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Na’Abba, Others Make Ministerial List

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President Goodluck Jonathan is set to send fresh list of ministerial nominees to the Senate for screening and clearance. The nominees are to fill the 10 vacant slots in the 42-member Federal Executive Council (FEC)

This followed last week’s screening of the ministerial nominees by the security and anti-graft agencies.

According to National Mirror, some of the nominees have been screened by the State Security Service, SSS.

“As at Wednesday last week, four of the ministerial nominees have been screened,” an insider told National Mirror yesterday. The source added that screening is being done in batches.

Spokeswoman of SSS, Marylyn Ogar, did not pick her call or respond to text message sent to her phone yesterday.

National Mirror, however learnt that Umar Ghaali Na’Abba, former speaker of the House of Representatives, has been nominated from Kano State, while Senator Isaiah Balat, Special Adviser to Vice- President Namadi Sambo on Special Duties, was picked to represent Kaduna State.

Mr. Jide Adeniji, incumbent chairman of the Federal Emergency Road Management Agency, FERMA from Osun State also made the list.

Former chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Iyiola Omisore, had submitted four nominees – Adeniji, Francis Fadahunsi, a retired Customs officer; Mrs. Remi Olowu, former chairperson, National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA; Mrs. Funmi Olaseinde, a former local government chairman – for Osun State out of which Adeniji was picked. Adeniji is a close friend of the President.

It is not clear if former governor of Adamawa State, Boni Haruna, made the final list. A source said the Presidency conceded the Adamawa slot to the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.

It was learnt that the corruption cases against Haruna and former governor of Jigawa State, Senator Saminu Turaki, worked against their emergence.

Chairman, PDP Governors’ Forum, Godswill Akpabio, nominated one of his associates for the Akwa Ibom slot.

It was learnt that President Jonathan sidelined the aggrieved PDP governors in the choice of the ministerial nominees.

For instance, in Rivers State, the President singlehandedly picked the nominee to replace Ama Pepple unlike what obtained in the past when Governor Rotimi Amaechi was the one that picked the state’s representative.

The same thing is applicable in Niger, Kano and Jigawa states where Governors Aliyu Babangida, Rabiu Kwankwaso and Sule Lamido were sidelined.

It was further learnt that the zonal ministerial slot for the South-West has been taken away from Ogun State, thus leaving out the input of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in the selection process. Lagos is being favoured to produce the zonal slot.

President Jonathan had on Wednesday September 11 sacked nine ministers. The affected ministers were Foreign Affairs, Olugbenga Ashiru; Education, Ruqqayatu Rufai; National Planning, Shamsudeen Usman; Land and Urban Development, Ama Pepple; Environment, Hadiza Mailafia; Science and Technology, Ita Ewa.

Three Ministers of State were also affected by the exercise. They included Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada; Power, Hajia Zainab Kuchi, and Agriculture, Tijani Bukar.

Before the September 11 sack, the President had on August 26 relieved the Minister of Youth Development, Inuwa Abdulkadir, of his appointment over the outcome of the recent controversial election of new executives of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, NYC


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AfriLabs, Korea-Africa Foundation in Strategic Partnership to Boost African Innovation

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African hubs network AfriLabs has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Korea-Africa Foundation for a strategic partnership aimed at driving innovation and economic growth across the continent.

AfriLabs is a network organisation that is committed to driving innovation and entrepreneurship on the continent by bringing together technology hubs, startups, investors, and other key stakeholders in the ecosystem.

Having recently announced the admission of 16 new hubs, AfriLabs now has a network of 478 hubs across 260 cities in 53 African nations.

The Korea-Africa Foundation, meanwhile, aims to serve as a platform for collaboration between the private and public sectors, and to strengthen exchange and cooperation with African countries.

The collaboration between the two aims to bridge the gap between Korean and African startups by leveraging each other’s expertise and resources. This will be achieved through the exchange of insights on youth development, the launch of joint research initiatives, and the fostering of a dynamic ecosystem that cultivates talent and entrepreneurial spirit in both regions.

“At AfriLabs, we are dedicated to unlocking Africa’s full potential and generating wealth through strategic alliances. This partnership with the Korea-Africa Foundation unlocks a treasure trove of opportunities for startups, granting them access to a global network, invaluable resources, and unparalleled industry knowledge.

“Together, we will empower the next generation of African innovators and entrepreneurs, paving the way for sustainable development and a thriving economy,” said Anna Ekeledo, executive director of AfriLabs.


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$750m World Bank Loan:  FG May Reintroduce Telcoms, Gambling Taxes

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Federal government may reintroduce the controversial telecom tax and other fiscal measures to fulfill one of the conditions for The World Bank’s fresh $750 million loan to Nigeria.

$750m World Bank Loan:  FG May Reintroduce Telcoms, Gambling Taxes

Experts have however strongly opposed new taxes, calling them harmful to the sector’s survival and the larger economy.

But The World Bank in programme appraisal document, dated May 17, 2024, on the loan disbursement to Nigeria, said that $750 million loan to Nigeria will support the federal government’s policy reforms.

A copy of the plan’s document posted on the World Bank website indicated that the government might reintroduce the excises on telecom services, and EMT levy on electronic money transfers through the Nigerian Banking System among other taxes.

Recall that on June 13, Wale Edun, minister of finance and coordinating minister of the economy, announced the approval of two financial support packages by the World Bank valued at $2.25 billion.

The loan consists of $1.5 billion for Nigeria’s reforms for economic stabilisation to enable transformation (RESET) development policy financing program (DPF) and $750 million for Nigeria’s accelerating resource mobilisation reforms (ARMOR) program-for-results (PforR).

In the programme appraisal document, the World Bank said the ARMOR programme contains revenue policy measures such as raising pro-health taxes on tobacco, and alcohol.

The Bretton Woods institution also said the programme contains the introduction of taxes on online betting and gambling, as well as new excise on telecommunication services.

Experts have however warned that these taxes would have severe consequences for investment and the operational viability of telecom companies.

According to them, higher taxes would hinder digitalization efforts, which are crucial for economic growth.

The proposed tax measures, according to the industry, are not only damaging to the telecom sector but also to the broader economy.

 

 


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EFCC, Flutterwave to Establish Cybercrime Centre for Security of Transactions

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Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Flutterwave, unicorn payments technology company have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to establish and a state-of-the-art Cybercrime Research Centre.

EFCC, Flutterwave to Establish Cybercrime Centre for Security of Transactions

Areas of focus of the centre include advanced fraud detection and prevention, policy development, as well as youth empowerment.

The fintech company with fortunes worth over $1bn headquartered in San Francisco with footprints in Nigeria and other African countries said the centre would also provide a “sustainable lifeline to youths across the country”.

To this effect, the Silicon Valley-based company signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the anti-graft agency in Abuja.

Ola Olukoyede, chairman, EFCC; Olugbenga Agboola, founder, Flutterwave; Christopher Gray, director of Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI); and other senior officials from both the EFCC and the FBI witnessed the signing of the MoU

Specifically, the MoU was signed by Mohammadu Hammajoda, secretary, EFCC and Agboolaof Flutterwave.

Olukoyede said, “This partnership marks a significant leap forward in our efforts to combat financial crimes and ensure a secure financial landscape for Nigerians. The Cybercrime Research Centre will significantly enhance our capabilities to prevent, detect, and prosecute financial crimes.”

On his part, Agboola said, “This initiative underscores our commitment to creating a fraud-free financial ecosystem and leading the charge in safeguarding transactions across Africa.

“We applaud the EFCC’s relentless efforts to combat internet fraud and other illicit activities in the financial sector.”

The Cybercrime Research Centre, to be established at the new EFCC Academy in Abuja, would serve as a hub for advanced research, training, and capacity building in the fight against financial crimes.

Areas of focus of the centre include advanced fraud detection and prevention, collaborative research and policy development, youth empowerment and capacity building, technological advancement and resource enablement, among other key areas.

“Advanced Fraud Detection and Prevention: Developing and implementing cutting-edge technologies to detect and prevent financial fraud. The centre will offer comprehensive training for law enforcement and industry professionals to combat modern financial crimes effectively.

“Collaborative Research and Policy Development: Engaging in joint research initiatives and policy formulation to enhance the understanding and regulation of financial crime. The centre will provide a platform for the exchange of ideas and best practices between the public and private sectors.

“Youth Empowerment and Capacity Building: Providing high-end training and research opportunities for 500 youths, equipping them with the skills needed to navigate and excel in the digital economy.

“Technological Advancement and Resource Enablement: Creating a repository of advanced tools, technologies, and resources to support financial crime investigations, including protocols for addressing emerging threats such as cryptocurrency-related crimes,” the statement concluded.

Birthed in 2016 by Agboola, fondly referred to as GB, Flutterwave, with its corporate headquarters in San Francisco and operational head office in Lagos State, grew within a short time, penetrating the African market with customisable payments applications through its unique Application Programming Interface.

 

 


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