Stakeholders decry leadership instability in NUBIFIE

By Victor Ahiuma-Young
THE just concluded National Delegates Conference, NDC, of the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions, NUBIFIE, in Lagos, provided members the opportunity to examine the leadership instability that has plagued it and find a way forward. It was generally agreed by most speakers at the opening ceremony of the conference that NUBIFIE needed stability to remain relevant and serve its members better.

NUBIFIE

Setting the stage, the President of the Union, Danjuma Musa, who was returned president by the delegates, lamented that the  2011 NDC in Kaduna was supposed to have ushered in the much expected stability to NUBIFIE, but contrary to overwhelming expectations of members, the gale of instability set in very early in the life of that administration as a result of certain factors that were less than altruistic.

According to him: “We recall the background leading to Kaduna National Delegates Conference was replete with internal feuding across leadership hierarchy of our great union, severely undermining its integrity and capacity to fulfill its obligations to members, whilst the general apathy and wanting confidence of membership, which the Kaduna Conference was expected to address having been elected into office.

Leadership positions

“However, in less than one term-tenure of the Kaduna Conference, the Union has had the misfortune of throwing up three National Presidents, four General Secretaries, three National Treasurers, among other several changes in other leadership positions. In less than four years, the turnover in leadership positions were simply mind boggling and it was not only great source of concern for loyal and patriotic members but worrying situation to other stakeholders, in particular, the Organized Labour movement and our allies in civil society coalition groups.”

Reasons for instability: For Musa, “Factors responsible for the “banana peel” situation are multi dimensional ranging from institutional weaknesses (constitutional defects), receding ideological consciousness among members (that is, a departure from reason for being a unionist), and general attitude to service (elevation of self against collectives), as well as absence of internal democracy and robust social partners in form of Employers Association which could have served as restraining buffer against arbitrary tendencies of members in relation to leadership sustainability. Notwithstanding the above highlighted factors,  the crises faced by our great Union in recent times was not only contrived but crass attempts at self perpetuation by group of former leaders of the Union who have either been promoted to senior cadre at their work place,  retired or laid off,  yet couldn’t come to terms with their new realities as they seek to impose themselves perpetually on the Union.

“The unwholesome activities of these former members greatly undermined the solidarity of the Union and brought disrepute to the integrity of our great Union. They engaged in all kinds of subterfuge and brigandage against the Union and having failed woefully to achieve their self serving agenda through this means, decided to take a saner and civilized step by approaching the courts for judicial intervention on their articulated grievances.

Also speaking, Joe Ajaero, President of United Labour Congress of Nigeria, ULC, while collaborating the need to ensure stability in NUBIFIE among others, said: “Today, NUBIFIE has taken that giant step to stand on a moral high ground. You have chosen after many years to shine the light for other unions to follow. You have therefore decided to become one of the few beacons of hope upon which a resurgence trade union movement that honours its traditions, principles and statutes will be built. That you are all peacefully gathered here to chart a better trajectory upon which your great union’s future will be built is truly a watershed. Only those that understand your chequered history will appreciate today’s momentous occasion.

“I want to tell you that from this vantage point up here, I am offered the opportunity of looking deeper into all of your eyes and what I see are shining eyes and smiling faces filled I know with great expectations. I am truly encouraged by this outpouring of camaraderie and effusive brotherliness. These expectations are eventually going to be determined by the choices you make here today – either to make NUBIFIE a united progressive union that will ultimately give you victory over your travails or to retard its progress.”

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How executive order is impacting MSMEs – Osinbajo

By Yinka Kolawole
VICE President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said the Executive Order he recently signed to facilitate the ease of doing business in Nigeria has started generating positive results on the development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

For well over an hour, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, Governors & Ministers walked through booths where hundreds of MSMEs showcased and advertised their products. 20th July 2017.

Osinbajo stated this during a media chat at the just concluded 2017 SMEs Conference jointly organised by Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NAAC) and the Economic Affairs Section of US Embassy in Kaduna.

Responding to a question on how the executive order will impact the development of MSMEs, the vice president stated: “One of the most important things is the whole business of pre-investment approvals and also the kinds of approval that you expect to get from NAFDAC, SON and the support you expect to get from BOI and I am glad to see that they are all here.

Positive results

“So, I think that they are a lot more proactive and they are working a lot more on the time it takes to get these approvals. So that is really one of the most important things about these executive orders, just generally getting all of the relevant agencies to quicken the pace of granting approvals for all of these products and I think that we are getting positive results.”

He commended the innovativeness and energy displayed by exhibitors and at the event, particularly the manufacturing community.

“One of the things that strike you is that there is so much going on that you don’t even know about. This is my second visit, I was here last year for this exhibition and there is tremendous improvement already. I am just seeing someone who has a drying technology out there which could really help with a lot of post-harvest losses and all that. There are people who are doing all manner of creative things, it is fantastic,” he stated.

Speaking on hidden opportunities in Nigeria, Osinbajo declared: “The opportunities are no longer even hidden. I think what everyone has come to discover is that this country is just so blessed, so much in terms of resources. And I think what we have seen especially with the young entrepreneurs here today is that these things are already being exploited.

“In this particular ecosystem, you have the USAID working with a lot of the entrepreneurs who are here and there is a lot of export going on – export of Moringa, Shea butter. But the good thing is that they are not exporting raw products, they are actually processing and packaging them, and the packaging is world-class. If you look around you can’t tell that this isn’t from any of the world class supermarkets. I am really proud of what these young entrepreneurs are doing, I like going round to see what they are doing.”

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S’Court affirms Hembe’s sacking, directs him to return earningsEFCC probes Akpabio for alleged N1.4bn bank gift, A’Ibom kicks

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has begun a fresh probe of a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Godswill Akpabio, over allegations that he gave a gift of N1.4bn to a bank for unknown reasons.

The EFCC, it was learnt, had written to the bank to explain why the governor allegedly gave it such a gift.

However, it was learnt that the Akwa Ibom State Government had dragged the commission before the court, challenging its right to investigate state affairs.


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A detective at the commission said, “Among several allegations that are already in the public domain, the commission has made some progress in investigating the circumstances in which Apkabio, in 2013, paid N566, 883,728.66; N441,808,081.90; and N392, 631,943.37 as gifts to a new generation bank.”

It was learnt that the state government had ignored seven requests from the EFCC, asking for the release of officials of the government for interrogation as part of the ongoing investigation into the activities of Akpabio, who is now the Senate Minority Leader.

The source added, “On March 7, 2017, the commission wrote to the Secretary to the State Government, asking for the release of Mr. Effiong Efiakedoho, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Special Duties, to appear before the EFCC on March 13.

“He was summoned specifically in respect of matters relating to a hotel, Four Point by Sheraton Hotel, Raffia City Plaza, A 342 Highway. There was no response.

“On May 8, 2017, a letter, requesting the Accountant General of the state to appear at the EFCC on May 18, was also ignored.

“The Accountant General was specifically summoned in respect of an aspect of the investigation relating to a company, Sindeng Nigeria Limited.

“The Commissioner for Works was also invited through a letter of May 19, 2017 and asked to report to the commission’s zonal office in Port Harcourt with respect to a road construction contract awarded to Nigturks Civil Technologies Limited. He too failed to honour the invitation.

“A May 26, 2017 letter to the Secretary to the State Government to release the Accountant General of the state for interrogation on June 5, on the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme, was also ignored.”

It was learnt that the EFCC, in two separate letters dated June 7, 2017, invited all the aforementioned persons but they failed to show up.

The source told our correspondent that instead of releasing its officials, the Akwa Ibom State Government, through a letter, referenced HAG/MISC/VOL.XV1/164, dated June 28, 2017 and signed by the Attorney General, Uwemedimo Nwoko, stated that it was challenging the powers of the EFCC to investigate states.

Nwoko, therefore, asked the commission to wait till all legal hurdles were crossed before taking action.

A detective said if the matter was allowed to drag, it could affect the case.

It was learnt that banks had also failed to provide documents to the EFCC on transactions linked to Akpabio, who has been accused of N108bn fraud during his tenure between 2007 and 2015.

When contacted, Akpabio’s media aide, Mr. Anietie Ekong, said his boss would not want to take issue with anybody since the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State had clarified the issue.

“We are aware of the issue because someone else called earlier to confirm the allegation. The Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State has responded to the matter and we are not ready to take issue with anybody,” he said.

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Sagay hails CJN for setting up corruption court

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

The Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, led by Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), has said it will set up a team to monitor judges handling corruption cases.

The committee disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday in support of the move by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, to create special courts for corruption and financial crimes.

Onnoghen had also announced that judges handling such cases would be closely monitored by the National Judicial Council.


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In a statement signed by Sagay, the committee said it would also be monitoring the judges to ensure that corrupt persons were brought to book.

The statement read in part, “Judges handling corruption cases are now going to be monitored by the NJC itself. This is a new era in the administration of criminal justice. Let me add that PACAC is also planning to create separate monitoring teams.

“We heartily congratulate the CJN and pledge that we shall work closely with him in this new and great enterprise to revive the judiciary and justice in Nigeria.”

While commending Onnoghen, the presidential committee said it was hopeful that with the new judicial reform, the era of corrupt judges would soon be over.

It said Nigeria would have upright judges like Kayode Eso, Andrews Obaseki, Udo Udoma, Mohammed Bello, Chukwudifu Oputa, Adetokunbo Ademola, Louis Mbanefo, Adetunji Adefarasin, Mason Begho and others.

The statement added, “We in PACAC have received with great delight the recent declaration of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, that major transformations  are going to occur in the administration of criminal justice which will not only expedite the trial of corruption cases but will also ensure efficient, effective and speedy processes in these proceedings.

“This will guarantee that justice will come to looters and other high profile criminal elements responsible through their fraud and economic sabotage for the economic adversity of Nigeria, its underdevelopment   and the pain and suffering of its masses.

“By ordering the creation of criminal divisions with special focus on corruption cases in all the high courts of the country, the Chief Justice has demonstrated his commitment to the speedy eradication of corruption, the cleansing of the judiciary and the determination to restore that vital institution to its rightful place not only in the constitution of this country but also to the golden age.”

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LG election: Kwara PDP protests alleged exclusion

Success Nwogu, Ilorin

No fewer than 100 leaders and members of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ofa Local Government Area of Kwara State on Wednesday thronged the headquarters of  Kwara State Independent Electoral Commission  in Ilorin .

The Chairman, PDP in Ofa LGA, Alhaji Hassan Salami, said they were protesting palpable exclusion from the November 18 local government election in the state.

He alleged that KWASIEC had refused to collect their money for the 12 councillorship candidates and chairman for PDP in Offa.


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He argued that if the money was not collected from them, the party would be excluded from the election, adding that such was undemocratic, unjust and unfair.

Our correspondent observed many police officers and other law enforcement officials at the scene of the protest to forestall breach to public peace or breakdown of law and order.

Salami said, “Before the dissolution of our executives, we had picked 12 councilors for the 12 wards and we have collected money. We brought the money to the headquarters here so that it could be paid to KWASIEC. They brought the money and said they would not take cash from us and that they will not take transfer from us. The party waded into it. But up till today, they have not taken the money, which means, if care is not taken, we have been excluded from the next election.”

Efforts to get the response of KWASIEC Chairman, Uthman Ajidagba, proved abortive as his phone number indicated it was not available.

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Suspension of strike à welcome development —ERC

By Amaka Abayomi

Following the suspension of the one month six days old strike action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, the Education Rights Campaign, ERC, has congratulated the Union, saying the suspension is a welcome development.

Congratulating ASUU for a battle well fought, the National Coordinator, ERC, Comrade Hassan Soweto, also saluted Nigerian students for their understanding and solidarity.

ASUU strike
ASUU strike

His words “Though we are happy with the suspension, however we note the conditional nature of the suspension. This means the ball is back in the court of the Federal Government to demonstrate sincerity and commitment to implement the spirit and letters of the new agreement.

“If ASUU should have any cause to resume the suspended action in future on account of Federal Government’s negligence, then Nigerians should and would know who to hold responsible.

“ As far as we are concerned, the democratic management and improved funding of the public university system, starting with the release of the balance of the university revitalization funds is innegotiable.”

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Lagos sets up squad to secure riverine, vulnerable schools

By Monsuru Olowoopejo

The Lagos state government yesterday, set up a Joint Tactic Squad comprising  officers of all the security agencies to heighten security within and around Model Colleges and all schools in the outskirts, riverine and other vulnerable areas of the State.

Briefing Government House Correspondents after the monthly Security Council Meeting chaired by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and attended by commanders of security formations operating in the State, the State’s Commissioner of Police, Mr Imohimi Edgal said the State Government has also resolved to vigorously enforce the State Traffic Law prohibiting operation of commercial motorcyclists popularly known as Okada riders in certain routes across the State.

Ambode

Edgal, who briefed newsmen alongside other security chiefs in the State, said the enforcement of the ban on Okada would take place immediately after another round of public enlightenment campaign on the dangers and security implications of plying Okada on restricted routes.

On security along the coastal areas, Edgal said in the past few weeks, a lot of efforts have been put in place toward fortifying security in the riverine areas, including Model Colleges and schools in such areas.

“Security around our coastal areas has also been fortified and the Council deliberated extensively about this particularly as it relates to security of all our Model Colleges and other schools that are situated in vulnerable areas.

“I have taken a tour of all the Model Colleges; all lapses observed have been noted by the Council and the Governor has given instruction that all those lapses be taken care of immediately. We now have Joint Tactic Guards of both the police and the military in all Model schools to heighten security,” he said.

The CP said the Council also deliberated and reviewed the security situation in the State especially now that the Ember months had set in, and resolved to increase police presence across the state.

“We have noticed heightened security across the State; there is high visibility of police and other security presence across the State; government has been taking over spaces across the State. Recall that most of the bridges are being cleared. This effort is geared towards displacing hoodlums who might want to use such areas as hideouts.

“We also talked about the influx of commercial motorcycle operators known as Okada riders. The Council has resolved to enforce the Lagos State Traffic Law prohibiting their operations in certain parts of the State. The enforcement will come up very soon after a lot of enlightenment because we have noticed that with the ban on commercial motorcyclists in some other states of the federation, there is that tendency that they might want to migrate towards Lagos,” he said.

Besides, Edgal disclosed that the Council has approved the resuscitation of the Joint Inter-Agency Raids Committee that will take care of raids on areas that are designated as black spots where criminals hibernate, such as uncompleted buildings, markets, among others to ensure that all areas where hoodlums hide or hibernate in the State are adequately protected.

He also said that the Council has approved partnership with the informal policing sector in all neighborhood across the State to stop the trend of residential robberies.

He, however, urged members of the public to continue to support the police with useful information and tips.

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Why court granted FG’s request, to proscribes IPOB

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Federal Government, yesterday, secured an order from the Federal High Court in Abuja proscribing the Indegeniuos People of Biafra, IPOB.

IPOB leader, Kanu and some students

Acting Chief Judge of the high court, Justice Abdul Kafafati outlawed IPOB on the strength of an ex-parte motion that was filed the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, filed on behalf of the government.

Specifically, Justice Kafafati declared as illegal, all activities of the group, particularly in the South-east and South-South regions of the country.

He further restrained “any person or group of persons from participating in any of the group’s activities”.

Nevertheless, the high court ordered the AGF to ensure the publication of the IPOB proscription order in the official gazette, as well as in two national dailies.

Malami was accompanied to court by the Solicitor General of the Federation, SGF, Tayo Apata, the Acting Director, Civil Litigation, at the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Maimuna Shiru, to secure the order.

After the motion was moved by the AGF, Justice Kafarati who was sworn-in as Acting CJ of the high court on September 16, declared thus:

“That an order, declaring the activities of the respondent – Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) – in any part of Nigeria especially in the South-East and South-South regions of Nigeria amount to acts of terrorism and illegallity, is granted.

“That an order, proscribing the existence of the respondent (IPOB) in any part of Nigeria, especially in the South-east and South-South regions of Nigeria either in groups or as individuals by whatever names they are called and publishing same in the official gazette and two national dailies, is granted.

“That an order, restraining any person or group of persons from participating in any manner whatsoever in any form of activities involving or concerning the prosecution of the collective intention or otherwise of the respondent (IPOB) under any other name or platform however called or described, is granted.”

Justice Kafafati was okayed to head the high court in acting capacity pending when his name is sent to the Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari for confirmation of his appointment.

It will be recalled that the Nigerian Army had on the heels of its code-named Operation Python Dance II in the South East and South South zones of the country, declared the IPOB an illegal organization.

Five Governors of the South East States equally towed the line of the Nigerian Army by also proscibing activities of the group in all the South Eastern states.

Their actions elicited varied reactions, with the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki being among those that faulted the Nigerian Army which he said lacked the constitutional powers to proscribe the group.

The Senate President urged FG to follow the laid down procedure if it was determined to ban activities of the IPOB in the country.

IPOB which is led by Mr. Nnamdi Kanu is at the center of renewed agitation for actualization of the defunct Biafra republic.

The separatist group had in a bid to drive home its demand for the Nigerian government to conduct a referendum as a pre-condition for the establishment of Biafra Republic, ordered a boycott of the governorship election scheduled to hold in Anambra State on November 18.

Kanu who is equally a British citizen, is currently facing five-count t reasonable felony charge before the high court, alongside four other pro-Biafra agitators.

The defendants are billed to appear before the court on October 17 to enter their plea to an amended charge FG preferred against them.

Ordinarily, ex-parte orders have a lifespan not exceeding 14 days.

Meanwhile, reacting to the court order yesterday, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria who pleaded that his name be shielded from print, discribed the court order as a mockery of Justice.

A message the SAN sent to Vanguard read: “This is mockery of justice. How can a Judge make declaratory orders upon an ex parte application?

“The Fulani herdsmen that have been terrorising and killing hundreds of Nigerians do not come under the Federal Government’s banner of “terrorist organisation,” even when they occupy the 4th position on the world map in that regard! Shame unto Nigeria!

“Also, if IPOB is unregistered, it remains a non-juristic body, incapable of suing or being sued. How come the Learned Attorney-General of the Federation sued it in that name? He ought to have sued ‘Nnamdi Kanu, et al, acting under the name and style IPOB.

“Any aggrieved person can either appeal against the order within 14 days or apply to the same Federal High Court within 6 days to have the orders set aside.

“Injustice only breeds prolonged indignation and contempt. Even though I don’t support any bit what those separatists are doing, the clear bias of the Federal Government – of meting out differential treatment to Nigerians – depending on where one comes from – is grave injustice, to say the least”.

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NRGI urges Nigeria, others to maximise extractive resources

’Femi Asu

The Natural Resource Governance Institute has highlighted the need for African countries endowed with extractive resources such as minerals, oil and natural gas to make the most of them for economic development.

The NRGI experts and others stated this at this year’s Summer School on Oil, Gas and Mining Governance, which took place in Accra, Ghana from September 4 to September 15, with 45 participants from across Africa.

The summer school is part of the core activities of the African Regional Extractive Industries Knowledge Hub, established by the NRGI in collaboration with the German International Development Cooperation in 2009.


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A consultant (Africa), NRGI, Emmanuel Kuyole, described the NRGI’s natural resource charter as a global initiative to assist governments and societies of countries rich in non-renewable natural resources to effectively govern those resources in a way that could generate economic growth and promote the welfare of citizens.

A legal analyst at the NRGI, Nicola Woodroffe, stressed the need for contract transparency in the extractive industries.

She said, “Contracts often represent the ‘deal’ the government gets in exchange for resource rights. In order for citizens, parliamentarians and oversight actors to analyse and monitor the public benefit from contract deals, contracts should be made publicly available.”

According to her, at least 27 countries now have laws requiring contract disclosure and 39 countries have published contracts.

A consultant to the NGRI, Nigeria, Dauda Garuba, said African countries should define a well-articulated development vision in short, medium and long-term plans for a realisable value chain of activities, value addition and diversification policies.

He said they should put in place a demonstrable solid strategy to deliver on set goals, regardless of the diversity of the political economy direction in resource governance.

“Countries should make conscious efforts to prevent an enclave economy as a safeguard against volatility. They should also ensure a creation of necessary business incentives without giving in to abuses and embrace an effective revenue management regime that makes resources work for the citizens’ sustainable development,” he added.

The Programme Manager, Ghana Oil and Gas for Inclusive Growth, Mark Evans, said prudent management of revenues from the extractive sector would help avoid the Dutch disease. Resource revenues are potentially very large, volatile and will run out.”

In a keynote address at the opening ceremony, the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Ghana, Barbara Gyasi, said the exploitation of extractive resources could have significant socio-economic impact, which could be quite negative.

She said, “The limited and sometimes even lack of the requisite knowledge or expertise in these matters had led to countries across the continent that are endowed with mineral, oil and gas resources being short-changed in terms of the benefits derived from their resources.

“I am therefore happy that the Natural Resource Governance Institute in collaboration with German International Development Cooperation has since 2009 run the Summer School on Oil, Gas and Mining Governance to improve the knowledge base of senior level civil society activists, members of parliament and senior level journalists/editors whose work is related to the extractives.”

Over 240 participants drawn from Britain and Iraq, as well as Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and several other African countries have reportedly attended the school in the last seven years.

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Low oil price will help Nigeria, others – Dangote

’Femi Asu

The President/Chief Executive, Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote, has said low oil prices will help Nigeria to reduce its reliance on crude oil revenues.

Dangote stated this at the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, according to a statement from the African Press Organisation.

Global oil benchmark, which fell from a high of $115 per barrel in mid-2014, has continued to hover around $53 per barrel in recent months.


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At the headquarters of global law firm, Shearman and Sterling LLC, high level business leaders and international diplomats invited by the Corporate Council for Africa to hear Africa’s richest man, Dangote, and the Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, openly conversed on Africa’s opportunities and challenges, a statement by the Dangote Industries stated.

Both leaders, it said, underscored the ongoing movement to diversify African economies.

In the case of Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, Dangote said, “We should pray that oil prices remain low. This helps wean us off the dependency on revenues from petroleum. We must take oil to be the icing on the cake. We already have the cake.”

Dangote told investors, “(With) agriculture, agriculture, agriculture, Africa will become the food basket of the world.”

In addition to agriculture, he cited Nigeria’s vast mineral resources and natural gas as sources of economic prosperity and stressed the need to manufacture more goods locally for domestic consumption.

Dangote, who cited the continued need for heavy investments in education, specifically said that “five of the 12 million jobs needed in Africa soon must be created in Nigeria.”

He has expanded his business from cement, sugar, and other household commodities to fertiliser and other processed high-value goods.

“Technology, of course, helps us a lot and our factories are state of the art with the use of robotics but we shouldn’t be overly tech-oriented to create wealth,” he told investors.

Dangote, who is often cited as one of the most inspiring business leaders in the world today and a model for young entrepreneurs, offered advice to Americans who tend to rely on outdated news and wrong perceptions of Africa, saying, “Don’t be lazy. Go there and find the real story for yourself. Things have changed.”

He described Rwanda, where he has business interests, as an example of positive change, good governance and leadership, and where corruption had been cured.

He cited a personal experience of offering a $100 tip for services at the Kigali Airport to a worker who refused to take money for work they were paid to do.

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