Mr Ekos Akpokabayen, the Chief Investment Officer of Ovid Capita, a private equity and investment company based in the U.K., says his organisation is planning to build an Eco-City in Lagos.
Akpokabayen, who made the disclosure to the Nigeria News Agency on Tuesday on telephone from Johannesburg, South Africa, said the company’s focus was to attract investment into Africa.
” We have acquired 3,900 hectares of land in Osolu area of Lagos State.
” We want to build an Eco-City with a resort, power plant, community centre and a hospital in the area.
“This will take time and we are already working on 100 hectares. We plan to finish 600 hectares of land in five years.
“Ovid Capita believes that Africa needs capital and not aid,’’ he said.
According to him, the company’s focus on sustainable development is in line with the United Nations goal and impact investing.
He also disclosed that Hanson Niels, a Danish businessman, has joined the company to help promote investment in Africa.
Akpokabayen said Niels would be in charge of Finance and Investment in the Nordic region.
`Niels is a humanitarian concerned with development in Nigeria and Africa.
” Our company’s Chief Executive Officer, Anthony Anakwue, and I met him in Denmark.
” His dream is to help Africa grow.
“The message is that his company has world outreach and understands the progress some countries have made and the difficulties in others and how to get different individuals in different parts of the world to work together for a common good where we all can learn from each other,’’ he said.
Akpokabayen further said that the company was of the belief that capital lies in abundance in most European countries.
“And while we want this capital in Africa, we also know that they can learn from us as well.
” They need our culture and understanding so that we can have synergy.
“For those who want to invest in the company, it also gives them the confidence that it has a lot of diversity,’’ Akpokabayen said.
(Edited by: Mufutau Ojo)
COVID-19: Flour mills distributes 35,000 test kits to Kano, Lagos, others
To help Nigeria in its fight against Covid-19 through more rapid testing, the Flour Mills of Nigeria Group (FMN) has distributed 35,000 testing kits to Kano, Lagos and other states.
The distribution, which was done through the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), was targeted at states with the most need of the kits.
A statement issued on Wednesday by the Group’s Chief Operating Officer, Boye Olusanya, said that the distributed kits were part of the 1.5 million dollars CoOVID-19 equipment and kits procured by FMN to assist Nigeria.
He said that the company had ordered an additional 25,000 test kits in order to reach other states that had yet to be supported.
According to a breakdown of distribution, the Federal Capital Territory got 13,000 test kits delivered to NCDC’s National Reference Laboratory in Gaduwa and its Defence Reference Laboratory.
A total of 10,000 kits were delivered to Lagos state: 3,000 to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, 3,000 to 54 Gene Research, 2,000 to the Nigerian Institute for Medical Research and 2,000 to the Lagos Biobank Laboratory.
In Kano, 5,000 kits were distributed to the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital and the Bayero University Kano.
The state was also supported with a ‘Lab in A Box’ which is used for rapid testing in remote locations.
For Kaduna state, 1,500 kits were delivered to the DNA Laboratory while the Irrua Teaching Hospital in Edo got 1,000 test kits.
Oyo State’s University College Hospital Virology Laboratory got 2,000 kits while the African Centre for Genomics of Infectious Diseases at the Redeemers University in Osun state got 1,000 kits.
According to Olusanya, apart from the 1.5m dollars equipment and distribution of kits, the company’s Chairman, Mr John Coumantaros had also redeemed his pledge of N1 billion to the government.
He said Coumantaros has also released N400m for food reliefs to Nigerian communities.
He stressed that the Agro-based giant which had operated for 60 years in Nigeria, was poised to help beef up the nation’s response to COVID-19 and also support poor communities with food supplies.
“To reduce the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak, FMN will continue to work with the Federal Government and related agencies to provide relief materials.
“This includes a fresh order of 25,000 test kits, bring the total number of test kits donated to the Nigerian Government by the FMN Group to 60,000.
“The safety of Nigerians is paramount to us, so we encourage all Nigerians to adhere to the necessary protective measures against the virus and its spread,” he said.
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)
LASG urges state govts to emulate FADAMA model to improve agriculture
The Lagos State Government says the FADAMA model is worth emulating by various levels of governments as the policy is efficient and productive in improving the agricultural sector of the country.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Gbolahan Lawal, made the statement when he received members of the Implementation Completion Review (ICR) Mission Team of FADAMA in his office at Alausa.
The FADAMA III (Additional Financing) Project is a grant to Lagos State from the World Bank’s (IDA) loan through the Federal Government to support the ramping and upscaling of selected staples including rice, cassava, tomato, sorghum across the country.
The project operated for five years between 2014 and 2019 with Lagos State participating as a core state with rice mandate; the project technically closed on Dec. 31, 2019 across the nation.
Lawal said that FADAMA legacies were enduring having thrived for almost three decades through various regimes and eras including military and democratic governments.
He commended members of the team, saying that Lagos State had benefited a lot from FADAMA’s project and had inspired certain policies that the state had embarked upon to improve food security and availability in the state.
The commissioner was happy that the FADAMA project particularly aligned closely with the T.H.E.M.E.S. development agenda of the state government of making Lagos a 21st century economy.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that T.H.E.M.E.S. is an acronym standing for Traffic Management and Transportation; Health and Environment; Education and Technology; Making Lagos a 21st Century State; Security and Governance.
He said it (FADAMA) would provide support through grants transfer for livelihood support, direct and indirect employment, rapid increment in the national food basket and many others.
“The State government is already planning to mainstream the FADAMA model into its agriculture delivery system,’’ the commissioner said in a statement.
Lawal said the model aligned with the state’s initiatives on rice, especially with the imminent completion of the 32 tonnes per hour capacity rice mill at Imota.
“FADAMA legacies are enduring, having thrived for almost three decades through various regimes including military and civilians, hence governments at all levels should mainstream Fadama model into their activities.
“We in Lagos State have already keyed into the Additional Financing Project with our investment in the upgrade of the 2.5 tonnes rice mill at Imota to a 32 tonnes per hour integrated facility, which is set to create over 250,000 jobs on completion,” Lawal said.
The commissioner admitted that the state alone could not produce enough paddies to meet the paddy needs of the new Imota Rice Mill.
He expressed the willingness of the state government to partner with other states and stakeholders to source paddy for the rice mill.
The commissioner urged members of the team to visit the site of the nearly-completed rice mill, when the team embarked on field visits of FADAMA project sites in order to have a first-hand experience of the mill.
Dr Peter Kukwi, FADAMA Team Leader, explained that the Federal Government Borrower’s Implementation Completion Review (ICR) Mission was a statutory exercise to review the FADAMA III AF activities.
According to him, with a view to independently assess, ascertain and document project’s achievements.
Kukwi said it was also to review success stories, learning points, key challenges and making recommendations for future projects.
Also, Mr Jonathan Obayemi, the FADAMA Project Coordinator in Lagos, enumerated some of the project’s achievements in the state.
He said studies conducted at the end of the project in December 2019, revealed among others, that 98 per cent of the beneficiaries of the project in the state, had their income increased by at least 40 per cent.
The FADAMA team comprised of representatives from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Project Coordinating Unit (PCU), Federal Ministry of Finance and consultants.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Adeleye Ajayi
Osinbajo, Sanwo-Olu laud Airtel’s CSR initiative
The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has commended Airtel Nigeria for assisting the underprivileged members of society through its corporate social responsibility initiative.
Osinbajo commended the telco company on Saturday night in Lagos during the premiere of the Season 5 ‘Airtel Touching Lives’ a philanthropic programme sponsored by Airtel Nigeria.
He said the company had made a good call for helping and bringing others out of despair and suffering.
“I really want to laud the effort of Segun Ogunsanya and his team at Airtel for touching so many lives and for doing so in the past five years without fanfare.
“Listening to the stories of the lives that have been touched must be a reminder of so many others in despair who need our help and comfort,” Osinbajo said
He noted that in 2014, among the fundamental plans of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was to create social safety nets for the people in the country and also to show that the government owed a duty to the weak and vulnerable.
Osinbajo said that part of that social safety net was the feeding of about 9.5 million school children ongoing across 34 states.
He said the Federal Government was also giving monthly cash to about 10 million families.
“Inspite of all these social safety net schemes, we are still very far from touching the majority of those who need our help, we still need more resources.
“Because we can’t do it all, that is why socially conscious organisations like Airtel is so vital in bridging the huge gap between what government can do and what is left to be done,” Osinbajo said.
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, who also commended Airtel for touching lives through its CSR initiative, said individuals and organisations who had done very well in their lives should emulate the company by helping the underprivileged.
“Government cannot do it all, that is why organisations like Airtel have seen that they need to work with us and not behind us.
“As partners we work for the greater good of the citizens of Nigeria.
“Airtel has been going out of its way to really touch lives and has also contributed to Lagos State Security Trust Fund by giving us over 200 lines for all our security operatives in the Rapid Response Squad (RRS),” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said that because of the way Airtel supported citizens, the Lagos State Government would be giving the company huge discounts on right of way.
The Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Nigeria, Mr Segun Ogunsanya, in his speech, called on kind-hearted Nigerians to join in uplifting the less-privileged members of society.
He said the ‘Airtel Touching Lives’ served as a platform to promote the culture of giving, self-sacrifice, love and charity among Nigerians.
“The initiative is designed to offer practical relief, succour, hope, opportunities and credible platforms to liberate and empower the underprivileged, disadvantaged individuals, families and communities in the Nigerian society, ‘’ he said.
He said the initiative had continued to record tremendous success since it was launched in 2015.
Ogunsanya said that the success of the programme over the years had encouraged the telecommunication company to keep the show coming back every year.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Wale Ojetimi
Stakeholders call for robust media freedom
Media practitioners and civil society groups on Saturday called for a robust and free press as well as protection for journalists as enshrined in the constitution.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the stakeholders made the call at a gathering in Lagos on the “State of Media and Citizen’s Freedom in Nigeria.”
In his welcome speech, Executive Director, International Press Centre, Lanre Arogundade, noted that many journalists had faced several attacks in the line of duty in recent past.
He said that some media practitioners were also facing trials on account of discharging their duties.
Mr Femi Falana, moderator of the panel of discussants, argued for the expansion of press freedom as enshrined in the constitution and other extant laws.
For Kadaria Ahmed of Daria Media, freedom of the press was not negotiable.
She, however, noted that most conversation around press freedom had been centered around the actions and inactions of the government, with little mention of the role and responsibilities of the judiciary.
She also said that media owners were not protective enough of their staff.
Kadaria called on the media to do a soul searching and organise itself to be more formidable.
In his intervention, Dr Qasim Akinreti, Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State Council, said the constitution was clear on the role of the media in holding government accountable.
He decried the excessive use of power by the political class that sometimes infringe on press freedom.
He noted that Lagos NUJ had been protective of its members through its legal adviser.
Prof. Bola Akinterinwa, a former Director General of the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), said it was embarrassing for journalists to be killed in the line of duty.
Akinterinwa noted that the undermining of press freedom was a global challenge.
He noted that the international community was not unmindful of the vibrancy of the Nigeria press.
He urged journalists in the West African region to work together in tackling the challenges of the region.
NAN reports that the event was put together by Falana & Falana Chambers, Nigerian Guild of Editors and Nigeria Union of Journalists, Lagos State Council.
Others included Coalition for Whistle Blowers and Press Freedom, EIE, WARDC, Institute for Media and Society, Media Rights Agenda, International Press Centre, WSCIJ, HEDA Resource Center, SERAP and Media Career Services.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi