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BPSR, NEITI, DMO top FoI compliance, transparency ranking

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The Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) and Nigeria Extractive Transparency Initiative (NEITI) have emerged as the most compliant agencies in terms of Freedom of Information (FoI) and transparency ranking.

The organisations were announced winners by the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), during the launch of the 2022 FoI Compliance Ranking on Wednesday, in Abuja.

Debt Management Office (DMO), came third on the ranking.

The Chief Executive Officer of PPDC, Mr Jubril Shittu, disclosed that the BPSR and NEITI came tops because they proactively disclosed requested information on their portals.

Shittu said the PPDC had been consistently advocating the disclosure of public finance expenditure information.

This, he said, was to promote a more transparent and accountable government, as well as increase citizens’ participation, thereby leading to improved public service delivery.

Shittu said the rankings were to commemorate the International Right to Know Day and to ascertain the compliance of public institutions to the FoI Act (2011) based on the disclosure of public finance expenditure information.

“Today is globally known as the access to information day all over the world. The various people that are celebrating access to information.

“So what we are doing here today, along with our cohort partners is to look at what the Nigerian experience is and we have been doing this for the past 10 years.

“You know, since the passage of the FoI Act in 2011, which opened up the space for the public to ask for information from the ministries, departments and agencies.

“This ranking exercise looks at the level of responsiveness of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs),” Shittu said.

He also said that the ranking looked at the proactiveness of the disclosures on information from these MDAs, as well as being biased in terms of the disclosure whether disclosed in full or in pertial terms.

“This year, we ranked 250 institutions and as you are aware, there are 700 MDAs in government. This just shows that we have quite a lot to catch up on.

“We should also be recognised in terms of the efforts for various ministries, MDAs, we’ve reached a level of increase from the previous years,” he said.

In his keynote address, the Minister for State, Budget and National Planning, Mr Clem Agba, said the Federal Government was making necessary efforts to ensure the data of Nigerians were protected.

Agba, represented by the Deputy Director, Agric and Rural Development,Mrs Oluyide Adesola, said the Federal Government had taken cognisance of emerging data protection laws and regulations.

He said, “This was geared towards protecting privacy, identity, lives and property, as well as fostering the integrity of commerce and industry in the data and digital economy.

“As well as fostering the integrity of commerce and industry in the data and digital economy.

“We have realised the importance of developing data protection rules and regulations to protect the personal data of citizens.

“It is in view of this that the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) 2019 was passed and it is the pioneer, comprehensive Regulation on data protection in Nigeria,” Agba said.

Others in the ranking were the National Orientation Agency (NOA), which came fourth, while the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), came fifth.

Others were Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (CRC), that came sixth, as well as National Commission For Colleges Of Education (NCCE), that clinched the seventh position.

In the same vein, the Bureau Of Public Enterprise (BPE), came eighth, while  Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), came 10th.

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Oronsaye report: Group appeals to FG to urgently disband Agency

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By Matthew Denis

Concerned Plant Quarantine professionals has appealed to the Federal Government to as a matter of urgently disband Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (N.A.Q.S) an agency under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

This is contained in a Communique signed by the Chairman of the professionals, Alhaji Jaiyeola Olaniran and Secretary, Sallah Ibrahim and made available to journalists on Wednesday.

The communique read, “The plant Quarantine Service is made up of inspectors who are trained Agronomists and plant pathologists who are specifically trained and certified to identify pests and diseases of plants and plants products of exotic origin on international trade.

“Therefore, they are professionally incompatible with veterinary Doctors who deals with Animals diseases and fisheries who look after fishes.

“The bulk of operational activities in the organization are being carried out by the plant Quarantine inspectors issuing import permit to prospective plants importers and phytosanitary certificate to plant products exporters to meet standard on international trade.”

According to the communique all the physical structures that are currently been used for operations, trainings and research belongs to the plant Quarantine Service component of the agency adding that other harmonising professionals units had none.

“With the reverse salary structure in the agency the veterinary doctors are collecting salaries that are threefold to the other professionals colleagues in the agency. This is because they enter the service on GL12 while others enter with GL8 as they are claiming superiority thereby placing themselves in all the stations nationwide despite not having the technical know-how at the agency.”

The statement revealed that the lumping together of veterinary Doctors, Animal Husbandry, fisheries with plant Quarantine Service units were responsible for the rejection of 102 corps by the European Union countries from Nigeria since 2008 till date because these other professionals colleagues impersonate as plant Quarantine inspectors at the point of exits and thereby certified these corps to pass clearance checks without specified protocols of clean health condition on international trade which is done mostly for pecuniary reasons.

“All the infrastructures at the post-entry unit of the plants quarantine services which serves as the engine room where laboratory findings are carried out on plants and plants products for exports and imports are completely deserted and non-existent.

The professionals requested that it’s out of place for veterinary Doctors to be presiding over plants activities as it’s presently constituted in NAQS as the staff members who are Agronomists and pathologists are seriously finding it uncomfortable to work with them.

It stressed that corps are more on the traffic on the international trade and plant Quarantine inspectors are custodians of International standards with specific rules and regulations that guides these trade .

“The agency is relatively four years therefore it’s operating on wastages and continuously increasing burden on cost of governance for the present administration. We plead in the overall national interest for the disbandment of NAQS.”

It further added, “We request that square peg should be in square holes as all the component professionals that are currently constituted in the agency should be reassigned to their parents departments in the Agriculture ministry for optimum functioning.

“The plants quarantine services does not need an agency to operate but a full fledged department in the ministry.”

Several attempts to get the reactions of the agency in question to respond proved abortive at the time of filing this report.

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2024 Lagos Leather Fair set to elevate African Leather ecosystem

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By Omolola Dede Adeyanju

Lagos Leather Fair, an annual showcase of Africa’s Leather Industry, has announced the launch of its 2024 fair with the theme “Levelling Up” to spur on the growth being made across the African Leather ecosystem.

This was expressed through a press release made available to newsmen, according to the press release, in this seventh installment, the fair will gather leather enthusiasts, designers, manufacturers, suppliers, and industry partners from across the globe to deliver a carefully curated experience that spotlights the diversity of African culture, creativity, and craftsmanship.

Alongside its partners and sponsors, this year’s LLF will engage attendees with conversations and initiatives that aim to advance the leather ecosystem. These include improving socioeconomic impact, adopting sustainable and innovative practices, enhancing industry competition and global partnerships, and improving supply chain efficiency within the industry.

Spearheaded by Femi Olayebi, Lagos Leather Fair, stands as the third largest leather fair in Africa, following its South African and Ethiopian counterparts in delivering distinct value across the continent. From the 29th to the 30th of June, at the Balmoral Convention Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, the event will feature workshops, masterclasses, awards, exhibitions of talented leather designers and artists, investor pitches from emerging designers (Pitch-A-Leather-Biz), a runway presentation styled by Toyin Ogundadegbe, The Style Infidel, as well as a special immersive leather installation – Beyond the Hide – curated by Kanyinsade Ademuson, founder of the architectural firm, Seventh Space.

“Over the years, hosting the Lagos Leather Fair has filled us with purpose to do more and advance the African leather industry,” says Femi Olayebi, Founder of LLF. “LLF is a celebration of the potential being achieved through locally sourced craftmanship and this year, we are partnering with extremely talented individuals to create an engaging experience that invites participants and attendees to join us on that journey. We are very thankful to our sponsors and collaborators for helping us curate this valuable tradition that continues to elevate the African leather ecosystem.”

During the fair, expert-led sessions will enlighten attendees on a range of niche topics, from brand positioning and visibility, sourcing and manufacturing solutions, to the art of photography and the power of leveraging AI tools across the value chain. Additionally, innovation and creativity will be recognised through the LLF Awards where designers’ efforts will be awarded across the following categories: Most Innovative Designer Award, Trailblazer Award, Brand Excellence Award, Best Booth Design Award, Best Emerging Designer Award, and Best Curated Instagram Page.

Welcoming over 3,500 attendees in its previous edition, each year, LLF creates a unique and dynamic experience that showcases the talent of leather creatives, and diverse forms of African leather products.

For more information about the Lagos Leather Fair, visit www.thelagosleatherfair.com or www.instagram.com/lagosleatherfair/.

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Bridging the digital divide: Wale Ghazal’s journey in technology and media innovation

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In an exclusive interview with Nigerian NewsDirect, Quadri ‘Wale Ghazal, a rising star in the world of IT and Media Innovation, shares his inspiring journey from his early days in Lagos to becoming a sought-after professional in his field. Born and raised in the vibrant city of Lagos, Nigeria, Ghazal’s childhood played a significant role in shaping his character and values. He began his academic journey at Saint Joseph Secondary School, where he excelled in his studies and developed a keen interest in science and technology.

Ghazal’s thirst for knowledge led him to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Physics at the University of Ibadan, a B.Tech in Computer Science from the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), and an MSc in Cybersecurity from the University of the West of Scotland. His diverse academic background positioned him as a well-rounded and highly skilled professional in the IT and Media Innovation space.

Ghazal’s passion for IT was sparked during his time as an errand boy at a local computer school. Fascinated by the potential of technology, he began experimenting with system components and graphic design. His growing expertise led him to repair computers for friends and acquaintances and secure an internship at the University of Ibadan ICT unit. These early experiences laid the foundation for his future success in the IT industry.

Throughout his career, Ghazal has been involved in groundbreaking projects and collaborations with renowned organisations such as Google, Yahoo, WordPress, CompTIA, Microsoft, IBM, Kaspersky, Cisco, and Linux. He has also worked with publications like Encomium Magazine and BeaconX Magazine, exploring the impact of technology on Nigerian society.

Driven by his entrepreneurial spirit and desire to make a difference, Ghazal founded ArtinudaFX, specialising in branding projects and IT consultations for academic institutions and universities. Following the success of ArtinudaFX, he took on the role of Publisher at Pan-African University Press in Nigeria, participating in high-profile projects and collaborating with Professor ToyinFalola on the TFInterviews Series.

Recognising the importance of continuous learning and growth, Ghazal made a strategic decision to transition from being a multi-faceted professional to a specialised expert in Networking and Systems Security Solutions. His current work with the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom involves leveraging his expertise in IT systems, cybersecurity, and data management to support the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Services’ critical infrastructure.

Ghazal has recently been selected to spearhead the “Immersive Nigerian Cultural Heritage Experience Through Media Technology” project, which aims to create a platform that showcases the richness and diversity of Nigerian culture to a global audience. This project targets the Nigerian diaspora as well as UK and European audiences, promoting tourism, economic growth, and fostering a greater sense of understanding and unity between nations.

Looking to the future, Ghazal is committed to using technology for social good, bridging the digital divide, and empowering communities. He envisions a world where technology is a means of empowering people and communities, and he is dedicated to working with like-minded individuals and organisations to create solutions with lasting impact.

When asked what advice he would give to young people interested in pursuing a career in technology and media innovation, Ghazal urges them to follow their passion, work hard, learn continuously, and surround themselves with mentors and collaborators who can help them grow.

Wale Ghazal’s journey is a testament to the power of perseverance, hard work, and an unwavering commitment to using technology for good. With leaders like him at the forefront of the technology and media innovation landscape, the future looks bright indeed.

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