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Misery on repeat3 minutes read

These past months have seen insurgents taking and killing citizens at will.

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Buni Yadi

In 2014, anyone with some sense of perception could tell that ignoring the heinous crime of the Buni Yadi massacre and the abduction of young girls from their school, would embolden the criminals.

Six years on, children in as far away from Borno as Lagos, have been kidnapped from their schools. This breakdown of the very fabric of our society has come to the point where criminals barge into households in the dead of night not to steal but to snatch children from their parents and negotiate for ransom.

Ten years of asymmetric war in a country that has already fought a full-blown civil war it is yet to recover from, is a fertile ground for criminals. They have therefore appeared in all guises across the length and breadth of our country, unleashing death and misery.

Citizens have turned to prayers and lamentations. Even those in denial are having a rethink. Security operatives seem to be at their wit’s end, unable to keep pace with criminal minds or simply becoming fluid and working both sides of the divide.

Kidnappings, gun-running, cattle rustling, land grab, illegal taxation, slavery/Forced labour, human trafficking, sex slaves/prostitution rings, drug trafficking.

These are the crimes that continue to define a wartime sub-economy, the longer the war lasts the harder it is to break the stranglehold. This war has gone on for over ten years. Throwing money at the problem without a strategy with timelines and accountability is another Pandora’s box.

These past months have seen insurgents taking and killing citizens at will. Indeed, bombs are not going off but killings have spiked. Some might even describe it as a change of tactics. A sad development. Intelligence units should have been prepared for this.

Safe School Initiative.
Missing Persons Register – NHRC.
A Chibok Girls Desk in the Ministry of Women Affairs.

general view of the unfinished Mohammed Goni Stadium in Maiduguri where internally displaced persons from other congested IDP camps have been moved
This photo, taken on July 26, 2019, shows a general view of the unfinished Mohammed Goni Stadium in Maiduguri where internally displaced persons from other congested IDP camps have been moved due to increased influx of people fleeing from Boko Haram attacks in from rural areas around Borno State. – Boko Haram’s decade-long conflict has killed 27,000 people and displaced about two million from their homes in northeast Nigeria. The violence has spread to nearby Niger, Chad and Cameroon, with the affected countries forming a regional military coalition to fight the group. Boko Haram fighters have abducted huge numbers of women and children across the region. (Photo by FATI ABUBAKAR / AFP)

Rehabilitation, Reunification, Reintegration of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) – With a view to moving them to safe areas so as to continue to fend for themselves and restore their dignity.

No Nigerian should be in a camp for more than six months within Nigeria. These were solutions proffered to Government, with workable timelines and reviewable indices. 

However, IDP camps is another thriving sub-economy. Unscrupulous persons are making millions of Naira from the suffering of others.

To all of this, add over ten million out of school homeless, unloved and hungry children Waiting to unleash their anger on a society that is indifferent. In another decade or less, even Presidential jets will not be safe.  Sow the wind. Reap the whirlwind.

It is not that complicated. Planning, strategy, implementation. Honesty, lots of it. Selfless service and EMPATHY for subjects from competent, capable leaders.

Meanwhile, subjects who believe that the culture of having many wives and children they cannot cater for, has no correlation with the chaos of their region should continue to play the ostrich.

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Health

Countering the rise of cancer

while women are most prone to Breast cancer, Colorectal cancer and Cancer of the Lungs in this order, men are most likely to come down with Prostate cancer, followed by cancer of the lungs, then Colorectal.

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Cancer is a constellation of over two hundred diseases. While they have common characteristics, they are very different from each other. This makes it difficult to isolate or treat.

Globally, Lung Cancer has the highest prevalence. Smoking, environmental pollution, alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity are major cancer risk factors worldwide. 

Cancers are also a part of the four shared risk factors for other non-communicable diseases. Approximately 15 out of 100 cancer cases diagnosed in 2012 were attributed to carcinogenic infections, including Hepatitis C virus, Human papillomavirus (HPV) and Hepatitis B virus.

 Chronic infections like Hepatitis B and C virus and some types of HPV increase the risk for liver and cervical cancer, respectively. Infection with HIV substantially increases the risk of cancers such as cervical cancer.

However, the epidemiology of cancers is patterned around the sexes; while women are most prone to breast cancer, colorectal cancer and cancer of the lungs in this order, men are most likely to come down with prostate cancer, followed by cancer of the lungs, then colorectal.

Furthermore, the incidence is also geographically diverse, for instance, Americans suffer more skin cancers than Africans. Africa records the lowest cases of leukaemia, while North America with 9 cases out of every 100,000 records the highest incidences based on WHO 2014 statistics.

Receiving the diagnosis of cancer can be a frightening thing. The good news is that there are more options today than there ever was in the treatment of cancer.

Cancer remains a leading cause of death worldwide. It accounted for 8.8 million deaths in 2015.

Cancer refers to abnormal growth of cells which may occur in any part of the body. They are classified as either benign or malignant. The most common causes of cancer death are cancers of:

  • Lung (1.69 million deaths)
  • Liver (788 000 deaths)
  • Colorectal (774 000 deaths)
  • Stomach (754 000 deaths)
  • Breast (571 000 deaths)

Benign cancers are usually not invasive and are treatable but malignant cancers (as the name implies) are invasive and terminal.

Early detection and commencement of treatment in both forms give a better prognosis.  

Cancer can be better prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle; balanced diet, regular exercise, avoiding pollutants, adequate rest and stress management among others.  

About one-third of all cancers can be prevented. This underscores the importance of regulatory measures, as well as health campaigns that advocate for physical activity, healthy diet, HPV vaccination, controlled access to and against tobacco and the harmful use of alcohol.

Behavioural changes and lifestyle that sees an increase in consumption of nutritional and healthy diets, engaging in daily exercise or physical activities,  limiting or reducing exposure to tobacco smoke, reducing consumption of soda and sweetened drinks, maintaining a consistently healthy weight, participating in cancer screening or getting vaccinated against Hepatitis B are all measures that could keep one at less risk from cancer –the second leading cause of global death.

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Business News

Emerging Trends in the financial service sector

Fintech set to disrupt over $4.7 billion in global financial sector revenue.

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Emerging trends disrupting financial services in Africa
Emerging trends disrupting financial services in Africa. Photo source: Shutterstock

Over the years, the financial sector has evolved and introduced what we now know as fintech – which is simply the application of digital technology to financial services and products. The evolution has been vast, ranging from mobile banking to payment processors, online investment and savings platform, loans and many more. The technologies are endless and it is believed that this is only the beginning. 

According to Goldman Sachs, fintech is set to disrupt over 4.7 billion dollars in global financial sector revenue. Fintech is the change that the financial sector has been waiting for but more innovations are set to disrupt already existing companies and the only way to stand out is to keep track of the incoming trends.

Digital-only banks

We have already seen the start of this with the likes of Prospa, a startup that is changing the way businesses bank by eliminating the need to visit brick and mortar banks, providing free transaction, free delivery of ATM cards, convenient invoice management, quick balance review features, and real-time analytics, all in all, providing better customer experience virtually. Thanks to digital banks, visits to brick and mortar banks are set to drop by almost 40% in 2022.

Digital banks are disrupting traditional brick & mortar banks
Digital Banks and Payments are disrupting traditional brick & mortar banks. Photo credit: Shutterstock.

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Artificial Intelligence

The financial sector is poised to depend more on AI to process and handle large transactions. Take the banking industry, for example, AI is projected to reduce its operating costs by 22%, this means saving almost a trillion dollars. AI is already being used by several institutions to enhance customer service e.g Leo by UBA. Its ability to work with unstructured data will make for easy dealing of cyber crimes and financial frauds.

Payments

Digital wallets, mobile and cashless payments will drive the financial sector in terms of payments. In 2019,  there were about 2.1 billion mobile wallet users. Add the use of blockchain to the mix and there is no telling how widely disrupted the sector will be. The main drivers of the disruption will be Generation X.

China takes the lead

China is an overwhelming leader in almost all fintech categories; from payment to lending to wealth management. With over 800 million internet users, 98% of whom are using mobile, it is no surprise that this is the prime area for fintech to thrive. China also has a high rate of investment than the rest of the world, this is equally an added factor. At this point, China is an exemplary leader and the best case study for how the fintech revolution is growing and evolving.

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Smart contracts

Blockchain is enabling smart contracts
Blockchain is enabling smart contracts. Lawyers and paperwork are avoided.

Thanks to blockchain technology, we have what is called smart contracts. Basically smart contracts are a way to digitize contracts that would normally require the services of lawyers and tedious processes. In smart contracts, parties sign a smart contact using cryptographic keys as a digital signature. Instead of paper, the contracts are encoded in computer language. Thanks to blockchain the codes cannot be tampered or altered. All devices that get the first digital copy of the contract will serve as witnesses and these devices would all see to the execution of the contract and fulfilment of all terms.

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Business News

Power of partnerships: harnessing the strengths of other businesses to grow

Partnerships deepen ties between businesses and foster collaborations and longevity

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Power of Partnerships: Harnessing the Strength of Other Businesses to grow
Power of Partnerships: Harnessing the Strength of Other Businesses to grow. Photo source: Shutterstock

No business knows it all, just as one tree doesn’t make a forest, so it is important for businesses to come together in partnership so they can both gain. It is the most strategic way for businesses to scale their innovation and solve complex challenges. Collaborations and strategic partnerships – the keyword being strategic – are fundamental to improving business outcomes. 

Partnerships are beneficial to every business. The management team and employees will benefit from partnerships because they have the opportunity to broaden market share, relevance and increase visibility. Customers are not left out as they benefit from the strengths and offerings that the formation of partnerships produce. Employees equally get a chance to enhance their skills and have access to more developmental opportunities by being exposed to new perspectives. 

Why establish business partnerships?

Partnerships deepen ties between businesses and foster collaborations and longevity. In all, partnerships are key to improving service to customers by merging talent, expertise, technology and purpose.

Partnerships deepen ties and help businesses improve service offerings
Partnerships deepen ties and help businesses improve service offerings. Photo credit: Shutterstock

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How do you know when to form partnerships and how to create valuable partnerships? You need to identify the specific challenge that needs to be fixed. Businesses need to know what their customers want and then identify who to form an alliance with in order to provide an enhanced service.

How to establish partnerships

However, you need to be certain that your company is strong enough to form partnerships. One of the key ways of harnessing the strengths of other businesses is to lay out what each is bringing to the table and what each business is lacking either operational or otherwise and look for ways to collaborate on their individual strengths in order to grow.

Businesses looking to form partnerships must agree to work together towards a common goal. Establishing a clear goal of what the partnership aims to accomplish is key to the success of the partnership and the growth of the individual businesses involved. A good example is a partnership between Piggyvest and Landwey to facilitate ease of accessibility to land ownership for middle and low-income earners.

Meetings are important when deciding to foster a partnership
Meetings are important when deciding to foster a partnership with another organisation. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Another good example is Prospa’s partnership with Workstation. The workstation has a digital member network of distinctive people and companies to which they send helpful information – newsletters, events and press releases. Prospa has partnered with them on a few events and workshops to leverage their network of entrepreneurs in order to establish its digital banking accounts for businesses. 

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Recently, Flutterwave partnered with Worldpay; the collaboration between the two companies will allow Worldpay merchants in Europe and the United States to accept any African payment. These are examples of strategic partnership where each of the company leveraged on the strength and market share of the other to grow. 

Effective communication is another way to build a concrete partnership. Clear communication between partners must be established. Having a series of meetings to elaborate on partnership collaboration is key so as to understand the needs of both parties and what they hope to accomplish. Open and effective channels of communication will go a long way in establishing a successful partnership and subsequent business growth.

Partnerships are also a  way for businesses to gain access to untapped market segments and resources as well as create supply chain resilience. Strategic partnerships with reputable brands can put businesses in target communities where they were struggling to enter before.

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