AFRICA’S foremost businessman and Aliko Dangote Foundation Chairman Alhaji Aliko Dangote donated at the weekend a 2,160-bed space hostel complex to the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Kaduna State.
The hostel, comprising 10 blocks of 360 rooms, built at N1.2 billion, is coming after similar gestures to Bayero University, Kano and University of Ibadan, Ibadan, where the business mogul donated multi-billion naira business school complexes, respectively as part of his contribution to the education development in the country.
The inauguration of the hall of residence coincided with ABU’s 41st convocation during which the varsity conferred on Dangote and the renowned Labour leader Hassan Sumonu, honourary Doctorate degrees.
Also 15,787 graduating students were also awarded various degrees.
The President of Dangote Group explained that he was moved to build the structure having realised that the students’ population at the universities have recorded significant increase without a corresponding growth in terms of infrastructure.
He lamented that the situation has remained a subsisting and growing major challenge as public varsities grapple with under-funding.
Dangote said: “Thus, I will like to use this opportunity to enjoin the Federal Government to consider allocating special funds to the universities to enable them to improve on research and upgrade their infrastructure. Such special intervention has become imperative given the perennial funding challenges facing our universities.”
Dangote said the Federal Government alone could not shoulder the entire burden of funding tertiary education due to competing needs of other sectors that also demand priority attention. This is where Public Private Partnership (PPP) can and should come in to fill the gap.
He then enjoined the private sector to adopt a new approach towards supporting the federal government in tackling the funding deficit in the higher institutions of learning.
Dangote said: “I strongly believe the private sector must go beyond just the payment of the two per cent Education levy and be ready to join hands with the federal and governments in funding tertiary education. This will ensure that our institutions of higher learning are positioned to produce graduates who can transform this nation.
“If there are two things that I am passionate about, they are education and entrepreneurship. I believe they go hand in hand. Some years ago, as Chairman of the National Committee on Job Creation, my committee strived to fashion out strategies for integrating entrepreneurship into our national educational curriculum, in line with what obtains in the Western world.”
Expressing his gratitude on the award conferred on him, Dangote described ABU as “an institution famed for its incredibly thorough academic tradition, the quality of faculty, and the enriching experiences of life within its walls.
“Today, the university has lived to its billing as a melting pot for ideologies by honouring a renowned socialist and champion of employees’ rights, Alhaji Hassan Sunmonu and Myself, for being a leading capitalist and investor in employment generating enterprises.
”It is also with a deep sense of fulfilment that today’s occasion is also being used for the commissioning of 10 blocks of student hostels which consists of 360 fully equipped rooms with capacity for housing 2160 students, built at a cost of N1.2 billion donated by the Aliko Dangote Foundation to Ahmadu Bello University, (ABU) Zaria.
“Our intervention is designed to lessen the plight of students who suffer acute accommodation challenges within the campus. We have brought similar intervention to University of Ibadan (UI) and Bayero University Kano (BUK) amongst other institutions.”
Kaduna State Governor Nasiru El-Rufai, who opened the hostel, recommended Dangote’s philanthropic spirit to others for emulation.
The governor, who is ABU’s alumnus, said both the government and the private sector can partner to lift the education sector in Nigeria pointing out that if not for the efforts of the university management, the institution was already dying.
Vice Chancellor Prof Ibrahim Garba said the university is the largest in West Africa and described the Aliko Dangote hostel project as a “big relief,” saying lack of adequate accommodation is one of the nightmares of the university.
Describing Dangote’s gesture as immeasurable, the vice chancellor said that of the 50,000 students of the university, the institution could hardly accommodate 10,000 and that the new hostel was the first addition after 40 years to the hostels built by the university.
Praising the Aliko Dangote Foundation, the Director Physical Planning and Municipal Services of the University, Muhammad Aminu Sambo, an engineer, said: “This is a big relief because the university has limited accommodation in relation to the numbers of students admitted every year. This is one of our nightmares.” (The Nation)
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed a criminal charge against Bauchi State governor-elect, Senator Bala Mohammed, at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He is charged with accepting gratification in form of a house valued at N550 million on 2599 & 2600 Cadastral Zone, AO4 Asokoro District, Abuja, from Aso Savings & Loans Plc in 2014.
EFCC’s prosecuting counsel Mr Wahab Shittu said the alleged gratification was accepted as reward by Mohammed “for performing your official duties”.
The offence, EFCC said, contravened Section 18 (b) of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000. It is punishable under Section 18 (d).
Among the six-count charge is an allegation that the governor-elect made a false statement to an EFCC investigating officer, Ishaya Dauda, that he acquired the Cadastral Zone property through a mortgage facility from Aso Savings & Loans.
Mohammed was also accused of failing to make full disclosure of his property at 54, Mike Akhigbe Street, Jabi, Abuja, in the course of filing his asset declaration form at the EFCC.
The commission said the offence is contrary to Section 27 (3) (a) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act 2004 and punishable under Section 27 (3) (c).
The prosecution also accused Mohammed of failing to declare a property on Agwan Sarki Kaduna in Kaduna State.
EFCC said the governor-elect made a false declaration that a property on CITEC Kwara House 5, AP Street, Mbora, Abuja belongs to him.
The commission said the property actually belongs to Abubakar Abdu Mohammed.
EFCC said Mohammed, in 2014, “did use your office and position to confer corrupt and undue advantage upon your associates by allocating four numbers of fully detached duplexes and eleven numbers semi-detached duplexes valued at N314million only through the Presidential Tax Force on Sale of Government Houses to them…”
The offence contravenes Section 19 of the ICPC Act 2000.
A source said Mohammed would be arraigned today in Court 26, FCT High Court, Maitama.
The charge is numbered CR/177/17.
Mohammed of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defeated incumbent Governor Mohammed Abubakar of the All Progressives (APC) in the last elections.
Stakeholders in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi State have sent a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari against fielding Governor Yahaya Bello for second term in office.
They said Bello has received about N344billion in the last 38 months he has been in charge of the state.
They said the governor has been owing salaries, pensions and gratuities without any visible capital projects on ground anywhere in the state.
They described Bello as non- performing and violent governor in the past three and a half years.
The stakeholders accused the governor of wasteful and fraudulent use of funds.
They made their position known in the petition signed by the Convener of the Kogi APC Stakeholders Forum, Sen. (Dr.) Alex Kadiri.
The petition reads in part: “Governor Yahaya Bello was never elected by the good people of Kogi State.
“The death of Abubakar Audu made it possible for Bello to be Kogi State Governor.
“He has shown everyone that he lacks leadership abilities. He can’t fight for the rights and privileges of Kogi people.
“We request you to step down your support for the candidature of Governor Yahaya Bello for the forthcoming election in Kogi State.
“If the party fields him as a candidate, we are sure of losing the state to the opposition.”
The stakeholders gave insights into how the governor allegedly mismanaged statutory allocations meant for the state.
They said: “For the past 38 months including February 2019 Gov. Yahaya Bello has not paid full salaries to the workers of Kogi State, despite the fact that the state received full allocation from Federation Account as detailed below: Statutory allocation, Excess Crude and VAT(N132b); Internally Generated Revenue by the state(N51b); total allocations to local governments(N111b).
“Total funds received by the state and local governments: N294 billion. The other funds received by the state are as below: Bail Out (N20b); Paris Club refunds 1, 2, and 3 (N19b); and refunds for road construction by previous governments (N11b).
“The governor had conducted multiple staff screening for both the state and the local governments. And from the Report of the screening, the Monthly wage bill (state, local governments and pensions) at the inception of the administration stood at N5.8 billion. After screening, this figure reduced to N4.4 Billion.
“From table above it is evidently clear that the total revenue received by the state Government was more than enough to settle all salaries, pensions and gratuities with huge balance remaining for overheads and capital projects.
“It is very instructive to note that even without bailout and other funds received outside statutory allocation, Gov. Yahaya Bello could have still paid all salaries including pensions without conducting multiple screening and inflicting pains on Kogi State and Local Government workers. This must hurt APC at the polls.
“Even after the screening, all salaries and pensions payments were paid using arbitrary percentages, thereby still owing workers huge outstanding salaries.”
The stakeholders said they had tried to seek presidential and party interventions to call Bello to order without success.
They added: “We respectfully write to bring to your esteemed attention, the following facts and issues associated with our party and the governor of Kogi State.
“We had earlier, during the life of your administration petitioned against our governor, Yahaya Bello, on several occasions.
“The party, as a result, set up the Tony Momoh Committee to work on the issues in our petitions in Kogi State APC.
“The result of this committee’s work is kept secret in the cooler without the party or the government addressing any of the issues to date.
“Another committee was setup under the Chairmanship of General Garba. We appeared before the committee, and made far reaching recommendations, till this day, that report is still also kept secret and under lock and key and no action taken by the party.
“Late last year, we were invited to another meeting with His Excellency, the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. We are, again, waiting for the outcome of that meeting.
“The Vice President prevailed on us to participate fully in the elections slated for early this year with the promise that our grievances were to be looked into, and addressed.
“In obedience and respect for the Vice President, we participated fully in the just-concluded elections and ensured the party was victorious in all the elections.
“However, we are today, back to where we were prior to the elections without any response or actions on our discussions with the Vice President.
“From the foregoing we will like to restate the issues that Governor Yahaya Bello has traumatized, inflicted poverty and fear on our people.
“People who dare to raise their voice to complain or protest this mistreatment have been summarily killed or intimidated to the extent that a reign of terror is foisted on the people of the state.
“We feel strongly that the traumatised people of Kogi State and most especially the APC family have had enough of Yahaya Bello.
‘We feel very strongly that attempting to foist this non- performing and violent Governor as candidate by the party and or the powers that be, will be a great national disservice and will lead to the loss of the state to the opposition in the forthcoming governorship election.
“The APC, of which you are the Leader, must have the courage to say no to Yahaya Bello’s desire to remain Governor of Kogi State for history will judge all of us for all our actions and inactions where and when we had the authority and opportunity to effect a positive change in the affairs of men.”
But Director General Media and Strategy to Bello, Kingsley Fanwo, described allegation of financial recklessness against the governor as untrue.
He said it is “the height of mischief to push out the income of the state without juxtaposition of expenditure to set the idea for public perception.
“The Governor has only been in office for 39 months but has paid salaries for 38 months; including four months before his inception.
“Salaries take the chunk of our revenue as a state. However, we have been able to invest heavily on the other sectors of the economy.”
Reeling out what he described as critical investments of the government in certain sectors, Fanwo said: “To check insecurity in the state, we bought over 200 brand new vans, over 500 motorcycles and gadgets running into hundreds of millions.
“We gave teeth to the Vigilante Service in the State through a well- coordinated training and mobilisation to complement the efforts of the conventional security agencies. Today, the security narrative we met has changed.
“The multi-million Integrated Rice Mill at Ejiba is 92% completed and will be one of the biggest legacies of our Administration.
“The administration has also made Lokoja and the other towns and cities in the state saner, cleaner and more habitable. We have completed the Ankpa Township Roads and many others are ongoing with quality jobs.
“The revolution to make water available to Kogites have paid off as the administration has delivered a lot of high-worth water facilities across the state.
“With all the development projects we are doing, it must also be mentioned that we are repaying loans taken and wasted by the previous administrations in the State.
“Sanitizing and digitalization of our Civil Service didn’t come cheap. But the administration is proud of what has been achieved in that sector.
“We have also electrified about 40 communities across the state. We have improved infrastructure in our schools, hospitals and PHC Centres.
“The GYB Administration put in place, bumps to check financial misdemeanors and will be remembered after 2024 as the most disciplined administration in the history of the State.”
The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) has reacted to media reports on a purported ‘secret’ appointment of Aisha Abba Kyari, daughter of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff as an assistant vice-president in the agency.
A civil rights organization, Coalition Against Corruption and Bad Governance (CACOBAG) had alleged that Abba Kyari’s appointment violated set procedure at the NSIA, and that her position was not advertised just as she did not meet the criteria for the role.
However, a statement by Titilope Olubiyi, Head, Corporate Communications at NSIA on Sunday, debunked the allegations, stressing that they were based on false information and mischief.
In his words: “The clear mischief in the reports can be seen in the very false and unsubstantiated statements it contains: The report claims that AVP is the ‘highest level in the organisation’. This is not only false, but mischievous given AVP is the 9th level out of NSIA’s 22-level grading system.
“The report also claimed that she was given a car six months ahead, when the position does not entitle the staff to a car in the first place. In fact, she will require two promotion cycles to qualify for a car entitlement.
“The report also claims that the candidate’s package was N32m, which is false!
Olubiyi also faulted quotes attributed to NSIA directors in some media reports saying they “are also entirely false.
“There was no time when any of the directors of NSIA made such statements and neither was there any document to validate the purported accounts as published.
“There is no correlation between the recruitment process of the candidate, and the approval process of an ED or Board member. These are mutually exclusive and independent events.”
On the allegation that the board members of NSIA refused to interview Aisha Abba Kyari, the agency also described it as false.
“In actual fact, a member in the appropriate sub-committee of the board participated in the process.
“Ms Abba-kyari’s recruitment was based on her application for one of the positions duly advertised by NSIA in mid-2018 while her selection for the post was based on her academic qualifications, international and local work experiences.” Olubiyi concluded.
Further investigations by this newspaper revealed that contrary to insinuations that her appointment could have been influenced by her father, Aisha Abba Kyari went through what sources at NSIA described as “stringent recruitment” which started in 2018.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says Nigeria’s population has hit a new high of 201 million!
In its 2019 state of the world population report seen by TheCable, UNFPA said Nigeria’s growth rate has been at an average of 2.6 percent from 2010 to 2019.
The fertility rate among Nigerian women has dropped from 6.4 in 1969 to 5.3 in 2019; this means an average Nigerian woman gives birth to at least five children.
Global fertility rate, or the average number of births per woman stood at 4.8 in 1969; 2.9 in 1994; and 2.5 in 2019.
The report says contraceptive prevalence rate among Nigerian women aged 15-49 is only 19 percent, adding that decision making on sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights among these women has averaged at 51 percent between 2007 to 2018.
This means 49 percent of Nigerian women still do not have the power to decide on their sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.
The UN agency estimated that Nigeria’s population has grown from 54.7 million in 1969 to 105.4 million in 1994 and 201.0 million in 2019.
Of this 201 million, 44 percent or 88.44 million are between the ages of 0 and 14, while 32 percent, 64.32 are within the ages of 10 and 24.
The reports revealed that “reproductive rights are still out of reach for too many women, including the more than 200 million women who want to prevent a pregnancy but cannot access modern contraceptive information and services”.
“Ultimately, almost all of the 4.3 billion people of reproductive age around the world today will have had inadequate access to sexual and reproductive health services at some point
In 1969 world population reached 3.6 billion, up about 1 billion from only 17 years earlier, leading to the establishment of UNFPA.
The UN agency has succeeded in reducing fertility rates worldwide by about 50 percent.
In the least developed countries, fertility was about six births per woman in 1969. (The Cable)
MultiChoice Nigeria is set to launch a dedicated Ramadan pop-up channel to cater for the spiritual needs of Muslim subscribers on DStv and GOtv throughout the Holy Month of Ramadan.
The dedicated Ramadan pop-channel will open on Thursday, 2 May and run till Tuesday, 4 June, the last day of the Holy Month.
The Ramadan pop-up channel, which will be available to active subscribers on all DStv packages including DStv Now, as well as GOtv Plus and GOtv Max customers, will broadcast local Ramadan-related content.
The special pop-up channel will provide subscribers with access to Ramadan-focused lifestyle, movies, talk shows, music and kiddies’ programming. Similarly available on the Ramadan channel are the daily call to prayers, docuseries, cooking shows and programmes on the conduct and obligations of Muslims during Ramadan.
Chief Executive Officer, MultiChoice Nigeria, Mr. John Ugbe, explained that the special pop-up channel will provide wholesome programmes and shows to strengthen the belief of the Muslim faithful as well as entertain them throughout the Ramadan period.
“We are delighted to launch the Ramadan Pop up Channel, which is a platform carefully created to provide faith-nourishing television content for every member of the Muslim family, including the young ones. The month of Ramadan is an important one for Muslims worldwide, as it provides an opportunity for physical as well as spiritual purification through fasting, increase in worship and recitation of the Holy Quran. The Ramadan Pop up channel provides a platform for our subscribers to have access to programmes that increase their faith and trust in Allah,” he said.
The Board of Directors of VFD Group Plc is delighted to announce the appointment of Mobolaji Adewumi as an Executive Director, Finance of VFD Group Plc. The appointment is subject to the approval of shareholders at the next Annual General Meeting (AGM).
Mobolaji holds a B.Sc. in Management and Accounting from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife and an MBA specializing in Finance from the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.
He is a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) with over ten years post-qualification experience.
Prior to joining VFD Group Plc, he worked with the Managing Director of First Bank of Nigeria Limited. Prior to that, he was the Special Adviser to the Managing Director of ASO Savings and Loans Plc while doubling as Head of Strategy. Bolaji has deep financial services experience and expertise, having worked with regional and global leaders in the financial services sector, such as the United Bank for Africa and KPMG Nigeria.
As Executive Director of VFD Group, Bolaji will be leading Strategic initiatives which includes our regional banking project, the proposed listing of VFD Group on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the floating of the proposed VFD Group Bond, etc and generally strengthening our board for enhanced Governance.
This appointment further underlines the ambition of VFD Group Plc to become the foremost financial solutions brand in Africa. We are delighted to welcome Mobolaji to the Board and we are optimistic that his extensive knowledge and experience in the financial services sector will be of considerable value and enhance stakeholders’ interest.
GOtv subscribers in Enugu and Aba have received a boost in their TV viewing experience as the digital terrestrial television service provider recently added nine new local channels to its Max and Plus packages on Sunday, April 21 and Friday, April 26 respectively.
The channels added are: Spice TV, MiTV, WAP TV, ITV Benin, BISCON, Liberty TV, Tiwan Tiwan, R2TV and Rave; a selection of top local Nigerian channels showcasing the best in home grown entertainment.
“This brings to six, the number of cities that have in one month seen an increase in our local content offering. We are witnessing a growth in the number of local channels in Nigeria that showcase different genre of TV programming and we are ensuring that our GOtv customers are not left out of that experience”, said John Ugbe, Chief Executive Officer, MultiChoice Nigeria.
He also said that the month-long roll-out further reiterates GOtv’s commitment to give more Nigerians access to quality local and international programming at an affordable price whilst supporting the Federal Government’s efforts in the digital switch over process.
“We continue to invest in up-to-date technology which ensures that our business is at par with global standards while ensuring that our customers keep getting the best services available”, Ugbe said.
Sequel to the roll-out in Enugu and Aba, GOtv Max and Plus subscribers in Jos, Kaduna, Asaba and Onitsha also witnessed an increase in their local channels.
For more information about this and other regularly scheduled programming, visit www.gotvafrica.com and follow GOtv Nigeria on Facebook and @gotvng on Twitter and Instagram.