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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

UN study says digitizing Kenyan farmers' payment helps tackle poverty

The United Nations-based Better Than Cash Alliance has concluded a study which showed how agriculture nonprofit organization One Acre Fund in partnership with Citi Inclusive Finance, successfully digitized loan repayments for farmers in Kenya, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This move significantly boosted transparency and efficiency, driving economic opportunity and financial inclusion for thousands of smallholder farmers and their families.

Head, Communication at Better Than Cash Alliance, Angela Corbalan, said the study by One Acre Fund was supported by Citi, and enabled farmers to easily make loan repayments via mobile money instead of cash, reducing the uncertainty, inefficiency, insecurity and high costs previously caused by cash transactions.

NaijaAgroNet reports that with this digitization, One Acre Fund could now reach more farmers with greater reliability, and staff can spend almost half as much time collecting payments in cash, using that extra time to help farmers increase their incomes through training and educational programs.
“With One Acre Fund’s package of services, including training and inputs like seed and fertilizer, the average farmer participating in the program earned nearly 50 per cent more than peer farmers who do not participate,” she said.

In addition, she listed some of the findings to include that there has been increased participant satisfaction due to transparency and convenience; 85 per cent decrease in instances of repayment fraud as well as reduction in processing time for each repayment from 12-16 days to 2-4 days.

“… Farmers now know immediately when their payment is received, eliminating the worry about whether it arrived,” she said.

Further, NaijaAgroNet reports that study found out that Eighty per cent decrease in repayment processing costs, while 46 per cent of time reduced for staff working on collections, allowing for more time helping farmers to improve agricultural practices.

Just as women farmers benefited especially, because they now feel safer about payment deliveries.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

AHF prescribes 3-phased PPP strategy for Africa

The African Healthcare Federation (AHF) has proposed a new Public and Private Partnership (PPP) strategy for the continent, to be phased in in three stages, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Chairman of the African Healthcare Federation, Dr Amit Thakker, gave this description, saying that phase 1, will include dialogue between government and private sector federations to clarify roles and agree on a shared vision.

On the phase 2, he said, will include creating or adapting regulatory frameworks and contractual obligations and the institutionalisation of PPP Acts.

While the phase 3, he said, will be the project implementation phase, which will include building and operating projects and products, followed by evaluation and sharing of information and case studies.

“Innovation should be driven by the private sector, while the public sector should be responsible for creating an enabling environment for innovation to flourish,” he said.

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Monday, May 29, 2017

Public, Private Partnership to boost African healthcare indicators

The chairman of the African Healthcare Federation, Dr Amit Thakker, has said that increased spending on healthcare in the public and private sectors across the African continent have resulted in improved health indicators and life expectancies, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Thakker, a speaker at the Africa Health Exhibition & Congress noted that the progress of this improvement is extremely slow and not commensurate with the increase in funding.

Also Thakker pointed out that the private healthcare sector,  as well as non-government organisations (NGOs) are well placed to help improve healthcare across the continent, and while there have been Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), stressing, these need to be stepped up if Africa wants to beat its healthcare challenges.

According to Thakker, these poor outcomes reflect challenges with governance and leadership, while noting that budget allocations in a number of African countries are relatively large, but unfortunately inefficiencies reduce their impact substantially.

“We would have saved twice as many children and women if governments were efficient,” Thakker declared.

Leader of Deloitte Digital Africa, and leader for Healthcare and Life Sciences, Valter Adão says “Healthcare spend is often sizeable in dollar terms but low relative to GDP, like in Nigeria, or reasonably comparable to European countries but the outcomes are poor, like in South Africa.”

“The deviation from the traditional PPP models is that governments would not be the recipients, but owners or implementers and perhaps even the investors into these solutions,” Adão recently told the World Economic Forum.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Biological Diversity: UN says tourists must protect nature

The United Nations has said that tourism must not undermine the nature that attracts tourists in the first place, reports NaijaAgroNet.
The Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), a United Nations-backed treaty on biological diversity, Cristiana Pasca Palmer, made this call at marking International Day for Biological Diversity.
“Tourism grows, so does the risk of harming the environment […] It will be important therefore such developments do not undermine the very natural beauty that draws tourists in the first place,” said Cristiana Pasca Palmer, in her message for the Day, which this year is celebrated under the theme Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism.
Many natural areas with rich biodiversity, such as beaches, coasts and islands, mountains, rivers and lakes, are popular tourism destinations. Roughly half of the leisure trips taken globally are to natural areas, she noted.
It is therefore important to understand that the way tourism is managed will impact biodiversity and conversely, the way ecosystems are managed will impact the sustainability of tourism, as tourists will not come to polluted or degraded destinations.
The Convention was adopted on 22 May 1992 as the international legal instrument for “the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources” that has since been ratified by 196 nations.
In 2010, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 22 May as the International Day for Biological Diversity.
In his message for the Day, UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary General Taleb Rifai said: “Together we can make tourism an ally in fighting loss of biodiversity and achieving the Global Goals for a better world.”
In that regard, UNWTO is encouraging more destinations to set up sustainable tourism observatories, he said.
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has also been working with all its partners to explore pathways for ensuring the long-term sustainability of tourism while also ensuring that it contributes positively to biodiversity.

“Biodiversity is as necessary for nature and humankind as cultural diversity, to build stronger, more resilient societies, equipped with the tools they need to respond to the challenges of today and tomorrow,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova in her message for the Day.

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Ethiopian Tedros Ghebreyesus elected first African WHO Director-General

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has elected Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as its new Director-General, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, NaijaAgroNet gathered, was nominated by the Government of Ethiopia, and will begin his five-year term on 1 July 2017.

Remarkably, this is the first time, since 1941 that an African is elected to this post and the first time ever that the whole African continent had one candidate.

NaijaAgroNet also gathered that prior to his election as WHO’s next Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus served as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ethiopia from 2012–2016 and as Minister of Health, Ethiopia from 2005–2012. He has also served as chair of the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; as chair of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership Board; and as co-chair of the Board of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.

As Minister of Health, Ethiopia, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus led a comprehensive reform effort of the country's health system, including the expansion of the country’s health infrastructure, creating 3500 health centres and 16 000 health posts; expanded the health workforce by 38 000 health extension workers; and initiated financing mechanisms to expand health insurance coverage. 

As Minister of Foreign Affairs, NaijaAgroNet reports he led the effort to negotiate the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, in which 193 countries committed to the financing necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

As Chair of the Global Fund and of RBM, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus secured record funding for the two organizations and created the Global Malaria Action Plan, which expanded RBM’s reach beyond Africa to Asia and Latin America.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will succeed Dr Margaret Chan, who has been WHO’s Director-General since 1 January 2007.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

UNICEF sends 6-point agenda to G7 Summit

As the 43rd G7 Summit gets underway in Italy, the United Nations Child Fund (UNICEF) has sent a six-point agenda to the governments across the world for action to protect refugee and migrant children and ensure their wellbeing, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The 43rd G7 summit, NaijaAgroNet gathered would hold between May 26 and 27, 2017 in Taormina (ME), Sicily, Italy.

Disclosing this, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Justin Forsyth, said the call has become imperative for the governments to adopt its six-point agenda due to global rise in refugee and migrant children since 2010.

 “These children need a real commitment from governments around the world to ensure their safety throughout their journeys. Leaders gathering next week at the G7 should lead this effort by being the first to commit to our six-point agenda for action,” Forsyth said.

The UNICEF agenda, Forsyth said, include protection of child refugees and migrants, particularly unaccompanied children, from exploitation and violence;  End the detention of children seeking refugee status or migrating, by introducing a range of practical alternatives; and keep families together as the best way to protect children and give children legal status.

In addition, UNICEF agenda comprised keeping all refugee and migrant children learning and give them access to health and other quality services; Press for action on the underlying causes of large scale movements of refugees and migrants; and Promote measures to combat xenophobia, discrimination and marginalization in countries of transit and destination. 

Further, UNICEF also urged the public to stand in solidarity with children uprooted by war, violence and poverty, by supporting the six-point agenda for action.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, and works in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

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FRSC uncovers Indian hemp in apprehended vehicle

FRSC uncovers Indian hemp in apprehended vehicle: ITRealms : The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has uncovered some packs of Indian hemp in apprehended vehicle, reports ITRealms . ...

ITREALMS ... everything news digitally!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, Caribbean top continents trafficking children globally

Countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America and the Caribbean have the highest share of children among detected trafficking victims at 64 and 62 per cent respectively, reports NaijaAgroNet.

According to the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) in its latest study tagged A Child is a Child, showed that 200,000 unaccompanied children applied for asylum across around 80 countries in 2015-2016.

Also, NaijaAgroNet reports that some 100,000 unaccompanied children were apprehended at the United States (US)-Mexico border between 2015 and 2016.

While some 170,000 unaccompanied children applied for asylum in Europe in 2015-2016, there were unaccompanied and separated children which accounted for 92 per cent of all children arriving Italy by sea in 2016 and the first months of 2017.

Children, UNICEF said, accounted for approximately 28 per cent of trafficking victims globally.
“As much as 20 per cent of smugglers have links to human trafficking networks,” the study stated.

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Refugee, migrant children traveling alone rose to five-fold – UNICEF

The global number of refugee and migrant children moving alone has reached a record high, increasing nearly five-fold since 2010, UNICEF said in a new report made available to NaijaAgroNet.
At least some 300,000 unaccompanied and separated children were recorded in some 80 countries in the combined years of 2015 and 2016, up from 66,000 in 2010 and 2011, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The report entitled ‘A Child is a Child: Protecting children on the move from violence, abuse and exploitation’ was recently presented at a global snapshot of refugee and migrant children, the motivations behind their journeys and the risks they face along the way.

The report also showed that an increasing number of these children are taking highly dangerous routes, often at the mercy of smugglers and traffickers, to reach their destinations, clearly justifying the need for a global protection system to keep them safe from exploitation, abuse and death.   

UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Justin Forsyth said that one child moving alone is one too many, and yet today, there are a staggering number of children doing just that, stressing that as adults are failing to protect them.

“Ruthless smugglers and traffickers are exploiting their vulnerability for personal gain, helping children to cross borders, only to sell them into slavery and forced prostitution. It is unconscionable that we are not adequately defending children from these predators,” Forsyth said.

The report includes the story of Mary, a 17-year-old unaccompanied minor from Nigeria, who experienced the trauma of being trafficked firsthand during her horrific journey through Libya to Italy. 

When describing the smuggler turned trafficker who offered to help her, she said, “Everything (he) said, that we would be treated well, and that we would be safe, it was all wrong. It was a lie.” Mary was trapped in Libya for more than three months where she was abused. “He said to me if I didn’t sleep with him he would not bring me to Europe. He raped me.”

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Court rejects Nestle’s trademark claims over Kit Kat bar

A London court penultimate Wednesday, May 17, 2017 has rejected an attempt by Nestle to trademark the distinctive four-fingered shape of the KitKat chocolate bar in Britain, reports NaijaAgroNet.

According to The Washington Times, the four finger KitKat bar, which is characteristic of Nestle’s Kit Kat bar not a trademarkable feature, the Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday, in what the BBC described as “the latest twist in a decade-long UK chocolate wars saga between Nestle and Cadbury.”

NaijaAgroNet recalls that issue at stake has been the sale in the U.K. of the Norweigan candy bar, Kvikk Lunsj, which also has a four-finger shape, although its packaging is distinctive and not readily confused with that of the Kit Kat bar.

The UK court affirmed the evidentiary findings of a lower court, which had rejected Nestle’s claim for trademark protection.

“As the Hearing Officer said here, trade marks are intended to permit consumers to make informed choices between the competing goods of different undertakings in the course of trade,” Lord Justice David Kitchin wrote for the court. “The shape of the KIT KAT bar has not been used to promote or market KIT KATs in recent times. It has nothing, therefore, to do with the informed choices that consumers make between similar products.”

For its part, Nestle suggests the ruling is out of step with legal protections in other country where Kit Kat is sold.

“Nestlé’s four-finger shape has been granted trademark registration in many countries of the world, for instance,” The Washington Times reported.

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Over 1m African children’s lives improved by local social entrepreneurs

Over one million African children have benefited from social enterprise development on the continent in the last five years, reports NaijaAgroNet.

According to a new report released by Reach for Change Africa, a non-profit organization, also reported that over 300 early-stage social entrepreneurs were supported to develop organizations that are improving the lives of children, youth and women in 7 African countries.

NaijaAgroNet gathered, Reach for Change Africa is marking its 5th anniversary themed “Accelerating Impact. Driving Change”, 

Since it was first launched in Accra, Ghana in 2012, Reach for Change Africa has provided crucial business development support for social entrepreneurs who, in turn, used their social businesses to impact over one million children. As a result, over 435,000 African children were protected from mental abuse and threats, over 308,000 children were provided with high quality education, and over 156,000 children were supported to develop and live healthy lives.

“The social enterprise movement is really starting to take off in Africa, and we are honoured to be a part of this movement for change,” said Amma Lartey, Reach for Change Africa’s Regional Director. “With the right supports, social entrepreneurs have the potential to lead Africa’s development and impact millions along the way.”

Reach for Change Africa is a non-profit organization that runs incubators, accelerators and other customized programs to help local social entrepreneurs develop sustainable organizations that impact the lives of children, youth and women.

Additionally, the report showed a number of social entrepreneurs from the 7 countries where Reach for Change Africa operates, explaining how the organization’s programs helped them to develop their social ventures.

“Being in the Incubator has helped me develop a scalable model,” said Carolyne Ekyarisiima, the founder of Apps & Girls in Tanzania. Apps & Girls is a social enterprise that is bridging the gender gap in ICT through coding clubs, workshops, exhibitions, hackathons, bootcamps and competitions for girls and young women. Since joining the Reach for Change Incubator, Ms. Ekyarisiima has scaled her organization from just one location to 21 clubs in Dar es Salaam.

“This year, I spoke with my mentor at Reach for Change about the possibility of franchising my social enterprise and got great feedback. This led me to apply for the NEXTGEN franchising competition and because of the great influence and impact of the Reach for Change Incubator, I was among the winners! Now I am looking into scaling Apps & Girls across all of Tanzania and other African countries,” she added.

The Reach for Change Incubator also helped James Kofi Annan build a social enterprise that’s fighting child-trafficking in Ghana.

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She Leads Africa launches 2017 accelerators for women

A social enterprise dedicated to supporting young African women towards professionalism, the She Leads Africa (SLA) has launched its 2017 accelerators programme to last for some 90 days, reports NaijaAgroNet.

SLA, NaijaAgroNet gathered focuses on guiding young African women to success through online content and offline programmes, leveraging on its alliances.

NaijaAgroNet  also reports that the 2017 Accelerator consists of one week residencies in the four locations where entrepreneurs would receive training from the SLA team and business leaders and experts.

The four locations across Nigeria, NaijaAgroNet reports include the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, and Kaduna.

NaijaAgroNet  further reports that the 3-month programme has been designed to identify, support and fund the next generation of Nigeria’s brightest entrepreneurs.

According to the organisers, during these residencies, entrepreneurs will be focused on business strategy, growth, marketing, finance and distribution.

“They will also receive a host of on and offline training as well as an opportunity to pitch their business to national and international investors,” NaijaAgroNet  was told in a press statement.

This 2017 SLA Accelerator is run in partnership with the Work in Progress! Alliance - a consortium of Oxfam, Butterfly Works and VC4A focused on driving job creation and youth employment in Nigeria. The Kaduna Agribusiness cohort is sponsored by OCP.

Entrepreneurs interested in applying should visit for more information on or before June 25, 2017.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Latest test shows childhood genetic disorders ‘transformational’

The near exhausting way doctors are often forced to diagnose a group of rare genetic disorders in children could be transformed by a new test developed by The University of Manchester and Saint Mary’s Hospital, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Inborn errors of metabolism (IEMs), NaijaAgroNet reports, are rare inherited conditions where enzymes that break down toxins or serve other essential functions in the body are missing. 

There are more than 500 IEMs – some as rare as only one in several thousand individuals. But collectively they are common, affecting the lives of thousands; many children die before they reach adulthood. 

According to the team, the test could help around half of all children affected by IEMs. It can also be used for prenatal testing, helping parents to plan for future pregnancies. 

The researchers combined a test for more than 200 IEMs by using technology known as ‘Next generation sequencing’ of DNA. 

The single blood or saliva test could replace the battery of stressful tests children - and parents-  must endure-  including invasive procedures such as biopsies or spinal taps. 

The findings, published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, may also enable diagnosis of some rare disorders, that were previously not possible using traditional approaches. 

Many IEMs are associated with a shortened life span; others may be less severe but cause serious problems, affecting the brain, bones, gut and liver. 

Dr Siddharth Banka, Dr Arunabha Ghosh, Dr Simon Ramsden and Dr Simon Jones at The University of Manchester and Saint Mary’s Hospital led the project. 

Dr Banka, Consultant Clinical Geneticist and Clinical Senior Lecturer said: “Using cutting edge technology at the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, we have demonstrated that Next Generation Sequencing could transform the diagnosis of patients with these rare genetic conditions. 
“We hope this will mean a child can be diagnosed accurately without having to undergo difficult and invasive tests, improving access to treatment.” 

The researchers analysed the new test in 102 individuals with suspected childhood-onset IEMs. 
In 50% of the individuals, the new test fully or partially established the molecular cause to facilitate diagnosis. 

The researchers also found that using NGS after biochemical testing, such as blood and urine, helped to avoid further invasive, lengthy or expensive investigations in 69% of the individuals. 

Dr Jones said: “After the initial study period, we are now using this test regularly in Manchester and over 350 patients have already benefitted."

Dr Ghosh said: “We have shown it is highly reliable and can be easily done when a doctor suspects that a patient may have an inborn error of metabolism.

"In the long run we believe this test will save money for the NHS.” 

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Nigeria: A nation of grass-cutters?

At this era of recession in Nigeria, its alarming how the political elites are turning the agony of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), into grass-cutting enterprise. REMMY NWEKE in this report for NaijaAgroNet x-rays how this is contributing to food insecurity in the IDPs, north-east and malnutrition nationwide.
Man in the centre of grass-cutting deal, David Babachir Lawal
Mere hearing of the word grass-cutter for a layman, one is made to believe it is a rodent with scientific name of Thryonomysswinderianus, although known in some quarters as the marsh cane-rat, ground hog and given its relationship from the family of Hystricomorphaequally known as porcupine family.

But literally speaking, the word grass-cutters have since assumed a different meaning in the Nigerian context, at least in the last six months, due to the ugly incident of discovery of huge sums of money allegedly appropriated for the so-called cutting of grass in the troubled north-eastern Nigeria, following the lingering Boko Haram insurgency.

At first, it was a whistle blowing effort by a Senator, APC Kaduna-South, Mr. Sani Shehu for this word to assume a different dimension, because according to him, every day since the President Muhammdu Buhari APC-led government assumed power at the federal, there have series of fund said to have been donated for the rehabilitation of families who have been sacked from their homes by a group of terrorist, Boko Haram, but it seems the effect remain invisible both in the camps and lives of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

Malnourished baby Zeinab and mother in IDP camp ... Courtesy UNICEF Nigeria
50,000 IDP children malnourished due to food insecurity:
From the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) there are estimated 50,000 children in the IDP camp that  are malnourished, aside the 2.5million suffering from malnutrition across Nigeria, due to food insecurity, according to the Deputy Executive Director, Mr. Omar Abdi, who revealed this recently in Maiduguri after a tour of camps, both within and outside the Borno State capital.

Abdi who was in Nigeria with UNICEF drawn from their offices in New York, Dakar and Abuja on-the-spot needs assessment tour in the affected population, said they have scaled up programmes in working with other partners and supporting government efforts.

“So far the nutrition community has reached 12,000 children that are severely malnourished per month. We need to quadruple that number in order to reach all of the children that are severely malnourished. If they are not treated quickly, they are at risk of dying both from malnutrition and from other diseases such as diarrhoea and malaria and so on,” he said, stressing they are also concerned about the education and access to clean water for thousands of children affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria.

Oslo humanitarian conference for Nigeria:
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) had disclosed that since the start of the conflict in 2009, over 20,000 people have been killed, countless women and girls abducted and children drafted as suicide bombers into Boko Haram.  Just as some 2.1 million people fled their homes, at the height of the conflict, resulting in some 1.8 million of them currently internally displaced and 0.2 million in neighbouring countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

OCHA also pointed out that in the three most affected states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe   almost 7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, over 50 per cent of whom are children, claiming that in newly accessible areas vulnerable host populations are in critical need of humanitarian interventions including food, water, sanitation, protection, education, shelter and health services.

This, NaijaAgroNet reports, no doubt precipitated the Oslo Humanitarian Conference for Nigeria and the Lake Chad region in February 2017, which raised $672 million to help people in need. While the highlights showed pledges of US$458 million for 2017 and $214 million for 2018 and beyond as announced by 14 donors, the conference gave voice to people affected by the conflict and crisis with agreement to address longer-term development needs and seek durable solutions to crises. 

IDPs in government?:
While the likes of Oslo humanitarian conference for Nigeria was ongoing, at home, highly  placed government officials were being accused of pilfering the little sent or contributed for the resuscitation of IDPs in the North-East, in what looks like their own share of the IDP largesse.

For the records, the Senate had accused the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Babachir David Lawal, an indigene of one the affected states of Adamawa who was appointed to lead the Presidential Initiative on North East (PINE).
A cross-section of IDPs in a camp courtesy Hamza AhA

Allegedly that M/S Josmon Technologies Limited was awarded the contract on 8th March, 2016 under the Presidential Initiative for the North East (PINE), which handles the procurement of relief materials including food and non-food items, medical equipment and project vehicles for IDPS in the North-East, worth N220 million.

The contract suspected to be bogus was for the removal of wild grass along river channel and the provision of 115 hectares of simplified village irrigation in Yobe State, which led to subsequent bank transfers to another firm, identified as Rholavision Engineering Limited, belonging to Mr. Lawal. According to findings by the Senate committee on PINE between March and September 2016, some lodgments were made to Rholavision account at EcoBank, along Ahmadu Bello Way, Kaduna, with account numbers 0182001809 and 1180010559651 respectively.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that Rholavision Engineering Limited has its head office on No. 36, Gobarau Road, Kaduna, with registered address at 26, Ahmed Dantanko Road, Kaduna. Although industry watchers have been wondering the immediate connection of IDPs with grass removal at river channel, otherwise refer to as grass-cutting. Mr. Lawal had denied any involvement or wrongdoing as far as PINE contract is concerned and was even cleared by the initial inquiry by the Presidency on this matter.

Prior to Mr. Lawal taking over, PINE, NaijaAgroNet reports was being run by a Senior Special Assistant to the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki. But Lawal explained to Channels TV that there is a Permanent Secretary who runs PINE and at SGF office, there are 23 of such agencies; before his office decided to prepare IDPs by way of guaranteeing that they are able to engage in productive work before they were pushed out, which entails rebuild the schools that were burnt, rebuild the police stations and barracks so people can returns part of confidence-building.

Yet, as said by Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the North East committee, chaired by Senator Sani Shehu, some things went awry with the job specification, including that the job was 100 per cent completed, amount approved for the contract was N272,524,356.02; with N248,939,231.00 paid so far, leaving a balance sum of N23,585,125.02 for contingencies.

Senator Sani Shehu
These allegations, NaijaAgroNet gathered, showed that on March 29 and 30, 2016, Josmon Technologies Limited paid N10,000,000.00 each day at five instalments, which amounted to N50 million daily to Rholavision  Technologies Limited. Also, on March 31, 2016, Josmon Technologies Limited also made transactions twice to Rholavision Technologies Limited at N10 million, amounting to N20 million. The same company on April 1, 2016, paid N10 million to Rholavision Technologies Limited five times, amounting to N50 million respectively. Just like on April 4, 2016, Josmon Technologies Limited made some transactions thrice to the Rholavision Technologies Limited at N10 million twice and N5 million, amounting to N25 million, in that order.

13 bank accounts with 1 BVN:
Equally, on August 22, NaijaAgroNet gathered that N20 million was paid under the name, JMT Global Technologies to Rholavision Technologies Limited, with reference number 99822220011865741 and on September 8, 2016, Josmon Technologies Limited paid N10 million to the same company, with reference number 999222201339451, while on September 9, 2016, payments were made twice, with the first at N10 while the second one same day was N35 million. Outside the N220 million paid by Josmon, there was another debit transaction of N53 million, whereas all the 13 bank accounts shared the same Bank Verification Number (BVN) linked to Mr. Lawal.

Following the indictment of Mr. Lawal and several unhonoured invitations for public hearing, the Senate urged President Muhammadu Buhari to remove him from office, which was rebuffed by the Executive, rather it wrote the Senate absolving Lawal of any wrong doing through the office of Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari.

NaijaAgroNet equally gathered that the Senate confirmed Rholavision was incorporated as an Information Technology (IT)companyby Mr. Lawal in 1990 and has handled a N233 million bush-clearing contract in the north-east in 2016. While money was paid for the contract, the work was not done, insisting that as at the time of awarding the contract in March 2016, Mr. Lawal was still a director in the company and that he only resigned in September of that year and was still signatory as at February 15, 2017 to the company’s account, according to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) evidence, which contravened Nigeria’s code of conduct for public officials as contained in the 1999 Constitution.

PMB treating corruption with insecticide and deodorant:
Reacting to the absolution of Mr. Lawal indictment by FG, claiming lack of fair hearing among others, the Kaduna Central Senator, Shehu Sani, dismissed as “false” President Muhammadu Buhari’s claims on a Senate report suggested a defense smack of double standards.He maintained that seven members, not three as claimed by the president, signed the report and Lawal was invited to appear before, adding that SGF’s office secretary received and acknowledged the invite in addition to advert placed in three newspapers for Mr. Lawal among other parties involved to appear before the Senate committee.

“Corruption in the Judiciary and others is treated with insecticide while corruption in the government is treated with deodorant,” asserted Sani, expressed concern that President Buhari’s letter was full of misinformation and falsehood.

Senate report based on evidences of bank transactions as well as Central Bank of Nigeria, Corporate Affairs Commission and Bureau of Public Procurement documents showed that Mr. Lawal superintended the conversion of the agency to a criminal, and bizarre money making enterprise, by awarding contracts to cronies whose firms did not pass the requirements set by law, just as beneficiaries paid parts of the proceeds of the contracts to Mr. Lawal’s company and his private account in tranches.

After receiving payments from PINE, at least five companies separately paid about N450 million to the Eco Bank account (182001809) of Rholavision Engineering Limited owned by Mr. Lawal according to CAC and self-admission, and his private account (0003004417) with Diamond Bank, bank statements showed.

NaijaAgroNet further gathered that on August 8, 2016, JMT Global Technologies Ltd transferred N30 million from its Zenith Bank account 114357188 to Rholavision, having been awarded  eight contracts for “rehabilitations/renovations in Adamawa” State for the sum of N199.4 million. While Messrs Adamawa Boreholes and Drilling Companies Ltd, transferred N18 million to Mr. Lawal’s company, after clinching N54.8 million contract to renovate seven classrooms at Yeskule Girls Secondary School, Michika Adamawa State.Likewise, Barde Brothers Multi-Services Limited which was also awarded seven contracts to renovate classrooms in Adamawa State for N145 million returned N71 million to Mr. Lawal’s company account on October 10, 2016, and another N13 million between July 7, 2016 and September 9, 2016 to his private account.

Robbery in high places:
Months later, President Muhammadu Buhari after returning from his initial medical vacation for 2017 suspended Mr. Lawal and Director of National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Mr. Ayo Oke with a three-man panel headed by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo leading the panel. This Senator Sani said was commendable and pointing out that there is no time yet to jubilate because a mighty mortal is caught in the trap of his fate, “we are neither saints nor angels, but we have a duty to raise a card and blow the whistle.”

A commentator who does not want his name in print, told NaijaAgroNet that the case of Mr. Lawal and grass-cutters, shows clearly how political officer holders either elected or appointed disregard the law of the land and interest of suffering masses of Nigeria, wondering if that was the best way to fight corruption. In the contrary, an average Nigerian, he said, gets between 5-10 years in jail for stealing bread to feed their families and for stealing 1000 naira to purchase food. The annoying part, our source lamented is that, “while they were stealing the money for those in terrible situations, they were asking people to donate.”

Another concerned Nigerian, Mr. Kunle Ajayi, said that if this Lawal can perpetuate this wicked act with PINE, “You can imagine the level of heist in other aspects of governance under his office.The guy is a mob boss not SGF.” And for Fida Gzama, until Nigerians realise that alphabet APC or PDP do not govern Nigeria but highly corrupt and wicked Nigerians no matter the party, nothing will change. This group of public office looters will still see us as noise makers, mumu and highly gullible set of human beings on earth.

Even if these contracts were “awarded under the principle of emergency procurement stipulated in section 43 (i) and (ii) but absolute disregard for sub-section (iii) of the same section 43 of the Public Procurement Act,” it lacks understanding for human, especially those from the same North-East to constitute further problems, not minding the level of suffering by the people moreso the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) or was it the case of “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

No matter what may, we are human and the plight of IDPs and attendance life challenges especially the food insecurity should be upper most in our minds, as Nigeria hope that Osibanjo’s panel will lead to full investigations by requisite agencies of government on this matter like the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

Above all, the case of Lawal et all, should be a moral lesson for all serving and potential political office holders as summed up in the Eastern Nigerian adage that everyday could be for the thief but one day is for the owner.

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