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Tony O. Elumelu Launches Empowerment Fund to Revitalize Distressed Communities across Nigeria

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Tony O. Elumelu Founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation and Chairman of Heirs Holdings has announced the launch of The Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund. The Fund was launched by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathanof Nigeria,with the purpose of revitalizingthe economies of post conflict and disaster communities across Nigeria.

The Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund was created out of the N2.5 billion donated by
The Tony Elumelu Foundation and Heirs Holdings companies. This donation was announced at the Presidential Fundraising Dinner for the Victims Support Fundin July 2014. Given to support distressed communities across Nigeria,N1 billion was immediately disbursed to the Victims Support Fund, while the remaining N1.5 billion now serves as the initial seeding for The Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund.The Fund will focus on communities like those in the Niger Delta and Jos.

“Rehabilitating distressed communities will require interventions not just from the government, but also from the private sector.  Therefore, I am pleased to see that Tony Elumelu, one of our private sector leaders, stepped up in a big way – by making a major contribution to the Victim Support Fundand that his effort did not end there as he has now created The Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund” said Nigerian President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan

Seeded and managed by The Tony Elumelu Foundation, The Elumelu Nigeria EmpowermentFund, a non-profit organization, will transform communities that have been ravaged by natural disasters, hazards and conflicts, into thriving and economically sustainable communities. The Fund will create opportunities and empower people in affected communities across Nigeria enabling them to rebuild their lives and businesses whilst instilling a sense of economic empowerment for the long-term.

In furtherance of Mr Elumelu’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurs across Africa, The Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund will focus on encouraging the development of entrepreneurship in these affected regions through access to start-up funding, capacity building and mentorship.The fund will also support a range of initiatives in these communities, including projects that will tackle environmental issues, restore damaged infrastructure as well associal welfare projects. By helping to restore these communities the Fund will create the platform for a thriving entrepreneurial environment.

“By making social investments and grants available in select distressed communities across Nigeria, the Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund will economically empower individuals and communities by creating and fostering an enabling environment that will support a new generation of entrepreneurs”said Mr Tony Elumelu, Founder, The Tony Elumelu Foundation and Chairman Heirs Holding. ”Entrepreneurs create jobs, opportunity, and wealth at the local level and in doing so, they play a vital role in reducing poverty and addressing a range of social issues that cause conflict and instability” Elumelu continued.

As the Fund works to economically empower communities, so will it work to sustain itself.  The Fund is managed by Katja Nwator, a staff of the Tony Elumelu Foundation withconsiderable community development experience and Niger Delta roots. With the support of a distinguished board and other donors, both domestic and international, the Fund will be impactful and sustainable. This will occur within a framework of accountability and best practice, to serve as a model for delivering development programmes to the communities that have been devastated by conflict or disaster.

The Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund’s distinguished board members include:

– Professor Charles Soludo, former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria
– Hajiya (Dr) Mairo Mandara, Nigeria Country Director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
– Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto
– Onari Duke, the MD of the Empretec Foundation
– Rasheed Olaoluwa, the CEO of the Bank of Industry
– Dr. Stanley Lawson, Director, Central Bank of Nigeria and Director, Transcorp Plc
– Dr. Winnie Byanyima, the Executive Director of Oxfam International

Speaking at the launch of the Fund, Board member Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah stated, ”It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. The Tony Elumelu Foundation has ignited what will definitely be a massive flame of hope to dispel the darkness that hovers around us. I am honoured to stand beside men and women with passion for our common humanity.”

To find out more information and to keep up to date with The Elumelu NigeriaEmpowerment Fund visit www.tonyelumelufoundation.organd follow the foundation on twitter @TonyElumeluFDN.

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For all media enquiries contact Toyin Awesu
Email: toyin.awesu@tonyelumelufoundation.org Phone: 234-1-2774641-5

About the Tony Elumelu Foundation
The Tony Elumelu Foundation is an African-based, African-funded philanthropic organisation. Founded in 2010, our mission is to support entrepreneurship in Africa by enhancing the competitiveness of the African private sector.
We believe our work is driving lasting solutions that contribute positively to Africa’s social and economic transformation. Employing an integrated approach that utilizes impact investments, selective grant making, and policy development, we seek to influence the operating environment so that entrepreneurship in Africa can flourish.
Website: www.tonyelumelufoundation.org Twitter @TonyElumeluFDN

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Our Client Wanted To Say ‘Pupsy’, Not Her Private Parts — Lawyer Defends Embattled Nigerian Polytechnic Female Graduate

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Barrister Ikechukwu Nwaopara, a legal practitioner representing the interest of Sharon Ogechi Okoroafor, the graduating student of the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri, Imo State, who went viral on social media for saying that she graduated with the help of God and her private parts, has said his client was misinterpreted.

The lawyer, who made the appeal to the institution’s management in a statement made available to newsmen, claimed that their client had no intention of disparaging the institution’s reputation, standards or integrity.

The statement reads: “We are solicitors to OKOROAFOR OGECHI SHARON (our client under our Pro Bono (Free Legal Services) on whose behalf we write this memo to you.

“We are aware that she will be facing the school disciplinary panel this morning, and we wish to use this medium to express our confidence that the panel will carry out their duties in compliance with the principles of Fair hearing, good conscience and natural justice, devoid of harassment, intimidation, and threats.

“We have met and discussed with our Client and evidence before us shows that she has no intention to defame the character, standard and integrity of the institution. In her words what happened in the said viral video was a slip of tongue as a result of her uncontrollable ecstasy over her graduation. Her intended words were “God and Pupsy” in appreciation of the Almighty God and her dad.

“It is clear, therefore, that she had no intention whatsoever to use such a “foul word” in the said viral video to cajole or blackmail the institution, as no lecturer or name of the institution was mentioned or referred to in the said viral video.

“Our lawyers are already on ground at the institution now to follow up the proceedings at the panel against any form of intimidation or harassment. The integrity and standard of the said institution is not in doubt especially since my senior brother, Rev Dr Arimanwa took over as the Rector. Indeed, justice is for all parties.”

We had reported that after Sharon’s video went viral on the internet, the management of the institution announced that it would investigate her action as it was capable of dragging the reputation of the school to the mud.

 

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Alleged N1.4bn Fraud: Witness Reveals How Kogi Assembly Candidate, Atumeyi Fraudulently Benefitted N681m from Union Bank Customers’ Accounts

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The first prosecution witness, PW1, Olusegun Falola, in the ongoing trial of Ismaila Yousouf Atumeyi, a Kogi State House of Assembly candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, and two others, on Monday, January 31, 2023, told Justice Tijani Ringim of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos how the sum of N681m (Six Hundred and Eighty-one Million Naira) was paid into Atumeyi’s business account.

Atumeyi is standing trial alongside Ngene Joshua Dominic and Abdulmalik Salau, a former employee of Union Bank Plc, on an 18-count charge bordering on alleged cybercrime and money laundering to the tune of N1.4bn.

Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, Falola, an Internal Auditor and Team Lead, General Investigations, Union Bank Plc, told the court that “sometime in October 2022, during the periodic internal review of accounts of customers, we observed that some accounts that were placed on No-debit were debited.

“In the course of our review, it was observed that the methodology employed in debiting the said accounts was different from the way accounts are being debited in the normal banking activity.

“Based on this, the case was assigned to me for further internal investigation. During the review, I observed that beyond the few accounts that were referred to me for investigation, there were other numerous accounts that were being debited.

“Furthermore, the debits on these accounts were traced to two beneficiaries, Atus Homes Limited account and Fav Oil and Gas Limited.

“These two accounts received the sum of N681m and N1.38bn, respectively from the account of 429 customers.”

He also told the court that further investigations revealed that Atumeyi is the signatory to the Atus Homes Limited account, while the signatories to Fav Oil and Gas are Shuaibu Yusuf and Nurudeen.

According to him, all illicit debits on the customers’ accounts were done via internet banking on one of the bank’s platforms known as Union 360.

Giving further testimony, he said: “As at the time of investigation, over 600m had been withdrawn from the account of Atus Homes Limited and over N800m withdrawn from Fav Oil and Gas.

“We also realized that they were able to make those fraudulent transfers because the bank system was fraudulently manipulated.

“It was this realization that made us know that only a person with privileged information on the bank’s information technology could have carried out such illicit transactions.

“It was based on that knowledge that we reported the matter to the EFCC for further investigation.”

Oyedepo sought to tender the petition written to the EFCC, the correspondences between EFCC and the bank as well as the defendants’ statements of account that had been identified by the PW1.

However, counsel to the third defendant, Babatunde Ogunwo, objected to the admissibility of the attached statement of account on the grounds that the prosecution had not sufficiently complied with Section 84 (2) 2(4) of the Evidence Act.

“I strongly believe that the prosecution has not satisfied the provisions of Section 84 (2) 2(4) of the Evidence Act. All I heard the witness say is questions put to him by the prosecution.

“However Section 84(2) of the Evidence Act gives conditions more than what the witness has stated.

“There are four legs as stated by the Evidence Act and the witness has only answered one. These conditions have to be complied with.

“I humbly submit that the prosecution has not complied with the conditions stated for the admissibility of the statements of account”, Ogunwo argued.

Responding, Oyedepo said that the argument of the defence counsel was misconceived and also missed its target.

He, therefore, urged the court to discountenance the objection of the defence.

He also submitted that the certificate of identification as enshrined in the Section of the Evidence Act “is not a ritual that must be performed in achieving admissibility of computer-generated evidences.”

He further argued that “where the issue is as to the failure to comply with procedural steps towards admissibility, the order the court will make is not to reject the document, but to urge the tendering party to regularize.

“This document is relevant in the determination of this matter and I urge my Lord to so hold.”

In a short ruling, Justice Ringim overruled the objection of the defence and admitted the evidence in exhibit.

Justice Ringim also granted the second defendant, Dominic, bail on the same terms of the 3rd defendant, as granted on January 6, 2023.

The matter was adjourned to February 2, 2023 for continuation of trial.

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Transcorp increases power generation to the National Grid as it commissions rehabilitated GT Unit 20

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TransAfam Power Ltd, a subsidiary of Transcorp Group, has announced the completion of the rehabilitation of its Afam 5 GT unit 20 Gas Turbine power-generating unit located at Okoloma – Afam, Ndoki in Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State. The rehabilitated unit, which has been successfully commissioned and synchronized to the national grid, bringing an additional 138MW to its existing capacity.
Engr. Vincent Ozoude, MD/CEO of Transafam Power Limited expressed his delight about the newly rehabilitated unit, which is able to power up to 100,000 homes in a year. “Since the administrative handover of the Afam Power Plant in March 2021, we have been working diligently to realize the full potential of the plant. We are pleased to have successfully completed the rehabilitation of GT20, having been out of service for over 15 years prior to our takeover. We are glad to have achieved this feat, using a combination of our in-house resources and other local technical support, with about 20% of foreign expert support in the rehabilitation project, showing our commitment to local content development,” Ozoude said.
“It is impressive how far we have come from 48MW average generation, when we took over, to raising production to 120 MW generation within the first two months,” Ozoude added, as he expressed appreciation to the company’s host community, Okoloma-Ndoki, and other stakeholders.
Dr. Owen Omogiafo, President and Group CEO of Transcorp, who was accompanied by the members of the Technical Committee of the Board of Directors, expressed delight at the commissioning of the rehabilitated Afam 5 GT 20 power generating unit, stressing its significance to Transcorp Group and their commitment to transforming the power sector in Nigeria.
“Our purpose at Transcorp Group is to Improve Lives and Transform Africa, one investment at time. We are pleased at the progress we are making to expand access to electricity in Nigeria through our investments in the power sector,” Dr. Omogiafo said. “You cannot achieve sustainable economic transformation without reliable power supply. It is that understanding that has led us at Transcorp, under the leadership of our Group Chairman, Mr. Tony O. Elumelu CFR to invest in the power sector. We are happy with the progress we are making in our power plants and strive to continue to optimize our available generation capacity, with improved gas supply, which has become increasingly challenging. We will also continue to build our local capacity by investing in human capital development and positive engagement with our host communities and stakeholders” Omogiafo added.
Transcorp Group had in 2013, through its power subsidiary, Transcorp Power Limited (TPL), acquired the 972MW gas-fired Ughelli Power Plant, which has since been phenomenally transformed. With the acquisition of Afam Power Plc, Transcorp has further cemented its position as a key player in the power sector.

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