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LAPO begins microfinance diploma programme



The Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO) Institute for Microfinance and Management Studies (LIMMS) has commenced the first National Diploma (ND) programme in Microfinance and Enterprise Development in Nigeria.

Dr Godwin Ehigiamusoe, Chairman, Governing Council of LIMMS, disclosed this during the first matriculation ceremony of the new Monotechnic held in Benin on Monday.

Ehigiamusoe said the programme represented a significant milestone in capacity building for the growing microfinance sector and enterprise development in the country.

He said the institute would bridge the skills gaps in the microfinance sector as well as empower young people to function well in business ventures.

“In spite of the overwhelming unemployment, the reality of our economy today is the skill gap in its critical segment.

“Middle level expertise and skills are in short supply in the technical and agricultural sector.

“Also, the growing microfinance sector is in need of persons adequately equipped to engage and serve low income people and owners of micro, small and medium enterprises.

“The institute will bridge the skill gaps not only in the microfinance sector but also in the critical sectors of the economy with special emphasis on the micro, small and medium enterprise, ” Ehigiamusoe said.

He, however, called on relevant authorities to provide policy direction and national investment that support middle level manpower development.

Mrs Ngozi Okelekwe, Acting Director, National Board for Technical Education, South South Zonal office, also spoke at the event.

She said the board was impressed with the institute’s efforts at promoting technical and vocational education and training in the country.

Okelekwe urged the institute to ensure that the curriculum of its ND programme was fully put to use and add local content to its teaching and learning process.

Meanwhile, Dr Gladys Nwokoye, Provost of the institute, said it would meet the educational needs of the teeming youth population in terms of theoretical and practical knowledge.

Nwokoye urged the matriculating students to abide by laid down rules, noting that the institution had zero tolerance for cultism, malpractice and indiscipline.

She said that the institute also offered consultancy services, business development programme, enterprise development programme, senior management amongst others for business owners and management staff.

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Mompha released on N200m bail



Justice Mojisola Dada of the Ikeja Special Offences Court has granted Instagram celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha, popularly known as Mompha, bail of N200 million.

Mompha was rearrested last week Monday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and was first re-arraigned in court last Wednesday, January 14.

While granting his bail application today January 18, the court requested he provides two sureties, one of which must own a property valued at N100 million within its jurisdiction.

Mompha and his company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited, are standing trial on an amended 22-count charge bordering on cyber fraud and money laundering to the tune of N32.9bn brought against him by the EFCC.

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Nnamdi Kanu: Imo residents observe sit-at-home for IPOB leader’s trial



Residents of Imo State, especially Orlu town and Owerri municipal, on Tuesday, stayed indoors to observe the sit-at-home order issued by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in solidarity with its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who appeared in court today.

It was gathered that the state secretariat, motor parks, schools, banks, shops and markets across the major cities were all shut down.

Even the Imo State University junction, Government House Roundabout, Control Post Roundabout, Warehouse junction Roundabout, Ikenegbu, Mbari, Douglas, Okigwe Road, and Wethedral Roads, were scanty.

In Orlu, the ever-busy Banana junction and Okwudo junction were more like ghost towns.

A journalist, Mr Martin Nwoke, in Owerri North Local Government Area of the state, made a passionate appeal to the Federal Government to release Nnamdi Kanu.

He said Imolites and the people of southeast states were the ones suffering the heat of the order.

Nwoke said, “In this part of the world, everything we do here involves money. I am begging President Buhari to pity us and free Nnamdi Kanu.”

A lawyer, Barr. Emeka Obi, told our correspondent that he could not go to file a court process due to non-availability of transport, while children, who could not go to school, resorted to playing football on the streets at Akwakuma.

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Court adjourns Nnamdi Kanu’s trial



Nnamdi Kanu

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday adjourned the trial of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

The Court declined to take his plea in the 15-count terrorism charges instituted against him by the Federal Government.

He accused the government of ambushing him with the fresh charges served on him late Monday.

Kanu, through his lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), alleged that the government has breached the principle of fair hearing with the way and manner the new charge was brought to them.

At the resumed trial, Ozekhome complained that the fresh charge was the sixth in the series adding that his client cannot proceed to take a plea in the charges he has not studied to prepare for defence as required by law.

“My Lord, as I am talking now, Kanu does not know the charge yet. He is just interacting with me. He cannot be made to take a plea to charges he has not seen.

“The principle of fair hearing is just being violated by the Federal Government. The frail-looking Kanu standing in the dock there has not been allowed to access his family as directed by this honourable court,” he said.

In addition, Ozekhome claimed that the proof of evidence was not legible enough for their understanding of the fresh charges.

“I went to DSS to see him and I was almost stripped naked before I could see him.

“We pray that the arraignment is adjourned till tomorrow to enable his lawyers to study the new charge along with him in the interest of justice,” he added.

The request for adjournment was not opposed by Mr Shuaib Labaran who stood for the Federal Government, prompting Justice Binta Nyako to fix tomorrow for the arraignment.

The judge ordered that Kanu and his lawyers be allowed to have an interface in the courtroom before taking him to DSS custody.

Earlier, Kanu had, through his lawyer, complained of poor feeding, clothing and denial to practice the religion of his choice.

Justice Nyako in response reminded him that the detention facility is not a five-star hotel but however ordered that Kanu be allowed to come to court tomorrow in new clothes.

The judge declined the request that a foreign lawyer, Mr Bruce Fein, be allowed into the courtroom to observe the trial adding that the request would be granted upon a written application and approval by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court.

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