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Sonia Foods set to become market leader in Tomato production … Expands production line

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Sonia Foods Industries Limited, a wholly owned Nigerian company and manufacturer of Sonia Tomato Paste is making major improvements to its Shagamu, Ogun State factory plant as part of an ongoing plan to meet growing demand for its products and maximize efficiencies. The capital improvement project, valued at more than $8 million, will create more jobs likewise enhance the product quality of its flagship product, Sonia Tomato Paste and its entire product chain, comprising of Sonia seasoning cube and Sonia baking powder.

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The company has increased its production capacity by installation of additional machineries for production of tomato paste in tins of various sizes (400g, 210g, and 70g). The production capacity of this additional machine would now be 7MT/HR for each size.
The Group managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of Sonia, Mr. Nnamdi Nnodebe, while speaking on the development said we are glad to invest in our Shagamu plant, which will mean more jobs for the city. Since commencing operations 5 years ago with a simple ethos: to improve the lives of people with quality products. That ethos has never changed, and delivering excellent service is still right at the top of our priorities.

He continued: “Our customers are very important to us – and we want them to feel that way. We work hard to ensure that every customer has a great tasty experience with Sonia Tomato Paste and our other products. For us, at Sonia, their satisfaction is key, that is why we are wholeheartedly committed to giving consumers that value with our products.
In line with our expansion drive, and the commitment to utmost value, we intend to vertically integrate backwards. We are in the process of building an ultra-modern factory and farm in some States that would have the capacity of producing the tomato concentrate. Our estimate is that the said production would commence and be completed within 36 months from February 2016, Nnodebe said.

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Also speaking, the AGM Operations (Mr China Okere, “prioritising customers and giving them 100 percent value is what we pay particular attention to. That is why we embarked on this investment drive so as to further enhance premium quality of our canned tomatoes and tomato-based products”. He continued: “Sonia tomato paste is a perfect blend of ingredients rolled into one.  Our tomato paste is enriched with natural concentrates produced using the state of the art equipment and technology”.
According to Okere “Sonia Tomatoes are excellent in slow cooked or stewed dishes because the longer cooking time brings out more flavor without reducing the tomatoes to a simple sauce”. She further said, we have put everything in place to ensure the finest organic ingredients now extends to all our other products”.
In continuation of these expansion drive, the company has also built a downloading and PRMS station for compressed natural gas which is to power two heavy duty gas generators (500KVA each) and two set of boilers.
Also, a total of 160,000litres water reservoir has been built by the company to take the factory’s water needs.
Presently, plans for additional installation of another production line for full production of various kinds of juice and cubes, are almost complete. The expected minimum installation capacity is 5MT/HR respectively.

About Sonia Foods
Sonia Foods, Industries, with headquarters in Ibafo is one of Nigeria’s leading tomato paste manufacturers. The company is a recognized market leader in tomato paste production and other range of products namely; Sonia Seasoning Cube, baking powder and Magazine.

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Pictorial: Gender mobile signs Mou with university of Uyo

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Monday June 10th Gender Mobile lead by Barr Omowunmi Ogunrotimi signed an Mou with the university of Uyo lead by its Vice Chancellor Professor Nyaudoh Ndaeyo

The Mou will allow Gender Mobile to support the University of Uyo to institutionalize sexual harassment prevention frameworks through policy, preventative education, and technology adoption.

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How US Billionaires Allegedly Fund Organ Trafficking In Nigeria

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The Global Prolife Alliance, GPA has sensationally revealed that billionaires from the United States are funding an organ trafficking cartel in Nigeria.
The GPA made the shocking revelation in a letter to President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Speaker, House Of Representatives.
The letter is signed by Academician (Dr) Philip Njemanze, Chairman, Global Prolife Alliance, GPA.
Njemanze said the cartel’s grip on the country’s healthcare system has resulted in the poaching of human organs and ovarian eggs, with millions of lives at stake.
The GPA cited the National Health Act of 2014 (NHAct 2014) as a tool for the cartel’s nefarious activities.
According to them, the cartel’s scheme involves coercing female farmers into purchasing genetically modified seeds in exchange for their ovarian eggs.

 

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CONTRACT SCANDAL ROCKS TETFUND AS ICPC ARRESTS CONTRACTOR

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A contract scandal of monumental proportion is currently rocking the the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).

So bad is the situation that operatives of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) have beamed their searchlight on the activities of TETFund.

Last Tuesday, a contractor, known as Paul Chukwuma, was arrested by the and as at the time of filling this report, he was yet to regain his freedom on account of not been able to perfect his bail condition.

We gathered that Paul Chukwuma, who is the founder and promoter of Fides Et Ratio Academy, an educational service provider was detained by the ICPC over his alleged involvement in contract mess.

Recall that the media was agog with the report of how TETFund awarded a controversial N3.8 billion contract to Mr Chukwuma’s company and paid N2.9 billion to the company in four installments without following due process

Shortly after the publication by Premium Times in April, the anti-graft body detained TETFund’s Director of Finance and Accounts, Gloria Olotu, and grilled others including the Director of Human Resources and General Administration, Kolapo Okunola, and the Director of Information Communication Technology (ICT), Joseph Odo.

Mr Chukwuma’s detention is the latest major development in the ICPC investigation that dates back to April.

ICPC’s spokesperson, Ademola Bakare, on Wednesday, confirmed Mr Chukwuma was in the agency’s custody.

The suspect, a player in the education business in the country, was also on the list of members of governing councils of tertiary institutions recently released by the Nigerian government before President Bola Tinubu directed the review of the list.

Recall that TETFund– a tertiary institutions’ funding agency under the Federal Ministry of Education– awarded the contract which it tagged: “Capacity Building Certificate Course (Communication, Entrepreneurship, and Productive Skill Development) inclusive of the Train-the-Trainer Programme for 502 (five hundred and two) Participants”.

Findings by this newspaper indicated that the funding for the contract was sourced from the 2023 annual direct disbursement budget domiciled in the agency for the use of about 251 beneficiary institutions – public universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education across the country.

Multiple sources confirmed that the institutions’ 2023 direct disbursement budget which totalled N15.2 billion was for Information Communication and Technology intervention projects.

However, rather than releasing the funds to the institutions as mandated by its operational guidelines, TETFund deducted the funds upfront from each of the institutions, amounting to a total of N7.6 billion.

During an interview with our reporters, the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Sonny Echono, told PREMIUM TIMES that each beneficiary institution contributed 50 per cent of its ICT funds while each polytechnic and college of education contributed 25 per cent of theirs to the project.

The choice of the project, the sourcing of the contractor, and signing a memorandum of understanding with the vendor were undertaken by TETFund. This development angered the administrators of most of the institutions.

Also, while the project designs and modalities were yet to be finalised, sources confirmed that within a month of the award of the contract TETFund on 30 June 2023 credited the company’s bank account with over N550 million (N550,380,780.23).

The transfer is with mandate number CBN/PROJ/224/JUN2023.

Over N820 million (N820,223,850) was additionally paid into the account on 12 July 2023, while on 26 July 2023 and 17 November 2023, N1.5 billion (N1,503,743,850) and N62.68 million (N62,684,036.05), respectively, were credited to the account by the CBN on behalf of TETFund.

Meanwhile, despite the various supposed beneficiary institutions denying the execution of the project, Mr Chukwuma, during a meeting between PREMIUM TIMES’ reporters and the company’s management, said the project “has been done and dusted.”

PREMIUM TIMES is aware that the project was designed for training 12 ICT officials across the 251 beneficiary institutions, and to onboard more than 500,000 students for both physical and virtual sessions. However, only two ICT officials in each of the tertiary institutions have taken part in what some of these officials described as engagement sessions.

Mr Chukwuma promised to make documentary evidence to back his claim to PREMIUM TIMES in April but as of the time of filing this report he has yet to do so.

He said his company was only helping Nigeria to achieve the very best for the students and the schools, saying the courses being offered the students through the programme has been “ridiculously subsidised.”

Learnt that Mr Chukwuma was on Tuesday invited to give a statement concerning his involvement in the contract scandal being investigated by the agency.

However, sources confirmed that after going through his statement, the antigraft agency imposed strict bail conditions that require the suspect to produce highly placed persons as suretees, among other conditions.

The agency’s spokesperson, Mr Bakare, who confirmed that Mr Chukwuma was in ICPC custody, said the suspect remained in detention because he could not satisfy the bail conditions.

“Yes, Chukwuma is in ICPC’s custody, unable to fulfil bail conditions,” Mr Bakare wrote in a terse statement shared with our reporter on early Wednesday. As of 6.05 p.m. when contacted over the telephone again by our reporter, Mr Bakare said he could not immediately ascertain if the suspect met the bail conditions before the end of official work hours.

Meanwhile, ICPC said the Executive Secretary of TETFund was yet to be invited, and not in its custody as being allegedly circulated.

It, however, said the investigation into the scandal was still ongoing and that it could not rule out the possibility of arresting anyone who played roles in the matter.

“Echono wasn’t invited but investigations are still ongoing,” Mr Bakare said.

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