Latest Event Updates

The where about of President Muhammadu Buhari has put Nigerian rumor mill in overdrive.

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By Tom Okure, Ph.D.

President Muhammadu Buhari took leave from his official duties on January 19, 2017 for a brief vacation in the United Kingdom which was later termed as medical leave by his aides.  His failure to return to resume work and the open ended extension of his medical leave has spurred all types of rumors about the status of the president’s health including the possibility of his demise and cover-up by his aides.

The lack of clarity about Buhari’s circumstance this week created doubts in the Nigerian media about the claim by the Nigerian presidency that President Trump of the United States reached out in a telephone call to Buhari on Monday February 13, 2017.  According to Buhari’s aides, President Trump’s discussion with Buhari centered on a new possible arms deal to help Nigeria better combat terrorism. The US Congress has been reviewing Nigeria’s request to sell it military aircraft. The presidency in Nigeria said “President Trump assured the Nigerian president of U.S. readiness to cut a new deal in helping Nigeria in terms of military weapons to combat terrorism.”

There is doubt and disagreement among Nigerians and the media that Buhari could have spoken to US President Trump under the circumstance of his health and the lack of clarity about his where about. Many Nigerians are truly concerned about the president’s prolonged absence and how his health is? This is especially so, because of the president’s failure to address the nations on the status of his health and the way that his aides have failed to demonstratively show the curious public that the president is healthy or even fully disclose his whereabouts.

To match Interview NIGERIA-BUHARI/

Martin Patience of the BBC explains that the failure of President Buhari to appear in public to clarify his circumstance has put Nigerian rumor mill in overdrive ….Read more

Where is Nigeria’s president?

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Music video by Phyno performing Financial Woman

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ICMS, Inc Entertainment:

P Square – Music video by Phyno performing Financial Woman….Enjoy

Dangote Group is set to resume tomato processing in its Kadawa factory in Kano State of Nigeria.

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ICMS, Inc Reports
By Tom Okure, Ph.D.
February 4, 2017

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Alikote Dangote is founder and president of Dangote Group

African Manufacturing and Industrial Giant Dangote Group has announced it is set to resume tomato processing in its Kadawa factory in Kano State of Nigeria. In preparation to restart the Tomato Processing Factory Alhaji Abdulkarim Kaita, who is the Company Managing Director, disclosed recently in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Kano that the company has begun a tomato farms surveys in six states which include Jigawa, Katsina, Kaduna, Kano, Gombe, Plateau and Sokoto. The surveys are supposed to ascertain the extent of the availability of tomatoes in the farms of these major producing states.

The company indicates it will need about 40 trailers of tomato daily to meet its processing needs in the factory when the farmers start harvesting their tomatoes. In preparation for the start of production at the factory, the company engaged more than 50 new employees who will focus on conveying the fresh tomato inside the factory for processing and about 30 Industrial Training (IT) students are alleged to have also been employed by the company as quality control inspectors to assess the quality of the tomatoes prior to processing.

tomatoes-for-dangote-processing_3It will be recalled that last year the company was forced to suspend its production of processed tomatoes because of insufficient raw materials input and an outbreak of a pest popularly known as “Tuta Absoluta’’ which destroyed tomato farms in Kano and five other tomato producing states in Nigeria. The massive requirement of tomatoes needed as raw material input at the factory also caused shortages of tomatoes throughout the country.

Commentary and Policy Recommendation

The announcement to resume the processing of tomatoes by the Dangote Group is a welcome development for Nigeria as it adds to the internal production capacity of this vital commodity that is widely used in food preparation by Nigerian families. Internal production of tomato paste etc., in Nigeria will help reduce the importation of this vital commodity by the federal government and save the country on badly needed foreign exchange at a time of recession by helping to reduce or end the importation of processed tomato paste into the country.

tomatoes-for-dangote-processing_2More than 40,000 individual farms are involved in the farming of tomatoes in the six identified states and would benefit from selling their tomatoes to the Dangote factory. Logistically local employment will be stimulated in various ways as local people will be involved in supplying things like baskets, fertilizer and other needs of the farmers.

Nevertheless, we believe that rather than buying the raw materials from the individual farmers as is planned, a better policy approach would be for the Dangote Company to retain the services of the tomato farmers as its agents organized into “tomato farm cooperatives” to grow, harvest and sale the tomatoes back to Dangote Company at an assured and guaranteed annual price. This approach would create both employment for the farmers and guarantee them some level of expected annual income for their tomatoes. The Nigerian Federal Government in partnership with the Dangote Group would fund the creation of cooperative farms from among the individual farmers, provide the cooperative farms with the technical assistance and know how needed to grow and harvest pest free high yield quality tomatoes on a year round basis for harvesting, sale to and processing at the company’s Kadawa factory in Kano State.

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Dangote tomato factory set to resume operation
Dangote tomato factory to resume production February 2017

Update On the Collapse of the Reigners Bible Church Building in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria

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The Reigner’s Bible Church Building Collapse in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria

 

Did You Know That: Buildings in the premises of The Reigners Bible Church in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State were marked for demolition but the developer ignored all the markings by covering them with paint!

ICMS, Inc Reports

During a recent Commission of Inquiry hearing established by Akwa Ibom State government to determine the cause of the collapse of the Reigners Bible Church building in Uyo, Mr. Effiong Akpan, the Head, Town Planning Department, Uyo City Capital Development Authority stated that buildings on the church premises had been determined to be inadequate and were marked for demolition but the developer ignored all the markings by covering them with paint.

During the hearing, Akpan stated: “We marked ‘X’ on the structure on March 6, 2013, it was covered by paint; we did the same on July 16, 2014; March 1, 2016; July 20, 2016, and August 16, 2016.

Background

On December 10, 2016, the Pastor of the “Reigners Bible Church” located along Uyo Village Road in Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria was supposed to be consecrated as a Bishop and the church was filling to capacity when suddenly without warning the roof of the church collapsed resulting in tremendous tragedy.

aks_churchbuildingcollapes_pic2Witnesses at the scene say that over 50 people were removed the rubble of the collapsed church building and taken away by ambulances. Many of those taken away appeared to be dead. Reports from the scene tragedy indicated that the State Governor Emmanuel Udom was in attendance at the church when the tragedy occured.

According to news reports “The governor and his people were inside the church. But they escaped because they were sitting in the front and the roof collapsed in the middle on top of many people”

 

Photo Credit: Sitippe

Nigerian 2014 Centenary Celebration and 100 Fascinating Facts about Nigeria

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By Tom Okure, Ph.D
August 25, 2016

Back in 1984, a Nigerian did not require a Travel Visa to visit the United Kingdom (UK) and during the military regime headed by Babangida in 1985, the US dollar exchanged for or was equivalent to 90 Nigerian kobo. Today (August 25, 2016) one US dollar is exchanged for 340 Naira (Government exchange rate) to 402 Naira (Parallel or black market rate in Lagos, Nigeria).

Nigeria’s Centenary celebration in 2014 witnessed a flurry of activities and events to celebrate Nigeria’s existence as a nation from January 1914 to January 2014. The celebrations included the announcement of plans to develop a centenary city, military parades, special legislative sessions, grand ceremonies with music and fireworks, rallies in Nigerian State capitals and Abuja the federal capital, special prayers for Nigeria by both Christians and Muslims.

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There were exhibitions and symposia which included youth and children programs; awards and honors ceremonies recognizing prominent Nigerians; a special centenary pageant and centenary scholarships and academic recognition event; there were also international trade and investment shows promoting Nigeria’s trade and economic potential to gobal investors etc.
Centenary Celebrations_Pics-3During the celebrations, Important books and news paper articles were published and facts complied highlighting interesting facts about Nigeria and its political, social and economy history. This celebration was considered necessary by Nigerian policy makers to highlight where Nigeria began as a nation and where it was heading in its quest to become one of the top twenty economies in the world.

Take for example, the grandiose plan to build a Centenary city. It was justified according to the then Secretary to the Federal Government, Senator Pius Anyim as essential “to serve as a political and economic tool for securing foreign investment.” Nigerian President Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at the time stated that “The idea is to get a better city than the present Abuja where people will not need to provide basic amenities by themselves.”

One of the benefits of the Centenary celebrations is the fact that it created an opportunity for Nigeria’s political leaders and scholars etc. to focus and carefully reflect on Nigeria’s accomplishments and historical facts.  According to a statement made by the Board appointed to develop the Centenary city:

“The Centenary City is expected to signpost the Nigeria of the future, leveraging world class urban development as a tool for securing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and signaling a new economic awakening across the entire country. By the end of its 10-year development Lifecycle, this revolutionary and expansive urbanization project is expected to create over 55,000 well-paying jobs, attract over half a million visitors daily and accommodate a residential population of about 150,000 people. The Centenary City is envisioned as a business, leisure and tourism destination, driven by the Private Sector. The structure of the City is inspired by other Model cities across the globe that are insulated from the vicissitudes of policies and broken infrastructure that characterize the poorly run cities around them.”

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From all evidence, the Centenary City project appears to be progressing slowing towards its planned objective. Vital infrastructural construction is alleged to be progressing steadily in the Abuja Centenary City, Nigeria’s City of the future. Upon completion, this city is expected to generate over 350,000 jobs. In a recent briefing to President Buhari of Nigeria on the status of the project by the Board, the president

“thanked the Board and management for their project update visitation , and praised the Centenary City’s main development partners from the United Arab Emirates for having enough confidence in Nigeria to agree to invest about $18.5 billion in the project. He was optimistic that the skills, expertise and vast experience that would be brought into Nigeria to build the Centenary City on the Dubai model, would also be of immense benefit to Nigeria.”

An interesting article by Dr. Peregrino Brimah (published in Every Nigerian Do Something) revealed an interesting set of 100 facts about Nigeria which is fascinating to read.

Below are excerpts from Dr. Peregrino Brimah article entitled “100 Years and 100 Interesting Facts about Nigeria”

Did You Know That:

  • Nigeria has 5 of the 10 richest pastors in the entire world, with net worth’s according to Forbes, from $10-150 million. They are Pastors, David Oyedepo, E. A. Adeboye, Chris Oyakhilome, Mathew Ashimolowo and Temitope Joshua.

Did You also know also that …….

  • Nigeria has the highest paid legislators in the entire world.
  • Nigerians are 1/5th the total population of Black Africa.
  • Nigeria’s population was just 16 million in 1911. It is projected to hit 444 million by 2050, surpassing the US and becoming the 4th largest in the world.
  • According to current demographics, after Hausa-Fulani (29%), Yoruba (21%), Igbo (18%) and Ijaw (10%) comes Kanuri (4%) and then Ibibio (3.5%) and Tiv (2.5%).
  • Discovered in 1928, Nigeria’s North and North Central region hosts West Africa’s oldest civilization; the Nok, which flourished between 1000 BC and 300 BC. {Nok sculptures recently went on display disappointingly in Germany (not Africa).}
  • The Obasanjo military regime converted Nigeria from a Parliamentary system to a Presidential system of government.
  • Cameroon was an administrative part of Nigeria in 1945, hence the NCNC party (National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons). Towards independence the UN mandated British held former German territory, south Cameroon opted to join French Cameroon and not Nigeria.
  • The 2006 Census found Nigerians to be the highest educated ethnic or racial group in America.
  • Nigeria in 2013 was rated the worst country to be born based on welfare and prosperity projection.
  • Akwa Ibom: King Jaja of Opobo (1821–1891) founded Opobo city-state in 1867 and shipped palm oil to Britain independently of British middle men.
  • Cross River State: The Ejagham (Ekoi) people in the Southeast are believed to have originated the Nsibidi (Nsibiri) writing system which later spread to the Efik, Igbo, Ibibio, Efut, Banyang and Annag peoples.
  • There are several Nigerian officials in the government of English speaking The Gambia.
    Aliko Dangote funded Presidents Obasanjo, Yar’Adua and Jonathan’s 4th republic campaigns. Buhari rejected funding from Dangote.

For a full list of 100 Years and 100 Interesting Facts about Nigeria by Dr. Peregrino Brimah, click on the link below:

100 years and 100 interesting facts about nigeria

Note: Nigeria’s century compilation was created as a historical snapshot of peculiar events, for our benefit and that of Nigeria’s younger generations. It was compiled to the best of our ability and influenced by our learning, recollection and prejudices. We invite Nigerians to collect and share with us more important and unique events that define 100 years of Nigeria. Resources utilized here can be found on ENDS.ng.
To read and learn more about Nigeria’s Centenary celebrations and the events that took place click on the link below:

Nigeria Centenary Celebration
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All rights reserved by Dr. Tom Okure, CEO of Inter-Continental Mgt. Systems, Inc (ICMS, Inc). The information included in this publication may not be used, reproduced, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written permission of ICMS, Inc. 

The Importance of Sand Mining in the Economic Development of Ikot Ekpene and Annang Nation

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By Tom Okure, Ph.D
Date: August 20, 2016
Definition of Sand Mining
Sand mining is the process employed to extract sand primarily from an open pit. Sand mining is used to remove sand from beaches and inland dunes and dredged from ocean beds and river beds. The harvested sand is used in developing of an abrasive such as concrete.
Sand Mining Industry in Annang Land
In Annang nation which consist of Ikot Ekpene and Abak, sand is mined from specialized river beds and come in a variety of quality and coarseness from very fine sand to very sharp sand which is used for a variety of construction purposes including the manufacture of cement blocks used for house construction, plastering of walls and the construction of roads etc.
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Photo Credit: Mr. Enim Akwa. The mining of sand in Ilim Abama in Nto Edino, Obot Akara LGA in Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria

Annang nation is blessed with many of these sand river beds and it provides a thriving business for the local economy where they are found. The mining of sand is historically and culturally significant for Annang people because it reflects the life blood of the native people prior to the rapid economic transformation of the Annang nation. Sand mining is historically significant for the Annangs since the colonial era. Today the industry employs hundreds to perhaps thousands of local indigenous people through a semi managed production and supply chain for sand.

There is no government regulation regulating the local sand industry and sand dredging activities in Akwa Ibom State. The only form of regulation within the local industry is carried out by private unions which sand mining operators are required to join with the payment of a membership fee. Even so, widespread illegal sand mining remains.
Infrastructural Development and the Increasing Demand for Sand
This business sustains those employed within the local industry and enables them to take care of their families. Filling up a sand canoe can take up to one hour and requires a lot of physical labor because of the lack of mechanical equipment to evacuate the sand from the canoes or load up sand transportation trucks.
Annang Heritage Photo Contest Pics-8
Photo Ctedit: Mr. Enim Akwa

The canoes filled with sand bring the sand to a predetermined open storage location near or far from the river for the business owner and the harvested sands are piled into dunes for sale to local customers. The increasing demand for sand has been putting more and more pressure on the harvesting of sand from major rivers like Mbiaso river in Ikot Ekpene . Typically customers are required to pay in advance for sand prior to loading a delivery sand truck for a customer. A truck load of mined sand is currently priced at between 10,000 Naira to 12,000 Naira depending on location purchased from or the nature of the sand type (shape or coarse sand) etc.

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Photo Credit: Mr. Enim Akwa
There is less pressure if the sand is first delivered to the customer and the money is collected afterwards, but this is usually not the case because of a lack of trust between the sand owners and the sand customers.
Policy Recommendation and Conclusion
The local sand industry is highly competitive and an increasing lucrative business for the local economy as a consequence of the boom in housing and road construction in Ikot Ekpene city and other cities in Akwa Ibom state as the whole state underwent significant structural transformation due to the oil boom between the years 2000 through 2015. Even after the drop in global world oil prices in 2015, the sand market remains very active with a moderate drop in demand because of the drop in road construction and a tightening state budget.
In Akwa Ibom State, the sand industry is ripe for some lever of oversight and regulation by both the local and state government. In a highly industrial cities in Nigeria like Lagos, around some popular mining spots such as the Makoko River, evidence of severe environmental degradation is very visible. In Lagos, the state’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources has regulatory responsibility and oversight over sand dealings and dredging activities. Environmentalists caution that unrestricted and continuous mining of sand could result in significant and irreversible damage to the local environmental.

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All rights reserved by Inter-Continental Mgt. Systems, Inc (ICMS, Inc). The information included in this publication may not be used, reproduced, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written permission of ICMS, Inc. (Email us at icmsinc@aol.com).

Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State Nigeria

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By Tom Okure, Ph.D
(Dr. Okure is CEO of ICMS,Inc and a Nigerian indigene based in the USA.
Dr. Okure is a Writer, Commentator, Public Policy and Economic Development Consultant/Advisor)
Date: August 12, 2016

The Akwa Ibom State Government signed a management agreement with Starwood Hotels in 2014 to manage a (4 Star) Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Ikot Ekpene built under contract for the government by Renaissance Construction. In 2015 a large portion of construction work was finished and officially opened by the departing Godswill Akpabio’s administration, even though the hotel was not fully ready and operational.

 

ICMSINC_IMG_IK EK RoundAbout _2015-Copyrighted_1
Evening view of Ikot Ekpene City Center with Four Points Hotel in the background

Starwood Hotels, the designated manager of this hotel states that the Hotel will be fully open and operational by April of 2017. Starwood Hotels has experience managing hotels in Akwa Ibom State as it also manages the well renowned Le Méridien Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort in Uyo. Four Points amenities include a banquet hall, spa, meeting rooms, restaurants indoor and outdoor, swimming pool, tennis courts, club lounge and even a roof terrace.

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Four Points by Sheraton, Ikot Ekpene during constrction

Four Points by Sheraton Hotel is located adjacent to Ikot Ekpene City Center Plaza that was commissioned by the State government during the Silver Jubilee celebrations in the state. It is the tallest building in Ikot Ekpene city and an imposing structure which can be seen from many miles from the city center. It is a definite enhancement to the landscape of the city.

The hotel is situated at the old site of Ikot Ekpene federal prison which was located in the heart of the city. The federal prison was demolished and relocated out of town to make room for the Four Point hotel which the city planners believe was essential to accord the ancient town of Ikot Ekpene a befitting image, facelift and boost it as a tourist destination enhancement within Nigeria deserving of its status as the first experimental local government area created by the British colonial government in Nigeria and West Africa.

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Ikot Ekpene Four Points by Sheraton

Ikot Ekpene is recognized as a commerce center and is reputable in the production and exportation of a variety of agricultural products including  palm products such as palm oil, kernels, raffia and the cultivation of a variety of food crops likes yams, cassava, and corn.

Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Ikot Ekpene Highlights

Location: Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom;
Keys: 144 Standard Rooms, 2 Presidential Suites and 16 Regular Suites;
Total Gross Floor Area: 13,700m2;
Floors: 12;
Contractors: Renaissance Construction;
Expected Opening: April 2017

Read More: Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Ikot Ekpene