Nigerian Lecturers Obey FG’s Return To Work Directive

A senior lecturer from the History and Strategic Studies department of the University of Lagos, Dr. David Aworawo today revealed that “many Nigerian lecturers have signed to return to work” following the directive of the government.

Aworawo said that different universities had adjusted their school calendars to accommodate what was left of 2012/2013 session.

Speaking as a guest on Sunrise Daily, Channels Television’s flagship breakfast show, the historian said: “Across the universities, many went to sign the register as directed by the government. The calendars specifies that people will have to wait until lectures are supposed to commence for us to actually know how many will return to class”.

He insisted that it was not totally true that the lecturers disobeyed the directive, as they never told the government to go to hell”.

He listed the universities where the lecturers signed the register noting that “if the classes were opened on Monday, you will actually see many go to the class to teach”.

He berated the loss suffered by students during the strikes maintaining that the “loss is in trillion”. He added that “there is nothing the government would give to ASUU that will make up that loss”. Citing two independent reports carried out in South Africa and Canada on Nigerian educational strikes, he insisted that the students are the biggest losers in the fight.

Canada Train, Bus, Collide In Ottawa, At Least Five dead

A passenger train collided with a double-decker city bus in Ottawa on Wednesday, killing at least five people, an emergency official said.

Television images showed a heavily damaged red double-decker bus, with firefighters and ambulances at the scene. The front of the bus appeared to be sheared off by the collision.

Ottawa Fire Services spokesman Marc Messier told CTV News the initial estimate is that five people have been killed.

VIA Rail, which operates the national passenger service in Canada, confirmed the crash and said there were no major injuries reported on the train. The crash occurred in the west end of Ottawa, Canada’s capital city.

Canada’s two big railroads – Canadian National Railway Co and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd – are reviewing safety standards after a deadly train crash on July 6 that killed 50 people and destroyed the center of a small Quebec town.

Channels Book Club Features Journalist Turned Academic Don, Otiono

This edition of Channels Book Club features distinguished Nigerian journalist, Dr. Nduka Otiono, who was recently appointed assistant professor at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, hence becoming the first appointee at the University’s new found Institute of African studies.

He discussed a wide variety of subjects including his personal experiences, his writings and why Nigeria must focus on encouraging knowledge production institutions and initiatives.

About Dr. Otiono

Dr. Nduka Otiono obtained his Ph.D in English from the University of Alberta where he won several awards including the Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship, and was nominated for the Governor General’s Gold Medal for academic distinction.

He is the author of The Night Hides with a Knife (short stories), which won the ANA/Spectrum Prize; Voices in the Rainbow (Poems), a finalist for the ANA/Cadbury Poetry Prize; Love in a Time of Nightmares (Poems) for which he was awarded the James Patrick Folinsbee  Memorial Scholarship in Creative Writing.

He has co-edited We-Men: An Anthology of Men Writing on Women (1998), and Camouflage: Best of Contemporary Writing from Nigeria (2006).

Politicians Have Taken Over Media Houses- Maku

Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku has accused media houses of serving as puppets to politicians in Nigeria.

Speaking as a guest on Sunrise Daily, a programme on Channels Television, Maku said “Unfortunately we have allowed our political biases to infiltrate sometimes the media that we own”.

Maku who claimed to be a journalist further said “if you pick newspapers today, from the headlines you will know which one is pro-PDP, which one is ACN, which one is APC, which one is CPC”

He expressed worry over the bias displayed “not just on opinion pages, not just on editorial pages but right on front page including the casting of headlines”.

The minister likened the reporter to a doctor in the hospital who should not be told how to treat his patients be it owned by a politician or a businessman.

He charged Nigerians to set up an international panel to review media houses in other countries such as the England, USA, Canada, India, and South Africa with Nigeria quarterly.

These countries he said have “the traditions of our own liberal democracy”.

He said many journalists will be in jail if journalism is practiced the same way as in the aforementioned countries.

He also cleared the air on the controversy between the Leadership Newspaper journalists and the federal government.

BlackBerry To Ask Regulators To Probe Report On Returns

BlackBerry plans to ask securities regulators in Canada and the United States to probe what it said is a “false and misleading” report that consumer return rates for BlackBerry’s new Z10 smartphone have been especially high.

The Canadian company, which has pinned its turnaround hopes on its new BlackBerry 10 line of smartphones, went on the offensive on Friday after the report from Boston-based research and investment firm Detwiler Fenton sent its stock tumbling on Thursday.

BlackBerry said return rates for its flagship Z10 devices have been at, or below, its forecasts and in line with industry norms.

“To suggest otherwise is either a gross misreading of the data or a willful manipulation,” Chief Executive Thorsten Heins said in a statement. “Such a conclusion is absolutely without basis and BlackBerry will not leave it unchallenged.”

BlackBerry said Detwiler Fenton had so far refused to share its report or its methods. It said it would present a formal request for an investigation to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and to the Ontario Securities Commission, which is Canada’s major securities regulator, over the next few days.

Detwiler has had run-ins with regulators in the past, documents reviewed by Reuters show. But none of the cases involved questions about the accuracy of Detwiler’s research or were linked to BlackBerry.

The OSC said it would review the matter once it receives a formal complaint.

“After the first 14 days, quality performance of the Z10 has been in line with similar devices we’ve launched,” said Debra Lewis, a spokeswoman for Verizon Wireless.

A spokeswoman for Detwiler did not respond to a phone call and an email from Reuters seeking comment. The director of research also did not respond to a call seeking comment.

“We believe key retail partners have seen a significant increase in Z10 returns to the point where, in several cases, returns are now exceeding sales, a phenomenon we have never seen before,” its report said. Detwiler Fenton gave no details on how it had gleaned this information.

While a number of brokerage firms have in recent weeks published reports saying Z10 sales in the U.S. market are slow, none of them have flagged any major concerns about returns.

Since 2007, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the industry body that oversees broker-dealers, has fined Detwiler over $250,000 and has cited it for several compliance violations over the past decade.

In December 2011, FINRA sanctioned Detwiler for failing to properly supervise its employees and for allowing its brokers to make more trades than necessary in clients’ accounts to boost commissions during a period between 2006 and 2009.

In 2007, the firm, which was then called Detwiler Mitchell Fenton & Graves, settled administrative proceedings that the SEC brought against it for failing to supervise Bradford Bleidt, a former employee who had been simultaneously running a $30 million Ponzi scheme.

TURNAROUND PLAN

BlackBerry is attempting to claw back market share lost to rivals such as Apple Inc’s iPhone and Samsung Electronics Co’s Galaxy line of smartphones with its new line of devices, powered by the revamped BlackBerry 10 operating system.

The new Z10 touchscreen smartphone, the first of its new devices, hit store shelves earlier this year. And the Q10, with BlackBerry’s famed physical keyboard, will go on sale in Canada and the United Kingdom before the end of April.

BlackBerry, which has changed its name from Research In Motion, has yet to prove to the market that its new devices can trigger a turnaround. The company expects to report break-even results in the current quarter, but a true picture will not emerge until later this year.

BlackBerry stock has remained highly volatile as analysts are split on whether the turnaround plan will succeed. Research reports often bring major swings in the company’s share price.

Shares of Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry, which fell 7.7 percent on Thursday, closed up less than a percent on Friday at $13.64 on Nasdaq.

Naeto C Shows off New Baby On Instagram

Award winning rapper, Naetochukwu Chikwe, who welcomed his first child on Tuesday posted a picture of his son on Instagram.

Naeto C, who tied the knot with Nicole took to the social media to appreciate his fans and well-wishers for the congratulatory messages.

“Thanks 2 every1 for all the messages…words arent honestly enuff to express this moment…its ironic especially for some1 like myself who is used 2 putting words 2gether…mayb later…but right now i’m just Thanking God w/my Family and enjoying my son’s company! I wish u all similar moments at some point(s) in your lives!.” He wrote.

The Chikwes are currently in the U.S where Nicole delivered the baby boy.

Naeto is expected to continue his North American tour in Winnipeg, Canada.

African Nations Increase Farm Spending, Winning Poverty Battle

President Barack Obama hosts the leaders of four African nations this week, all of which are cited in a new report for effectively increasing spending on agriculture to combat extreme poverty and hunger.

The report by the ONE Campaign, an anti-poverty group co-founded by Irish rockers Bono and Bob Geldof, said Senegal, Malawi, Cape Verde and Sierra Leone either met or were close to meeting targets for increased budget spending on agriculture.

All of the countries, except Cape Verde where there is little data, are also on track or close to meeting a U.N. target of halving extreme poverty by 2015, the report said.

The African leaders will visit the White House on Thursday to showcase their fledgling democracies, but also their potential in a region where strong economic policies are attracting increased investment.

A recent World Bank report said Africa’s agricultural sector could become a $1 trillion industry by 2030 if farmers modernized their practices and had better access to financing, new technology, irrigation and fertilizers.

“Despite record improvements by select African countries, Africa overall is still far from realizing its agricultural potential,” said the ONE Campaign report, which assessed progress by 19 African countries and donors that send them aid.

“For African governments, donors and the private sector alike, 2013 is the year to deliver on these building blocks that impact farming and expand economic opportunities for farmers,” the report said.

This year marks a decade since African governments committed to allocate 10 percent of national spending to boost agricultural production, reversing decades of under investment in the sector. The so-called Maputo commitments expire this year, giving world leaders the opportunity to lay out a bold new plan with targets, the report said.

According to ONE’s analysis, at least four of the 19 African countries analyzed – Ethiopia, Cape Verde, Malawi and Niger – met or exceeded the target of 10 percent total expenditure on agriculture. Senegal and Sierra Leone are close to the target.

Meanwhile, the laggards are Nigeria, Liberia and Ghana, which spend less than 2 percent of their budgets on agriculture.

The report also called on industrialized nations – the United States, France, Britain, Canada, Japan, Germany and Russia – to make good on their various funding promises to help African nations increase agricultural production.

The G8, which meets in June this year, has repeatedly promised to support Africa-led initiatives, yet G8 agriculture investment plans have only secured about half of their required financing, and many donors contribute only a small fraction of their agriculture aid to poor countries, the report said.

The report shows that European Union institutions, Canada and Germany increased their share of foreign assistance to agriculture, while Britain, Japan and France cut theirs.

Canadian Envoy Urges FG To Protect Foreign Investors

The Canadian Minister of International Trade, Mr. Ed Fast has urged the federal government to ensure that foreign investments in Nigeria are protected as part of efforts to further attract foreign direct investment into the country.

Speaking in Abuja at a Bi-National Trade Meeting, Mr. Fast, who led a trade mission to Nigeria, gave the assurance that the Canadian government will provide the necessary technology and expertise that can help developing countries advance and manage their natural resources responsibly while fostering prosperity, job creation, poverty reduction and good governance.

Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, who played host to Mr Fast, said Nigeria will continue to explore trade relations with friendly nations as part of federal government’s efforts to transform the nation’s economy.

He added that Nigeria is one of Canada’s largest trading partners in sub-Saharan Africa and the federal government will explore the strength inherent in the economies of both countries.

 

Nollywood actress Omotola receives BEFFTA award in London

Popular Nollywood actress, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde also known as Omosexy recently received the Black Entertainment Film Fashion Television and Arts (BEFFTA) awards in London.

Omotola has become the first Nigeria movie star to be awarded with the special BEFFTA honorary award in the film category, other high profile personalities who received BEFFTA special award this year included Sir Trevor McDonald Obe recipient of BEFFTA Lifetime Achievement Award.

Addressing the press in London, with so much excitement Omotola said, “this is the best award I have received on a global level, it is such an honor and I’m truly humbled that 16 years of my work in the film industry has been rewarded in a special way internationally.”

BEFFTA founder Pauline Long commended Omotola for her contribution to the film industry and also for her great charitable work.

BEFFTA (Black Entertainment Film, Fashion, Television and Art) award is a special inclusive award ceremony that is committed to celebrating both unknown and known actors under one roof. It is an award ceremony that aims to inspire the community to achieve at the highest level. It also intend spreading its tentacles into the Caribbean, Africa, Canada and USA in the near future.

The BEFFTA Film Icon Award was presented to Omotola by Theodora Ibekwe.

Canadian envoy express confidence in Nigeria’s economy

The Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Chris Cooter, has stated that Canada is currently working on strategies aimed at increasing its Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Nigeria within the next few years due to enhanced confidence in the Nigerian economy.

Cooter disclosed this during a meeting with Nigeria’s Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, in Abuja.

The Canadian envoy noted that as part of efforts to strengthen trade and investment relationship between the two countries, more Canadian companies had already indicated their willingness to invest in infrastructural projects across Nigeria.

He explained that the move was a follow-up to the Nigeria-Canada Bi-National Commission meeting held between the Minister of Trade and Investment; Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, in Abuja recently.

“Two weeks ago, the Nigeria –Canada Bi-National Commission met in Abuja and the centerpiece of that Bi-National Commission was how to build and strengthen economic relationships between Nigeria and Canada. This is one of the reasons we have brought the Senior Executives of SNC Lavalin, one of the leading engineering and Construction Company in Canada, and as top five in the world” he said.

“They have been in Nigeria before, in fact, they were here about 25 years ago. That time, they thought that this was not the best place to invest but today, there is a wind of change going on in Nigeria’s investment landscape which is being driven by the Minister of Trade and Investment. Therefore, we are looking at areas where Canadian companies can invest in Nigeria and how they can form partnerships in Nigeria in line with the Nigeria-Canada Bi-National Commission” he added.

Present at the meeting were Senior Executives of SNC Lavalin, Canada’s biggest engineering and Construction Company, led by the company’s Executive Vice-President, Mr. Michael Novak, and Senior Vice-President, Product and Market Growth, Dr. Mark Hall.

Speaking during the meeting, Mr Aganga said that the Federal Government would partner genuine investors who are willing to invest in critical sectors of the Nigerian economy such an infrastructure, mining, petrochemical and agri-business in order to create jobs for the Nigerian people.

“We have a big infrastructure deficit in Nigeria and that is why the Federal Government is very concerned to bridge the gap by developing the critical infrastructure required to drive our industrial development, especially in those areas where we have comparative and competitive advantage such as mining, petrochemical, agri-business and even the Small and Medium Enterprises sector” he said.

The Minister also added that the government is ready to “work with foreign investors who are interested in investing in infrastructure projects. For those who are interested in Public Private Partnership in the area of infrastructure development, we will link them up with key government agencies such the Infrastructure Concession and Regulation Commission and other ministries or agencies for the necessary action.”

Also speaking during the meeting, the Executive Vice President, SNC Lavalin, Mr. Michael Novak, said the company would explore the Public Private Partnership option to invest in key infrastructural projects in Nigeria.

Mark says it’s time to end state of origin syndrome in Nigeria

Senate President, Senator David Mark, on Monday said that time has come for the country to shift from the syndrome of state of origin and embrace state of residence.

The Senate President, who spoke to journalists in Quebec, Canada, after the opening ceremony of the 127th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly, with the theme “Citizenship, identity, linguistic and cultural diversity in a globalised world,” said that elimination of state of origin and enthronement of state of residence would help to cement relationships in the country.

Mr Mark said one of the issues that would be addressed at the on-going constitution review is a shift from state of origin to state of residence wondering why a person who has lived in a particular place for 20 years performing all necessary civic responsibilities could not become an indigene of the area.

He said: “You should know that one of the issues we’ve been discussing in Constitution amendment is shift from state of origin to state of residence because it is an important issue.

“You are resident in a place for 20 years and still, they don’t take you as part and parcel of that place.

“I think it’s a difficult task but in my candid opinion, I think if we have an open mind and we approach it from a nationalist perspective, rather than a small, clannish perspective, I think we would get it right.

“Let’s forget the business of state of origin and go to state of residence.

“Once you are resident in a place and you perform your civic responsibilities for the period, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t benefit, provided of course you don’t claim dual residency.

“Some Nigerians may be very clever. They would come from Ondo State and are resident in Benue, when the benefits of Benue are not commensurate with their expectations, they shift to Ondo State.

“We can’t have that. Once you take a particular area, you should just be a part and parcel of that particular state.”

Mr Mark said the theme of the conference is extremely relevant.

The theme of the conference is not “just international, it is also national because that is the only way we can domesticate and implement the theme,” he said.

Flamingoes crash out of FIFA U-17 women world cup losing to France on penalty

The first penalty shootout of the FIFA U-17 Women World Cup in Azerbaijan saw Marion Romanelli strike, the winning spot-kick for France as they beat Nigeria 5-3 to reach the semi-finals.

After an enthralling encounter, Sandie Toletti, Ugochi Emenayo and Declercq exchanged efforts before Sarah Nnodim blew her kick.

The pendulum of victory fell to the French with Romanelli tucking home the winner.

The game turned horrible for Nigeria when Captain Adelomon received only the second red card of the tournament for her second yellow of the match.

The loss means Nigeria has failed to scale the quarter-final hurdle for the second tournament running.

Reacting to the loss, Nigeria’s coach, Peter Dedevbo, stated that “France read us very well. We had our strategies, but they did not pay off. Sometimes football is like that. I am not happy, I have taken my team twice to the World Cup and we lost twice in the quarter-finals. I am not happy at all.”

Earlier before the Flamingoes match, Ri un Sim’s formidable scoring form continued, as a late brace from her saw Korea DPR’s record of always reaching the FIFA U-17 women’s World Cup semi-finals continued with a 2-1 win over Canada.

Canada began the game the brighter, with both Summer Clarke and Nichelle Prince getting in behind the Korean backline, but spurned both chances.

Ri un Sim got the opener in the 78th minute, and it was game over for Canada when she again hit target on 87 minutes.  Nichelle Prince’s goal in added time was too late to level scores.