Below are the headlines found on The Guardian Online Newspaper for today, Saturday, 24 February, 2018.

Sat, 24 Feb 2018
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured the families of students reportedly abducted from the Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi in Yobe State that no effort would be spared in bringing succour to them.

“When I received the devastating news of the attack on the school and the fact that the local authorities could not account for all the students, I immediately dispatched a high-level delegation on a fact-finding visit to the town.

“I also instructed the security agencies to deploy in full and not spare any effort to ensure that all the girls are returned safely and the attackers arrested and made to face justice.

“The entire country stands as one with the girls’ families, the government and the people of Yobe State. This is a national disaster. We are sorry that this could have happened and share your pain.

“We pray that our gallant armed forces will locate and safely return your missing family members.

“Our government is sending more troops and surveillance aircraft to keep an eye on all movements in the entire territory on a 24-hour basis, in the hope that all the missing girls will be found,” the President said in a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, yesterday. U.S. Condemns Dapchi Schoolgirls’ Abduction.

The United States (US) has also strongly condemned the abduction of scores of schoolgirls of Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi in Yobe State by suspected Boko Haram terrorists.

Spokesperson of the US Department of State, Ms. Heather Nauert, at a press briefing on Thursday, said though the country was yet to get all the details about the abduction, it condemned, in the strongest possible terms, the terror attack on the school.

“The choice of targets, including schools, markets and places of worship, reflect the brutality of terror organisations.

“The victims in the attacks were girls who were simply seeking an education,” Nauert said.

She said the US extended its condolences to the students and the families affected by the attacks and also expressed its concerns that some of the students were still not accounted for.

“We continue to support Nigeria’s efforts to counter the terror group.

“We also support Nigeria’s efforts to enable more than two million displaced in the Lake Chad region to return home safely.

“United States continues to provide humanitarian assistance to those who were affected by the violence,” she said.

Sat, 24 Feb 2018

Supreme Court orders INEC to delineate Bakassi Council
3 hours ago
Dapchi abduction: British military willing to assist, says Envoy
3 hours ago
Odigie-Oyegun replies Tinubu, restates support
3 hours ago

The quantity of dirty and unfit naira notes in circulation and scarcity of small denominations of N10, N20, N50 and N100 notes, is becoming a major concern to Nigerians, especially those engaged in commercial transactions.

These days, even over-the-counter and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) transactions are disbursing dirty and unfit notes, just as commercial banks and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) trade blames over who is responsible, directly or indirectly, for the situation.

More worrisome to banks’ customers is that ATMs have not only become outlets for these dirty and sometimes, unfit notes, but are also deliberately mixing them with few new notes and once dispensed, even the same bank do not accept them back when presented in the banking hall.

A customer of one of the top three banks in the country, who identified himself simply as Sampson, told The Guardian how he withdrew money across the counter and hurriedly left, but later discovered that two bundles of N500 notes were almost unfit.

“When I brought it back to them, they rejected the money and denied ever paying the money to me. I avoided creating a scene in the banking hall and could not push further because I was in a hurry to join a bus coming back to Lagos from Enugu,” he said.

Taofeek of Festac Town, Lagos, also told The Guardian that he went to deposit money in another top three bank, but the bulk teller rejected some notes and told him that if she collected them, the amount would be deducted from her salary.

“The notes were weak and some dirty, but the numbers are there and that was how I collected them, too, from others.

“In fact, one of my customers withdrew some of the notes in my very presence from the ATM and paid me. Why are they doing this?” he queried.

The Guardian’s poll of customers in 24 branches of 11 different banks, including the top five banks, across Lagos, showed that there are more of dirty notes and some near unfit ones than clean notes in many banking transactions these days.

Another bulk teller said that his boss has told staff that the CBN charges banks for the unfit notes when returned for replacement.

But spokesman of the apex bank spokesman, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, has consistently debunked this, saying banks have deliberately refused to sort the dirty and unfit notes and return them to CBN and instead choose to mix them up and when this happens, it will be sorted by the CBN and the banks charged as such.

“They are playing tricks. They will see unfit notes and re-issue them again, because they don’t want to make investments in sorting the money.

“It is their duty to return unfit notes to us and we will replace them with new ones.

“If banks sort the money before bringing to CBN, we don’t charge them, but if they don’t, we will sort and charge them.

“It is only when they mix up the unfit and good ones together, which is what they do, that we charge them for sorting.

“But it is our duty to issue new notes in place of the unfit and that we have been doing,” he said.

He advised any person with such complaints to direct it to CBN’s consumer protection department through, stating the name of the bank.

Okorafor reiterated that the problem for rejection should not be the dirtiness of money, but if the numbers on the money are complete, adding: “If the numbers are complete, no bank has any right to reject the currency, no matter how dirty it is.”

Across the country, shortage of small denominations is gradually affecting commercial activities and transactions, thereby affecting the economy of the middle and low-income class.

It is also breeding disagreement between service providers and customers, and “marriage of inconvenience” between transporters and passengers.

Happiness, a tricycle operator in Enugu, charges his passengers according to their distance. Most operators of tricycle charge N50 per trip. However, “it is always a problem, especially, in the morning hours, to get passengers, who would pay you the exact fare,” he said.

Asked how he has been coping with the development, he stated that he either abandons the passenger with the N50 note or look for those he would drop on charter.

He told The Guardian that getting lower dominations of the naira is now a difficult thing, adding that in some cases, they pair passengers to enable them settle for a higher denomination before they are taken to their destinations.

Michael Dibia, a resident of Ahoada, explained that the scarcity of smaller denominations have led to increase in the price of foodstuffs and transportation.

“I have observed of recent that you could barely buy spices used for cooking soup at N5 or even N10. I blame this on the non-availability of smaller denominations. Most traders prefer to sell them at N20 or N50 and above. Before a customer buys something in the market these days, the seller will ask whether the customer has the required money. Very often, the customers, like me, have to compromise to buy what I don’t intend to buy because of change. This is affecting the cost of living for people like us,” he said.

Similarly, Tonye Oruwari, who owns a grocery in Port Harcourt, stated that in the absence of small denomination currencies, the grocery shops have evolved a unique way to address the issue by offering chewing gums and sweets against balance, in place of the small denomination currencies.

Also in Kwara State, while some traders complained of the scarcity, they agreed that it had assisted in swelling their profit margin.

Alhaja Afusat Wakilu popularly called “Iya Azeez” at Lanjoorin Street, Murtala Mohammed Way, Ilorin, said many of her customers often forfeit their balances with her without realising the magnitude of gains conceded to her.

Sat, 24 Feb 2018
Seyi Banigbe describes herself as a multi-faceted woman who is passionate about Nigerian women being financially empowered alongside living their dreams. A trained lawyer with an MBA from the Imperial College, London, she worked in several capacities before venturing into the entrepreneurial world. Now the owner of three thriving start-ups, she is wearing another hat, this time as a producer and host of a TV Talkshow- Binging With GameChangers. She tells TOBI AWODIPE of her move from Law to business, her new talk show, running three businesses at the same time and her secret to staying successful

Tell us about yourself and your professional background
I am a trained lawyer with an MBA from the Imperial College London. I obtained my Law degree (LLB) from the University of Lagos (Unilag) and was thereafter called to the Nigerian Bar. I am a certified member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) UK and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) UK. I started my legal career working for many years in the Tax and Corporate Advisory unit of PricewaterHouseCoopers Nigeria and thereafter became Company Secretary/Head, Legal of an indigenous oil and gas firm.  I have always had a strong entrepreneurial spirit and, as a result, I started and currently oversee three businesses in Nigeria. The first and most popular being Bland2Glam, a jewellery brand that I believe has revolutionised jewellery design and retail across Nigeria. The second business is Nibo&Tac , a corporate/commercial law firm that provides legal advisory & support services to large companies and SMEs; third business is Deterge Nigeria Limited, an organization that specializes in creating awareness about the resulting hazards of using dirty water dispensers alongside providing professional dispenser cleaning/repair services to homes and corporate organisations across Nigeria. I’ve recently delved into television, producing and hosting a talk show called Binging with GameChangers, which delves into the minds and perspectives of people with celebrated brands and careers to enable people learn from their journey and be inspired to do likewise. The Talkshow airs on Africa Magic Family and on YouTube @B2Gnetwork.

You started out with law. When and why did you decide to go into entrepreneurship? 
I still practice law but I actually started my entrepreneurial journey right from the university where I sold clothes, shoes and accessories to my hall mates. I honestly can’t remember a time since I graduated from the university when I have not been busy exploring a business idea or growing a business. I’ll ascribe my knack for entrepreneurship first to my mum, seeing her juggle her job and businesses while growing definitely stirred up something in me. It told me that if at anytime, I wasn’t comfortable with my earning power, I have all it takes to turn things around. I’ll also say that my desire to cause change in my society and in people’s lives, has also made me venture into a whole lot of things that I may have never ventured into.

You now have three successful businesses. Take us through your journey starting the first and how did you raise capital to start out?
The first ‘structured’ business I started was Deterge, a company that specializes in cleaning and disinfecting water dispensers for homes and offices while raising awareness on the dangers of using dirty water dispensers. I started this company due to my inability to easily find a company that was willing to come over to my house to professionally clean my water dispenser. I was very eager to get my dispenser cleaned because I had just delivered my first baby and I was instructed at the hospital not to ingest anything unhealthy, as this would affect my baby’s health. You can then imagine the rage I felt as a “first-time-mum” trying to save her newborn from ingesting bad water from our dirty dispenser at home and not being able to find any firm to help. Manufacturers of water dispensers always state in the manual that water dispensers must be cleaned every quarter to eliminate the presence of bacteria in the water being dispensed from the dispensers. Being mindful of this, I went ahead to get trained on how to clean and disinfect a water dispenser; hired one staff and we started servicing our clients together. We now have about 500 clients ranging from offices, churches, schools and residential apartments. I started Deterge and Bland2Glam while I worked my 9 to 5 job so I simply used my salary to start these businesses.

What is the worst moment you have faced business-wise, what are the challenges you face and how are you overcoming them?
I’ll say my worst moment in business would be being lied to and stolen from by staff, especially when such acts are perpetrated by staff that you like and have been very good to. I can’t say my challenges with staff have been fully overcome but things are definitely getting better every day. I’m overcoming these issues by creating processes, procedure and structure around every company activity, most especially with my unskilled staff. I endeavour to remain good to people, no matter what; and I ensure to hire people with their job description in view as I believe work is a lot easier when people are naturally inclined or trained to fit a certain role.

What has been the highlight for you so far? 
There have been so many highlights for me in business but one that stands out is the process of establishing a full-fledged legal practice in Nigeria. Considering the weight of importance ascribed to legal advice/support provided on transactions and/or to organisations, an unusual level of care and professionalism had to go into selecting my partners and the legal team that would effectively support the firm’s vision which is to provide premium and affordable corporate/commercial law services to SMEs and high net-worth firms alike. Merging the vision with the right people, location and structure was sort of a herculean task for me at the time, but I’m thankful we are now established with several happy clients and retainerships.

Jewellery wearing is not new to Nigerian women, so what edge has Bland2Glam brought into this industry? 
Bland2Glam’s edge has to be our ability to design jewellery that is specific to the needs/feedback from our clients, also bearing in mind the peculiar fashion inclinations of the African woman. We’re proud to not just retail jewellery but to also create our own exclusive jewellery designs which we have found to do exceptionally well across Nigeria and even in foreign countries. I almost passed out the first time we got an order from a white British person. We’re pretty used to that now though. Designing our own jewellery gives us the opportunity to specify the type of material used to produce them and this helps to ensure our products come out beautiful yet strong enough to withstand the harsh weather conditions in Nigeria. Another edge might also be our fast-growing network of retail partners. Even though we’re primarily an online store, we have formed partnerships with key premium brands such as SPAR, Grey Velvet, Elan Red and 41 Luxe who jointly have footprint across many states in Nigeria. These partnerships enable us to reach folks who are not online so they can also get to enjoy and experience our products.

What do you enjoy most about being a business owner?
The flexibility it affords me to live my dreams and add value to my society is what I love most about being a business owner.
How does your background in law help with your business building?
My legal background enables me stay mindful of terms and conditions surrounding relationships/transactions entered into by any of my companies and this helps minimize loss/failure in such instances.

Sat, 24 Feb 2018
After acquiring a Higher National Diploma in Accounting and later a Post Graduate Diploma in Management, Adeniyi R. Balogun joined Guinness Nigeria in 2004 where he worked across Customer Service and Sales functions. But in pursuit of new learning, he moved to MultiChoice Nigeria in 2012, where he led the growth agenda as Regional Sales Manager (South East) and later Lagos, where he’s currently Commercial & Corporate Sales Manager responsible for business in the hospitality segment across Nigeria. In this interview, with CHUKS NWANNE, Balogun, who is the 2018 President of Junior Chamber International (JCI) Nigeria, spoke on his mandate and vision for the organisation in the country.

As the new Junior Chamber International (JCI) Nigeria President, what exactly are the responsibilities of your office? 
We are young active citizens of Junior Chamber International Nigeria, taking action and creating impact in our communities. As young active citizens, our impact cuts across the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, with membership and alumni over 7,000 in 50 local organisations and 70 tertiary institutions. This thus makes us the largest youth led organisation in Nigeria.

As President, I also serve as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Organisation, preside at meetings of the General Assembly and represent the national organisation at local and international programmes. I also oversee four Executive Vice Presidents, eight National Vice Presidents and 23 Directors, inspiring other young people to take responsibility in constantly creating sustainable impact in our communities.

How has the journey been for you so far?
Well, my first contact with JCI was at the University of Ibadan; I saw the logo and kept asking questions. Sometime in 1999, Ola Davies visited Lagos State Polytechnic Isolo in company of the then Laspotech Jaycees President, Olusoji Olaniran and there, I got my answers. I joined, served as secretary and later 2003/2004 Laspotech Jaycees President. I went on to serve as the Collegiate Council Secretary in 2005 and after school, I joined in starting JCI Festac in 2007 and served as Executive Vice President.

I later transferred membership to JCI Enugu in 2010, elected Local Organization President in 2012. I moved on to the national stage and was elected in 2013 to serve as National Vice President assigned to 5 Northern States, elected in 2015 as National Executive Vice President responsible for the South South/South East, Director international Affairs in 2016, Director Projects & Programmes in 2017 and later elected in Owerri as the 47th President of the Organisation with the Presidential Theme, Citizens In Action.

How has JCI Nigeria been progressing over the last couple of years, what are your impacts? 
This all started as the vision of a young man, Late Otunba Bola Adewunmi in 1957, when the JCI movement started in Nigeria. JCI creates development opportunities that empower young people to create positive change. With the JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award programme, over the years, we have recognised outstanding young men and women, who continue to inspire us and do great things for the advancement of humanity and development of Nigeria. In 1990, JCI Nigeria, in conjunction with Africa Leadership Forum, in addressing the challenges of Nigerian youths, developed the Vision 2010 project, which was later adopted by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

As the current President of JCI Nigeria, what do you intend to achieve during your tenure?
This year, JCI Nigeria will be the organisation that unites all sectors of society to create sustainable impact. We have recognised that need to drive greater collaboration with other organisations in advancing the commonwealth of our dear country Nigeria. We will lead that active engagement that would envision Nigeria in 2030, address challenges of young active citizens, create a system that works and be part of the execution.

Sat, 24 Feb 2018
Happiness is a tricycle operator in Enugu. He charges his passengers according to their distance. Most operators of tricycle charge N50 per trip. However, 'it is always a problem... 

Sat, 24 Feb 2018
It is the movie on every lip: Black Panther. Since its formal worldwide release on February 16, the breath-taking superhero movie by Marvel Studios has continued to soar. 

Sat, 24 Feb 2018
Over the years, the city of Dubai has grown in stature to become one of the leading travel destinations in the world, with its ever-rising skyscrapers, ultramodern architecture... 

Sat, 24 Feb 2018
United States President Donald Trump has done it again with his racist tirade connected to a statement he made during an immigration meeting with a bipartisan group of senators, where he described... 

Sat, 24 Feb 2018
After months of working on location, MTV Shuga Season 6 tagged MTV Shuga Naija, premiered on Thursday, at the FilmHouse IMAX Cinema, Lekki, Lagos. Featuring a stellar cast and a powerful story... 

Sat, 24 Feb 2018
Being a good cook requires skills and of course using the right equipment to get great results and to make the process of cooking easier. Does anyone really want to spend... 

Sat, 24 Feb 2018
Africa Magic, in association with Multichoice, has announced the call to entry for the 2018 edition of the Africa Magic Viewers' Choice Awards (AMVCAs), the prestigious initiative... 

Sat, 24 Feb 2018
In line with it's resolve to build strong relationship and network with stakeholders in the hospitality industry, Citiheight Hotel Ikeja recently played host to members... 

Sat, 24 Feb 2018
Kebbi State governor, Abubakar Bagudu, has appointed Turakin Kebbi, Nura Sani Kangiwa, as Senior Special Assistant on Tourism Matters, with a mandate to restructure and rebrand Argungun... 

Sat, 24 Feb 2018
JSP Communications, one of Nigerian's leading Public Relations agencies, has teamed up with the African Blind & Restoration Foundation to commence a long-term food support program for the Bethesda Home of the Blind, Mushin, Lagos. 

Sat, 24 Feb 2018
Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom has expressed shock over the abduction of school girls from Government Technical College Dapchi, Yobe state, noting that such attack on children is an attack on the future of the country. 

Sat, 24 Feb 2018
Civil Society Organisations have raised alarm over the growing attack against schools across the country, stating that unless there is a national policy targeted... 

Sat, 24 Feb 2018
Following the tremendous success of last year's #MyFreedomDaycall to action, CNN is once again encouraging young people around the globe to raise their voices onMarch 14to generate awareness of modern-day slavery. 

Sat, 24 Feb 2018
Pulling-out' remains a cherished ceremony for a distinguished general on meritorious retirement. Major General Abdulkarim Adisa (rtd) enjoyed the preferment. 

Sat, 24 Feb 2018
Nigeria has over the years been blessed with many top class midfielders. From the days of Christian Madu, Muda Lawal, Aloy Atuegbu down to the mercurial Austin Okocha ... 

Sat, 24 Feb 2018
I was standing there in front of the man I loved and he was looking as handsome as I'd imagined he would on our big day. My best friends were a few feet away 

Sat, 24 Feb 2018
All roads lead to the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos today for the finals of the 17th Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Games. 

Sat, 24 Feb 2018
Just for Music (JFM), an new record label company in the business of identifying young talented music artistes across the country, has unveiled its first ever artiste... 

Sat, 24 Feb 2018
Nigerian football legend, Austin Jay-Jay Okocha was officially crowned 'king of the game' at the launch of BetKing, a premium sports betting platform, in Lagos, today. 
Naija Newspapers
Naija Newspapers

This is a short biography of the post author. Maecenas nec odio et ante tincidunt tempus donec vitae sapien ut libero venenatis faucibus nullam quis ante maecenas nec odio et ante tincidunt tempus donec.