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Osinbajo Assures FG Will Continue With Business Reforms Agenda

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By Gloria Ikibah

Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has assured that the Presidential Muhammadu Buhari led-administration will continue to push its business reform agenda for which the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) was established, so as to create an enabling environment for more investments in the country, including from Nigerians abroad.

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Prof. Osinbajo spoke at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday while receiving some of the participants at the ongoing Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit (NDIS), led by the chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Dr. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, and the acting governor of Ondo State, Mr. Lucky Orimisan Ayedatiwa.

In a statement by the VP’s media aide, Laolu Akande, he noted the contributions of Nigerians in the diaspora to the economy, especially with the remittances sent into the country and said, “when you look at the role the diaspora has played in our economy, the remittances are wonderful and that is huge, relatively speaking.”

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The VP then stated that while it is clear there is rising interest to invest at home by Nigerians abroad, what would bring more investments from those in the diaspora, “is to create the environment that ensures it is easy for them to invest.

“It is now obvious that there are incredible opportunities that can be taken advantage of by our folks in the diaspora. They can see and recognize those advantages.”

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The VP stressed the seriousness with which the administration is taking the Ease of Doing Business Initiative. He observed the challenges involved in working through a “bureaucracy that is accustomed to being more of an obstacle than a facilitator.”

He added: “We are breaking that – bureaucracy is everywhere and tends to be that way and after a while, regulators (of businesses) don’t recognize anymore that the reason they are there is to facilitate business. They are more policemen than facilitators”.

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He further acknowledged that some regulators “are beginning to understand that the economy depends on how well they do their work and how easy it is for people to come through their gates and leave their gates with some success.

“There is a great deal more attention being paid to achieving something and we have had discussions with several of the regulators including the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC. We have seen substantial changes in their approach and attitude.

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“For example, if you recall, if you were doing any sort of banking business, you need to take a banking license of N25billion. CBN in response to some of the work being done agreed that for many financial intermediary services, there was a need to create other licenses that were not that expensive.

We have about 6 categories of licenses where, in some cases, you don’t pay up to a N100million. This is why we were able to get a lot of these FinTechs between 2015 and now, taking these cheaper licenses because a lot of them do financial intermediation on electronic platforms, doing payment processes. There are quite a few of them, but 5 of them are now considered unicorns, companies worth over $1billion.”

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Reacting to the possibility of Venture Capitalists in the diaspora willing to invest in start-ups in Nigeria, Prof Osinbajo welcomed the idea.

His words: “the interesting thing is that there are a lot of Venture Capital firms involved, investors from different parts of the world investing in them (FinTechs and other businesses).

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“I think that there is a lot to be said about how we make the environment easier for investors to come and not just bringing them in and leaving them to sort themselves out, but the handholding efforts (by NIDCOM) are so crucial so that those who want to invest don’t have too many obstacles, but we know that we are in with them for the long haul.”

A member of the delegation, Dr Chris Brooks, a Jamaican-Nigerian living in America expressed interest in investing in Nigeria.

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According to him, “there is growing excitement and energy in the Nigerian diaspora, especially in the United States. We have come to the conclusion that the best hope we have for black people globally is Nigeria. So, we intend to make investments in Nigeria and partner deeply with Nigeria.

“I work with a wide variety of Venture Capital Firms led by black people, to advance the cause of black people globally. I intend to bring other Venture Capital leaders who control an enormous amount of assets to have conversations with Nigeria about emerging opportunities for investments.”

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Responding, the VP said, “I am excited that Dr. Brooks has a consortium of possible Venture Capital Firms and fund managers prepared to put some of their resources in Nigeria. I hope that we are able to actually get them to invest and we will do whatever we can to support that effort and support what is already going on. If you need a couple of doors open, we will do our best to ensure that we help.”

In her own remarks, Dr Dabiri-Erewa stated that through the intervention of the Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit, “in the last 5 years, we have had investments, particularly in the area of Agriculture, Medicare, ICT and Education. For those in the diaspora, there is passion and interest to invest in Nigeria and the ease of doing business has improved tremendously under the leadership of the Vice President.”

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The VP commended NiDCOM and the passion of its chairman, noting that she has brought a lot of zeal to the work of the Commission.

Others at the meeting included a delegation from Ondo and Ekiti States, who are also attending the summit, and officials from NIDS and NiDCOM.

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After giving my wife, N100k, she lodged in hotel with her lover for 4days, man tells Court

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Mr Hakeem Olarenwaju has narrated his ordeal to a court, how he gave his wife, N100,000 and she lodged in a hotel with her lover for four days.

To this end, Olarenwaju, has approached Grade A Customary Court, Mapo, Ibadan, Oyo State, seeking that it dissolves the 16-year-old union between him and his wife, Fatima Olarenwaju.

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Hakeem told the court that his wife whom he met as a single parent started misbehaving a few years into their marriage.

The plaintiff stated that he went into marriage with the defendant despite his father’s disapproval of their relationship, and that today he is regretting his action.

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Hakeem explained that Fatima who was initially loving, dedicated and obedient, suddenly changed and became defiant despite allowing her to bring to his house the child from her first marriage.

According to the plaintiff, the defendant constantly denied him sex and rubbed shoulders with him in the house.

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He further stated that she took to leaving home without his knowledge and consent, adding that there were times she travelled without informing him.

Hakeem added that he later found out that she was having an affair with another man whom she sometimes lodged with.

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Fatima, he added, finally moved out of his house.

He thus begged the court, if his prayer of divorce was answered to grant him custody of their two children whom she has failed to be a good example to.

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Fatima was absent in court despite being served court summonses.

Hakeem while giving his evidence said, “I went against my father’s wish and went ahead in 2006 to marry my wife who I met as a single parent.

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“Fatima and I had a blissful marriage despite the criticism from my family and my father in particular.

“She was well behaved and dedicated to me and our children. We were always together and shared each other’s dreams. She was my best friend.

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“I gave her N100,000 to start a business which blossomed and flourished in a short period.

“We were a happy family until my wife started misbehaving in 2010.

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“Fatima cultivated the habit of leaving home without my knowledge and consent and would return home late.

“The more I complained, the worse she became. Fatima would call off my bluff any time I threatened to deal with her.

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” I overlooked her shortcomings and allowed her to bring her daughter by another man to my home. But rather than be thankful for my display of generosity, all I got from her were abuses as a result of her caustic tongue.”

The plaintiff further said, “My lord, my wife is unfaithful to me. She was dating another man while under my roof.

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“She would lie to me that she was going to cater at a party being a caterer, but would go and spend the weekend with her lover.

“Fatima once travelled out of town for four days without informing me. She left no clue about her whereabouts while her phone was switched off.

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“I later learnt she travelled with her lover for those days and this led to a quarrel between us.

“I reported her to her parents and they helped resolved our differences, but Fatima to my chagrin abandoned all her duties in the home.

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“She refused me sex and stopped cooking my food. Her daughter was the one preparing my meals.

“She totally neglected me and refused to have anything to do with me.

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“Fatima finally packed out of my house which was why I came to court.

“My lord, I entreat the court to officially end our marriage and grant me custody of our two children.

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“Fatima’s lifestyle is questionable and as such can’t be a good example to our children.

The court president, Mrs S.M Akintayo, adjourned the case after he has heard the plaintiff and ordered that a fresh hearing notice be served the respondent.

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Truck Kills Road Safety officials on patrol

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By Gloria Ikibah

Two patrol operatives of the Federal Road Safety Corps were crushed to death on the Ikot-Ikpene-Aba road on Friday.

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Corps Spokesperson, Bisi Kazeem said that the crash occurred as a result of excessive speed indulged in by the driver of a DAF articulated truck while trying to dodge a pothole along the axis.

“According to preliminary investigation, the fatal crash involved a FRSC Patrol Vehicle and a white coloured truck.

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“The road crash affected a total of eight male adults, out of which two sustained severe injuries, two were killed while the remaining four passengers were rescued without any injuries.

“The injured persons have been taken to Ikot Ekpene General hospital and the dead deposited in the mortuary of the same hospital”, Kazeem stated.

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The Acting Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps, Dauda Biu, decried the incessant knock down and crushing of patrol operatives.

Biu said that the killing of the two officers was part of the recklessness of some drivers who have continuously violated the legally prescribed speed limit.

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He pledged the resolve of the Corps to apprehend perpetrators of the deadly act and make them face the full wrath of the law.

The FRSC boss conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the families of the staff who lost their lives in active service.

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Biu further assured the public of the Corps’ resilience to ensure that the perpetrators of such bad driving culture were forced to face the law.

“We advise motorists to desist from such act by complying with acceptable road safety regulations, as the Corps will not spare anyone engaged in this deadly act of recklessness on the road,” he added.

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Blind teacher In Oyo State Shares His Experience

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A visually impaired teacher and freelance broadcaster, Ayanwale Ayantola, who teaches English Language at the Adeniran Memorial Grammar School, Ogbomoso, Oyo State, and shares his experience.

*Some people with visual impairment had difficult childhoods. Was it the same for you?*

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I can say yes because the impression Nigerians have about people with disabilities is not encouraging. I was not born blind. I lost my sight when I was a SS2 pupil, though I had a visual problem when I was in junior secondary school. I attended Ori-Oke Baptist Primary School, Ogbomoso, and Ori-Oke Community High School, but did not graduate from the school because of the problem I had with my sight. As a JSS2 pupil, I noticed that I could not see clearly. That led me to use recommended glasses. Later, I found it difficult to see the blackboard unless I moved closer. My school principal and some other teachers noticed the problem when my performance dropped because they knew I was a brilliant pupil.

So, they told me to bring my parents to school and when they came, my father explained the challenges I had with my eyes. We later went to Jos, Plateau State, where I had the first surgery. Each of my eyes was operated on three times, but I did not know what the doctors told my dad. However, I was advised not to force myself to read with the eyes but rather to use the level of vision I had left to aid my movement.

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*Did the doctors tell your parents what was wrong with your eyes or why you could not see clearly?*

Yes. I was told I had glaucoma and my father was advised to enrol me in a school for the blind. In 2007, I was enrolled in the Oyo State School for the Blind, Ogbomoso, where I spent about eight months learning Braille and typewriting. I wanted to become a medical doctor and was a science pupil at Ori-Oke Community High School. I was told that I could not continue as a science student, so I became an arts pupil. After learning Braille and typewriting at the school for the blind, I went back to SS1 at Adeniran Memorial Grammar School, Ogbomoso, where I currently work as a teacher.

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*Can you remember the point when you completely lost your sight?*

When I was at the school for the blind, I could see partially and move about to do one or two things. I lost my sight completely in 2006. That was the time I forced my eyes to read printed copies of the materials I used to prepare for examinations organised by the West African Examinations Council. That was against the advice I was given not to read with my eyes. I can remember that on the day I lost my sight, I visited one of my seniors in school. As I tried to enter the class, I hit my forehead on one of the pillars and fainted. That was when I realised that I could no longer see.

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*How did your condition impact your relationship with people in your community?*

Many of my friends left me because they thought I was no longer part of them since I would attend a school for the blind, which was a boarding school. When I graduated from the school, I could not find any of them, because they had moved ahead of me academically, having returned to SS1 due to my condition.

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*How did you qualify as a teacher?*

I attended the Federal College of Education (Special), Oyo, and studied English/Visually Impaired Study. I graduated between 2004 and 2005. I found it easy to cope there because of my knowledge of the use of Braille. I could still see partially when I was at the college, so it was not difficult to find me around the school. In fact, I was the one guiding most of the blind students there. But now, people guide me because my sight is completely lost. I also attended the National Teachers Institute.

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*Were you bugged by your inability to attend a university and study Medicine, which was your dream course?*

I felt bad. My life has totally changed. If not for the advice I received, I wanted to commit suicide.

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*Read full story in Punch*

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