Monday, 20 January 2014

I am the ”APP”

                                I am the ”APP”

In this ever evolving world of emerging technology and the already overwhelming internet of things I have come to note that for innovations to exist there has to be a need. This need is very vital in the equation of innovation . Using myself as a case note , before I left the shores of my country I had an iPhone with the popular apps such as Facebook , Instagram , Twitter and a couple of games download on it and my life didn’t revolve around them . But as soon as I stepped into this shores of this country I quickly realized that my life and how I live it will begin to rely on devices . I had become a persona , a variable in the equation and a vital element in the code . I became a target without my own will playing any role , in short I didn’t have an option in the decision making process , the decision had already been made and I was left with the choice to either have these apps or be ready to ask a lot of questions from people . In a generation where human-human interaction is on the decline and human-device interaction is on the increase , stopping people to ask them directions might not be the best approach

I had the following apps dictating my life to be averagely on the daily .

  • Rocketman :  this handles my transportation needs ..bus schedules based on my location

  • Weather network app : the need to have this can’t be overemphasized ..I know when to wear my boots and warm clothing.

  • Google maps : it tells me where everything is except helping me to find where my socks are in my disorganized wardrobe .

I go into a mild state of panic whenever my phone battery becomes low and access to charging isn’t nearby . At what point did I step away from being a conventional user to being over reliant on apps to decide and chart all my activities ? Here’s where the idea bulb light up. I am the app , I created the need , I am the persona that was created to validate the need for the innovation to exist .

Persona + Need = Innovation
I was a target from the moment i arrived and there has been content tailored particularly for me . I became the human app , I am the end user of all the hours of coding and strategy . I take all the information provided in these innovations and decode them according to the need they serve in my space , this is the price i have to pay for my liberty and the comfort they provide for me . As long as the elements of my equation above continues to exist then i don’t think there will be a decline in the amount of apps to be discovered and launched. Do note that i am just one persona and a lot more can be created and their needs met. The Itunes store is a good example of that,the amount of apps on their store is overwhelming , it isn’t a surprise that they make billions and will continue on this part for a long time .

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Oil bunkering: Harnessing opportunities in Nigerian waters

Despite the misconceptions about the business, the resuscitation of oil bunkering operations in the Nigerian territorial waters has huge economic benefits, DAYO OKETOLA writes
Oil bunkering is an operation involving the fuelling of ships of all kinds on the high seas, inland waterways and within the ports. However, this line of business has suffered serious misconception in Nigeria. What comes to mind whenever oil bunkering is mentioned in Nigeria are thoughts of illegal oil bunkering, oil theft and pipeline vandalising. Indeed, the line between crude oil theft and oil bunkering has become very blurred in the country due to a misunderstanding of what oil bunkering operations entail. This, according to experts, is largely connected to the proliferation of crude oil theft that is already denying the country huge revenues in trillions of dollars.
The Executive Director, Anyiam-Osigwe Group, the parent company of Nuel Energy Limited and PSTI Oil & Gas, which is involved in bunkering operations, Mr. Michael Anyiam-Osigwe, said, “The bunkering business was suspended for quite some time because there is a misconception about it in Nigeria. When we talk about bunkering, people think it is an illegal activity and this is not correct because when you steal crude, that is not bunkering, it is crude oil theft. If you are doing illegal bunkering, it means you are engaged in bunkering operations without a licence.”
In an attempt to explain what led to the widespread misconception about oil bunkering in the country, Anyiam-Osigwe, said, “What I suspect is that when people steal crude oil, they use vessels to sell it to other ships on the sea. So, that becomes illegal bunkering because you are not licensed. It is also oil theft because you have stolen the crude and you are selling to users as though you are bunkering. This is because once you are doing a ship-to-ship transfer, it is called bunkering. In other words, once a smaller ship is pumping petroleum product into a bigger ship, that is how bunkering operations work.”
According to him, bunkering is like running a gas station on the sea to provide fuel such as marine diesel, lubricant and others to vessels. He added that bunkering companies sometimes provide fresh water to vessels on the sea.
When the Federal Government approved the return of oil bunkering operations to the country’s territorial waters recently, some people criticised the government for ‘legalising’ oil bunkering as if it was illegal in the first place.
Conveying President Goodluck Jonathan’s approval to stakeholders in Lagos recently, the Director, Department of Petroleum Resources, Mr. George Osahon, similarly described bunkering as a downstream business involving the fuelling of ships of all kinds on the high seas, inland waterways and within the ports. Usually, the fuels supplied include Automotive Gas Oil or diesel, Low Pour Fuel Oil and recently, Liquefied Natural Gas.
“Bunkering as a legitimate business line should not be confused with illegal trade in stolen crude for which the same term has been freely used in the Nigerian lexicon,” he said.
Osahon said bunkering was introduced as a legitimate business activity with licences issued by the DPR in 1979, adding that not much record of bunkering activities were recorded in the country prior to that time. However, owing to some abuse of the system, he said bunkering operations were limited to five major oil marketing companies in 1984.
“In 2000, bunkering operations were again put on hold by the government on account of the subsidy on petroleum products, which more or less, gave the operators windfall profits that did not trickle down to the government,” he said.
Thirteen years after, the Federal Government approved the resuscitation of bunkering activities in the country and Osahon said this development would generate revenue for the government and create employment opportunities that would buoy the economy.
According to the Chief Executive Officer, Ships and Ports, Mr. Bolaji Akinola, an average of 5,000 sea-going vessels berth at various Nigerian ports every year. With the suspension of bunkering operations, these ships, according to marine experts, go to neighbouring countries such as Senegal, Cape Verde and Cote D’Ivoire to refuel.
But the DPR director said the resumption of bunkering services in the country would save oil, gas and marine operators the stress of going to these neighbouring countries to fuel vessels operating in Nigerian territorial waters.
He said, “From structured supply of bunker fuels to various vessel types operating in the country; licensing of bunkers including licence renewals, registration of vessels for bunkering business annually by the DPR will generate about N250m. The economic benefit is huge because this will be a stimulus for growth in other sectors of the economy, including inland ports and waterways.”
Osahon foresaw an increase in marine activities in the country, stressing that the nation might become a hub for bunkering operations in the sub-region.
Potential beneficiaries from the resumption of bunkering operations, according to him, include fishing trawlers, LNG tankers, Very Large Crude Carriers, Ultra Large Crude Carriers, coastal tankers, bulk cement cargo carriers and bulk wheat cargo carriers.
Others include General Cargo Carriers, container carriers, Floating Production Storage Offloading vessels, FSO, rigs supply vessels, tug boats and marine support vessels and other offshore oil facilities.
Anyiam-Osigwe said, “Bunkering is a hospitality business in that when a vessel is coming into Nigeria and knows that it will get bunkered easily for fuel, lubricant and water, then freight will be cheaper.
“This is because the vessel will take less bunkers and carry more load. So, when they come here, they will do the refuelling and this will also pay the country better. Freighting goods to Nigeria will be cheaper and the consumers will benefit from this.”
Explaining the requirements for bunkering operations, Osahon said, “All bunkering operations in the country will be licensed by the DPR. Guidelines have been prepared by the DPR to regulate the business in accordance with the provisions of the Petroleum Act. The guidelines recognise two types of bunkering operations and licences will be issued in accordance with the nature of operation, which requires different qualifying criteria.”
According to Osahon, the DPR is responsible for the licensing and supervision of bunkering operations in the country, while the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency is responsible for qualifying vessels for bunkering in accordance with local and international standards
He said, “The Nigerian Navy is in charge of security and enforcement of bunkering regulations. The Federal Ministry of Fisheries will identify vessels fishing under NIMASA. Nigerian Ports Authority, Customs, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and Ministry of Transport all have major roles to play to ensure successful bunkering operations.”
The DPR boss said the quality of fuels for bunkering operations in the country is as specified by the International Maritime Organisation and agreed between the buyer and the bunkering operator.
“Bunkering companies are to source their products independently and are, therefore, responsible for the quality of such fuels. For an effective bunkering operation, participating companies are enjoined to maintain reasonable bunker fuels stock as only product availability guarantees hub patronage by vessel owners,” he added.
The Director in charge, Directorate of Marine Services, Nigerian Navy, Navy Captain S. O. Ayeni, warned that any ship that must bunker in the country’s territorial waters must fulfil the requirements of the Navy.
 “The operator will be expected to present to the Nigerian Navy headquarters an application for bunkering clearance detailing the vessel involved, location of bunkering operation or discharge point, quantity of bunker fuel and duration of the operation,” he said.
Ayeni further explained that the operator must disclose the source of his bunker fuel, adding that in view of the poor state of the refineries, the product must not come from the country; otherwise, it would be regarded as stolen oil.
He also said the operators must obtain licences and certifications from the DPR and the NIMASA on the quality of the products and the vessels.
“All these conditions will be verified at the Directorate of Marine Services in Lagos for validity and correctness; and if they are in order, recommendation is made to the Naval Headquarters for prompt approval of a particular bunkering operation as captured in the application,” Ayeni added.

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Kenya Westgate siege: Accused’s trial begins

The trial of four men charged over the Westgate shopping centre siege in Kenya has started in the capital, Nairobi.
BBC reports that the four suspected foreigners deny charges of aiding a “terrorist group” and being in Kenya illegally.
The court heard testimony from security guards who saw what happened when the gunmen launched the attack in September, killing at least 67 people.
Somalia’s al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group said one of its suicide brigades carried out the siege.
The four are the first to be charged over the attack – the worst in Kenya since 224 people were killed in the 1998 bombing of the US embassy.
None of the men – named as Mohammed Ahmed Abdi, Liban Abdullah, Adnan Ibrahim and Hussein Hassan – are accused of being the gunmen who carried out the attack.
Their nationalities have not been disclosed, but they are said to be ethnic Somalis.
Guard Stephen Juma told the court he was directing traffic outside the upmarket shopping centre when a car pulled up and three men jumped out.
One of them immediately shot dead a shopper, he said, the Associated Press news agency reports.
Juma said he could not identify any of the gunmen because their heads and faces were covered with black headscarves.
“I began to hear gunshots, I made a radio call for help while running to the main entrance,” he is quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.
“I took shelter in a residential compound until when I saw policemen come.”
The police say the four accused had sheltered the attackers in their homes in Eastleigh – a Somali neighbourhood in Nairobi – and that they were in contact with the gunmen four days before the siege.
The men have pleaded not guilty to the charges, which include entering Kenya illegally and obtaining false identification documents.
BBC reports that 40 witnesses are expected to give evidence in the trial, which is likely to last around a week.
The Kenyan army has said that all four of the attackers died during the siege.
One of the suspected attackers has been named as 23-year-old Somalia-born Norwegian national, Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow.
Al-Shabab is fighting for an Islamic state in Somalia.
It said it carried out the attack to avenge the presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia to bolster the UN-back central government.

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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Why did Jonathan sign the gay law?

In 2013, an iconic picture of two ladies kissing before anti-gay marriage protesters in Marseille, France, went viral. That act of defiance before an assembly of mostly old ladies was to demonstrate an inviolable right to private life and choice. It was largely the fear of this sort of freedom that spurred the Nigerian Senate to embark on pushing a bill to criminalise activities relating to homosexuality with draconian measures.
The climax of the saga occurred on Monday, January 13 when the Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, announced that the President had signed the bill into law.
It was a well-calculated move from a politician who wants to win popular support for 2015 elections, and he chose a good time to espouse conservative values. Just the previous week, his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, and the All Progressives Congress engaged in the usual catfight, this time over religion. Having whipped up some Islamophobia, he artfully topped it all by riding on the waves of subsisting moral panic the gay debate generated. For a man who routinely closes his eyes to corruption and every other imaginable human vice in his administration, Jonathan’s signing of this bill is illuminative of his moral values and priority. (By the way, where was his voice when the debate on child marriage was going on?) This time, he chose to be Pontius Pilate who delivered a poor prisoner to a raging mob.
That is not the stuff morally strong folk are made of.
The seeming interference by the West –specifically the United States — over the issue of same-sex relationship and its cultural acceptance in this part of the world have given some relativists a new punch-bag. What people saw as Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama’s meddlesomeness quickly gave rise to a congress of emergency patriots who arrogated upon themselves the power to erect a perimeter fence around values they alone can decide are either “African” or not.
These afro-jingoists position Africa as the bastion of moral values (which, incidentally, always begins and ends with sex) and insist we maintain a rigid stand against cultural erosion; that we are a sovereign nation and the white man cannot dictate to us. Rather than focus on their countrymen who will be affected by the law, they expend energy yelling at the white man who will not lose anything in the long run.
This sort of resistance is to be expected, of course. History teaches us that the people of Calabar had a similar pushback against Mary Slessor when she began to campaign against the killing of twins. Today, Nigerians venerate her for her foresight. When a white District Officer stopped the Elesin Oba culture in colonial Oyo town, people protested saying a white man had no right to stop a legitimate cultural practice.
The point is, culture does not mean people should be stuck in a time warp. Societies advance and that is why even the most vociferous campaigners for “African values” will not forsake their European/Arabia-gifted religion for Amadioha or Sango; will not give up their cellphones (and other forms of western technology) and return to the villages to communicate with drums and smoke signals. They will not request a law that forces women to marry as virgins like it used to be, once upon a time, in Africa. There is no culture in the world that is immutable. What people call “African culture” today, cultural scholars have analysed, are largely practices that are consequences of colonialism.
Nigerians can talk about sovereignty all day but countries interfere in local affairs as moral conscience of other countries. For both the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide, taking the stand of “sovereignty” was as immoral. Either as individuals or as a nation, “The West” has intervened in Africa frequently: in wars, in education, during famines and till now they still dish us billions of dollars in aid and relief. Bill Gates, on his blog, posts pictures and notes of his philanthropic activities in Africa’s poor places and not one African leader has ever kicked him out in the name of sovereignty.
To be an independent nation goes beyond yelling against the white man’s intrusive ways. It comes with obligations and one of them is protecting the minority from the repressive might of the majority.
That is the sort of moral responsibility that President Jonathan should have displayed rather than take the populist route of offering up gays as scapegoats to be slaughtered to one of the gods we worship in Nigeria –hypocrisy. In a country where freedom and human rights are barely guaranteed most people, why expose minorities to hate and its consequences?
Prior to the time the likes of Senators Oluremi Tinubu, Domingo Obende and about 24 others proposed the bill in 2011 to stem the cultural tide rising from the West, gays in Nigeria were not agitating to be married. They were not requesting that the law defining marriages as heterosexual relationships in Nigeria be amended. No, the move was mimicry; since Oyinbo lawmakers were debating homosexuality, Nigerians lawmakers must do so too.
That copycat attitude was an annoying form of reactivism to an issue they obviously barely understood beyond its aesthetics. Most of the debaters had neither profound arguments nor made historical analyses to tender beyond throwing out their religious definition of morality everywhere. In Nigeria, when people bring out their holy books during an argument, good luck to reason. It was not surprising the debate did not go far.
I had hoped Jonathan would at least refrain from touching the bill and concentrate on the corruption crippling his government; he would have focused on providing electricity. He should also stop giving recycled speeches every time his hand grasps a microphone. But no, he had to capitulate. One day, he will look back and realise he fell on the wrong side of history.
Finally, at whatever personal risk under this obnoxious law, I reiterate my unflinching support for sexual minorities in Nigeria –lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders. I believe nobody should suffer discrimination based on their gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, race and whatever identity with which they are labelled. I believe in equality and I wish to state that unequivocally.
And for those who are about to wonder, yes, this is my religion.

JANUARY 16, 2014 BY ABIMBOLA ADELAKUN  for punch newspapers 

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