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US Department of Justice, NCC Clinch Merit Awards on International Customs Day



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As Nigeria joined the world in marking the International Customs Day, on 26 January 2020, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has been honoured with a Merit Award by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) “for rendering exceptional service to the international Customs community”.

The WCO, on the occasion, also honoured two other Government Agencies, the United States Department of Justice (USDoJ) and the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA).

Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hammed Ali (Rtd), presented the awards respectively to the Director-General of NCC, Mr. John O. Asein; Director-General of NBMA, Mr. Rufus Ebegba and the Legal Advisor, USDoJ Office of Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) in the US Mission, Nigeria, Mrs Bisi Olabanji. This was at a special ceremony organised in commemoration of the International Customs Day in Abuja on 27th January 2020.

The Comptroller-General stated that this year’s theme: “Customs Fostering Sustainability for People, Prosperity and Planet” chosen by the WCO focused on the contributions of Customs and allied development partners “towards sustainable future where social, economic, health and environmental needs of our people are brought to bear on Customs operations”.

He noted that a total of 19 Customs officers, Government Agencies and private organisations that have shown commitment and distinguished themselves towards the actualisation of the theme were recognised and accorded the prestigious WCO Merit Award.

According to the Comptroller-General, the NCS has contributed immensely and would continue to contribute towards the actualisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in line with the guidelines of the WCO in the areas of poverty reduction, food security, good health, climatic action, industrial innovation and infrastructure, as well as overall wellbeing of life on land and water.

He assured that the NCS remained passionate in the discharge of its mandates, in the protection of national security and economy, adding that this has resulted in the collection of a historic N1.3 trillion revenue, exceeding the N937 billion target set by the Federal Government for 2019.

He listed other achievements of the Service as the seizure of prohibited articles of trade comprising food, counterfeit and other items harmful to the environment; the interception of the illicit cash flows through our airports and trade in endangered species and contributions towards Nigeria’s new ranking in the World Bank’s ease of doing business by facilitating speedy release of goods to compliant traders.

Receiving the award on behalf of NCC and the entire creative industry, the DG of Nigerian Copyright Commission, commended the efforts of the NCS towards the growth of the creative sector through monitoring of the country’s borders to check the influx of pirated works to the country.

Mr. Asein noted that the celebration of Nigeria today all over the world was due to its abundant talents and high level of creativity and therefore thanked the Comptroller General for the collaboration with the NCS in the protection of the intellectual property rights of authors.

The Director-General described the NCS as the linchpin of Nigeria’s economy and a bastion of development for the IP sector and called for enhanced collaboration to boost the fight against IP thefts across the nation’s borders.

In his congratulatory message to the NCS, the Director General noted that this year’s theme “is an affirmation of the critical role of customs administrations in guaranteeing the sustainable growth of any nation, its people and economy, while helping to preserve the future of our planet.

It is also a reminder of the enormous contributions of customs authorities all over the world to our social, economic, health and environmental well-being.”

Mr. Asein remarked, “The creative sector in Nigeria, including the book, music, visual art, film, broadcast, and other dependent industries have benefited from the intervention of the Nigeria Customs Service in checking the importation of pirated materials that are injurious to legitimate trade and the prosperity of that sector.”

He lauded the NCS for working closely with the NCC on various anti-piracy strategies adding that the synergy has helped to strengthen copyright enforcement in Nigeria. “The joint operations of both agencies, have led to the removal of over 9million assorted pirated copyright works with estimated market value of over N10Billion’, he stated.

Mr. Asein saluted the Comptroller General of Customs for his able leadership and commended the gallant officers and men of the Service who often go beyond the call of duty to ensure that our border posts are safe from pirated works.

In addition to seven distinguished high-ranking Customs officers that clinched the awards of excellence this year, the commands and units of NSC that received the WCO Merit Awards were the Tin Can Island Port (TCIP), Apapa, Lagos; ICT Unit; Intellectual Property Rights Unit (IPRU); Federal Operations Unit, Zone A; and Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.

Awardees from private sector organisations were Don Climax Logistics and Agency, Clarion Logistics, Nigerian Breweries Plc and DHL Courier Services.

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Verve Rewards 600 Customers in Good Life Promo



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Africa’s leading payment technology and card brand, Verve International, has rewarded 600 customers so far after the third weekly draws in the ongoing Verve ‘Good Life’ Promo.

Verve rewarded the lucky cardholders at prize presentation ceremonies held in various locations across the country recently.

Amongst the 300 lucky cardholders that emerged winners of the N10,000 cash prize in the weekly raffle draws that have held three times were: Adeleke Moshood, a student from Oyo State; Adeogun Shakiru, an automobile specialist and Rashidat Abolaji, a businesswoman, both from Lagos State.

Another set of 300 Verve cardholders emerged winners of airtime worth N5,000, bringing the total amount won so far to N4.5 million Naira.

Speaking during the draws, Cherry Eromosele, Group Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Interswitch Group, expressed her delight about the number of cardholders that have been rewarded lately.

Eromosele reiterated Verve’s resolve to continue to provide secure, convenient and reliable payment solutions for its cardholders.

She said: “Because our cardholders are of priority to us at Verve, beyond providing them brilliant payment solutions, we are rewarding them for their loyalty with the expectation that the reward helps them achieve the good life, whatever the good life means to them”.

Verve recently launched a nationwide promo tagged The Verve ‘Good Life’ Promo which kicked off on September 1, 2020 and will run till November 29, 2020.

The promo seeks to enable Verve’s loyal cardholders to live the good life, whatever the ‘good life’ means to them.

The promo is targeted at rewarding over 2,500 Verve cardholders nationwide, with over N27million Naira in cash and airtime, during the course of 12 weeks duration of the promo.

With three weeks concluded out of the twelve weeks of the promo, Verve cardholders have eight more weeks to keep transacting with their cards and standing the chance to win.

Other Nigerians presently without Verve cards but have the desire to enjoy the good life, can take advantage of this eight-week window to ask their respective banks for a Verve card in order to start transacting, to qualify to win from an array of exciting prizes.

The prizes have been categorized into four segments, with their respective qualification requirements as follows:

Weekly Prize category 1 – N10,000 cash for 100 winners weekly, requires at least 3 transactions weekly. Weekly Prize category 2 – N5,000 for 100 airtime every week, requires at least 3 transactions weekly.

Monthly Prize category – N50,000 cash for 50 winners every month, requires at least 12 times monthly Grand Prize category – N1,000,000 cash for 2 winners, requires at least 36 transactions from now till the end of the promo.

Prospective winners of the Verve ‘Good Life’ promo should consistently use their Verve cards within the next eight weeks, across payment channels such as Point of Sale (POS) terminals, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Web and agent banking centers.

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World Cleanup Day: Coca-Cola Partners NGOs, Recovers Over 900kg of Plastic Waste



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World Cleanup Day, celebrated globally on September 19, 2020, saw diverse people come together to combat the solid waste problem through numerous community cleanup activities.


To mark this day, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited partnered with two local NGOs – African Cleanup Initiative and Mental and Environmental Development Initiative for Children (MEDIC), on cleanup activities across Lagos and Ibadan.

African Cleanup Initiative held cleanup activities across numerous locations in Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states. This outreach saw more than 200 volunteers gather to collect over 1,500kg of solid waste materials and about 300kg of recyclable waste materials.


At the Lagos event, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, Mrs Belinda Aderonke Odeneye, applauded the programme.


She expressed the Lagos State Government’s delight at being part of the cleanup activity. Odeneye, who was represented by the Assistant Director, Sanitation Services Department of the Ministry, Mrs Toyin Oguntola, went further to encourage citizens to be environmentally responsible.

She stated, “The government can only perform excellently with law-abiding citizens. We all have a role to play in waste management and ignoring those responsibilities will make all the efforts of the government futile”. 


Similarly, the International Coastal Cleanup held at Bonny Camp Coastline by Mental and Environmental Development Initiative for Children (MEDIC) also produced outstanding results with about 600kg of marine plastic waste materials recovered and over 250kg of marine debris sent to the landfill. The outreach saw participation from over 100 volunteers.


These activities are in line with Coca-Cola’s vision for a World Without Waste and the company’s commitment to doing business sustainably.


Speaking on its World Without Waste initiatives, Nwamaka Onyemelukwe, Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability Manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, explained, “We all have a responsibility to keep our environment clean and Coca-Cola is not left out as we remain committed to promoting a sustainable environment through our plastic recycling and recovery activities, as well as other environmental initiatives”. 

With the award of grants of over $800,000 by The Coca-Cola Foundation to multiple local NGOs, several recycling and women empowerment programs are being implemented to help address the issue of environmental protection while simultaneously empowering women who remain significant pillars of the environment.


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TETFund Seeks Increased Annual Research Funding of $1bn



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The Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, Thursday, urged the federal to increase its yearly funding for Research and Development (R&D) to $1 billion. This was as it hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for his recent increase of the research grant from N5 billion to N7.5 billion.

Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, executive secretary of TETFund, speaking at the inauguration of TETFund’s R&D Standing Committee in Abuja, said massive investment in research would bring about the much-needed development in the country.

Bogoro also said it was time for the promulgation of a law that will bring into full place what he referred to as the “National R&D Foundation (NRDF)” to deepen research in the country.

Hear him:”To galvanize our vision towards making R&D the ace and game changer in our national development agenda, the need for an appropriate law to support the establishment of a National R&D Foundation (NRDF) cannot be overstated.

“We need a robust institutional framework and arrangement for the NRDF. I am recommending a minimum annual budgetary threshold of 1billion dollars as the funding portfolio for this Foundation.

“When we consider the inevitable benefits of R&D and the inevitable benefits of R&D and the socio-economic challenges in Nigeria, this amount begins to look like a drop of water in the ocean-population of 200 million people in 2020 and projected to become double in 10 years for now.”

Prof. Bogoro, who said the TETFund’s R&D Standing Committee is expected to come up with its own recommendation on the required amount that is suitable for efficient research activities in the country, called for a robust collaboration between researchers and the private sector to bring about all-round development in the country.

“It is envisaged that the private sector of the economy should pick the gauntlet to steamroll the lofty initiative by taking ownership of it,” he said.

Prof. Bogoro lauded the recent performance of Nigerian universities in the world’s ranking, saying TETFund intervention projects have continued to encourage such feats.

On his side, Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, while inaugurating the committee, called on members to put their best to the work he described as ‘national assignment.’

Represented by the Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukuemeka Nwajuiba, Adamu said that continued investment in research would herald a rebirth of Nigeria.

“Nigeria voted us into power predicated on our being able to transform our national aspirations and make them a national achievement.

“It is in recognition of this direction that the Executive Secretary, TETFund, presented his vision of a research-driven nation and how to finance that ambition through the Board of Trustees (BOT).

“To a large extent, Nigeria’s future depends on you. You have been summoned to a national service that is not available to the rest of the 200 million population. It is a national calling that requires almost all of you,” he said.

On his part, the Chairman, House Committee on Tertiary Education and Services, Hon. Aminu Suleiman said the work of the committee would open the windows of opportunities to tackle various developmental challenges confronting the country.

Suleiman, represented by Hon. Ikenna Elezieanya, lamented the way Nigeria has shown less concern to research, saying that many developed countries invested in research and development and thus helped to improve on their economy.

He said, “Research is the gateway of innovation. It is said that while countries like the USA, Korea, and the like have been investing in research and development, we seem to show less concern.”

He encouraged beneficiaries to take good advantage of the initiative to solve problems for the betterment of the country.

Responding, the Chairman of the over 160-member TETFund’s R & D Committee, Prof. Njidda M. Gadzama, said the epoch-making event will transform the socio-economic sector by ensuring the robust promotion of cutting-edge innovations.

“We promise to carry out our assignment with commitment and diligence and this will result in the R & D Culture and R&D Foundation to drive industrialization of the country,” he said.

The standing committee whose membership is drawn from the academic, industry, and private sector, has the President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, Mansur Ahmed, as one of the three Vice Presidents.

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