Passport Racketeering: Applicants Distance PH Office
Sequel to the involvement of about 80 personnel of the Passport Unit of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) nation wide, as announced by its Public Relations Officer, Mr Tony Akuneme, passport applicants in Port Harcourt have expressed optimism that no officer from Port Harcourt unit would be involved.
The applicants, who spoke in exclusive chats with The Tide in Port Harcourt, yesterday, said they have no complain as far as the services they received were concerned.
One of the passport applicants who gave her name as Rossy, said the passport unit under the watch of the new Controller, DCI Audi Musa Maisudan, was upto something great.
She exonerated the unit from any form of sharp practices, saying that the modus operandi of the unit was in line with best international practices.
Another Applicant, Mr Joe Aso, noted that illegal fee issuance for renewal of passport was not part of the deal in Port Harcourt office of the NIS.
According to Aso, the officers in that unit are careful to observe and carry out their duties in that they are under round the clock watch by the controller.
On the three-key agenda of the Controller General of NIS, Mr Isah Jere: “Passport Issuance Reform; Righting Border Security; and Improving Welfare of Officers”, the applicants said more should be done about Passport Issuance Reform.
This, they argued, will put the outfit on better ground in the eyes of the public.
To the applicants, passport issuance is the selling point of the organisation and should not be toyed with.
The overall business of the NIS, they noted, was to market the image of the country, hence they should not cut corners in passport related issues.
On welfare, they suggested an inward profiling of officers who are diligent in their duties and reward them accordingly.
General welfare, as some argued, will not put the officers on their toes, but will compel them to live up to expectations, upon noticing improvement in some of the officers.
“Leave Mr. Maisudan alone. He is a diligent officer. If he is rewarded as an individual, no one will query it. There is one Aliyu, too, and others here in Port Harcourt Passport Unit, they are all doing well”, they said.
By: King Onunwor
Centre Introduces Mark Hack 2.0 For Marketing, Media Professionals
Eko Innovation Centre has said that it has launched MarkHack 2.0, a platform for marketing, media professionals and students in order to explore new and innovative ways to disrupt the creative industry.
The founder of Eko Innovation Centre, Mr. Victor Afolabi said this during the launch of the second edition of Mark Hackathon in Lagos last weekend.
Afolabi noted that the initiative was aimed at fostering collaboration, creativity and critical thinking among participants and also provide a platform for them to showcase their ideas to potential investors.
According to him, participants would be split into teams of five and required to work together for a period of three weeks, brainstorming and ideating new concepts based on their focus areas.
The founder, said each team would also pitch their ideas to a selection of jury and the best 10 teams with the most viable concepts would go head-to-head at the finale to win a prize pool of 10,000 dollars.
The CEO , hinted that they would also get the chance to join an acceleration programme to get their products ready for the market.
Speaking on the creative industry, he said it was the country’s second largest employer and has the potential to produce seven million jobs by 2025, with a major contribution from entertainment and media.
“The entertainment and media growth will be seen in the development of the metaverse and the use of non-fungible token.The metaverse could contribute around 40 billion dollars to the economies of sub-saharan markets like Nigeria”, he said.
The Managing Director, Redwood Consulting, Mrs Hannah Oyebanjo, said the creative industry held the potential to create jobs for young people
Oyebanjo based her point on a research, which according to her, showed that the creative sector currently has employed about 4.2 million people across five industries including media, entertainment and others.
Oyebanjo, however, informed that the Nigerian creative industry had its challenges which included lack of appreciation for intellectual properties, access to reliable data, weak marketing knowledge and access to funding, among others.
Also, the Managing Director of Entod Marketing, Iquo Ukoh, commended the innovation centre for organising hackathons such as the MarkHack to give several talents opportunities to bring their ideas to reality.
Ukoh, however, said that soon, solutions would come out of the hackathon that would disrupt markets in Nigeria.
Telecom Operators Move To Disconnect Banks Over N120bn USSD Debt
Telecommunications Operators in Nigeria have notified, that they have been granted approval by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to disconnect banks over N120 billion Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) debt.
This was made known in a statement signed by the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr Gbenga Adebayo in Lagos and obtained by The Tide Source in in Port Harcourt recently.
Adebayo in the statement, said Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) would disconnect banks if they failed to pay the debt owed.
He said the approval was granted because in spite of the multi-party stakeholder efforts to resolve the situation and prevent any impact on services, banks continued to incur greater debt, without making the commensurate payments.
According to him, members of the public would recall that MNOs and banks had protracted disagreements concerning the appropriate USSD pricing model for financial transactions, transparency of charges, mode of collection and liability for payment of the outstanding and continuous service fees due to the MNOs.
“Due to the inability of MNOs and banks to reach an agreement on the issues, MNOs in 2021 sought to disconnect banks due to the unpaid debts which stood at N42 billion as at that time”, he said.
Adebayo noted that It was pertinent to note that the contract between MNOs and banks on the use of USSDs for banking transactions was strictly commercial and MNOs were at liberty to withdraw the services if the transaction was unprofitable to them.
He also explained that MNOs have invested billions of naira in expanding their systems to accommodate the USSD needs of banks over the years.
Adebayo said this had resulted in more Nigerians having access to banking services in addition to enabling banks to trim down costs by requiring less branches to service their growing customers.
He said that unfortunately, MNOs were not getting paid for their services and the debt that stood at N42 billion in 2021 had now risen to over N120 billion.
Rivers ICT Department Bounces Back
The Rivers State Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Department said it has resumed operations in order to maintain its lead in ICT training and teaching in the state.
The Head of the ICT Department, Mrs Aleruchi Akani, disclosed this when she spoke at the Student Project Presentation at the ICT Centre at Aba/Port Harcourt Express Way in Port Harcourt last Friday.
Akani, who spoke through the Head of Operations, Mr. Austin Dimpka, said part of its challenges was funding, but have made necessary adjustments and moved on.
Apart from funding, its target was human capacity building which the centre has been excuting judiciously.
She said the programme was the second phase since it resumed full operations.
By: King Onunwor