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Corruption fight will be frontal in Buhari’s new administration – Lai Mohammed

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has assured the international community that President Muhammadu Buhari’s new administration will be more determined in the fight against corruption.

Mohammed who gave the assurance in Washington D.C., in an interview with the Voice of America (VOA), said the president will not compromise his anti-corruption programmes and policies.

The Minister is in Washington to engage international media and think tank, promote and reiterate the successes of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

The interview anchored in English by Alhaji Aliyu Mustapha of the VOA Hausa service, the minister said that the anti-corruption fight would be frontal in the agenda of the government because corruption is one of the major causes of poverty and underdevelopment in the country.

He recalled a saying by President Buhari that “if we do not kill corruption, corruption will kill us’ and reiterated the government commitment to the fight against the scourge.

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The minister also reiterated the discovery during the past administration, that 55 Nigerians shared a whopping sum of N1.3 billion equivalent to what the present administration had spent on infrastructure development in four years.

“The President is committed to the fight against corruption and the administration will continue with it.

“For example, the Treasury Single Account has instituted accountability in government‘s earnings and spendings and the whistleblower policy has led to the recovery of billions of Naira.

“It takes more than four years to clean a country endemic in corruption. However, it is on record that this administration has driven corruption under the carpet in four years.

“In the next four years, therefore, the government will consolidate on the achievements recorded particularly in the fight against corruption,” he said.

Speaking on insecurity, the minister said that the administration would apply a multidimensional approach besides deployment of forces.

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He said the government was not unaware of other remote causes of the crises in the affected areas including economic and social reasons, non-inclusiveness, lack of infrastructure and job opportunities.

The minister noted that, by and large, the administration had performed well in addressing insecurity and the country is safer than it was in 2015.

Specifically, he said the government had successfully secured the entire territory of the country from the Boko Haram while the farmers/herdsmen clash in Benue had been curtailed.

Mohammed said that the fight against banditry, killings and banditry in Zamfara and Kaduna has been put under control in the last two weeks because of the synergy among the security forces.

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He assured that the government will continue to strengthen partnership on the regional and international levels in addressing the challenges.

The minister also said that the administration has made progress in economy recovery with deliberate programmers of diversifying the economy through agriculture and other sectors as well as developing infrastructure.

Speaking on the general elections, the minister said that President Buhari’s victory was well deserved and represented the triumph of the ordinary Nigerians over the elites.

He said having delivered on his electoral promises, the people voted for Buhari and he won the elections fairly and squarely with about four million votes.

Mohammed said with the wide margin of winning, the government did not envisage any attempt to delegitimise the will of the people.

NAN

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Palliative: Kano Govt denies destroying FG foodstuff

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The Kano State Government has dismissed as “mischievous” reports insinuating that food items donated to the state under the Federal Government palliative on COVID-19 had been destroyed.

Malam Muhammad Garba, the state’s Commissioner for Commissioner, Information, Youths, and Culture, in a statement on Tuesday in Kano, dismissed the report as “roguish” peddled by disgruntled elements.

The reports alleged that the grains were destroyed due to a lack of storage facilities.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the federal government had supplied over 100 trucks of grains, including millet, maize, rice, and sorghum for distribution to the poor to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown.

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However, speculations alleged that the grains kept in the open at the Kano State Agricultural Supply Company (KASCO), ere damaged by rain in the past few days.

Reacting to the rumor, Garba said that the state government had made proper arrangements to preserve the grain.

He noted that even before the food items were supplied, Kano had recorded its first rainfall, adding that proper arrangements were made to preserve it.

“I, therefore, urge the public to disregard the roguish which is being peddled by some disgruntled elements to discredit the effort of the government at all cost.

“We took into consideration the rainy season which has already set in and adopted measures to protect the grains from being destroyed by the prevailing hot weather occasioned by the scorching sun or rain by keeping them under the waterproof tarpaulin,’’ he said.

Garba explained that the food items were in the custody of the State Fundraising Committee on COVID-19, which was finalizing arrangements to begin distribution to the poor families in the state.

“We completed the first phase of the distribution of palliatives donated by corporate organizations and individuals to the deserving households in the 484 political wards in the 44 local government areas of the state.

“As soon as we are done with the arrangement, the second phase of distribution of food items sent by the federal government will commence,” he added.

The commissioner, however, commended the people of the state for their support and understanding in the prevailing challenges posed by the global pandemic

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Zoho offers guidance on right software for non technology companies

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The technology company, Zoho Corporations, on Tuesday, offered guidance to non-technology companies on how to select software products to support remote and on-site working requirements in the face of COVID-19.

Mr. Andrew Bourne, Zoho’s Country Manager for the African region, said in a statement in Lagos that local businesses should make their operations digital and remote at a much faster pace as a result of the pandemic.

Bourne said that some of the considerations for a non-techie to select suitable software would include the bigger picture, prioritizing privacy, easy integration, and the right pricing.

According to him, working from home has become the de-facto way of operation for many, prompting businesses to take a hard look at whether their software solutions are standing up to their work-from-home needs.

”The sheer number of software solutions available for businesses, combined with rapid technological innovation, can make the choice extremely difficult.

”Although there is something to suit virtually every need, it is important for businesses to take time to ensure they choose solutions that not only fulfill those needs but also work together so that decision-makers have a cohesive and comprehensive picture of the business at all times,” Bourne said.

According to him, in selecting software, there is a need to consider the bigger picture by clearly defining business software needs, as well as prioritizing goals that the tools need to help business owners to achieve.

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He said that the right software solutions would streamline operations and increase efficiency in a logical, easy-to-use way, and allow the user to focus on the work rather than the application.

The country manager said that as technology users were aware of basic online security, they should be demanding more of software solutions to ensure data privacy and security.

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According to him, privacy factors, including data protection, file encryption, and cloud security, should be taken into consideration and discussed with the software providers to ensure a solution that guarantees privacy at the highest level.

Bourne said that software solutions should be integrated in a seamless way to improve productivity by speeding up the flow of information through departments.

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He said that the best solution at the most competitive price would be the most desirable way to go, but said it would be important to ensure value for money, irrespective of the brand.

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ACCI calls for stronger Nigeria-India economic relations

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Mr. Adetokunbo Kayode, President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), has called for a refocused and stronger economic ties between Nigeria and India.

Kayode made the call on Tuesday in Abuja while speaking as a panelist at the webinar meeting tagged: “India – Nigeria Business Promotion, Challenges, and Opportunities – Post-COVID-19”.

Kayode, an economic expert, noted that in a rejigged relationship, a win-win situation should be the watchword.

He said that it had been informally estimated that there would be around 10 billion dollars of investment by Indian companies in Nigeria.

“A maybe very substantial part of that amount has been loaned to Indian companies by Nigerian government-owned banks like, Bank of Industry, Nigeria Exim Bank, Development Bank of Nigeria, NIRSAL FUND of the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as commercial banks.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted negatively on the relationship between the two countries, especially on medical tourism, which is one of the key areas.

“Some of us attended schools that Indians were teachers. For us to move forward, we need to rejig the already existing obsolete 1973 Trade Agreement between Nigeria and India.

“In doing so, we have to bear in mind that Nigeria has several areas where it can do business with India,” he said.

According to him, if Nigeria is ready to use Indian technology then, India should also help Nigeria to diversify its economy into agriculture, mining, manufacturing, amongst others.

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He recalled that in the Great Gujarat gathering in 2019, it was discovered that several Indian companies were rather using Indian firms in Nigeria to carry out activities in a manner that undermined local legislations, particularly in trading in retail and distribution services.

On the challenges in the trade relations, Kayode pointed out that the absence of Indian manufacturing hubs in Africa and Nigeria, in particular, as well as intrusion into local businesses needed to be addressed to strengthen the ties.

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In a remark, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Abbay Thakur, said Nigeria was one of Indian’s biggest trading partners for several years.

He highlighted some of the activities of Indian companies in Nigeria in several sectors cutting across agriculture, power, technology, automobile, health, and pharmaceuticals, among others.

Other participants at the event unanimously expressed the desire to actively participate in activities and programs that would ensure the sustainability of the already existing cordial relationship.

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