…As over 100,000 Athletes from 58 countries participate in 2019 edition
East Africans on Saturday retained their dominance of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon carting away the star prizes in the male and female categories of $50,000 each.
This time around, however, an Ethiopian, Sintatehu Legese won the star prize of $50, 000 in the male category finishing the race in 2 hours, 17 minutes and 28 seconds to beat defending champion, Joshua Kiprotich from Kenya who breast the tape in 2 hours, 18 minutes and 16 seconds to emerge first runner up with a prize money of $40,000.
Kiprotich’s compatriot, William Yegon came third in the time of 2 hours, 19 minutes and four seconds, winning $30,000.
In the female category, it was a clean sweep for Ethiopia as the trio of Meseret Dinke, Alemenesh Herpha Guta and Kebena Chala finished first, second and third to win $50,000, $40,000 and $30,000 respectively.
Gideon Goyet was the first Nigerian to cross the finishing line in 2 hours, 30 minutes to win N3million, beating last year’s champion, Iliya Pam to second place, with a prize money of N2million.
Speaking while presenting prizes to the winners, Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode said it was gratifying that the marathon was getting bigger and better yearly, adding that the competition had come to stay.
He specifically appreciated all Lagosians for cooperating with government to ensure success of the tournament each year since it began four years ago, saying the initiative was basically in line with the determination of his administration to use sports, tourism and entertainment to promote Lagos and grow the State’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“I want to say a big thank you to all Lagosians for tolerating us in the last four years because this is the fourth time we are doing this Lagos Access Marathon and it has been improving year in, year out. This year, we had 58 countries participating and over 100,000 athletes also taking part in this journey.
“The marathon is part of our administration’s initiative to use sports, tourism, entertainment, arts and culture to promote the excellence of Lagos and positively engage the youth. The competition has been getting bigger and better yearly and this year’s edition is exceptional being that it attracted highest participation worldwide and increase in the number of athletes and prizes,” Governor Ambode said.
While expressing optimism that the marathon would be sustained, Governor Ambode urged Lagosians to vote for all the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming general elections from the Presidency to National Assembly and at the State levels.
“I believe strongly that what we have started will be continued by the APC gubernatorial candidate, Jide Sanwo-Olu when he comes in and I believe strongly also that this will take the GDP of Lagos to greater heights.
“Remember next Saturday is presidential election. You know where my heart is and that is four plus four; that is where we are going to be. On March 2nd also, we do the same thing which is to vote all APC candidates in the State. God bless all Lagosians; I love all of you and I remain yours forever,” the Governor said.
Besides, Governor Ambode also used the occasion to donate N2.5million to an upcoming artiste, Johnson David who was called to perform on stage from the crowd by Nigerian hip-hop star, D Banj.
“We just want to say a big thank you to D Banj for the opportunity to bring out this kind of talent impromptu. I was just going to say D Banj should mentor him and in addition to that, my initial contribution is to give him N2.5million.
“This is what the Lagos story is all about –if you can dream it, you can make it happen. So, he must have been dreaming it and today he has gotten the access to the Lagos Access Bank Marathon and today, he is a changed person.
“So, this is what we have always been saying; the future belongs to all these young people and you can see that all of you are almost in the same age bracket and this is what the future of Lagos is and what we want to preach and continue to preach that every person can have that opportunity to make it in life,” he said.
The high point of the event was various performances by a-list artistes including Teni, CDQ, Slim Case, Olamide and D Banj who equally seized the opportunity to commend Governor Ambode for initiating and implementing the platform of the marathon and for his achievements in office in the last three and half years.
Anthony Joshua, world heavyweight boxing champion, has been unveiled as a brand ambassador of telecommunications giant, Globacom.
Joshua, who was born by Nigerian parents, was unveiled when the telco presented its new business direction to media executives in Lagos on Friday.
Speaking at the event, Bisi Koleoso, deputy chief operating officer of the company, said the previous year ended on a high note for Globacom Limited.
He said retaining the second largest operator with a remarkable 45.3 million subscriber base was no meant feat.
“In the year 2019, that is this year, we are counting on your support to take our business to new levels of success in telecommunication as you continually invest in our mission to drive digital revolution in our country, Nigeria,” he said.
“We plan to share with you a new communication direction which is driving the future, wherein we shall share with you our plans to help our subscribers to dream big, rule their world and glow in pride, backed by a superior network that offers high quality voice and data, striving to provide the best value for money especially in terms of voice and data offerings.
“It is a new dawn in communication. You will recall that we have since launched in the year 2003, we have been supporting the music, comedy and movie industries in Nigeria, and other African countries. Many of the musicians, comedians, actors and actresses have at one time or the other been chosen as Glo ambassadors thus projecting the continent a refreshing light through thought provoking and inspiring African movies and music.
“Today, I am pleased to inform you that we have taken this launch higher with the unveiling of Anthony Joshua, a global icon and all the student champion many times over.
Speaking in a video commercial, the heavyweight champion said”Speed, power, tenacity and the fighting spirit that Nigerians are known for, Naija, we too much, Glo I hail ooh.”
He currently holds the WBA, (Super) IBF, WBO and IBO belts.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) could not proceed yesterday with its planned arraignment of former National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Director-General, Ambassador Ayodele Oke and his wife Folasade were absent at the Federal High Court in Lagos as the whereabouts of the couple was unknown.
They were to appear before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, although the case was not formally listed for the day. The court was said have been informed that Oke and wife would not be present as they were not in EFCC’s custody, hence the non-listing of the charge. Prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, was in court to arrange for a new date for arraignment.
It was learnt that the arraignment will now take place on Wednesday, February 6. Unconfirmed reports said they might have left the country.
An EFCC’s spokesman in Lagos, Babatunde Suleiman, confirmed that the case was not listed. He, however, said he was unaware of the whereabouts of Oke and his wife.
Oke and his wife were charged in connection with the $43,449,947, 000 found in Flat 7B, No. 16 Osborne Road, Osborne Towers in Ikoyi, Lagos. Justice Muslim Hassan had on June 6, 2017, granted a final forfeiture order of the funds since no one appeared before the court to claim them.
FORMER Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Peter Obi on Friday stormed Enugu the Enugu state capital amidst jubilation,
Thousands of PDP faithful had as early as 8 am filled the 30,000 capacity Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium, Enugu waiting anxiously for the arrival of their visitor and his entourage for the continuation of the PDP presidential campaign zonal rally
￼Atiku who had gone to the neighboring state, Ebonyi, where he held another campaign rally before returning to Enugu, entered the stadium at about 6.06pm with ovation from the crowd to the waiting hands of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Deputy President of Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, Senator Chuka Utazi, former governor of old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo, Ex-Governor Okwesilieze Nwodo, Chief Dubem Onyia, among others.
Meanwhile, major roads leading to Nnamdi Azikiwe venue of the rally were cordoned off while traffic was diverted to alternative routes in the metropolis.
It was observed that normal business activities in the coal city were paralyzed at midday in the state capital as scores of traders and market women, as well as teachers of public primary and secondary schools, left their stalls and classrooms to welcome their visitors at the stadium.
The Senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District on the platform of the All Progressives Congress has told his constituency to reelect him because he stands a chance of becoming the Senate President.
Uba who spoke at a rally in Oko, Orumba North Local Government area of the state on Saturday said through hard work, the APC had gained acceptability nation-wide
He said, “I’ve a better chance to become the Senate President, having been in the senate for eight years and attained the status of a ranking senator.”
“President Buhari in 2015 was ready to make an Igbo man the Senate president, but he could not find a ranking Igbo senator from the area in the APC, then.
“We urge you to vote for President Buhari, and also for me as the senator of this district. Senate Presidency is a bigger position than even the governor of a state.
“So, if we get the Senate presidency, it will mean having something more than a governor in our district.”
Uba who doubles as the Anambra State Chairman of President Muhamadu Buhari Campaign Council predicted a landslide victory for Buhari and the APC in the February 16 poll in the state.
He said, “In 2015, did you see this kind of crowd converge on any part of the state for APC? It did not happen. The people were aloof and not ready to listen to anyone then who would talk to them about the APC or Buhari, but today the story is different.
“Just look around and see the number of people who have converged here today. This is very significant. It did not just happen, it was through the efforts of some of us who joined the party. The people know us, and when we approach them and tell them that APC is the best place to be, they don’t argue about it.”
Uba who is contesting the Anambra South Senatorial seat for the third time said,” I don’t see what will stop us from winning Anambra State for Buhari and the APC.
He expressed optimism that he would win the district’s election in the February 16 poll.
Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibadan zonal office have arrested 19 suspected internet fraudsters at Ologuneru Area of the metropolitan city of Ibadan and at Akobo area of the Oyo state.
They are, Bamidele Ayodele Samson, Bamidele Philip, Tunji Oladapo Sowale, Bololaji Olalekan and Abdulrauf Abiodun.
Others are: Olaleye Pelumi, Anuokuwapo Olanrewaju, Paul Damilola, Olateye David Tobi, Arewa Adekunle Ibrahim, Oyesanmi Ayomikun Oluwaseun, Olaleye Israel, Adediran Kemisola, Omobolade Alarape and Olowolusi Oluwatomisin.
The four other suspects arrested in the early hours of Friday, February 1, 2019 at their hideout at Akobo, Ibadan are, Babatunde Afeez, Akorede Ahmed Olalekan, Adeleye Damilola and Moshod Richard.
In a sting operation led by the zonal head, Friday Ebelo, Ibadan zonal head, the suspects who are between the ages of 21 and 35 years were taken by surprise when operatives swept on them at one of their notorious havens in the city. Five of them allegedly claimed to be undergraduates while the other 10 claimed to be self-employed in varied vocations.
The Commission got wind of their activities following series of intelligence report, alleging that they engaged in various fraudulent activities ranging from obtaining money by false pretences through sending of scam emails to unsuspecting victims mostly in the United States of America, while others were engaged in romance scam on several dating sites.
At the point of arrest, EFCC operatives recovered four different models and brands of exotic cars, five laptops, 20 telephones (10 iPhones) and one small bag containing items suspected to be fetish objects (juju) from them. Several documents, including international passports, and ATM cards were recovered from them.
The second man in the country was involved in a chopper accident in Kogi state. The helicopter conveying Vice President Yemi Osinbajo crash-landed in Kabba area of the state.
According to information by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity) to the Vice President, the incident occurred on Saturday afternoon.
A tweet by Akande read: “VP Osinbajo’s Chopper crash lands in Kabba, but he and the entire crew safe. He is continuing with his engagements and plans for the day in Kogi State.”
A massive consignment of endangered wildlife animal parts allegedly smuggled from Nigeria has been intercepted in Hong Kong.
The consignment is estimated at $7.90million, Hong Kong customs officials said yesterday.
The officials labeled the seizure a record.
It was bound for Vietnam.
Found in the container were pangolin scales and more than 1,000 ivory tusks.
It is estimated that 500 elephants and up to 13,000 pangolins may have been killed to amass the contraband.
The Vietnam News Agency also reported yesterday that authorities in the port city of Hai Phong had discovered another 1.4 tonnes of pangolin scales in a shipping container from Nigeria.
Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, are critically endangered. They are coveted for their meat — considered a delicacy — and their scales, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat aliments from cancer to arthritis.
“It is clearly impossible that the pangolin species can withstand such high rates of poaching, trafficking and trade. Eight tonnes is outrageous,” said Alex Hofford, campaign manager for conservation group WildAid in Hong Kong.
WildAid estimates 100,000 pangolins are poached from the wild each year, with all eight species of pangolin in Africa, and especially Asia, now under threat.
Ex-Tanzanian president leads Commonwealth observers for presidential poll
The Commonwealth has deployed a 20-member Observer Group, led by former President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, for the February 16 presidential election in Nigeria.
With ever-increasing customer expectations of quick service and near real-time transactional support, United Bank for Africa (UBA) committed resources to Artificial Intelligence (AI) a year ago, birthing Leo, a Banking Chatbot that helps customers carry out key banking transactions anywhere, using mobile devices and personal computers.
Leo can be accessed via Facebook or WhatsApp.
“Our customers are increasingly asking for mobile services that make their lives easier, and Leo is becoming a growing choice for his convenience and personal solutions,” says Austin Abolusoro, who heads Online Banking at UBA.
Leo combines the latest technology in AI; predictive analytics and natural language, to be a virtual financial assistant to customers, who can interact with it any way they choose, including texting or tapping options on their screen. Leo has proven to be an important financial assistant, helping users to search for transactions, view account history and balance, pay bills, as well as track spending trends. Leo is also developing interest in other aspects of users’ lives and currently helps them to check football scores and weather information. Leo will continue to learn and become more involved in the lives of users to better meet their needs and address their queries.
“As we continue to advance our work on AI-driven developments, it is important that we listen to our users today and further enhance Leo to align to client feedback in order to better meet and anticipate needs and even give them increased value as Leo clocks one,” Abolusoro adds.
This milestone reflects the bank’s continued focus on providing industry-leading digital capabilities as part of its high-tech, high-touch client experience.
Everything learnt over the last one year of Leo’s work will help UBA improve on its digital offerings, says Abolusoro, Head of online banking, who assured customers of “nothing short of the very best innovation in the coming months”.
Leo is set to become a financial control centre for its wide range of users, offering them accessible and intelligent ways to manage their money. It will also be recommending ways to save money and automatically switch to the best value products available to the user.
Leo who speaks multiple languages and is extremely user friendly, has become the preferred Banking Chatbot in Nigeria and the only available AI banking chatbot in 15 other countries across Africa, including Cameroon, Zambia, Cote D’Ivoire, Senegal, Congo DRC, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and UBA’s latest subsidiary, Mali.
In 12 short months since he was launched, Leo has won several awards, including the Euromoney Award which aptly validates his dominance in the digital banking space. Euromoney is a globally renowned organisation which appraises more than 20 global product categories, best-in-class awards and the best Banks in over 100 countries around the world, recognising institutions that have demonstrated leadership, innovation, and momentum in the markets in which they operate.