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Nigeria, Others Top Slavery’s List of Shame

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Nigeria is again in the news for the wrong reason: it was dishonorably ranked as the fourth country with the highest numbers of slaves in the world by the Global Index on Modern Slavery for 2013.

The report found that the traditional form of slavery still exists of course in Nigeria, hidden from view but there nevertheless: more than 200 years after slavery was abolished.

It is particularly disturbing that slavery is still being practiced in Nigeria; one of the West Africa countries where slavery is remembered for its almost unimaginable brutality.

Global Index on Modern Slavery for 2013 said that  there are 701,032 estimated population in modern slavery in Nigeria. The range of the estimate spans from 670,000 to 740,000 salves in the country.

During the peak of the slave era, unknown numbers of people – according to some estimates at least 4 million – died in slave wars and forced marches.

Jon Avis in one of his writing in Defense of Marxism reported that “More perished on the voyages across the Atlantic”.

“The scourge of human trafficking and forced prostitution have become an extremely profitable enterprise, especially with the re-introduction of capitalism in Russia and Eastern Europe. Marx explained that while chattel slavery was officially abolished, wage slavery became the dominant form of exploitation under capitalism.

Workers no longer own the means of production and are forced to sell their labour power from week to week. Few are able to escape from this relationship. While the slave trade has been partly abolished, the task now before us is to abolish wage slavery by the overthrow of capitalism and the construction of a socialist society. Only then will humankind become really free” Avis stated.

But back to Global Index on Modern Slavery,  India has the highest population of slavery in the world with 13,956,010; China is rated second with 2,949,243; and Pakistan third, with 2,127,132. The report showed that 30 million people are enslaved worldwide, trafficked into brothels, forced into manual labour, victims of debt bondage or even born into servitude.

Almost half are in India, where slavery ranges from bonded labour in quarries and kilns to commercial sex exploitation, although the scourge exists in all 162 countries surveyed by Walk Free, an Australian-based rights group. Its estimate of 29.8 million slaves worldwide is higher than other attempts to quantify modern slavery.

The International Labour Organisation estimates that almost 21 million people are victims of forced labour. “Today some people are still being born into hereditary slavery, a staggering but harsh reality, particularly in parts of West Africa and South Asia,” the report said.

“Other victims are captured or kidnapped before being sold or kept for exploitation, whether through ‘marriage’, unpaid labour on fishing boats, or as domestic workers. Others are tricked and lured into situations they cannot escape, with false promises of a good job or an education.”

The Global Slavery Index 2013 defines slavery as the possession or control of people to deny freedom and exploit them for profit or sex, usually through violence, coercion or deception. The definition includes indentured servitude, forced marriage and the abduction of children to serve in wars.

The rankings for the index are generated using three variables: a composite estimate of the number of people in slavery in each country, an estimate of the level of human trafficking from and into each country, and an estimate of the level of child and early marriage in each country.

According to the index, 10 countries, including Nigeria, alone account for three quarters of the world’s slaves. Other countries with high population of modern slavery include Ethiopia (651,000), Russia (516,000), Thailand (473,000), Democratic Republic of Congo (462,000), Myanmar (384,000) and Bangladesh (343,000). United Kingdom and Ireland tied as the least countries with low population in modern slavery.

The index also ranked nations by prevalence of slavery per head of population. By this measure, Mauritania is worst, with almost 4 percent of its 3.8 million people enslaved. Estimates by other organisations put the level at up to 20 percent.

Chattel slavery is common in Mauritania, meaning that slave status is passed down through generations. “Owners” buy, sell, rent out or give away their slaves as gifts.

After Mauritania, slavery is most prevalent by population in Haiti, where a system of child labour known as “restavek” encourages poor families to send their children to wealthier acquaintances, where many end up exploited and abused. Pakistan, India, Nepal, Moldova, Benin, Ivory Coast, Gambia and Gabon have the next highest prevalence rates.

At the other end of the scale, Iceland has the lowest estimated prevalence with fewer than 100 slaves.

Next best are Ireland, Britain, New Zealand, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg, Finland and Denmark, although researchers said slave numbers in such wealthy countries were higher than previously thought.


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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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