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Politics / Credit Scheme: FG To Integrate Credit Score Into NIN, Targets 80 Million Nigeria by EcoBrick: 10:38pm On Jun 13

Credit scheme: FG to integrate credit score into NIN, targets 80 million Nigerians

The Federal Government has said it would leverage the National Identification Number (NIN) to document the credit behaviour of every Nigerian under its consumer credit scheme.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Consumer Credit Corporation (CREDICORP) Uzoma Nwagba, stated this during a TV interview.

According to him, every Nigerian who is economically active would have their credit score written on their NIN.

Nwagba added that the scheme is targeting about 80 million Nigerians, who are economically active and are earning income.

He said the aim is to ensure that every Nigerian who earns a modest income is able to acquire things that can improve their lives such as a car, house, quality education, and laptop, among others, and pay for it over a long period.

Identity problem
The CREDICORP CEO noted that the major challenge of the credit system in Nigeria has been the lack of data and proper identity. He, however, expressed the confidence that with the NIN, every creditor will be properly identified.

“My first job is to strengthen the credit infrastructure of the country. It means that every Nigerian who is economically active will have a credit score written on their NIN so that they cannot run away from their credit behaviour,” he said.

While registration for the NIN has been slow over the years, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) recently disclosed that over 107.3 million Nigerians have been registered as of April this year.

N180 trillion credits needed annually
According to him, Nigeria needs to be doing about N180 trillion in consumer credits per annum but the banks are not willing to give out the money because they are afraid of losing it.

“The government cannot fund that. In the financial system, the people who are already doing lending today are the ones who have the capital. They have the money, they’re just afraid because they cannot put their money out there and lose it.”

“The CBN is quite a strong partner on this journey with us, as well as credit registries and credit bureaus. Once we have been able to establish the trust, the N180 million we are looking for will go away from all these flights to safety and start lending to Nigerians,” he said.

He added that the CREDICORP will also be working with all institutions that are committed to advancing consumer credits such as microfinance, fintechs, and even cooperatives. He said the Corp would enable them to do more and give them credit guarantees for specific industries and specific targets.

What you should know
President Bola Tinubu announced the launching of the first phase of the Consumer Credit Scheme on April 21, a programme designed to offer credit facilities to working citizens in the country.

* The President’s special adviser on media and publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, said the first phase of the scheme will begin with civil service members before extending to the main public.

* Ngelale emphasized that consumer credit plays a pivotal role in modern economies, empowering individuals to elevate their standard of living by acquiring goods and services upfront and responsibly managing payments over time.

*The scheme facilitates vital investments like housing, transportation, education, and healthcare, crucial for sustaining stability and pursuing personal aspirations.

Politics / Peter Obi Is A Packaged Fraud, Just Like Buhari - Sowore by EcoBrick: 7:37pm On Jun 08


Sowore said he was the first to expose Obi's alleged corrupt dealings during his time as Anambra State Governor.

The presidential flag-bearer of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore, has boldly claimed that his Labour Party counterpart, Peter Obi, was fraudulently packaged for the 2023 election to deceive Nigerians.

Sowore made this claim in a recent no-holds-barred interview with Pulse Nigeria, wherein he disclaimed certain misconceptions about his perception of the former Anambra State Governor.

The AAC presidential candidate has never hidden his disdain for the political class, especially those who have had the opportunity to serve in one capacity or the other.

He has been a constant thorn in the flesh of President Bola Tinubu since the time the latter held sway as the Lagos State Governor. He also didn't spare Tinubu's predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari of criticisms throughout his eight-year tenure.

In the build-up to the 2023 elections, he was severely critical of Obi, who was driving the Labour Party movement as a third force after dumping the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2022.

Sowore presented himself as a youth-centric candidate and has always advocated for a revolution that would lead to the dislodgement of the current ruling class for well-meaning and young Nigerians to take over the reins of the country.

Asked why he was not sold on the Obi movement even though many Nigerian youths were gravitating towards the Labour Party torchbearer, the activist said he has a general disdain for dishonest politicians.

"What is true is that I have a general disdain for the dishonesty of Nigerian politicians. I have disdain for lacklustre performance, and whenever anybody then comes up as a politician or who wants to run Nigeria, they come with this fraudulent packaging.

"My default position is to warn people first and then expose them later. My position about Peter Obi has been consistent. The same way my position about Tinubu has been consistent. It is only that the people who are now on the internet as influencers weren't born at the time when I've been against all these terrible politicians, including those in the military.

"Otherwise, you would have known that in 2006 or 2008, I was the first to expose Tinubu's drug history in Chicago. But the people who now follow Peter were not interested at that time because it wouldn't favour them.

"But in 2022, they suddenly realised that Tinubu was a druggy and took it and ran away with it without giving credit to Sahara Reporters, which was the platform that was used in publishing at the time.

"I was the one who exposed Atiku's corruption, including all the bribes he collected, to the extent that Atiku ran away from the US based on the report done by Sahara Reporters on his corruption. This included the corruption between him and Obasanjo, including using educational funds to buy cars for their girlfriends and how they were stealing them. It was me and Sahara reporters who did that.

"I and Sahara Reporters also found out that Peter Obi was building substandard hospitals and never built schools, as it later revealed. He was investing state money in his private business and carrying money in cash to Appap. One of which was N250 million, and the police arrested them (Peter Obi) and found out that he was stealing money.

"All these things are on Sahara Reporters now. So if some people now go and repackage Obi and claim that he is going to help Nigeria work, and I say to them my full chest that this is a packaged fraud, and you get upset about that, that is not my problem," he said.

He continued: "That you love a fraudster is not my mistake. People loved Buhari, too, until his tenure killed their parents. Some families were wiped out. Peter Obi is nothing compared to the way the fraudulent Buhari was packaged. Buhari used to get 12 million votes every election season until he won in 2015. Was he not loved? What did we get from it? Insecurity, killings, and corruption of unimaginable proportion.

So if we tell you that we know Peter Obi and that he is not what he is presented to be, and you say you must impose these on Nigeria, and we say no, we don't accept that. Now you get upset; it's your right to be upset or that you love him. Is it your right to love him?

But it's also our right to keep saying the truth as we know it and as we understand it.

"So, the emotional aspect of it is nothing new. There is no politician in the world that doesn't have followers. If you go to the US, Donald Trump has followers who are willing to kill themselves. There was even a man who went to set himself ablaze in front of the district court, where he was undergoing trial.

"What is new about that? But that doesn't change the facts about Peter Obi's tenure as an eight-year governor in Anambra state who didn't build a school. Not a single road, not a single hospital that you can count, exists.

"They will say go and verify, and when you verify to them, they (Obi's supporters) say no, we're not going to accept it. That's not my problem. And I know that some of you fell for those things, but you also now see that the position I maintain that is not different from the rest of them is coming into play.

"He himself knows that he's a fraud he knows this. In anybody that Obasanjo is supporting, Babangida is supporting, Doyin Okupe. Even Doyin Okupe has come to say that they were fraudulently packaging themselves to use the Labour Party to hoodwink Nigerians. So that's the point." Sowore added.


Politics / Tinubu Gets Bill On Regional Govt Next Week - PUNCH by EcoBrick: 10:27am On Jun 08
A bill seeking a return to a regional system of government for Nigeria will be transmitted to President Bola Tinubu next week, Saturday PUNCH has exclusively gathered.

Recall that the House of Representatives last week disowned the draft bill which circulated widely on the internet.

Titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to substitute the annexure to Decree 24 of 1999 with new governance model for the Federal Republic of Nigeria’, the bill seeks among others, new extant laws to be cited as “The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria New Governance Model for Nigeria Act 2024.”

The preliminaries of the bill read in part, “Whereas Nigeria, its peoples and government have been governed under Decree 24 of 1999 that was handed down by the then military government without the express consent of the people despite the preamble of ‘We, the people.’

“Whereas the said Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) is not autochthonous as it does not evolve from the deliberations and consensus of the Nigerian People; whereas the peoples of Nigeria now desire and effectively demand for a change to a constitution based on federal/regional system of government.

“Whereas the federal and regional governments are to operate within the provisions of this Constitution, it is within the discretion of the ethnic blocs within the states that constitutes a given region to aggregate or disaggregate as provinces, divisions and districts, while being in control of their affairs without let or hindrance at whatever level of governance.”

Following enquiries, the House disowned the bill as the duo of the House spokesman, Akin Rotimi and the Chairman, Rules and Business, Francis Waive said the proposed legislationl was not before committee for deliberation.

However, the drafter of the private bill, Dr Akin Fapohunda, who had earlier hinted our correspondent of his intent to interface with members of the National Assembly ahead of the transmission of the bill to the parliament, on Friday, said he had chosen to send the proposed law to President Tinubu, who may in turn present same to the parliament as executive bill.


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Politics / Re: Pictures Of PDP Decampees, Dotun Babayemi & His Supporters In APC In Osogbo by EcoBrick: 5:15pm On May 17
Omooba Dotun Babayemi led thousands of teaming supporters to APC in Osun.
He was welcome by the former Governor Allhaji Gboyega Oyetola and the national secretary Of APC Dr Basiru Ajibola SRJ #ApcOsun.

Pictures From different angles as Omooba Dotun Babayemi and Allhaji Suaib Oyedokun led thousands of people from PDP To APC in Osogbo.

Seems you are on-ground in the state. What's your honest opinion about how majority of Osun people rate Adeleke's performance so far?

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Politics / Tax Now Highest Revenue Source To Federation – FG by EcoBrick: 11:15am On May 16

By Okechukwu Nnodim

The Federal Government has charged tax practitioners to work harder in getting more revenue from taxes, stressing that tax revenue is currently the highest income source for the federation.

It disclosed this on Tuesday through the Accountant-General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein, at the 26th Annual Tax Conference of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria in Abuja, with the theme: Sustainable Tax Culture and Economic Roadmap for Nation Building.

The government pointed out that based on the current high revenue from taxes, members of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee were always looking forward to the figures from the Federal Inland Revenue Service every month, in order to have funds to share to the three tiers of government.

Madein said, “Like the CITN, the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation is committed to a sustainable tax culture that will ensure the continuous flow of revenues even at an improved level.

“Tax revenue as at today is the highest source of revenue accruing to the federation. Therefore at the Federation Account Allocation Committee meetings we eagerly await the numbers coming from the FIRS because the performance keeps on increasing and brings succour to all tiers of government.”

FIRS exceeded its 2023 revenue target by N816bn, as its total actual revenue collection for last year stood at N12.37tn, outperforming the N11.56tn target.

This is contained in a presentation by Amina Ado, Coordinating Director of Special Tax Operations Group at the FIRS.

At the CITN conference on Tuesday, the accountant-general tasked tax practitioners to step up efforts in collecting taxes, so as to shore up more revenue for the government to provide infrastructure and other amenities.

Madein said, “Let us remain steadfast in our commitment to building a better future for all. Together we can harness the transformative power of taxation to create a more prosperous, equitable and sustainable world.

“Like I said earlier, at FAAC we eagerly look forward to tax numbers because at the moment revenue from non-oil has been a great revenue source to the federation.
“Therefore, to tax practitioners, you are doing so well, but we need more of this to be able to deliver on all the areas that the citizens are looking forward to, because for even infrastructure development, it is only through funds that we can get it done.”

She further stated that it was her strong belief that “the conference will go a long way to deepen the collaboration between our organisations in building capacity for all the professionals, experts and tax payers for better understanding of the tax laws, rules and regulations.”

On his part, the President/Chairman of Council, CITN, Samuel Agbeluyi, while delivering his remarks earlier, pointed out that the withdrawal of subsidies on fuel and electricity had reduced the purchasing power of the masses.

He noted that raising electricity tariff for a selected band after fuel subsidy was withdrawn “is going to reduce the purchasing power of the masses. So we urge govt to consider these actions on the masses.
He, however, stated that the institute was happy to know that President Bola Tinubu had asked the Central Bank of Nigeria to slow down on the recent cybersecurity levy that was approved by the apex bank.

“We will continue to advise the govt on its policies, considering how these polices affect the citizens,” Agbeluyi stated.

It was reported on Sunday that President Bola had asked the CBN to suspend the implementation of the controversial cybersecurity levy policy and ordered a review.

This followed the decision of the House of Representatives, which, last Thursday, asked the CBN to withdraw its circular directing all banks to commence charging a 0.5 per cent cybersecurity levy on all electronic transactions in the country.

The CBN on May 6, 2024, issued a circular mandating all banks, mobile money operators, and payment service providers to implement a new cybersecurity levy, following the provisions laid out in the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) (Amendment) Act 2024.

According to the Act, a levy amounting to 0.5 per cent of the value of all electronic transactions will be collected and remitted to the National Cybersecurity Fund, overseen by the Office of the National Security Adviser.

Meanwhile, the CITN president explained that in building a sustainable tax culture in Nigeria, government at all levels have a great role to play.

“Taxation, in all its aspects, demands the utmost level of professionalism due to its critical importance to economic sustainability.

“In furtherance of efforts at sustaining a tax paying culture, it is important to emphasise judicious use of tax revenue to engender trust between government and the taxpayer thereby entrenching a taxpaying culture and by extension contributing to nation building.

“At the subnational level, particularly at the various revenue authorities, there is the need to invest in technology and people to effectively track revenues in the digital space including cryptocurrency to maximise government revenue flow,” he stated.


Foreign Affairs / Senegal Adopts Arabic As An Official Language Instead Of French by EcoBrick: 10:20am On May 01

The Senegalese government announced it is abandoning French as an official language and is replacing it with Arabic.

The Senegalese government’s decision came after a Cabinet meeting held on Sunday and is considered a sign of the political transformation that Senegal is witnessing, after the young oppositionist, Bassirou Faye, won the presidential elections a few weeks ago.

The president-elect said in a televised speech on 26 March 26: “I would like to say to the international community and to our bilateral and multilateral partners that Senegal will always honour its commitments. It will remain a friendly country and a secure and reliable ally for any partner that engages with us in virtuous, respectful and mutually productive cooperation.”

Faye stressed that by electing him, the Senegalese people made the choice to break away from the existing regime in the country but noted that he intends to work to bring about changes within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

On the internal level, Faye emphasised that the priority projects during his term will be “national reconciliation and rebuilding institutions,” in addition to “a significant reduction in the cost of living.”

“I am committed to governing with humility and transparency and to fighting corruption on all levels,” he added.

Senegal enjoys stability, unlike its neighbours, and is considered one of the pillars of ECOWAS, which has been rocked since 2020 by military coups in many of its member states.

The results of the presidential elections, which took place in Senegal at the end of last month, confirmed the deep roots of the aspirations of the people in Senegal to break free from the patterns of governance systems that were associated with Western colonialism, or those that entered into relations with colonial countries.



Politics / Edo 2024: PDP Splits Into Two Factions As Legacy Group, Shaibu Rejects Ighodalo by EcoBrick: 2:25pm On Apr 28

Crisis is brewing in the Edo state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as another faction has emerged within the party ahead of the governorship election in the state.

Led by the National Vice Chairman (South-South) Dan Orbih, the faction declared it won’t support the governorship ambition of the PDP candidate, Asue Ighodalo.

Orbih also gave the party a snub ahead of the September 21 governorship election with his rejection of an appointment as a member of the governorship campaign council.

Orbih, leader of the anti-Obaseki’s Legacy Coalition in the party, had been named a member of the campaign council last week, apparently in a bid by the party to carry along all interest groups in the run-up to the polls.

He said yesterday that no one had consulted him before his name was announced as a member of the council.

“Nobody told me of any governorship campaign council membership in Edo PDP. I am not aware of it.

“Some persons who saw my name on the list called me. I have not seen the list, and I am not aware of it. I am not party to the composition of the campaign council,” he said.

Orbih, an ally of Federal Capital Territory Minister Nyesom Wike, is not on good terms with Governor Godwin Obaseki.

Their disagreement stemmed from Obaseki’s takeover of the PDP structure in the state following his defection from the All Progressives Congress in 2020.

Some other members of the PDP in the state are not impressed with what they term as Obaseki’s imposition of Dr. Asue Ighodalo as the party’s flag bearer in the governorship election.

Yesterday, Orbih hosted a meeting of Legacy Coalition stakeholders at his Ogbona country home in the Etsako Central Local Government Area.

He told the gathering that Obaseki and Ighodalo lack what it takes to lead the state successfully.

He said the coalition would, therefore, throw its weight behind a candidate who would represent the good people of the state during the September election.

He said: “I am not part and parcel of the PDP campaign council. In 2020, we came out in Edo North Senatorial District and supported the re-election of Governor Godwin Obaseki. I, Chief Dan Orbih, worked with Governor Obaseki to deliver him.

“People asked me questions on where we are today and what is the way forward? I can boldly tell you the issue before us is what is the way forward? Let me tell you that all is not well with Edo State PDP.

“As we prepare and move forward for the upcoming governorship election, we will do all we can to let Edo people know that this election is about Edo and the future of Edo.

"Let me send a powerful message to PDP: we, the Edo PDP, can tell you that it is not well with Edo PDP. I hereby denounce my membership as a member of Edo PDP governorship campaign council. Obaseki and his anointed governorship candidate, Asue Ighodalo, are not the way forward for Edo State.”

Orbih also described the recent impeachment of Edo Deputy Governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu as political.

“The predicament of Shaibu is that some persons said he had no right to contest the governorship election in 2024,” he said.

Shaibu, who was at the meeting, said Edo people would not vote for Ighodalo because “Edo State needs a home-grown person.”

He said: “I want to assure you that we are in support of Chief Dan Orbih and his legacy group. We will not support Asue Ighodalo but wait for the direction of the PDP legacy group on who to vote for.”

A former Speaker of the Edo House of Assembly, Kabiru Adjoto, while also speaking, stated that PDP, under the leadership of Obaseki, could not manage the success of the victory in 2020.

He noted that instead of the Edo governor consolidating the victory recorded in the 2020 governorship election by rewarding those who worked for his re-election, he opted for other persons within the PDP who had never worked for the party.

The former speaker pledged to work with the Orbih-led PDP coalition in the forthcoming Edo governorship election while assuring that he and his supporters in Akoko-Edo LGA in Edo North Senatorial District were on the same page with the Orbih’s legacy coalition.

Adjoto said: “Chief Dan Orbih, we have seen what you saw, and we are here to queue behind you. Anywhere you go, we will go. We are waiting for your instructions.”

The meeting also had in attendance the leaders of PDP’s legacy coalition in Edo North senatorial district, including Jude Imagwe, Damian Lawani and Fred Attah, among other top politicians.



Politics / Why I Didn’t Build New Schools In Anambra As Governor – Peter Obi by EcoBrick: 5:11pm On Apr 24

Why I didn’t build new schools in Anambra as governor – Peter Obi opens up

April 24, 2024

By John Owen Nwachukwu

He presidential candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Peter Obi, has responded to the question that he did not build a single new school when he was Governor of Anambra State.

A popular social media personality, Reno Omokri, had last week hit out at Obi, challenging the the former Anambra State Governor and his followers to show a single school he started and finished in his eight years as governor.

Reno promised to reward handsomely, anyone that could show a school built by Obi.

And responding to this during a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, Obi said those who said that failed to avail themselves of his manifesto.

He said that when he came to Anambra State, education was in shambles, schools were closed and the state was number 26 in the country but by the time he left, Anambra was number one in the state.

“I improved the quality, physical and mental well-being of the people, schools, had the basic things they needed and the people shone like stars and that was my manifesto.

“Building new schools when the old ones are moribund is just like building coastal lines when internal roads are impassable.”


Politics / AGN Hails Tinubu As Zack Orji Travels For Post-surgery Evaluation by EcoBrick: 9:15am On Mar 31

National President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN)Emeka Rollas has expressed gratitude to President Bola Tinubu for his swift intervention towards the health crisis of veteran actor Zack Orji.

The Nation reported that Zack Orji recently departed for the United Kingdom for post-surgery assessment.

In a statement on Saturday, Rollas thanked President Tinubu for his fatherly attention to the creative industry.

He also commended the First Lady, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu, for her motherly care towards the veteran actor and Seyi Tinubu, the President’s son, for his unwavering support.

He also lauded the Minister for Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, for her relentless efforts in ensuring Orji’s quick recovery.

The AGN President stated that Orji was grateful to his longtime friend, Ahmed Bala, for standing by him throughout the period.

“We have witnessed the unprecedented support that President Tinubu is giving to the creative industry,” he said.

“This has clearly shown his clear determination to uplift the sector to be more relevant and beneficial to both the practitioners and the national economy and we find it necessary to appreciate him.

“We also appreciate the Minister for Women Affair, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, for her relentless efforts in ensuring that Zack Orji gets back on his feet hale and hearty.

“Zack Orji equally extends his profound gratitude to his longtime friend, Ahmed Bala, for standing by him all through the period,” the statement reads in part.

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Business / Crypto Exchange, OKX Shuts Down In India, Advices Users To Withdraw All Funds by EcoBrick: 7:41pm On Mar 22
Major Crypto Exchange OKX shuts down in India, advices users to withdraw all funds

Major Cryptocurrency exchange OKX has announced that it is shutting down its services in India due to local regulations.

The Crypto exchange advised its users to withdraw all funds on the platform by the end of April.

According to Bitcoin News, the exchange sent out a notice to its users on Thursday announcing their plans to quit operations in the country.

“We regret to inform you that OKX is no longer providing services to users in India, “The note said.

“Due to local regulations, you need to withdraw all funds from your account.”

“In addition, users must also “close all margin positions, as well as positions in perpetuals, futures, and options” and “redeem all funds from Grow products: Earn, Loan, Jumpstart.” These steps must be completed by April 30 at noon UTC, Accounts will be restricted to withdrawals after this date.” OKX advised.

OKX announcement came after Apple and Google removed several crypto apps from their stores.

India’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) recently flagged these crypto exchanges as operating illegally in the country.

In December last year, the Indian FIU issued “compliance Show Cause Notices” to nine offshore crypto service providers.

The Indian Ministry of Finance shared at the time that 31 crypto service providers had registered with the FIU.

OKX crypto exchange was not one of the crypto exchanges that registered with the FIU.

What to Know

In India, Cryptocurrencies are not regulated. The finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman explained that crypto assets cannot be currencies which is why they are yet to be regulated in India.

At the G20 meeting that India hosted last year, the country made a case for a global framework for regulating cryptocurrencies citing the various challenges that will emerge if only one or two countries regulate it.

OKX has over 50 million global users with India being one of its main markets.


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Politics / Nigeria Gets Most Payout From Shell In First Since 2020 by EcoBrick: 2:59pm On Mar 21

Femi Asu, March 20, 2024

Nigeria has regained its position as the biggest recipient of payments from Shell as production entitlement, royalties, taxes and fees to the government in 2023 amounted to $4.92 billion, the highest in four years.

The payout to Nigeria increased by 8.85 percent compared to the previous year, representing 16.67 percent of the company’s total payments to 26 countries, new data released by Shell shows.

Africa’s largest oil producer lost the top position in 2021, when Norway received the largest amount of about $4.52 billion compared to the $4.48 billion paid to the West African country.

In 2022, Nigeria dropped further to the third-biggest recipient of payments from the British oil giant, although the amount paid to it rose by 0.92 percent to $4.52 billion. The company’s payment to the country hit a high of $6.39 billion in 2018 but fell to $5.63 billion in 2019 and $3.24 billion in 2020.

Shell’s payments to countries where it has operations declined 14.11 percent year-on-year to $29.52 billion last year as its annual profit dropped 30 percent compared to its highest-ever earnings of $39.9 billion notched in 2022.

It said in its latest report that payments made to governments arose “from activities involving the exploration, prospection, discovery, development and extraction of minerals, oil and natural gas deposits or other materials (extractive activities)”.

[i]Its subsidiaries in Nigeria paid $3.46 billion to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) last year as production entitlement, while $587.64 million was paid in taxes to the Federal Inland Revenue Service.

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) was paid about $727.85 million and $1.73 million for royalties and fees respectively, while $139.99 million was remitted to the Niger Delta Development Commission.

Shell paid fees amounting to $4.28 million and $85,890 to the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure and Nigeria Police Trust Fund respectively.[/b]

Shell’s payments to the Nigerian governments look set to drop this year following its decision to sell its onshore business in the country.

The company announced on January 16 that it had agreed to sell its Nigerian onshore subsidiary, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), to Renaissance, a consortium of five companies consisting of ND Western, Aradel Energy, First E&P, Waltersmith and Petrolin.

“This is an important step for the company and we hope to complete the deal as soon as possible,” Wael Sawan, chief executive officer of Shell, said last month during his presentation of the company’s 2023 fourth-quarter and full-year results.
International oil companies operating in the country have had to sell many of their onshore assets since 2010, when divestment saw Seplat Energy Plc and other local operators snapping up oil blocks.

ExxonMobil announced in February last year that it had agreed to sell to Seplat its equity interest in Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, which holds a 40 percent stake in four oil mining licences including more than 90 shallow-water and onshore platforms and 300 producing wells. But the transaction has been blocked by the regulator and the NNPC.

Operators in the sector have been plagued by oil theft and pipeline vandalism for years, with the country’s production falling below 1 million barrels per day in 2022 as against a peak of 2.5 million bpd in 2010. Last year, the crude oil output ranged from 1 million bpd to 1.35 million bpd, according to data from the NUPRC.

In its 2023 Sustainability Report released on Tuesday, Shell said 139 of the 140 spills it recorded as a result of sabotage last year happened in Nigeria, with the volume of spills increasing to 1,400 tonnes from 600 tonnes in 2022.

“Most oil spills in the Niger Delta continue to be caused by crude oil theft, the sabotage of oil and gas production facilities, and illegal oil refining, including the distribution of illegally refined products,” it said.

It said that in 2023, SPDC continued on-ground surveillance of its areas of operation, including its pipeline network, to mitigate third-party interference and ensure that spills are detected and responded to as quickly as possible.

“There are daily surveillance flights over the most vulnerable segments of the pipeline network to identify any new spills or illegal activity. SPDC has introduced anti-theft protection mechanisms for key infrastructure, including steel cages to protect wellheads,” it said.

In 2023, 60 new steel cages were installed around critical infrastructure nodes, bringing the total number of cages installed to 374, according to the report.

“This includes 52 cages that have been upgraded with CCTV and 28 with satellite communications,” Shell said. “In 2023, out of 508 registered attempts to breach the cages, 38 were successful.”


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Business / Naira Strengthens Against The Dollar, Sells At N1400/$ On The Parallel Market by EcoBrick: 3:41pm On Mar 20
Parallel market operators are quoting a buy price of N1400/$1 for holders of dollars looking to sell marking a significant strengthening on the naira.

Checks by Nairametrics indicate the exchange rate has been gaining lately as speculators start to dump their hoard of dollars following waning demand.

Multiple sources who operate in the parallel market revealed that the naira has risen from around N1600/$ which it closed yesterday to N1500/$ (some quoted N1550/$1) if they are to sell to you.

However, they buy at N1400/$1 allowing them to make a spread of N100/$1. A trader by the name of Musa who spoke to Nairametrics expressed happiness with the development stating that a stronger Naira was also good for their business.

Meanwhile, the exchange rate on the official market fell to N1,560/$1 on Tuesday the strongest the naira has traded since the 4th of March when it closed at N1534/$1.


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Business / Female Bank MDs/CEOs Shattering The Ceiling In Nigeria by EcoBrick: 3:32pm On Mar 20
Female bank MDs/CEOs shattering the ceiling in Nigeria

1. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe: Fidelity Bank
2. Miriam Olusanya: GTBank
3. Yemisi Edun: FCMB
4. Halima Buba: SunTrust Bank
5. Ireti Samuel-Ogbu: Citibank Nigeria
6. Kafilat Araoye: Lotus Bank
7. Tomi Somefun: Unity Bank
8. Bukola Smith: FSDH Merchant Bank
9. Yetunde Oni: Union Bank
10. Adaora Umeoji: Zenith Bank


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Politics / 2023: Atiku, NWC Directed Us To Work For Rhodes-vivour’s Victory — Lagos PDP For by EcoBrick: 3:11pm On Mar 20

2023: Atiku, NWC directed us to work for Rhodes-Vivour’s victory — Lagos PDP forum

by Bola Badmus March 19, 2024

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairmen in LGAs across Lagos have said the party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and the National Working Committee (NWC) of the main opposition platform directed Dr Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran, also known as JANDOR, the party’s governorship candidate to work for victory of his counterpart in Labour Party (LP), Mr Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, by stepping down for him, few days to the 2023 guber poll, but which former bluntly rejected.

The chairmen, under the banner of Lagos PDP LGA Chairmen Forum, made this disclosure in a release jointly signed by its chairman, Hon. Adeboyega Adegbesan, and secretary, Hon. Malomo Adelabu respectfully, saying that Atiku and national leadership of the party took the step in collective interest as they saw the need for collaboration between PDP and LP to secure victory of Rhodes-Vivour, following the loss suffered by Alhaji Atiku at the 2023 Presidential poll.

According to the Forum, the party at the National took the step because it felt there was the need to collaborate with the parties in the governorship election in order to have as many states as possible for PDP, adding: “Lagos was one of the states that they had in mind.”

It, however, blamed JANDOR for refusing to step down for Labour Party candidate as directed, saying that he was the architect of his own misfortune due to failure to listen to advice and disregard for the leadership of the party, among others.

The chairmen said it was on account of establishing working arrangements with Labour Party that Atiku invited JANDOR to his Abuja home, noting that the invitation came two days after Mr. Peter Obi had discussion with JANDOR on same issue.

It disclosed that the Abuja meeting had in attendance Alhaji Atiku, a retired General, and one other powerful Northern leader, but said JANDOR rejected the move, maintaining his stand “that he was not ready to step down for Labour Party Candidate, Mr. Gbadebo Rhodes Vivour, and that the only condition was for Gbadebo to step down for him because he has his Awori people behind him.

“After the PDP lost the presidential election, the party at the National felt there was need to collaborate with the parties in the governorship election in order to have as many states as possible for PDP.

“Lagos was one of the states that they had in mind. The Presidential Candidate of Labour Party, H. E. Peter Obi, called JANDOR on how PDP and Labour can collaborate for the governorship election. JANDOR told Peter Obi point blank that he was not ready to step down for anybody and the only condition was for the Labour candidate to step down for him. And that if the reconciliation must work, he must be the one that must be on the ballot.

‘Two days after Peter Obi had discussion with JANDOR on the issue of working with Labour Party, H. E. Atiku Abubakar, our presidential candidate invited JANDOR to his Abuja home on the same issue of working arrangements with Labour Party.

“The meeting involved H. E. Atiku, a retired General and and one other powerful Northern leader. The issue of collaboration was raised and JANDOR stated that he was not ready to step down for Labour Party Candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes Vivour, and the only condition is for Gbadebo to step down for him because he has his Awori people behind him,” the chairmen said.

They recalled that, to further achieve the aim, an enlarged meeting was suggested which involved seeking the opinion of key party leaders in Lagos State, through phone calls, including the former Deputy National Chairman of PDP, Chief Olabode George, on the way forward, saying that all the leaders made it clear to them that the best and ideal thing to do was to have a relationship with the Labour Party.

The Forum said all the leaders based their decision on “the outcome of Presidential Election of 2023 where Labour scored 582,664 votes as against PDP that scored 75,750 votes.”

“When the enlarged meeting was asked to suggest the way forward on how they can make progress on the collaboration, they suggested that a call should be made to Chief Olabode George and seek his opinion on the way forward.

“From the venue of the meeting in Abuja, a call was made to Bode George and other notable leaders in Lagos on the issue of working relationship with Labour Party. All the leader made it clear to them that the best thing to do is to have a relationship with the Labour Party. That is most ideal and reasonable thing to do is for JANDOR to step down for Gbadebo Rhodes Vivour because the leaders based on their analysis of the outcome of Presidential Election of 2023 where Labour scored 582,664 votes as against PDP that scored 75,750 votes,” the PDP LGAs chairmen stated.

Reacting, JANDOR dismissed every word contained in the release issued by the Forum, saying it was cooked up to justify their anti-party activities which he said they openly carried out with impunity.

The PDP standard bearer said at no time did NWC or anyone invite him, or his campaign organization to any meeting for the purpose of merger, stepping down or otherwise, even as he noted that there were procedures for merger between two political parties, that would lead “all the Actors involved to announce such merger or arrangement” to the public.

“Every word contained in the supposed LGA Chairmen forum release was cooked up to justify their anti-party activities which they openly carried out with impunity.

“At no time did NWC or anyone invite me, or my campaign organization to any meeting for the purpose of merger, stepping down or otherwise.

“In anyway, there are procedures for merger between two political parties, and there is no how such will happen without the two political parties going to press with all the Actors involved to announce such merger or arrangement,” he stated.

“The public may need to tell them to produce minute of such meeting or the correspondence from the NWC directing them to do so,” JANDOR added.

The PDP chieftain, however, said the disclosure made by the LGAs Chairmen’s Forum had confirmed that they all worked against the party in Lagos State, declaring that all the reasons adduced in the release “are mere attempt to justify their evil deed.”

“At least, one thing has been put to rest, the LGA Chairmen Forum in their release has confirmed that they all worked against the party in Lagos State, and all the reasons adduced are mere attempt to justify their evil deed,” Jandor said.

Politics / Popular Nollywood Producer, Andy Best Dies by EcoBrick: 9:30am On Mar 20

March 19, 202453

Popular Nollywood producer, Ikechukwu Nnadi, also known as Andy Best, is dead.

Nnadi was confirmed dead at a private clinic in Owerri, the Imo State capital, on Tuesday.

The convener of the Best of Nollywood awards, Seun Oloketuyi, confirmed the death in a post on his Instagram page.

He wrote: “Andy Best, a top Nollywood producer and marketer, is dead.”

Until his death, he was the Chief Executive Officer of Andy Best Production and was behind the production of famous movies, including Lion of Africa, White Poison, My Father’s Cup, and many more.

He hailed from Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State.

Writing by Julian Osamoto; Editing by Tony Okerafor


Politics / NLC Vs Labour Party Update: NLC HQ Orders Picketing Of Labour Party Offices by EcoBrick: 7:10am On Mar 20
NLC Headquarters orders picketing of Labour Party offices nationwide.


Politics / Re: 2023 FAAC Allocation For Nigerian States - Before & After Fuel Subsidy Removal by EcoBrick: 7:04pm On Mar 18

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Politics / 2023 FAAC Allocation For Nigerian States - Before & After Fuel Subsidy Removal by EcoBrick: 7:03pm On Mar 18
2023 FAAC ALLOCATION FOR NIGERIAN STATES - Before & After Fuel Subsidy Removal


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Politics / 'Poor People Don’t Eat Eggs,’ Nigerian Governor Rejects Inclusion Of Eggs In Sub by EcoBrick: 5:32pm On Mar 18

‘Poor people don’t eat eggs,’ Nigerian governor rejects inclusion of eggs in subsidised food items

Subsidised food items will be sold to vulnerable persons already enlisted in the state's social register.

BySaviour Imukudo March 18, 2024

Governor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom State has rejected an appeal to include “eggs” among the food items that the state government will sell to vulnerable people at a subsidised rate.

The governor turned down the appeal on Thursday during an enlarged State Executive Council meeting, where he signed into law the bill establishing the Bulk Purchase Agency.

Nigerians are facing severe hardship as prices of food items have skyrocketed following the removal of petrol subsidy by President Bola Tinubu.

In response to the ballooned prices of commodities, Governor Eno, weeks ago, forwarded to the state assembly, a bill for the establishment of a Bulk Purchase Agency which will buy food items in bulk and sell to the vulnerable people at a subsidised rate.

According to the law, the agency has three staple food items – rice, beans and garri on its menu. The items are to be sold at 10kg each, and once a month to the vulnerable people already enrolled in the state social register.

One attendee at the ceremony, which was live-streamed on Facebook, queried the modalities employed in selecting the three food items, arguing that garri and rice are carbohydrates while beans is the only protein on the list.

He suggested the inclusion of eggs, another protein source, particularly for the malnourished children in the society, but the governor dismissed the appeal.

“Poor people don’t eat eggs. Let’s look at staple foods,” the governor responded, while emphasising that the programme, being an intervention, will not last forever.

“We all know that there is real hunger in the land. Our people need food, so as a government, we proposed that we intervene in the high cost of food in our state.

“The only way we can do that is to set up an agency that will do a direct intervention in the market and get food to our people at a reduced price – that is what the agency seeks to address,” he said.

Criteria, vouchers for beneficiaries

Closely followed by the bill signing ceremony was a presentation by Frank Ekpenyong, an aide to the governor on ICT, and a representative of the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company PLC, a company that handles voucher printing.

Giving details of the scheme, Mr Ekpenyong said the state government selected the accredited market agents that will sell the staple food items to the beneficiaries, who are to pay 70 per cent while the government subsidises 30 per cent, including a provision of five per cent as service charge (interest) to the market agents.

The agency will provide vouchers to qualify individuals enabling them to buy staple foods through accredited market agents, the governor’s aide said.

“The people will take the vouchers to the accredited agents and get garri, beans and rice once a month – not more than 10kg of each of these items.

“The agents will take the vouchers to the government and claim their money with 5 per cent interest as a service charge,” Mr Ekpenyong added.

Food voucher – security and operational features
The voucher is designed and printed by the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company, a Nigerian company which also handles the printing of the nation’s currency – naira.

Explaining the security feature on the voucher to the governor, who queried if any other printing company cannot produce the voucher, a representative of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company, said the papers are customised and cannot be imported to the country without the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria, a description that suggest that the papers for voucher printing may be as expensive, if not more than the food items.

Other concerns
Raising concerns after the presentation, the chairperson of the Nigeria Labour Congress in the state, Sunny James urged the governor to expand the scheme to accommodate everybody resident in rural areas, particularly workers, whom he said their take-home pay cannot take them home.

“The situation we are in the country, it will be wrong not to make food available for our people,” he said.

Mr James further suggested patronising local printers for the vouchers as according to him past experiences with the CBN had shown that sometimes the cost of printing the nation’s currency is often higher than the value of the naira itself.

He asked if the government or consumers would pay the five per cent service charge as contained on the vouchers, particularly for the price of garri, which is estimated to cost N7,000 for a 10kg bag.

“The figures are still tentative,” Governor Eno responded. “That’s why you don’t see a price on this voucher right now.

Phones / Countries Affected By Internet Outage by EcoBrick: 8:59am On Mar 16
List of Countries Affected by Internet Outage. #CitiNewsroom

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Business / 4,000 Traders, Others Displaced As Anambra Demolishes 2,000 Shops by EcoBrick: 5:47am On Mar 14

No fewer than 4,000 residents, including petty traders, sand miners and other business owners around the River Niger area in the commercial city of Onitsha in Anambra State have been left without shelter and shops where to lay their heads or do their businesses, as the state government has demolished their houses and shops.

The residents, with their family members, who spoke to South-East PUNCH on Tuesday and Wednesday, lamented that they were “brutally” thrown out from their places of abode and business without any prior notice and without allowing them to take out any of their belongings.

Although, the state government, through the Chairman of Onitsha South Local Government Area, Emeka Orji, who supervised the demolition on Monday, justified its action by insisting that the demolition follows the state government’s resolve to rid the area of “illegal structures” and incessant building collapse in the area, the victims claimed that they had lived and done businesses in their property, which they claimed they legally acquired through the National Inland Waterways Authority, even long before the emergence of successive administrations in the state.

The demolition of no fewer than 2,000 shops and residential buildings was a fall out of the building collapse that occurred on Basden Street, Fegge, Onitsha, on Sunday, and a three-storey building, which had earlier collapsed at the Odu-Igbo area in Ochanja in the same Onitsha, three weeks ago.

In the collapsed building, no fewer than six persons were killed and over 20 persons sustained varying degrees of injuries after they were rescued from the rubbles.

The demolished shops and residential buildings located by the bank of River Niger were mostly owned by members of Sand Miners Association of Anambra State, who use them as equipment and operational offices, while some are occupied by petty traders who service them. Some people also own residential properties there.

When South-East PUNCH correspondent visited the area on Tuesday, it was like a ghost town, as the whole area has been levelled, while some of the victims were seen trying to salvage the remainder of their various items.

It was further gathered that the structures were built by the affected victims, who allegedly got the approval of the National Inland Water Ways.

But the state governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, during a visit to the area last week, had stated that NIWA does not have the right to build or allocate spaces to traders on Anambra land.

Soludo, during the inspection of roads constructed by his administration, ordered the chairman of Onitsha South Local Government chairman, Chief Orji, to demolish all “illegal structures,” insisting that the land belongs to Anambra State and not NIWA.

He said, “The code or bye-laws establishing NIWA gave the organisation 100 metres from the banks of the River Niger as right of easement, but what we are seeing here are illegal structures and should be demolished.”

One of numerous victims, whose property was demolished, identified as Mrs Ifeoma Nwafor, a farmer, said her two shops, which she uses as storage for seedlings and farm implements, were demolished, with various seedlings and items worth over N5 million, farm equipment and other agricultural items destroyed without notice.

Speaking with South-East PUNCH, Mrs Nwafor, an Onitsha indigene, described the demolition as “horrible and man’s inhumanity to man,” lamenting how a state government claiming to promote agriculture would destroy agricultural produce.

She said, “The demolition also encroached on some of our farmlands. My seedlings and other agricultural produces kept inside the shops, awaiting the next planting season, were totally destroyed without anything to salvage.

“There was no prior notice given to us. I acquired and built the shops legally and I got the approval of NIWA and we pay taxes both to NIWA and the Anambra State government. Government officials are aware of our activities and we are legal in that area.

“Since the demolition, my life has not remained the same, as I had been hospitalised, my blood pressure has risen and I am just managing the situation. Now, all my seedlings for the next planting season have been destroyed, nothing for planting as the next planting season begins soon.

“I had over N5 million worth of seedlings, agricultural produces and farm implements in the shops destroyed. We had some livestock that were destroyed too. The governor visited here last week and warned that ‘illegal’ structures would be demolished, but they are not ‘illegal’ structures, there were approvals given by relevant authorities. The government is there for the people and not the other way.”

While the demolition was going on, another affected victim, Martin Obiora, who was seen trying to salvage some of his equipment and goods, said there was no prior information about the demolition.

Obiora said, “We were not given any notice as regards the demolition. It is a vindictive one targeted at us because we refused to settle some government officials since we got approvals to erect structure from NIWA. We pay appropriate taxes and levies to the state government and NIWA and we don’t cut corners or pay to illegal revenue collector or government agents who shortchange the state.”

Other displaced victims who spoke to journalists, described the exercise as “wicked,” wondering why a state government will embark on such exercise at this period Nigerians are suffering, without allowing people to remove their machines and goods.

Another victim, identified as Lilian Ozoh, said, “We lost over 100 shops and equipment worth millions of naira, because we did not get a prior information of the demolition.

“We are law abiding in everything we are doing here; we are properly licensed and registered with the Federal Ministry of Environment and National Inland Waterways Authority. We pay all the necessary taxes and levies to NIWA and Anambra State government, we have even paid the necessary 2025 levies and taxes to Anambra State government and we don’t have any problem with NIWA, so we don’t know the reason for the demolition of our offices.

“We did not erect any illegal structure here, all the structures were legally registered and approved by the relevant government agencies and the appropriate payment made. It is therefore a surprise to us when they stormed the place and started demolishing without any prior notice.”

Like other victims, Augustine Nworie, was not spared the demolition agony. He lamented that he had no place to lay his head with his six children and wife.

He said, “I have a structure in the area and I have been living in my house for over 27 years now with my family. I got the approval to build from NIWA and all the approvals gotten from relevant authorities including the state government, but I am surprised what they are saying now.

“The land was not encumbered when I bought it. I made proper search in the Ministry of Lands before buying the land. The family did not tell me that government acquired it, even when I made personal inquiry from the traditional ruler of the community.”

When contacted, the Chairman of Onitsha South Local Government Area, Orji, who supervised the demolition, insisted that he was acting on the orders of the state governor, following incessant building collapse in the area.

Orji said, “A notice was issued as regards the demolition and it was followed by series of follow up notices but they disobeyed.

“Then last week, Mr Governor came to the area and told them that the place was not for shops or markets and ordered me to demolish the area, but I gave them another one week notice which ended on Monday.

“The area would be barricaded and cleared for the establishment of a Sea Side Resort, which would have green park areas with umbrella trees for relaxation and amusement.

“Everywhere cannot be shops in Onitsha and we have declared war on illegal structures and we shall ensure that the right thing is done about building collapse in Onitsha South local Government Area.”

NIWA Area Manager, Suleiman Nicholas, while responding to South-East PUNCH inquiries, said he was not aware of the development, adding that the state government cannot take action on NIWA Right of Way, without informing the agency.

Nicholas told South-East PUNCH, “If there is any illegal structure on NIWA Right of Way, the state government should have written us if they had seen any ‘illegal structures,’ and we would have take action against anybody involved. But we did not receive any complaint from the state government about such and therefore, there is no reason for such demolition to take place.”

Efforts to get the reaction of the state government through the state Ministry of Environment and the commissioner, Felix Odimegwu, for further clarifications, proved abortive, as there was no response to several calls and messages sent to his telephone line.

But a source in the Ministry of Environment, who craved anonymity, said, “What we have discovered was that a few individuals have encroached beyond the NIWA 100 meters right of way, hence the demolition was carried out to sanitise the area.

“The people were served notice on several occasions that there would be a day like this when a government would decide that it is now time to actualise the promise to build a new city.”

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Business / Unilever Ghana Has Relocated Its Tea Production To Nigeria by EcoBrick: 9:02pm On Mar 13


Unilever Ghana has relocated its tea production to Nigeria due to current mess – Ato Forson

The Minority Leader in Parliament, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, has revealed that Unilever Ghana has decided to move its tea production operations to Nigeria, citing the ongoing economic challenges in Ghana.

He disclosed this on Monday, March 11, following President Akufo-Addo's 2024 State of the Nation address presented to Parliament in February.

The Ajumako Enyan Essiam MP noted that more companies may follow suit due to the country's current economic downturn.

Expressing his concerns about the management of the country under the Akufo-Addo government, Dr Ato Forson emphasised that the business community's relocation is alarming and should be a cause for worry among Ghanaians.

As a former Deputy Finance Minister, Dr Ato Forson's remarks underscore the growing apprehension about Ghana's economic stability and its impact on local businesses.

"Again, Mr Speaker, Unilever Ghana, which has for a very long time been producing its famous Lipton tea in Ghana, has stopped its tea production here. Unilever has relocated its tea production to Nigeria."

"We have lost jobs by exporting the Lipton tea production to Nigeria. This is bad news for Ghanaian employees."

"Again, Mr Speaker, Unilever Ghana has not been able to commence its Pepsodent production in Ghana after President Akufo-Addo commissioned the plant, five years ago. This is as a result of the worsening business environment."

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Politics / 6 Nigerian Profs, Others Detained In Cameroon Over Treason Charge Seek Help by EcoBrick: 8:42am On Mar 12

March 12, 2024

By Joseph Erunke

ABUJA—Six Nigerian university lecturers, some refugees and asylum seekers, detained in Cameroon, after their alleged illegal deportation from Nigeria, have called on the National Assembly to intervene to secure their immediate and unconditional release.

They had written to the House of Representatives, appealing for the intervention of the House to assist in releasing them from Cameroon prison, where they have been detained since January 2018, after their alleged illegal deportation.

The petitioners in their petition to the House, described their deportation as illegal.

They stated that they were illegally abducted and deported from Nigeria on January 5, 2018, to Cameroon, on “frivolous allegations of plotting to destabilize the government of La Republique du Cameroon, LRC, President Mr. Paul Biya.”

The petitioners, in their petition submitted to the House Committee on Public Petitions through their lawyers, alleged that they were unfairly tried and incarcerated in Cameroon prison.

According to them, two separate judgments in Nigeria had been in their favour in connection with the matter.

They alleged that despite the judgments by Nigerian courts that their arrest and deportation were illegal, they were yet to be released and compensated financially in line with the courts judgments.

The petition was presented on their behalf by Prof. Carlson Anyangwe, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, Fru Awah, Abdul Oroh and Mbinkar Singeh

They prayed the House to “Cause the government of Nigeria to institute an urgent action to secure the implementation of Communication 59/2022 of October 14, 2022, of the UN-HRC-WGAD calling for the release of the petitioners. “

They also prayed the House to do “Cause the Government of Nigeria to take action and implement the rulings in the three judgments of the Federal High Court of Abuja in 2019, ordering the release and compensation of these petitioners.

“Cause Nigeria to leverage on the Abuja 2002, ruling in the case of Kelvin Ngumne et al Vs the FGN, demanding that Nigeria intervenes to resolve the conflict between Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun and respect for the particular clause of the Green Tree Agreement, which demands that both la Republique du Cameroun and Nigeria retain their boundaries at independence, to pursue the self-determination quest of the Southern Cameroons to its logical conclusion as mandated by the FHC 2002 judgment.

“Cause the Government of Nigeria to take action and urgently initiate proceedings before the ICJ and other international jurisdictions citing la République du Cameroun to be sanctioned for fraudulent misrepresentation during the Bakassi Peninsula case in the ICJ.”

“Cause the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to take its rightful place as “big brother” in African politics and cause the African Union or the United Nations to intervene in the matter between the Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun or to proceed as mediator and resolve the ongoing conflict and restore peace and stability in the Gulf of Guinea region.”

Politics / Tinubu Launches Student Loan Thursday, Foreign Scholars Seek Inclusion by EcoBrick: 8:25am On Mar 11
President Bola Tinubu will launch the Student Loan Scheme on Thursday, March 14, 2024.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Ajuri Ngelale, said this on Sunday during TVC’s Politics on Sunday monitored by our correspondent.

On the programme titled ‘Counting the Cost of Presidents Tinubu’s Reforms,’ Ngelale highlighted some of the President’s welfare initiatives being implemented at the moment, saying, “Later this week, on Thursday, the President will launch the historic National Student Loan Programme.”

“This is a major form of obligation reduction for Nigerians and families and young people at a time when Nigerians are feeling the pinch. We believe this is the way to go,” he added.

Tinubu had on June 12, 2023, signed the Access to Higher Education Act, 2023, into law to enable indigent students to access interest-free loans for their educational pursuits in any Nigerian tertiary institution.

The move was in “fulfillment of one of his campaign promises to liberalise funding of education,” a member of the then Presidential Strategy Team, Dele Alake, said.

The Act, popularly known as the Students Loan Law, also established the Nigerian Education Loan Fund, which is expected to handle all loan requests, grants, disbursement, and recovery.

The government initially said it would take effect in September, but it did not. It later shifted the take-off to January but that also did not happen.

The President proposed N50bn for its take-off in the 2024 budget he presented to the National Assembly last November.

On February 7, the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Education Loan Fund, Dr Akintunde Sawyerr, exclusively confirmed to our correspondent that the much-awaited scheme would go live on February 21, when President Tinubu launches it at the State House, Abuja.

However, the launch was delayed, with Sawyerr, alongside Presidency sources, explaining that the lag time was to enable the fund to expand its mandate to include students seeking loans for skills development, as directed by the President.

After receiving a briefing from the NELFUND team led by the Minister of State for Education, Dr Yusuf Sununu, on January 22, the President directed the fund to extend interest-free loans to Nigerian students interested in skill-development programmes.

Tinubu based his decision on the need for the scheme to accommodate those who may not want to pursue a university education, noting that skill acquisition is as essential as obtaining undergraduate and graduate academic qualifications.

“This is not an exclusive programme. It is catering to all of our young people. Young Nigerians are gifted in different areas,” he said.

Linking this directive to the delay, the President’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Mr Bayo Onanuga had told The PUNCH, “Don’t forget that the last time they met, the President asked them to go and expand their mandate to include those who want to learn vocational skills. That could be the reason why the whole thing was delayed; they had to increase the scope.”

On Saturday, Sawyerr also told our correspondent that the delay was due to unperfected backend systems to power the application process as the scheme is “entirely technologically driven.”

He said, “The delay in take-off was basically to enable the agency to put all necessary measures in place as the scheme is entirely technologically driven.”

Meanwhile, members of the Nigerian community in West Yorkshire, United Kingdom have called for the inclusion of students studying abroad in the student loan scheme.

Representing the community members in a meeting with the acting Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Cyprian Heen, on Saturday, Tunmise Ajiboye urged him to advocate the inclusion of students in foreign countries in the government’s loan scheme.

In a statement on Sunday by Ajiboye, he noted that enabling students abroad to participate in the loan scheme would contribute to improving access to higher education for Nigerians studying overseas.

He also urged the government to provide support for students regarding exchange rates and foreign exchange, ensuring that they have access to favourable rates and assistance in managing their financial needs.

He said, “As a representative of Nigerians living here in the United Kingdom, we are gathered here not just as individuals seeking education and economic breakthroughs but as a collective voice demanding support and recognition from our government back home.

“Therefore, today, we stand united in calling upon the Nigerian government to make the following requests:

“Diaspora voting: International passport renewal delivery by post in Nigeria and the diaspora.

“Support for the students in the exchange rate and FX; inclusion of Nigerians studying abroad in the proposed student loan programme of the Federal Government.

“Lastly, provide a platform for Nigerians living abroad who may want their children to get Nigeria’s state of origin.”



Politics / 60% Of Metered Customers Bypass Meters, Says TCN by EcoBrick: 6:38am On Mar 08

The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) says 60 percent of metered customers bypass meters.

Ali Ahmad, TCN’s general manager (GM) made this known at the National Institute of Physics’ webinar series 2.0 on Thursday.

The webinar series was titled “Policy, Regulatory and Technical Constraints in Achieving Energy Security in Nigeria: The Way Forward”.

Ahmad said out of an estimated population of 230 million, only 13,112,134 Nigerians are officially registered to use electricity.

According to him, only 44.23 percent of the 13.11 million customers have meters, highlighting the limited reach of metering in the country.

He also said with 230 million population, only 2.52 percent have been metered.

The GM said the meter bypass is contributing to the nation’s energy poverty, as the country is energy-poor and deficient in energy security.

According to Ahmad, energy security means having a reliable and affordable energy source, while energy poverty refers to the lack of access to good quality, affordable, and reliable energy.

“For a country to be truly independent politically and economically in the 21st century, is to have energy sovereignty and energy independence, and for the sovereignty and independence to be secured at all times and to be backed by the relevant geopolitics,” he said.

“In Nigeria, we have four types of energy poverty; the unserved, the underserved, the poor quality of supply and the served.

“Energy security in turn is the bedrock for the sustainable development and the attainment of it should leave no one, no citizen behind.”

Ahmad said Nigeria’s energy vulnerability is rooted in multiple factors, such as heavy reliance on gas, which limits diversification, and insufficient production capacity, leading to dependence on imports, and unreliable and high-cost gas supply, that further hinders energy security.


Politics / FG Pays $120m From Gas Debts As Blackout Spreads by EcoBrick: 8:57am On Mar 01

The Federal Government has paid $120m out of the $1.3bn indebtedness to gas companies for the supply of gas to run gas-fired power plants across the country.

Nigeria is currently suffering from low power supply because many gas suppliers have reduced, while others stopped supplying the commodity to power-generating companies due to the indebtedness of the Gencos to gas-producing firms.

The Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, recently revealed that the crash in power generation and attendant poor supply since January was because gas suppliers stopped supplying gas for the generation of electricity due to the indebtedness of the sector to gas producers.

Nigeria gets more than 70 per cent of its electricity from thermal power plants that run on gas. The remaining amount of electricity comes from hydropower-generating plants.

Speaking at the ongoing 7th Nigeria International Energy Summit in Abuja on Thursday, the Director, Decade of Gas Secretariat, Ed Ubong, expressed excitement that the Federal Government had cleared $120m out of the $1.3bn gas debts.

The Decade of Gas Secretariat is under the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources (Gas). The Federal Government is subsidising electricity by paying for the gas used in generating power, as Nigerian power users are currently not paying the exact amount for electricity.

“As of last year, that (gas debts) was about $1.3bn, depending on how you add up the numbers. But I am pleased that between October and the end of January, the government has paid over $120m to offset some of that money,” Ubong stated.

On February 15, 2024, The PUNCH reported that the indebtedness of Nigeria’s power sector to electricity generating companies and gas producers had risen to about N3.3tn.

The report also stated that subsidy on electricity for 2024 would gulp about N3tn, whereas only N450bn was budgeted for this purpose in this year’s budget, adding that the government had stated that it was now very difficult to sustain power subsidy.

The power minister had said Nigeria must begin to move towards a cost-effective tariff model, as he revealed that the country was currently indebted to the tune of N1.3tn to electricity generating companies, while the debt to gas companies was $1.3bn.

Meanwhile, Ubong told delegates at the summit on Thursday that the government was developing a framework to address the lapses that often lead to such humongous gas debts in the power sector.

“More importantly, the government is also now working a framework that can mitigate most of that failure. That’s a piece of work that is ongoing and we hope that it will be approved and then the industry can move away from that legacy issue.

“We must build capacity for that. Capacity for the engineers, technicians that will work in this new gas sector that we are looking at for the next eight months. And as the secretary, we are committed to that,” he stated.

He said the Decade of Gas secretariat was sourcing competent personnel that would support the government in achieving the goals of Nigeria’s gas industry

“We are looking for interns, we are looking for young people who are willing to join us and then provide their time and energy supporting the wider and bigger goals of the sector.

“For the first time, we now have a ministerial committee. One that involves the Minister of State for Gas and the Ministry of Power, because power and gas, they go together.

“We are confident that when that becomes fully operational, that critical link between gas and power will lead to more sustainable solutions going forward,” Ubong stated.

NNPCL wants collaboration
The revelation by Ubong came as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited called for deeper collaboration among upstream operators, especially independent producers, to find solutions to the challenges hindering the effective development of divested assets in the oil sector.

The company’s Executive Vice President, Upstream, Oritsemeyiwa Eyesan, made the call at a panel session in the ongoing summit in Abuja, while speaking on the theme, ‘Innovation, Collaboration, and Resilience: Empowering Independent Producers in the Dynamic Energy Era.’

Eyesan stated that past experiences with divestments and how the assets were operated had left much to be desired as most of them experienced a drop in production rather than growth.

“In the industry, if you want to measure success, there are some basic indicators that you utilise – production growth, reserves growth, and asset integrity. If I were to evaluate prior investment initiatives and scale the actors using these indices, I will be untrue to myself if I say everybody has done well.

“Yes, we acquired the assets, but today, we are worse off in terms of production than we were when we did the acquisition,” she stated.

Eyesan, however, acknowledged that there were some success stories in the operations of the independent producers.

She identified some of the challenges to include insecurity, lack of finance and lack of technological capacity, stressing that with collaboration among industry players, the challenges could be surmounted.

“Collaboration cannot be overemphasised. Somebody said we should be in a state of emergency, and I agree with that. It’s not by sitting here and talking about the challenges.

“I think we should have a war room where we raise the issues and set out concrete plans to resolve them rather than wait for stakeholders individually to take them on. We need collaboration, collaboration, and collaboration,” she stated.


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Politics / Nigeria Regains Cheapest Petrol In West Africa Title by EcoBrick: 6:00am On Feb 21

The price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol, in Nigeria, remains the cheapest in West Africa despite the exchange rate standing at N1,555 per dollar, indicating that subsidy on the product was reduced not removed as claimed by the federal government.

Data obtained from the Global Petrol Prices, a website that tracks retail prices of refined petroleum products, revealed that the cost of petrol in Nigeria stood at $0.39 per litre.

Using the exchange rate of N1,555/$, the Major Energy Marketers Association of Nigeria calculations placed a litre of the commodity at N599.

The differential between Nigeria and Liberia, the second cheapest in the region with N1,570.5 ($1.01) is N971.5, showing that prices between the country and the rest of West Africa are now wider than it was nine months ago, which creates arbitrage incentivising the smuggling of petrol from Nigerian borders.

Analysts have said there is a lack of transparency among stakeholders in the sector, citing that this development could breed intense smuggling, stealing and pipeline vandalism.

“Subsidy is back. The faster all Marketers have access to dollars and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited isn’t the sole importer the better,” Jide Pratt, country manager of Trade Grid, said.

According to him, the books of the state-owned oil company need to be audited as it is “clearly warehousing this differential in my opinion and needs to be opened up for probity.

He said: “At NNPC retail, petrol sells for N568 per litre in Lagos versus N599 – N610 per litre at other Marketers, that’s a price advantage of N30 – N40 naira per litre. Hard to justify and a lot needs to be done.

“Until the government is no longer the owner of 100 percent shares nothing will change.”

The NNPC transformed from a corporation to a company in July 2022 through the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021. It was expected to be independent of government interference and operate without state funding, with the new goal of delivering value to its shareholders.

However, a look into the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 showed that the shareholders of the NNPCL include the Federal Government, represented by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated and the Ministry of Petroleum Incorporated.

According to the PIA, the shares are held in equal portions by the two ministries.

“Nobody can import petrol in Nigeria now as things stand apart from NNPCL. If they operate as a business they will not import fuel and sell at the current price. That’s setting fire to money,” Eze Odiri, a public sector consultant, said.

According to him, “They will buy and sell on Government instructions. They will then use that authority to deduct at source revenues accruing to the Federation. Back to square one.”

He said that the two policy changes of Government, fiscal with the abolition of fuel subsidies and monetary by the convergence of Naira exchange rates have considerable effects on the economy even if effected separately.

“With the application of these policy changes at the same time a situation has arisen where the managers of the economy do not know which policy caused which undesirable outcome.

“So the subsidy is back, that is quite clear and what we aimed to achieve by way of removing the incentive of smuggling petrol across borders has been defeated.

“Unfortunately this will open the door once again for the NNPCL to withhold federation revenues in the name of under-recovery/subsidy/provision of strategic reserves, etc.,” he added.

Kelvin Emmanuel, CEO of Dairy Hills Limited, also affirmed that the government is still subsidising the product and according to him, smuggling continues.

In November 2023, Ogbonnaya Orji, Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), a government agency, emphasised the grave consequences of oil theft, stressing its detrimental impact on oil exploration, exploitation, economic growth, business prospects, and oil company profits.

Orji provided staggering data from NEITI’s reports, revealing that between 2017 and 2021, Nigeria recorded 7,143 cases of pipeline breakages and deliberate vandalism, resulting in the theft of 208.639 million barrels of crude oil, valued at $12.74 million or N4.325 trillion.



Politics / Producers Give Reasons For Skyrocketing Cost Of Cement by EcoBrick: 2:17pm On Feb 19

The Cement Producers’ Association of Nigeria, CEPAN, has expressed readiness to support the President Bola Tinubu administration in reducing the price of cement in 30 days.

The Chairman of CEPAN, Prince David Iweta, told The Tribune on Monday that the current hike in price of the product is due to production being overwhelmed by demand.

He said the association had alerted the Federal Government about the ramifications and probable outcomes of assigning the responsibility of producing and providing for the cement requirements of more than 200 million individuals to a select group with privileges.

“What we are seeing today is a case of demand clearly outweighing supply and we in the association knew it would come to this because there is no way the few players in the industry can meet the cement needs of Nigerians.

“If you remember, the association had earlier warned, even when the commodity was still as low as N3,000 that in the nearest future, it would sell for as high as N9,000 if certain steps were not taken.

“Why we were saying that then was to ginger the government to take action and avert this mess that we are all in today,” he said.


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Politics / Nigeria’s Poverty Reduced By Seven Per Cent – World Bank by EcoBrick: 8:57am On Jan 20

20th January 2024

By Damilola Aina

The World Bank has estimated that improved access to internet coverage over three years led to a seven per cent reduction in extreme poverty in Nigeria and Tanzania.

This was disclosed in a new brief titled, “Digital transformation drives development in Africa,” noting that the exposure has also led to an increase of 8 per cent in labour force participation and wage employment.

The World Bank said, “In 2023, a World Bank flagship report found that in Nigeria and Tanzania, extreme poverty declined by about seven per cent after three or more years of exposure to internet coverage, while labour force participation and wage employment increased by up to eight per cent.”

In the brief, World Bank Chief Economist for Africa, Andrew Dabalen, was quoted as saying, “The minimal usage of mobile internet is a lost opportunity for inclusive growth in Africa. Closing the uptake gap would increase the continent’s potential to create jobs for its growing population and boost economic recovery in a highly digitalised world.”

The brief further highlights that over the past five years (2016-2021), sub-Saharan Africa experienced an extraordinary 115 per cent increase in internet users, a change that has been instrumental in spurring economic growth, fostering innovation, and creating job opportunities.

The brief adds, “The region’s digital infrastructure coverage, access, and quality still lag other regions. At the end of 2021, while 84 per cent of people in SSA lived in areas where 3G service was available, and 63 per cent had access to 4G mobile coverage, only 22 per cent were using mobile internet services.

“The gap between coverage and usage is similarly large for broadband, with 61 per cent of people in sub-Saharan Africa living within the broadband range but not using it.”

The Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijani, recently noted that the cost of data in Nigeria was still one of the cheapest in the world, but lamented that many operators are not willing to lay fibre in many parts of the countries outside the major cities because it would be unprofitable.

Business / Nigeria Stock Market Becomes World’s Best, Beats Argentina by EcoBrick: 7:06pm On Jan 18

Nigeria’s stock market is now world’s best after Wednesday’s positive close helped the market to beat Argentina, a country it was trailing last week.

Bulls push NGX-ASI above 90,000 mark

Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) All Share Index (ASI) rose by 2.38 percent on Wednesday, surpassing 90,000 mark as bulls dominate trade.

The market has risen this year by 20.45percent, amid week-to-date (WtD) rally of 8.45percent.

Wednesday’s positive close came as more investors bought shares of Guinness Nigeria which reached maximum daily increase of 10percent and others like Wema Bank (+10percent), Honeywell Flourmills (+10percent), AIICO (+10percent), and Sunu Assurances (+10percent).

These stocks and others that recorded remarkable increase helped the benchmark performance indicator to reach a new high.

“The bulls have continued to dominate market activity this year,” said Lagos-based Vetiva Research analysts. They had expected to see some price corrections on Wednesday hoping that investors will take profit after four straight sessions of positive performance.

The Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) All-Share Index (ASI) and Market Capitalisation increased further from preceding trading day’s lows of 87,970.37 points and N48.139 trillion respectively to 90,063.27 points and N49.280trillion.

Other stocks that pushed the market higher include BUA Foods (+5.49percent), BUA Cement (+9.99percent), Cadbury (+9.81), Chams (+9.71percent), Consolidated Hallmark (+8.47percent), Dangote Cement (+9.86percent), Eterna (+9.83percent), Geregu (+9.49 percent), Flour Mills (+5.10 percent), International Breweries (+9.95percent), and Japaul Gold (+8.94percent).

Also, May & Baker increased by 9.98percent, NEM Insurance (+8.70percent), Northern Nigeria Flour Mills (+9.94percent), PZ (+9.86percent), Transcorp (+9.97percent), Tripple G (+9.74percent), and UPDC (+8.50percent).

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Politics / Zack Orji: First Lady, VP’s Wife, Minister, Others Visit Ailing Actor by EcoBrick: 10:03am On Jan 02

• Thespian in stable condition

The First Lady, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, has visited ailing Nollywood actor, Mr. Zack Orji, at the National Hospital in Abuja.

Mrs. Tinubu was accompanied by the wife of the Vice President, Hajia Nana Shettima; the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye; the wife of the Minister for Works, Mrs. Rachael Umahi; and the wife of the Minister of State for Defence, Mrs. Bello Matawalle, among others.

The First Lady was at the hospital to celebrate the first baby of the year.

Though the details of her visit to the veteran actor were sketchy last night, it was gathered that she was with the actor for about 13 minutes.

It was learnt that the actor’s health has improved since getting to the hospital, following the intervention of Kennedy-Ohanenye at ensuring that he got the best medical attention the national hospital could offer.

“He has started talking. He is in stable condition. His wife is by his side. We really thank God for him,” the National Hospital Public Relations Officer (PRO) Tayo Hastrup told The Nation on phone yesterday.

Orji was conveyed to the National Hospital at the weekend after he reportedly slumped in his toilet.

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Politics / Anambra Landlords Protest Killings, Destruction, Multiple Levies by EcoBrick: 12:41pm On Nov 30, 2023
No fever than 1,000 landlords and residents of Iyiowa Odekpe in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State, under the aegis of Iyiowa Community Landlords/Residents Association on Wednesday, protested alleged killings, destruction of their properties, imposition of multiple levies and extortion.

The protesters made up of men and women including the elderly, marched to the Government House in Awka, the state capital, carrying various placards with different inscriptions to convey their grievances just as they pleaded with the state governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, to come to their rescue.

Some of the inscriptions include, “Iyiowa community is a hostile community”, “Odekpe leadership is sponsoring terrorism”, “Odekpe is home of touting”, “Stop illegal collection of levies”, and “We are under siege of multiple taxations”, among others.

Stressing the need for the immediate intervention of the state government, the leader of the protesters, Dr Okolie Chukwunonso, who was flanked by the chairman of the embattled community, Chief Sunday Obinze, disclosed that hoodlums sponsored by the host community invaded their community on November 7, killed two persons, and destroyed goods and property worth over N30million.

Chukwunonso said, “On November 7, 2023 over N30 million worth of goods and property, including over 30 cars and scores of buildings were destroyed when some yet-to-be-identified hoodlums invaded our community around 7.30 am.

“The hoodlums also shot two persons dead on that day. This is unacceptable to us anymore.

“Again, landlords and residents were always imposed with N10,000 monthly levies by various groups of Odekpe indigenes, who always come to extort us daily.

“We are using this medium to resist this obnoxious imposition because we are not in a banana republic, we are refusing those impositions but not by physically fighting but by reporting them to the state government and that is why we are here to report them.

“On that November 7, the Odekpe youths, led by their President General stormed our community and started burning cars, houses, shops and other possessions of non indigenes resident in the area.”

The state Chief of Staff , Ernest Ezeajughi, who received the protesters on behalf of the state governor, condemned the alleged mayhem in the community and vowed to bring the perpetrators to book, reiterating that Soludo’s administration is not in support of hooliganism.

“It is unfortunate that the destructions were done by our own people, we have to invite the President-General of Iyiowa Odekpe to the Government House within the week, to come and explain because we can’t tolerate this mayhem.

“Just give us time, probably two weeks, we will look into the matter, we will invite the PG within the week, we say no to such mayhem, we want every community to be peaceful,” he stated.

When contacted, the state police spokesman, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, said the command was aware of the development in the area and is working to bring sanity to the area.

“We are aware of the development in that community and security operatives are on top of the situation. It is a case of disagreement between some parties,” Ikenga added.

In a telephone interview, the accused President General of the community, Innocent Nwanosike, denied the allegations, saying, “It is a case of election dispute.”


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