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INEC Harps on the Role of ICT in Elections

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Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, President, ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC), said in spite of the challenges of deploying technology in electoral processes, its benefits had remained enormous.

He stated this yesterday at the opening of a three-day International Conference of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) in West and Southern African countries in Abuja.

The conference has “Opportunities and Challenges in the Use of Technology: Experiences from West and Southern Africa’’ as theme.

Yakubu, who is also the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said that the deployment of technology had encouraged and empowered citizens, more than before, to participate in the electoral process.

According to him, technology has helped citizens to organise, mobilise and protect their mandates using various social media platforms to track result transmission and undertake Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT).

The ECONEC president said that given the deficit of infrastructure and expertise in many West and Southern Africa countries, and the regularity of elections conducted, concerns had been raised about cost, choice and effectiveness of technology.

He said that given the high stakes involved in conducting elections in developing countries, electoral commissions must understandably be worried about the twin issues of communication and security.

“In addition, we have to contend with the disturbing but rapidly increasing incidence of election-meddling through the deployment of counter-technology on a global scale by state and non-state actors.

“Nevertheless, technology has come to stay and its benefits are immense.

“`While it is true that all countries participating in this conference have deployed technology in one form or the other to improve on the electoral process, the outcome varies from one country to another.

“However, with this coming together of election managers and experts to share experience, we shall be better prepared in making the choice of the appropriate and cost effective technology that increase the public confidence in the electoral process.

“This will also help us further protect the sanctity and integrity of the ballot,’’ he said.

In a goodwill message, Notemba Tjipeuja, Executive Committee Chairperson, Election Commission Forum, Southern African Development Community (ECF-SADC), said that the introduction of ICT in the electoral process had continued to attract interest among stakeholders.

Tjipeuja, also the Chairperson, Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN), the first country in Africa to use electronic voting machine, said that one of the benefits of technology was automatic and error-free counting.

She listed other benefits of the introduction of electronic voting machine as replacement of the ballot paper and ballot boxes.

Some others, according to her, include the elimination of spoilt ballots, minimising of human error, speeding up the voting process, securing of votes on control units and maintaining the secrecy of the ballot.

Tjipeuja said “today, most EMBs around the world use new technologies such as computer-based software and more complex technology in electoral processes.

“While we all agree that as EMBs, we cannot ignore technology, we have to at the same time, be mindful of the cost associated with the management of elections.

“This is one of the challenges for governments and all EMBs.

“We are mindful of the need for cost-saving measures by all EMBs to curb the ever-increasing cost of elections, the need to carefully manage the use of ICT and the need to sustain the integrity of elections,’’ she added.

Delegates from 30 countries in ECOWAS sub-region are attending the conference.

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Samsung in N65m Copyright Infringement Suit in Nigeria

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Eagle Eye Production Limited, an Abuja-based production company has slammed N65 million lawsuit against Samsung Nigeria and Ringier Media Nigeria Limited for allegedly using a part of its ‘Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge at Night’ video in a Galaxy S8 advert without authorization.

 

Samsung had, after receiving the lawsuit, claimed it had no knowledge of the creative process of the ad, as it outsourced the job to one Cheil Communications Nigeria Limited.

 

Cheil Communications, in turn, claimed it outsourced the job to Ringier Media Nigeria Limited.

 

At the first hearing on the lawsuit on May 3, before Justice Hassan of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, Ringier Media’s Counsel applied to strike out the suit, claiming that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit because Eagle Eye in suing Ringier Media omitted the word ‘media’ in its name.

 

Ringier Media also argued that the suit did not disclose a reasonable cause of action against it.

 

Mrs. Abimbola Akeredolu (SAN) however, prayed the court to dismiss Ringier Media’s application with substantial cost on the basis that the omission of the word media from Ringier Media’s name is “a misnomer” and that the suit disclosed a reasonable cause of action against Ringier Media.

 

The learned Silk also pointed out that the omission of the word “media” was infact caused by Ringier Media and its counsel who in various correspondences exchanged prior to the suit represented to Eagle Eye’s counsel that the full name of Ringier Media is Ringier Nigeria Limited instead of Ringer Media Nigeria Limited.

The learned Silk also pointed out that Ringer Media’s counsel also described its client’s name as Ringier Nigeria Limited in the conditional memorandum of appearance filed by the said counsel on Ringier Media’s behalf.

 

On the same day, Eagle Eye’s Counsel also moved an application to amend their Writ of Summons and other accompanying originating processes to reflect the proper name of Ringier Media.

 

Court proceedings were witnessed by a Newsroom correspondent when Justice Hassan gave his ruling on Monday, June 2, 2018.

 

On Ringer Media’s application to strike out the suit, the learned judge held on the first leg, that the omission can be treated as a misnomer and representatives for the plaintiffs are allowed to file an application for amendment.

 

“There is no kind of mistake or error which the court cannot correct, except it is intended to cause injustice to a party. The omission can be corrected without causing injustice to the other party,” he ruled.

 

The Learned judge also held on the second leg, that looking at certain paragraphs in Eagle Eye’s Statement of Claim, the court is satisfied that a reasonable cause of action has been disclosed against Ringier Media.

 

The learned judge thereafter dismissed Ringier Media’s application and awarded cost of N20,000 in favor of the Plaintiffs against Ringier Media.

 

On Eagle Eye Production’s application to amend, the learned judge ruled that representatives for Eagle Eye Production Limited were misled by Ringier Media.

 

He made references to the exhibits submitted by the legal counsel for the Eagle Eye, where it was established that Ringier Media Nigeria Limited described itself only as Ringier Nigeria in various correspondences. Thus, the learned judge reiterated as follows:

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ITB Nigeria Set to Complete its First Steel & Concrete Building

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ITB Nigeria Ltd, innovative construction company providing full and advanced integrated engineering and construction solutions in both private and public sectors, is set to complete its first steel & concrete building project, Azuri Peninsula, in Eko Atlantic City, Lagos state.

The Azuri Peninsula project, which began in early 2015, is a unique steel and concrete residential building project that consists of three sets of over 30 storey towers.

It offers a unique collection of four-bedroom luxury and super luxury apartments, two and four-bedroom stunning Marina Town houses as well as s six-bedroom simplex (penthouses).

Commenting on the project, Mr. Ramzi Chidiac, Managing Director of ITB Nigeria, said, “We are excited about this project because it’s our first composite structure created by a combination of steel and concrete to form a single element.

This helps to deliver performance that is more effective than when individual components are used together but not unified. This testifies to the excellent work that we do at ITB Nigeria.

We are focused on fully understanding the needs of our clients and delivering on our promises, regardless of the scale or complexity of the challenge at hand”.

Steel and concrete structures involve a mix of steel and concrete together to form a single element. The tensile capacity of the steel and the compressive capacity of the concrete results in a standard structure.

This gives rise to benefits like speed, performance and value. Additionally, concrete encasement protects the steel from buckling, corrosion and fire.

On his part, Engr. Emmanuel Adeyemi, QA/QC Coordinator, ITB Nigeria,  stated, ‘the uniqueness of composite structures is that it enhances speed of construction, performance and value.

Steel framing for a structure can be erected quickly and the pre-fabricated steel floor decks can be put in place immediately.

When cured, the concrete provides additional stiffness to the structure, making the structure one that can stand the test of time”.

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BoI Secures $750M Afreximbank Loan at Single Digits for MSMEs

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Bank of Industry (BoI) will be disbursing the $750 million (N250 billion) syndicated loan facility which she received from the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises at single digit interest rate.

Mr Olukayode Pitan, Managing Director, Bank of Industry, made this disclosure on the last day of the Afreximbank 25th Anniversary and Annual General Meeting during an interview with journalists in Abuja.

Pitan revealed that “the loan will be given to entrepreneurs in Nigeria for a period of between five and seven years, would enable the BoI bridge the funding gap for MSMEs which estimated at about N700 billion.”

This fund he said would be “given to companies operating in the creative industry, manufacturing and gender based businesses to help reduce the unemployment rate in the country and create wealth for small and medium scale entrepreneurs.

“We are looking at small, medium and large enterprises. We are looking at enterprises or companies that have a focus in using local raw materials, companies that generates that generates employment and bring down their cost of borrowing” he said.

Pitan stated that “the loan will be deployed at less than ten per cent interest per annum. We are working with the Central Bank of Nigeria so that the loan we will give to Nigerian businesses will be a longer term loan of between seven to eight years for the industrial sector.”

The landmark deal was signed off in the presence President Muhammadu Buhari who insisted on witnessing the agreement signing ceremony in Abuja because the N250 billion syndicated facility financed by 16 banks (among which are: Africa Export-Import Bank, the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development,  and British Arab Commercial Bank Plc and four Nigrrian banks based in the United Kingdom) is the single largest facility of its kind to be received by a Development Finance Institution (DFI) in Nigeria.

According to Pitan, “the idea is to support industries. What this loan allows us to do is, it gives additional N250 billion depending on the exchange rate that is used, between N230 billion to N250 billion to deploy to the industrial sector.

There is gap in the funding of the industrial sector, to the tune of N704 billion. This is our way to reduce that gap.”

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