An ICT expert and former Squadron Leader in the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Adefolajuwon Amoo (rtd) has raised the alarm over an alleged plan by the Federal Government, through the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), to impose new tariffs worth N180 billion per annum on Nigerians.
This was even as he also alleged an intellectual property infringement and violation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s executive order number 5 by the Director-General of NIPOST, Mr. Bisi Adegbuyi.
He alleged that the NIPOST under the leadership of Adegbuyi stole his idea to the Federal Government into promoting a foreign technology called “What3words” owned by Mr Chris Sheldrik, a UK-based company, which is contrary to President Buhari’s Executive Order number 5 which gives priority to indigenous innovation so as to replace foreign technologies.
At a press conference which took place on 18th September 2018 in Abuja, Squadron Leader Adefola Amoo (rtd) said he felt it necessary to call to the attention of the nation that NIPOST Director General, Mr Bisi Adegbuyi, has violated Executive Order No 5 which was instituted by the President of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, to promote the product of indigenous innovators like himself.
Indeed, on page 5, item number 6, at the Preference Section of Executive Order No 5, it is actually stated that indigenous technology will be adopted to replace foreign ones.
The indigenous technology developed by Squadron Leader Adefola Amoo (rtd) is called GridCodes. Our checks show that the technology has been available for over a year on the Google Play store since 13 September 2017.
GridCodes allows you to generate codes similar to Post Codes and Zip Codes for your home/business addresses or any where you happen to be at any time.
All you need to do is to be at the location and one click will give you a code. You can add that code to your address or share it with people that need to meet you for business, deliveries or to socialise. The technology works in all countries in the world, it is instantly available and free to use. GridCodes has been accepted for Patent processing in Nigeria and at the US Patent Office.
The foreign technology from UK adopted by NIPOST is called “What3Words”.
A search on the company’s website and other media outlets showed that it’s co-founder Chris Sheldrick as well as Mr Bisi Adegbuyi have extensively broadcasted adoption of What3Words by NIPOST.
It seems the UK technology does exactly what GridCodes do using a different method. The UK Technology has mapped the surface of the earth and allocated 3 words to identify each 3m x 3m spot. Putting the associated 3 words into their system will get you to the location. The UK technology has also been accepted for patent processing in the UK. The technology is also free to use for individuals, like GridCodes is.
In this situation, it remains to be seen why Mr Adegbuyi of NIPOST has preferred to adopt a UK Technology when according to the Squadron Leader, he had been informed since 18 Jan of this year of his product. This would seem like an excellent opportunity to use a local tech to solve a local problem. It would have justified the existence of Executive Order No 5 and could have been an example of local innovation which could have been pushed globally. A much needed positive story to come out of Nigeria.
Strangely, though, on 10th September 2018, The DG NIPOST flatly denied the adoption of a foreign technology. The denial occurred at the 38th minute of an interview he granted to Bisi Folarin on the morning show of TVC. He categorically said “…there is nothing foreign about it”. How can this be so, when Mr Chris Sheldrick of What3Words granted an interview to Guardian Newspapers of Nigeria on 16th August, 2017. People deny and tell lies when they have been caught committing an offence. That seems to be what is happening here because there is overwhelming evidence in the public domain that NIPOST did adopt foreign technology.
The digital footprint of a nation’s population is the newest natural resource. Mr Bisi Adegbuyi has unwittingly rented out another sector of this natural resource to foreigners to exploit exclusively.
In doing so, he has foisted hardship on the population by demanding 1,000 naira from each of us annually for a service that is free from the UK and free from a Nigerian provider as well.
The UK company would have participated in allowing this potential N180bn fraud because they know that the value is not in the 1,000 naira that Mr Adegbuyi is aiming to collect. Rather the value is in broad adoption which will then setup future streams of revenue that will be accessed through technology as well.
Critical components of our Tech implementation is in foreign hands, our telecommunication, our internet, our satellite TV, our ride sharing, social media and now our addressing has been given to a foreign company when a local company exists already doing it in an innovative way that is recognised by international intellectual protection agencies.
Reacting, spokesman of NIPOST, Frank Alao, said the allegations were baseless. He described the NIPOST boss as a sincere person, who is neither a thief or a liar.
How Nigerian Nuclear Agency blew N367m without appropriation
The Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) has revealed how the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) blew N367million of Internally Generated Revenue without appropriation by the National Assembly.
The revelation was made when the agency appeared for its 2018 budget defence with the Committee on Wednesday.
According to the Chairman, Sen. Omotayo Alasoadura (APC, Ondo) the act is tantamount to a constitutional breach.
While defending the agency, the Director General, Dim Lawrence noted that the law allows them to spend whatever has been generated.
Speaking on IGR, Alasoadura asked: “In preparing this, there is no key to show why 25% is remitted and you did not show the balance. What did you do with the balance because it is not captured in the budget?
“I know what the law says but in preparing your budget you should be explicit about why you remit only 25 percent of your IGR. Where is the balance of N367, 811, 850?
Lawrence responded: “What we did with the balance is that we improvised. The law provides that we spend this balance in our day to day operation. That is what is used for running the office.”
The chairman of the committee then asked: “Did we appropriate that money? We didn’t appropriate the money.”
No response was given by the DG.
Other members of the committee decried the act by the agency, stating that the non-representation of the expenses of the unappropriated revenue has hindered the progress of the budget defence.
Speaking on this is Sen. Andrew Uchendu (APC, Rivers) who said: “If the amount being referred to was not captured in your budget performance for 2017, then how do we proceed with the project defence for 2018. If that huge sum was not accounted, then we have not started budget defence.”
Uchendu queried: “Why did you not do that before coming today? Because you are coming to budget defence and that amount of money was generated and utilised and you didn’t think it was necessary to account for it?
“You wanted the Senate to raise the issue before you take action. Mr. Chairman, I have had so many experiences with them over the years. It is not acceptable at all.”
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Unpaid Debt: AMCON takes over Gateway Portland Cement
Hon. Justice A.T. Mohammed of The Federal High Court Abeokuta Division, Ogun State has granted an injunction against Gateway Portland Cement Limited and Dr. Olumuyiwa Odegbami on the application of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
Consequent upon the court order, AMCON’s Receiver, Mr. Charles Adeogun-Phillips has formally and successfully taken possession of Gateway Portland Cement Limited factories and facilities located in Abeokuta and Mowe areas of Ogun State over a debt profile of nearly N3billion. The debt has been a subject of litigation for some time now. AMCON spokesperson, Mr. Jude Nwauzor also confirmed the presence of the Receiver at the cement factory at the time of filing the report.
The court in the ruling restrained the Gateway Portland Cement Limited and the promoters whether by themselves, their agents, privies, or whosoever howsoever from moving, into the firm, withdrawing money from or with any bank or financial institutions that hitherto does business with the cement company excluding in Nigeria pending the hearing and determination of the suit to be filed by the applicants for recovery of its outstanding debts.
The order also restrains Gateway Portland Cement Limited and the promoters by themselves, their agents, servants and, or their privies from interfering with or otherwise obstructing or frustrating the Receiver appointed by AMCON in performing his duties. Gateway Portland Cement Limited and the promoters were therefore directed to deliver to the Receiver appointed by AMCON all the charged assets of the company in their possession forthwith.
To ensure that the court order is carried out as directed, Hon. Justice A.T. Mohammed directed the Inspector General of Police, the Assistant Inspectors General of Police, the Commissioners of Police in charge of any location where the pledged assets of Gateway Portland Cement Limited might be found to assist the bailiff and the AMCON Receiver, Mr. Charles Adeogun-Phillips in the enforcement of the order.
AMCON under the current management team lead by its Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ahmed Kuru, has continually maintained that there would be no rest for recalcitrant debtors of the Corporation like in the case of the promoters of Gateway Portland Cement Limited, which he said remains the only way AMCON mandate could be realised within the timeframe of the assignment and in the interest of the country’s economy.
Only recently the AMCON boss told the nation that despite the efforts of the Corporation to resolve the huge debts in its portfolio, it identified 350 obligors’ accounts that represent about 80 per cent of AMCON’s current exposure of
N2.5 trillion as at December 31, 2016. Kuru said it was based on this that AMCON repositioned its debt recovery approach to strengthen legal and credit restructuring units to collaborate on the aforementioned 350 accounts, which he termed “defaulters”; enhance the restructuring and turnaround team; and engage in asset tracing to enhance recoveries.
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