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CBN Lacks Powers to Order MTN to Refund $8.1Bn- ATCON

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Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has said that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has no powers to order MTN Nigeria to refund $8.1billion.

 

ATCON said that the cash in question belongs to MTN in the first place and wondered what the CBN wants to achieve by its order.

 

Recall that the CBN accused MTN of untidy business transactions involving alleged repatriation of $8.1billion which it ordered the carrier to refund, while the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation has also issued demand notice of $2billion unpaid taxes over a 10-year period to the telco.

 

Four local lenders alleged to have facilitated the repatriation were also sanctioned by the apex bank but MTN has strongly denied both allegations, adding that it had the clearance of the apex bank and a clean bill of record with the tax authorities.

 

But Oulsola Teniola, president, ATCON, said the industry does not understand what the CBN intends to achieve by the directive to an operator on which it has no regulatory oversight.

 

He said: “It is very important to note that the figure referred to has almost been fully paid by MTN and that the $8.1billion doesn’t belong to CBN but belongs to MTN. So, on this basis, it is hard to understand  what CBN seeks (to achieve) by its demands on MTN that it doesn’t have regulatory oversight over.”

 

On how the logjam could be resolved, he said dialogue and transparency would do the magic.

 

“Clarity, transparency and continued dialogue among  CBN, the banks and MTN to amicably resolve this matter in the interest of the wider stakeholder community, especially, potential investors closely watching developments on this issue.

 

“At the moment, processing of CCIs (Certificate of Capital Importation) is shrouded in confusion in what should be a relatively straight forward process in between the banks and CBN their regulator.

 

According to him, there is no likelihood that MTN refund such huge cash because of its timing.

 

He said: “A refund is very unlikely. The size of the demand and timing is unreasonable and not in the interest of the country. After all, the Naira equivalent will have to be returned to MTN Nigeria. It is then an interesting situation that this seeks to redress events that occurred when CBN had full oversight and approved the transactions. How do they intend to do that?”

 

According to Teniola, the matter should be between the banks and the apex bank and not necessarily the banks’ customers (MTN).

“This I believe is a matter that should be in between the banks and CBN and not the client of the banks. NCC may decide to intervene if events unfold that threaten the survival of MTN and the telecom industry that they regulate. For now, it is too early to see which way this will take,” he said, adding, however, that he is not in an official capacity or position to quantify or qualify the impact of the development to corporate brand of the telco.

 

“I fully believe MTN will continue to engage with the relevant authorities to resolve this latest setback,” Teniola said.

 

CBN, had in a letter to MTN, said its investigation revealed that the shareholders of the telco invested $402,590,261.03 in the company from 2001 to 2006, which was carried out through the inflow of foreign currency cash transfers and equipment importation, as evidenced by the CCIs issued by Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), Citi Bank (CB) and Diamond Bank (DB);  and the CCIs issued at the time of the investment by the above banks to MTN for $402,590,261.03 showed that $59,436,923.44 was invested as shareholders’ loan and $343,153,339.56 as equity.

 

“However, a review of your organisation’s financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2007 revealed that $399,594,146.00 was recorded/invested as shareholders’ loan and $2,996,117 as equity investment, in accordance with the shareholder’s agreement but contrary to the CCIs issued by the banks

 

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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OAU, Unilag students win BlueChip Inter-Campus Machine Learning competition

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Mr Bayo Adekanmbi, convener, Data Science Nigeria and some of the Winners at the Inter-campus Machine Learning competition.

After an intensive 5-day learning bootcamp, Olajide Abdulrazzaq Folarin (from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State), Sadiq Aderinto and Stanley Obumneme Dukor (both of the University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos) jointly won the first Inter-Campus Machine Learning competition.

 

Sponsored by Bluechip Technologies and organised by Data Science Nigeria, the three first-place winners individually earned the highest score for machine learning algorithm development.

 

The bootcamp was facilitated by 11 visiting international experts in artificial intelligence, 5 online tutors and 15 Nigerian-based business leaders.

 

More than 10,000 students from 95 campuses participated in the 4-stage competition. It included a pre-qualification pre-study, a quiz, a Kaggle competition and a validation call.

 

The top 85 students competed at the 5-day all-expenses-paid bootcamp at the Peninsula Resort, Lekki-Ajah Expressway, Lagos, from 10-14 October 2018.

 

At the bootcamp, the students were immersed in intensive sessions of theoretical learning, use case applications, face-to-face teaching, virtual online classes, and a hands-on hackathon using the newly launched Zindi platform for real-time model evaluation.

 

Distinguished data scientists from leading global institutions including Google’s AI Lab, GitHub, MIIA and Bankable Frontiers Associate, USA facilitated the sessions.

 

Leading executives from the Nigerian banking, telecommunications, energy, and investment sectors shared their invaluable contextual insights with the students.

 

The Inter-Campus Machine Learning competition strives to increase Nigeria’s experience and expertise in data science and to enhance the opportunities and employability of Nigerian students through an incentivized exposure to advanced world-class knowledge.

 

Data Science is now the world’s no. 1 career, and is critical to high-impact transformation and innovation in Nigeria and worldwide.

 

In order to ensure the maximum inclusive participation, all the participants who travelled to the bootcamp from outside Lagos received full travel grant, while 10 additional special provisions were made for ladies who did not meet the cut-off selection mark.

 

The bootcamp included participants from all six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.

 

Mr Bayo Adekanmbi, convener, Data Science Nigeria, in his welcome speech, said, “in our quest to play big in the Artificial Intelligence space, we must raise our game and combine the best of theoretical knowledge and real use cases with solution orientation, hence our tutorial approach of having world-class experts from leading AI centres in the world and local business leaders at the bootcamp”.

 

Olumide Soyombo, the co-founder of Bluechip Technologies Limited, shared Bluechip’s 10-year story and inspired the participants about the possibilities of artificial intelligence and how the students could leverage their knowledge to become technology entrepreneurs.

 

A group photograph of facilitators and participants at the Inter-campus Machine Learning competition.

 

Mr. Soyombo emphasized the importance of collaborative learning, network building and high-quality solution orientation.

 

He said, “We are proud to sponsor the 1st ever Intercampus Machine Learning Competition as part of our 10th anniversary, which is a demonstration of our commitment to knowledge development, especially in strategic areas like AI which will shape the future and make the world a better place”.

 

Kazeem Tewogbade, the managing director of Bluechip Technologies Limited, said “Bluechip Technologies is excited to have created a platform that brought together some of the world’s best and Nigeria’s budding talent across over 90 higher institutions.

 

“We are convinced that Nigeria is raising a new breed of experts that will play big on the global space”.

 

Each of the three winners received $1,000 US dollars and an opportunity for a short-term internship at the Bluechip technology firm.

 

In addition, campus volunteers from the universities with the highest number of participants in the pre-qualification process were also rewarded for promoting and mobilizing participation in the competition.

 

The University of Lagos, Ladoke Akintola University Ogbomoso, and the University of Ibadan campus volunteers received N150,000, N100,000 and N50,000 respectively.

 

Some of the speakers at the bootcamp included Matt Grasser, Director, Inclusive Fintech, Bankable Frontiers Associate, USA; Moustapha Cisse PhD, Google AI Lab; Professor Tom Dietterich, Distinguished Professor and Director, Oregon State University and the founder of  BigML; Dr Emmanuel Doro, Principal Data Scientist, Jet.com, USA; Dr Sulaimon Afolabi, Argility, South Africa; Ekow Duker, ex-Chief Analytics Officer of Barclays Africa/MD IxioAnalytics, South Africa;

 

Other were Dr Jacques Ludik, CEO of Cortex Logic, South Africa; Karim Beguir, the founder/CEO of Instadeep AI, London; Omoju Miller PhD, Senior Data Scientist, GitHub, USA; Abiodun Modupe, PhD Researcher, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; Adewale Akinfaderin, Graduate Researcher, FSU & Senior Data Scientist, Lowe’s Inc., USA; Osayi Igharo, Founding and Managing partner, Ripple VC, San Francisco, SA; Robert John, Chief Data Scientist at Enter5ive and.

 

In addition to theoretical and hands-on exploration of topics like Anomaly detection, unsupervised classification, sequential rule mining, Deep Learning theories, Deep learning in Natural language processing; the bootcamp attendees spent time brainstorming on real business problems which were facilitated by the leadership teams of companies like FCMB (credit risk scoring), Terragon Group (AdTech recommendation), Guardian News (recommendation system), Octave Analytics (Financial inclusion geomapping), Axa Mansard (AI for insurance) and Microsoft (possibilities in MS Azure).

 

The bootcamp focused on applying Artificial Intelligence to a real-world problem of financial inclusion in Nigeria.

 

The bootcamp’s Machine Learning Hackathon was based on loan default models for an anonymised real-world dataset of low-income customers and required the participants to use geographical data (longitude and latitude), historical usage and mobile phone behaviour to determine the likely risk of loan defaults, as captured here.

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Groups to Host New Media Conference in Abuja

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Enough is Enough Nigeria, Paradigm Initiative and BudgIT will host the 3rd New Media, Citizens’ and Governance Conference (NMCG) at the NAF Conference Centre Abuja.

 

The Conference, as its name implies, will turn the spotlight on the increasingly important role of new media platforms, including social media, in facilitating discourse between government and the governed, particularly within the African context.

 

The NMCG will convene some of the most important stakeholders in new media and governance to shape conversations and policy on this emerging yet important theme.

 

The former Chairman, Governing Council of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu, will be delivering the Keynote address at the NMCG.

 

Odinkalu who is now Senior team manager, Africa Program of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

 

Joining the conversation at NMCG 2018 are fifty-one thought-leaders representing seven African countries.

 

These include Farida Noubremma, outspoken Togolese political activist, Chris Ihidero, writer and filmmaker, Samson Itodo, the convener of #NotTooYoungToRun, and Idayat Hassan of Centre for Democracy and Development West Africa.

 

According to Yemi Adamolekun, Executive Director, Enough is Enough Nigeria, ‘’this year’s conference is well placed to set the agenda for the effective use of new media platforms for strengthening Nigeria’s democratic processes ahead of the 2019 elections.’’

 

Tope Ogundipe, Director of Programs at Paradigm Initiative, stated, ‘’set against the background of tight government control of traditional media in Africa, new media channels are perhaps the remaining independent avenue through which Africans can engage freely with themselves and elected officials, challenging the status quo’’.

 

Gabriel Okeowo, the General Manager of BudgIT, said, ‘’never in the history of mankind have we had the capacity to rapidly engage with each other at such fast speeds.

“New media platforms such as social media gives citizens the capacity to continuously monitor and track the performance of their elected officials thus aiding transparency and open government. ’’

 

The conference will be attended by two hundred and fifty participants and broadcast live to a worldwide audience via the internet.

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Academy Halogen Deepens Cyber Security Conversation with Digitization Confab

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(L-R) Mr Jimi Awosika, Vice Chairman/GMD, Troyka Group; Dr Yemi Ogunbiyi,Pro-Chancellor &Chairman of the Council, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, Vice-Chancellor, OAU, Ile-Ife; Dr Wale Adeagbo, Chief Operating Officer, Academy Halogen; Professor G A Aderounmu, Co-Centre Leader, ACE, OAU, Ile-Ife and Professor Ndubuisi Ekekwe, Chairman, FASMICRO Group, USA at the Knowledge Sharing Session on Cyber Security held in Lagos on Thursday with the theme 'Digitizing Nigeria, A Meeting of Town and Gown' organised by Halogen Academy and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife Osun State. Photo credit: Academy Halogen

Academy Halogen, the Halogen School of Security Management & Technology, has emphasized the need to create a clear policy direction for Nigeria’s digital economy to facilitate effective cyber security practice.

 

This is because, in today’s digitized world, cyber security has become a vital component of enterprise risks solution helping organizations to deliver their bottom-line.

 

Dr. Wale Adeagbo, Chief Operating Officer of Academy Halogen, echoed the importance of a strong cyber security policy direction at the opening of a policy development session hosted at the Ikeja GRA, Lagos campus of the institution.

 

Tagged ‘Digitizing Nigeria; A meeting of Town and Gown’, the cyber security policy confab was a joint initiative of Academy Halogen and the ICT-Driven Knowledge Park of the Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU.

 

The Academy Halogen boss described the cyber security knowledge sharing session between industry experts and thought leaders from the academic community as a gathering meant to “trigger vital public discussion on how best to digitize Nigeria for the benefit of commerce and knowledge management”.

 

Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, while delivering his keynote address expressed happiness on the collaboration between his University and Academy Halogen on cyber security knowledge development on one hand and plans to work with Troyka Group on other levels.

 

He noted that OAU now have a sustainable policy of engaging with the community and organizations within the industry towards producing graduates who are both academically sound and industry savvy.

 

Professor Ogunbodede further gave assurance that the cyber security learning session is a product of thoughtfulness between OAU and Academy Halogen for the good of Nigeria.

 

“This is an initiative we are driving together for the benefit of the entire country.

 

“The purpose is not about making money, the purpose is to contribute effectively towards digitizing Nigeria in the area of cyber security”, the Vice-Chancellor said.

 

Speaking earlier, Professor Ganiyu Aderounmu, Co-Centre Leader, OAU ICT Driven Knowledge Park noted that the institution is already bridging knowledge gap between the academic and the industry through collaboration with many corporate big players in the ICT and allied sectors for industrial knowledge transfer to graduates.

 

“At OAU, the ICT-Driven Knowledge Centre is already blocking the leakage of students lacking practical and industry experience.

 

“We have a lot of partners. We are partnering with Academy Halogen to further enhance our growing collaboration in the area of cyber security.

 

“We are committed to stimulating creativity and excellence in research and innovation in ICT”, Professor Aderounmu explained.

 

In his presentation on competencies and requirements in addressing cyber security, Professor Ndubuisi Ekekwe, a Micro Electronics and Medical Robotic Engineering expert added his scholarly perspective to the cyber security discussion and the need for a robust digital policy direction.

 

“The world is made up of numbers. Everything we do as humans is about numbers.

 

“We can reduce frictions in business by deploying right technology. Companies are moving from the physical to the digital realm.

 

“Digitizing Nigeria will bring about a new nexus of opportunities. Our nation will only be bounded by the limitation of the mind”, Professor Ekekwe analyzed.

 

Vice-Chairman Troyka Group, Mr. Jimi Awosika in a presentation tagged ‘Business and the need for safety in an open world’ observed that we now live in an open world full of risks, which requires security and intelligence to survive.

 

“On the part of business and society is the requirement for appreciation of the present danger of the open world and the need to invest not only in these services but more so the propagation of the knowledge that the open world presents for as they say, the panacea for the spread of any communicable disease conditions is knowledge”, he explained

 

In a presentation titled Enterprise Risk in Cyber, Director General, Association of Enterprise Risk Management Professionals (AERMP), Mr. Olayinka Odutola, who stood in for the Association’s President, Mrs Taiwo Ige noted that cyber security is an enterprise risk management issue: not just an information technology issue.

 

Other participants commented on the benefits of digitization to the private sector in terms of collaboration, the need to digitize the Nigerian populace and the lack of central data for quality policy formulation.

 

Academy Halogen’s policy development session is in furtherance of the Academy’s commitment to continuously raise conversation for effective enterprise security risk management and policy formulation.

 

The institution which is reputed to have trained about a million security personnel of various cadres in the Halogen Group’s over 25 years of existence, was formally known as Halogen School of Security Management & Technology, transforming, in a recent re-branding exercise to Academy Halogen.

 

Academy Halogen which offers a wide range of enterprise security risk related certificate, diploma & MBA courses in partnership with top universities like Babcock and Elizade universities, is also deeply involved in capacity development programmes in the area of enterprise security risk management for various corporations, small, medium and top businesses as well as public enterprises, government institutions and security agencies.

 

 

 

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