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Category: News

CHIDINMA OJUKWU MAKES A TURNAROUND IN HER CONFESSION ON USIFO ATAGA’S DEATH

On 16th June 2021, the Nigerians woke to the shocking news of the death of Nigerian billionaire and owner of Super TV, Mr. Usifo Ataga which circulated widely on social media. His body had been found with lacerations and multiple stab wounds in an apartment he rented alongside a female companion a few days prior to that day in Lekki, Lagos state.

Upon investigation by the Nigerian Police, the female companion was found to be 21-year-old Chidinma Ojukwu, a 300 level student of the University of Lagos.

Chidinma Ojukwu

According to the owner of the apartment, Chidinma had called to book a stay in the apartment with an international number, claiming that she had just arrived in Nigeria from a foreign country and she needed a place to stay in order to self-isolate, following the COVID-19 protocols for travelers, before she would meet up with her family. She also used a fake name, ‘Jewel‘.

Workers in the lodge said it was difficult to describe Chidinma as she always had a mask and sunglasses on.

After the news of Mr. Ataga’s death broke, Chidinma granted an interview to the press where she confessed to killing him by stabbing him repeatedly. According to her, Ataga, whom she met through friends, and had been seeing her for about four months, forced her to have sex with him after they had taken alcohol and smoked some narcotics, which made her sleepy.

This led to an altercation, and the eventual death of Mr Ataga, according to Chidinma.

In what has seemed to be a flip of events, Miss Ojukwu, has granted another interview with Crime Fighters, in which she has made a total turnaround, stating she didn’t commit the murder,  but only found Ataga’s corpse after returning to the service apartment where both of them had lodged at Lekki, Lagos State.  

Ojukwu said:

“Before I was leaving, he stood up to lock the door, but when I got in, I was knocking, and when there was no answer, I opened and the door was already opened, as it wasn’t locked; the duvet and pillow were on the floor.

“The couch was facing the door and the bed was stained with blood already. The floor where he was was filled with blood and then music and TV were on. The room was already disarranged like someone broke in, then I saw him on the floor.

She further stated that she left without raising any alarm because she was afraid that if she had, she would have been arrested.

A senior police officer who reacted to Chidinma Ojukwu’s “new story”, told PUNCH Metro that a lie detector could be deployed to test if her latest claim was true or not.

According to the officer, “It appears that her lawyers or relatives are teaching her, but this is different from our investigation. This is a fake angle and she cannot dismiss convincing evidence that is already available and recorded, which she herself demonstrated.”

“So, this means she is a two-faced person; she tells lies and when the investigation gets to a top-level, they will use a lie detector to know whether she is telling the truth or not.”

The State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, also said that the UNILAG student is exhibiting traits of an active criminal with her new confession. 

Story: Ene Ken-Yawe

Media: ChannelsTV, Crime Fighters/Instagram

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ABA MARKET WOMEN SET TO GO GLOBAL WITH 6TH ARAHA MARKET, ABUJA

In a bid to address the challenges women-owned businesses face especially as it relates to making the transition to online business, the Women Arise and Humanitarian Initiative, (WAHDI) in collaboration with the Abuja Chamber of Commerce, (ACC) hosted the Aba Market Women at the 6th edition of the Araha Market on Saturday, July 3, 2021, in Abuja, Nigeria.

The Araha Market is a hybrid market that provides a platform for mainly women-owned businesses to showcase, their products, meet directly with their customers, network with potential investors and stakeholders in a physical market setting while they also trade online to reach a wider export market outside the shores of the country.

Women Businesses in Covid-19 Era

At the height of the Covid-19 Pandemic, many women-owned small businesses witnessed a slump in sales, because their customers found it difficult to access them in a physical market, as many of them migrated to online sales platforms to buy their goods due to lockdown restrictions.

Limited access to the internet and lack of technical know-how in navigating the internet has been identified as some of the factors that made it difficult for women-owned small businesses to make the transition from physical markets to online sales platforms at the peak of the pandemic.

At the event,  the Director-General, Abuja Chamber of Commerce, Victoria Akai, and The Convener and President of Women Arise and Humanitarian Initiative, Esther Mishelia, inspected the goods on display and gave an on the spot assessment to the women. They also gave the women tips to improve the quality and packaging of their products to meet global standards.

The DG ACC, Victoria Akai, expressed optimism that the market would put more money in the pockets of the rural women present at the market and also provide an opportunity for relevant stakeholders to interact with the local women to get first-hand information on the challenges women businesses face. This would help them provide an effective response to the identified needs, to ensure women-owned businesses are not left behind in the emerging digital economy.

Mrs. Mishelia, expressed her satisfaction with some of the quality of goods displayed by the women. She noted that asides from the lack of access to internet facilities many women-owned businesses struggle with packaging and record-keeping, which makes it hard for them to access loans and compete favourably in the local and international markets.

She explained that since its inception WAHDI and ACC, through the Araha market initiative have trained over 4,000 women in that regard.

The highlight of the event was the launch of the Knowledge on the Go (KWOGO) App. The app is designed to train women on how to do business online and keep records of their transactions.

Story: Ihuoma Ukeje

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JICA TO EMPOWER NIGERIAN STARTUP BUSINESSES WITH $8,000

The Nigerian technological scene is one of the biggest in Africa, despite the challenges it faces daily. These challenges include poor funding and access to funds, poor infrastructure and education, amongst other factors. For an average young person starting up a business in Nigeria, these challenges could be discouraging as the hurdles to being a successful business owner are often overwhelming. Many young Nigerians have business ideas, but actualizing their ideas becomes difficult, especially when funding the business ideas.

To make the problem of funding a thing of the past for some startup businesses in Nigeria, the Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA), in collaboration with National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), held a media briefing at Aiivon Innovation hub on Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, to inform the public about Next Innovation with Japan (NINJA) Startup Gateway in Abuja, Nigeria. NINJA is set up to empower five individuals or groups of young people with Innovative Startup business ideas in Nigeria with Eight thousand dollars each on software, hardware, and other technologies to help them to become self-reliant. The five young startup businesses would be chosen through a selection process.

Left to Right: Mr. Samson Attah Igoche, CEO of Aiivon Innovation hub, Mr, Adeseye Oguntade, a senior Innovation officer at NITDA, Mr. Sato Shohei. Representative of JICA Nigeria and Mr. Ama Ase.

The NINJA Startup Gateway is the first of its kind in Nigeria, and it aims to support young people with great business ideas in achieving their goals.

The representative of JICA Nigeria, Mr. Sato Shohei, explained that the project would help the beneficiaries set up their own businesses and promote entrepreneurship and technological innovation in Nigeria. Mr. Shohei further explained that NINJA Startup Gateway is targeted at young individuals or groups, mainly between 18-35 years old, who are not legally incorporated yet but have great business ideas. He said the programme aims to solve social problems through business by supporting Nigerian youths and accelerating their business.

He went on to say “ NINJA Startup Gateway does not just create a profitable and sustainable business, but it also allows for the creation of jobs and several opportunities for the youth”. Shohei also added “What’s important is that NINJA Startup Gateway creates an environment where the youth is focused on creating jobs, rather than finding them. Thus, it provides an alternative solution to the problem of unemployment that is currently facing a majority of the youth”.

Adeseye Oguntade, a senior Innovation officer at NITDA, who was NITDA’s representative, explained that NINJA Startup Gateway in Abuja is to encourage innovations solving the prominent problems of the society by emerging technologies.

Participants at the event.

The Senior Innovation Officer, NITDA, Mr. Adeseye Oguntade, said that the initiative was in line with the National ICT Policy Document of the Federal Government. He said NITDA would support and create enabling environment for the success of the project. According to him, “In 2020, NITDA opened the center for artificial intelligence and robotics to support innovation-driven entrepreneurs that have futuristic ideas by leveraging on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Blotching Technology and Data Exploration Framework and Strategy for adoption into the digital economy”

Mr. Ama Ase, a partner in the project, explained that the project would assist youths address some community issues using applications.

Mr. Samson Attah Igoche, CEO of Aiivon Innovation hub said they had worked with several organizations in the past to encourage start-ups, but what sets the NINJA program apart is the fact that it plans to work with start-ups who have good ideas, who are at different levels, including those still at the pre-incubation stage, as against other organization who preferred to work with start-ups that are already on a certain level of establishment. He said he was optimistic that project NINJA would help Nigerian Youths in startup businesses create more employment opportunities and help improve the security situation in the country.


Story: Ene Ken-Yawe

Pictures: Ehizogie Ohiani & Ene Ken-Yawe

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TWITTER BAN: MALAMI DENIES ISSUING PROSECUTION THREAT AGAINST TWITTER USERS

Attorney-General of the Federation, (AGF), Abubakar Malami, in an interview with Vanguard Newspaper, has denied threatening to prosecute Nigerians still using the microblogging site, Twitter, after the ban of the social media platform in Nigeria.

His denial comes days after being criticized for bypassing the federal government’s ban on Twitter. The AGF had made a post on Facebook, which showed he had allegedly bypassed the Twitter ban while announcing that his Twitter account had been deactivated.

The AGF’s Twitter account deactivated.

Many Nigerians questioned how he was able to access his Twitter account to deactivate it on the 8th June 2021 after the ban of the social media platform in Nigeria a few days prior to that, on the 5th June 2021.

Malami was said to have issued the prosecution threat against Nigerians who were defying the Nigerian government’s ban on Twitter through a directive in a statement issued by Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, media aide to the Attorney General of the Federation, Malami, on Saturday, 5th June 2021.

The statement on the prosecution of offenders of the federal government ban on t\witter operations in Nigeria as seen on AGF Abubakar Malami’s Facebook wall

Gwandu said Malami directed the office of the Public Prosecution of the Federation (PPF) to prosecute violators of the ban.

The statement, according to Gwandu, in part read: “Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has ordered the prosecution of offenders of the federal government ban on Twitter operations in Nigeria”.

According to the statement, “DPPF is to liaise with the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, National Communication Communication (NCC) and other relevant government agencies to ensure the speedy prosecution of offenders without any further delay.”

The AGF, in his interview with Vanguard Newspaper, however made a turn, as he said “It is within their guaranteed fundamental right to tweet from anywhere in the world. Nigeria, being a democratic nation, cannot stop its citizens from exercising their rights of freedom of expression”.

Mr. Malami, who is also the Minister of Justice, added, But our position on Twitter is clear: Anyone, whether individual or corporate institution ‘that enables Twitter’ to circumvent the ban the Federal Government of Nigeria placed on the company, will be prosecuted.”

He added that the statement from his office did not ask the Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute Nigerians using Twitter or any social media platform to express their view.

Story: Ene Ken-Yawe

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NLC NASARAWA BEGINS INDEFINITE STRIKE OVER N30,000 MINIMUM WAGE IN

The Organised Labour in Nasarawa State has commenced an indefinite strike, today, 15th June 2021, over the partial implementation of N30, 000 minimum wage and other welfare-related issues.

The strike was declared in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital, after the State Executive Council (SEC) meeting with the labour movement in the state.

Addressing journalists after the meeting, Nasarawa State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Yusuf Iya, said the action became imperative due to the failure of the government to meet their demands after two months ultimatum was served on it.

Accountant General of the State, Zakka Yakubu, had recently announced that the state had started the payment of the N30,000 minimum wage to workers on Levels 1 to 6.

The NLC Chairman mentioned other demands as reasons for the strike. These include the partial implementation of minimum wage without recourse to due process of collective bargaining, lack of implementation of promotions since 2008, lack of annual increments, lack of training, lack of confirmation of appointments of casual workers, many of whom have been working for more than 10 years, as well as other demands.

He further said the government had failed to give priority in addressing most of the problems, even though most of these problems had lingered for a long time. “We have given the present administration more than two years of grace to address our challenges, but the government has been paying lip service to the issue”.

According to him, the strike was originally planned to commence on the 7th of June 2021, had been suspended for two weeks with the intervention of traditional rulers. However, the government still did not show any seriousness with meeting their demands, even with the intervention. He said they were therefore left with no other option than to commence the strike.

The NLC Chairman described the implications of minimum wage for workers on grade levels 1 to 6 in the state as a mirage.

The State Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Mohammed Doma, also said it was unfortunate that the State government could not respect the traditional rulers, despite their intervention by doing the needful to meet their demands.

Story: Ene Ken-Yawe

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TWITTER BAN: FG GIVES CONDITION FOR SUSPENSION OF BAN

The Federal Government of Nigeria summoned the ambassadors of the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK), Canada, and the European Union (EU) in Nigeria over their comments on the suspension of the microblogging site, Twitter, in Nigeria, citing the persistent use of the platform for activities that were capable of undermining the country’s corporate existence.

This was disclosed on Monday,7th June, 2021 in an invitation to journalists by Kimiebi Ebienfa of the Crisis Monitoring and Public Communications Division of the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama

The invite read: “I am directed to inform that following the recent ban on Twitter by the Federal Government and Press Statement issued by some Heads of Diplomatic Missions Accredited to Nigeria on the subject matter, the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency, Geoffrey Onyeama has invited the affected Ambassadors to a meeting today at 12 noon.

During the meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama. the US, UK, Canada, Republic of Ireland as well as the European Union government representatives reiterated their stance, stating that they are against the decision of the federal government to suspend Twitter operations in Nigeria. They further said the Twitter ban is a violation of the citizens’ freedom of expression.

It can be recalled that the federal government suspended Twitter in Nigeria on the 5th of June, 2021, after the social media giant deleted a tweet from President Muhammadu Buhari’s handle.

The government’s directive on the suspension of Twitter was met with a massive outcry from Nigerians and the international community. Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, in order to clarify the rationale behind the action, held the meeting with the envoys, where he revealed that the decision will only be rescinded if Twitter can commit to responsible’ usage‘.

He said: “The condition would be responsible use of the social media and that really has to be it.” “We are not saying that Twitter is threatening the country or any such thing; why we have taken this measure is to stop them to be used as platforms for destabilization and facilitation of criminality or encouragement of criminalities,” he added.

Speaking on behalf of other envoys, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, told the Minister that the ban on Twitter by the Nigerian government violates the freedom of expression of Nigerians, adding that they understand what government means by responsible use of social media, but citizens’ rights to access information and express themselves must be protected.

She said: “We recognize the official position of the Nigerian government on the responsible use of social media but we remain firm in our position that free access to information is very important and perhaps more important during troubled times,”.

She further explained that they are here as partners and would like to see Nigeria succeed. “It’s very clear that we are Nigeria’s strongest partners on issues of security and we recognize the daunting times in the way of the security challenges that confront Nigeria. While they are daunting, they are not insurmountable and part of the way to surmount them is the partnership of the people you see represented here,” Leonard added.

They called on the government to reverse its position on the ban of Twitter operations in Nigeria.

Onyeama, on his part, assured the envoys that the government has begun talks with Twitter over the suspensions of its operations in Nigeria.

He said, “We know the power of words, and when you have that kind of power to manage and facilitate communication to billions of people; it has to come with responsibility. So, we are taking this measure to see to what extent we can rebalance this media as forces of good and stop them being used as a platform for destabilization and facilitation of criminality.”

The diplomatic missions had, in a joint statement issued earlier, condemned Nigeria’s suspension of Twitter, saying the action does not support the freedom of expression.

In a statement, the diplomatic community had said, “The diplomatic missions of Canada, the European Union (Delegation to Nigeria), the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America convey our disappointment over the Government of Nigeria’s announcement suspending Twitter and proposing registration requirements for other social media.”

“We strongly support the fundamental human right of free expression and access to information as a pillar of democracy in Nigeria as around the world and these rights apply online as well as offline.”

The question coming from many Nigerians who use social media, is what the definition of ‘responsible use’, as put by the federal government, would be?

As at the time of writing this report, the ban on the use of Twitter in Nigeria is yet to be lifted by the government.

Story: Ene Ken-Yawe

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NIGERIANS TO SUBMIT PHONE IMEI NUMBERS -NCC

The Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC), has announced that from July 2021, Nigerians will have to submit the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number of their phones to the Commission. The Commission made this known in its Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration, published on the 11th May 2021, stating that the directive was given by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to NCC, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that the Device Management System (DMS) should be implemented in three months. In the DMS, the IMEI numbers on the phones of all Nigerians will be collated in a database for use when necessary.

The Commission also said the aim of the exercise is to cut back on counterfeit mobile phone market, discourage mobile phone theft, enhance National security, reduce rate of kidnapping, protect consumer interest, increase revenue generation for the government, quell the use of stolen phones for crime, and facilitate blocking or tracing of stolen mobile phones and other devices, and this can be achieved through the deployment of Device Management System (DMS). The implementation of a Device Management System will enable keeping records of IMEI of all registered phones, and so IMEI’s that have been reprted stolen or illegal will be shared through the DMS to all the operators and service providers.

International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number.

The IMEI of a phone is also referred to as the fingerprint of the phone. Each phone has it embedded on it from production. It is made up of 15 digits and is unique, and this makes it possible for a missing phone to be tracked and located, irrespective of the cellular number on it.

Story: Ene Ken-Yawe

Pictures: NCC, Gearbes

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2021 UTME: JAMB SAYS CLOSING DATE FOR REGISTRATION WILL NOT BE EXTENDED

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) says it will no longer extend the closing dates of registration for both the 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and the Direct Entry (DE) applications.

JAMB stated this in its Weekly Bulletin, published by the office of the Registrar and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday, 31st May, 2021, in Abuja.

JAMB Candidiates in a CBT Centre

The board had earlier extended the exercise from the initial closing date of 15th May 2021 to 29th May 2021, to enable candidates who were unable to register within this time to carry out a seamless registration exercise. The new closing date, which ended on Saturday 29th May 2021, however, will not be further extended.

According to JAMB, in spite of the two-week date extension, complaints of candidates’ inability to register persisted.

The complaints received, the board stated, include lateness or non-delivery of National Identity Number (NIN) verification code; inability to obtain NIN; and mismatch or wrong names originally submitted to National Identity Management Commission ( NIMC).

The board said while few of such excuses have been found to be genuine, a large number were traceable to fraudsters, whom, it alleged, intend to sabotage the workings of the system.

JAMB said, however, that it will give another opportunity to those who have genuinely tried to register but failed, due to some of the challenges mentioned.

The Board has said any prospective candidates, with genuine proof of failed efforts to register before the closing date should visit any JAMB office for reconciliation with their evidence between Monday, 31st May 2021 and June 15th, 2021. Also, Candidates with genuine reasons for missing the registration are to obtain and complete a form, at no cost.

The board added that any candidate who submits another application after having successfully registered during the earlier registration period will have the two attempts disqualified.

It warned: “Any false claim will attract severe sanctions, including forfeiture of the deposited Bank Draft, cancellation of application(s) and prosecution.

“Due to the fact that some parents and school proprietors have been found to mislead candidates for illicit gains and personal aggrandizement, the board advises all to allow each candidate to personally go through the process.

Story: Ene Ken-Yawe

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BLOOMBERG DELISTS BILL GATES FROM ITS BILLIONAIRE INDEX FOLLOWING DIVORCE ANNOUNCEMENT

Bloomberg has delisted Bill Gates from its billionaire index, following the announcement of a divorce from Melinda Gates.

Bill and Melinda Gates announced on Twitter on Monday, 3rd of May, 2021: “After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,”.

Shortly after the announcement was made, Bill Gates, who prior to the announcement ranked 4th richest man in the world, was taken out of the top billionaires’ list.

By 2nd May,, 2021, Bill Gates was fourth on the index with a net worth of $145 billion.

Shortly after the announcement was made on Monday, 3rd April, 2021, Bill Gates name was taken off the list.

The divorce is expected to affect their wealth, but the extent to which this will happen is yet to be known. Bill had previously said Melinda is a “truly equal partner”. This may have equal consequences on his wealth in the days ahead.

Story: Ene Ken-Yawe

Picture: REUTERS

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BILL AND MELINDA GATES ANNOUNCE DIVORCE AFTER 27 YEARS OF MARRIAGE

Microsoft founder, Bill Gates and Philanthropist Melinda Gates have issued a joint statement on Twitter announcing their divorce.

The duo announced their decision to split after being married for 27 years, saying “we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple”.

Bill and Melinda met when Melinda, now 56, joined Microsoft as a product manager in 1987, and the two sat together at a business dinner that year in New York.

They began dating, but as Bill told a Netflix documentary: “We cared a lot for each other and there were only two possibilities: either, we were going to break up or we were going to get married.” They got married in 1994 and raised 3 children.

The couple established the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 with a primary focus on public health, education, and climate change. Its grants included some $1.75bn to vaccine initiatives and research during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Story: Ene Ken-Yawe

Pictures: Getty Images

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