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The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has said that reforms initiated by the federal government to clean up years of corrupt practices in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) have not completely guaranteed that the state oil firm is now transparently run.

This is coming as a group of civil society organisations (CSOs) operating in Nigeria’s extractive industry has accused the international oil companies (IOCs) of complicity in the huge theft of crude oil recorded in the country.

Kachikwu explained that there are still a lot of works to be done to completely transform the corporation and make it accountable and its operations transparent to all Nigerians.

The minister stated this in the October edition of the monthly podcast he released to intimate Nigerians on the status of the country’s oil and gas industry. This edition was recently released in Abuja by his office and he stated in it that the government had though made some efforts in repositioning the NNPC.

“We delivered an open NNPC, we basically opened up our books, we published and tried to be as transparent as we can, but a lot of works still needs to be done there, but for the first time we delivered the kind of NNPC that has never been the sort of NNPC that you used to know,” said Kachikwu, on the results the government had recorded in the last one year.

In a related development, a group of civil society organisations (CSOs) operating in Nigeria’s extractive industry have claimed that IOCs in the Niger Delta cannot be totally absolved of the huge theft of crude oil recorded in the country.

They said IOCs had been found culpable of stealing oil from Nigeria, and that oil theft cannot be limited to illegal refining in the Niger Delta.

Rising from a recent workshop on improving CSOs’ engagements in Nigeria’s extractive sectors which they held in Enugu, the CSOs led by Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Nigeria, also stated that it was difficult to achieve transparent contracting processes in the country’s extractive sectors.

They said in a communique signed by the National Coordinator of PWYP Nigeria, Mr. Peter Egbule, that: “It is difficult to achieve contract transparency in the extractive sector in Nigeria. Although, there are legal frameworks that regulate contracts in the industry, however, they are not always complied with.”

“Nigerians find it difficult to know the exact quantity of crude the country produces. Tax incentives are granted to companies without cost benefit analysis. Oil theft is not limited to illegal refining, IOCs have been found to be culpable of oil theft in Nigeria,” the communique stated.

It further explained: “At the moment, EITI application standards in Nigeria are faced with numerous challenges. Efforts are being often being concentrated on transparency, without adequate attention on accountability.

Experience has shown that transparency alone does not deliver good governance, it must come with accountability.”
They noted that the Land Use Act has become a legislation the states use as a justification for the exploration of minerals without adequate compensation to communities.

In their recommendations, they called on the government to ensure that citizens know the exact quantity of crude produced and lifted daily from the country’s oil fields.

“Besides transparency, environmental and human rights issues must begin to dominate discourse around EITI standards. The civil society needs to demand accountability alongside their strong demand for transparency, CSOs should make sure all facts are crosschecked and are correct before engaging in advocacy,” they added.

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BUSINESS

FIRSTBANK PROMOTES ACTS OF KINDNESS, REVS ITS CR&S WEEK IN MORE THAN HALF A DOZEN COUNTRIES

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial institution has announced that the third edition of its Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability (CR&S) week is billed for 1 – 6 July 2019 in the six geopolitical zones of the country and the Bank’s business locations in Ghana, Gambia, Guinea, Senegal, Sierra Leone, DR Congo and The United Kingdom. The 2019 edition is themed Ripples of Kindness, Putting You First.

The CR&S week is driven to amplify the Bank’s culture of “Employee Giving & Volunteering Programme” with a focus on reinforcing the values of the Bank’s SPARK (Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness) initiative through a wide range of strategically designed activities. SPARK is a values-based initiative designed to raise consciousness that promote kindness to one another.

Amongst the activities to be carried out in the course of the week is the Nice Comments Day; a day set aside to foster words of encouragement, support and kindness to people around you, regardless of ones’ familiarity or close ties. The Bank recognises that kind words are largely instrumental to lighting up one’s day and also bringing out the best in one.

Other activities in the course of the FirstBank CR&S week are visits to the less privileged homes as well as the promotion of the SPARK initiative in schools. The objective of the SPARK initiative in schools is to embed the values of SPARK amongst school children at a young age so it becomes part and parcel of them, forming a habit and nature as they develop into adulthood.

Through the values of the SPARK initiative – Compassion, Civility, Charity and Connection – , the Bank believes that every act of kindness is critical to promoting a peaceful co-existence amongst everyone in the society and building a prosperous society and nation at large.

Speaking on the Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability (CR&S) Week 2019, the Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications of FirstBank, Folake Ani-Mumuney, said “Our 2019 CR&S week is aimed at reinforcing FirstBank’s corporate culture of encouraging giving and volunteering among its employees and the larger society. We believe that every act of kindness goes a long way in leaving an indelible impact in the life of people which indeed underscores why it is important for everyone to Start Performing Act of Random Kindness. No matter how little, every act of kindness indeed makes the world a better place.

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FIRSTBANK: INSPIRING KINDNESS, EMPATHY WITH SPARK

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What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness? Asked renowned philosopher, writer and composer, Jean-Jacques Rousseau in one of his writings while highlighting the importance of the simple yet impactful act.

According to a health fact sheet produced by the Random Acts of Kindness Organisation, being altruistic increases one’s oxytocin, also called the ‘love hormone’, makes one happy, increases lifespan and stimulates the production of serotonin, a feel-good chemical that heals one’s wounds, calms down, and makes one happy. The fact sheet further notes that being involved in acts of kindness decreases pain as it produces endorphins, the brain’s natural painkiller, reduces anxiety, stress, depression and blood pressure.

Jamil Zaki, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and Director of the Stanford Social Neuroscience Lab, recently conducted a series of studies that observed how witnessing kindness inspires kindness, causing it to spread like a virus. He concluded that “by emphasising empathy-positive norms, we may be able to leverage the power of social influence to combat apathy and conflict in new ways.”

Another study conducted by Oxford University researchers and which found out that just seven days of small acts of kindness will make one happier, also attests to the scientific evidence that altruism is beneficial.

Nigeria’s oldest financial institution, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, which is this year celebrating its 125th anniversary, has an initiative aimed at restoring the fading age-long culture of being one’s brother’s keeper called SPARK. An acronym for Start Promoting Acts of Random Kindness, the initiative is also to reawaken the spirit of showing kindness which soci0-economic circumstances have forced many people to neglect.

The initiative, which is an integral part of its Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability (CR&S) Week, saw its employees and external stakeholders supporting humanitarian causes through crowdfunding. The staff members and others were encouraged to make small contributions/donations in aid of people who were in critical needs.

With the belief that a small act of kindness goes a long way in changing the world, staffers and other well-meaning Nigerians warmly embraced the initiative promoting compassion and being charitable. Through the Bank’s CR&S week people’s lives are positively impacted. Senior management executives led their subordinates to distribute essential commodities to orphanages across the country while old people and people living with disabilities also benefitted.

Having earlier encouraged its employees who made donations to also participate in nominating those they thought were deserving of acts of random kindness nominations based on the criteria of community/individual’s emotive story and the significance of the individual/community need, 10 beneficiaries eventually emerged last year. Among these was Baby Ijeoma, who was in dire need of cardiac surgery to correct her congenital heart disease and forestall irreversible and life-threatening complication and who got over N1.5 million assistance.

Also, Mrs. Mary Pius, a widow with five children and fruits seller who was unable to send her children to school, received support while Lawal Seun, a boy and the third child of a blind woman in Ondo town whose husband abandoned with the four children some years ago, returned to secondary school courtesy the SPARK initiative.

As previously done, FirstBank is activating SPARK again this year with more activities added to bolster the impact of the CR&S week and to serve as a platform to implore Nigerians about the long-cherished value of showing empathy and compassion on the four main areas: Education and Scholarship Fund; Welfare Fund for Mothers; Welfare Fund for the Old and Disabled, and Orphanage Support Fund.

 

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Dangote Industries shows its commitment to empowering Africa in new CNN campaign

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A new branded content campaign on CNN TV, digital and social media platforms is showing global audiences some of the many ways that Dangote Industries is impacting people in African communities and industries.

The ‘Touching Lives’ campaign, which starts airing on TV this month, has been conceived and developed by CNN International Commercial’s award-winning branded content studio Create as part of the extended partnership between Dangote Industries and CNN. Announced last year, the partnership also includes sponsorship within CNN Marketplace Africa and Dangote being the first
African brand to be part of Great Big Story.

‘Touching Lives’ is focused on telling Dangote Industries’ story through the way its many investments and innovations help empower African people, businesses and everyday life. This creative approach also echoes Aliko Dangote’s vision that the company’s investments in Africa are evidence of its commitment to the continent.

The campaign includes a series of interactive content, articles and films hosted on a branded content hub produced by Create. The first execution is Farm to Table, which tells the story of the relationship between Lagos chef Michael Elégbédé and country farmer Olayemi Banjo and how they are connected
by a passion – a relationship made possible by Dangote Group’s investment in rice farming to reduce the amount of imported produce. An emotive film runs on CNN International as a television commercial and has been tailored for various CNN Digital platforms and social media environments, where it is distributed across CNN Digital and via Create’s social media presence using the latest data
intelligence and seeding tools such as CNN AIM (Audience Insight Measurement) and Launchpad to reach Dangote’s key audiences of young professionals and people aspiring to succeed in markets across Africa and beyond.

For the production of Farm to Table, a Create team filmed in Nigeria over several weeks and then undertook a dedicated post production process to develop a series of powerful and engaging materials that can connect with audiences on TV, digital and social. Next up for Touching Lives will see the
campaign focus on another area of African life that Dangote Industries influences.

“The ‘Touching Lives’ campaign is exciting and ground-breaking because it incorporates some of the most important trends that we are seeing in modern advertising and brand building,” said James Hunt, Vice President, Create, CNN International Commercial. “Those trends are: a focus on authentic storytelling around real people going about their everyday lives; distributing different variations of content across platforms so that audiences can appreciate the storytelling whether it’s on TV, a mobile phone or anywhere else; and data-driven technology to ensure the content reaches the right audience segments.

The result is an engaging and highly creative way of telling the true impact that Dangote Industries is having on the world and communities around it. We are incredibly proud of this campaign and having a partner such as Dangote Industries who is willing to push boundaries and take a new approach to telling their story.”

Aliko Dangote, President, Dangote Group said: “Our investment in agriculture is anchored on two basic thrusts. The first is to key into the Nigeria’s Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA), which make food’s self-sufficiency a clear priority. The second is in our avowed mission statement which is to touch the lives of the people by providing their basic needs.
Therefore, our venturing into rice cultivation just as we did in sugar is to achieve self-sufficiency and eliminate the $2 billion spent annually on rice importation and thousands of job losses. Our social impact is further felt in the well-being of our various host communities through infrastructure development and provision of employment opportunities with our unprecedented life-changing projects.”

Source: CNN

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