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Victory as Shell Pays out £55m over Niger Delta Oil Spills

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Oil giant Shell’s long-overdue compensation pay out to a community devastated by oil spills in the Niger Delta is an important victory for the victims of corporate negligence, said Amnesty International and the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development today.

Six years after two oil spills destroyed thousands of livelihoods in the Bodo area, legal action in the UK has driven Shell to make an out-of-court settlement of £55m to compensate the affected community.

The £55m will be split between £35m for 15,600 individuals and £20m for the community.

“While the pay-out is a long awaited victory for the thousands of people who lost their livelihoods in Bodo, it shouldn’t have taken six years to get anything close to fair compensation,” said Audrey Gaughran, Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International.

“In effect, Shell knew that Bodo was an accident waiting to happen. It took no effective action to stop it, then it made false claims about the amount of oil that had been spilt. If Shell had not been forced to disclose this information as part of the UK legal action, the people of Bodo would have been completely swindled.”

The wait has taken its toll on Bodo residents, many of whom had their fishing and farming livelihoods destroyed in the spill.  Throughout this time they have had to live with the ongoing pollution and, without compensation, many have faced grinding poverty.

“The compensation is a step towards justice for the people of Bodo, but justice will be fully achieved when Shell properly cleans up the heavily polluted creeks and swamps so that those who rely on fishing and farming for their income can begin to rebuild their livelihoods,” said Styvn Obodoekwe, Director of Programmes of the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD).

“I am very happy that Shell has finally taken responsibility for its action,” said Pastor Christian Kpandei, a Bodo fish farmer, whose fish farm was destroyed by the oil spill. “I’d like to thank the lawyers for compelling Shell to make this unprecedented move.”

Shell has always accepted that the two 2008 Bodo oil spills were the fault of failures on the company’s pipeline at Bodo, but publically – and repeatedly – claimed that the volume of oil spilt was approximately 4,000 barrels for both spills combined, even though the spills went on for weeks.

In 2012 Amnesty International, using an independent assessment of video footage of the first oil spill, calculated that the total amount of oil split exceeded 100,000 barrels for this spill alone.

During the legal action in the UK, Shell had to finally admit that its figures were wrong and it had underestimated the amount of oil spilt in both of the Bodo cases. However Shell has still not confirmed how much oil was actually spilt.

During the legal process Shell was also forced to reveal that it had been aware, at least since 2002, that most of its oil pipelines were old, and some sections contained “major risk and hazard”. In a 2002 document Shell stated that outright replacement of pipelines was necessary because of extensive corrosion.

As far as Amnesty International and CEHRD are aware Shell took no action despite having this information years before the Bodo leaks. An internal Shell email from 2009 revealed that Shell knew it was exposed over spills in Ogoniland – where Bodo is situated; the email stated “the pipelines in Ogoniland have not been maintained properly or integrity assessed for over 15 years”.

Thousands more people remain at risk of future oil spills because of Shell’s failure to fix its ageing and dilapidated pipelines.

“Oil pollution in the Niger Delta is one of the biggest corporate scandals of our time. Shell needs to provide proper compensation, clear up the mess and make the pipelines safer, rather than fighting a slick PR campaign to dodge all responsibility,” said Audrey Gaughran.

It would be recalled  that there were  two oil spills occurred at Bodo in the Niger Delta in 2008, the first in August and the second in December. 

Amnesty International and CEHRD have worked on the Bodo spills case since 2008, supporting the community to secure compensation and clean up.

In 2011, the people of Bodo, represented by UK law firm Leigh Day, began court proceedings in the UK against the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria.


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CBN Resumes Forex Sales to BDCs with $20,000 Ceiling to Each Licensee

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) resumed dollar sales to Bureaux De Change (BDC) operators on Thursday July 18, with a planned disbursement of $20,000 to each licensee.

The apex bank said the forex injection is expected to curb forex distortions, boost liquidity in the market and stabilise the naira.

In a circular to all BDC operators and the public, the CBN said it “observed the continued distortions in the retail end of the market, which is feeding into the parallel market and further widening the exchange rate premium.”

The circular was signed by Aliyu Mahdi for the bank’s Acting Director of Trade and Exchange Department.

The apex bank said that eligible BDCs would be allowed to purchase a maximum of $20,000 at a fixed rate of N1,450 to the dollar. The rate is pegged to the lower band of the previous day’s trading rate on the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange (NAFEX) window.

BDCs are permitted to sell dollars to eligible end-users at a maximum margin of 1.5 percent above the purchase rate from the CBN.

To ensure compliance, BDCs are required to make Naira payments into designated CBN accounts and submit necessary documentation for disbursement at specified branches in Abuja, Lagos, Kano, and Awka in Anambra State.

The CBN attributed the decision to the widening gap between the official and parallel market exchange rates, which it blamed on distortions in the retail end of the market. The bank expressed hope that the move would also help to reduce pressure on the naira.

Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) President Aminu Gwadabe said the new dollar injections in the market will induce liquidity and stabilise the naira.

He added that the move has already impacted positively on the Naira, which appreciated from N1,640/$ to N1,570 /$ at the parallel market.


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Henry Naiho Bags Outstanding ICT Solutions, Innovation and Youth Empowerment Personality of the Year Award

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An IT egghead / expert who has contributed immensely to the development of the sector in Nigeria and beyond has emerged winner of outstanding ICT Solutions, Innovation and Youth Empowerment personality of the year award at this year’s Africa’s Beacon of ICT Merit and Leadership Award.

Henry Nwapali Ndidi Naiho emerged winner of the highly coveted African Beacon of ICT Merit and Leadership award of Outstanding ICT Solutions, Innovation and youth Empowerment Personality of the Year award in recognition of his outstanding contributions, mentorship and innovative support and contributions to the ICT space in Africa and Nigeria by African foremost and leading ICT paper.

The event held on Saturday 25th May at Four Points by Sheraton was themed: “Artificial Intelligence: The Good, The Complex and The Anticipated”.

While receiving the award Naiho said: “l dedicates this award to my family and the teeming youths that sees me as their role model and mentor. ‘’Your believe in me, is your calls and shout outs that fire me up the more. He said excitedly.”

Henry Naiho is an experienced technology business leader with strong IT and Telecommunications technical knowledge, UX/UI and entrepreneurial mindset,; he has over 26years cognate experience in ICT, with  high expertise not limited these areas: Project, Programme & Portfolio Management, Customer and User Operations Management, ICT, Transmission, BSS, Software Development etc., Network Planning, Implementation, Operations & Maintenance, Stakeholder Engagement and Management, Team Build, Performance and Management, Business Processes, Analysis & Analytics.

He had an enviable work stint so far, here are some select positions with organizations, he was the Senior Project Manager (IT), Sasol Plant) South Africa, Group Lead, Technology Transformation & Operations, Userlytics Group, South Africa, Regional Operations Manager  (South Africa & Africa Operations): Stratosat Datacom Pty Ltd, South Africa, Quality Management (Projects & Operations).

He was also at Zain Mobile Limited, West Africa (AKA Airtel Africa) as the Regional Manager, Transmission Network implementation & Operations. Regional Transmission Engineer, (Implementation, Operations & Maintenance): Globacom Limited, Nigeria. Naiho’s diverse academic background in physics, Tech-management and vendor-specific certifications, has equipped him with uncommon expertise to provide cutting-edge solutions to clients across various sectors.

His entrepreneurial spirit, driven by a desire to provide solutions to human needs, empower the youths which he said is fire in his bone, has led him to represent top brands like Ericsson, Huawei, Motorola, and Microsoft.

Through his brand, Naiho offers a range of services, including business processes, human capital development, business research, technology harnessing, and corporate sustainability solutions. He has continuously updated his skills to ensure his brand remains relevant, meeting and exceeding client needs for best satisfaction and experience. Naiho’s achievements are a testament to his dedication and expertise. He has implemented numerous solutions using technology to streamline business processes, improve efficiencies, and effectiveness.

He attributes his success to his ability to be resilient, tunnel vision, flexible, and adaptable, qualities he believes are essential for thriving in the industry.

According to him, “As a Fibre optics engineer, I have published research papers on Fibre optics resilient and solutions for survivability.

“ I have also obtained 5G certifications, demonstrating my commitment to staying up-to-date with the latest technologies.”

He added that his expertise in process improvements, operations management, and technology has made him a sought-after professional in his field.

His Counsel for Youths seeking a career in ICT: Naiho’s advice to youths seeking a career in this field is straightforward: “Pursue your passion, invest in continuous learning, and seek ways for continuous improvements.

“The industry offers opportunities for growth and development, and with dedication and hard work, you can build a successful career like mine.”

As a role model, Naiho’s career trajectory serves as an inspiration to youths, demonstrating that with hard work and determination, they can achieve their goals and build a successful career in the IT, Telecommunications, Quality, and Operations Management industry.

Speaking at a recent press conference, Naiho emphasized that the adoption of innovative technological solutions is no longer optional but essential for businesses seeking to enhance efficiency and maintain a competitive edge.

“Technology offers a plethora of tools designed to optimize business operations, eliminate bottlenecks, and improve overall efficiency,” said Naiho. “Organizations that fail to integrate these tools into their processes risk falling behind their more tech-savvy competitors.”

Naiho highlighted several key areas where technology can significantly impact business processes, including automation, data analytics, and cloud computing.

Automation, he noted, can take over repetitive tasks, freeing up employees to focus on more strategic activities. “By automating routine tasks, businesses can reduce human error, save time, and increase productivity,” he explained.

Data analytics is another crucial area where technology can drive substantial improvements. “Businesses today generate vast amounts of data. Properly analyzing this data can provide valuable insights into customer behavior, operational inefficiencies, and market trends,” Naiho pointed out.

He added that using advanced analytics tools can help businesses make more informed decisions and tailor their strategies to better meet customer needs and expectations.

Naiho also emphasized the importance of cloud computing in streamlining business processes. “Cloud-based solutions offer flexibility, scalability, and cost-efficiency. They enable businesses to access their data and applications from anywhere, facilitating better collaboration and continuity,” he said.

To maximize the benefits of these technologies, Naiho urged businesses to be adaptable and open to change.

“The key to leveraging technology effectively is to remain flexible and continuously seek ways to improve. This requires a culture that embraces change and encourages innovation,” he stated.

Also, Naiho called on regulatory bodies and the government to support the technological advancement of businesses by creating conducive policies and infrastructure.

“The government and regulators play a crucial role in fostering an environment that supports technological adoption. By engaging with industry stakeholders and aligning policies with technological advancements, they can help businesses thrive,” he remarked.

Naiho’s insights shed light on the imperative for businesses to leverage technology to streamline their operations.

His call to action serves as a timely reminder that embracing technological innovation is critical for achieving operational excellence and long-term success.

With a PhD (in view), Fellow of some prestigious institutions, Post graduate in Business Administration, Strategy, Management and Programme Management, and a B.Sc in Physics garnished with industry specific certifications in SAP, TOGAF Standard 9.2 complete, 5G Technology, Architecture and Protocols, 5G Planning and Design, 5G Open RAN and Private Networks, Design Thinking, User Research, User Experience Management, User Accessibility, Product Management, AWS Solutions Architect , ISO QMS 9001:2015, ISO OHAS 45001: 2018 and lots of other vendor specific (Ericsson, Huawei, Harris etc.).


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Zoho Partners with She Code Africa to Empower and Upskill Women Through Specialised Training on Zoho Creator

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Zoho, a global technology company, is partnering with She Code Africa (SCA), a leading non-profit organisation dedicated to empowering and upskilling African women in tech. With this partnership, Zoho will conduct Train the Trainer sessions for SCA Academy trainers to introduce them to Zoho Creator, the company’s low-code app development platform.

Maryblessing Okolie, Community Manager, She Code Africa (SCA).

These trainers will subsequently train more students, associated with SCA, to build powerful applications using low-code to solve actual business problems.

The upskilling sessions will be provided as part of the ‘Young Creators Program’ (YCP) run by Zoho Creator. As part of the program, Zoho will host 30 female trainers from the SCA Academy and will conduct a three-day in-depth training session about building enterprise-grade applications with low-code technology.

The training will take place at the Zoho office in Lagos, Nigeria. The trainers will also receive free access to the Creator platform for one year, along with training material.

“At Zoho, we believe in supporting local communities by upskilling and hiring local talent, empowering local businesses with our technology, and promoting responsible and sustainable development.

“Our growth strategy, known as transnational localism, embodies these values. In continuation of this commitment to support progress at the grassroots, we are partnering with She Code Africa to equip Nigerian students with critical tech skills,” said Kehinde Ogundare, Country Head, Zoho Nigeria.

“The ‘Young Creators Program’ aims to bridge the technical skill gap and support talent-building for our youth who will be the next generation of leaders and professionals.

“We are glad to partner with Zoho to help our trainers learn the latest advancements in low-code technology, and then pass on the knowledge to our other students,” said Maryblessing Okolie, Community Manager.

Launched globally in 2022, the Young Creators Program is a training program aimed at equipping future business leaders with advanced digital skills and fostering innovation in technology. The program brings value by providing access to Zoho Creator’s powerful platform to help participants build custom applications in a simple and seamless manner without extensive programming knowledge.

Beyond skill development, the program boosts confidence, fosters personal growth, and opens doors to further opportunities in the technology industry. The program has trained more than 2000+ students on Zoho Creator globally, enabling participants to earn program completion certificates and exciting prizes.


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