Connect Nigeria holds business fair in Lagos

 >By Funmi Falobi<

 All is set for the 8th edition of the annual ‘Connect Nigeria’ business fair. The fair, which shall attract stakeholders and industry players from the Information Communication Technology (ICT),  Artificial Intelligence (AI), Agritech, Fintech and many other businesses holds at the Tafawa Balewa Square, TBS, between March 6-7, 2020, with the theme, ‘2020 Vision.’

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday in Lagos state, the Managing Director, Connect Nigeria, Mr. Emeka Okafor, said the business fair, the largest Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) gathering in Nigeria shall be a conference and business exhibition simultaneously.

“We strongly believe that if we are to get to where we need to be, thousands of businesses in Nigeria need to be viable. We rely on oil but because of changes in the world, we need to depend on other things.

This business fair will bring together businesses around the world and let them know how business is done in Nigeria and how young people can learn. It will help SME to learn how to grow and afford start-ups to raise fund,” he said.

He declared that this edition would have the hackathon section, the first of its kind in the business fair since inception. “Founder’s Institute from San Francisco would be in attendance”, he added. 

On his part, Walter Bossman, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, Allianz Insurance, one of the partners at the business fair said the event would give opportunity to businesses especially the SME to learn how insurance would be of great importance and beneficial to them.

 “We know people have their perception about insurance in Nigeria but we are interested in SME and we could see potentials in it. SME has always been neglected and it’s very critical to growth. Being the fastest growing insurance in Nigeria right now, we focus on SME sector to tell them how to manage their risk. We have a lot of fire incidents in markets in Nigeria, we need to meet the market people and sell our products which are affordable to protect their property,’ he said.

Connect Nigeria
L-R: Uzor Anekwe, Head, Business Development Unit, Connect Nigeria, Bossman, Okafor, Masade and Ibine at the Connect Nigeria press conference in Lagos.

 Similarly, Corporate Communication Manager, AITEO, Mr. Odianosen Masade, explained that the energy company has been supporting SME through its corporate social responsibility services including empowering youths and its host community adding, ” we are beneficial of Nigeria growth and we teach younger ones on business. “

 While commending the effort of Connect Nigeria in entrepreneurial development, Abiola Ibine, Team Lead, LPG Expansion Programme, Ibile Oil & Gas Corporation, said the corporation, owned by the Lagos state government, is interested in doing business in an environment that is climate friendly by enlightening business owners on the need to be mindful of climate change.

Fraud: FG’s case against Kenneth Amadi, Eunisell ex-employee, resumes Jan 29

>By Our reporter<

Hearing in the fraud case between the Federal Government and Kenneth Amadi, a former employee of Eunisell Limited, resumes on January 29, 2020. The case was to have begun on January 8, but was shifted because courts were on break.
Amadi is alleged to have obtained the sum of N2.9 billion belonging to his former employer, Eunisell Ltd under false pretences with intent to defraud.pix11
The offenses are contrary to section 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other fraud-related offences Act, CapA6, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act.
It would be recalled  that when the matter was called for hearing on November 27, 2019, at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, the 1st defendant was absent, while the 2nd defendant, IDID Nigeria Ltd. was represented by an employee.
Chief State Counsel from the Department of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, A.K Aliyu had informed the court that attempts were made to serve the charge on the 1st Defendant through his counsel but the lawyer from the office of the learned silk declined to accept service. However, the Defendant’s Counsel, Emeka Etiaba (SAN) told the court that they were not opposing arraignment and trial, adding it was an error of communication on the part of the junior colleague regarding the issue of acceptance of service. He then accepted the charge and court summons of behalf of the 1st Defendant

The charges against the Defendants include receiving and obtaining by false pretence, with intent to defraud, the sum of N2, 900, 000, 000 belonging to Eunisell Ltd, omitting to make full and true entry thereof in the books and accounts; suppression of data in respect of the financial transfer to Eunisell Ltd, and converting same without authority to create sufficient deposits to promote the credibility of his own company (IDID Nigeria Limited).

Meanwhile, an Abuja High Court recently dismissed a libel case filed by Kenneth Amadi, against Eunisell Limited and two others. Justice Jude Okeke, of The High Court of Justice, held that the libel or the publications having not been made out the other reliefs predicated on the defamation by way of general and special damages as claimed have no basis to stand.

Hate Speech bill misdirected – NDI

…we don’t want regulation that would restrict media – Arogundade

-By Funmi Falobi-

Experts have described the ongoing debate on the social media and hate speech bills at the National Assembly as unnecessary saying that Nigeria already has existing laws that have addressed the issues which rather should be enforced.

Many have argued that hate speech does not come to the public space by the media but from the politicians. They said that most hate speeches are from adverts not generated by the media but from political parties especially from the two big political parties with heavy harmful content from them.

Acting Country Director, National Democratic Institute (NDI), Barrister Raymond Esebagbon said that the anti-hate speech is misdirected that those canvassing for it are not aware of the existing laws which have addressed the issues.

“People talking about anti-hate speech don’t know what we have. We have enough legislatures on it. There is the Cybercrime law, Electoral Act. They have addressed a lot of things – misinformation, fake news and others. The current debate is unnecessary. We can strengthen those existing laws and not just talking about anti-hate speech commission.

“The anti-hate speech at the National Assembly is misdirected. Existing laws should be enforced and where inadequate should be strengthened. We need to create more awareness, people don’t know there are existing laws on it,” he said.

While stressing that freedom of information is not at large, he said there is need for national re-orientation in the country to salvage the society saying, “the media have huge role to play to educate rightly, sensitise the people, reorientate the public as a very powerful tool for engagement.”

Similarly, Executive Director, International Press Centre, Mr. Lanre Arogundade said there is no need for any regulation that would restrict the media.

According to him, the legislature in primitive measure is not the best saying that government should work with stakeholders rather than legislature.

“We do not accept the hate speech bill. We don’t want a legislature that would incriminate the media. We should think more of self-regulation. Media is a big player on social media, we don’t want any regulation that would restrict the media. There are also gains of social media but we don’t want harmful use.

“We have trained ourselves on hate speech, government should use the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to sensitise and enlighten the society on it,” he said.

While urging the media to come together and oppose the bills, he also called for dialogue between the government and the media charging that media must remain ethical and prevent violence through fact checking of reports.

However, on his part, the Chief Press Secretary, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Rotimi Oyekanmi, backed the bills saying, “I support the regulation of the social media but it must be done in partnership with the media.”

On the sabotage of bail given to Omoyele Sowore, Arogundade said the excuses by the Department of State Security (DSS) are not acceptable to IPC. He also condemned the ill-treatment on Agba Jalingo stating that it is the onus of the state government to prove that the report by him is not correct and that he should be granted bail.

Similarly, Esebagbon on Sowore said if a court gives an order. It does not behooves the executive to keep him there. The government has the duty to obey the law.

2019 World mental health day: Lagos extends services to primary healthcare level

By sdnonline

As the world commemorates the 2019 Mental Health Day on Thursday, Lagos State Government said it will extend Mental health care services to the primary health care level in furtherance of effort to increase access to mental health care in the State.

Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi who disclosed this during a recorded broadcast to commemorate this year’s World Mental Health Day said that the state government recognizes the need to strengthen mental health care delivery and eradicate the difficulties in accessing mental health services which occur as a result of reluctance in seeking medical attention and lack of knowledge  of where to access adequate care.

“And this is why we are incorporating mental health care to the primary health care level across the State,” he said.

He noted that the promotion of mental health and well-being of Lagosians are priorities within the state’s development agenda for health which is to ensure that every citizen has access to effective and sustainable health care delivery models.

Abayomi said that the inclusion of Mental Health Care delivery at the Primary Health level will reduce the difficulties in assessing adequate health care and will go a long way in reducing the alarming suicide rate in the society.

He added that the state is working and collaborating with other sectors to create a strong network of facilities that will address mental health needs.

“We recognize the difficulties in accessing mental health services which can occur because we are afraid to come forward and seek help, or are unaware of where to get it or the existing institutions and resources that provide these services are few and far between.

As a government, we are working to ensure availability of mental health services at the primary healthcare level. We are also working to partner and collaborate with other sectors, to create a strong network of operations, facilities and programmes that will address mental health needs,’’ he said.

He stated further that the state has set the groundwork for the development of sustainable mental health care programs and services that will ensure improved health outcomes in the long-term which will also enable the state to become one of the forerunners in the delivery of sustainable, efficient and effective mental health services to its citizens in Lagos, Nigeria, and Africa as a whole.

‘’We have set the groundwork for the development of sustainable mental health care programs and services that will ensure improved health outcomes in the long-term. This will enable the State to become one of the forerunners in the delivery of sustainable, efficient and effective mental health services to its citizens in Lagos, Nigeria, and Africa as a whole,’’ he said.

He reiterated the government’s commitment to mental health which is symbolized by the development of the Lagos State Mental Health Policy and Lagos State’s New Mental Health Law which was passed earlier this year. He said that the law which provides for the protection of those suffering from stigmatization because of their illness will go a long way in setting the framework for developing an effective and robust Mental Health Service for all Lagosians.

He however appreciated the enthusiastic participation of mental health professionals and stakeholders in areas of health policy, service planning, implementation strategies and advocacy; and therefore assured the continuous support of the government to the development and implementation of a mental health system that will improve the mental health of individuals and communities through evidence-based interventions and services.

WSCIJ invites entries for investigative reporting award, introduces online application for select categories

By sdnonline

The Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) invites entries from Nigerian professional journalists or team of journalists, full-time or part-time, for the 14th edition of the Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting. The centre has introduced online application option for some categories of the award for this edition.

The award, which is an annual programme of WSCIJ, seeks to honour journalism works with focus on public and or corporate corruption, human rights abuses, or failure of regulatory agencies, published or aired between 4th October 2018 and 3rd October 2019.

This year, applicants for the Television, Radio and Online categories of the award can put in their entries through an online application process. The other three categories requiring hard copy submission given the nature of entry processing are the Print, Photography and Editorial cartoon.

Received entries will be collated using the award coding system and assessed by a panel of media experts and related professionals with good understanding of investigative reporting. The judges’ board would broadly score submitted stories based on quality of investigation, evidence, human rights elements, ethical reportage, courage, individual creativity, public interest, impact and quality of presentation.

The deadline for the submission of entries is Thursday, 24 October 2019 by 4pm. All hardcopy entries must be submitted to the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism office, Second Floor, 18A Abiodun Sobajo Street, Off Lateef Jakande Road, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos. More details of the criteria for the call for entries can be found on the WSCIJ website – http://www.wscij.org.

The WSCIJ has since October 2005, rewarded, promoted and encouraged the development of the culture of investigative reporting in the Nigerian media through the award, which has had thirteen editions and ninety-one finalists.

Nigerian selected for global sports mentoring program

By sdnonline

Dr. Oluwaseun Nariwoh, a sports administrator at the Lagos State Sports Commission, has been selected to attend the U.S. government’s flagship professional development exchange to empower women through sports.

Dr. Nariwoh is one of the 16 participants from around the world who have been chosen for the U.S. Department of State’s Global Sports Mentoring Program based on their exemplary leadership skills, experience, and impact in the sports sector.

The Global Sports Mentoring Program is the product of a partnership between the Department of State, espnW, and the University of Tennessee’s Center for Sport, Peace & Society.

From October 10 to November 19, leading American female executives in business, education, media, non-profit, and sports sectors will work side-by-side with emerging sports leaders from around the globe, sharing valuable business and leadership skills.

The American mentors will assist the participants in the creation of strategic action plans that will be used to create specific sports opportunities for underserved women and girls when they return home.

Nariwoh’s participation in the program will include travel to Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and Indianapolis. She will be mentored by the Director of Inclusion at the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Jean Merrill, and her deputy, Shay Wallach, in Indianapolis, Indiana.

All of the participants will engage with U.S. government officials and high-level figures in both the sports business as well as grassroots associations. They will also take professional leadership courses and learn about American culture, the American sports structure, and the history of disability sports and women’s sports in the United States.

United States Consulate Public Affairs Officer Russell Brooks congratulated Dr. Nariwoh on her acceptance into the prestigious program.

He noted that the Global Sports Mentoring Program advances the goal of empowering emerging female leaders to serve their local communities by increasing the access of women and girls to the opportunities available to them in the world of sports.

“The U.S. Department of State believes that sport is a vehicle to advance the status, liberty, and well-being of women, girls, and marginalized people throughout the world. The Global Sports Mentoring Program is based on the growing body of evidence that women and girls who play sports are increasingly likely to excel on both the playing field and in life.”

“We are confident that Dr. Nariwoh will further hone her skill-set and make a significant contribution towards gender equality in the sports community upon her return to Nigeria,” Brooks said.

Since 2012, alumni from 75 countries have participated in the program, forming an international network of sports administrators, athletes, coaches, educators, and advocates promoting equality and inclusion through sports.

Previous Nigerian participants of the program include Tega Onojaife, sports producer/presenter at Smooth 98.1 FM (2018); Chisom Mbonu-Ezeoke of SuperSport TV (2017); AdaMark Ogbole, CEO AdaMark Foundation for Girls (2013); and Nneka Ikem of Radio Nigeria (2012).

U.S Consulate launches academy for women entrepreneurs

-By sdnonline-

United States Consulate General in Lagos has launched the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), a State Department-led initiative that supports women entrepreneurs around the world.

During a week-long program, a diverse group of 100 women selected from a pool of over 6,000 applicants, will receive lessons on business management, network with like-minded entrepreneurs and mentors, and learn the practical skills required to create successful and sustainable businesses.

Declaring the workshop open, U.S. Consul General Claire Pierangelo, explained that the goal of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs is to teach women around the world to become successful entrepreneurs. She noted that women’s empowerment will be key to Nigeria’s long-term economic development.

“One of the U.S. government’s goals is to promote entrepreneurship worldwide.  Through the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs, we are doing just that by giving these ambitious businesswomen the skills they need to take their ventures to the next level,” she said.

Pierangelo described the role of women as crucial for the progress of national economies. “Women are the backbone of society no matter what country you are in.  When women are working, the country is working,” she noted.

Leading local business leaders will help facilitate the workshop. They include: Ms. Inya Lawal, alumna of the Fortune-U.S. Department of State Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership program; Dr. Henrietta Onwuegbuzie, Academic Director, Owner-Manager Program at the Lagos Business School; Ms. Hansatu Adegbite, Executive Director at Women in Management and Business (WIMBIZ); and Ms. Teju Abisoye, Executive Secretary, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund.

In addition, participants will receive access to DreamBuilder, a blended business-training course developed through a partnership between Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management and global copper mining company Freeport-McMoRan.

The AWE is a component of the White House Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, designed to empower women worldwide to fulfill their economic potential, thereby creating conditions for increased stability, security, and prosperity for all.

Nigeria is among 26 pilot countries worldwide that were selected to participate in the AWE program. The other African countries participating in the inaugural AWE cohort are Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.