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Businessman Files N5trn Suit Against Works Minister, Others Over Alleged Copyright Breach

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A businessman, Mr Kenneth Ibe-Kalu, has filed a N5 trillion suit against the Minister of Works and Housing over alleged copyright infringement, according to NAN report.

Ibe-Kalu, in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1047/2022 before Justice Bolaji Olajuwon, sought 22 reliefs.

The case filed during President Muhammadu Buhari-led government, alleged that Mr Babatunde Fashola, who was the presiding minister and Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) were “liable for the tort of conversion” by dealing with Ibe-Kalu’s idea and concept as though the idea and concept belonged to them.

In the writ of summons dated July 13, 2022, and filed Dec. 13, Hugiano Embold Solutions Ltd and Ibe-Kalu, the 1st and 2nd plaintiffs, sued the Minister of Works, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice and ICRC as 1st to 3rd defendants.

Also joined in the suit are Minister of Information and Culture, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), National Planning Commission (NPC), KPMG Advisory Services, KPMG Professional Services as 4th to 8th defendants.

Others are Incorporated Trustees of Pan Atlantic University Foundation (Lagos Business School) and United Kingdom Secretary of State for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (United Kingdom Nigeria Infrastructural Advisory Facility Programme) as 9th to 10th defendants respectively.

Ibe-Kalu, the Managing Director of the 1st plaintiff, in the amended statement of claims, averred that he was the one, who conceptualised the idea of National Transformation Tourists Centers (NTTC).

He said he was moved by patriotic zeal and personally undertook extensive research and study into infrastructure driven economic development of Nigeria to address the huge infrastructure deficit and promote development in the process.

According to him, the NTTC idea is a development initiative to boost even development across the country, to secure safety on the highways, to encourage tourism as well as to tackle the security challenges bedeviling the nation.

He said as conceived, 15 per cent of the accruable revenue from the management of the concept would go to the state governments while five per cent accruable revenue would go to the Federal Government.

He said In a letter dated March 15, 2016, he wrote to former President Buhari and the concept was approved on a Private Public Partnership (PPP) arrangement.

He said after an Input by the then Information minister, the NTTC concept was assigned to Works minister to partner with him to actualise the project on April 7, 2017.

He alleged that Fashola and ICRC infringed on his right by adapting his idea as theirs and renamed it as Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI) against Buhari’s directive.

According to him, Fashola and ICRC contacted KPMG Advisory Services and KPMG Professional Services (7th and 8th defendants), an accounting firm, to estimate the cost of execution of NTTC concept renamed as HDMI.

Ibe-Kalu averred that 12 routes were approved by ICRC estimated to cost N1.34 trillion.

“The plaintiffs aver that the probable cost of execution of the 340 NTTC is estimated to be around the figure of N50 trillion only,” he added.

He said after bidding by contractors, the minister of works is now partnering with 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th defendants to actualise the HDMI.

He said he wrote letters to all the defendants to notify them of alleged right breach.

Ibe-Kalu, therefore, sought an order directing the defendants jointly and severally to continue with the plaintiffs with respect to the commencement, the execution and the completion of project on PPP arrangement.

He sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from interfering with his copyright.

He also sought an order of conversion deeming him as the author and owner of the alleged minister of works’ HDMI which was an adaptation of his NTTC.

He equally sought an order directing the works minister and ICRC jointly and severally to render to him account of all monies received by them on the basis of HDMI, alleged to be an adaptation of NTTC idea.

Ibe-Kalu further prayed for an order directing the works minister and ICRC to pay him the sum of N5 trillion as exemplary damages for breach of copyright, contract and conversion of his concept, among other reliefs

While being led in evidence-in-chief by his lawyer, John Oseji, before Justice Olajuwon, Ibe-Kalu identified all the documents tendered in evidence and were admitted as exhibits.

The judge adjourned the matter until May 2 for cross examination of Ibe-Kalu, the prosecution witness. (NAN)


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

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Under my Watch, NBC will Follow Due Process- New DG

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Charles Ebuebu, new director general, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), has promised to follow due process in the regulation of broadcast stations in the country.

Under my Watch, NBC will Follow Due Process- New DG

The new NBC boss made this known in an exclusive interview with Channels Television on Monday after a meeting with Dr John Momoh, chairman, Channels Media Group.

Ebuebu, who replaced Balarabe Illelah as director-general of NBC last October following his appointment by President Bola Tinubu, promised to end any arbitrary sanction on media stations in the country while not sparing consistent wrongs by defaulters.

He said the NBC Code will be reviewed to facilitate an enabling industry that allows operators thrive.

Ebuebu said, “There are two sides to a coin: one one hand, there is a perception that the NBC has been overreaching in the applications of sanctions. It’s been said that we did not follow due process and all of that.

“Basically, the takeaway for me is that, it has been an arbitrary process. Now, part of my training as a lawyer is the fact that we will definietly put together a transparent process. I don’t want to particular details. It’s still in process but I can assure you (that) there is going to be a change in that perception, it’s going to be transparent so much so people will be allowed to speak, they will be allowed to defend themselves.

“The issues will be analysed based on the code. We are going to have a code review where all inputs will be taken in and that will address that perception.

“Now, on the other side of it, it’s sort of strange to have a policeman who cannot issue a fine. of course, the case is in court and I can talk about its legality or otherwise.”


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How New UK Funding for Tech Entrepreneurs will Boost Livelihoods in Developing Countries

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Andrew Mitchell, UK’s Development Minister has announced new UK funding for innovative mobile phone technology will help change lives in developing countries around the world.

He noted that harnessing AI technology to provide real-time agricultural advice to farmers in Nigeria and pay-as-you-go solar powered fridges are just some of the ways UK-funded mobile technology is improving livelihoods globally.

At a speech at Mobile World Congress last week, Minister Mitchell announced the UK is providing £37.3 million of new support for the Mobile for Development Programme, to help more people access mobile and digital technologies to find new opportunities and boost their livelihoods.

The programme, which the UK funds in partnership with UK-based mobile industry association GSMA and the private sector, has already benefitted more than 94 million people and focuses on women and girls, climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience and scaling up innovative solutions.

Minister for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell said: “Mobile technology has the potential to revolutionise the lives of the poor by helping tackle the effects of climate change, creating jobs and boosting opportunities for women.

“The Mobile for Development programme has already benefitted more than 100 million people, and the UK’s new announcement aims to up the ambition, reaching 110 million additional people, including 60 million women.

“Together the worlds of development and mobile tech giants can be a powerful force to unlock opportunities and prosperity and meet the UN Global Goals.”

UK funding has previously helped scale up a digital hub in Pakistan, BaKhabar Kissan (BKK), which provides accurate weather forecasting data to farmers to help them make critical farming decisions such as the timing of seed sowing, irrigation, and fertilisation. With the help of this programme, BKK has almost doubled users from 6.6 million to 12.4 million.

Another innovative business, Ensibuuko, is providing digital skills training to help community saving groups in rural Uganda keep up with the latest digital products and services where previously they relied on paper record-keeping. Since gaining funding, Ensibuuko has benefited over 236,000 members of rural savings groups, 60% of whom are women, providing them with digital skills training.

John Giusti, President of the GSMA Mobile for Development Foundation, said:”For more than a decade, the FCDO and the GSMA Mobile for Development Foundation have worked closely in partnership to drive socio-economic and climate impact for the most underserved populations through digital innovation, and to date our partnership has improved the lives of more than 127 million people.

“Today’s renewal of our partnership will further amplify our joint impact by leveraging the power of digital and emerging technologies to support innovation, improve access to opportunities for women, and tackle the effects of climate change for the most vulnerable.”

With the increase in climate crises around the world, the need for new solutions to help vulnerable countries adapt is growing and mobile technology can make a big difference to people’s lives.

At Mobile World Congress, GSMA also announced the grantees for its Climate Resilience and Adaptation Fund which is funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. This fund is designed to test and scale up new technology to combat the effects of climate change in countries throughout Africa and Asia.

Some of the projects being funded include one using AI-powered satellite imagery to help smallholder farmers increase their yields and another to reduce food waste via an online grocery platform.


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Omniverse Summit 2024: Climate Action Africa Reiterates Commitment to Climate Innovation Agenda

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Climate Action Africa (CAA), a leading social enterprise focused on environmental sustainability, reaffirmed its commitment to fostering an inclusive climate action ecosystem at the ongoing Omniverse Summit 2024.

Alice Eze, Chief Operating Officer of Climate Action Africa and Olatubosun Alake and Commissioner, Innovation, Science and Technology, Lagos State at the Omniverse Summit 2024 that held in Lagos, Nigeria.

Co-founded by Innovation Support Network (ISN Hubs) with support from GIZ/Digital Transformation Center Nigeria (GIZ/DTC Nigeria), the Omniverse serves as a meeting point for diverse stakeholders across sectors, including development partners, public entities, regulatory agencies, academia, startups, finance professionals, media, and the creative industries.

As a key participant at the four-day event, Climate Action Africa has reaffirmed its commitment to being at the forefront of driving climate innovation for a sustainable future. The organization emphasized the need to integrate environmental sustainability models, technology, and community-driven innovation to address climate change challenges.

Emphasizing the pivotal role of innovation in identifying and scaling solutions to address the imminent climate crisis in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, Alice Eze, Chief Operating Officer of Climate Action Africa, said: “Our participation at The Omniverse Summit 2024 reflects our conviction that fostering innovation is crucial in discovering and amplifying solutions to address the imminent climate crisis, not only in Africa but also globally.”

Climate Action Africa’s participation includes thought-provoking discussions on offering climate-resilient solutions, engaging exhibitions, active involvement in deal room discussions, and cultivating strategic partnerships towards the upcoming Climate Action Africa Forum 2024, among others.

Climate Action Africa remains dedicated to engaging with critical stakeholders and advocating for a multi-stakeholder approach to addressing climate change challenges. The organization’s presence at The Omniverse Summit 2024 reflects its commitment to this collaborative approach, which is essential for knowledge exchange and shared solutions to navigate the complex climate challenges facing the African continent and its communities.

L-R: Alice Eze, Chief Operating Officer of Climate Action Africa and Olatubosun Alake, Commissioner, Innovation, Science and Technology, Lagos State at the Omniverse Summit 2024 that was held in Lagos, Nigeria.

 

 


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