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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday blamed the choices of leaders for the biting poverty in the country.

He spoke at the 7th convocation ceremony of the National Open University of Nigeria in Abuja where he was awarded a PhD in Christian Theology.

To get the country out of poverty, Obasanjo advocated for implementation of hard choices, including stepping on toes of friends and well-wishers.

He said: “I have come out with the conviction that poverty is not our lot or the lot of any individual or group in Nigeria. It is the choice made consciously or unconsciously by our leaders.

“The beginning of getting Nigeria out of poverty into wealth creation and employment generation is in our choice of leaders who understand what development means and what it entails and who are ready to do what needs to be done and make hard choices that need to be made.

“This includes stepping on toes of friends and well- wishers who will not conform to the transformation or change agenda.”

FabiyiAdekunle emerged the overall best graduating student while popular comedian, Chief Chika Okpala was awarded Master degree by the university.

The former president noted that there is no age limit, no status barrier and social limit for functional education.

He added that he rejected special favors to experience the process leading to the award of his PhD degree.

“I wrote my examination in my study centre with other students to utilise the learner support service like any other student.

“I went through the rigour and discipline of the graduate school like any post graduate student,” he noted.

President Muhammadu Buhari said NOUN was established to eradicate the challenge of access to Nigerian universities.

Buhari, who was represented by Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, said the institution had been able to absorb qualified university candidates who would have been denied admission into universities for lack of space.

BIG STORY

Kings of Finance: GTBank Named Africa’s Most Admired Finance Brand

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Guaranty Trust Bank plc has been ranked Africa’s Most Admired Finance Brand in the 10th-anniversary rankings of Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands, the pre-eminent survey and ranking of the Top 100 admired brands in Africa. The rankings were announced in a novel global virtual event and will be published in the June issue of the African Business magazine.

In a special report examining the results of the 2020 survey, the founder of Brand Africa, Thebe Ikalafeng, said GTBank’s “clever marketing, global presence and some of its flagship food and fashion events have undoubtedly helped make it a fixture of daily life in some of its key markets, especially its home base Nigeria.” He added that the bank, which recently won plaudits for building a 110-bed Care Centre in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic, “has taken banking and finance to the people.”

GTBank has long been regarded as one of Africa’s outstanding brands and enjoys a massive youth following thanks to its innovative and forward-thinking approach to financial services and customer engagement. It currently commands the largest social media following amongst all financial institutions in Africa and in 2019, the Bank hosted over 700,000 people at its consumer-focused events, GTBank Food and Drink Festival and The GTBank Fashion Weekend, among them dozens of business leaders and industry experts from around the world.

In 2019, GTBank removed all banking charges for young undergraduates under the age of 25 on its GTCrea8 Account Package. The move was unprecedented in the financial services sector but not unusual for a bank that had pioneered Zero-Naira Account Opening in the country, and in which people over the age of 65 also bank for free. GTBank is also blazing the trail in digital technologies; after leading the USSD banking revolution in Nigeria with its 737 Service, the bank is driving the digitization of consumer lending with Quick Credit, a first-of-its-kind digital lending product that gives individuals and small businesses instant, real-time access to loans anytime, anywhere via their mobile phones.

Brand Africa’s ranking of GTBank as Africa’s Most Admired Finance Brand is only one of its many accolades. In 2019, the was recognized as the Best Bank in Africa and Best Bank in Nigeria, by the Euromoney Magazine and the Best Banking Group and Best Retail Bank Nigeria by World Finance Magazine. In the same year, the Bank also dominated the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Electronic Payment Incentive Scheme (EPIS) Efficiency Awards for the third year in a row, taking home 8 of the 12 honours for banks at the forefront of driving the digitalization of financial services.

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BIG STORY

19-Year-Old Yabatech Student Arrested Over Salawa Abeni’s Nude Pictures

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The operatives of Rapid Response Squad (RRS) have arrested a 19-year-old National Diploma holder of Yaba College of Technology, Lagos as the brain behind the blackmail of Queen Salawa Abeni with nude photographs.

The suspect, Olufowoke Oladunjoye Emmanuel, a resident of Brentfield Avenue, Peace Estate, Magboro, Ogun State, was picked up by the Decoy Team of Rapid Response Squad last week Thursday after three days of monitoring him.

The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu had in the wake of *the* attempt by an unknown individual to blackmail Alhaja Salawa Abeni sometime in April 2020, directed the Commander, Rapid Response Squad, DCP Olatunji Disu to fish out the suspect.

After a technical diagnosis of the complaint, the Decoy Team narrowed down on the suspect a few days later.

Sources close to the team disclosed that the suspect couldn’t be picked because of the prevalence of COVID-19.

The suspect in his statement to the police confessed to having been the mastermind behind the ploy to publish some nude pictures of Waka Queen in exchange for money, adding that he was alone in the scheme.

The suspect, a 2017/2018 Electrical Engineering student of Yabatech, disclosed that he saw the nude pictures in a memory card which he picked up on the floor in Yabatech sometime in November 2019.

He added that after downloading the nude photographs of Salawa Abeni on his phone, he picked up her mobile number from her Instagram page.

“On 1st of April, 2020, I chatted her up and also called her after sending a few of the photos to her online.

My intention was to negotiate with her for a few bucks and for me to destroy the photographs.

I thought everything was going on fine until the following day when I heard the news of the blackmail over the radio. I was with my mother. She was even cursing the blackmailer unknown to her that I was the brain behind it.

I immediately sneaked out, destroyed the memory card, and threw my mobile phone and SIM card into a nearby wetland in Magboro. Since then, I never mentioned it to anyone and called Madam Salawa Abeni about it again”, he disclosed.

Commenting on the arrest, CP Hakeem Odumosu stated that no individual would be allowed to commit a crime in Lagos from any State or escape to other States in Nigeria to evade arrest.

He advised guardians to monitor their wards, emphasizing that the internet is a fertile ground for opportunities but the State Command would not allow criminals to use it as an avenue to exploit law-abiding Lagosians.

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BIG STORY

BREAKING: Lagos Police Officer Kills Colleagues In Shooting Spree, Fires 30 Bullets [PHOTOS]

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A yet- to- be named policeman on Sunday morning allegedly opened fire on his colleagues at Onikan, killing some of them.

The yet- to- be named officer went berserk around 5am following a disagreement with other members of his team.

It was gathered that the trigger- happy cop hijacked their operational vehicle after shooting them and drove straight to Akoka in Yaba around 5am where he attempted to access a compound but couldn’t.

According to sources, the building had a metallic door and the policeman said to be attached to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) allegedly opened sporadic fire on the property to gain access.

Residents said they were frightened and took cover not knowing what was happening since it was around 5am.

According to The Nation, no fewer than 30 bullet holes were counted in an apartment, corridor, and ceiling of the premises.

It was learnt that the shooter, who spotted black outfits and rose in a white escort van with siren, might have become more frustrated after his vehicle stuck in a ditch when he made to escape.

Sources said distress calls were made to the Bariga Police Division and the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) who deployed operatives to the scene and restrained the active shooter.

From short videos obtained by The Nation from residents, the trigger happy cop was screaming incoherent, a development suggestive of a possible mental illness.

He was heard alleging that some persons wanted to corrupt him and that he should be allowed to go home in the name of Jesus.

At the time of this report, police spokesman Bala Elkana told our correspondent that the command was investigating the matter to understand what truly happened, adding that a statement would be released later.

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