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Buhari recognises seven tech startups, awards winners at ITU/WITS championships

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By Ogaga Ariemu

President Muhammadu Buhari has commended seven Nigerians whose Startups solutions won International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and World Information Technology Society (WITS) championships for three consecutive years.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Pantami presented the awards on behalf of President Buhari in Abuja on Wednesday.

In his remarks, he said the tech Champions who emerged winners of ITU/WITS competitions from 2020-22 have made Nigeria proud at the global stage and their stories have become testimonies that Nigeria is capable of producing Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates in the near future.

Pantami said the President and the Federal Government is proud of the global Awards winners in various categories in ICT and Digital Innovation sector,  especially those who bagged the Awards at a time he (Pantami) chairs the global body.

For those who won the 2022 awards, Pantami explained that 996 applications were submitted online with 360 selected for votes, while 1.3 million people voted across the world in 193 member countries for the winners to emerge.

He directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA),  and Galaxy Backbone Limited to pick the solutions that won the awards with a view to support them to become global brands.

The Minister said President Buhari is presently looking at the Start-ups Bill which would be a major achievement of the administration as it contains provisions that would transform the industry in terms of benefits, incentives, loans and grants.

“The Start-ups Bill when pass into law will become the major achievement of the digital transformation era of President Buhari because there are provisions in the Bill that will change the narratives of the sector. There will be a Council on Start-ups and Mr President as the Chairman.

“The Private sector will collaboration with government to address challenges and proffer solutions to make Nigeria produce her own Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg,” Pantami stated.

The champions are Chipsbrain Nigeria, 2020, Category 7, e-health, Mr Oluwaseyi Akinola,  Women’s Techology Empowerment Centre, 2020, Category 3, access to information and knowledge, Maryam Abdulsalam, and ICT for Indigenous Language,  Afrilingo, 2020, e-empowerment, Franca Igwe.

Others are Association of Women in Technology in Nigeria, Category 7, 2022, ICT applications empowerment, Martha Alade, and Special Needs Initiative for Growth, (Africa), Career development initiative for mothers with cerebral palsy children in Nigeria, 2021, Category 6,  enabling environment, Rachel Inegbedion.

The last two categories are: Top up &Get Reward Limited, Teleconomy, 2021, Category 2, ICT infrastructure, Mr Samuel Babatunde and Green fresh Nigeria, wizwish international farm, Category 7, e-business, Mr Wisdom Ikpechukwu.

Speaking on behalf of the winners, Martha Alade commended the present administration for its passion and commitment to the growth and development of digital economy, saying Start-ups owners are inspired and overwhelmed by government dedication.

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Tinubu unveils African Counter-Terrorism summit

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President Bola Tinubu unveiled the African Counter-Terrorism Summit at the Office of the National Security Adviser in Abuja on Monday.

The event which is currently ongoing and organised by Nigeria, with support from the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, will be held from Monday to Tuesday, April 23, 2024, with the theme: ‘Strengthening Regional Cooperation and Institution Building to Address the Evolving Threat of Terrorism’.

The Presidency announced on Sunday that the summit aims to enhance multilateral counter-terrorism cooperation.

Details later…

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Number of inmates awaiting trial soars by 70% in Kano — NCoS

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The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS),  Kano State Command, says 70 per cent of inmates are awaiting trial across the custodial centres in the state.
The Public Relations Officer of the Command, SC Musbahu Lawan, disclosed this while addressing newsmen at the State Headquarters on Monday in Kano.
He said that overcrowding was a challenge to the smooth operation of the NCoS in the state, as the number of awaiting trial inmates had tripled that of convicted inmates in the state.
“Statistics show that only 30 per cent of inmates are convicted in the correctional service, while inmates awaiting trial constitute 70 per cent of the total number of inmates in the state.
“Most of the inmates awaiting trial have stayed in custody with their cases yet to be determined by the courts.
“Our laws give us the power to transfer convicted inmates to any facility in the country, so if the inmates awaiting trial are eventually convicted there won’t be congestion,” Lawan said.
He noted that convicted inmates were easier to manage as they were mandated to engage in the various reformatory programmes, an opportunity which awaiting trial persons might  not have.
“Most of the convicted inmates also benefit from the educational programmes in the custodial centres.
“In Kano, 38 convicted inmates sat for and passed the NECO, SSCE and are now seeking for admission at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).
“Due to increased interest of the inmates to study, the service is working with NOUN to establish more study centres in the custodial centres in the state,” Lawan said.
He said that one of the challenges was lack of study facilities like computers and study materials.
Lawan said the Federal Government had introduced the non-custodial measures like parole, community service and  probation among others, to address the overcrowding conundrum in custodial centres.
He commended some judges for complementing the Federal Government’s effort by making maximum use of non custodial sentencing.
“NCoS  will continue to pursue its mandate of keeping safe and humane custody of the legally interned, while protecting the society safer by reforming rehabilitating and reintegrating offenders,” Lawan said
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Appeal Court fails to hear EFCC suit against order restraining ex-Kogi governor’s arrest

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The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Monday did not sit to hear the appeal lodged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against the order of a Kogi High Court which restrained the anti-graft agency from arresting the immediate-past governor, Yahaya Bello.

The Kogi court, in a ruling on April 17, restrained the EFCC from arresting, detaining and prosecuting  Bello.

The judge, I.A Jamil, gave the order in a two-hour judgment delivered in suit no HCL/68/M/2020 in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, on Wednesday.

The judgment coincided with the  ”siege’ nvasion of Bello’s home in Abuja by EFCC operatives in a bid to arrest him.

The EFCC is seeking to arraign the former governor on 19 counts bordering on alleged money laundering, breach of trust and misappropriation of funds to the tune of N80.2billion.

The anti-graft agency determined to get Bello to face the law for his alleged crime, approached the Federal High Court in Abuja on the same day to get an arrest warrant.

.The warrant was issued following an ex parte motion filed by the EFCC.

In his ruling on the motion, Justice Emeka Nwite also directed that the former governor be produced before him on Thursday, April 18, for arraignment.

He said, “It is hereby ordered as follows:

That an order of this honourable court is hereby made directing and/or issuing a warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant to bring him before this honourable court for arraignment.

“That case is adjourned until April 18 for arraignment.”

Alhough Bello was absent to take his plea, his team of lawyers, led by Abdulwahab Mohammed (SAN), informed the court of the matter before the appeal court.

Mohammed told the court that it was wrong for the EFCC to apply for an arrest warrant against Bello when the same matter was already before the appeal court.

The EFCC counsel, Kemi Pinehero, argued that court could go ahead with the trial.

The EFCC, in its appeal through its solicitor, J.S. Okutepa (SAN), is seeking a stay of execution to the order of the trial court in Kogi State.

In the appeal marked CA/ABJ/PRE/RDA/CV/165MI, the anti-graft agency contested the court order on the grounds that it is a body created by statute to carry out functions specified in its Establishment Act and empowered to investigate and prosecute economic crimes as set out under sections 6 and 7 of the EFCC Act.

The EFCC faulted the order of the lower court, describing it as an obstruction.

“The orders granted ex parte on the 9th of February 2024 constitute a clog in the progress of the appellant/applicant’s performance of its statutory functions and duties under the EFCC Act 2004,” the EFCC said.

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