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Unity Bank Holds 10th Edition of Corpreneurship Challenge; Agropreneurs, Others Win N10M Business Grant 

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AJAGBE ADEYEMI TESLIM

SPONSORED BY: H&H

Retail lender, Unity Bank Plc has extended N10 million business grant to 30 members of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, who took part in the 10th edition of the Bank’s flagship Entrepreneurship Development Initiative, known as Corpreneurship Challenge.  

The winners, including upcoming entrepreneurs developing innovative solutions in several business value chains such as Honey production, Rice, and Snail farming, among others, claimed top positions after participating in a business pitch that took place across 10 state NYSC Orientation Camps – Katsina, Kano, Kwara, Imo, Rivers, Delta, Sokoto, Edo, Akwa-Ibom, and Osun recently. 

At the NYSC Orientation camp at Ikot Itie Udung, Nsit Atai, Akwa Ibom State,  Azegba Chimuanya Perpetual, who pitched business on honey production emerged as the overall winner to clinch the N500,000 grand prize; while Iyorwa Kater Israel, a budding commercial rice farmer won N300,000 grant. Similarly, Egelonu Emmanuel Friday walked away with a N200,000 grant to support his Snail farming business.  

In the remaining nine states, no fewer than twenty-seven other winners also emerged, after pitching business plans across various economic segments including Fish production, Poultry farming, Fashion, Soap and Cake making, Printing, Piggery, Beverage making, etc. 

The Unity Bank Corpreneurship Challenge, which has proved its invaluable social benefit as an entrepreneurship development and job creation platform since its inception receives applications from thousands of serving NYSC Corp members. These business plans are then evaluated based on their originality, marketability, future employability potential of the product, and knowledge of the business. 

Speaking during the grand finale in Akwa Ibom State, Unity Bank’s Head of Retail and SME Banking Group, Dr. Opeyemi Ojesina said the Unity Bank Corpreneurship Challenge has earned its pride of place in Nigeria as one of the country’s foremost business incubation platform and entrepreneurship development. 

He said, “Unity Bank has sustained this Corpreneurship Challenge for the past five years, and throughout the period we have witnessed the tremendous impact it has had on youth empowerment and job creation in the country.  And I believe that the innovative approach to entrepreneurship which the programme has adopted has enabled us to seamlessly integrate financial support, mentorship, and skill development to foster the growth of aspiring entrepreneurs.” 

He added, “At its core, the initiative addresses the unique challenges faced by small and medium-sized enterprises, as they recognize the sector as the backbone of economic development. And Unity Bank’s commitment to financial inclusion is exemplified through tailored financial solutions that empower corp members to actualize their business dreams.” 

Ojesina further explained that “the mentorship provided to participants adds unparalleled value, as it connects corp members with seasoned professionals who provide insights, guidance, and a roadmap for success,” emphasizing how Unity Bank recognizes that true empowerment extends beyond financial assistance to honing entrepreneurial skills”. 

The Corpreneurship Challenge has earned the Bank national recognition for its impact on youth empowerment and job creation, just as the scheme continues to elicit growing interest among the corps members, attracting over 2000 applicants and participation in every edition.   

In partnership with the NYSC Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development, SAED, the initiative prominently features a business pitch presentation that provides the participants with the opportunity to present their business plans and stand a chance to win up to N500,000 cash in the business grant.   

So far, Unity Bank has invested over N100 million in the initiative which has now produced 148 winners since it was launched.  

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Bristow Helicopters Plans Collaboration with NCDMB on Centre of Excellence, Search and Rescue Operations

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Bristow Helicopters Plans Collaboration with NCDMB on Centre of Excellence, Search and Rescue Operations

AJAGBE ADEYEMI TESLIM

SPONSORED BY: H&H

The Management of Bristow Helicopters recently visited the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and proposed to partner closely with the Board on initiatives such as the establishment of a centre of excellence in the aviation sector, commencement of a search and rescue service and the introduction of light-wing aircrafts into the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

Managing Director of Bristow Helicopters Nigeria, Mr. Oladapo Oyeleke exchanging gifts with the Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe, after the courtesy at the Board’s headquarters in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
The Managing Director of Bristow Helicopters Nigeria, Mr. Oladapo Oyeleke led the company’s team that met with the Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe at the Board’s headquarters in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.


He said the visit was an opportunity to congratulate the Executive Secretary on his appointment and reaffirm the company’s commitment to NCDMB’s mandate as well as explore areas of possible collaboration.

He stated that Bristow Helicopters is the global leader in the provision of helicopter services and has operated in Nigeria for over 65 years.


He acknowledged that the company had found comfort in the Nigerian environment and currently provides services to diverse clientele within and outside the Nigerian oil and gas industry using its fleet of aircrafts. “We carry 3000 passengers every day. The magnitude of our impact cannot be overemphasized,” he asserted.

Managing Director of Bristow Helicopters Nigeria, Mr. Oladapo Oyeleke with Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe and other officials of both organisations, after the courtesy call by Bristow Helicopters at the Board’s headquarters in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.


The Managing Director maintained that Bristow Helicopters brings innovation to its service, stressing that the development of the Nigerian energy sector relies heavily on the company’s support and services. “You can only access deepwater projects that are about 200 nautical miles using our services. You cannot get there by boat,” he noted.


In the area of human capacity development, the Managing Director claimed that the company has trained over 300 Nigerian pilots and engineers in partnership with the NCDMB. According to him, “We have done very well in human capacity development. We trained Nigerian pilots and engineers heading the aviation departments of most international oil companies.”


Speaking further on the company’s local content strides, particularly in human capacity development, Oyeleke stated that the company started appointing Nigerians to the position of chief executives 10 years ago, despite Bristow Helicopters being an international brand. He affirmed that “the company pursues local content without diluting value and safety.”


On possible areas of collaboration with the NCDMB, the Managing Director of suggested that Bristow Helicopters and NCDMB could partner in setting up a centre of excellence for effective training of manpower that would work in the aviation subsector of the oil and gas industry.

He emphasised that his company brings years of global excellence and always tries to raise the bar.


Another possible area of partnership according to him is in the introduction of search and rescue support services in the oil and gas industry.

He indicated that Nigeria has a sizable number of vessels operating in the oil and gas industry, yet there is a weak search and rescue support system. He mentioned that Bristow Helicopters is the global leader in the provision of such services and planned to bring that expertise to the Nigerian market.


The third possible area of collaboration for both organisations is the planned investment in light-wing aircrafts for the Nigerian industry. According to Oyeleke, “the aircrafts will come in the 4th Quarter of 2024 if the market takes us there. We plan to train Nigerians to become the pioneers of that fleet and they can become the ambassadors.”


The Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe in his comments, lauded Bristow Helicopters for their professionalism and offering excellent services to the oil and gas industry over the past six decades.

He expressed interest in the opportunities presented by the new light-wing aircrafts and confirmed that the Board would seek to train young Nigerians to acquire capabilities required to operate the aircrafts.

Ogbe also pledged the Board’s support for Bristow Helicopters’ plan to introduce search and rescue services in the Nigerian oil and gas industry. Such services would be challenging and expensive to deploy, but would ultimately add great value to the industry, he concluded.

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Appointments: New chair, Awomolo, accused of dictatorship as fresh crisis hit Body of Benchers

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Appointments: New chair, Awomolo, accused of dictatorship as fresh crisis hit Body of Benchers

AJAGBE ADEYEMI TESLIM

SPONSORED BY: H&H

A fresh crisis is brewing within the Body of Benchers, the apex regulatory body for the legal profession in Nigeria, as the new chairman, Asiwaju Adegboyega Awolomo SAN, is accused of unilaterally reconstituting all committees without the customary approval of the Board.

Awolomo’s decision to dissolve all existing committees and appoint new members, allegedly bypassing the established protocol of seeking Board approval, had elicited strong reactions from members, with some likening his actions to those of a dictator.

One prominent committee affected by this action is the Membership Committee, which Austin Alegeh SAN headed. Alegeh, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), was appointed for a three-year term under the tenure of the immediate past Chairman, Honourable Justice Mary Peter-Odili. Awolomo’s decision to disregard this and other ongoing appointments has sparked considerable discontent among members, our correspondent reliably gathered.

Irked by the unilateral action, Alegeh wrote a protest letter dated May 2, 2024, to the Secretary of the Body, complaining about the illegality of Awolomo’s steps and demanding a reversal our correspondent reliably learnt. Nonetheless, this protest has reportedly been ignored by Awolomo, who has refused to reverse his actions.

However, speculation suggests that Awolomo’s actions may be fueled by anger over the Membership Committee’s previous refusal to approve his wife, Chief Mrs Victoria Awomolo SAN, as a member of the Body of Benchers.

It will be recalled that there was stiff opposition to the emergence of Chief Awomolo as Vice Chairman of the Body Benchers by the NBA who had instead put forward Mrs. Funke Adekoya SAN as its preferred candidate as approved by its NEC.

The Body eventually approved his appointment after the intervention of well-meaning members including the then Chairman Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN. 

Many members have threatened to have a showdown with Awomolo at the next meeting of the Body with some said to be contemplating legal action against him and the Body. 

Our correspondent also gathered that the next meeting of the Body of Benchers has been fixed for 27th June 2024 and promises to be a very heated session.

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LAWMA Launches “Know Your PSP” Campaign for Effective Service Delivery

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LAWMA Launches “Know Your PSP” Campaign for Effective Service Delivery

AJAGBE ADEYEMI TESLIM

SPONSORED BY: H&H

The Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), has launched “Know Your PSP” campaign, an initiative aimed at improving communication and cooperation between residents and Private Sector Participation (PSP) operators, responsible for waste collection.

Commenting on the initiative, managing director/CEO of LAWMA, Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegesin, said the campaign was aimed at improving waste management practices throughout the state, adding that the initiative would provide residents with detailed information about the specific PSP operators assigned to their areas, for contact and for reporting issues or requesting additional services.

He said, “The ‘Know Your PSP’ campaign is a crucial step in our on-going effort at improving waste management in Lagos State. By equipping residents with the knowledge of who their PSP operators are and how to reach them, we are fostering a collaborative effort for a cleaner city. This initiative will not only enhance service delivery but also promote accountability and responsiveness among PSP operators.”

Gbadegesin said LAWMA had established dedicated helplines and online platforms, where residents could easily access information about their designated PSP operators, report issues, and provide feedbacks, adding that this would make it easier for residents to communicate with their waste services providers, so that challenges were promptly addressed and services consistently delivered.

He noted further, that investigation showed that some residents did not even know their PSP operators nor their contacts, making it impossible to interface with them, on any area of service provision.

“By providing residents with easy access to information and a direct line of communication with their PSP operators, we are making it easier for them to report issues and request services. This streamlined approach will help us address concerns more efficiently and ensure that waste collection services meet the needs of all residents”, he said.

The LAWMA boss appealed to the populace to desist from acts of indiscriminate waste dumping and patronage of the outlawed cart pushers, capable of worsening environmental challenges in the metropolis, especially flooding, as the rains set in.

For more information about LAWMA’s initiatives and how to support efforts to maintain a clean environment, please visit www.lawma.gov.ng or call our toll-free numbers: 080000LAWMA (08000052962), 07080601020 and 617.

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