FRSC declares rotational number plate illegal

By sdnonline

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has declared illegal a video circulating on the social media which displayed a vehicle with rotational number plates.

The vehicle number plates on display were KUJ-304BV, while the other side which was automatically flipped carries a number tagged presidency with the following details, 01B-266FG.

The FRSC Ag.Corps Marshal, Dauda Ali Biu, has ordered full investigation into the trend as FRSC does not produce a number plate with such double features, only one number can be assigned to one vehicle and its owner at the same time

A statement by the commission said: The attention of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has been drawn to a video circulating on the social media which displayed a vehicle with rotational number plates.

“FRSC recently placed a public notice on the mainstream media dissuading Nigerians and the Motoring Public from according regards to vehicles with unauthorised number plates as the users are not duly registered and are often with sinister motives.”

The Ag . Corps Marshal also warned Nigerians from replicating same as it is considered a criminal act which has its place in law

MRA, IPC censure NBC’s revocation of licenses of 52 broadcast stations

By sdnonline

Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and International Press Centre (IPC) have condemned the revocation and withdrawal of the broadcast licenses of 52 broadcast stations across Nigeria by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) describing the action as ill-advised, insensitive and antithetical to the interests of the Nigerian public.

MRA said by the revocation of the broadcast licenses of so many stations for alleged non-payment of their licence fees, The NBC was prioritising its desire to make money off the broadcasters over the interest of citizens as the ultimate effect of its action is to deprive millions of Nigerians access to information as well as their rights and ability to freely express themselves through these stations.

IPC on the other hand expressed that in this particular instance NBC has not only ordered the revocation of licenses of many television and radio stations, it has gone further to usurp
the authority of the President and Commander-In-Chief and the National Assembly by directing security agents to move in and effect its order.

In a statement by Ms Obioma Okonkwo, Head of Legal Department, MRA said: “We are shocked by this naked display by the NBC of a lack of appreciation of its principal role which is to contribute to the emergence of a knowledge society. Rather, it has chosen to create an environment in which millions of Nigerians will wallow in ignorance, deprived of access to crucial information that they need to make critical decisions in their lives or to enhance their livelihoods.”

She argued that “the action of the NBC has only worsened the prevailing lopsidedness in the broadcasting landscape in Nigeria which was already dominated by government-owned broadcasting stations but is now under the monopolistic control of Federal Government-owned stations, which will be almost unchallenged, with the result that citizens will now be fed unmitigated propaganda by these remaining stations.”

Okonkwo accused the NBC of being insensitive to the harsh economic environment under which the broadcast stations have operated over the last two and a half years as the national economy has been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic itself and the measures taken by the government in response to the pandemic.

She noted that the broadcasting stations are also negatively impacted by the inability of the government to create a conducive environment for them to operate, such as providing appropriate infrastructure like electricity supply, adding that with the stations having to find alternative sources of power supply even as the price of diesel continues to skyrocket daily, they are simply struggling to survive.

“The fact that so many broadcasting stations have been unable to pay the license fees raises serious questions about the fairness and appropriateness of the fees being imposed on broadcasters by the BBC in such a challenging economic environment. As the NBC, which imposes the fees and collects them for its own use, there needs to be an independent inquiry into this apparent conflict of interest where the motivation of the commission is apparently to make as much money for itself as possible,” she said.

In a statement by IPC Press Freedom Officer, Melody Lawal, the organisation called on NBC to exercise caution and ensure that it exhausts engagement channels before wielding a stick that may not only lead to thousands of job losses but also shrink the information dissemination space.

“NBC should stop acting as a revenue generating agency that is unconcerned about the business environment of broadcast stations.

“Nothing in it’s mandate says that it cannot contribute to the sustainability of broadcast stations who are having their own share of the economic crisis plaguing the nation, ” she said.

MRA called on the NBC to reverse its decision in the public interest to avoid creating a society of predominantly ignorant citizens, advising that the need to ensure that Nigerians are adequately informed through the media should supersede any other consideration by the NBC.

The organisations advised the commission to liaise with the broadcasting stations to identify the challenges facing the industry and come up with realistic solutions to the identified challenges.

NGO trains women on skill acquisition

By Funmi Falobi

Karis & Eleos Hand of Hope, a Non-governmental organisation, has trained women on entrepreneurship in order to reduce poverty in the society.

The empowerment initiative tagged, “Catalyst for Change 2.0” was carried out in five local government areas of Lagos which include Surulere, Ijora, Agidingbi, Onigbongbo and Alimosho with support from Coca-Cola Foundation. The beneficiaries were trained in textile designing – adire, tie & dye, baking, make up, wig making, gele, shoe and bag making, household items – izal, liquid soap and bleach.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, Executive Director, Karis & Eleos Hand of Hope, Bukola Bamiduro said the initiative was to empower women and girls and to create equal opportunity for them.

“Catalyst for Change is a post Covid intervention to bring women out of poverty and reduce violence so that they can cater for themselves.
“At this ceremony, 200 women are benefiting today making the total of 5,133 beneficiaries so far. We will follow them up. I encourage you to be the catalyst and also encourage others to be empowered,” she said.

She said the beneficiaries are expected to train 10 women each in order to see that women move from $1 a day to $10.

While encouraging the trainees to believe in themselves and conquer the world, Nwamaka Onyemelukwe, Director, Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainability, Coca-Cola Nigeria said the essence of the programme was to build sustainable community and reduce rural-urban migration.

“There shall be seed tool kits for the selected beneficiaries to complement their work.
The oday marks 10,000 women have received life skill training and we understand they have impacted other women.

“For us at Coca-cola, the essence is to build sustainable community and reduce rural-urban migration. We need to actually be our change makers and be the change you want. Be at your best, believe in yourself and conquer the world,” she advised.

Oluwakemi Ogunsakin, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Specialist, Nigerian Bottling Company Ltd charged the trainees to start small, but think big.

Admonishing the beneficiaries to make good use of the opportunity, Head of Department, Women and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA) Alimosho Local Government Area, Mrs. Oluwakemi Omisore enjoined them to “be determined to stand out” in their work.

Baale of Oke Ijora, Chief Tajudeen Igbalaiye also encouraged the beneficiaries to maximize the opportunity.

There was exhibition by the beneficiaries to showcase what they had done.

DFC commits $280m to finance Access Bank in boosting SME’s in Nigeria

L- R: Access Bank Deputy Managing Director Chizoma Okoli; U.S. International DFC CEO Scott Nathan; Access Managing Director Roosevelt Ogbonna; with Access Bank Group Head of Women Banking Team, Abiodun Olubitan at the signing ceremony.

By sdnonline

In order to boost small and medium enterprises in Nigeria, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) CEO Scott Nathan on Monday signed a commitment letter for $280 million in financing for Access Bank Plc in Nigeria alongside Access Bank Managing Directory’s Roosevelt Ogbonna.

The loans will help address the financing gap for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and advance financial inclusion in Nigeria, including through the bank’s commitment to supporting women-owned and -led businesses.

“DFC’s investment in Access Bank demonstrates U.S. support for private sector-led development in Nigeria and throughout West Africa,” said Nathan. “The $280 million loan from DFC will boost financially inclusion in Nigeria and empower women, bolstering the country’s economic growth.”

“We welcome U.S. International Development Finance Corporation CEO Scott Nathan to Nigeria,” said U.S. Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard. “We look forward to discussing with the public and private sectors how DFC funding can be leveraged to unleash the full economic potential of Nigeria through support to the country’s small and medium-sized businesses, financial sector, and climate change-focused enterprises.”

“Access Bank is extremely pleased to announce this strategic partnership with DFC to support the multitude of businesses across Nigeria who stand to benefit from greater access to finance, especially in an environment that is in need of stronger economic diversification, said Ogbonna. “We look forward to utilizing the partnership with DFC in driving further economic expansion and inclusion in Nigeria, with a strong focus on non-oil sectors and women businesses.”

“We are delighted to have collaborated with Access Bank and DFC on this significant transaction, which will significantly boost SME corporate activity in Nigeria,” said Rizwan Shaikh, Citi EMEA Head of Emerging Markets Corporate Bank. “This is yet another milestone stride for Citi as it executes a focused local-economy development strategy based on solid partnerships with key clients and development agencies.”

DFC financing for Access Bank will provide needed liquidity given the global economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The loan is expected to support at least 4,000 new SME loans in Nigeria. In addition, the loan proceeds will be on-lent across more than a dozen sectors in the Nigerian economy, with specific focus on women-owned SMEs, and on loans with longer tenors, which will provide more flexibility to borrowers.

Olunike Asaolu: Exit of an Amazon

By Funmi Falobi

She was not just a woman but a woman of impact. She was a light that shone to touch every one around her; and her smile always conspicuous.

Dr. Olunike Asaolu was a woman with purpose. Though her impact was short, it was such that positively affected every one around her.
No wonder, the testimonies about her revealed a life well spent in fulfilment and character worthy of emulation.

A dexterous lecturer, she was diligent in her tasks and ready to give helping hands to people around her. A good team player, a woman of integrity and valour. A role model per excellence, she believed in possibility irrespective of challenges.
“…Despite all odds and storms, you struggled from nobody to somebody. Everyone who came across your way testifies to your integrity, honesty, probity, accountability, doggedness, resilience, humility, meekness, submissiveness, modesty and love for humany,” the husband, Barrister Sunday Asaolu succinctly described her.

While many were still looking up to her for inspiration, the cold hand of death suddenly took Olunike away on Good Friday, April 15, 2022. This, causing a great vacuum in the hearts of family members, friends and associates.

People from all walks of life gathered to eulogise the life and time of the Dr. Olunike, an erudite scholar in the field of communication studies.

In his sermon at the funeral rites on Friday, April 29, 2022, Pastor Adekoya Olusegun reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes 3:1-6, 11-12 said just like Dorcas in the Bible, Dr. Olunike Asaolu was a good woman. Saying: “you don’t need to cry for this woman. She has made her impact in life. You are the one that need to know where you are going.

“The message this morning is: What will you leave behind? What would people remember you for? Repent your ways. It is the good work you do that will follow you. How will your relationship be with the Lord when you finally go?

While encouraging the people to live a righteous life, he said any life without Christ is in crisis.

Earlier at the service of songs at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG Strong Tower Parish, Akoka, Yaba, tributes poured in from her husband, family members, friends, institutions and associations.

Born on 17th April, 1976, Dr. Olunike Asaolu nee Adio-King, attended Ire-Akari Grammar School, Okota-Isolo from 1987-1992. She attended Federal Polytechnic, Offa, Kwara State between 1994 and 1997 where she obtained National Diploma (ND )in Business Administration with Upper Credit. She gained admission into the prestigious Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos where she bagged her first degree with (Honours) and second degree in 2004 and 2009 respectively. She had her doctorate degree from Lagos State University (LASU).

Her journalism career began during her National Youth Service Corp in Lagos where she served with the Guardian Newspapers from 2005-2006. Thereafter, she joined The Punch Nigeria Limited in 2009 where she covered the education sector. Her investigative skills made positive impact in the sector and the Nigerian society in general.

She ventured into academics in 2012 when she joined Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) Lagos, first as a Part-Time Lecturer and was employed into full service in September 2014. As a lecturer, Nike served in various capacities as Class Adviser of Full and Part-Time classes, Project Supervisor, School Examination Committee Member (SEC), School Departmental Secretary, Counsellor, and a wonderful team player. She was also the author of the book, “Pragmatic Approach to Feature Writing: An Indispensable Tool for Journalists.”

She was a member of professional bodies which include the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), African Council of Communication Education (ACCE), and the Association of Communication Scholars and Professional of Nigeria (ACSPN).

In 2004, she married her husband, Barrister Sunday Asaolu and the union is blessed with three lovely children. Though family, friends and associates would sorely miss her, the consolation that her exit from this phase of life, after a brief illness, is to a greater glory of life eternal with her Creator.

Malaria: US partners Nigeria to produce first slide bank

By sdnonline

As part of efforts to reduce malaria disease, U.S Army Medical Research Directorate-Africa/Nigeria (USAMRD-A/N) in partnership with Nigerian agencies will launch the National Malaria Slide Bank (NMSB) Project.

The agencies include State Ministries of Health in Akwa-Ibom and Benue, the National Malaria Elimination Programme, and the Nigerian Ministry of Defense.

The project will produce Nigeria’s first bank of validated, domestically developed slides for malaria microscopy training, external quality assurance, and future research purposes.

Over the past year, the United States and Nigeria together advanced the fight against malaria, despite immense challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Committed and courageous frontline health workers, especially nurses, midwives, and community health workers, across the country went the extra mile to ensure essential malaria services were sustained. Their efforts saved lives and supported community resilience.

The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) has partnered with Nigeria to fight malaria since 2011, contributing $768 million to date and $74 million in FY 2021. PMI’s Annual Report, released today, showcases how the strong partnership between the United States and Nigeria enabled robust and effective malaria services to continue in 2021, even as COVID-19 caused enormous strain on the health system.

Through PMI funding and programs, 58 million bed nets, 130 million fast acting medicines, and 82 million malaria test kits have been delivered to clinics and communities since 2011. In addition, 24 million preventive treatment doses were delivered to pregnant women and 13 million doses to children during the rainy season. In the past year, more than 3,666 health workers received training that amplified their ability to detect and treat malaria, while strengthening the health system overall and providing key skills to fight COVID-19 and future pandemics.

USAID Mission Director Anne Patterson said, “I think what Nigeria is doing to advance more effective malaria prevention, treatment, and control is so important, especially the introduction of innovative tools to make better use of the data in real-time, and also to enhance quality of care via community-based health workers.”

Assisted by PMI investments, Nigeria is progressing its fight against malaria using proven and cost-effective methods that save lives and promise a more healthy and prosperous future for families and communities.

Acting U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator Julie Wallace said, “With perseverance and strong global commitment we can end malaria in our lifetime. The United States is proud of our work with Nigeria in combating this deadly, yet entirely preventable, disease.”

USAMRD-A/N), also with support from the PMI, has been able to increase and strengthen the capacities of medical laboratory scientists in malaria microscopy, rapid testing, quality assurance, and laboratory supervision.

… Putting people at the centre of development and facilitating inclusiveness and sustainable initiatives.

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