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COVID-19 Palliatives: Atedo Peterside Urges Rich Nigerians to Copy Zinox Solution to Feed the Poor

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Rich and influential Nigerians as well as state and local governments and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) have been urged to borrow a leaf from the strategy deployed by the Zinox Group and Konga to reach and deliver much-needed succour to poor and needy families across Nigeria as the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic bites harder.

COVID-19 Palliatives: Atedo Peterside Urges Rich Nigerians to Copy Zinox Solution to Feed the Poor

This was the view of Atedo Peterside, founder, Stanbic Bank.

Peterside, who doubles as the Chairman, Anap Foundation COVID-19 Think-Tank, made this suggestion when he spoke as a guest on a televised interview on Africa Independent Television (AIT) on Wednesday.

The Rivers-born entrepreneur, who submitted that the country needed to improve some of the approaches it was deploying in fighting the pandemic, affirmed that there are three pillars in the COVID-19 fight: medical, governance and communication.

However, he disclosed that safety nets, deemed as one of the most important seven priority items identified by the Anap Foundation Think-Tank under medical, was an area that a lot more needed to be done.

‘‘Actually, the number of poor people in Nigeria is estimated at 80 million by NBS out of 180 million people.

“If you want the estimated 80 million poor Nigerians to remain in one place in view of the lockdown, you have to have a plan for them.

“I am not one to waste my time blaming government. If you do the numbers, we have an estimated 80 million classified and confirmed as being poor, add the next 20.

“I assume that the next 20 million can feed themselves because they are not poor.

“It then means that the richest 80 million can feed themselves and can probably also contribute or help to feed the bottom 80 million.

‘‘Even if one person in the top 80 million feeds at least one person in the bottom 80, we have solved the problem and that is without government intervention.

“A member of the Anap Foundation COVID-19 Think-Tank, Mr. Leo Stan Ekeh, owner of Zinox Group and Konga is going out to feed 7000 families every day for 14 days.

“This is to show you that the rich people can help the government solve the problem. So, we want more examples like Leo Stan Ekeh,’’ he counselled.

Continuing, the renowned investment banker said: ‘‘What we don’t want is rich people constantly being distracted. Instead of coming to join people like Leo Stan Ekeh to feed the poor, suddenly somebody dangles that there is some money at Central Bank, the same rich people will leave the task of feeding the poor, get distracted and begin to chase or apply for loans for the future.

“Can we just leave all that and focus first on the problem of the poor? Believe me, if we don’t solve that problem, the poor will infect the rich and we will all die.

‘‘The total number of poor people in Nigeria, using official NBS estimates, is 80 million.

“The 2.6m households being catered for by the Federal Government does not cover the 80 million people.

“So, if the Federal Government is trying to look after 2.6m households out of them, I am saying the richer Nigerians, state governments, LGAs, NGOs must now join to look after all of the 80 million poor people.

‘‘I am not saying Federal Government. Leo Stan Ekeh does not work for the Federal Government.

“President Buhari did not stop the rich people from trying to feed the poor. Let the rich people get up. Every state in this Federation has very rich people,’’ he declared.

Also toeing the line of thought espoused by Peterside, Dr.Mutairu Ademu, an economist, commended the strategy deployed by the Zinox Group in feeding the poor through its staff across the country; even as he noted that such gestures ought to be rewarded by the government.

‘‘It is a very ingenious strategy, one that is guaranteed to reach the poor and actual needy people.

“Well, I am not surprised because I have followed the innovativeness of this Group for nearly 20 years.

“This excellent strategy solves the problem of politics and tribe. This is because executing such initiatives through politicians will bring an unavoidable level of partisanship into it.

“Some politicians will use the palliatives to reward their loyal supporters and party stalwarts, thereby leaving people from other parties in the dust.

“In states where a particular political party is in charge, people from other parties will not be catered for; forgetting that those people from other political parties are also needy Nigerians and citizens of the state.

“So, this approach by the Zinox Group solves that. Also, with respect to the issue of tribe which will manifest in some people getting a larger share than others, the Zinox Group strategy of using staff to distribute the palliatives also resolves this.

‘‘This is why I urge other Nigerian corporate billionaires who preferred to rush to donate money to the government to consider borrowing a leaf from the approach of the Zinox Group and Konga which is guaranteed to reach the last mile.

“After all, there is no Nigerian worker that holds down full employment in two organizations at the same time.

“So, imagine other Nigerian billionaires and corporate organizations including the banks using their staff in various branches across Nigeria to feed the poor around them. We would have achieved so much in reaching the poorest of the poor.

‘‘All it costs the government in encouraging or rewarding this intervention would be some tax rebates or holidays which will not cost the government much.

“In fact, I suggest the government consult people like Leo Stan Ekeh more, especially on important public policy and economic-related issues.

“In fact, rather than being hostile to these entrepreneurs and frustrating them with double taxation, the government should rely on them more for necessary assistance; especially considering how they rallied round the government in supporting needy Nigerians in this emergency,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, the distribution of the palliatives by staff of the Zinox Group and Konga has kicked off, with beneficiaries already starting to receive the essential items being donated across the country.

This was confirmed by Gideon Ayogu, group head, Corporate Communications, Zinox Group.

According to him, ‘‘Distribution of the essential food items – which include medium bags of rice, tomato paste and cooking oil – has commenced.

“We were able to leverage on the delivery capabilities of Konga to get the items across to staff in various parts of the country.

“By the end of this week, we expect the overwhelming majority of the beneficiaries to have received their items.

“Also, evidence of these donations by our staff will be rigorously verified by the audit team created especially for this purpose in order to ensure that the intended beneficiaries actually benefit,’’ he revealed.

 

 

 


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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.

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ALTON, Medallion, CloudFlex Back NITRA’s Innovation Forum

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More companies have indicated interest in partnering with the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters’ Association (NITRA), as the national umbrella body of ICT reporters accelerates plans towards hosting its annual Innovation Forum in Lagos.

The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Medallion Communication and CloudFlex have now joined the telecoms regulatory body, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Digital Encode as partners to the event scheduled to hold as a Webinar on October 15, 2020.

Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, chairman ALTON, while accepting to support the event reiterated how telecommunications operators are helping in the realization of financial inclusion initiative of the central bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Engr. Adebayo, at the event, will also throw more light on other ways the sector is supporting organisations outside of ICT to reposition post pandemic.

The event will discuss the need for a fortified ICT sector after the COVID-19 era. It will also test the level of preparedness of ICT stakeholders to embrace the challenge of post-pandemic economy.

This year’s theme, “Multi-stakeholder Approach To National Recovery Post-Pandemic”, is in line with the annual event’s generic theme, ‘NITRA Innovative Tech Forum’, a contribution by NITRA to the development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) innovations and policies in Nigeria.

The event will also offer participating companies opportunities to publicize some of their individual efforts at contributing to reacting a soft landing or lifeline for SMEs and other ancillary companies as the pandemic threatens their survival.

Remi Adejumo, managing director, CloudFlex, will share insight into how cloud computing could assist organizations to navigate through the business challenges that have arisen due to the pandemic.

According to him, “Cloud computing offers scalability and reliability that cannot be matched by a single enterprise. Scalability with regards to expanding of the infrastructure which can be done immediately while in most organisations, this would take a 4-12 weeks endeavour.

“You can scale up or down as required. It is more reliable as the infrastructure tends to be bigger with more redundancy and it has the ability to swap out faulty parts quicker or to move away from a faulty platform smoothly with no interruption.”

CloudFlex Computing Limited, formerly Comercio Cloud Limited is Nigeria’s’ leading Enterprise local cloud service Provider. The firm is one of the top choices for Cloud Solutions and managed data services for local and global businesses with great ambitions.

The company offers Information Technology as a service (Cloud services, Co-location, Managed solutions, Backup services, Disaster Recovery etc.), and support for diverse infrastructure need by providing Industry-specific Solutions.

Medallion Communications Limited, one of Nigeria’s Interconnect exchange clearinghouses and data center operator, offering telecommunications infrastructure development and Value Added Services in Mobile Banking, Number Portability and Emergency Communications Services, will also play a big role as it gives direction to the future at the Webinar event.

A statement from the company notes that while most interconnect operators focus on only transiting of calls, Medallion’s model offers full financial settlement and reconciliation of interconnect traffic. This, it says, greatly eliminates interconnect indebtedness in the industry and leads to accurate and timely processing of interconnect charges.

The company also deploys a robust and efficient billing and settlement infrastructure that is transparent in the resolution of interconnect related billing issues, which will be one of the needs as the country expects heavy traffic both in data and call services occasioned by the need to go digital and online following the pandemic effects.


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NCC Board Chairman Alleges Threat to His life by Agents of DG

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Tonye Jaja, chairman, Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), has raised the alarm over alleged threat to his life by agents of John Asein, director general of the agency.

NCC Board Chairman Alleges Threat to His life by Agents of DG

He disclosed that an unnamed member of the NCC Governing Board had threatened his life through phone calls and SMS messages.

The Board Chairman, who made the claim in a statement, titled: “Notification of threats to my life and reputation in the line of duty as chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission,” ‎said the development followed statements he submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission as part of ongoing investigations into allegations against Asein. ‎

According to Jaja, Asein is being investigated over alleged conflict of interest and abuse of office, among other offences.

The chairman of the NCC Governing Board also alleged that Asein and his agents have vowed to destroy his reputation through publications in the media.

The statement read: “Yesterday, I received a verbal threat during a telephone call and an SMS from one member of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright (NCC).‎

“In a nutshell, he threatened that he will use online newspapers and other means to disgrace me and rubbish my reputation.

“His annoyance and threats is not an isolated incident, it is part of a coordinated onslaught of threats, publications of propaganda and other acts of reprisal targetted against me in my capacity as the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC).

“The persons behind this have gone to the illegal extent of forging certain documents and leaking government official documents to Online newspapers in their desperate attempts at smearing my hard earned reputation.

“The Office of the Inspector-General of Police is currently investigating one of such incidences.

“All this smear campaign is because I ‎was invited by the Code of Conduct Bureau and the ICPC as part of their investigation of Mr John Asein the Director-General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) whom they are investigating for allegations of conflict of interest and abuse of office, etc.

“‎As a responsible and law-abiding citizen,  who could not disobey the invitation of the ICPC and the Code of Conduct Bureau, I went to the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and deposed to an affidavit to confirm the veracity of the written and oral statements that I submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau.

“Instead of these persons to apply the same steps of going before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) or any other court of Justice in Nigeria to swear an affidavit and oath on the pain of perjury, in support of any statements they are making, they have resorted to peddling fake news, falsehood and false, unsubstantiated allegations through the pages of online newspapers and other social media platforms.

“In recent times, their anger and onslaught has intensified because their attempts to “kill” and “bury” the investigations proved abortive considering that the ICPC, the EFCC and the Code of Conduct Bureau continued with the investigations which they had previously in an online newspaper described as the petition against Mr. John Asein as jokers.’”

The Governing Board Chairman added that anybody who is sincerely interested in knowing and verifying the truth of the allegations against Asein can make Freedom of Information requests to the Department of State Services, ‎Chairman of the ICPC,‎ Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau, Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Inspector-General of Police through the Assistant Inspector General of Police in Charge of the Federal Investigations Bureau.

 


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Health Plus Accuses Foreign Firm of Attempt to Fraudulently Takeover Business

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Health Plus, a pharmaceutical company, has accused Alta Semper Capital, a foreign private equity firm (PEF), of a fraudulent attempt to take over its business.

Health Plus Accuses Foreign Firm of Attempt to Fraudulently Takeover Business

In a rejoinder to a press release earlier issued by the PEF, Health Plus dismissed the appointment of Chidi Okoro as chief transformation officer and the claim that Olubukunola Adewunmi George, chief executive officer, remains a director and shareholder

Health Plus stated that it entered into a five-year partnership with Alta Semper Capital in 2018 to inject fresh capital to further grow the business.

George, the rejoinder stated, was prepared to give PEF a controlling stake in order for them to realise their investment.

However, it added, PEF started working of schemes aimed at taking over the business after seeing the vastness of the Nigerian market.

PEF, according to Health Plus, deliberately starved the company of funds, neglected its obligations to the business, appointed Okoro as CTO and was running the company in utter disregard for George’s wishes.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors was said to have resigned two days ago while another director resigned five weeks ago over the debilitating effect of the impasse on the company.

The rejoinder stated that George had, in May 2020, instituted a suit at the Federal High Court (FHC/L/CS/609/2020) seeking to stop HealthPlus Africa Holdings Limited (the investment vehicle used by Alta Semper Capital and which they control) and their nominee directors from continuing to run and manage the company with disregard to her interests as a member of the Company.

After being served the court summons, PEF appealed for a mediation of the crisis outside court, a process frustrated after three meetings in three months.

Alta Semper thereafter filed an arbitration claim in England.

“Alta Semper’s latest actions, including the arbitration claim that it has now filed, constitute a serious affront to the authority of the Court seised of the suit, a desecration of the integrity of the Nigerian judicial system and a gross violation of Nigeria’s extant legislation.

“The General Public, the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, our Staff, loyal Customers, Vendors, Landlords, Bankers and all Stakeholders are advised to totally disregard and ignore the earlier unauthorised Press Release from those who have no real stake in the Company, its employees or Nigeria.

“Mrs. Bukky George remains the Founder & CEO of the Company and is focused on preserving and growing this national treasure,” the rejoinder read.

 

 

 


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