simplynaijaforum

Archive for December, 2010|Monthly archive page

THE NEWSWATCH MAGAZINE EXPERIENCE: JOGGING IN THE JUNGLE

In ESSAY on December 30, 2010 at 8:14 am

JOGGING IN THE JUNGLE: The Newswatch Experience
Apart from everything else, it was a day of Musketeers and as Musketeers are wont to doing, they muscled their way into our consciousness.
The Newswatch Four Musketeers, reduced to three through the infamous letter bomb and the Ibadan Musketeers reduced to two about a year ago.

Of course, I refer to Dele Giwa, Ray Ekpu, Dan Agbese, Yakubu Mohammed and their older colleagues, Segun Osoba, Felix Adenaike and Peter Ajayi.
Dead or alive, the seven of them share a gritty verve and faith in their chosen profession.

On this day, Newswatch, Nigeria’s pioneer weekly newsmagazine was celebrating its 25th anniversary with the presentation of a book ‘JOGGING IN THE JUNGLE’ and expectedly, senior journalists swarmed the place.
Chief Tony Momoh, the Yerima of Auchi Kingdom and easily one of the most outstanding editors of the Daily times was there, even though Master of Ceremony, Patrick Doyle, would remind us of his ministerial days as the letter writer.

Chief Segun Osoba who in spite of his gubernatorial sojourn feels more fulfilled being referred to as a reporter (ala Tafawa Balewa & Okotie Eboh).

Ace broadcaster Kevin Ejiofor, Nzeze, Managing Director Guardian Newspapers, Business Tycoon, Jimoh Ibrahim, the Political Scientist Professor Ebere Onwudiwe, Mike Awoyinfa, Dimgba Igwe and Funke Egbemode, Editor, Sunday Sun.

The book presenter was represented by former Unilag VC, Professor Ibidapo Obe.

The alliterative title of the book ‘JOGGING IN THE JUNGLE’ was a befitting title of the magazine’s editorial of September 14, 1987, steeped in justifiable anger.

The Babangida Administration had just prescribed the magazine for six months through a retroactive decree for leaking the content of the recommendations of the Political Bureau on the return to civil rule.

That seminal editorial said inter alia “If a law cannot be applied to more than one person and one circumstance, it is a bad law – restrictive, discriminatory, unjust, ill-tempered…….. In journalism, as in all areas of life, there ought to be a reasonably clear boundary between right and wrong. If there is no such clear boundary, then the practice of journalism will at best be akin to Jogging in the Jungle”.

Piqued and scandalized by the audacious language of these young Turks, the Babangida regime was locked in hostility with the Nigerian media and the harder the press complained, the harder the hammer from the military politicians.

The Newswatch emerged on the scene in January 1985 exactly a year after Buhari / Idiagbon seized power, and was still cutting its teeth when an ambitious Babangida took over the reins. Thus, the road was paved for a clash between the idealistic young reporters and the jackboot usurpers.

The Editors had their company and personal accounts frozen, were always in and out of courtrooms, tribunals and prisons and the late Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) was always there for them, more as an embarrassment to the government than a savior to his clients.

The icing to the cake came on October 19, 1986 when Dele Giwa was assassinated. It was Sunday, and as the news frittered from the TV, my hand hung midair as I made to swallow my lunch.

I was one of the first set of Journalists outside Lagos to get to Talabi Street at Ikeja, his residence and I saw the hung short sleeve shirt he was to wear that fateful afternoon.

Apart from his engaging cock suredness, there were premonitions before his death. He had dreamt two days before that he had an accident with his car. His mum, Elekia had a similar dream, while Yakubu Mohammed dreamt of a coffin being hauled into a Newswatch Van. Even Dele himself said a few weeks before his death, while joking with nurses at the hospital where he finally died; “The day I am admitted in this place, I will give you real trouble.”

25 years after its birth and 24 years after the swash buckling Dele Giwa exited, Ray Ekpu lives with the swagger of an ageing athlete, Dan Agbese retained his cherubic demeanor but not without the telling wrinkles while Yakubu Mohammed, still inscrutable, but having his bout with keeping young nonetheless.

He it was perhaps, who emboldened the Musketeers to quit Concord Newspapers for Newswatch.

The Newswatch foursome was made in heaven. While Dele Giwa was brash, almost haughty, handsome and outgoing, Yakubu is reticent and studious. Ray Ekpu settles in comfortably among the intelligentsias and Dan Agbese, the oldest of them all typifies the quintessential gifted writer whose life depends on writing.

Alluding to the enormous powers wielded by Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji during the Babangida heady days, Agbese, with a stroke of the pen unraveled the man “When a man has two Alhajis in his name, what else can he be but God.” He asked wily, in a 1987 article.

History in its twists and turns has a way of procuring its indelibility and so it is that not withstanding his relatively short period of eleven years in the profession, four of which he practiced in the United States, Dele Giwa’s impact on the Nigerian media is enormous and he is synonymous with Newswatch despite spending only 39 years alive.

Quite a number of News Magazines have emerged ever since Newswatch hit the newsstand on January 28, 1985 with the headline ‘COCAINE TRAFFICKING’, with sold out in a matter of hours, kudos must go to the triumvirate for keeping the flag flying and charting a successful course in a business that leaves little room for material profit.

Prince Dotun Oyelade,
Special Adviser to the Governor
on Public Communications.

FACEBOOK FACING GOOGLE FROM BEHIND

In ANYTHING on December 30, 2010 at 6:46 am

Web report highlights the browsing behavior of its 80 million users. In the U.S., the big winners are Google and Apple.

Opera releases data generated by its users each month. In November 2010, Opera notes that its Mini browser saw significant increases in unique users, pages viewed and data consumed. Some 80 million people used the Opera Mini browser in the month of November, viewing 44.6 billion pages. According to Opera, its server-side compression crunched down 6.3 petabytes of data.

Year-over-year, Opera Mini’s page-view growth climbed 103.1%. The number of unique users swelled by 28.4%, with the average user viewing 422 web pages per month. The average user consumed 10MB of data, and the average web page was just 2Kb.

Facebook was the king of the mobile internet hill in 2009, according to Opera, maker of the Opera Mini and Mobile browsers for handsets. This year, Google regained the top spot worldwide.

Globally, the top 10 web sites as ranked by Opera are 1. Google; 2. Facebook; 3. Vkontakte.ru; 4. Youtube; 5. Odnoklassniki.ru; 6. Yandex.ru; 7. Yahoo; 8. My.opera; 9. Mail.ru; 10. Getjar.

In the U.S., the top 10 web sites look more familiar; 1. Google; 2. Facebook; 3. Youtube; 4. Wikipedia; 5. Yahoo; 6. My.opera; 7. Accuweather; 8. ESPN.go; 9. NYtimes; and 10. Myspace.

Turning to the handsets making use of Opera Mini, it’s no surprise to see that worldwide, the numbers favor Nokia. They are: 1. Nokia 5130 XpressMusic; 2. Nokia 2700c; 3. Nokia 6300; 4. Nokia 2690; 5. Apple iPhone; 6. Nokia 2330c; 7. Nokia 2730c; 8. Nokia N70; 9. Nokia C3; and 10. Nokia 5310 XpressMusic. Nine out of the top 10 handsets using Opera Mini were made by Nokia.

In the U.S, it is an entirely different picture. Handsets using Opera Mini in the U.S. are: 1. Apple iPhone; 2. LG VM265 Rumor2; 3. BlackBerry 8520 Curve; 4. BlackBerry 9700 Bold; 5. LG VM510 Rumor Touch; 6. BlackBerry 8330 Curve; 7. Samsung SPH-M810 Instinct S30; 8. BlackBerry 9630 Tour; 9. BlackBerry 8530 Curve; and 10. BlackBerry 9000 Bold.

 

GOOGLE LEADS FACEBOOK, YAHOO, APPLE, OTHERS IN OPERA MINI

In ANYTHING on December 23, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Opera Software’s latest State of the Mobile Web report highlights the browsing behavior of its 80 million users. In the U.S., the big winners are Google and Apple.

Opera releases data generated by its users each month. In November 2010, Opera notes that its Mini browser saw significant increases in unique users, pages viewed and data consumed. Some 80 million people used the Opera Mini browser in the month of November, viewing 44.6 billion pages. According to Opera, its server-side compression crunched down 6.3 petabytes of data.

Year-over-year, Opera Mini’s page-view growth climbed 103.1%. The number of unique users swelled by 28.4%, with the average user viewing 422 web pages per month. The average user consumed 10MB of data, and the average web page was just 2Kb. Facebook was the king of the mobile internet hill in 2009, according to Opera, maker of the Opera Mini and Mobile browsers for handsets.

This year, Google regained the top spot worldwide. Globally, the top 10 web sites as ranked by Opera are: 1. Google; 2. Facebook; 3. Vkontakte.ru; 4. Youtube; 5. Odnoklassniki.ru; 6. Yandex.ru; 7. Yahoo; 8. My.opera; 9. Mail.ru; 10. Getjar. In the U.S., the top 10 web sites look more familiar; 1. Google; 2. Facebook; 3. Youtube; 4. Wikipedia; 5. Yahoo; 6. My.opera; 7. Accuweather; 8. ESPN.go; 9. NYtimes; and 10. Myspace.

Turning to the handsets making use of Opera Mini, it’s no surprise to see that worldwide, the numbers favor Nokia. They are: 1. Nokia 5130 XpressMusic; 2. Nokia 2700c; 3. Nokia 6300; 4. Nokia 2690; 5. Apple iPhone; 6. Nokia 2330c; 7. Nokia 2730c; 8. Nokia N70; 9. Nokia C3; and 10. Nokia 5310 XpressMusic.

Nine out of the top 10 handsets using Opera Mini were made by Nokia. In the U.S, it is an entirely different picture. Handsets using Opera Mini in the U.S. are: 1. Apple iPhone; 2. LG VM265 Rumor2; 3. BlackBerry 8520 Curve; 4. BlackBerry 9700 Bold; 5. LG VM510 Rumor Touch; 6. BlackBerry 8330 Curve; 7. Samsung SPH-M810 Instinct S30; 8. BlackBerry 9630 Tour; 9. BlackBerry 8530 Curve; and 10. BlackBerry 9000 Bold.

What’s surprising is that not a single Android handset lands in the top 10 when it comes to Opera Mini users in the U.S. Is that because Opera Mobile (Opera’s full-featured browser) is also available to the Android platform? Or is it because the stock Android browser is good enough for most people? Opera doesn’t speculate.

“We believe people with access to information lead more social, more informed and more empowered lives,” said Jon von Tetzchner, Co-founder, Opera Software. “Growth in mobile browsing means the Web is pushing beyond its traditional borders. If the first era of the Web was about expanding the capability and content of the Web, the second age is clearly about access.

In Opera we believe that access to the Web is a universal right.”

THREE SKYE BANK STAFF REMANDED FOR DIVERTING CHEQUES

In ANYTHING on December 13, 2010 at 10:23 am

Court jails chartered accountant over N7.3 million tax fraud, forgery

 

  • remands 3 Skye Bank staff for diverting The Guardian tax cheques
  • Accountant forged FIRS’ signature

 

For conniving, with three staff of Skye Bank Nigeria Plc, to defraud the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS of N7.3 million, a chartered accountant, Mr. Abayomi Sofolayan, is to spend 18 months in jail.

 

Justice Abimbola Obaseki, handed down the 18-month jail verdict,- without an option of fine-, at a Markurdi Federal High Court yesterday,  when Sofolayan  pleaded guilty to a 12 count charge of forgery, fraudulent diversion of cheques, conspiracy and nine other related charges.

 

The accused persons, Jacob Dzurgba, Abayomi Sofolahan, James Uwalaha, Deji Sanni, Afolabi Suleiman (now at large) and Etuk Umo said Prosecuting Counsel James Binang, and Assistant Director at the FIRS, fraudulently paid  the sum of N5 Million Naira being Tax payment made by Guardian Newspapers Limited into a fictitious Federal Inland Revenue Service Account No. 3111750000240 with Skye Bank Plc. 88 Old Otukpo road, Makurdi, Benue State; and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act Cap C28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

The accused persons  followed this up with another attempt to  steal the sum of N7, 350,936 (Seven Million, Three Hundred and Fifty Thousand, Nine Hundred and Thirty Six Naira Only) being Tax payments made by Guardian Newspapers Limited into a fictitious Federal Inland Revenue Service Account No. 3111750000240 with Skye Bank Plc. 88 Old Otukpo road, Makurdi, Benue State.

 

This ran against Section 4 of the Criminal Code Act C28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

Already, Sofolayan had admitted to his guilt by when he refunded the sum of N2.5 million. For one of the 10 count charges, Sofolayan was asked fined the sum of N100, 000 (one hundred thousand naira only.  Justice Obaseki however gave him no option of fine for counts three, ten and eleven.

 

Binang  told the court that Sofolayan and Skye Bank Plc. Jacob Dzurgba, Abayomi Sofolahan, James Uwalaha, Deji Sanni, Afolabi Suleiman( now at large) and Etuk Umo (now at large), forges a letter captioned  ‘Application for Current Account Opening’  dated 22nd March 2010, purportedly written and signed by Ifueko Omoigui Okauru the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, addressed to the Business Development Manager, Skye Bank Nigeria Plc. 88 Old Otukpo Road, Makurdi, Benue State without lawful authority.

 

The Prosecuting Counsel said the accused persons used the letter to fraudulent open an account of the Federal Inland Revenue Service Account No. 3111750000240 with Skye Bank Plc. 88 Old Otukpo road, Makurdi, Benue State.

 

Binang said this contravened the law and is punishable under Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act Cap C28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and Sections 473(2) of the Criminal Code Act Cap C28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 as well as Section 46 of the Federal Inland Revenue Service Act No. 13 of 2007.

 

Other offences were that the accused persons forged the FIRS Chairman’s signature to open an account No. 3111750000240 with Skye Bank Plc. 88 Old Otukpo road, Makurdi, Benue State. This said Binang contravened Section 473(1) of the Criminal Code Act Cap C28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

 

Other offences were that the accused persons also forged a letter: ‘Confirmation and Clearance to Open Account’ dated 25th February 2010, purportedly written and signed by I.H. Dankwambo OON, Accountant-General of the Federation purportedly addressed to the Executive Chairman Federal Inland Revenue Service, which letter facilitated the fraudulent opening of Federal Inland Revenue Service Account No. 3111750000240 with Skye Bank Plc. This contravened Section 473(1) of the Criminal Code Act Cap C28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

 

Mr. Emmanuel Agada the Branch Manager, Skye  Bank, who represented the bank, was asked to deposit the sum of N5 million as deposit before he could earn his freedom. He was still being detained as at about 6 pm yesterday.

 

The accused staff of Skye Bank, Markurdi Branch were handed stringent bail terms. One was that they must bring a surety who must be a civil servant and must be Level 12 and above or a businessman, with property in Markurdi.

 

In another suit, also in Markurdi, Ran-Yaks Nigeria Ltd, Abu Yakubu Labaran, Donatus Aboh, Emmanuel Igbokwe Miebi Tiemo, Azubike Iheanacho (now at large) and Yusuf Bello (now at large) are being tried for forging the signature of the FRS chairman to write the Branch Manager Union Bank of Nigeria Plc. To open a purported FIRS Account No. 2601040012156 with Union Bank of Nigeria Plc Idah Branch.

 

This contravened Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act Cap C28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004

 

 

In the Union bank case, the accused also conspired to forge a letter captioned  ‘Electronic Payment Instructions’  dated 2nd July 2010, purportedly issued by Yusuf Bello and Azubike Iheanacho- authorized signatories addressed to the Manager Union Bank of Nigeria Plc. Idah Branch Kogi State  to debit FIRS  Account No. 2601040012156 with Union Bank of Nigeria Plc Idah Branch to the tune of N31,410,600.00 (Thirty-One Million, Four Hundred and Ten Thousand, Six Hundred Naira Only) in favour of Ran-Yaks Nig Ltd with Current Account No. 5241020014016 domiciled in Union Bank of Nigeria Plc Makurdi Branch.

 

This said Binang, contravened Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act Cap C28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

 

Just like in the Oceanic bank case, the accused persons also forged the signature of the Accountant General of the Federation to open the account in question.

 

Other provisions of the law contravened include: Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act Cap C28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. Section 473(1) of the Criminal Code Act Cap C28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. under Section 4 of the Criminal Code Act C28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

Though the renewed onslaught claimed its first casualty, Wilson Ageriya, some years, the former Staff of Corporate Affairs Commission became the first Nigerian to be convicted over TCC forgery. Justice Ibrahim Buba of Lafia Federal High Court pronounced him guilty after a trial that ran for almost a year.

Oladele Okunowo, a former staff of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, became the first FIRS staff in history to be convicted for counterfeiting Tax Clearance Certificates, TCC.

 

All over the country, the trial, to which FIRS has dedicated an Investigation and Enforcement team headed by an Assistant Director, signal the birth of a zero tolerance for tax fraud and the forged TCC industry.

 

Signed

 

WAHAB GBADAMOSI

Head, Corporate Communications Department

Federal Inland Revenue Service

BUSINESS FORUM LATEST

In ANYTHING on December 13, 2010 at 10:03 am

TELKOM SOUTH AFRICA SEVERES TIE WITH STARCOMMS NIGERIA

Telkom SA Ltd., South Africa’s dominant fixed-line phone company, said Monday it will exit its struggling mobile operation in Nigeria and refocus its African Internet services unit on business customers as it continues to look for ways to recover growth.

Telkom said management has been told by the board to review options to exit the code-division-multiple-access business and evaluate several expressions of interest that have been received. The exit will cost it between $100 million and $180 million, excluding any proceeds from a sale, it said.

“It is essential to stabilize the business, which we are doing through exiting the CDMA business in Nigeria and focusing [our Internet services business] iWayAfrica mainly on corporate customers,” said Jeffrey Hedberg, who was appointed acting chief executive in July, one year after he was named CEO of Nigerian mobile operation Multi-Links Telecommunications Ltd.

“This allows us to allocate capital to those areas that will drive revenue growth and promote cost efficiencies,” Mr. Hedberg said.

Telkom bought a 75% stake in Multi-Links for $280 million in 2007 in an effort to expand beyond its home market and gain a foothold in Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country. It acquired the remainder for $130 million at the beginning of 2009 before the company exited its 50% stake in Vodacom Group Ltd., the South African mobile operator that had for years been Telkom’s primary earnings driver.

Multi-Links proved to be a gamble on the wrong technology, former CEO Reubens September admitted earlier this year, saying Telkom had bet on the potential in Africa for CDMA, the rival technology to the more popular global system for mobile communications, or GSM. Mr. September’s retirement from the company was announced in June.

Multi-Links continues to bleed the company year after year and the pressure is on for Telkom to dispose of the asset, said Spiwe Chireka, an analyst at business consultancy Frost & Sullivan.

Telkom’s net profit slumped to 1.01 billion rand ($144.9 million) in the six months through September, from 39.66 billion rand a year earlier as a profit from the sale of the stake in Vodacom wasn’t repeated and it again impaired the value of Multi-Links. Revenue for the period fell 6.5% to 17.97 billion rand from 19.23 billion rand, the Pretoria-based company said.

Telkom in mid-October launched 8ta, its own mobile service in South Africa, and a month later had signed up 186,033 customers. The business enters a market dominated by Vodacom, which is now majority-owned by the U.K.’s Vodafone Group PLC and has about 23.9 million subscribers in South Africa. MTN Group Ltd., Africa’s largest mobile operator, has roughly 17.8 million customers in the country.

%d bloggers like this: