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FG Collaborating With Investors To Improve Nigeria ’ s Digital Sector – Osinbajo

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images 9 3 FG Collaborating With Investors To Improve Nigeria ’ s Digital Sector - Osinbajo

*OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT*
PRESS RELEASE
*FG COLLABORATING WITH INVESTORS TO IMPROVE NIGERIA’S DIGITAL SECTOR, SAYS OSINBAJO*
*VP engages Facebook VP and former UK Deputy PM, Nick Clegg, in fireside chat
*Tech giant announces new office in Lagos, outcome of 2018 VP-led FG delegation’s visit to Silicon Valley
Just as global Social Media and technology giant, Facebook was informing the Federal Government about its decision to open a Nigerian office in Lagos, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN has restated the determination of the Buhari administration to keep boosting the nation’s technology sector and digital economy.
Prof. Osinbajo stated this on Friday during a fireside chat with Facebook’s Vice President on Global Affairs and Communications, former UK Deputy Prime Minister, Sir Nick Clegg. The chat focused on the digital economic pillar of the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan, NESP.
Clegg and other Facebook officials, including Ebele Okobi, Facebook’s Head of Public Policy, Africa, had informed the Vice President about the decision to open its second African office in Lagos possibly by the end of this year or next year.
It would be recalled that a delegation of the Federal Government led by the VP and including the Communications & Digital Economy Minister, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, had visited Silicon Valley in 2018 and one of the issues on the table then was how such global tech giants like Facebook could have full representation in the country, including a Nigerian office.
According to the Vice President during the fireside chat on Friday, the focus of the Nigerian government on the digital sector is crucial in various socio-economic aspect of national life, from education, e-commerce, social investments programmes to the activities of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government.
He said, “The NESP is our response to the economic crisis caused by the (COVID-19) pandemic. Our focus on the digital sector is really because practically everything we are doing centres around expanding our reach in the digital sector.
“For example, financial inclusion is critical for us because we are spreading and extending our social services, payment of cash transfers to the poorest and most vulnerable and other manners of such payment; and sometimes to the farthest flung places in Nigeria. So, we certainly need to expand our reach in order to do so. Of course, technology is critical to that.”
The VP also noted that the Federal Government is collaborating with the private sector to fund, establish and expand e-learning and education platforms, and other areas of digital technology growth.
“Practically everything is now being done remotely. Earlier on today, I did a virtual commissioning of the MSME clinic in Lagos, sitting in my office in Abuja. So, for us, the digital space is very important, which is why the focus was on the digital economy in the Economic Sustainability Plan.
“We are led by the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, which is the ministry fully devoted to all of what we do in the digital space. We have NITDA, an agency responsible for Information technology (policy implementation); as well as the private sector.”
Recalling the trip to Silicon Valley and Facebook campus in the US in 2018, the VP stated that the tours helped to boost government’s digital drive, while leading to significant improvement in the country’s digital sector.
“The tours were extremely successful. In Silicon Valley, Nigerian start-ups got a chance to pitch their products to tech sector investors, that was very good. In fact, before we left Silicon Valley, one of our venture platforms was able to sign a deal worth about $10m with the Nigeria-US Council. Since then, we’ve seen tremendous activity post-trip. The visit helped in showing our seriousness about the technology sector, and also the entertainment industry. We held a few meetings also with the entertainment industry.
“As of 2018/19, we’ve gotten about $377m in investments in the tech sector. Although, it still scratches the surface if one considers the size of our economy and country. But there were very significant gains, and I’m very happy to do that. I think we’ve started off a series of interactions that have been very useful and we will continue to engage.”
On the issue of regulations to ensure smooth collaboration between government and the private sector, the Vice President stated that the Federal Government will continue to engage with the private sector to boost development of the tech and creative sector.
“With regulation, we are dealing with uncharted territory, because quite a few of what we are seeing are entirely new. And I must say that the regulatory authorities have done quite a decent work, trying to grapple with the newness of some of what they are seeing… So, what has happened is that the collaborative efforts of govt and the tech sector, even the entertainment sector, worked on this. We had set up a technology and creativity advisory group; these are young entrepreneurs, innovators etc, who worked with us in the Industrial and Competitiveness Council to craft some of these regulations and to think through some of the problems,” Prof. Osinbajo said.
According to him, “we are trying to work with practically everyone who is interested in the Nigerian digital sector. By way of preparation, one of the critical issues for us is improving our broadband infrastructure. We’ve heard the exciting stuff that Facebook is doing, especially by way of subsea cable that is being launched.
“But we also have a Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 recently launched by the Hon. Minister of Communication & Digital Economy. There is a presidential committee which has just been inaugurated to work on this. These are broad objectives, and for us, creating that infrastructure is crucial, and we are happy to see the partnerships from Facebook and from some of the other tech companies.”
The Vice President further said government is also working to ensure access to credit for innovators.
“We’ve talked a bit about foreign investments in innovation in Nigeria, but more importantly, the work that the Bank of Industry is doing. The Bank of Industry has a technology fund. The Central Bank of Nigeria has also recently established a technology fund. Also, we are working with the African Development Bank (AfDB), which has a $500m fund; at the moment we are at the final stages, trying to bring that into existence.
“So, there is quite a bit of activity to ensure that there is access to funding, while we are improving the business environment and the environment for technology companies to operate,” he said.
On his part, Sir Clegg noted that he was impressed with Nigeria’s broadband goals and what Government is doing to improve the digital sector.
He said “Let me say how excited I am, on behalf of the whole of Facebook and all of our teams, of the emerging ambitions that we see in the broadband space in Nigeria, particularly with the Economic Sustainability Plan led by His Excellency, the Vice President. What a huge pleasure for me to hear directly form the Vice President about these ambitions.”
At the chat also attended by the Communications and Digital Economy Minister, Facebook announced that it will be opening an office in Lagos, Nigeria. This would be its second office on the African continent as the tech giant officials explained that the opening is part of its continued commitment and ongoing investment in Africa.
According to Facebook officials, this is aimed at supporting the entire Sub-Saharan Africa, adding that the office is expected to become fully operational in 2021. The Facebook Nigeria office will be the first on the continent to house a team of expert engineers building for the future of Africa and beyond.
According to Facebook, the “office will be home to various teams servicing the continent from across the business, including Sales, Partnerships, Policy, Communications as well as Engineers.”
Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
19th September, 2020

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Fintiri Condoles With Adamawa APC Over Chieftain’s Death

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images 30 4 Fintiri Condoles With Adamawa APC Over Chieftain’s Death

Press Secretary to the Governor, Humwashi Wonosikou, made this known to press in a statement issued on Monday.Fintiri who described the demise as shocking, also sympathized with the family, Mubi Emirate over the loss, noting that Muhammad would be remembered for his tenacity and contributions to the growth and development of Adamawa state.He urged APC to take solace in Allah, describing the deceased as a great party man who used his experience towards contributing to the progress of the party and the state in general.

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EFCC Confirms Attack On Commission’s Website

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images 28 4 EFCC Confirms Attack On Commission’s Website

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Monday admitted that its official website was attacked by yet-to-be identified cyber criminals during the weekend.

A group of activists with a motto: ‘We are anonymous’ had last Friday announced on Twitter in a series of tweets that it had gained access into some critical federal government agencies’ websites in solidarity with #EndSARS protests going on in the country.

The agencies, as announced by the activists included websites of EFCC, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) among others.Checks revealed that the commission’s website on Friday showed it was offline due to an internal server error.

The activists also announced that they had gained access to the Twitter account of National Broadcasting Corporation via the victim-agency’s account, where they also posted #EndSARS protest materials on the agency’s Twitter timeline.

Confirming the attack, spokesperson of the commission, Wilson Uwujaren, in a tweet said the attack was successfully repelled.

He wrote, “Though there were attempts, over the weekend, to compromise the website by some cyber criminals the attacks were successfully repelled. The EFCC website is up and running.”

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Money Laundering: Court Gives Senator Ndume 21 Days To Produce Maina

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images 23 3 Money Laundering: Court Gives Senator Ndume 21 Days To Produce Maina

The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Monday, gave Senator Ali Ndume who is representing Borno South, 21 days, to produce the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, who has repeatedly failed to appear for continuation of his trial on money laundering charges.
The former pension boss is facing a 12-count criminal charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, preferred against him and a firm, Common Input Properties & Investment Limited.
Maina spent over seven months on remand at the Kuje Correctional Center before the court released on bail after Senator Ndume agreed to stand surety for him.
EFCC alleged that he used account of the firm and laundered funds to the tune of about N2billion, part of which he used to acquire landed properties in Abuja.
EFCC has already opened its case and called witnesses that included bankers and Maina’s relatives, who testified and tendered exhibits in evidence before the court.
However, the Defendant had since September 29, failed to appear in court for his trial, even as the prosecution alleged that he has jumped bail.
*Senator Ndume had on October 2 when the matter came up for trial, informed the court that he does not know the whereabouts of the Defendant.
Likewise, at the resumed proceedings on Monday, the lawmaker, lamented before the court that all his efforts to locate the 1st Defendant, proved abortive.
Ndume begged the court to issue an arrest warrant to enable security operatives to track down and apprehend Maina.
Ndume said he was willing to forfeit his own freedom to ensure that Maina is arrested and produced before the court.
Addressing the court after he was queried about Maina’s whereabouts on Monday, Ndume said: “My lord, I understand that the defendant is in Abuja and I did all I can to locate him without any definite result.
“My lord, I am constraint because I cannot take the law into my hand.
“I had reported to the DG SSS, the AIG of Police Investigation; I even wrote to police commissioner and I also reported the case to DPO of Jabi where the defendant resides.
“But my lord, even if I see Maina today, I can’t force him to come to court. I am appealing to u to issue a warrant on him.”
Trial Justice Okon Abang then reminded Ndume that the legal implication of such arrest warrant is that he would also be remanded in custody pending when Maina is apprehended.
“I don’t mind my lord. My concern is to have him in court so that I can continue my life”, Ndume responded.
He told the court he had only met Maina once in his life before he decided to stand as his surety, being the lawmaker that represents his constituency.
Besides, Ndume told the court that he was pressurized to stand surety for the Defendant by three former governors.
“As a senator serving him (Maina), his family, wife, mother and uncle appealed to me to stand as a surety.
“I went to prison to confirm for myself whether he was actually sick and the prison officers told me that he was actually sick and appealed to me to be his surety so that he could have access to medical attention.
“Orji Kalu when he was in prison then, Joshua Dariye, former Governor of Taraba, Rev. Jolly Nyame, all appealed to me in the prison to assist him.
“It took me eight months my lord to take that decision. In fact, I have to be given an indemnity by his uncle; signed by me, him and a lawyer that Maina would always be in court.
“He guaranteed but since that day, I went to Maitama Hospital to check their record, I went to Abuja Clinic, I went to the house he is purported to be living in Jabi, Abuja.
“This is one of the professional hazards we face as lawmakers, representing the good, the bad and the ugly.
“If I was not a serving senator, I wouldn’t have cause to stand as surety,” Ndume added.
He decried that Maina who claimed to be ill, had recently released a video clip which went viral on social media about his state of health, but refused to make himself available.
“I am helpless before you my lord. I appeal that such innocent citizens like me holding a public office for over one million people should not be subjected to this,” Ndume pleaded.
Earlier, EFCC’s lawyer, Farouk Abdullah, applied for leave of the court to try Maina in absentia.
He also urged the court to not only revoke Maina’s bail, but to also direct his surety, Ndume, to pay the sum of N500million, being the total bail bond.
Maina’s lawyer, Francis Oronsaye, opposed the application to revoke his client’s bail, though he also admitted not knowing his whereabouts.
“My lord, the information we have is that the Defendant is admitted in hospital after a surgery. He said he was undergoing treatment after the surgery and the location was not disclosed.

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