PESTEL ANALYSIS: A REPORT ON UNILEVER

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Read Time:2 Minute, 18 Second

The Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) environment is rapidly changing. Especially, the increasing popularity of line extensions seems to depend on advantages inherent in brand leveraging. FMCG manufacturers go into R&D in order to come up with the product that best satisfy consumers because customers become more critical about attaching themselves to a particular brand. They will also like to buy less expensive product due to current economic tide. Unilever is one of the biggest Fast Moving Consumer Good (FMCG) companies in the world. I have always been inquisitive about Unilever’s operations because I use some of its products, even right from childhood. This together with the current environmental challenges being faced by FMCG manufacturers motivated me to find out about Unilever’s operations and the current challenges it faces in the volatile business environment.{div width:250|height:250|float:right}{module Codewit Sqaure 250 x250|rounded|showtitle=0}{/div}

Unilever was founded in 1930 through merger by the British, Lever Brother; and the Dutch, Margarine Unie; now Unilever PLC in London, U.K and Unilever N.V in Rotterdam, Netherlands respectively. In 1872 before the merger, Jurgens and Van den Bergh, the Dutch, built factory in Netherlands for the production of Margarine made from milk and fact. In 1927, they formed Margarine Unie (margarine Union) together with two European Businesses, Centre and Schicht.  Lever & Co on the other hand was founded in 1884 by British William Hesketh Lever and his brother James, and was producing soap – Sunlight soap for people in England especially for women. William Lever wrote:

“to make cleanliness commonplace; to lessen work for women; to foster health and contribute to personal attractiveness, that life may be more enjoyable and rewarding for the people who use our products”

In 1890, Lever & Co become a limited company known as Lever Brothers.
Unilever, Unilever N.V and Unilever PLC comprise Unilever group . Both companies have the same directors. Its annual turnover in 2005 was €39.672 billion and employs 206,000 employees around the world. Unilever brands consist of Food and Beverage, and Home and Personal Care. Some of these products are Knorr, Breyer’s and Magnum, Lipton, Omo (detergent) etc. Knorr has the biggest sales of €2.3 billon in 2005.
Though it is very difficult to get vital information as to Unilever’s managerial tactics and strategy, most of the information was gathered from the internet through companies’ websites and encyclopedia. This report takes a look at the company’s business environments, internationalization strategy, the role of the company’s subsidiaries, and its future challenges.

Click here to read the entire paper in Pdf

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Thousands demand Mubarak’s ouster in new Egyptian protests

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Read Time:7 Minute, 6 Second

CAIRO, Egypt — Tens of thousands of Egyptians broke curfew Saturday to march in Cairo and other major cities in a clear message to U.S.-allied president Hosni Mubarak that nothing short of his resignation would end anti-government protests.

The police, who were the targets of much of Friday’s violence, had vanished from the streets and were replaced by the more popular Egyptian army, which was welcomed by protesters who hugged soldiers and snapped souvenir photos of their tanks.

But the absence of the police also created an opening for gangs of thugs who looted private homes and shops and prompted some neighborhoods to form vigilante groups that intercepted cars and kept non-residents out.

 

Throughout the day, the military showed extraordinary restraint, even allowing some protesters to write graffiti on some tanks: “Down with Mubarak!” But Egyptians were bracing for a showdown. The question was, will the army stand with the people or with the Mubarak regime?

“This is the nation’s army, not Mubarak’s army,” said Nabil Abdel Fattah, deputy director of the Cairo-based Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. “I think the army will take the side of the Egyptian national movement.”

By 10 p.m. Saturday, most of the protesters had gone home, though criminal elements continued their looting.

The military sent reinforcements to vulnerable Cairo districts and to affluent suburbs, where private homes reportedly came under attack by marauding youths. Egyptian families grabbed homemade weapons and stood together outside their doorsteps to fight off gangs in neighborhoods across Cairo.

More than 100 people have died in the unrest of the past week, including at least 25 in Cairo, 38 in Suez and 36 in Alexandria, according to tallies on local TV stations. The Al Jazeera satellite television network broadcast footage of at least 20 dead Egyptians in morgues, along with images of their distraught relatives clamoring outside hospitals.

Later, the same network aired video showing the aftermath of looting of antiquities at Cairo’s famed Egyptian Museum – damaged mummies, statues knocked off their pedestals and empty cases that once held 4,000-year-old jewelry.

The Egyptian army sent troops into the museum, and they were patrolling around mummies, statues and displays. Until the army secured the site, people fended off the looters with human chains. There was some concern Saturday that the museum could be damaged by a still-smoldering fire next door at the ruling party headquarters.

Mubarak, who’s never named a vice president during his 30-year rule, appointed his intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, to be his second-in-command. He also named Ahmed Shafiq, a former air force chief of staff, the new prime minister.

To protesters, however, the president’s overhaul of his Cabinet was too little, too late.

“What Cabinet? Since when does the government rule? All of the power is in the hands of the president,” said Ahmed Salah, 45, as he joined thousands of protesters at a downtown Cairo rally.

In Washington on Saturday, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley used Twitter to caution the Egyptian government that it “can’t reshuffle the deck and then stand pat.”

“President Mubarak’s words pledging reform must be followed by action,” he wrote.

Crowley also said that the U.S. remains “concerned about the potential for violence and again urges restraint on all sides.”

President Barack Obama, who spoke to Mubarak on Friday, met for an hour Saturday afternoon with Vice President Joe Biden, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon and other top advisers, the White House said. Donilon earlier in the day had a two-hour meeting at the White House that included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other high-level administration officials.

The president “reiterated our focus on opposing violence and calling for restraint; supporting universal rights; and supporting concrete steps that advance political reform within Egypt,” the White House said in a statement.

 

The message was much the same from European leaders, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, who called Mubarak Saturday evening to express “grave concern” about violence against anti-government protesters.

Cameron issued a joint statement with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“The Egyptian people have legitimate grievances and a longing for a just and better future,” they said. “We urge President Mubarak to embark on a process of transformation which should be reflected in a broad-based government and in free and fair elections.”

Mubarak dissolved his cabinet overnight Friday, promising to start anew with a focus on the public’s chief complaints of unemployment, poverty and a lack of basic services. By late Saturday, only the vice president and the prime minister had been announced.

Suleiman is a shadowy and powerful former general and has served as an important negotiator for Egypt in Palestinian-Israeli talks. Shafiq served as civil aviation minister and is credited with revamping Cairo’s busy airport, which is vital for the lucrative tourism industry. While both men are close associates of Mubarak, they are generally viewed as less corrupt than other members of the ruling party.

Political analysts said Egypt’s leaderless revolutionaries wouldn’t accept a mere reshuffling of the same old faces and would continue their rallies until Mubarak is forced out.

“Anything short of these demands and people will not be pacified,” said Amr Hamzawy, research director at the Carnegie Endowment’s Middle East branch in Beirut, who witnessed the unrest firsthand.

“Traditionally, the state was strong and the people were weak,” he said. “Now it’s a reversed equation. The people are in a strong position and the state weak.”

Mubarak appeared to be running out of options, faced with unprecedented rallies against him, a military of uncertain loyalty and growing international pressure to restore order. He held crisis discussions with his close advisers.

 

Nearly two hours past the 4 p.m. curfew, streets in Cairo, Alexandria and other major cities were clogged with anti-government protesters. But the demonstrations remained peaceful, in contrast to Friday’s orgy of violence that saw mobs set fire to government buildings, sack police stations, and beat police officers they had pulled from their motorbikes. In the crowded mayhem of Cairo Friday night, young protesters proudly displayed helmets they’d captured from riot police during the day’s melees.

On Saturday in Cairo and the port city of Alexandria, looters emptied major department stores and ransacked rows of shops. Local news reports were filled with stories of attempted bank robberies. With no sign of government authority, ordinary Egyptians formed neighborhood watch parties to fight off looters, who cleaned out shops and had begun targeting homes.

Outside McClatchy’s Cairo Bureau, for example, men from the block sealed off the street and kept roaming youths at bay. This ad hoc force patrolled the streets with pistols, machetes, chains and kitchen knives strapped to the ends of broomsticks. “Get back, get back,” the men called to strangers who approached their unofficial checkpoint.

Shots were fired on the street as the looters encroached on the shops.

Even as they hunkered down, families on the fifth floor of an apartment in the Cairo neighborhood of Giza reported hearing the crashing and destruction of looters ransacking shops below.

In Menya, about four hours south of Cairo along the Nile, there have been protests and looting in the hometown of Egyptian first lady Suzanne Mubarak.

Throughout the country, protesters took over police stations, which have long been centers for torture and open-ended detentions, in some cases sacking and burning them down, but in others allowing police to escape. In Cairo, rioters ransacked and set ablaze the headquarters of Mubarak’s ruling National Democratic Party, a scene repeated in several other cities.

 

In Alexandria, witnesses said rioters had torched every police precinct and several government offices. Tanks surrounded the main courthouse and some shopping centers.

For the most part, however, Alexandrians were in charge of their own security. “People are actually restoring order on the streets themselves. I saw civilians directing traffic and forming a human fence around private property, like car dealerships and gas stations,” said Karim Mossaad, 29, who drove from Alexandria to Cairo early Saturday after being stranded there overnight in the violence.

On the road to the capital, he said, the people had taken over even the tollbooths. “I don’t know who they were, but I paid it,” Mossaad said. “I was just happy they were there, and things were kind of orderly. Everything can’t just stop.”

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Revolt in Tunisia And Egypt: Whither Nigeria?

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Read Time:5 Minute, 54 Second

Two things have happened in the last few days that have once again vindicated my arguments about the rule of law and the necessity of a citizen’s revolt in Nigeria. First was the speedy conviction and sentencing to death of one of the Muslim fundamentalist terrorist who carried out an attack against Coptic Christians in Egypt leading to the death of many Christians. The attack was carried out sometime in December 2010, by Jan 2011 it was reported in the media that one of them had been swiftly convicted and sentenced to death while the other two would be sentenced in February. In this instance, the swift application of the rule of law is a deliberate and necessary process for Egypt and indeed any serious nation to rigidly assert its unyielding authority, deter criminals and maintain social order.

The swift conviction of such Islamic mass murderers who attacked a church in Egypt in spite of being a nation of more than 90% Muslims has vindicated my argument for a special tribunal in Nigeria that will quickly adjudicate and convict such criminals as an ultimate deterrent.  For more than four decades, terrorist- mass murderers in Nigeria have had a free ride committing acts of mass murder with unrelenting impunity. Sharia bloodletting officially killed about 20,000 people, the real figures are estimated to be over 35,000, Denmark cartoon riots, miss world riots, the Gombe school teacher lynching and the Jos massacres amongst others brings the total to more than 40,000 people brutally murdered by blood thirsty criminals in the last ten years alone, without a single conviction to date of any of the culprits.  In more than four decades, it is estimated that over 300,000 people have been brutally hacked to death and on no occasion has there been any conviction for any of these deaths.

Decades of lawlessness and impunity has not surprisingly turned the nation into a virtual jungle where lawlessness thrives and where human life is worth less than that of a Christmas chicken. As I have always argued, any serious nation must use any means necessary to protect the lives and property of her people. Once that basic fundamental lacks, what emerges is a jungle and not a human society. The prevailing chaos in today’s Nigeria is a vindication of that reality. Egypt is thus teaching us how to apply the rule of law, it is either Nigerian  so called leaders (slave masters)  learn from the Egyptian example and establish social order or continue in their present route of lawlessness and end up in “Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Secondly; the Tunisian revolt is a case study which should inspire every Nigerian whom in comparison to Tunisians has suffered unbelievable penury and dehumanisation. It started with a protest by youths complaining of unemployment, it quickly spread throughout the nation and persisted for weeks on end in the face of repression by the security forces. Few weeks later after numerous broadcasts, initiatives and interventions designed to calm the protesters it dawned on President Ben Ali who had ruled Tunisia for twenty four years that the revolt would not relent, fearing for his life he abandoned power and fled into exile, ultimately surrendering to the will of the people whom are the true wielders of power. The protests have since had a multiplier spill-over effect and spread to Algeria, Yemen, Jordan and Egypt. In the latter, the revolt has already led to significant reforms with the dissolution of the cabinet and appointment of a new cabinet including a hitherto unfilled vice presidential position by President Hosni Mubarak.

What is on display here is the unmistakable reality that power ultimately belongs to the people once they are ready to brave the odds. Notably both Tunisia and Egypt where the revolt has been most ferocious have in contrast to Nigeria very high standards of living. In many indices of socio-economic development, Tunisia and Egypt are in many respects very close to the western world in their standards. Basic amenities and infrastructure such as roads, electricity, healthcare, pipe borne water etc are taken for granted in these nations. Their schools are comparable to schools in the west, their trains and metro line function effectively. According to the CIA world fact- book, Life expectancy in Tunisia at 75.99 years and Egypt at 72.4 years in contrast to Nigeria’s meagre 47 years is similar to the European average and is a testimony   to the very high standards of healthcare delivery in both nations. However, notwithstanding these remarkable social standards, their people nonetheless revolted against a leadership whom they perceived to be corrupt and oppressive resulting in unprecedented changes and political reforms in both nations.

In contrast to Tunisia and Egypt, Nigeria is practically the most dysfunctional and corrupt nation on the face of the earth with an estimated $1 trillion looted to date. There is mass poverty, unemployment and basic infrastructure such as electricity, roads, pipe borne water, healthcare delivery; functional schools etc taken for granted even in the least endowed nations do not exist in Nigeria. The tragedy is such that Nigeria lacks a national airline and even though the sixth largest oil producer in the world, imports refined fuel as monumental corruption has rendered her incapable of refining her own fuel.   To make matters worse, the leadership at all levels are self serving brazen criminals who openly indulge in massive robbery of the coffers on a daily basis without any consequence.

Yet, in spite of these tragedies and the  fact that Nigerians are treated worse than domestic animals and have consequently been so dehumanised by her leaders, there is no revolt anywhere in the length and breadth of Nigeria. Some say it is because Nigerians are cowards, some others say the ethnic contradictions have made it impossible for Nigerians to unite against misrule. Both observations are undeniably true, but Nigerians will sooner or later have to decide whether to continue in fear and to seek refuge in their ethnic groups while remaining slaves or break out and gain freedom from misrule and poverty. Nigerians need to realise that it is not a privilege but a fundamental right to enjoy all the basic necessities of life including opportunities for employment or enterprise just as it is the responsibility of the government to use every means to deliver on these social responsibilities. This social contract between the citizens and the state is what informed the basis of the human community without which the very idea of a nation is null and void.

What the revolt in Tunisia and Egypt have reinforced  is that  power  ultimately remains in the hands of the people and Nigerians  should  just like Tunisians and Egyptians rise up  against demonic leaders  and reclaim their fundamental right to life, to self determination,  to prosperity and to dignity.

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ts.html

Email: lawrencenwobu@yahoo.com

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Wedding photos: Monalisa Chinda’s Ex husband weds to a US based Nigerian Babe

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Read Time:56 Second

We serve you the news hot and fresh on codewitcom that is why we are hot spot for many Nigerians who want to see the latest news in town.

Dejo Richards the ex-husband of popular Nollywood star actress, Monalisa Chinda has re-married. The former boss of Questionmark got married to Olayemi Omolade Olayinka at the Ikoyi Registry. The couple, family members and well wishers later moved to Ikeja for the reception and engagement ceremonies.

Yemi, as the new bride is popularly known as Mimi and she works in as a marketing executive in the United States of America. She is also a cousin of Ayo Animashaun of ceo, Hip Hop World Awards.

Sources disclosed that the ceremony was planned to be low key but people came in large numbers to be part of the ceremony.Entertainers such as K1 the Ultimate (King Wasiu Ayinde), Kween and others were at the ceremony. Yemi, the new step mother of Monalisa’s daughter for Dejo Richards  is said to be very cool. Dejo Richards and Yemi met about eight months ago and today they are married.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Re: Update of Bank Account Information in Nigeria – The Plight of Nigerians Abroad

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Read Time:8 Minute, 7 Second

On 25th of January 2011, I came across a Press Release on Page 27 of the Monday, January 24 2011 edition of THISDAY Newspaper. The advert was from the Committee of Chief Compliance Officers of Banks in Nigeria (CCCOBIN) titled UPDATE OF BANK ACCOUNT INFORMATION.

The Press Release was in apparent support of the Central Bank of Nigeria Directive directing all bank customers to update their bank accounts’ information on or before January 31, 2011 without failure. The CCCOBIN urged all Nigerians to support the exercise, warning that “the CBN has directed that operations on the accounts of customers who fail to update their information would be suspended”.

I went to to the website of CCCOBIN as given on the Press Release www.cccobin.org and tried to get a contact detail for them in order to register my protest at the lack of consideration given to the millions of Nigerians who live outside Nigeria and who have accounts with banks in Nigeria. The email address given in the website is info@cccobin.org.ng , so I sent my protest to this address. Wonders of wonders, the email bounced back. I had urged over 2000 people on my Contact list to register their protest to this email address, and many of then responded to tell me their messages bounced back undeliverable.

When are we ever going to learn to do things the way they should be done, for crying out loud?

How can we get the CBN and Governor Lamido Sanusi, who has just been conferred, and deservedly too, the Man of the Year Award in Nigeria for 2010, to listen to Nigerians abroad, and review this directive to at least ease the concerns of these set of Nigerians?

Below is my message sent to CCCOBIN and just a few of the many responses I received.

Sirs

I have no exception to your support for the CBN Directive regarding the update on bank information of their customer. In fact I applaud this directive.

However, the CBN, and with your support have fallen victim of the so called “Nigerian Factor”, the usual “fire-brigade approach” to very serious matters, and a deficiency of thoughtfulness and lack of concern for the society at large.

It does not matter that the date for the update has been extended to 31 January 2011, but the fact that in proposing this exercise, careful thought has not been considered for the millions of Nigerians living outside the country and who have at one time or the other opened all kinds of accounts in all the banks operating in Nigeria. And this even includes those with Domiciliary Accounts with foreign currency in them.

Obviously, the Central Bank of Nigeria has not thought of the inconvenience and impracticality that this will cause to these millions of Nigerians. Throughout this exercise, not once have I heard or read of the CBN’s consideration for these set of Nigerians

Is the CBN and yourselves saying that these millions of Nigerians should come to Nigeria simply and only because of updating their account details with their banks, while spending hundreds of dollars, pounds, etc. just to come and participate in this exercise, so that they will be able to operate their accounts?

Are you now saying that failure of these Nigerians to come to Nigeria to update their accounts will result in the suspension of their accounts with considerable sums of Naira in such accounts?

If this is so, all the banks in Nigeria will have a fight on their hands as you cannot legally bar these Nigerians from operating their accounts.

I submit that whenever such matters of national interest are considered, due consideration MUST be given to the millions of Nigerians, who are living abroad and still have a stake in the well-being, economic development and socio-political issues of this country.

Nigerians are not living in isolation. Nigerians are no longer confined within the boundaries of the entity called Nigeria – we must have a voice.

Nigerians living outside the country have not voting rights; and the CBN wants to deny us access to the millions, if not billions of money we despatch home everyday.

I would therefore call on the Central Bank of Nigeria and you, the Committee of Chief Compliance Officers of Banks in Nigeria (CCCOBIN) to do a rethink on this issue and come up with a satisfactory solution to this problem. Nothing is written in stone and we do not have to re-invent the wheel. This exercise could have been thought of and implemented in an entirely different manner that will eliminate concerns and inconvenience not only to those Nigerians in Nigeria, but also to those scattered all over the world.

This message has been Bcc’d to over 2000 contacts who will perhaps be getting in touch with you to protest

Akintokunbo A Adejumo Ibadan, Nigeria

Responses from Concerned Nigerians, Home and Abroad.

Sirs I am in support of this memo 110%. Please let me know what others in Diaspora want to do, if consideration is not given to us. If not for committed citizens like you, most of us are not even aware of such exercise. Thanks for your commitment to make Nigeria a better country to call home.

Mojisola Ogunsina Odegbami United States of America

Good cause, valid points. For those of us living in Nigeria, it has not been bed of roses either. You can hear of Banks telling us that the address on NEPA bill is not in tandem with the address quoted on the form or that ONLY driving license, National Passport or National I.D is recognized for this exercise. Must all of us know how to drive, carry a national passport with all its attendant hiccup at securing or a National ID exercise that was not concluded and making millions of us not possessing the card?. I am still waiting for my account to be suspended and you can be sure that a lot of litigations will have to follow.

I just hope that sense of reason will prevail and things will be done normally.

BABALOLA, A.O. Lagos, Nigeria

Thanks Brother. That’s why NEPA, NITEL, WATER WORKS or so are NOT working. I support CBN but they must give Nigerians living abroad time to get complete the exercise. CBN, Please, Consider us and give us more time. Announce it on CNN, SKY, Fox News and other suitable networks to reach millions of Nigerians. Regards. Emiola Odewumi. United Kingdom

Dear Sir/Ma, I consider the CBN directive (account updates) an ill advised policy especially for us living overseas. How could you/CBN give a deadline, when most of Nigerians in Diaspora have not even hear about the on going process. I do not hesitate in asking you/CBN to come up with proper arrangements that will take into account those of us living overseas or maintain the status quo for us in Diaspora. Chinedu Vincent Akuta Leicester-UK

Hello Mr Adejumo Thanks for this very important message which you have sent to these people Do you think they don’t know what they are doing? In actual fact, they know quite vividly that Nigerians who live abroad account for the biggest percentage of savings/investments in Nigeria. The investments have been rising from one year to the next for the past decade or two. It is quite obvious they are very much up to a trick! That indeed is my opinion. If they are not, tell me what they may do with billions of hard earned money of Nigerian who live and work abroad after the deadline of 31st January. Quite rightly, you have made it clear to them that this set of people will not just keep quiet and watch them take away what is not theirs. Even if people want to travel out to Nigeria for this reason, the timing may be another factor. In my case, I may not be able to take time off work until after June. Are they saying I will forfeit my money? They surely need to think again. Best wishes, Mr Adejumo Ade Arogundade London, UK

This is very thoughtful of you on behalf of Nigerians in Diaspora. In the very essence every body has at one time or the other provided these banks resident addresses overseas and the know this. Nigeria thinking is always very short-sighted and I wonder if Nigerians in Diaspora are no longer Nigerians? Last year Nigeria in Diaspora remitted legitimate over USD10B. Does this not make them think how to maximise the potential of this group of people when the reverse is the case for those inside the country?

To even think of it the banks have not written anybody in this regard instead one have to contact them for situation update as if their service is a privilege.

Thank you very much

Andy Egbase Calgary, Canada

Sirs,

To add to what Mr. Adejumo has written here. Some of us in diaspora have been trying to get in touch with our various banks for more information on the on-going exercise. All to no avail, this so saddening, and so discouraging when we contribute so much to the Nation’s economy. Kindly help us look into this, as this is a serious cause for concern.

Omobonike Adejumo London, UK

Kudos. In fact when I opened my accounts, one in 2003/4, a couple of others in 2006/7, these Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements were in place (definitely 2006/7) and I complied with them at the time. Why do we have to go through this process again? I really struggle to see the reason for this messing about!!! ‘Femi Okutubo Publisher The Trumpet Newspaper, UK

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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The philosophical mind of an Igbo musician: Celestine Ukwu

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Read Time:4 Minute, 35 Second

In the memory of many Igbo people of Nigeria, late Celestine Ukwu is a paragon of wisdom. He is a true philosopher who is in-depth in analyzing the social world.

His musical ingenuity is a fruit of deep reflection on mankind in general. His creativity is emblematic for the entire spectrum of Igbo music industry, past present and future.

He is a musician with a profound originality. Although died and gone, his legendary works linger on in the socio-cultural life of the Igbo people.

Music no doubt has a universal language. The rhythmic poetical flow of music is enjoyed by all people irrespective of culture or language. The content or the expression anchored in a piece of music obviously tells how an individual person or a group of people perceives and interprets the world. Music therefore is a passionate expression of reality in philosophies. Musicians are also known as poets who are also known as thinkers and philosophers. In music, a subjective attempt is made to recreate the objective reality. Therefore music is all about a passionate expressions of life, birth, death, love, pain, injustice, happiness, rejection, oppression, politics, religion, ethics, fear, anxiety, sickness, poverty, richness etcetera.

The Igbo culture is among the cultures in the world that expresses its worldview in music. Sometimes, decoding the meaning of musical expression is like decoding coded lines of poetries. At other times, the meaning enshrined in a piece of music stands very intelligible. In the case of Celestine Ukwu, one sees a true born philosopher. He is a conscientious reflector on things. As a talented musician, he is a social observer. In his music—‘Ije Enu’, he was meticulous in reflecting about social event not only relevant in his days but also for the futuristic time.

‘Ije Enu’ in the nearest English philosophical equivalent (not necessarily literarily) means ‘the journey’. But by the way of expansion of meaning, it could also apply to the ‘life’s journey’’ or ‘the earthly life’. In a more comprehensive analysis, it could mean the pendulum of human existence, the enigma of life or the dilemma of life’s journey. In this piece of music, Ukwu made a quick philosophical polarization of two worlds that exists in one single world as he perceived—pain and happiness. These two are intrinsic in human experience. The analysis of the implication of this particular music stands very relevant in the evolution of the human existence and experience. No human is immunized to the idea happiness and pain which the pursuit and the avoidance often dictates actions according to the hedonists. In Celestine Ukwu’s point of view, the world is dualized in human experiences. On the one hand is a misery-stricken humans; on the other hand, the affluent. The earth is replete with terrible inequality that while a great many are rejoicing other as in bitter agonies. While some are rich, others are poor. While some are full, some are hungry. While some are educated, others are illiterate. The gap between the haves and the have-nots is endemic.

Celestine Ukwu in that iconic piece of music also understood the fact of the contingency of the human existence. Nothing is permanent. Change is a fact of universal experience. Those who have it today often presume the world is at a standstill. But often times things would sway and they find themselves at the needy edge. While those who started from the scratch might eventually see themselves at the apex of the ladder rejoicing. Human existence is permeated with inconsistencies that none could claim a stern permanency.

Due to this undulating and corrugated flow of things, it is worth remembering that those who laugh today might see themselves weeping tomorrow and those who cry today might find themselves cheery tomorrow. This philosophical approach ought to be the deciding principle of how we humans live and treat one another. No human being is the master of all things. One might be rich in one thing but lacking in several others. Everywhere around us, we have seen star celebrities fallen from grace to grass. We have seen rich people reduced to paucity. We have witnessed great nations loosing their world dominance. A case in mind is Egypt and ancient Roman Empire and also the British imperial Empire. We have also seen some countries struggling out of historical poverty to a new dawn of techno-scientific and industrial era like China and India.

Going forward to analyze the philosophy behind Celestine Ukwu’s ‘Ije Enu’, human arrogance and pomposity has little or no longevity in a constantly evolving universe. He made it clear that: ‘Oburo k’ anyi si chee ka ife uwa si adi’—the world does not always function according to our wish. So in whichever position one finds oneself, it should not be a criterion for self aggrandizement and the tyrannical maltreatment of the others. In the same respect, those who are down today should not all be weepy because change could happen at any moment.

In the music, Ukwu’s philosophical advice stands out: every human should approach life with humility irrespective of wherever life puts them down. This is because both our ingress into and egress out of the world’s dais is full of uncertainties.

Listen to Celestine Ukwu Songs

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CSN: 212153-2008-07-38

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Nigeria 2011 elections: CBN raises concern over inflation

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Read Time:1 Minute, 55 Second

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has expressed a very deep concern over the high level of inflation caused by government spending in the build up to the 2011 general elections, will inflict on the economy.

However, in the interest of the overall well being of the economy, the apex bank has come out with pre emptive monetary policy measures aimed at controlling the inflationary monster.

Governor of the CBN, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, briefing the media after the maiden edition of the Monetary Policy Committee meeting for 2011, stated that the committee noted that the risk of inflation was on the upward side as a result of the liquidity injections from the likely increase in government spending in the run up to the 2011 general election in the country, purchases in the Asset Management Company of Nigeria, rising global energy and food prices and the expected pass through to the domestic economy.

The apex bank, noting that the existing subsidy regime on petroleum products was not sustainable in view if the current government finances, stated that inflation remained a major concern that could not be ignored in short to medium term.

Mallam Sanusi disclosed that the committee noted the inability of the apex bank to record a single digit level of inflation and had thus emphasised the imperative of addressing both the supply and the demand side factors that determine inflation dynamics in Nigeria.

“One of the ways to keep aggregate demand in check is to restrain debt-financed government spending in the medium term. This calls for a review of subsidies and other recurrent expenditure categories that constitute a drain on the national budget as well as improving the revenue base » the apex bank boss disclosed.

Meanwhile, against the backdrop of clamour against government borrowing, the Debt Management Organisation, (DMO) has disclosed that the country cannot do without borrowing, stressing that borrowing is imperative for any economy worth its salt.

Also the DMO has put the external debt portfolio of Nigeria at US$4.78 billion as at December 2010.

In an interactive session with the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria(FICAN) in Abuja, the Director General of DMO, Dr Abraham Nwankwo said that the multilateral debts(mostly soft loans) constitute the bulk (92.45%) of the external debt stock.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Printing of ATM cards in Nigeria feasible, says Sanusi

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Read Time:3 Minute, 31 Second

With the increasing number of bank customers using Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), there are possibilities of printing the card in Nigeria. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi said printers of security documents such as ATM cards, plastic money and other items have chances of tapping into the huge market, provided they meet up with internationally recognised standard in the industry. But he said it was a long term project that operators in that sector should prepare themselves to tap into.

“I think in the long term, it is possible to produce ATM cards in Nigeria once there is established client security and quality around what is produced. I think local operators should be able to print Nigeria passports, vehicle papers, ATM cards, ballot papers, national identity cards, vehicle registration licences and even plastic money,” he said.

ATM cards are at present supplied to the Nigerian markets by InterSwitch and ValuCard. Sanusi, who spoke during the inauguration of SuperFlux International Limited ultra-modern factory in Lagos, said such printing job is a business that relies a lot on integrity, quality and trust. But once people are satisfied that there is security around the production process, and there is continuity in the business process, they will become interested in engaging the services of such firms.

SuperFlux is a high level printing firm that handles printing jobs for commercial banks.

Talabi said the company started the cheque book services at a time when the service gap was very wide in terms of delivery and integrity. Today, those efforts have not only led to reduction of fraud and assured delivery but also a structured and well administered standards and accreditation process.

Perhaps the largest security printing factory in Nigeria, the new ultra-modern factory by Super Flux Limited is yet another benefit of the Bankers’ Committee’s ongoing efforts at rejuvenating the economy. Specifically, the factory was partly financed under the CBN-BOI project refinancing scheme accessed by Super Flux through its relationship with Access Bank.

Tokunbo Talabi, the President and Chairman of Super Flux Group, reiterated his organisation’s vision, saying “At Super Flux we want to be the leading facilitator and backbone for secure transaction, documentation, processing and communication, guaranteeing world-class process integrity.”

He said the Management of the Bank of Industry (BoI) for its partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on rejuvenation of the economy. He said partnership of this nature is the catalyst that required for the much needed economic revival in Nigeria.

Sanusi commended the management of Super Flux Group for effective utilisation of the opportunity presented by the CBN-BOI intervention packages and urged the company to remain committed to standards and quality. He also used the occasion to call on other entrepreneurs to emulate Super Flux Group by taking advantage of the Bankers Committee economic development packages.

He said that no country can develop by selling primary products and that’s why the apex bank is supporting local firms in Nigeria in their drive to move from primary production to manufacturing. “The Central Bank of Nigeria is committed to supporting large scale manufacturing. We need to subsidise and support real sector operations in the country. We equally need to move from primary products to manufacturing,” he said.

He said the company is one of the nearly 400 companies that have benefitted from the CBN support of the real sector. “Throughout the country, we have about 400 companies that have benefitted from the CBN support. Some of them were at the verge of closing down, some were operating below capacity, while others had already shut down before we intervened. And these have all been revived by providing low cost long term funding for them,” he said.

Sanusi said those revived companies have created enormous jobs and insisted that every worker that is employed will automatically change aggregate demand and by extension, lead to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. This explains the needfulness of building a viable economy, he said. He explained that in economic of scale, one will discover that the amount of capital put in, gets the entrepreneur much, much further than if he is just doing primary production.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Shell denies oil spill allegation

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Read Time:4 Minute, 45 Second

The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), on Tuesday, denied the allegation, which was credited to Amnesty International and Friends of the Earth International, that it was not environmentally friendly, insisting that since 1996 it had been reporting its oil spill data across the Niger Delta region.

The company, while reacting to the case which comes up today before the Dutch parliament in a joint complaint filed against Shell by Friends of the Earth International, Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands) and Amnesty International for almost all oil leaks in the Niger Delta, maintained that those spill were due to sabotage.

The Media Relations Manager of Shell Companies in Nigeria (SciN), Mr. Precious Okolobo, stated that the company had never hidden its oil spill over the years, as every oil spill had been independently investigated by a joint inspection team comprising SPDC, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and members of the community.

The complaint, which was filed with the Dutch National Contact Point to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on Tuesday, January 25, questioned Shell’s operations, disclosed that the company’s activities in the Niger Delta were characterised with non-transparent, inconsistent and misleading figures.

While stressing that Shell’s activities had peddled on the causes of oil leaks in Nigeria, both the Friends of the Earth Netherlands and Amnesty International pointed out that during the public hearing, which would hold in The Hague, the parliamentarians would also hear about the environmental and social impacts of Shell’s operations from scientists and other experts.

But Shell’s spokesman, in a statement, said: ““Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) has reported oil spill data since 1996. A degree of transparency unmatched by any other operator in Nigeria. We have stepped up the level of transparency this year with weekly updates of oil spill status that includes publishing Joint Investigation Visit reports and photographic evidence.

“Every oil spill is independently investigated by a joint inspection team comprising SPDC, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and community members whose scope includes the cause and volume.

“The discrepancy between the originally reported figure for 2008 and the updated one was explained at length in our reporting exercise in early 2009 involving publication of the facts in briefing notes and on the web.

“We also deliberately drew attention to the change in face-to-face meetings with a number of interested organisations including AI and FOE at the time to ensure transparency. The spill in question was 44,000 barrels.

“It was not included originally because it had not been certified in time by the independent joint inspection team. This is normal practice and every year there are a number of spills where the investigation process has not been completed by the reporting deadline and adjustments have to be made later.

“Where they are significant we ensure that we draw attention to them as we did in this case.

More than 70 per cent by volume and number of incidents over the past five years is due to sabotage, including militant action and oil theft. As per Peter’s letter, the term “sabotage” encompasses all these categories.

“This figure was 98 per cent for 2009. We stand by these figures and publish them annually because we can back them up if necessary,” Okolobo added.

Environmental Rights Action (ERA) had also accused Shell of not present the entire truth bof its oil spill in the Nigeria Delta, noting that a three-year investigation conducted by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) funded with $9.5million provided by Shell had concluded that only 10 per cent of the pollution in Ogoniland was caused by equipment failures and Shell’s negligence and that the rest was caused by local people stealing oil and sabotaging pipelines.

The UNEP report, which relied heavily on data from Shell, was leaked to international media last year by Mike Cowing, head of a UNEP team that carried out the investigation.

The Executive Director of ERA, Mr. Nnimmo Bassey, who is also chair of Friends of the Earth International, said: “Shell can no longer continue this sanctimonious charade which relies on its own cooked up data. It should take full responsibility for the pollution of the Niger Delta and embark on thorough clean up of the environment. It must also stop gas flaring which not only fouls our air with a toxic cocktail but is also an economic drain.”

Shell has been operating in Nigeria for more than five decades, while the ERA, which is the Nigerian chapter of Friends of the Earth International and Milieudefensie, has been consistent in identifying and criticising the company’s unending pollution of the environment in the Niger Delta and failure to stop flaring gas, which has been prohibited by Nigerian law since 1984.

Shell’s activities are also linked to the incessant strife in the Niger Delta region.

Geert Ritsema, who will speak on behalf of Friends of the Earth Netherlands/International, said: “The pressure on Shell to clean up its mess in Nigeria is increasing by the day. Last year, the company was removed from the Dow Jones Sustainability Index due to pollution in the Niger Delta, and recently Wikileaks showed that Shell uses political influence in Nigeria to manipulate the situation in the country. We call on Dutch politicians to make a point of Shell’s responsibility for the problems the company causes in Nigeria.”

Story by Ebenezer Ademola (ebeademola@gmail.com)

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Shell Accused of Misleading Data Over Nigerian Spills

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Read Time:1 Minute, 48 Second

Royal Dutch Shell Plc was accused by Amnesty International and Friends of the Earth International of using discredited and misleading information in blaming the majority of oil spills in the Niger Delta on saboteurs.

The two groups said in an e-mailed report today that they filed an official complaint with the U.K. and Dutch governments against Shell over breaches of basic standards for responsible business set out by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Shell denied the allegation.

The oil producer uses figures that purport to show that as many as 98 percent of oil spills in the Niger Delta are caused by sabotage, Amnesty and Friends of the Earth said. Under Nigerian law, when spills are classified as being the result of sabotage, Shell has no liability, they said. Nigeria is the largest oil producing nation in Africa.

“Shell’s figures are totally lacking in credibility,” said Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty’s director of global issues. “The oil spill investigation system is totally lacking in independence.”

Every oil spill is independently investigated by a joint inspection team representing the company and government officials along with local community members, Shell said today by e-mail. The 98 percent figure was reported for the spills in 2009 and “we stand by these figures and publish them annually because we can back them up if necessary,” the company said.

In the past five years, less than 30 percent of spills at Shell’s joint venture in Nigeria have been due to corrosion, human error and equipment failure, the company says on its website. “The majority have been caused by sabotage or theft.”

Assessment of damage from crude spills in part of the Niger River delta was being hindered by “angry mobs,” Mike Cowing, an official of the United Nations Environment Program, said in August. Shell’s Nigerian unit was funding the study, he said at the time.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eduard Gismatullin in London at egismatullin@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net



About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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