Connect with us

News

Nigeria’s UN Boss in Trouble over Illicit $300m Timber Export

Published

on

Amina Mohammed, UN deputy secretary-general

Amina Mohammed, UN deputy secretary-general is facing accusations from an advocacy group that she granted illegal permits to Chinese firms to import endangered Nigerian timber when she was Nigeria’s environment minister.

 

Documents provided by Mohammed were used by Chinese importers to clear more than $300m worth of rosewood logs held up by Chinese border authorities for months, according to the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), a Washington-based environmental campaigning organisation.

 

The EIA said its investigation had found that Nigerian officials were paid over $1m to help the importers release the rosewood, which was put on a list of endangered species last year by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

 

In January, Mohammed allegedly signed thousands of retroactive CITES permits allowing the export of 1.4 million rosewood logs in one of her last acts as environment minister before she was sworn in as deputy secretary-general in late February.

 

Farhan Haq said Mohammed, UN spokesperson “categorically rejects any allegations of fraud.”

 

The signing of the permits for the rosewood exports was delayed after Mohammed insisted “that stringent due process was followed,” said Haq.

 

“She says that she signed the export certificates requested before the ban only after due process was followed and better security watermarked certificates became available,” he added.

 

Mohammed, the highest-ranking woman at the United Nations, served as environment minister from November 2015 to February of this year and had previously lead the UN’s efforts to agree on a new global anti-poverty agenda.

 

Foreign Policy magazine quoted a senior Nigerian forestry official, who asked not to be named and who said that Mohammed had signed 2 992 export certificates on January 16.

 

Mohammed had been due to begin her new post at the United Nations on January 1, joining Antonio Guterres as he began his term as UN chief.

 

But she delayed her move to New York to stay on as environment minister at the request of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and was finally sworn in as deputy secretary-general in late February.

 

The UN spokesperson said Guterres has been informed of the reports and “reiterates his full support and confidence in her.”

 

Exploding Chinese demand for African rosewood, also known as “kosso”, has depleted forests across West Africa, prompting CITES to impose strict restrictions last year.

 

According to EIA, Nigeria since 2013 has become the world’s largest exporter of rosewood logs, which are mainly used for luxury furniture.

 

CITES is scheduled to discuss the Nigerian rosewood exports to China at a meeting later this month in Geneva.

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.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Comments

News

Lagos Hosts Fintech Week to Celebrate Fintech Achievements

Published

on

To celebrate Fintech achievements and opportunities with focus on funds and payments, capital markets, insurance innovations, block chain and cyber security, the world’s attention will be on the city of Lagos as it hosts the Lagos Fintech Week in October.

In a statement signed by the chairman of organizing committee, Dr. Yele Okeremi said “Each day we will focus on a different topic. We shall ensure that there is plenty of time for networking and meeting other innovators”.

He added that there will be ‘Investor Summit’ that aims to enhance access to “funding for startups and improve the quality and quantity of Fintech investment deals in Nigeria”.

Lagos Fintech Week is a series of conferences, exhibitions, workshops, hackathons, meetups and awards. It would attract Fintech start-ups, technology companies, investors, financial institutions, research institutes and innovation professionals to engage the ecosystem in a stimulating discussions, demos and insightful debates.

Since Lagos is now innovations hub where diverse financial technology solutions and opportunities are being created daily, he informed, it is imperative that the city host Lagos Fintech Week, which has as its theme, Fintech: Exploring the Huge Opportunities. The event would hold from October 2 to 5, 2018 at Oriental Hotel, Lagos.

Citing reason for the hosting of the event in Lagos, Okeremi said Lagos boast a huge network of customers with an abundance of local and international talents in finance and entrepreneurship.

“Lagos has the ideal ecosystem for Fintech enterprises to succeed. Lagos has seen a vast increase in number of incubator and accelerator programmes over the past 6 years. Lagos offers many advantages for Fintech business.

This regional financial hub features a dynamic business culture, a growing technological infrastructure, a huge network of customers, regulatory support and a world-class talent pool.

“Alongside this, an increasing number of Fintech events have turned the industry into a bustling community, opening the door to greater expertise and increased support for enterprises, and providing countless opportunities for innovators to showcase ideas, meet industry experts, and access training and funding opportunities.

Okeremi added that different impactful activities that will showcase diverse opportunities for all participants at different categories are lined up at the summit.

These are opportunities the startups community to participate in the Hackceleration, learn from industry leaders and experts at the conferences, submit implemented solutions for the Fintech awards and network with the Fintech ecosystem.

Other opportunities include a window for investors and financial institutions to source for deals at the Investor Summit, Demo & Deal Day, listen to pitches at the Hackceleration demo day, share knowledge with fellow industry leaders and experts in the conferences, and listen to financial regulators at the conferences.

According to Dr. Okeremi, “the Lagos Fintech Hackceleration seeks the most innovative start-ups that can address problem statements contribute by the local and global Fintech community and the financial services industry.

“We are inviting start-ups to apply to the programme and demonstrate how they can innovate to address these problem statements. There will be five teams and we will match them with industry champions to customize their market-ready solutions into contextualized prototypes ready for adoption”.

The Chairman also mentioned that there will be workshop that will be organized by partners to gain insights and learn from industry experts that will hold in various venues across the city.

“There will be Open Banking Master class that will enable third party developers to build applications and services around financial institutions, as well as endows customers with greater financial empowerment and transparency. Underpinning open banking is open standards and technology to achieve these outcomes,” he said.

Explaining what the participants would benefits at the Master Class for Open Banking at the Lagos Fintech Week, which is a collaboration between Fintech 1000+ and Open Technology Foundation, Adedeji Olowe said through the Master class, “participants will get an in-depth understanding on open banking system, architecture and design, as well as firsthand experience that demonstrates the collaboration between Fintech to deliver real world applications swiftly to delight customers”.

Salami Abolore, MD/CEO of Riby Finance, the company that is hosting the Hackceleration at the Lagos Fintech Week, said that high-impact innovations are always the result of “motivated, multidisciplinary teams”, which is why among all applicants “we will carefully choose at most 60 participants for the Hackceleration.

“We are expecting active, knowledgeable and forward-thinking individuals and teams who realize that the only constant in business life are changes and improvements.

All innovative individuals and teams from Nigeria can participate at the event, as physical persons. The application is open until all available places are filled”, he said.

Other side attractions at the summit are Nigerian Fintech Awards, Demo and Deal Day. Demo and Deal Day will showcase promising Fintech startups and innovative technologies to local and global investors, with a view towards facilitating Fintech investment deals.

Continue Reading

News

CeBIH to Promote Digital Solutions Targeted at BoP

Published

on

Stanley Jacob, new chairman of Committee of E-Business Industry Heads [CeBIH], has said that the association will promote digital solutions targeted at the bottom of the pyramid [BoP] in a bid to expedite access to financial services across the country.

Jacob who is also the head of Consumer Distribution at Ecobank Nigeria, said the new executive will pursue three broad agenda namely financial inclusion, digital security and strengthened collaboration amongst industry stakeholders.

CeBIH was setup in 2008 and comprises the upper echelon of electronic business and digital banking practitioners in all banks in Nigeria with its major and most important objective being the promotion of electronic banking services in line with “global best practices”, whilst driving its adoption through right policies, standards, technologies and public awareness programs in Nigeria.

According to Jacob, CeBIH will work with other stakeholders to reduce financial exclusion which currently is over 40 percent in Nigeria as well as bridge the wide digital divide in the country.

“As CeBIH we will actively collaborate with industry to provide the needed financial services at the right pricing to the bottom of the pyramid. We will also ensure adequate capacity building for all stakeholders to equip them in tackling the exclusion challenge.

“CeBlH will pull industry resources and work with the regulators to promote an industry approach for combating cyber-security and payment frauds. Financial literacy campaigns and robust customer education will also be a key tool to achieving this.

“This new executive council will strengthen collaboration by promoting the Shared Agency Network Facility (SANEF) with a view to ensuring that the expected benefits are delivered to consumers; partnerships with other financial institutions (OFIs) and FinTechs to deliver improved financial services; Research and case studies to drive emerging payments”, he said.

Past chairman of CeBIH, Dele Adeyinka implored the new executives to continue with the mission and vision of the group, which is using collaboration with drive financial inclusion and adoption of electronic payment, which are what CeBIH stands for today.

He noted that under his leadership, CeBIH collaborated with various industry stakeholders and this initiative yielded results which became evident through better engagement of CeBIH in issues pertaining to policy formulation in the industry.

Other elected officers are Kayode Olubiyi, Vice-Chairman; Yemi Atanda, Secretary-Industry Shared Services;  Bidemi Asunmo, Secretary – Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) & Fintech  Relations;  Mike Onwu, Secretary-Emerging Payments & Technologies; Celestina Appeal, Secretary- Product Pricing & Revenue Assurance; Mike Ogba, Secretary- Finance & Treasury; Gloria Eruemegbe, Secretary-Publicity & Advocacy; Nmutaka Chikwendu, Internal Auditor and Oluremi Tinuolu, Assistant Secretary – Finance & Treasury.

Continue Reading

News

Firm to Launch App-based Cab Service in Nigeria

Published

on

A new mobile driver-rider app, CarXie, is set for launch in the country.

Chinedu Amadi, Operations Director, CarXie, while unveiling the new product to the media in Lagos, said that security of both driver and commuter is the appeal of the app.

Amadi said the app, which was developed in Nigeria in collaboration with foreign partners would be launched at City Mall, Onikan, Lagos on July 27 and on that day, there would be a seminar on defensive driving, which is designed to enhance driving skills of CarXie drivers and of other drivers.

He said: “CarXie, is an innovative mobile app designed to satiate your intra/intercity trips at the shortest possible notice by providing cabs that guarantee your comfort and security.

It’s safe and affordable. CarXie was conceived to ensure that Nigeria is a major and active player in today’s technology-driven transportation systems that are strategic to a smooth running economy.”

He said CarXie mobile app has been tested and that it is available in Google Play store and Apples Store, stating that it answers a number of Nigerian questions i.e “What challenges do we face when planning our trips? Will the cab be functional and comfortable with a courteous driver? Can the Police or VIO stop and delay the cab (your trip) for ‘particulars’? Will the trip have an almost 0% possibility of an accident? What of the security of life and luggage? How do we ensure that no one exploits the commuter in terms of fare? What of the proclivity for aiding and abetting the hydra-headed kidnapping syndicate?”

He said the app was conceptualised with features that make car theft and kidnapping impossible, explaining that “a commuter is expected to issue his Bank Verification Number (BVN), as a means of identification and that each vehicle is automatically tracked and voice chats are possible during rides.

“The driver and vehicle verification exercises are so thorough that they yield only courteous and comfortable service. There are three tiers of supervision embedded in that CarXie offer to ensure quality and trust.”

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2017 Communication Week Media Limited.