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N2.5Bn DSO Project: Lai Mohammed Fails to Appear in Court

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Lai Mohammed, former minister of Information, on Wednesday, failed to appear before Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo Giwa of the Federal High Court Abuja, to explain his role in the approval of N2.5bn to Pinnacle Communications Ltd, for the purpose of the Federal Government Digital Switch Over (DSO) project.

 

Wednesday’s sitting was in continuation of the trial of Ishaq Kawu Modibbo, director general, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Pinnacle Communications Ltd and two others.

 

The former Information Minister was among the persons listed by the prosecution counsel, Henry Emore in ICPC’s list of additional witnesses and was expected to be in court to give testimony being the Minister who approved the payment of N2.5bn to Pinnacle.

 

However, after calling two witnesses, the prosecution counsel informed the court that he was to call the former Information Minister but for his absence.

 

Umore said Prof Lai Mohammed had travelled out of the country but is being expected back into the country on or before July 31.

In addition, the court was told that Mohammed had finally made statement before ICPC, as a former Minister.

 

The prosecution also informed the court that the other witness he wished to call, was still in Saudi Arabia.

 

However, Alex Izinyon SAN, counsel to Onifade Oladipupo (2nd defendant) and Sir Lucky Omoluwa (3rd defendant) told the court that he had already filed an application to oppose the list of additional witness filed by the prosecution counsel.

 

Izinyon said the defence team had already joined issues with the prosecution on the failure of ICPC to call the Information Minister who approved the payment of N2.5bn to Pinnacle as well as join him as a defendant in the case.

 

A witness called by the ICPC told the court that the then Information Minister had refused to make statement to the ICPC, claiming that he needed to get clearance from the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

 

Earlier, upon cross examination by Izinyon, a prosecution witnesss Olugbemi Abraham Osanoto told the court that “During investigation, we could not interview the then minister of Information because he said he needed clearance from the Secretary to Government of the Federation”.

 

Abraham however revealed that they later took statement from Lai Mohammed during the pendency of this case, admitting that “Really, we did not bother to get in touch with the SGF to enable him allow the Information Minister to make statement”.

 

Abraham admitted that, NBC, based on the provision of the White Paper that government should provide condition for a level playing field for signal distributors, is the one that would determine the level playing field.

 

Under further cross examination by Amah Etuwewe, counsel to the 4th defendant (Pinnacle Communications), the witness said upon investigation, they did not value the facility put in place by Pinnacle at the Abuja DSO site.

 

Furrher more,  the witness admitted that the N2. 5bn was released under the supervision of the Information Minister, adding that “To the best of my knowledge, the Presidency that released the N10bn to the NBC for the purpose of DSO has not complained of how the fund was used, and I am not aware if the Minister had withdrawn his approval.

 

Meanwhile ,Justice Ogunbanjo Giwa has adjourned to July 1st, ruling on a motion by the 2nd and 3rd defendant seeking the release of their international passports to enable them travel abroad for official function. END.


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Yobe Gov Approves Employment of Staff @ State Owned Broadcasting Stations

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Mai Mala Buni, governor of Yobe State has approved the appointment of experienced casual staff working at Yobe Broadcasting Corporation (YBC) and Yobe State Television (YTV).

Yobe Gov Approves Employment of Staff @ State Owned Broadcasting Stations

This is as part of efforts to ensure enough manpower for the on-going digitization of the two stations.

Abdullahi Bego, commissioner for Information, Home Affairs, and Culture revealed this when the officials of the Radio, Television and Theatre Art Workers Union (RATAWU) paid him a courtesy visit at the office in Damaturu.

Bego said the governor had after approving millions of naira for the total overhauling of the two stations directed for formulation of all strategies that will ensure effective implementation of the digitization process.

The commissioner also said, “His Excellency Hon. Mai Mala Buni is passionate about the digitization process of the media organizations in the state especially when it comes to equipment, staff strength and capability.

“The next step is the training and retraining of the staff of the two media organisations for efficiency in the execution of their job,” Bego disclosed.

He said the casual staffs billed for employment were serving at the stations for more than eight years while others five to six years without permanent appointment letters.

“We feel it is good to employ them taking into cognizance their experience in the system and dedication to duty.”

Bego commended RATTAWU among other members of the organization for their effort in informing, enlightening, and entertaining the public at all times.

Comrade Nasiru Illiya, chairman of RATTAWU, while speaking, said they were at his office to register their gratitude to the giant stride of Governor Mai Mala Buni, especially on the digitization of the two media organisations in the state.

“Sir, we are equally very grateful to note that within your short stay as commissioner of Information, we have started witnessing a positive transformation in the sector through the award of contracts worth millions of naira for upgrading YBC and YTV from analogue to digital transmission

“As I am speaking to you now, YBC is online transmission live,” Illiya disclosed


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FirstBank Supports Author on New TV Series

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced its partnership with Arese Ugwu for the television adaptation of her best seller, Smart Money Woman.

FirstBank Supports Author on New TV Series

The weekly show – in its first season – is billed to premiere on Africa Magic Showcase this Wednesday.

The Smart Money Woman is a programme that shows the experiences, sacrifices, struggles and vigour of women in society as they carry out their day to day activities in spite of the gender imbalance in the society, especially in Africa.

The series is an adaptation of Smart Money Woman written to tackle debt, providing tips on inculcating the right savings culture of the African middle class (why don’t we say – every individual – as against limiting to African middle class), the fear and misconceptions surrounding money and the lack of it, love, friendships, cultural and societal pressures and the roles they play in success.

The half hour 13-episode series which is directed by Bunmi Ajakaiye and Co-, produced by Kemi Lala Akindoju, Akin Marinho and Arcadia Tv Africa would have viewers exposed to financial literacy nuggets. Its cast include; Osas Ighodaro, Toni Tones, Ini Dima-Okojie, Eby Eno, Eso Okolocha, Timini Egbuson, Karibi Fubara, Tope Tedela, Seun Ajayi and Temisan Emmanuel.

According to Arese Ugwu, author and executive producer, Smart Tribe Media; “The Smart Money Woman is a love letter to every modern and upwardly mobile African women who are exploring life opportunities and experiences to find that right balance in their day to day activities especially in their career, friendship, relationship and of course, family.”

“We thank First Bank of Nigeria Limited for being the first corporate sponsor to believe in my dream and take a chance on a first-time producer. This is a partnership we are pleased to reckon with, whilst we recognise how they have successfully empowered women across the geo-political zones in Nigeria through its various initiatives, especially the FirstGem product. They have provided mentoring, support and capacity building opportunities for all to create a new generation of financially literate women thereby contributing to the continued growth and development of the country.”

Speaking on the TV show, Folake Ani-Mumuney, group head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, said: “FirstBank has been at the forefront of promoting female empowerment and we understand the role financial literacy plays in deepening financial inclusion, whilst promoting female independence.

The essence of the TV programme is to raise financial awareness to inspire every individual in the society, especially women, to make informed choices and take effective actions for their financial wellbeing, she concluded.”


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OurTv Secures LaLiga Broadcasting Rights for Nigeria

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OurTV, a DTH free TV broadcast satellite service provider, has secured broadcast rights for Laliga matches in Nigeria.

OurTv Secures LaLiga Broadcasting Rights for Nigeria

OurTV will broadcast Laliga Santander matches live on its Sports Channel 120.

Commenting on the development, Olushola Peters, Head of Marketing of OurTV, said: “This is one major milestone for OurTv and we want to thank our esteemed users, who have always believed and supported us. We value your input and suggestions as it is a core culture in OurTv to listen and please our viewers as much as we can.”

OurTv is a Direct-To-Home (DTH) TV broadcast satellite service with onetime payment of set-up boxes that offers over 18 unique and exciting channels with the use of homegrown services.


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