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iCyrus is Furniture & Joinery Revolutionary Online Market- Imo

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Mrs. Alero Imo is the Managing Director of iCyrus Online Merchants Limited.

Mrs. Alero Imo is the Managing Director of iCyrus Online Merchants Limited. She is also the Managing Director of Cyrus Kingdom Development Company (‘Cyrus’ for short, a furniture and joinery company).
She is an architect by profession, and worked briefly at the elite architectural practice of JamesCubitt (Architects) before taking up the role of MD at Cyrus, a role she has held on to for over 20 years.
She is a regular speaker at programmes geared towards youth empowerment and mentors an average of 15/20 young boys and girls on a yearly basis. She spoke to peter oluka on the launch of iCyrus.com.ng

The Concept: iCyrus.com.ng
iCyrus is an online store, especially for ‘Do It Yourself’ (DIY) enthusiasts, project managers, contractors and supplied/produced materials for other businesses.
We are a rapidly growing business with the primary aim of supplying our customers with products and services for home improvement. We are committed to Creating a platform for DIY supplies where everything you need to improve your home or complete your building project will be found.
We stock an extensive variety of products which include tools and safety equipment, furniture and joinery products, bathroom and laundry, adhesives and sealants as well as other affiliated products servicing the construction industry in Nigeria.
With our increasing range, you’ll find anything you need to complete your home or building project at a competitive price!

Online Market Mission
Our mission in the online market space is simply to be the foremost home improvement supply store in Nigeria; selling tools and safety equipment, furniture and joinery products, bathroom and laundry, adhesives and sealants as well as other affiliated products servicing the construction industry in Nigeria whilst providing our clients with the best quality at a fair price. This is summed up in our slogan: ‘One Stop Shop for Home Improvement’.

What Informed iCyrus Online Market Presence
We have been in the manufacturing sector producing furniture and joinery products. But, I have always wanted to have vendor platform which is not going to be our products alone, rather any company/body in the distribution chain. iCyrus is that platform.
iCyrus to business model entails that you do have to be a ‘great’ contractor to come and put your goods on iCyrus.
We serve small manufacturing, but you must get the procedure right such as having NAFDAC, SONCAP or SON registration.
Then, leave the product to us to vendor for you. There are a lot of suppliers that do not have the capacity to enlarge their business because they can’t go online and capture the wider market. iCyrus to customer model also depicts you need not send somebody to, probably, Mushin, whereas you reside in Surulere, to get such material.
Overseas, they have stores for DIY products. It is a luxury to pay somebody to change your electric bulb; you should be able to do that! You should be able to screw something that has gone off; assemble your table. You can decide to do your kitchen yourself; all you need is to go on iCyrus.com.ng and buy a completely knocked down material with the manual, you can do it. Everybody can have beautiful home. It is not just when you travel abroad that you seem ‘wowed’ by the furniture or joinery. You do not even need to spend so much on it. 

Expansion Plans
Eventually, as we expand, we are looking at a fully automated platform which will incorporate franchises like warehousing in different States.
That is one good thing about online; you know exactly where the market is coming and create warehouses in different States to serve that niche for easier accessibility by the mass market.

Assessment Nigeria’s e-Commerce Space 
I don’t think we have enough. They are not like physical stores; though it is still a new area at its rudimental stage. However, we need more because that is the place to be in the nearest future. As people are returning from work, tired, the next and closest place for them to shop is online.
As a country we need to catch on to the internet community and position ourselves as part of the growth.

iCyrus Launched in Period of Economic Recession:
There are two business models to iCyrus: Business to Business (B2B) and the Business to Customers (B2C). The B2B of iCyrus is going to create jobs for suppliers/manufacturers because what happens is that most of people do not have platforms to sell their goods.
Therefore, iCyrus is an open store to anybody/company who can manufacture quality products and less expensive, thereby, reaching the mass market.
For instance, there is a manufacturer in Surulere who is producing paint; a quality one for that matter, but this manufacturer is limited in sells.
The company would search for buyers, but online you have a catchment area of minimum of 93 million (according to Nigeria Communications Commission statistics). All you need to occupy yourself with is manufacturing and allow iCyrus to do the sales for you.

Quality Assurance
We have been in furniture and joinery business for about two decades. We manufacture and have access to the market, knowing the paths to quality products and raw materials areas.
Sometimes, we have to import the material; we know where they are, different producers. So, we hope that will help us as benchmark to good quality control.
We have people on ground in our team who are able to verify. As members of associations such as MANCAP, we can also check the quality of products before they are listed on the site.

How Furniture & Joinery Market Will Benefit
iCyrus is such a market place for the Furniture & Joinery market in Nigeria and beyond. Like I said earlier, whatever you bring to sell, we will charge only 10 per cent of the sales. The charge is just for administration and to enable site be up and running.

Plans for Delivery & Timing
It depends on the purchases. iCyrus has things like doors; you can order. But there are doors that are custom-made for you. In other words, it cannot be immediate.
We have a minimum of 14 days for certain products be produced; because it is being done to your taste. For others that are readily available, immediately the payment is made we inform you about the delivery plans.

Merchants Registration/Accreditation
To become a merchant, we have a form you have to fill; though not an online, but we can mail it to you.
The form serves as a contract agreement which we issue to vendors, because we have to be sure you have certain amount of raw material or you can be able to execute a job/an order.
There is no point listing that you have 10 units of a certain door and when about 100 people place orders you fail to deliver.
Meanwhile, on our part, we are checking the specifications for standards. The specifications are not our thinking, but as specified by Nigeria. If SONCAP decides this is how something should be, we are going to follow that format to the last.

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So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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Group Calls for Collaborations to Decongest Prisons

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A group has called for more support from well-meaning Nigerians to help decongest the prisons.

The group, Justice Development and Peace Centre made the call recently when it visited the Kirikiri medium prisons to secure the release of some inmates.

Speaking after the release of the prisoners who were convicted for wandering and street trading, Mr. Onyema Onyenankeya the Festac Deanery Coordinator of the group, said, “The release of these 8 prisoners today is part of the centre’s efforts at decongesting our prisons. We would have loved to release more of them but we do not have the capacity to do that.”

“We try as much as possible to make sure they go back to their respective homes and then we empower them when we have any of our empowerment programmes. All these require funding”, he said.

“We were told that some people still come on their own to also help release some prisoners. This is what we’re talking about. The person there doesn’t have to be your relative or someone you know before you help such person(s) regain their freedom”.

Onyema added that with the state of the prison facilities and the fact that a facility built to cater for 1,700 inmates now has over 3,600 is cause for worry.

“As at when we visited the prisons, we were told that there were 3,603 inmates out of which 3,080 were awaiting trial and 523 already convicted. We do not know those we secured their release, they’re not related to any one of us but we believe that in doing this we’re helping them secure a better future because they have committed lesser crimes, though it is crime against the state,” he said.

In dismay he noted that even as some prisoners were being released, more were being brought in. “This shows there’s a serious problem that we need to deal with. We must have to continuously decongest these prisons and provide better lives for our teeming youth”.

He however asked that the government do well to upgrade its prison facilities, while also admonishing the released prisoners to desist from all forms of crimes and to at all-times obey the laws of the state.

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 CSO Sends FoI Request To NCC

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Following the alleged plans to block online news sites, the Paradigm Initiative has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Nigerian Communications Commission asking the Commission to provide it with information on the matter.

The request was filed by the digital rights advocacy organisation on Friday at the Abuja headquarters of the Commission, giving the Commission seven (7) days as stipulated by the Freedom Of Information (FOI) Act 2011, to release information on the alleged attempts to block domain names of online newspapers.

It would be recalled that the Nigerian Tribune exclusively reported on Sunday, October 5 2017 “that the government, through the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), has engaged the services of a firm in Lagos to block the domain names of “several identified websites threatening national security.”

The newspaper further alleged that Commission wrote a memo to the firm, directing it “to immediately take steps to restrict access within the Nigerian cyberspace in respect of 21 (twenty one) additional websites by blocking the domain names. (The list of websites is attached).”

According to Adeboye Adegoke, Paradigm Initiative’s Program Manager, “the phrase “additional websites” in the memo indicates that there are other websites already marked for illegal censorship through an equally illegal blockage of their domain names. If this is true, then this would be a clear indication of this government’s anti-free speech agenda”

“It has been six days since Tribune published its story and NCC has not come out to deny the story. This is why we have filed this FoI request. NCC cannot wish this report away; the commission has to come out and address Nigerians on the issue”

In the FoI request, Paradigm Initiative asks NCC to provide it with answers to the following questions: Is the Nigeria Communications Commission or at of its agents in the process of taking steps or block or restrict the domain names of certain websites? If yes, what websites would be affected? What criteria were employed in selecting these websites? Under what legal provision is this being carried out?

According to Tope Ogundipe, Paradigm Initiative’s Director of Programs, “it goes without saying that blocking the domain names of newspapers is a brazen violation of the right to Freedom of Expression as guaranteed not only by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria but also by international instruments to which Nigeria is a signatory.”

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Web4Africa Celebrating 15 Years of Operations In Africa

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By peter oluka

Web4Africa, the Pan African Web Hosting Company, has reached a milestone this October, celebrating 15 crystal years of business.

The company, offering web services physically from Nigeria, has grown from the dreams of the founders, serving 40,000+ clients across over 120 countries.

Today, the giant strides of Web4Africa is felt across the region with the peculiar nature of customer-centric services to hundreds of domain types as well as hosting solutions from four datacentres across Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa.

Established in 2002, Web4Africa is one out of the only two ICANN Accredited Domain Name Registrars in Nigeria and boasts of young- professional team (average age of 28) who are skilled and motivated deliver a happy experience to the clients.

“It gives me great pleasure in joining Web4Africa employees, clients and host of business partners South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana; in fact, across the Continent, in celebrating the company’s 15th anniversary. We have come a long way since commencing operations in 2002 and are very excited about our future as the company continues to thrive in these difficult economic times,” said Oluniyi Ajao, the President and CEO, when discussing the celebration.

Web4Africa’s ability to engineer solutions based on customer’s specific needs has helped the company to continually grow over the past 15 years. For instance, the Company is among the few that accepts Bitcoin, Perfect Money, Skrill, Payza, and more for Domain Registration, Web Hosting, VPS Hosting, Dedicated Servers.

“Our strongest area has always been the mass market. It so happens that to cover that large number of people, our price has to be reasonable. We make our pricing to be within reasonable range to attract the right people”, Mr. Ajao said, while speaking on 25% discount offering to customers as part of packages to mark anniversary.

Clients’ fondness for Web4Africa’s is not far-fetched, but due to its affordability and cost-effective carrier-neutral environment; local cloud hosting (in Nigeria), offers promise for future growth and 100% uptime.

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