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Business / 32% Of Nigerians Have Used Or Owned Crypto At Some Point - Survey by Ravon: 7:09pm On Aug 15, 2021
According to recent data published by Binance, the largest cryptocurrency platform by trading volume, Nigeria ranks 1st globally as the leading country per capita for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency adoption, with nearly one-in-three Nigerians indicating they used or owned crypto assets in 2020.

Topping the list, the African nation of almost 200 million people, mainly on the younger, more tech-savvy side. Most Nigerians are adept at sending money and paying through their phones. The survey also showed that around 300 million people globally in 2021 have owned or used crypto at some point in their lives.

Other countries are ranked below, (with rankings based on a recent survey by Statista)

Vietnam - 21%


This economically fast-rising Southeast Asian nation of nearly 100 million has also seen huge demand in crypto, with activities varying from trading and P2P to payments and other utilities. According to Chainalysis, crypto traders raked in $400 million in crypto earnings in 2020.

Philippines - 20%

Another Southeast Asian country with an economic and demographic situation similar to Vietnam’s, the island-nation has shown that it is adept at adopting crypto. The country’s central bank has provided licenses to crypto companies, while its government is distributing bonds through a blockchain app. On the grassroots level, the nation is becoming a hotspot for blockchain-based play-to-earn games.

Turkey - 16%

At the crossroads of Europe and Asia, in this country, crypto companies have become so big that they sponsor national football teams, while football clubs also offer blockchain-based fan tokens. Some Turkish people have gone on the record to say Bitcoin is their primary alternative for investment, which is unsurprising given that the nation recorded $300 million in Bitcoin gains last year.

Peru - 16%

Latin America has been a hotbed for crypto adoption, with countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela seeing major activity on the crypto front in response to their respective economic situations. While at least six Latin American countries saw crypto adoption reach percentages in the double digits, Peru is the most advanced of these nations.

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/08/15/32-nigerians-have-used-owned-crypto/

Politics / 82.4 Million People Forcibly Displaced Globally In 2020, Up By 4% - UNHCR by Ravon: 10:44pm On Jun 19, 2021
Despite the pandemic, the number of people fleeing wars, violence, persecution and human rights violations in 2020 rose to nearly 82.4 million people

June 19, 2021 - UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is today urging world leaders to step up their efforts to foster peace, stability and cooperation in order to halt and begin reversing nearly a decade-long trend of surging displacement driven by violence and persecution.

Despite the pandemic, the number of people fleeing wars, violence, persecution and human rights violations in 2020 rose to nearly 82.4 million people, according to UNHCR’s latest annual Global Trends reports released today in Geneva. This is a further four per cent increase on top of the already record-high 79.5 million at the end of 2019.

The report shows that by the end of 2020 there were 20.7 million refugees under UNHCR mandate, 5.7 million Palestine refugees and 3.9 million Venezuelans displaced abroad. Another 48 million people were internally displaced (IDPs) within their own countries. A further 4.1 million were asylum-seekers. These numbers indicate that despite the pandemic and calls for a global ceasefire, conflict continued to chase people from their homes.

“Behind each number is a person forced from their home and a story of displacement, dispossession and suffering. They merit our attention and support not just with humanitarian aid, but in finding solutions to their plight.”

“While the 1951 Refugee Convention and the Global Compact on Refugees provide the legal framework and tools to respond to displacement, we need much greater political will to address conflicts and persecution that force people to flee in the first place,” said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.

Girls and boys under the age of 18 accounts for 42 per cent of all forcibly displaced people. They are particularly vulnerable, especially when crises continue for years. New UNHCR estimates show that almost one million children were born as refugees between 2018 and 2020. Many of them may remain refugees for years to come.

“The tragedy of so many children being born into exile should be reason enough to make far greater efforts to prevent and end conflict and violence,” said Grandi.

The report also notes that at the peak of the pandemic in 2020, over 160 countries had closed their borders, with 99 States making no exception for people seeking protection. Yet with improved measures - such as medical screenings at borders, health certification or temporary quarantine upon arrival, simplified registration procedures and remote interviewing, more and more countries found ways to ensure access to asylum while trying to stem the spread of the pandemic.

While people continued to flee across borders, millions more were displaced within their own countries. Driven mostly by crises in Ethiopia, Sudan, Sahel countries, Mozambique, Yemen, Afghanistan and Colombia the number of internally displaced people rose by more than 2.3 million.

Over the course of 2020, some 3.2 million IDPs and just 251,000 refugees returned to their homes –a 40 and 21 per cent drop, respectively, compared to 2019. Another 33,800 refugees were naturalized by their countries of asylum. Refugee resettlement registered a drastic plunge - just 34,400 refugees were resettled last year, the lowest level in 20 years – a consequence of the reduced number of resettlement places and Covid-19.

“Solutions require global leaders and those with influence to put aside their differences, end an egoistic approach to politics, and instead focus on preventing and solving conflict and ensuring respect for human rights,” said Grandi.

UNHCR 2020 Global Trends Report – key data:

82.4 million people forcibly displaced globally (79.5 million in 2019) – a 4 per cent increase. 26.4 million refugees (26.0 million in 2019) including:

20.7 million refugees under UNHCR’s mandate (20.4 million in 2019)

5.7 million Palestine refugees under UNRWA’s mandate (5.6 million in 2019)

48.0 million internally displaced people (45.7 million in 2019)

4.1 million asylum-seekers (4.1 million in 2019)

3.9 million Venezuelans displaced abroad (3.6 million in 2019)

- 2020 is the ninth year of uninterrupted rise in forced displacement worldwide. Today, one per cent of humanity is displaced and there are twice as many forcibly displaced people as in 2011 when the total was just under 40 million.

- More than two-thirds of all people who fled abroad came from just five countries: Syria (6.7 million), Venezuela (4.0 million), Afghanistan (2.6 million), South Sudan (2.2 million) and Myanmar (1.1 million).

- The vast majority of the world’s refugees – nearly nine in 10 refugees (86 per cent) – are hosted by countries neighbouring crises areas and low- and middle-income countries. The Least Developed Countries provided asylum to 27 per cent of the total.

- For the seventh year in a row, Turkey hosted the largest refugee population worldwide (3.7 million refugees), followed by Colombia (1.7 million, including Venezuelans displaced abroad), Pakistan (1.4 million), Uganda (1.4 million) and Germany (1.2 million).

- Pending asylum applications globally remained at 2019 levels (4.1 million), but States and UNHCR collectively registered some 1.3 million individual asylum applications, one million fewer than in 2019 (43 per cent less).

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/06/19/82-4-million-forcibly-displaced-2020/

Politics / Akwa Ibom Governor Honoured As Champion By United Nations For Sdgs Projects by Ravon: 9:44pm On Jun 19, 2021
The United Nations has commended Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel’s administration in the State for aligning with the organisation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in its development projects and investments for the people of the state.

The commendation was handed down by the United Nations Resident Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Edward Kallon, Friday, June 18, when he paid a courtesy visit to the state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, at Government House, Uyo.

Receiving the UN SDGs Champion laurel, Governor Emmanuel expressed appreciation to the world’s foremost organization for acknowledging the efforts of his government and solicited more support to further the state’s pursuit of the 17 pillars of SDGs, with assurances that any support given to the state will be well utilized and accounted for.

Speaking further, the Governor urged the United Nations to add its voice to the call for the institutionalization of democracy in the Nigerian government through the passage of the pending Electoral Bill by the National Assembly and subsequent executive assent.

He maintained that true democracy was fundamental to all-around development and elimination of dissatisfactions, as it will enhance the confidence of the people in the system and foster participation, as stakeholders, in the development of the nation.

“I appreciate your analyses of the micro, macro-economic issues you’ve painted. I want to let you know as Nigerians, we’re conscious of all those, but the problem is getting people to work together for proper execution and implementation of these things.

“I’ll also like to hear your voice or see your script adding to our call that the National Assembly should pass our Electoral Bill and our President to assent to that bill; because everything you’ve analyzed will still boil down to the people getting who they believe can implement those things for them by exercising their power at the polls”.

Calling on the UN contingent to boost the state government’s effort in the pursuit of the SDGs through support and greater collaborations, Governor Emmanuel said, “We have heard of your benevolence in many other countries and states.

“Anyway, anyhow you can help us, we are honestly looking up to it. Whatever support given to us will be well utilized and accounted for”.

He also called for appropriate documentation of the state’s historic sites, such as the Amalgamation House and the Bridge of no Return at Ikot Abasi, through the UN Cultural organization, the UNESCO, as unique areas of cultural heritage.

This, he said, will give the state a remarkable head start for the post-COVID economy in the area of tourism.

“COVID-19 came as a virus but did not touch our climate, vegetation and abundant natural resources, so we still have a whole lot to bounce back as a people and still sustain our generosity to the country after the COVID pandemic”, he added.

The United Nations Resident Humanitarian Coordinator, Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon, who led the UN delegation commended Governor Udom Emmanuel’s exceptional performance in the development of infrastructure, industrialization and economic transformation in the State, declaring him Champion of the UN SDGs.

Mr. Kallon said the aim of their visit was to partner with Akwa Ibom State to promote dialogue against conflict and further address the impact of Covid-19 in the region and share ideas to enhance response to the pandemic.

He noted that the team visited the Bridge of No Return, used as a channel of the slave trade, the Amalgamation House where the proclamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates as one, took place in 1914 and other notable places in the state, describing them as worth sustaining as natural heritage.

The UN chief however called on Nigeria to address the socio-economic and political issues perpetuating insecurity in the country saying “Nigeria must address urgently the five critical risk factors of security and stability in the country; social cohesion equality and non-discrimination, internal security, economic stability, justice and rule of law and displacement and migration, to ensure peace and enabling environment for development.

“I want to commend you and your government for what I see and for what I am calling a visionary leadership with horizons. I see you and your team create wealth by enhancing the economic and political inclusion, constructive move to alleviate poverty in Akwa Ibom and the interesting aspect is the consolidation and expansion of the infrastructure and job creation for your people.

These investments especially the progress in consolidating investment in infrastructure and expansion and human capital development will build future manpower for Akwa Ibom State.”

The highpoint of the event was the decoration of the Governor with the UN Champion of SDGs laurel.

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/06/19/akwa-ibom-governor-united-nations-sdgs/

Crime / Re: How Crossing The Highway Nearly Crossed My Interview by Ravon: 1:17pm On Jun 19, 2021
etrange:


I wasn't there and might not have the facts, but I am 99% sure he didn't call anybody. This same format is what they use on everyone. They'd tell you the van in coming, they'd pretend to make a phone call and then start looking in the direction of oncoming vehicles 'wondering' the cause of the delay. All these are just to pressure the 'victim' into settlement.

I was once caught at CMS years ago, and they did the same thing to me. I mistakenly mentioned the name of the company I was going to and almost told them I didn't know about the bridge cause I drove most of the time (this would have nailed me), but then I stopped halfway when one of them suddenly became excited and went "oh you work there? You know someone that works there? Call them to send you something nah". I quickly changed the story by telling them I was a first year student of NOUN looking for a petty job and that I was only decently dressed cause I was going for an interview (luckily, it was the early days of my career life so I was still looking very 'studentish'). That didn't exactly get me thier pity (it actually made them feel more in control) but it made them lose any hope of cashing out big time. They eventually took what they thought was my transport and asked me to find my way.

I was wrong to have crossed the road. I hated the fact that I wasn't on my right and had to tolerate a lot of nonsense, and even went on to smile when one called me "brother" after the whole ordeal!

Wow

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Nairaland / General / I’ll Never Have To Pay Rent Again! - Winner, Y’ello Star Season One by Ravon: 12:18pm On Jun 19, 2021
The Y’ello Star champion, Okeowo Oladotun, popularly known as Dotti expressed his excitement at being presented with the keys to a fully furnished home with an in-built studio.

While speaking to the Chief Operating Officer, MTN Nigeria, Mazen Mroue before the presentation, he explained how relieving the possibility of never having to pay house rent is for him. He said, “As a young boy like me in Lagos, trying to figure things out, it’s hard to pay rent and knowing that I’ll never pay rent again, it is making me very emotional.”

Upon emerging winner of the maiden edition of Y’ello Star, Dotti was awarded a five million Naira cash prize, a brand-new car and a fully furnished apartment with an in-built studio.

Speaking on his journey through the competition, Dotti said,

“Y’ello Star is a platform to uplift people. I won, but a lot of people around me that were on the show were also winners. We had access to training from Berkeley and Henley Business School and because of that, the way we approach our music has been different. It is just amazing.”

The MTN Y’ello star is a musical platform created by MTN Nigeria, to search for hidden, unharnessed talents of the Nigerian youths.

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/06/19/pay-rent-winner-yello-star-season-one/

Politics / Nigeria’s Defense Expenditure To Reach Us$3.8bn In 2026 by Ravon: 9:54pm On Jun 18, 2021
Nigeria’s defense expenditure to reach US$3.8bn in 2026 driven by militant groups and rising piracy incidents, says GlobalData
As one of the continent’s military powerhouses, Nigeria is seeking to strengthen and upgrade the capabilities of its armed forces between 2022 and 2026. Nigeria’s defense budget is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.33% throughout the forecast period to reach a peak of US$3.8bn in 2026.


Growth will be driven by continued insurgent attacks, cybercrime, and rising incidents of piracy, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

According to GlobalData’s report, ‘Nigeria Defense Market – Attractiveness, Competitive Landscape, and Forecasts to 2026’, Nigeria has historically prioritized its defense budget in order to combat both regional and domestic threats, reaching a high of US$2.5bn in 2020. However, the country’s 2021 defense budget witnessed a year-over-year (Y-o-Y) growth rate of -0.9% as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, stabilizing at US$2.5bn for the current year as the country deals with the economic consequences of the pandemic amid a wider global recession.

Victoria Bosomworth, Associate Aerospace and Defense Analyst at GlobalData, comments:

“This substantial increase in defense expenditure, rising from 0.5% as a percentage of Nigeria’s GDP in 2021 to 0.7% of overall GDP spending in 2026, will likely be driven by the country’s attempts at combatting a number of growing threats in the region, such as the continued insurgent attacks by groups, for example, Boko Haram, Ansaru and ISWAP.

This comes at a time where infighting between factions of these various groups has intensified, resulting in the alleged death of Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, after an attack by ISWAP. Clashes are thus expected to increase in the coming months due to the potential instability caused by the power vacuum created by Shekau’s death.”

Other threats driving defense expenditure during the forecast period include oil smuggling in the Niger Delta, increasing cybercrime and rising incidents of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. Piracy, in particular, constitutes one of the largest threats, with the Gulf of Guinea, reported as one of the primary piracy locations in 2021.

As an important maritime trade route off the Nigerian coast, the Nigerian Government has invested heavily in ‘Project Deep Blue’ through the funding of a number of important naval procurements in order to reduce maritime insecurity in Nigeria’s territorial waters and Economic Exclusion Zone.”

Bosomworth adds:

“In order to combat these threats, Nigeria has subsequently focused on modernizing and strengthening its capabilities through a number of key procurements, such as the acquisition of Mi-35M helicopters, A-29 Super Tucanos, JF-17 Multirole aircraft, multiple naval vessels and several armoured vehicles.

The acquisition budget for Nigeria in 2021 is set at US$0.3bn, comprising a share of 13.2%, which is expected to rise to a high of US$0.6bn by 2026 and accounting for 15.5%.”

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/06/18/nigerias-defense-expenditure-38-2026/

Crime / How Crossing The Highway Nearly Crossed My Interview by Ravon: 2:29pm On Jun 18, 2021
Lagos state charged 95 people to a special court for crossing the highway instead of using the pedestrian bridge. I almost abused those offenders and probably said good for them. But, then I remembered I was once guilty.

Maybe not once really. Because I was accosted for the first time by an environmental task force officer in mufti around Aswani market when I was still in school.

I was lucky that day, with all my 'student cred' stubbornness and initially asking the guy to identify himself before I followed him.

We later settled the matter when he realized he finished from my school. I promised myself not to ever cross the highway again.

But, hmmm, it happened again. This time, it was at Lekki Phase 1, shortly after the Admiralty roundabout.

How Crossing The Highway Nearly Crossed My Interview-Brand Spur Nigeria

Let's just say I was naive that day because it was my first time there. I didn't realize there was a pedestrian bridge ahead until one of the Man O War guys working with LCC said 'oga, you are under arrest'.

As a Lagos boy you know, I was like 'officer wetin happen nah?'. And he said look back to where you crossed, that was a bus stop with a pedestrian bridge less than 1-minute walk away. Why did you cross the expressway?

Waawu. I just calmed down. I was mute for a while calculating what to do next as he took me to one shed to sit. A lady was there too, she was looking pretty disturbed already.

The LCC Man O War officer said the Task Force van would soon arrive and he would hand us over to the officials in charge of traffic offenders for necessary actions.

Arrrgh, oga, please ooo, I came for an interview inside Lekki Phase 1. Please help your bro. He didn’t answer me.

The Man O War guy called the Task Force van, two other guys came to check on us and assured him that the van would be there shortly.

Then, I realized wahala was about to serve me hot catfish pepper soup with fresh palmy early in the morning. I pocketed my Lagos boy vibez one time and started begging. I told the 3 of them I was almost late for my interview.

One asked me to show them evidence, I quickly pulled up the email and they confirmed I was not lying. He told me to call the company to reschedule because there was no way I would not be late.

I called. But no, I didn't call the company I had the interview with. I called a client who was like an office uncle to me. He was a senior man in the public sector.

My uncle asked to speak with the LCC Man O War guys. The most senior among them, I supposed, took the phone from me thinking the company I had the interview with was on the line.

I noticed he was warm over the phone and maybe my uncle's client spoke the language he understood.

How Crossing The Highway Nearly Crossed My Interview-Brand Spur Nigeria

Long story short, uncle asked me to sincerely apologise to them and promise not to cross the expressway again.

No time, I begged them, in the name of God sef. So they said I could go but if I got apprehended again, my uncle would not be able to bail me out again, lol!

I bounced out of the place, like oya interview na me and you today.

Oh, the lady I met there? I remembered her in a bit and went to check if she was still in the shed we sat in. She was still there and I felt for her.

Since somebody had helped me, let me too help somebody. Abbi?

I went to the Man O War guys' corner to have a gentleman discussion with them. One of them was like, 'guy, e be like say this your interview no dey important to you. You still dey beg for woman after we release you'.

Las las sha, they listened to me and when the lady noticed we were talking about her. She ran to meet us and knelt to beg them.

Women and their soft charm ehn? They pardoned her, warned her that next time such happened she would not go unpunished.

I was lucky for the 2nd time. I have not ignored the pedestrian bridge ever since. Thank God for my life.

It's really disheartening when people get knocked down on the highway in situations where they could have used a pedestrian bridge. Getting apprehended sometimes like I was can be a blessing in disguise.

Considering that road accident are the 3rd leading cause of deaths in Nigeria. I don't think anyone should be risking their lives crossing the highway.

Ignoring pedestrian bridges is not being smart or fast, it is a really unnecessary risk that could cost one's life.

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/06/18/how-crossing-the-highway-nearly-crossed-my-interview/

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TV/Movies / Nollywood Produced 416 Movies In The First Three Months Of 2021 - NBS by Ravon: 11:53am On May 17, 2021
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) published Nollywood Movies Production data for Q1 2021.

The number of movies produced in Q1 2021 hits 416 compared to 903 in Q4 2020. This indicates a decline of -53.93% quarter on quarter.

Similarly, the number of movies produced in Q1 2020 stood at 407, indicating a growth of 2.21% year-on-year.

According to the bureau, Lagos has the highest number of movies produced by location in Q1 2021 with 149 closely followed by Onitsha with 140 movies while Benin and Bauchi recorded the least with 2 movies each respectively.

It added that data was provided by the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) and verified and validated by the NBS.

https://brandspurng.com/2021/05/17/nollywood-produced-416-movies-in-the-first-three-months-of-2021-nbs/

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Health / World Hypertension Day: Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live by Ravon: 9:49am On May 17, 2021
World Hypertension Day: Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer

May 17, 2021
- Today is World Hypertension Day. This year's theme is Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer, focusing on combatting low awareness rates worldwide, especially in low to middle-income areas, and accurate blood pressure measurement methods.

Often neglected as just a headache or high BP, hypertension can lead to serious health crisis if not treated properly at the right time.

Hypertension affects more than 30% of the adult population worldwide, more than one billion people around the world. It is the main risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, especially coronary heart disease and stroke, but also for chronic kidney disease, heart failure, arrhythmia and dementia.

The burden of hypertension is felt disproportionately in low- and middle-income countries, where two-thirds of cases are found, largely due to increased risk factors in those populations in recent decades.

What’s more, around half of people living with hypertension are unaware of their condition, putting them at risk of avoidable medical complications and death. Accurate blood pressure (BP) measurement is essential for the proper diagnosis and management of hypertension.

BP measurement is perhaps the most commonly performed procedure in clinical medicine and, although it seems simple at first glance, current suboptimal measurement leads to negatively impacting clinical management decisions in 20 – 45% of cases.

World Hypertension Day is a great oppourinity to do a basic check on our health status particularly amid the coronavirus pandemic and a deluge of tragic news around coming in every day.

On World Hypertension Day, here is a look at the theme and a few essential facts that can help raise awareness about the crucial health parameter that can prevent a crisis.

What is hypertension?

The term hypertension is often used casually but do we know what it actually refers to? According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), ''hypertension, also known as high or raised blood pressure, is a condition in which the blood vessels have persistently raised pressure.

Blood is carried from the heart to all parts of the body in the vessels. Each time the heartbeats, it pumps blood into the vessels. Blood pressure is created by the force of blood pushing against the walls of blood vessels (arteries) as it is pumped by the heart. The higher the pressure, the harder the heart has to pump.''

World Hypertension Day 2021: Important facts

- Many people with high blood pressure often have no symptoms, ''even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels.''
A few people ''may have headaches, shortness of breath or nosebleeds, but these signs and symptoms aren't specific and usually don't occur until high blood pressure has reached a severe or life-threatening stage.''

- Blood pressure should be checked ''at least every two years starting at age 18. If you're age 40 or older, or you're 18 to 39 with a high risk of high blood pressure, ask your doctor for a blood pressure reading every year.''

- Common risk factors include age, family history, being overweight or obese, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, using too much salt in your food, drinking too much alcohol and high levels of stress.

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/05/17/world-hypertension-day-measure-your-blood-pressure-accurately-control-it-live-longer/

Car Talk / Ford Recalls 661,000 Explorer Suvs by Ravon: 6:36pm On May 10, 2021
Ford Motor Company is issuing a safety recall for select 2016-19 Ford Explorer vehicles for roof rail covers that may become detached from the vehicle while driving and create a hazard for others on the road.

Affected Explorer series vehicles include base and XLT trim levels, as well as Police Interceptor and Explorer Sport models with roof rail covers that are painted Silver, Black or Absolute Black.

This action affects 620,483 vehicles in the U.S. and federal territories, 36,419 in Canada and 4,260 in Mexico.

Ford is not aware of any reports of accidents or injuries related to this condition.

Dealers will secure the roof rails with plastic push pins. Customer notifications will begin the week of June 28. The Ford reference number for this recall is 21S22.

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/05/10/ford-recalls-661000-explorer-suvs/

Politics / Eid-al-fitri: FG Declares Wednesday, Thursday Public Holidays by Ravon: 5:22pm On May 10, 2021
The federal government has declared Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th May 2021 as public holidays to mark the 2021 Eid-al-Fitri celebration.

The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, while making the declaration on behalf of the federal government Monday in Abuja, congratulated the Muslim faithful on this occasion and called on all Nigerians, at home and abroad to use the period of this year’s Eid-al-Fitri celebration to pray for peace, stability and economic transformation in the land.

Aregbesola who said development cannot thrive in a rancorous atmosphere urged all Nigerians to be law-abiding and embrace the spirit of love, self-discipline, kindness, and tolerance, as taught by the Holy Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him).

He also called on all security agencies in the country to be more courageous and patriotic to surmount the ongoing battle against resurging insecurity and activities of criminal elements in Nigeria.

The former Osun state governor assured that the resolve of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to end the scourge of crime and criminality in the country and restore peace to every nook and cranny of Nigeria was sacrosanct.

“This administration will not be deterred in its efforts, until every Nigerian and resident of the country, is free to move around without fear of any threat to his/her life and property. We are therefore putting necessary measures and strategies in place to strengthen the stability of the country as well as ensuring the economic prosperity of our dear nation,” he emphasized.

The Minister wishes all Muslims a happy and peaceful Eid-al-Fitri celebration.

https://brandspurng.com/2021/05/10/eid-al-fitri-fg-declares-wednesday-thursday-public-holidays/

TV/Movies / Voting Lines Open For Nigerian Idol Top 11 As Live Shows Kick Off by Ravon: 10:13am On May 10, 2021
With Theatre Week over, the spotlight beamed on the top 11 contestants of the sixth season of Nigeria’s popular music talent show, Nigerian Idol. The contestants had to take on the task of performing to impress the judges - Seyi Shay, Obi Asika and DJ Sose - as well as the viewing fans at home.

Sunday, May 9, 2021, was the day for the first live performances of the season, and there was a lot to play for, as the two contestants with the least votes would be eliminated the following week.

The theme of this week’s performance was “African Legends”, and 23-year-old Akunna stepped up to deliver her rendition of Angelique Kidjo’s “Wombo Lombo”. Dressed in a regal purple dress, she clearly showed that her voice had recovered from the setback of Theatre Week. Assisted by a live band, she delivered an energetic performance that was well-received by the judges, with DJ Sose commenting on her growth, and Seyi Shay noting that Akunna had put up a “fantastic” display.

Beyonce chose to perform Angelique Kidjo’s “Agolo”, revealing that it was a song that she enjoyed listening to in her childhood days. Matching the energy of an African classic is no easy task, but she put in a good shift, with Seyi Shay stating that her voice had become “a lot stronger”, and Obi Asika commenting on her improved confidence.

Clinton dedicated his cover of “Sweet Mother”, the classic composed by the late Prince Nico Mbarga, to his mother. Assisted by an enthusiastic live band and backing vocalists, he delivered an energetic performance, with cute dance moves to boot. Obi Asika lauded his infusion of ad-libs, but DJ Sose noted that there was a drop in the quality of delivery.

Styl-Plus’ 2004 classic “Olufunmi” was the song that Comfort chose for her debut live performance. She struggled with her vocals, and the judges felt that she did not bring her A-game, even though Obi Asika commended her fashion choices. Daniel, dressed in a red suit, elected to try out Lucky Dube’s reggae hit “I’ve Got You Babe”. Obi Asika noted that he looked comfortable, and DJ Sose seemed to be satisfied by his performance.

Dotun, who opted to perform a cover of Miriam Makeba’s “Malaika”, was praised by Obi Asika and DJ Sose for his vocal range and emotive display, and Seyi Shay described the rendition as “captivating.” Emmanuel handed in a scintillating cover of Majek Fashek’s “Send Down The Rain”, earning plaudits from the judges for his “stage presence” and “originality.”

Donning a bowler hat, Faith went for Sir Victor Uwaifo’s “Joromi”, with some help from the live band. He maintained his vocal energy from start to finish, and the judges seemed pretty pleased with his performance. Salif Keita’s “Africa” is a difficult pick for any singer, but Faith Mac stepped up to the plate, bringing the high pitch and strong projection that the song deserved.

Francis took on Lucky Dube’s “Remember Me” for his live performance, partly because his father loved the song, and partly because he wanted to spare a few thoughts for people who had to grow up without a father figure. Seyi Shay positively commented on his vocal range, and Obi Asika also felt that the singing was “emotive.” The final performance of the night had Kingdom performing Lebo M’s “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” (from the movie Lion King), a rendition which sat well with the judges: Obi Asika commented on his “presence.”

At this stage of the competition, the power is solely in the hands of the viewers, as they get to determine who stays and who leaves. Voting on Nigerian Idol is via the website, mobile site, MyDStv and MyGOtv apps and via SMS, which is available only in Nigeria.

You may vote for your favourite contestant via the Africa Magic website, www.africamagic.tv/nigerianidol and the Africa Magic mobile site by selecting contestants of your choice and entering your number of votes and click VOTE. Voting via these platforms is limited to 100 votes per user. MyDStv App and MyGOtv App votes are free and votes are allocated based on your subscription packages. You can also send an SMS of your favourite contestants’ number to 32053, which costs N30 per SMS. Votes via SMS are limited to 100 votes per user. VAS rates apply. Participating networks are MTN, Airtel & 9mobile. The voting window closes by 9 pm on Wednesday, May 12, 2021.

Nigerian Idol Season 6 is sponsored by Bigi Drinks and Tecno Mobile. To catch up on the live performances by the Top 11, viewers can tune in to Channel 198 on DStv and Channel 29 on GOtv. They can also follow this season of Nigerian Idol via the DStv app on multiple devices at no additional cost. The app is available for download on iOS and Android devices.

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/05/10/voting-lines-open-for-nigerian-idol-top-11-as-live-shows-kick-off/

Health / WHO Lists Additional COVID-19 Vaccine For Emergency Use by Ravon: 4:43pm On May 07, 2021
WHO lists additional COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use and issues interim policy recommendations

7 May 2021– WHO today listed the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, giving the green light for this vaccine to be rolled out globally. The Sinopharm vaccine is produced by Beijing Bio-Institute of Biological Products Co Ltd, subsidiary of China National Biotec Group (CNBG).

“The addition of this vaccine has the potential to rapidly accelerate COVID-19 vaccine access for countries seeking to protect health workers and populations at risk,” said Dr Mariângela Simão, WHO Assistant-Director General for Access to Health Products. “We urge the manufacturer to participate in the COVAX Facility and contribute to the goal of more equitable vaccine distribution.”

WHO’s Emergency Use Listing (EUL) is a prerequisite for COVAX Facility vaccine supply. It also allows countries to expedite their own regulatory approval to import and administer COVID-19 vaccines.

The EUL assesses the quality, safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, as well as risk management plans and programmatic suitability, such as cold chain requirements. The assessment is performed by the product evaluation group, composed by regulatory experts from around the world and a Technical Advisory Group (TAG), in charge of performing the risk-benefit assessment for an independent recommendation on whether a vaccine can be  listed for emergency use and, if so, under which conditions.

In the case of the Sinopharm vaccine, the WHO assessment included on-site inspections of the production facility.

The Sinopharm product is an inactivated vaccine called SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine (Vero Cell). Its easy storage requirements make it highly suitable for low-resource settings. It is the also first vaccine that will carry a vaccine vial monitor, a small sticker on the vaccine vials that change color as the vaccine is exposed to heat, letting health workers know whether the vaccine can be safely used.

WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) has also completed its review of the vaccine. On the basis of all available evidence, WHO recommends the vaccine for adults 18 years and older, in a two-dose schedule with a spacing of three to four weeks. Vaccine efficacy for symptomatic and hospitalized disease was estimated to be 79%, all age groups combined. 

Few older adults (over 60 years) were enrolled in clinical trials, so efficacy could not be estimated in this age group.  Nevertheless, WHO is not recommending an upper age limit for the vaccine because preliminary data and supportive immunogenicity data suggest the vaccine is likely to have a protective effect in older persons. 

There is no theoretical reason to believe that the vaccine has a different safety profile in older and younger populations.  WHO therefore recommends that countries using the vaccine in older age groups conduct safety and effectiveness monitoring to make the recommendation more robust.

WHO emergency use listing

The emergency use listing (EUL) procedure assesses the suitability of novel health products during public health emergencies. The objective is to make medicines, vaccines and diagnostics available as rapidly as possible to address the emergency, while adhering to stringent criteria of safety, efficacy and quality. The assessment weighs the threat posed by the emergency as well as the benefit that would accrue from the use of the product against any potential risks.

The EUL pathway involves a rigorous assessment of late phase II and phases III clinical trial data as well as substantial additional data on safety, efficacy, quality and a risk management plan. These data are reviewed by independent experts and WHO teams who consider the current body of evidence on the vaccine under consideration, the plans for monitoring its use, and plans for further studies.

As part of the EUL process, the company producing the vaccine must commit to continuing to generate data to enable full licensure and WHO prequalification of the vaccine. The WHO prequalification process will assess additional clinical data generated from vaccine trials and deployment on a rolling basis to ensure the vaccine meets the necessary standards of quality, safety and efficacy for broader availability.

WHO also listed the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for emergency use on 31 December 2020; two AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccines on 15 February 2021, produced by AstraZeneca-SKBio (Republic of Korea) and the Serum Institute of India; and COVID-19 vaccine Ad26.COV2.S developed by Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) on 12 March 2021.

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/05/07/who-lists-additional-covid-19-vaccine-for-emergency-use/

Phones / Twitter Rolls Out Tip Jar, Allows You To Send Money To Your Favorite Accounts by Ravon: 12:54pm On May 07, 2021
Twitter Legalizes Giveaway, Rolls Out Tip Jar Feature That Allows You To Send Money To Your Favorite Accounts

Twitter on Thursday rolled out a feature called the "Tip Jar," that allows users to send and receive monetary support on the platform.

Tip Jar is an easy way to support the incredible voices that make up the conversation on Twitter. This is the first step in Twitter's work to create new ways for people to receive and show support on Twitter – with money.

The company said

"Tip Jar is an easy way to support the incredible voices that make up the conversation on Twitter. This is the first step in our work to create new ways for people to receive and show support on Twitter – with money."

How it works: 

Starting Thursday, people who use Twitter in English will be able to send tips on iOs and Android.

An account's Tip Jar is enabled if its profile page shows the Tip Jar icon next to the "Follow" button.
Once you've tapped the icon, you'll be able to choose your preferred payment platform: Bandcamp, Cash App, Patreon, PayPal and Venmo.

For now, a limited group of people around the world who use Twitter in English can add Tip Jar to their profile and accept tips. This group includes creators, journalists, experts, and nonprofits. Soon, more people will be able to add Tip Jar to their profile. The company said it plans to expand the group and launch Tip Jar in more languages in the future.

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/05/07/twitter-legalizes-giveaway-rolls-out-tip-jar-feature-that-allows-you-to-send-money-to-your-favorite-accounts/

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Politics / UNILAG In Collaboration With LASG Commences Campus Bus Services by Ravon: 9:07pm On May 06, 2021
As part of the University’s drive to cater for the welfare of its staff and students, the University of Lagos (UNILAG), in collaboration with the Lagos State Government (LASG) has concluded plans on the bus reform initiative services for UNILAG commuters.

The initiative, which is being executed by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), will commence in phases in line with LAMATA’s strategic deployment process. Operations along the “Yaba-UNILAG” (phase 1) and “Bariga-UNILAG” (phase 2) routes have undergone a test run on Wednesday, May 5, 2021.

Full operations will begin on Monday, May 10, 2021, from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily at these locations and other locations such as:

- Ikeja
- Agege
- Ikorodu
- Iyana-Ipaja
- Ojota-Berger and
- CMS

In line with the central ticketing system (COWRY system) that LASG has deployed for use on all public transport schemes in the state, the campus bus services will also use the Cowry System for fare collection on the selected routes.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Oluwatoyin T. Ogundipe, FAS, encourages all members of the University community to give all necessary support towards achieving a successful commencement of the operations.

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/05/06/unilag-in-collaboration-with-lasg-commences-campus-bus-services/

Crime / EFCC Arrests Human Organs' Trafficker In Port Harcourt by Ravon: 6:30pm On May 06, 2021
Operatives of the Port Harcourt Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, have arrested the leader of a syndicate selling and buying human organs for trafficking to foreigners.

The syndicate leader: Ukaeje John Emeka (alias Dr. Phil Mark, Dr. Donald Phillip, Dr. Wesley David), was arrested on April 16, 2021, at Rumukparali, Ozuoba, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, based on established intelligence on his suspicious fraudulent internet dealings.

Preliminary investigations by the EFCC showed that the suspect is leading a syndicate of fraudsters falsely presenting themselves as medical doctors, with a human organ bank, particularly kidneys for sale and purchase.

Victims of the syndicate include people with renal disease and even healthy people desirous of selling their organs in Nigeria; India; Pakistan; Indonesia and the United Arab Emirate.

Items recovered from the suspect include: one Nigerian passport; one Republic of Cote D'Ivoire passport, nine ATM cards; one black-coloured HP laptop; one gold-coloured Tecno L9 plus phone; one- gold-coloured Samsung Galaxy J8 and one ash- coloured Lexus ES 330 salon car.

The Commission is on the trail of other members of the syndicate within and outside Nigeria.

SOURCE: https://brandnewsday.com/2021/05/06/efcc-arrests-human-organs-trafficker-in-port-harcourt/

Politics / We Won't Reverse Minimum Wage, Slash Workers Salaries - Ogun State Govt by Ravon: 1:03pm On May 06, 2021
Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State says his administration will not reverse the recently signed new minimum wage and slash workers salaries despite the economic crunch being faced by the country.

This is just as the governor promised that the local government elections slated for July 24, would not be skewed in favour of the ruling party.

Abiodun made this known during the breaking of fast (Iftar) with the leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, on Wednesday evening, in Abeokuta, the state capital.

The Federal Government had on Tuesday declared that it would slash workers salaries and merge agencies, to cope with the dwindling economic situation in the country.

But addressing the APC leaders at the Iftar, Abiodun vowed that his government would not slash salaries of its workforce, rather, his administration would continue to be creative in its bid to make the state economically viable and financially strong.

"We are being very creative with financing. I was watching on television where I saw one of my brother governors say they might have to reverse on minimum wage. I want to assure you that Ogun State will not reverse on minimum wage", the governor maintained.

On the LG elections, Abiodun informed the party leaders that he would not share political positions among men and women who are party faithful during the elections but promote equal participation, noting that leaders of the ruling party in the state must show that they are products of democracy.

"We must be consistent; we must show that we have learnt from other people's lessons and we that are a product of democracy. We had done primaries when somebody else did not want primaries, we subjected ourselves to the party process, we evolved through that process which was later confirmed by the general elections despite all odds. Let us make sure that whatever process we adopt is democratic, we must be seen as true progressive democrats.

"When it comes to a process like this, what we need to do is to encourage our women to participate, to come forward and participate, we will vote for them, but we are not going to share it and say because you are a woman, you take this. No, that will be undemocratic. We are not going to do that, there will be fairness," he stated.

On the issue of insecurity, the governor disclosed that his administration would soon relaunch the OPMESA, which according to him was recently resuscitated after years of neglect by the immediate past administration in the state.

He added that any act of insecurity would be viewed as sabotage against its government's plans to grow the economy of the state.

"We are taking the issue of security very seriously, be assured that we are doing everything we can, being the industrial hub of this country. Any act of insecurity is sabotage against our plans to make our state very viable economically, we are going to fight it with everything, we are going to protect it with everything we have.

"We have resuscitated OPMESA. We are going to launch it may be in the next two weeks, so we are going to have Amotekun and that. We are going to fight with everything, we have the police, vigilante, civil defence, the military are still there and then we have the OPMESA.

"OPMESA has gone for so many years because the previous administration did not take it very seriously, so, they withdrew it. But I went after that initiative and I got the Chief of Army Staff to finally approve it because like I said to him, I don't know of other states, but my state, I cannot afford insecurity", Abiodun stated.

While restating his administration's commitment to making the state safe for the residents, the governor called on the people of the state to be watchful, prayerful and be observant of their environment, noting "security agents are as good as the intelligence they gathered".

Earlier in his remarks, the Caretaker Committee Chairman of the APC in Ogun, Yemi Sanusi commended the state governor for embarking on massive road rehabilitation and reconstruction across the state, as well as accommodating more members into the party, particularly bigwigs from other political parties.

In their respective remarks, former deputy governor, Segun Adesegun, Senator Adegbenga Kaka and Gboyega Nasiru Isiaka, who commended the governor for his effort at making the state more attractive for investors, declared that they would continue to support his administration.

On her part, a House Representatives member representing Remo Federal Constituency, Adewunmi Onanuga, thanked Abiodun for making lawmakers from the state envy other members of the House of Reps, over his strides in the overall development of the state.

She, however, called on the governor to give more women the chance to represent their people at the grassroots.

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/05/06/we-wont-reverse-minimum-wage-slash-workers-salaries-ogun-state-govt/

Politics / LASIEC Unveils New Website Ahead Of Council Polls by Ravon: 12:56pm On May 06, 2021
The Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC), has unveiled a new user-friendly website as part of its preparedness for the forthcoming Local Council elections slated for the 24th of July, 2021.

In her remarks during the unveiling, the Chairman of the Commission, Hon. Justice Ayotunde Phillips (Rtd), stated that the new website is faster, more secure, easier to navigate, and user-friendly as part of efforts to boost communication between the Commission and various stakeholders in the public, particularly at this crucial period.

She enjoined members of the public to visit the website: www.lasiec.gov.ng and other social media handles of the Commission on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for up-to-date, real-time and accurate information, inquiries, complaints and feedback via the channels.
She also stated that for transparency, recruitment of ad-hoc personnel will be carried out online, media accreditation and election observer forms will also be available to download from the website.

The Chairman further reiterated that in order to guarantee the legitimacy and credibility of the electoral process, the electorate must be encouraged, educated, informed and provided with basic information about participating in elections so as to freely express their political choices.

While pledging the Commission’s commitment to free, fair, credible and inclusive Council polls, Justice Phillips said LASIEC would continue to build and sustain its integrity as an impartial body recognised for excellence in electoral administration and the sustenance of democracy, advising all participants in the election process to play by the rules and comply with the guidelines issued by the Commission.

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/05/06/lasiec-unveils-new-website-ahead-of-council-polls/

Politics / Twitter Spaces Is Here, Let’s Chat by Ravon: 6:12pm On May 04, 2021
Last year Twitter introduced Spaces: live audio conversations on Twitter. Since then, the tech giant has been building and testing with a limited group and have found that hearing people’s voices bring conversations on Twitter to life in a completely new way.

“Since we’ve been building this, the ability to create a Space has become available to millions of people, and we’ve continued to make improvements based on your feedback. Today, we’re bringing the ability to host a Space to all accounts with 600 or more followers on Twitter.

Based on what we’ve learned so far, these accounts are likely to have a good experience hosting live conversations because of their existing audience. Before bringing the ability to create a Space to everyone, we’re focused on learning more, making it easier to discover Spaces, and helping people enjoy them with a great audience”.

People already come to Twitter to talk about what’s happening. You’ve always followed people for their Tweets, now Spaces lets you hear their voices and talk about what’s happening now and what’s most important to you – live.

From Tweeting to talking, reading to listening, Spaces encourages and unlocks real, open conversations on Twitter with the authenticity and nuance, depth and power only the human voice can bring. Spaces are for small and intimate conversations with just a few others, or for big discussions about what’s unfolding right now with thousands of listeners.

From connecting to your favourite musician to a post-show about the game or a recap of news that just dropped, dig into the topics and conversations you care about with people you know and people you want to know.

How Spaces work

On Twitter for iOS and Android, when someone you follow starts or speaks in a Space, it’ll appear at the top of your timeline as a purple bubble for as long as it’s live. When you join a Space as a listener, you can react to what you hear with emojis, check out any pinned Tweets, follow along with captions, Tweet or DM Space, or request to speak.

When you join Space as a speaker, in addition to talking, you can pin Tweets to the Space, turn on captions so everyone can follow along with what you’re saying, and Tweet Space so your followers can join.

When you create a Space, you’re in control – who’s speaking, the topics, and the vibe. Invite people to join by Tweeting or DM’ing them to jump in and then invite them to speak directly from your Space. From there, talk about whatever is happening in your world.

It’s important to that people feel safe hosting and participating in Spaces conversations – that’s why safety controls are available to hosts and speakers. For example, as a host, you can mute speakers and take away their mic, or remove them from the Space completely. Recently, the ability for Hosts to mute all speakers at the same time and a new management page for easier hosting.

Anyone can report and block others in the Space or report the Space. Also, people you’ve blocked can’t join a Space you’re hosting, and you’ll see labels and warnings if someone you’ve blocked is speaking in a Space you join.

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/05/04/twitter-spaces-is-here-lets-chat/

Business / Kaspersky Expands Footprint In Nigeria And Ghana by Ravon: 2:09pm On May 03, 2021
Kaspersky has partnered with value-added distributor DataGroupIT who will provide the global cybersecurity company with access to new markets in Nigeria and Ghana

May 3, 2021 - As part of its strategy to grow its business in West Africa, Kaspersky has partnered with value-added distributor DataGroupIT who will provide the global cybersecurity company with access to new markets in Nigeria and Ghana.

“DataGroupIT is a well-known distributor in Africa with a clear value-add when it comes to generating focused business growth, especially in the enterprise segment. It also has the capacity to support the Kaspersky business logistically and provide valuable technical expertise on Kaspersky solutions,” says Lehan van den Heever, Enterprise Cyber Security Advisor for Kaspersky in Africa.

DataGroupIT has more than 1 000 clients in over 15 Sub-Saharan African countries with its professional teams delivering exceptional sales, pre-sale, logistic, marketing, and financial support.

The partnership between the two organisations will further enhance Kaspersky’s rapidly expanding footprint in Africa. It is designed to empower customers to leverage Kaspersky’s knowledge, market intelligence, and world-class cybersecurity professionals with best-in-class local market support.

“West Africa is becoming a major focus for Kaspersky. The agreement with DataGroupIT will see Kaspersky gain access to new verticals in this region while helping new and existing customers build their cybersecurity strategy. It also puts Kaspersky in a position to work with major regulators to elevate the digital protection threshold across the region,” says van den Heever.

Amir Shtarkman, VP Business Development at DataGroupIT says;

“Our partnership with Kaspersky is an excellent fit for our growing product portfolio and our ‘6 pillar model’. Kaspersky is an experienced vendor and a leader in its product portfolio.

Their offerings will enable our customers across the region to realise the benefits of cybersecurity and, in particular, endpoint protection and cyber intelligence. DataGroupIT has a wealth of experience in the cybersecurity market in Africa, and we are looking forward to growing the Kaspersky business with this partnership.”


With the DataGroupIT partnership in place, Kaspersky plans to replicate the success it has observed in other African regions.

“This expansion will help move the maturity of cyber defence tools and processes in West Africa to a new level especially at a time when organisations and consumers are adapting to a new distributed working environment that creates the potential for additional cyber risk,” concludes van den Heever.

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/05/03/kaspersky-expands-footprint-in-nigeria-and-ghana/

Phones / MTN Nigeria Lost 5 Million Subscribers In Q1; Data Revenue Rises By 42.6% by Ravon: 11:56am On May 01, 2021
MTN Nigeria Communications Plc (MTN Nigeria) announces its unaudited results for the quarter ended 31 March 2021.

The telecom giant stated that its mobile subscribers declined by 5 million to 71.5 million due to the effects of customer churn and the regulatory restrictions on new SIM sales and activations.

Further analysis by Brand Spur revealed that active data users declined marginally by 71,000 to 32.5 million while service revenue increased by 17.2% to N385.2 billion.

Also, MTN Nigeria’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) grew by 19.1% to N204.5 billion. Similarly, the EBITDA margin increased by 0.9 percentage points (pp) to 53.1%.

MTN Nigeria’s capital expenditure was up by 19.3% to N89.9 billion (up 27.8% to N31.6 billion excluding the right of use [RoU] assets). The company recorded a 33.9% growth in profit before tax to N102.9 billion.

Earnings per share rose by 42.5% to N3.60 kobo.

MTN Nigeria CEO, Karl Toriola comments:

“We made good progress in the first quarter of 2021 despite the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to prioritise the safeguards put in place to protect the health and well-being of our people, customers and stakeholders and to control the spread of the virus while ensuring network resilience and efficiency.

As part of our Y’ello Hope initiatives, we continue to support Government’s efforts in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. We supported the most vulnerable in our communities, providing them with free-to-access services (including SMS and data) as well as essential medical supplies (tests and personal protective equipment).

We continue to support the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) that has driven multiple initiatives, such as building isolation centres across the country. MTN Nigeria also paid taxes early in support of the Government’s ongoing efforts. In addition, our REVV support programme for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) helps them navigate the new digital reality.

Operationally, service revenue in Q1 grew by 17.2% YoY, in line with our medium-term target, supported by the growth of 42.6% and 8.0% in data and voice revenue respectively.

This was achieved despite the impact of the pandemic and a decline in our subscriber base due to the effects of customer churn and the restrictions on new SIM sales and activations arising from changes in SIM registration regulations. We continue to collaborate with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Nigerian Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to update subscriber records with the National Identity Number (NIN).

Thus far, more than 35 million subscribers have submitted their NINs as at 30 April 2021, representing approximately 50% of our subscriber base and 63% of service revenue. We are also actively supporting the Government’s NIN enrolment programme, with 182 points of enrolment active across the country. We are working with NIMC to increase the enrolment centres to provide an access point for as many Nigerian as possible.

Impacted by the reduction in the overall subscriber base in Q1, active data subscribers declined marginally by 71,000 to 32.5 million. However, we recorded an 86.7% increase in data traffic and a 48.5% increase in usage (MB per user) from the existing base. The improvement in data services was supported by the completion of our acquisition and activation of an additional 800MHz spectrum, enabling us to further increase traffic by 10% and enhance throughput by 79%.

Digital revenue grew by 101.0% and fintech revenue by 28.5% as customers continued to adopt more digital products and services, a trend accelerated by the pandemic. As at the end of March 2021, we had 449,100 registered MoMo agents and 4.6 million fintech customers.

Our ability to drive service revenue growth while managing the growth in expenses resulted in an acceleration in EBITDA growth to 19.1% and EBITDA margin expansion of 0.9pp to 53.1% YoY. This enabled profit before tax (PBT) and profit after tax (PAT) growth of 33.9% and 42.5% respectively.”

Operational review

Voice revenue grew by 8.0%, supported by an 8.7% increase in traffic and our customer value management initiatives. The impact on voice revenue of the industry-wide suspension of new SIM registration in mid-December was partly offset by increased usage by active SIMs in our base and migration to a higher quality of experience.

Data revenue maintained the positive momentum from Q4 2020, rising by 42.6% YoY. This was led by increased usage and traffic, supported by 4G penetration and increased network capacity following the acquisition and activation of an additional 800MHz spectrum in March 2021.

In line with our 4G acceleration, the 4G network now covers 61.8% of the population, up from 60.1% in December 2020. We added approximately 1.2 million new smartphones to the network, bringing smartphone

Fintech revenue rose by 28.5%, driven by increased adoption of Xtratime and our core fintech services. We continue to expand our MoMo agent network and broaden our service offerings to include assisted withdrawal irrespective of the bank where the account is domiciled. Our registered MoMo agents increased by 54,000 to 449,146. The volume of transactions processed was over 24 million in the quarter, up more than four times YoY, from an active base of 4.6 million subscribers.

Our digital business continued to gain traction with the uptake of our products and services and the structural turnaround in the business. As a result, digital revenue rose by 101.0%, supported by our rich media and value-added services, while our active user base was largely flat at 2.8 million.

The enterprise business continued its recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 lockdown as economic activity improved. However, service revenue for the enterprise was largely flat YoY, mainly due to the non-recognition of USSD revenue in Q1. Normalised growth (excluding USSD revenue) was 2.6%.

We continue to engage with the NCC, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and deposit money banks (DMBs) to conclude the operational modalities for the new pricing framework that has been agreed upon for USSD services.

The mechanism for and timing of the recovery of the industry-wide outstanding debts that exist for USSD services provided to the DMBs form part of this process. As at the end of Q1, N40.3 billion was due to MTN Nigeria. In the meantime, we continue to account for USSD revenue on a cash basis.

Expenses rose by 14.8%, mainly driven by a 19.2% increase in operating expenses arising from an accelerated site rollout and the effects of Naira depreciation on lease rental costs.

The overall increase in expenses was partly mitigated by the comparatively moderate growth of 7.8% in the cost of sales following the suspension of new SIM sales and activations. As a result, EBITDA rose by 19.1%, supported by revenue growth, with the EBITDA margin expanding by 0.9pp to 53.1%.

Capital expenditure in the quarter was N89.9 billion, up 19.3% mainly due to site rollouts, while free cash flow increased by 18.9% to N114.7 billion. Our core CAPEX excluding the right of use assets was up 27.8% to N31.6 billion.

Depreciation and amortisation rose by 16.8% due to the impacts of Naira depreciation and a 2.5pp increase in value-added tax in February 2020. We recorded a 10.5pp reduction in our overall cost of funding, despite higher borrowings, leading to a 10.6% decline in net finance costs. This was enabled by a 95% reduction in the reference benchmark rate to 0.6%. Overall, we recorded a PBT growth of 33.9%, while PAT rose by 42.5% due to the release of an overprovision in deferred tax in the prior year.

Outlook

Our 2021 priorities remain unchanged, with a clear focus on sustaining double-digit revenue growth, driving 4G network expansion and positioning our fintech business for accelerated growth in order to unlock its full value. The acquisition of an additional 800MHz spectrum positions us to deliver improved service speeds to Nigerians in support of the Government’s broadband initiative.

We will continue to sustain our expense efficiency programme to strengthen our financial position and support margins. We remain in dialogue with the DMBs on a pricing option for airtime sales commission while diversifying our airtime recharge channels to offer our subscribers more options to purchase airtime and stay connected.

We will pursue stronger and deeper stakeholder relationship and enhanced shared value across our stakeholder ecosystem while ensuring that our activities align with the Government’s development agenda. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles remain at the core of everything we do, with a focus on aligning our priorities to drive eco-responsibility, sustainable society, sound governance and economic value for all in Nigeria.

Following the commencement of SIM sales and activations, the initial run-rate of additions may be slower than usual due to new process requirements, system limitations and reduction of qualified locations for SIM registration. While this may impact the rate of additions in the short term, we are optimistic that the current processes underway will entrench a more robust and sustainable registration process as we reaccelerate subscriber growth over the medium term.

As the economy continues its steady recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that impacted the business in 2020, we anticipate that the base effects will partly influence our commercial and financial trends in the remainder of the year. Although the availability of foreign exchange remains a constraint, we strive to minimise its impact on the business. Finally, we will continue to manage and invest in the resilience of our business and networks as we monitor the longer-term economic potential impacts of the pandemic.

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/05/01/mtn-nigeria-lost-5-million-subscribers-in-q1-data-revenue-rises-by-42-6/

Health / WHO Lists Moderna Vaccine For Emergency Use by Ravon: 9:25pm On Apr 30, 2021
Moderna vaccine adds to the growing list of vaccines that have been validated by WHO for emergency use.

Geneva, Switzerland - 30 April 2021 - Today, WHO listed the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (mRNA 1273) for emergency use, making it the fifth vaccine to receive emergency validation from WHO.


WHO’s Emergency Use Listing (EUL) assesses the quality, safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and is a prerequisite for COVAX Facility vaccine supply. It also allows countries to expedite their own regulatory approval to import and administer COVID-19 vaccines.

The vaccine has already been reviewed by WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE), which makes recommendations for vaccines’ use in populations (i.e. recommended age groups, intervals between shots, advice for specific groups such as pregnant and lactating women). The SAGE recommended the vaccine for all age groups 18 and above in its interim recommendations dated 25 January 2021.

The US Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the Moderna vaccine on 18 December 2020 and a marketing authorisation valid throughout the European Union was granted by the European Medicines Agency on 6 January 2021.

The WHO EUL process can be carried out quickly when vaccine developers submit the full data required by WHO in a timely manner. Once those data are submitted, WHO can rapidly assemble its evaluation team and regulators from around the world to assess the information and, when necessary, carry out inspections of manufacturing sites.

The Moderna vaccine is an mNRA-based vaccine. It was found by the SAGE to have an efficacy of 94.1%, based on a median follow-up of two months. Although the vaccine is provided as a frozen suspension at –25 ºC to –15 ºC in a multidose vial, vials can be stored refrigerated at 2–8 °C for up to 30 days prior to the withdrawal of the first dose, meaning that ultra-cold chain equipment may not always be necessary to deploy the vaccine.

WHO emergency use listing

The emergency use listing procedure assesses the suitability of novel health products during public health emergencies. The objective is to make medicines, vaccines and diagnostics available as rapidly as possible to address the emergency, while adhering to stringent criteria of safety, efficacy and quality. The assessment weighs the threat posed by the emergency as well as the benefit that would accrue from the use of the product against any potential risks.

The EUL pathway involves a rigorous assessment of late phase II and phases III clinical trial data as well as substantial additional data on safety, efficacy, quality and a risk management plan. These data are reviewed by independent experts and WHO teams who consider the current body of evidence on the vaccine under consideration, the plans for monitoring its use, and plans for further studies.

As part of the EUL process, the company producing the vaccine must commit to continuing to generate data to enable full licensure and WHO prequalification of the vaccine. The WHO prequalification process will assess additional clinical data generated from vaccine trials and deployment on a rolling basis to ensure the vaccine meets the necessary standards of quality, safety and efficacy for broader availability.

WHO has also listed the Pfizer/BioNTech, Astrazeneca-SK Bio, Serum Institute of India and Janssen vaccines for emergency use.

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/04/30/who-lists-moderna-vaccine-for-emergency-use/

Celebrities / TECNO Signs Renowned Actor Chris Evans As Its Brand Ambassador by Ravon: 10:42am On Apr 30, 2021
The signing of Chris Evans has intensified TECNO’s globalization strategy, allowing them to break into emerging markets around the world to become a leader in those areas

April 30, 2021 - TECNO, a global leading premium smartphone brand, has announced its new brand ambassador, Chris Evans. This signing has intensified TECNO’s determination of globalization allowing them to break into emerging markets around the world to become a leader in those areas.

As the brand continues to grow on the world stage, TECNO now finds itself competing with major mainstream brands, who will undoubtedly take note of this new partnership.

Best known for his role as Captain America in the Marvel Universe series of films, the charismatic Chris Evans embodies TECNO's brand motto ‘young at heart’ and the pursuit of excellence. The partnership with Evans enhances TECNO's continuous global footprint and helps to highlight the brand’supgraded product design, which is increasingly fashionable, energetic, and constantly pioneering.

In the recent 2 years, TECNO obtained certain positive results in globalization and internationalization by strengthening its technology innovation, stylish design detailed with elegant taste, professional photography experience as well as its worldwide partner network.

The industry has witnessed TECNO’s solid achievement in mobile photography by its bagging of the championship after competing with the world's best minds at its first match in the Look In Person (LIP) competition at Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) 2020 in Track 5: Dark Complexion Portrait Segmentation Challenge.

And by industry-leading research institution Counterpoint’s most recent report, TECNO is recognized as one of the few brands that have made breakthroughs in AI-enhanced mobile photography and videography.

TECNO’s excellent photographic performance also let the brand earn distinctions in Guinness World Records 2020 with the largest flipbook shot by its photography pioneer CAMON product line and in IFA(Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin) with "Camera Technology Innovation Smartphone Gold Award 2020".

TECNO’s increasing market share also speaks loudly for its globalization footprint. In 2020, TECNO led the industry through a tough year, where brands took a hit in terms of smartphone sales.

According to global market intelligence company IDC, TECNO sales volume exceeded 25 million units, up 45%, and revenue exceeded 15 billion, up 38% YoY in 2020. TECNO’s India smartphone sales, increased more than 200% YoY, topped 5 million units in 2020, breaking its own sales growth record. There seems to be nothing stopping the upcoming brand from breaking new grounds and achieving new heights.

From the perspective of trend analysis, the future holds great promise for TECNO, as further exhilarating steps are anticipated. TECNO has been committed to strengthen the R & D investment and layout in intelligent applications, intelligent connected devices, and build an intelligent ecosystem integrating hardware and software.

In 2020, the RD investment increased by about 30% year on year. The sky is the limit if TECNO continues its trajectory of gaining greater market share.

Now, together with Evans, TECNO with its four reputable product lines will stand out in the global market as a new shining superstar. TECNO’s wildly popular CAMON series is set to release the CAMON 17 within the next few days, setting the market and consumer ablaze with chatter on upcoming features and innovations.

TECNO CAMON series has been well-known for the excellent photography experience and have been recognized by numbers of international media industry professionals.

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/04/30/tecno-signs-renowned-actor-chris-evans-as-its-brand-ambassador/

Politics / Nigeria Reduced Gas Flaring By 70% Over The Past 15 Years - World Bank by Ravon: 12:00am On Apr 30, 2021
According to a report by the World Bank, Nigeria and the greater Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug (KMAO) region of Russia have both achieved significant progress over the past 15 years, with Nigeria reducing its gas flaring by 70% to just 7 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 2020, and KMAO reducing its gas flaring volumes by nearly 80%, to just over 4 bcm.

This is according to the World Bank's Global Gas Flaring Tracker Report in which seven countries continue to light up the global map, year after year: Russia, Iraq, Iran, the United States, Algeria, Venezuela and Nigeria have been the largest flaring countries for nine years running since the first satellite was launched in 2012.

While these seven countries have together produced some 40 percent of the world’s oil each year, they have also accounted for roughly two-thirds (65 percent) of global gas flaring.

Nigeria, the seventh-largest flaring country in 2020. Although the country has remained in the top seven flaring countries, it has nonetheless steadily reduced its flaring by some 70 percent over the past 15 years.

Flaring has declined from over 25 bcm in 2000 to close to 7 bcm in 2020, while oil production has remained essentially flat at around 2 million barrels a day.

Nigeria: Flare volumes and oil production, 2000 - 2020 (See below)

In February 2021, Timipre Sylva, minister of state for petroleum resources, said:

"Nigeria is committed to achieving the global consensus on the elimination of gas flaring by 2025, adding that “today, we have actually reduced gas flaring significantly to a very minimal level of eight percent”.

Demetrios Papathanasiou, global director for the energy and extractives global practice at the World Bank, said:

“In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, oil-dependent developing countries are feeling the pinch, with constrained revenues and budgets. But with gas flaring still releasing over 400 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions each year, now is the time for action.

“We must forge ahead with plans to dramatically reduce the direct emissions of the oil and gas sector, including from gas flaring”.

Zubin Bamji, program manager of the World Bank’s GGFR partnership trust fund, said:

“Awareness of gas flaring as a critical climate and resource management issue is greater than ever before. Gas flaring reduction projects require significant investment and take several years to produce results.

“In the lead-up to the next UN Climate Change conference in Glasgow, we continue to call upon oil-producing country governments and companies to place gas flaring reduction at the center of their climate action plans.

“To save the world from millions of tons of emissions a year, this 160-year-old industry practice must now come to an end”.

In 2020, oil production declined by 8 percent (from 82 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2019 to 76 million b/d in 2020), while global gas flaring dropped by 5 percent (from 150 bcm in 2019 to 142 bcm in 2020)

The United States accounted for 70 percent of the global decline, with gas flaring falling by 32 percent from 2019 to 2020, due to an 8 percent drop in oil production, combined with new infrastructure to use gas that would otherwise be flared

While the United States saw a 32 percent drop in gas flaring, the country’s main three shale oil-producing regions – the Permian and Eagleford in Texas, and the Bakken in North Dakota – continued to account for over 90 percent of the gas flaring in 2020. However, combined flaring from these three regions declined by over 5 bcm in 2020, partly due to a reduction in oil production and the drilling of new wells, but also as a result of increasing volumes of flare gas being connected to existing and new gas pipeline network.

Russia tops the list of global gas flaring countries in 2020, contributing to 15 percent of global gas flaring. Mixed performance is seen across Russia: with a significant increase in flaring at oil production sites in East Siberia, alongside significant improvements in a flaring reduction in the KMAO region in West Siberia.

Gas flaring in China increased by 35 percent; China was the ninth highest flaring country globally in 2020. Most of this increase was from new field developments in the West of China.

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/04/29/nigeria-reduced-gas-flaring-by-70-over-the-past-15-years-world-bank/

Business / FCMB Customer Dies ‘due To Bank’s Unfriendly Treatment’ (video & Pictures) by Ravon: 12:49pm On Apr 27, 2021
A man said to operate an account with First City Monument Bank (FCMB) in Education bus-stop, Port Harcourt, Rivers State dies after the bank refused to honour a cheque from him by his relative.

Brand Spur Nigeria learnt that the incident occurred on Monday.

An eyewitness blamed the death of the man (middle-aged) on “frustration, and unfriendly treatment” by FCMB’s customer service attendants.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-eXfGWpJUo

According to BBC Pidgin, the eyewitness, named Kelvin Pepple said: “The man who had been long sick has been trying to collect money since Friday last week, but “dem no gree pay am”.

Pepple added that: “The bank told a son of the now-deceased man who followed him to the bank to bring affidavit from the court before they will pay him.

“The man died inside the taxi as the family was exerting means to get the affidavit.”

The Police arrived at the bank to try to put the situation under control, as the crowd continue to gather outside the bank premises.

As of the time of filing this report, the management of FCMB is yet to respond with its own version of the story.

Paternity Scandal: Adam Nuru Remains MD, FCMB

Meanwhile, Brand Spur Nigeria reports that four months after Adam Nuru's unethical conduct with a female staff of the bank, Moyo Thomas, Nuru still remains the Managing Director of First City Monument Bank (FCMB), on the bank’s website.

Nuru Remains MD of FCMB

Nuru was in December 2020 enmeshed in a marriage scandal with Moyo Thomas, one of the bank’s former female staff members. Tunde Thomas, the husband of the woman in contention, had died on December 16 reportedly from depression and cardiac arrest. Thomas reportedly died of depression after he realized that his two children were allegedly fathered by the bank MD.

However, the bank in a statement on January 1, 2021, said it was aware of the allegations making the rounds against Nuru.

FCMB Group Head, Corporate Affairs, Diran Olojo, said the bank's board of directors had already commenced a review into the matter, adding that its findings would be disclosed in due course.

“We are aware of several stories circulating across several media platforms about our bank’s Managing Director, Adam Nuru; a former employee, Moyo Thomas, and her deceased husband, Mr. Tunde Thomas,” the statement said.

“While this is a personal matter, the tragedy of the death of Mr. Tunde Thomas and the allegations of unethical conduct require the bank’s board to conduct a review of what transpired, any violations of our code of ethics, and the adequacy of this code of ethics.

"This is already underway. During the period of the review, the managing director has volunteered to proceed on leave. This will guarantee the sanctity of the review process.”

And indeed, on Wednesday, January 6, FCMB issued a press release stating that Mrs. Yemisi Edun would be acting as the Managing Director of the bank in the interim period while Mr Adam Nuru was on leave.

The bank stated that it was in line with normal corporate practices.

“In line with normal corporate practice, Mrs. Yemisi Edun is Acting as the Managing Director of FCMB in the interim period while Mr Adam Nuru is on leave,” the statement read.

However, some friends of the late Tunde Thomas suspected that the embattled Managing Director might have been quietly returned to office.

A check on FCMB website (https://www.fcmb.com/mr-adam-nuru-managing-director) on Tuesday, April 27 showed that Nuhu was listed as the Managing Director of the bank while Edun was listed as the Executive Director, Finance.

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/04/27/photo-fcmb-customer-dies-due-to-banks-unfriendly-treatment/

Politics / Nokia And Safaricom Launch East Africa’s First Commercial 5G Services In Kenya by Ravon: 8:45am On Mar 28, 2021
- Nokia 5G radio and FastMile 5G gateways provide ultra-fast Fixed Wireless Access services to subscribers
- Safaricom also showcased 5G hologram and UHD video communication using live 5G network


Nokia has announced today that it is powering East Africa’s first 5G commercial services with Safaricom, the leading telecoms operator in the country. Nokia’s 5G Single Radio Access Network (SRAN) technology and 5G FastMile gateways enable ultra-fast Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) services to Safaricom’s subscribers across Kisumu and the Western Province of Kenya.

5G technology will enable new applications in areas such as virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence for Safaricom subscribers. It will also benefit enterprises across important energy, healthcare, education, transport and entertainment applications.

At a launch event in Nairobi, Safaricom showcased the capabilities of the 5G network with three use cases — 5G hologram, Ultra-HD video communication and virtual fashion shopping.

In the hologram showcase, the live 5G network was used to teleport Safaricom’s executives from the Safaricom office in Kisumu to the launch event in Nairobi. And in the second showcase, Ultra-HD video communication was made using the 5G Fixed Wireless Access connectivity powered by WiFi-6 with Nokia Beacon 6. The third showcase of virtual shopping will change the shopping experience allowing users to try on clothes “virtually”.

Nokia has leveraged its AirScale SRAN platform to enable ultra-low latency, huge connectivity and an extreme capacity to support the demands of today and tomorrow. The 5G network utilizes massive Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) radio to improve spectral efficiency and throughput capacity, maximizing the return on Safaricom’s RAN investment.

In addition, Nokia’s FastMile 5G gateway provides fibre-like speeds for fixed wireless services to subscribers. Also, the company’s network planning, deployment and integration services ensured timely rollout of the network.

As part of the network, Nokia 5G Cloud Mobility Manager delivers the scalability, flexibility, high availability and performance needed to support the growth of mobile and enterprise services. Nokia’s NetAct network management system helps Safaricom have a consolidated network view for improved network monitoring and management.

Peter Ndegwa, CEO of Safaricom, said:

“We are proud to be the first operator in East Africa to launch 5G services, bringing the benefits of 5G technology to our customers. 5G capabilities will change a lot of things in unimaginable ways for people and enterprises, playing a key role in fulfilling our vision to transform lives. Our long-term partner Nokia’s technologies and services expertise helped us achieve this milestone in our journey to provide world-class broadband services to our customers.”

Amr K. El Leithy, SVP, Middle East and Africa Market, Nokia, said:

“With over 200 commercial 5G agreements with leading customers across the globe, Nokia has been bringing 5G network to every part of the world. Our 5G network for Safaricom is a key part of this journey and we are committed to working with the operator to transform the communications landscape in the country. This will open new business opportunities for Safaricom.”

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/03/26/nokia-and-safaricom-launch-east-africas-first-commercial-5g-services-in-kenya/

Business / American Fast-Food Franchise, Burger King Set To Open Outlets In Nigeria by Ravon: 7:51am On Mar 28, 2021
International burger franchise, Burger King has announced interest and plans to open outlets in Nigeria.

This was revealed by Antoine Zammarieh, the Franchisee of Burger King in Nigeria. He stated that the hamburger maker in a show of interest in the Nigerian market had signed a development agreement for the Nigerian market.

Antoine Zammarieh said,

“It is with great pleasure that we announce our signing of a development agreement with Burger King for the Nigerian market. I believe this would be a tremendous step towards giving more confidence to the Nigerian market and consumers in general, especially during these hard times. I always believed in Nigeria and in its people. I am confident this venture will go a long way and prove successful for Burger King, Nigeria and our company.”

Founded in 1954, Burger King is the second-largest fast-food hamburger chain in the world. The original Home of the Whopper, our commitment to premium ingredients, signature recipes, and family-friendly dining experiences is what has defined our brand for more than 50 successful years.
https://brandspurng.com/2021/03/27/american-fast-food-franchise-burger-king-to-open-outlets-in-nigeria/

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Sports / BMW Drops UFC Star Israel Adesanya As Brand Ambassador Over Rape Comment by Ravon: 7:13am On Mar 28, 2021
Nigerian-born UFC middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya has been dropped as BMW brand ambassador.

Brand Spur Nigeria learnt that Israel Adesanya who was to be unveiled on Monday, March 29, 2021, as a brand ambassador to German vehicle manufacturer, BMW was shelved following his rape comment aimed at middleweight contender, Kevin Holland earlier this week.

Replying to recent insulting comments made by UFC Vegas 22 headliner, Holland on a since-deleted Instagram story, Adesanya said; “Bro, I will f*cking rape you“.

In a statement released to Herald, BMW said; “Due to the comments made by an athlete (Israel Adesanya) online, we have reviewed our pending association with said athlete and we have decided not to push forward with a specific ambassador for the brand at this time in New Zealand.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for sport in New Zealand, Grant Robertson addressed the recent comment made by Adesanya, detailing how flippant comments about rape should never be made.

“We have to take rape seriously, it’s not an issue that anyone should be making jokes or flippant comments about at all,” Robertson said during an interview with Radio New Zealand. “I’m sure Israel (Adesanya) understands that, I believe he has deleted the tweet (sic) in question. It will be up to the UFC as to what they do.“

In a statement released via his official Twitter account, Adesanya apologised for the comment on Instagram.

“Last weekend fight talk escalated to a point in which I crossed the line,” Adesanya wrote on his official Twitter. “I understand the gravity of this word and how it can affect and hurt other people apart from my opponent, although that was NEVER my intention. I am still to growing (sic) under the spotlight, and I take this as a lesson to be selective with words under pressure.“

As of writing, the UFC has yet to address the comment made by Adesanya, and it’s currently unknown if he will face any disciplinary action.
https://brandspurng.com/2021/03/27/bmw-drops-ufc-star-israel-adesanya-as-brand-ambassador-over-rape-comment/

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Politics / Governor Sanwo-olu Gives Veteran Actress, Iya Awero A 3-bedroom Flat by Ravon: 1:39pm On Mar 24, 2021
The Lagos Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on behalf of the state has given popular Nollywood actress, Mrs Lanre Hassan (Iya Awero) a three-bedroom flat in Igbogbo, Lagos.

According to the governor’s chief press secretary, Gboyega Akosile, the flat is one of the houses in the newly commissioned prince Abiodun Ogunleye Estate in Igbogbo.

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/03/24/governor-sanwo-olu-gives-veteran-actress-iya-awero-a-3-bedroom-flat-video/

Phones / Sony Takes Top Spot In Leading Smartphone Vendors In 2020 – Report by Ravon: 12:49pm On Mar 24, 2021
The global smartphone Image sensor market recorded total revenue of $15 billion in CY 2020, according to the Strategy Analytics Handset Component Technologies service report.

Strategy Analytics’ latest research report “Smartphone Image Sensor Market Share Q4 2020: Sony Takes Top Spot But Sees Drop in Share” finds that the overall smartphone image sensor market experienced revenue growth of 13 percent year-over-year in 2020.

Sony managed to take the first position in the smartphone image sensor market with 46 percent revenue share followed by Samsung System LSI and OmniVision Technologies in CY 2020.

The top-three vendors captured almost 85 percent revenue share in the global smartphone image sensor market in 2020. The major CIS vendors drove the sales of high-resolution image sensors to customers.

Jeffrey Mathews, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics says, “The pandemic did little to dent the image sensor market growth as CIS vendors observed strong demand from smartphone OEMs who aggressively adopted high-resolution sensors and higher sensor count across smartphone tiers in 2020. Samsung, OmniVision and SK Hynix continued to take share from Sony as the vendor lost key business owing to sanctions on Huawei.

‘We expect Sony’s market dominance will be increasingly threatened by the rising competition in the smartphone image sensor market.”

Stephen Entwistle, Vice President of the Strategic Technologies Practice at Strategy Analytics commented, “The demand momentum for smartphone CIS, driven by the expansion of multiple cameras and superior photography capabilities in smartphones, will propel the image sensor market growth. However, the semiconductor shortages could create challenges in meeting the CIS demand.”

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/03/23/sony-takes-top-spot-in-leading-smartphone-vendors-in-2020-report/

Business / Lafarge Africa Records 8.25% And 98.75% Rise In Revenue And Profit In 2020 by Ravon: 10:38am On Mar 24, 2021
...Proposed Dividend of ₦1

Lafarge Africa delivered strong results in FY 2020

Lafarge Africa Plc, a leading Sub-Saharan Africa building materials company is a subsidiary of LafargeHolcim, Listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, released its Annual Report ended 31 December 2020 to the investing public on March 24, 2021.

From the released result, the cement manufacturer saw an 8.25% increase in revenue from ₦212.999Bn in FY’2019 to ₦230.57Bn in FY’2020.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, which triggered inflationary and Naira devaluation pressures and production challenges the company, Profit After Tax (PAT) finally increased by 98.75% from (₦15.52bn to ₦30.79bn) and Profit Before Tax (PBT) also rose by 109.99% (from ₦17.89bn to ₦37.57bn).

A closer analysis by Brand Spur revealed that the company's net sales up 8.3% vs PY1 with recurring EBIT up 30.8% vs PY1. Lafarge Africa recorded a robust free cash flow generation of N47.4bn and a healthy balance sheet with a net cash position of N3.6bn.

Khaled El Dokani, CEO of Lafarge Africa stated:

“Our “HEALTH, COST & CASH” action plan delivered results in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, which triggered inflationary and Naira devaluation pressures and production challenges.

Full-year 2020 results remained resilient, with net sales of +8.3%, recurring EBIT of +30.8% and net income of +98.8%. We are proud of our people, who stand with our communities, and of our sustainability commitments to accelerate the net-zero pledge through affordable clean energy and our agri-ecology footprint”.

The Board of Directors is proposing a gross dividend of 100k (2019: 100K) on every ordinary share in issue amounting to ₦16,107,795,721.00 (2019: ₦16,107,795,721.00). The total dividend proposed if approved by shareholders is payable from the pioneer profits and not subject to deduction of withholding tax.

The dividend is subject to approval by the shareholders at the Annual General meeting. The dividend income for Group and Company is shown in Note 10.4 of the financial statements.

OUTLOOK 2021

- Focus on the implementation of our strategy.
- Execution of the “HEALTH, COST & CASH” action plan.

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/03/24/lafarge-africa-records-8-25-and-98-75-rise-in-revenue-and-profit-in-2020-proposed-dividend-of-%e2%82%a61/

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