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PDP threatens Umahi with suspension over anti party activities


The national leadership of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, has threatened the Ebonyi State governor, Engr. David Umahi with suspension over allegations of mounting anti-party activities.
A very reliable inside source of the party at the Wadata House national head office in Abuja who revealed that the plan is still top secret said the party has counted some number of utterances and associations the governor has been engaged in recently and decide to make a move against him even if it hurts its interest in the state guber elections.
The source who inadvertently made the disclosure said the party had ‘taken its fill of Umahi’s ways that seem to question his loyalty to the party.
‘First, he was the one that announced he endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari for second tenure last year, the next is the rumour that he boasts that he bought gubernatorial ticket for the state APC candidate, Senator Sonni Ogbuoji, to be a mole in the APC.
Umahi had said that in some events in the past, though unsubstantiated.
‘These were not all as a new media report has been circulating where Umahi was quoted as saying that ‘if he says that Buhari has constructed all the roads in the South East or done more good to the zone than any other president in Nigeria, that he would not be far from the truth.’
To cap it up, on November 27, a chieftain of the APC, Prince Arthur Eze paid him a visit in Abakaliki where he announced supporting Umahi’s campaign with N1bn and in his presence urged the Ebonyi voters, Umahi inclusive, to vote Buhari who is a candidate of another party.
‘We had thought that was an error in reporting or that Umahi and his visitor were misquoted. But up till now, the party waited in utter embarrassment for Umahi to refute this unconscionable gaffe, but to no avail till date.’
In a move to turn the tide and stave off the impending big stick the party intends to wield against Umahi, our source said he dashed off to River State this weekend to meet with Governor Nyesom Wike and the national chairman of the party, Uche Secondus in Port Harcourt to placate them and stay action on the plan.

Another sign that the party has been suspicious of the moves of the Ebonyi governor is the exclusion of his younger brother from the Abubakar Atiku campaign organization. While the rest of the national vice chairmen of the party in all the geopolitical zones are members of the Atiku campaign, Umahi’s younger brother who holds the office in South East Nigeria is excluded, signposting deep distrust of the governor’s ways and flagging loyalty to the party.

‘It was during his visit that he made a donation of N5m to victims of the last building collapse in the state. The gift was disguised bribe of sorts.’
In reaction however, the Ogbuoji Campaign directorate has said that the manner Umahi has been donating money to people outside the state while her own citizens starve calls for concern.
‘Last weekend, controversial priest, Rev. Fr. Mbaka had announced that Umahi donated N10m cash, 1000 bags of Ebonyi rice and 10,000 tuners of yam to his church. This is at least N15m donations by Umahi already announced in one week as we don’t know the ones that were secretly donated.
‘This is becoming reckless of a governor who could not see the need to raise fund and send the state sports contingents to the on-going National Sports Festival in Abuja.
‘Ebonyi being the only state absent at the event remains a big disgrace and indignity that we had already reacted to.
‘We call on the citizens of the state to take notice of these reckless spending and call the governor to question as he is custodian of the wealth of the state and not his personal money.’


Edda community in Lagos holds reception, endorses Ogbuoji


Nzuko Edda, Lagos, the congregation of Edda people in Lagos on Saturday at the event to mark their end of the year activities endorsed the Ebonyi State APC gubernatorial candidate, Senator Sonni Ogbuoji for the race.
The event was at the premises of the National Stadium, Surulere where hundreds of members of the body gathered for a warm reception for Ogbuoji who they recalled his positive impacts on Edda so far and urged to do more when he becomes the governor.
The body led by Prof. Olughu William pledged its readiness to travel down to the state during the elections and cast their votes for Ogbuoji, and also help in canvassing votes for him from other voters in the state.
Most of the people assured Ogbuoji that they registered in Edda and have their Permanent Voters Card ready to enthrone him in March next year.
As Prof. William spoke in his opening remarks, he stated that since Ogbuoji’s days as the chairman of Edda as a local government area, his impacts have been felt over time through the pioneering role as one that developed the council headquarters, established the Edda Mass Transit that helped the economy of the area so much and also established government farms.
He also reminded the group that it was Ogbuoji who as a chairman extended bursary awards to Edda undergraduates and did much more including the efforts to change the name of the council.
‘Today, Ogbuoji has furthered his efforts for Edda by attracting the Federal Institute of Transport Technology to Edda. It is a great stride in development that Edda is now a place that hosts a federal institution. We never knew the only federal road that passes through our land would ever be constructed. It has been done half way and among the eight road projects approved for award same day by the senate alongside that of Edda, only ours has made such progress. A good instance is the Umuahia-Ohafia-Arochukwu road awarded the same day and no work has been on done on it till today. If Ogbuoji could do this much for Edda at non-executive position, we are surely going to tell a different story if he becomes the governor.
‘Not only that, if he could be of positive impact with job opportunities and assistances to people of his senatorial constituency, then the state of Ebonyi would be the better for it during his administration.’

In his remarks, renowned estate surveyor and former president of Nzuko Edda Lagos, Pastor Eric Ekumankama told the group that Nzuko Edda doesn’t just endorse Ogbuoji because he is a son of Edda, but because they see him fit with his records and are sure he will take the state higher and deliver leadership when he comes to power in May 2019.
‘Ebonyi will be a better place, and we are sure he will take the entire state as his and never show partiality in leadership so that the entire state would rejoice in his days and make progress.’

Nigeria approves 2 PPP projects to boost trade across border


The Federal Government of Nigeria, in its effort to ease trade across border, has approved the Full Business Case (FBC) Certificates for the Warehouse in a Box project for the Federal Ministry of Health and the Biometric ID Card project of the Nigerian Immigration Service.

Disclosing this during a visit to Garki Hospital in Abuja, Acting Director General of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, ICRC, Engr. Chidi Izuwah, said that the ID Card project is set to revolutionize immigration across the West African sub region and ease cross border movement and commerce”.

The ICRC had been at the forefront in ensuring the success of both projects from inception to approval of the FBC.

In order to meet the challenges posed by migration, the ECOWAS Heads of Governments adapted the smart card and biometric technology to provide a high level of confidence in the identity of the travel document holder.

The smart card incorporating biometric identity credentials enables true authentication process that links identity to the physical person.

The identification documents are prerequisite for managing migration while enhancing national security.

Vision Box is the Technical Partner for the project. “Warehouse in a box’ project on the other hand is aimed at promoting more efficient and integrated health sector supply chain management..

“The two warehouses located in Lagos and Abuja is prefabricated and identical, with a combined total 6,530m2 of floor space and the capacity to hold 7,680 pallet spaces”, he stated.


Nigeria creates licensing regime to regulate fintech


Nigeria’s financial regulators took a bold step recently to enforce control of the fledgling fintech industry with the release of guidelines on the operations of payment service banks (PSBs).

The functions of PSBs according to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) include accepting deposits from individuals and small businesses, offering payments and remittance services through various channels within the country, issuing debit and pre-paid cards on their names.

The central bank explained that they should operate mostly in the rural areas and unbanked locations targeting financially excluded persons.

These PSBs are also expected to have at least 25% financial service touch points (defined as locations where a customer can access basic financial service including cash-in, cash-out and transfers/remittances) in such rural areas as periodically defined by the CBN.

They could also enter into direct partnership with card operators, provided that such cards are not eligible for foreign currency transactions, deploy ATMs in some of these areas, as well as deploy point of sale devices.

Organisations that qualify to operate PSBs include banking agents, telcos, retail chains such as supermarkets, postal services providers, fintech companies, financial holding companies, according to the guidelines.

The central bank said the PSBs would be classified into three categories and would have minimum shareholder funds accordingly: five billion naira ($13.9 million) for a Super License; $8.3 million for a Standard License, while those under a Basic License will have either $139,000 or $128,000, depending on the services they offer.

The licensing fees for the three categories are $5,600, $2,800, and $278, respectively.

The licences are renewable every three years at one-half of the licensing fee, according the guidelines. There is also an application fee that is not refundable.

The main objectives of setting up the PSBs, the central bank said, is to enhance financial inclusion by increasing access to deposit products and payment/remittance services to small businesses, low-income households and other financially excluded entities through high-volume, low-value transactions in a secured technology-driven environment.

Nigeria has a target of achieving a 80% financial inclusion rate by 2020, a massive jump from the 47% rate in 2008.

Ecobank, the African regional lender, said in a November 27 note that while the planned licensing fees are comparatively light (compared with other licensing authorities), ‘‘the minimum shareholder capital requirements are high for Fintech start-ups, which typically have low capital and shoe-string budgets.’’ Ecobank argued that enforcing the requirements could raise the barrier for entry, thereby inhibiting fintechs’ ability to scale and stifling innovation.

Ecobank added that Nigeria—along with Kenya and South Africa—is one of sub-Saharan Africa’s leading innovation centers, with over 65 hubs in the country, and that many of which have start-ups that are developing new digital financial services.

It said that the planned new regulations will impact the flow of inward investment into Nigeria’s fintech sector as well as the kinds of companies that emerge to serve Nigeria and West African markets.



Source: GlobalFinance


GE launches e-learning portal at a Lagos garage


In line with its commitment to skills development and the empowerment of entrepreneurs in Nigeria, GE (www.GE.com) (NYSE: GE), the world’s premier digital industrial company, yesterday launched an e-learning portal for its Lagos Garage advanced manufacturing training program with the objective of extending the training program’s reach to thousands of Nigerians across the country.

The portal was launched during GE’s Lagos Garage Week 2018, a year-end series of events held annually at the Lagos Garage which is located in GE’s Lagos office in Victoria Island. During Garage week, GE opens up its innovation hub to the public for interested entrepreneurs to register for carefully curated courses in advanced manufacturing and business development.  Courses on offer introdu ce participants to principles of 3-D printing and rapid prototyping as well as a range of business development skills in Finance, Personal Branding, Marketing and Innovation.

Speaking at the portal launch, Director, Communications and Public Affairs, GE Africa, Patricia Obozuwa expressed pleasure at the continued success of the Lagos Garage since inception.

“Our goal is to empower Nigeria entrepreneurs with the relevant skills required to compete on a global scale. I’m happy to say that so far, over 250 people have successfully graduated from the advanced manufacturing training program we offer here at the Garage” she said.

Obozuwa added that with the e-learning platform, interested entrepreneurs no longer have to be physically present at the Garage to benefit from the innovative training the hub offers.

“This platform will make the training on offer at our GE hub reach a much wider audience than ever before, thus increasing the number of beneficiaries and making it more impactful. This has always been our goal: to reach the maximum number of Nigerian entrepreneurs in a short period, delivering valuable training that they would otherwise not have access to.”

Speaking as the Special Guest of Honour at the event, Hon. Hakeem Fahm, Commissioner of Lagos State Ministry of Science & Technology, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Kayode Ogunnubi commended GE on being a collaborative partner of the Lagos State Government for several years.  He congratulated the company on the launch of the Garage e-learning portal saying, “Lagos state is at the forefront of ICT development in Nigeria and training programs like the GE Garage that equip youths with innovative skills is one of the ways we believe we can develop the economy of the state and by extension the entire country.”

Launched in 2016, the permanent installation of the Lagos Garage, is a hub for advanced manufacturing-based innovation, strategy development, idea generation and collaboration. The Garage offers year-round series of skills training programs focused on building the next generation of Nigerian entrepreneurs. Till date, 250 entrepreneurs have graduated the program having been trained to use the latest in advanced manufacturing technologies; 3D printers, CNC mills, and laser cutters as well as in business development.

Distributed by APO Group