoruba country after her pacification while he, Ojukwu would decide who would become administrator of Lagos.

 
 
 

And predictably, when Lagos, the coveted prize of the war between two fair-weather friends turned political foes, went to the north, after the war, successive Lagos Affairs ministers and administrators were all of northern extraction. There were Alhaji Ribadu, Mallam Yar’Adua, General Kontagora, Barnabas Gemade, General Adisa, and later Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, Brigadier Raji Rasaki and Mike Akhigbe. And their mandate appeared to be the sharing of Lagos’ priceless plots without a thought for those they routinely dismissed as shanty dwellers or squatters.

 

Lagos got little relief from the exit of their military colonisers who were immediately replaced by a comical group of Igbo young men who after acquiring great fortunes in Lagos set up a Biafra Radio where they issue out infantile tales of how Lagos with a population of about 189,000 when Igbo fortune seekers first came to Lagos from Enugu, Aba and Port Harcourt with population ranging between 3000, and 10,000 was a jungle developed by Igbo. For them, Sir Louis Ojukwu, Emeka Ojukwu’s father who was born in 1909 built Apapa Ports, constructed with taxes from Lagos between 1908 and 1912.  They feed the uninformed listeners of their Radio Biafra with tales of how federal funds built Lagos State, unable to make a distinction between Western Region which extended to Mushin and Oyingbo, limiting the federal territory to Lagos Island, Ikoyi, and Victoria Island. They claim that with the population of Igbo in Lagos and their control of Lagos economy, they should be ready to ensure the next governor of Lagos comes from either Anambra or Delta states.

Sadly, since many of them they don’t read, it is impossible to remind them about how Ahmadu Bello once counselled Zik on the imperative of understanding other people’s cultures. And unfortunately, when Oba Rilwan Akiolu, the Eleko of Eko in the run up to the 2015 election warned the Igbos to respect the sensibilities of their host communities, he was viciously attacked by angry Igbo social media anarchists.

It is hoped the aspiring new colonisers will be humbled enough to learn from our recent history. Yoruba by nature are federalists. For wanting what was good for them for others, especially the northern minorities which constituted about 48% of northern population and the eastern minorities which constituted about 39% of the region, Tafawa Balewa and Dr Azikiwe imprisoned Awolowo, truncated development of the West and created Midwest Region which was less than 24% of the West ignoring violent agitations for self-actualisation in their respective regions.

As it later turned out, those who sowed the wind reaped the whirlwind. It was not the Yoruba that drove the Igbos from Lagos or other parts of Nigeria in 1967. Yoruba only welcomed them back with open hands after war with accumulated rents on their properties even at a period their properties on Ijaw Port Harcourt land were declared abandoned properties.  Similarly, Yoruba did not blame the Igbo leadership for their role in the 1993 election debacle which led to the death of MKO Abiola in prison for winning a pan-Nigeria mandate in spite of Igbo votes. Again, it was not the Yoruba that drove them back to the east in the guise of going for new yam festival. If anything, Yoruba received them back to Lagos with open hands when their fellow Igbo compatriots at home chased them back as a result of scarcity of everything including salt.

Our recent experiences have shown that disrespect for the cultures of host communities by fortune seekers have consequences. If Igbo culture celebrates disloyalty because Igbo ‘do not understand the gods of their host communities’ (Chinua Achebe in No Longer at Ease), Yoruba culture expects a beneficiary to share in the tribulations of his benefactor in the period of adversity.

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