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Rep says policy somersaults bane to entrepreneurship in Nigeria

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From  Joe Effiong, Uyo

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary, Hon Onofiok Luke, has fingered policy somersaults and lack of support as the bane to business start-ups in Nigeria.

To correct the anomaly, Luke has advocated the institution of sustainable investment friendly policies as well as other incentives to encourage the youth venture in establishment of small-scale enterprises especially in the area of ICT considered as the engine room of the present and future global economy.

In a keynote address titled “The Role of Policy in National Development: Start-Ups as A Case Study” at the first anniversary of Future Labs, an ICT hub at Ikot Ekpene on Tuesday, Luke said: ‘As a nation, we ought to do better and should do better, in developing a consciousness of the potentials available to us through the skills which our young people possess, and becoming deliberate and intentional in maximizing this invaluable resource as we look to oust youth unemployment.

‘Our policies and laws should be inspired by the need to foster and support innovation in business and not to cripple enterprise.

‘We are aware of a bill which has the spirit of expanding the powers of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in ways which many participants in the tech space have kicked against. The bill proposes regulation for companies so that those with profit of up to one million naira have a levy of 1% to remit, failure to comply with which would attract jail term or fine to the tune of about 30 million naira.

‘Nigerian startups and young founders and entrepreneurs do not have to suffer with laws like this hanging like albatrosses around their necks.’

Looking beyond the present era, the lawmaker, who represents Etinan federal constituency of Akwa Ibom state, said: ‘In the Future we hope to create through Gods amazing grace, our goal is to make Akwa Ibom the hub of technology in our country.

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‘I am present at this event today because of my belief in the power of technology and as a state, we will be ready to tap into this power. Akwa Ibom state is fast becoming a gem. With the 21-story smart building which reflects the powerful foresight of His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel, the proposed Ibom Science Park, our seaport, and the foundation of the E-library project, we will experience a massive boom as a people with an attendant increase in population and migration of the big industry players.

‘Akwa Ibom will become home to several Internet Services Providers as well as other technical service providers. With this envisaged growth, it is only right that we prepare for this boost by making Akwa Ibom a ‘Smart State’. As part of our plans for the future, we intend to partner with the private sector to lay fiber optic cables for high performance data and high-speed internet access.’

He lamented the existence of a big digital divide between urban and suburban areas with high incomes as well as the rural and urban areas with low incomes, naming such digital divide to include a connectivity gap, where rural users experience lower speed internet connections than more urban users.

Setting a target, Luke said his goal is to bridge the divide by ensuring increased broadband infrastructure in underserved and unserved areas, while also partnering with startup tech hubs like Future Labs to improve digital literacy among residents of such areas in a bid to address basic to intermediate skills for both hardware and software.

‘This digital literacy will help us in the maintenance and long-term sustenance of our proposed infrastructure,’ he stressed.

The CEO of Future Labs, Manasseh Victor, said he had to return from Lagos to establish the centre in order to horn the young talents abound in the state and prepare them for the digital age of the moment and the future.

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Sammie Okposo confesses to cheating on wife

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Sammie Okposo

Gospel artiste, Sammie Okposo, Tuesday confessed to cheating on his wife Ozioma, and tendered a public apology to her as well as his fans.

He revealed in an Instagram post that he was involved in a relationship with another woman during one of his trips to the United States in 2021.

Gospel singer Sammie Okposo confesses to cheating on wife, suspends self from ministry

Also Read: Lanre Gentry shades ex-wife, Mercy Aigbe, “At last the truth is out”

He wrote, “Dear Friends, I need to bring a very unfortunate incident to your attention; as I am not proud of it but know that this is the right thing to do.

“On my recent trip to the USA (Late 2021), I got intimately involved with a lady; knowing that this was not appropriate as a married man and a minister of the gospel. I am ashamed and regret my actions; as it has caused a lot of pain to my dear wife, Ozioma, my family and I.

“I want to take this moment and apologise to all fathers and mothers of the Faith; and ministers of the Gospel for my behavior and moral failure.

“I won’t be here if not for your investment and belief in what God has called me to do. I sincerely apologize for this embarrassing situation.

“To all that have been a part of my ministry; followed my ministry or know me personally, I am truly sorry for disappointing you.

“I regret any pain or disappointment that this news of my moral failure and poor judgement may cause you and I am truly sorry for disappointing you.

“I humbly ask that you continue to pray for me.”

Interestingly, American-based woman, identified as African Doll, had accused Okposo of impregnating her, barely 24 hours before his confession.

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Edo to switch to e-governance February 1 – Obaseki

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By Jethro Ibileke

Effective from February 1, 2022, Edo State government will switch over from analogue to e-governance, Governor Godwin Obaseki says on Tuesday.

Obaseki, gave the indication on Tuesday in Benin, at the swearing-in of 14 new permanent secretaries, which held at the Government House.

According to the Governor, switching to e-governance means that memos and mails on papers would be eliminated.

He said: “Effective February 1, 2022, I, the governor, would switch over to e-governance platform, which effectively means I will now approve memos and send mails to you via the e-platform.

“We have introduced the Edo State Civil/Public Service Transformation and Enhancement Programme (EdoSTEP), through which we are pursuing a deliberate programme to identify weak points in the civil service and strengthen them.

“That explains why we have had to bring people from outside to come in to help us strengthen the areas of weaknesses that we have seen in the civil and public service; we will continue to do so because we have seen that the civil service as it is today needs a lot of strengthening.

“So far, we are very glad with the accomplishments that we have made today in the EdoSTEP programme. Under this programme, we have found out that the number of vacancies in the civil service is quite enormous.

“First, we started with the hiring of 1,600 graduates into the service at the bottom level, but they don’t have the experience and skill to take us to where we want. We will now continue hiring from the top and also see how we can train the middle corps that we have in the civil service and give them the tools for effective delivery.”

Addressing the 14 newly-sworn-in permanent secretaries, Obaseki charged them on the delivery of efficient and quality services to Edo people, even as he admonished them not to seek popularity.

He said: “We are working extremely hard to bring back the civil and public service to those days when it was respected. To the new permanent secretaries, I will like to admonish you, you all have been appointed based on merit, not by any godfather.”

“Do not seek popularity; you are not politicians, leave that to us. Ensure you do things the way it ought to be done,” he charged.

Obaseki also warned the appointees to be weary of their conduct in service, noting that government officials are liable and culpable for their activities in service, even after retirement.

In his words, “You are the chief accounting officers of your ministries. The fact that you are in government for a while does not mean that your activities while in government will not be looked at; you have to be very cautious of the decisions you make.

“Most Nigerians don’t know that even after you retire, you are still liable and culpable for your activities during your time in office. I am pleased to inform you that you will be inheriting a vastly improved system of governance; we will continue to work on our systems so that you can deliver effectively to our people.

“We will continue to build human capacity, and train and retrain our civil and public servants. We are equipping and investing in the John Odigie-Oyegun Public Service Academy to make it second to none in this part of the world.”

The newly sworn-in permanent secretaries are: Mr. Anelu Osemen, Mrs. Felicia Edwards, Mrs. Grace Aihie, Mr. Egwakhide Gilbert, Mr. Iserhienrhien Efe and Mr. Aikhuomobhogbe Uidia.

Others are Mr. Asibor Lucky, Mrs. Igbinobaro Joy, Mr. Washington Abbe, Mr. Asemota Uyi, Mr. Toritseju Onaiwu, Mrs. Ifueko Alufokhai, Mr. Osikhena Ojior and Mrs. Barbara Osobajo.

Mr. Anslem Osemen who responded on behalf of the new permanent secretaries, pledged to reciprocate the confidence reposed on them, contributing effectively to the progress and development of the state.

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Ondo: Police vow to prosecute man for allegedly killing Lagos-based girlfriend

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The Ondo State Police Command has said that it would prosecute one Olasunkami Oluwole for allegedly killing his lover in the Oke-Igbo community in the Ile-Oluji/Oke-Igbo Local Government Area.

Biola Soyinka, the deceased, reportedly travelled from Lagos to see her boyfriend before she was murdered.

Funmilayo Odunlami, the Police Public Relations Officer of the command, said the matter is being investigated at the command’s Criminal Investigation Department.

According to the PPRO, the suspect would be charged to court immediately after the completion of the investigation.

“The case is still at the state CID for further investigation, and after the investigation is completed, he will be charged in court,” Odunlami said.

Meanwhile, the elder brother to the deceased, Akeem Jinadu, said Oluwole had on January 16 called them in Lagos that Biola had died after he claimed that she became unconscious when she slumped at around 4:00 am .

“Oluwole said by the time he rushed her to the hospital, the doctors declared her dead. When we asked him to bring her corpse back to Lagos, he demanded that we send money for transportation.

“Contrary to what Oluwole said when the police arrested him, there were marks sustained from beating on her body when we went to identify the remains at the morgue.

“Her neck, face, and body had dark patches because she was a fair person,” Jinadu said.

“From the state of her corpse it is very obvious she didn’t die from falling, rather the marks on her body shows she was beaten and strangled to death.”

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