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Anti-Corruption Campaign: Minister Seeks Media’s Support

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The Federal Government
has solicited the support of the media in sensitising the public on the campaign against corruption.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the appeal recently while flagging off the National Sensitisation Campaign against Corruption at a news conference in Abuja.
Mohammed urged the media to replicate the support being given the Federal Government in its ongoing National Security Awareness Campaign to ensure its success.
“ Unless Nigeria kills corruption, the vice is capable of killing Nigeria.
“Thanks to the support we have received from the media, especially on this National Security Sensitisation Campaign, I can now tell you that Nigerians have taken ownership of the war against terrorism.
“They are also giving their undiluted support to our gallant military. I commend the media for heeding our patriotic call to duty at a critical time in the life of our nation.
“We want the media to once again lead the campaign to sensitise Nigerians to take possession of another war – the war against corruption,’’ he said.
The minister stressed the need to change the narrative on corruption, especially what he described as the wrong impression that the war against corruption was being fought only by the Federal Government.
“It is wrong impression that the war against corruption is being fought only by the governing All Progressive Congress (APC) or it is a vendetta against the opposition, and that indeed, it is one-sided.
“Nigerians must be made to know the damage that corruption has done to our nation, our people and our international image.
“ They must know how corruption stifles economic growth, hinders the fight against poverty, leads to decay in infrastructure and reduces educational standards, lowers life expectancy, stunts the fight against maternal and infant mortality.
“ They must also know how it impacts negatively on the general livelihood of the citizens. No one is better placed than you, the media, to lead this charge,’’ he added.
Mohammed said that between 2006 and 2013, only 55 people allegedly stole a total of N1.34 trillion in Nigeria.
The amount, he said, was more than a quarter of the 2015 national budget.
“Out of the stolen funds, 15 former governors allegedly stole N146.84 billion; four former ministers allegedly stole N7 billion; 12 former public servants, both at federal and state levels, allegedly stole over N14 billion.
“Eight people in the banking Industry allegedly stole N524 billion while 11 businessmen allegedly stole N653 billion.
“Using World Bank Rates and Costs, one third of the stolen funds could have provided 635.18 kilometres of road; built 36 ultra modern hospitals, that is one ultra modern hospital per state.
“The funds could have built 183 schools; educated 3,974 children from primary to tertiary level at 25.24 million per child; and built 20,062 units of 2-bedroom houses.
“Instead of a national outrage, all we hear are these nonsensical statements that the government is fighting only the opposition, or that the government is engaging in vendetta,” he said.
Commenting on the $2.1 billion dollar arms deal, the minister alleged that funds meant to fight terrorism were deployed to keep the then ruling PDP in power.
“So far, based on what we know, no one who has been accused of partaking in the sharing of the funds has denied receiving money.

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Twitter Ban Creates Room For Local Platform Creation – Don

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Director, Center for  Atmospheric Research, National Space Research and Development Agency  (CAR-NASRDA), Prof. Babatunde Rabiu, says the ban on Twitter by the Federal Government, presented an opportunity to develop an indigenous replica of the platform.
Rabiu, therefore, called on Information Communication Technology (ICT) experts and app developers to rise to the occasion and create a indigenous replica of the platform, in an interview he granted to the newsmen in Abuja, recently.
Reacting to the ban, Rabiu said although the ban had generated lots of reactions across board, there were benefits in the development.
“This is a great opportunity to make good and cool legitimate business with a social media platform such as this.
“I feel that the ICT sector in Nigeria is ripe enough to produce and offer an equivalent of Twitter services to Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
“If some app developers can come up with something very meaningful within the coming days, it will be a development for the sector and even if Twitter comes back, it will be like a competition.
“Africa is waiting for Nigeria, with one quarter of Africa’s population, and this is where the market is,” Rabiu said.
According to him, we are technologically capable of coping with the situation and to take advantage of it.
He called on Nigerians both at home and in the Diaspora to rise up to the challenge, adding that nationhood was bigger than any individual.
“We should use this opportunity to develop our country socio-economically. When we have our own produced indigenously, the tax will go to the Nigerian government, we will employ people, there may be offices in the geo-political zones or few locations of the country.
“When we develop ours, we will have Nigeria exporting this technology-driven service to other African countries and the global community as a whole.”
It would be recalled that the Federal Government suspended Twitter indefinitely on Friday, June 5, two days after the company removed a Tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari, for alleged violation of the site’s rules.
A statement by the Federal Government accused Twitter of allowing the use of its platform for activities capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
In the statement, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, also directed the immediate commencement of the licensing of all Over The Top (OTT) social media operations in the country.

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Embassy Seeks Partnership With NOTAP

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The Embassy of Sweden in Nigeria  has sought  partnership with  National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) in the areas of capacity building and workshops to advance technology in the country.
The Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Carl Grans, stated yesterday in Abuja  during a visit to NOTAP headquarters.
Grans said the Swedish community was largely represented in Nigeria and engaged in different businesses and there was need to engage in meaningful partnership.
“ There are about 35 Swedish companies in Nigeria with headquarters in Lagos and some in Abuja.
“ The biggest is Ericsson with about 230 staff and the Swedish embassy is seeking mutually beneficial partnerships to both countries,” he said.
According to him, the visit was to seek areas of interest in NOTAP where the embassy can be involved.
He disclosed that acquiring patents was very crucial to Swedish companies and urged NOTAP to continue to deliver on its mandate.
He thanked  NOTAP for its continued support and provision of an enabling environment for development of technology in the country.
The Director General (DG) of NOTAP, Dr DanAzumi  Ibrahim, while welcoming the ambassador informed him that NOTAP was established to regulate  inflow of foreign technology and register technology transfer agreements.
“ Registering technology transfer agreements between Nigerian entrepreneurs and their foreign technical partners is one of our major functions.
“ At the same time, we promote the development of indigenous technologies for a rapid technological growth of the country and to also reduce dependence on foreign technology, “ he said.
He noted that the office considered the registration of Technology Transfer Agreement under three major perspectives: legal, economic and technical.
Ibrahim said a major focus of NOTAP was  linking of research to industry needs through what he called,  the NOTAP-Industry Technology Transfer Fellowship.
“ The NOTAP-Industry Technology Transfer Fellowship trains  high level manpower on industry-relevant research projects.
“The companies involved also agree with NOTAP to support research in different sciences and technology.
“ For example PZ Cussons funded the upgrade of the chemical laboratory in some research centers in Nigeria institutions,” he said.
He insisted that unless the academia and the industry come together, the research and development efforts of the country would not lead to economic development.
The NOTAP boss said if universities come up with technologies just for academic purposes and those technologies were not taken up by the industries, it would  have no economic value.
He promised that NOTAP would continue to carry out its mandate and create a thriving environment for all businesses in the country.

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Telecoms Operators Receive Orders To Suspend Twitter

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The Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), an industry group, says it has received directives from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the industry regulator, to suspend access to Twitter.
The President of ALTON, Mr Gbenga Adebayo made this known in a statement made available to newsmen at the weekend.
The action may not be unconnected with Friday’s indefinite suspension of Twitter’s operations, two days after the social media giant deleted a tweet from President Buhari’s account.
Adebayo noted that the association wished to confirm that its  members had received formal instructions from  NCC, the industry regulator, to suspend access to Twitter.
“ALTON has also conducted a robust assessment of the request in accordance with internationally accepted principles.
“Based on national interest provisions in the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003, and within the licence terms under which the industry operates;  our members have acted in compliance with the directives of NCC.
“We will continue to engage all  relevant authorities and stakeholders and will act as may be further directed by the NCC,” he said.
He said the association remained committed to supporting the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and upholding  the rights of citizens.
As an industry, ALTON endorsed the position of the United Nations that the rights held by people offline must also be protected online, he added.
He noted that this included respecting and protecting the rights of all people to communicate, to share information freely and responsibly, and to enjoy privacy and security regarding their data and their use of digital communications.

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