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16.9.19

EFCC arrests Fidelity Bank employee for allegedly stealing N137Million

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Photos: EFCC arrests Fidelity Bank employee for allegedly stealing N137M, cars and houses recovered from him
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibadan zonal office, has arrested one Kehinde Olumide Agbabiaka, a sales agent of Fidelity Bank Plc.

According to a statement from the EFCC, Agbabiaka's arrest was sequel to a apetition jointly penned by the bank’s Regional Security Officer and the Cluster Control and Compliance Manager, in which it was alleged that the suspect suppressed, diverted and stole a total sum of N137,000,000 (One Hundred and Thirty-Seven Million Naira) from personal and corporate accounts of a customer in Ibadan.

Photos: EFCC arrests Fidelity Bank employee for allegedly stealing N137M, cars and houses recovered from him

Filed on August 20, 2019, the petition alleged that Agbabiaka committed the offence between January 2017 and July 2019.

The suspect, who was the account officer attached to the customer, was said to be visiting the business premises of the victim weekly to collect cash with the understanding that he would remit same to his accounts domiciled in the bank’s Challenge, Ibadan branch.

But, instead of depositing the money, Agbabiaka was said to have at different times remitted only a portion and on many occasions diverted the whole sum to personal use.

Photos: EFCC arrests Fidelity Bank employee for allegedly stealing N137M, cars and houses recovered from him

In order to cover his criminal acts, the suspect, according to the petition, would rather issue fictitious bank slips to deceive the customer that he truly deposited the sums.

This continued until the customer reviewed the statement of his account and reconciled same with the cash collection register. It was then they discovered Agbabiaka’s fraudulent deeds, prompting the bank to put up the petition. So far, the EFCC investigators have established a prima facie case of diversion and stealing against the suspect.

Further investigations also revealed that he had used the suppressed sums to build houses, purchase cars, invest in fixed deposits and insurance policies. He also gave part of the loot to people as friendly loans. Some of the items have been recovered and registered as exhibits.

The antigraft agency says he will be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.

Customer Service Agents Might Go Hungry In The Nearest Future

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Customer Service Agents Might Go Hungry In The Nearest Future
I remember when letter-writing was in vogue; you scribble some words on a piece of paper as a message for a relative or friend living within the same country with you or abroad, package it in an envelope and get it delivered via a variety of means. We did that with excitement but today, social media has eroded this. You don't need to even go as far as loading an internet page to send him/her private messages, you can simply make a video call with the person via FaceTime, WhatsApp or other instant messaging applications. People can now save themselves the stress of visiting the market places and haggling over prices by buying goods and services online, it's simply called e-commerce.
 
The transportation system has also changed significantly too. You can stay in your house and order for a ride to anywhere within your locality and not panic about being cheated with prices or your safety as a credible value system has been put in place by companies providing that service. What about making financial transactions simply from your mobile phones without visiting the bank? The use of facial recognition to track people rather than the painstaking human surveillance beats one's imagination. The list goes on and one but there will be some costly sacrifices for these convenient changes.
 
The world is going through an evolution and it's happening faster than we thought especially with the advancement of information technology. Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Automation are gradually taking over duties performed by human beings and there is a projection that it might worsen in the coming years. Research has posited that robots could replace humans in a quarter of U.S jobs by 2030. Specifically, about 36 million jobs could be at high risk of automation, according to a report by the Brookings Institution.
 
The headline of this article might seem to be a screaming one considering how late development reaches Africa but we never say never. The world is a global village and we have become more connected than ever courtesy of the media and the internet.
 
The progress made by technologists in Artificial Intelligence/Machine Intelligence means that several jobs performed by human beings might be taken away especially the 'transitional ones' as Canadians will say. We have heard of robots working tirelessly in factories especially in the printing press, Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), and others. Some have been successfully deployed in supermarkets and earlier this year, the Chinese state media,  Xinhua News Agency did a test-run of robots working as news anchors. Xinhua has been experimenting with AI-driven journalism in recent years. One of its projects, Jia Jia, a Chinese-manufactured robot who resembles a young woman dressed in historical clothing, interviewed AI expert and Wired magazine co-founder Kevin Kelly at an event in Hefei in 2017. 
 
The rationale behind this innovation is that machines are cheaper to use in the long-run and they are not prone to hassles associated with human beings like sicknesses, emotional breakdowns, fatigue, depression, human rights demands and other challenges that could militate against the smooth-running of any organization. This doesn't make the robots perfect, they do malfunction too and the errors could be very expensive.
 
One of the latest breakthroughs of AI technology in the labour sector is in the area of Customer Service. This has attained massive success in the Dominican Republic, North America as reported by in August 2019  by Bloomberg and companies are adopting it rapidly due to its cost-effective nature. One of the brains behind this is a 23-year old interactive chatbot designer named Laura Morales. The bots solve simple queries on their own. Bots today are everywhere and the people who design their speech are in high demand. The job is like writing a dry screenplay with a choose your own adventure element for the many ways customers will respond. The has been designed to engage in text and voice chats with customers patronizing call centres. It has to deal with keywords pertaining to common questions and problems faced by customers using the product. The robot responds like a human being with a reasonable level of accuracy. Any complicated issue that needs human attention is escalated to a supervising customer care agent. According to a documentary, the application is very easy to configure and doesn't need too much expertise or programming knowledge. This bot works effectively round the clock unlike human beings and it has become attractive to business owners as it reduces operational costs. The ripple effect here is that the workload of customer care agents has significantly reduced and demand for customer care agents in the country might drop if the bots are perfected. Most experienced agents now employed only play supervisory roles over the bots. Several agents have been left without jobs.
 
"A bot is never late, a bot doesn't get sick or pregnant. Those are specific human situations you can't fight. Automation is about to take that out" Laura Morales said during an interview.
 
Now how does it affect Nigeria and Africa? Hundreds of programmers in Nigeria and Africa have been showing interest in AI and their innovations are gradually been introduced into the market. One of the leading commercial banks in Nigeria, the United Bank of Africa unveiled a program named 'Leo' to attend to customers online and it has been efficient to a large extent. As a result of its success on Facebook, Leo was integrated with Whatsapp. With Leo on WhatsApp, customers who are users and lovers of the app can now perform basic banking services including checking their balances on the go, transferring funds, paying bills, among other services. More financial institutions are expected to follow suit in this feat of digital creativity and innovation just like how the idea of the Automated Teller Machines and automated security doors took over the financial sector and other areas.
 
A 23-year old lady and former Big Brother Naija housemate, Jackye Madu is championing a strong campaign for the wide adoption of the AI products in businesses with much concentration in the area of customer care and manufacturing. She promises the products will be very affordable and regular updates will be guaranteed to make it better. Her AI project known as Conversa has been launched in Nigeria but details about it have remained scanty for now. Her dream is to make Nigeria the hub of AI in Africa. Her newfound fame, beauty, intelligence and eloquence have made the idea an easy sell to small and medium scale enterprises in the country. Believe me, this might seem like a tall order at first glance but it's not. Once it's well tested and an influencer in the business industry successfully tests the product, others will follow in their thousands. It will become a trend and nobody will want to be left out. 
 
The implication is that those in the Customer Service industry will take a heavy hit. The instant effect will be the issue of a higher supply of labour over demand thereby leading to a sharp drop in prices attached to their services. This will make the profession less attractive to people as a result of its unsustainable nature.  Although there have been ethical concerns over the use of AI technology in a business but I believe the arguments will not stand the test of time. Most entrepreneurs want to save costs and maximize profits to sustain their enterprises.
 
A recent admission made by the giant firm, IBM that workers need to retrained is a confirmation of the progress made by AI so far which is a threat to human beings.
 
Artificial Intelligence is apparently ready to get to work. Over the next three years, as many as 120 million workers from the world's 12 largest economies may need to be retrained because of advances in artificial intelligence and intelligent automation, according to a study released last Friday by IBM's Institute for Business Value. The good news is that advancements in AI are expected to not only displace jobs but also create new ones. 
 
Whether you are a grocer, factory worker, or journalist, all of our jobs will soon be reshaped by automation. Some will benefit from the new work that will emerge, and others will watch their jobs disappear with no clear path to another means of livelihood. Managing this transition will be the defining challenge for us in the decades ahead and we need to be ready for it.
 
My strong belief is that in the nearest future, AI will not only take over the Customer Service sector but as well as most jobs that do not require human contacts especially the menial/low-wage ones.
 
 
Osayimwen Osahon George is a journalist and a PhD student at the University of Ibadan. He can be contacted via g.osayimwen@gmail.com

Kingsley Moghalu congratulates Davido and Chioma on their engagement

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Kingsley Moghalu congratulates Davido and Chioma on their engagement
Kingsley Moghalu, a former Presidential candidate, has joined other Nigerians to congratulate singer, Davido on his engagement to Chioma his lover.

Moghalu in his congratulatory message, reminded Nigerians of how he promised them the kind of asurance Davido had given to Chioma but they failed to accept it.
''I warmly congratulate  @iam_Davido on his engagement with Chioma his fiancée & wish them a happy life together. In 2018/19 I gave Nigerians #Assurance similar to the one Davido gave his queen. One day we will have leadership that assures our future. Something New, Different, Bold'' Moghalu tweeted
Kingsley Moghalu congratulates Davido and Chioma on their engagement, shades Nigerian leaders

Lecturers Issue Fresh Warning To Buhari Govt On Impending Strike

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Lecturers Issue Fresh Warning To Buhari Govt On Impending Strike
The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), has called on the Federal Government (FG) to take immediate step towards acceding to the various demands of the union.
This is based on the understanding and agreement reached before the suspension of its industrial action, which lasted for over two months in December 2018.
COEASU made the call in a communiqué issued at the end of the Expanded National Executive Council (ENEC) meeting of the union held on 10th and 11th of September, 2019 in Akoka, Lagos.
The Union, in the communiqué, jointly signed by the President, Nuhu Ogirima and General Secretary, Taiwo Olayanju, and made available to DAILY POST warned that only an urgent attention by FG to the lingering contentious issues, would forestall disruption of academic activities in the Colleges of Education across the country.
Decrying the disposition of the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) and the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) towards the desired effective resolution of all the protracted issues, COEASU said: “Following the re-appointment of Malam Adamu Adamu, as Minister of Education, the Union expects a meaningful rejigging of the system to ensure the resolution of all lingering issues in contention and that FME would address the manifest marginalization of the COE system in the governance of tertiary education sub-sector.

“While our expectations subsist, Council charges FME and the NCCE to take the issues of the colleges seriously to avert any possible disruption in the COE calendar in the pursuit of the following lingering issues mentioned in several of our correspondences: (a) Presidential assent to the reviewed Establishment Laws of FCEs and NCCE as passed by the National Assembly; (b) executive approval of Dual Mode (NCE and Degree) for Colleges of Education; to check attrition of subscription to teacher education by both students and lecturers; (c) the non-release of the fifteen billion naira (N15bn) palliative funds pledged by the FGN to revitalize the public COEs; (d) the non-payment of the sum of about two billion five hundred million naira (N2.5bn) Peculiar Earned Academic Allowances (PEAA); and (e) review of the policy of out-sourced services and its implication on security in the institutions.”
COEASU expressed dissatisfaction over the attempt to impose the application of the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS) on colleges of education, considering the peculiarities of tertiary institutions.
It said: “For the records, it is instructive to note that Council reiterated her dismay over the prolonged surreptitious plan to impose an incongruous and defective payment platform on the colleges of education system. Council also decried the ubiquitous discrimination against COEs as regrettably manifest in the manner by which the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) has handled the issue of IPPIS… Recently, the OAGF constituted Technical Committees on the issue of mutually acceptable implementation of IPPIS for sister institutions (the federal universities and polytechnics) without doing same for the colleges of education.”
The academic body reaffirmed its non-aversion to policies of FG to check perceived indications of corruption and leakages towards more cost-effective payroll management system, it however, insist that “such should take cognizance of peculiarities to avoid the entrenchment of questionable payment regime that could shortchange our members irredeemably.”
According to the union, “Fundamental questions abound relating to salary manipulation, domestication of sabbatical leave, non-recognition of peculiar allowances and 65years retirement age, contract staff and visiting lecturers, tenured appointments, payment of promotion arrears, the disciplinary prerogatives of the Chief Accounting Officer of the institution and the general security of the system. Juxtaposed with the difficulty in tackling the menace of cyber infiltration by the global ICT criminal world – a challenge which has become seemingly intractable even in technologically advanced nations – the imposition of IPPIS cannot be a solution. Furthermore, the over-centralization of personnel payroll, as represented by IPPIS, contradicts global best practices in the fiscal management of tertiary institutions, given their operational intricacies.
Consequently, a fiscal practice that may be adjudged suitable for the core civil service could be antithetical for the tertiary education sub-sector given their diametrical differences in all ramifications.”
COEASU condemned “the refusal of FME to direct the enrolment of teachers of Demonstration Schools on the payroll of the institutions as done in the case of a sister tertiary institution with similar policy.” It also observed “as utterly unacceptable, the persistent poor handling of staff welfare related issues in most State Colleges of Education in the country. The pathetic situation is evident in the introduction of promotion criteria extraneous to the extant provisions of the conditions of service.”
The union of lecturers in colleges of education “critically assessed the security challenges besetting Nigerians within and outside the country”, noting that “While the internal security challenges may be receiving appropriate attention, the recent surge in the rate of criminal activities presupposes that a change in strategy may be required for effective crime control.”
The communiqué further indicates that COEASU “considered as unwarranted and condemnable the Afrophobic (xenophobic) attacks that have bedeviled the Republic of South Africa in recent time.”
It added that, “although homicide, wherever it is perpetuated, remains condemnable, for a nation that owes the achievement of her sovereignty to the magnanimity of other spirited nations especially African nations led by Nigeria, the current situation tends to question the very morale that has been instilled in the struggle for a nation state. Council, therefore, implored Nigerians and other nationals in South Africa and those in their respective home countries to avoid violent reprisals as ongoing international conversations hold promises of stopping the crisis and ensuring compensation for the victims.”

Watch the moment a popular ‘Witch’ in Russia is forced to confess on TV

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Watch the moment a popular ?Witch? in Russia is forced to confess on TV in bid to wipe out sorcery (Video)
In a bit to wipe out sorcery in a town in Russia, an alleged witch was forced to confess and repent on local TV.

The alleged witch, Sekinat Ibragimova from Chechnya was popular for always helping people to cast spells on former spouses as well as also helping locals to pass their exams.

Watch the moment a popular ?Witch? in Russia is forced to confess on TV in bid to wipe out sorcery (Video)

Pictures released online showed her 'witch's paraphernalia' and photographs of those she had 'helped' during her six years claiming to practice black magic.
Watch the moment a popular ?Witch? in Russia is forced to confess on TV in bid to wipe out sorcery (Video)
After her arrest, Police seized items from her including locks, keys, soil from cemeteries, and papers with obscure inscriptions.
Watch the moment a popular ?Witch? in Russia is forced to confess on TV in bid to wipe out sorcery (Video)
Police said such items were typical for sorcerers.

In a confession on the main TV station in regional capital Grozny she told viewers: 'I was on the wrong path. Don't ask me for help anymore.'
Watch the moment a popular ?Witch? in Russia is forced to confess on TV in bid to wipe out sorcery (Video)
The campaign to wipe out sorcery was ordered by Ramzan Kadyrov, the Leader of Chechnya and local pro-Vladimir Putin strongman.

Back in July, police also arrested an alleged witch Eset Esambayeva. She is alleged to have visited graveyards to carry out mysterious rituals involving melting of lead, said reports.
Watch the moment a popular ?Witch? in Russia is forced to confess on TV in bid to wipe out sorcery (Video)
'She failed to explain herself,' said one account. Esambayeva 'pleaded guilty and begged for forgiveness'.

'Raids against wizards have been carried on the initiative of Ramzan Kadyrov for several years,' explained a TV presenter.

Watch the video below.

Black Americans complain about being replaced by Nigerians in the American job market

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 Black Americans complain about being replaced by Nigerians in the American job market
 
While the inferno of xenophobia experienced by Nigerians in South Africa is yet to die down, another one is brewing in America. Black Americans are complaining that Nigerians are moving in and taking over the best jobs available to the black community.
 
Read their tweets below.
 Black Americans complain about being replaced by Nigerians in the American job market
 
 Black Americans complain about being replaced by Nigerians in the American job market

Biafra: 'I don’t know what IPOB is looking for till date' - Rochas Okorocha

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Biafra:
Senator Rochas Okorocha, the former governor of Imo State has said he does not know what the IPOB is advocating for till date.

Okorocha who did not deny knowing members of the group said he would only consider joining them only if the Nnamdi Kalu-led group can convince him on why he must join IPOB and where it is taking the Igbos to.
“To be honest with you, I don’t know what IPOB is looking for till date. I don’t know what the agenda of IPOB are and where they are planning to take Ndigbo to".
Speaking on having any relationship with the group, the lawmaker representing Imo North at the upper legislative chamber of the National Assembly said it is his duty to have a chat with them as a father.

“In the first place, IPOB is not different from other similar groups from other parts of the country, but it is just the packaging and name that have always been the problem,” Sun reported.
“I don’t know what we plan to achieve by isolating ourselves from the rest of the country. And until IPOB answers the question, the leaders might not know how to handle it. When you say IPOB, are they trying to call for another sovereign nation? If they want to use this as a way of correcting certain injustices meted to the Igbo, then they should change the name to start with.
“When Oduduwa, Arewa or Niger Delta youths talk, they don’t call for a sovereign nation. For Igbo to become a country of their own, they have to think about the consequences. “Personally, I don’t think it is good for the Igbo to become isolated from other nations and tribes in this country.
“Although the young men may have grievances, they should package them properly for the world to understand what they are fighting for. “The leaders seem to have kept quiet for too long. Like our children, we need to build them and let them know that they cannot be talking about sovereignty within a nation.
“What programme do they have in the first place? What has IPOB done about the Igbo killed in South Africa? Is it not surprising that they have not done anything? “I challenge all the Igbo to return from South Africa, India and other parts of the world, converge on Onitsha market and let us see what will happen.
“I don’t think the Igbo need IPOB at this point; it is rather a distraction that is not good for our political future. It might be the reason we are not doing well politically, yet we are adding more danger to it. They are our children; we love them and need to bring them closer. So, it is the failure of leadership in Igboland that should be blamed. We are not showing good leadership to these boys.
“They are children and look at how they attacked Ekweremadu, but how have the attack or threat to other political leaders solved the problem of Igbo in Nigeria? “How has it corrected the problem of marginalisation of Igbo in Nigeria? They are beating up people in the name of IPOB in Owerri, Aba and other towns, but how has that solved the problem? “I think IPOB is rather waging war against ourselves which should not be. I am looking forward to meeting with them anytime to address this issue and if they convince me, I will follow them and if I convince them, they should follow me.
“Can we have a meeting where the Igbo will meet with these IPOB, MASSOB and those other associations to find a common ground because whether they are bad, good or evil, they are our brothers, children, sons and daughters? I cannot lay claim that I don’t know them because they are Igbo and it is my duty to have a chat with them as a father. They must convince me on why I must join IPOB and where it is taking us to.
“I have told them to join APC because through APC, Igbo man might become president and if they have a contrary view, they can look for an alternative. IPOB needs to explain where they want to take Ndigbo to.”

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