Category Archives: Science and Technology

PHOTOS: Ekweremmadu, Ayogu, Utazi, Gil & Cornelius Nnaji, Nnolim, Ujam, others storm Abuja as Prince Lawrence Ezeh, 65 others become Fellows of the Nigerian Society of Engineers

It was a gathering of National Assembly heavyweights Wednesday, 19th May 2021 when Engineer Lawrence Ezeh was inducted as a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, FNSE.

The induction, which took place at the national secretariat of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Sanni Abacha Way, Central Business District, Abuja was well attended by top engineers across the country, their families and friends. Ezeh, who was among 66 inductees, joined other engineers at the podium of the auditorium in receiving the honours.

The event is the 17th edition of the Fellowship Conferment Ceremony. The NSE auditorium also saw a gathering of political heavyweights from Enugu State, who came en masse to rejoice with Engineer Ezeh.

Among the guests include the former Deputy Senate President of Nigeria, Senator Ike Ekweremmadu, as well as a former senator and gubernatorial candidate in the 2019 elections in Enugu State, Senator Ayogu Eze.Others include Senator Chuka Utazi, representing Enugu North Senatorial Zone, immediate past senator to represent Enugu East Senatorial zone, Senator Gilbert Nnaji, and the House Member representing Isi Uzor and Enugu East in the Federal House of Representatives, Honourable Cornelius Nnaji.

Present at the induction include also, the House Member representing Nkanu East and West in the Federal House of Representatives, Honourable Nnolim Nnaji, along with his predecessor, Honourable Chukwuemeka Ujam.

Other notable personalities who were present include the Chairman of Easton Hill Continental Hotel, Chief Dr Mike Onu, President General of Mburubu Town Union, among others.

Speaking at the ceremony in her opening remarks, Engineer Ebele Okeke, who is the chairman, Board of Fellows/ College of Fellows, told the inductees to be proud ambassadors of the NSE.

President of Nigerian Society of Engineers, Engr. Babagana Mohammed, FNSE stated that “The board has certified a total of 66 engineers who have gone through very thorough screening and acceptance processes. And found worthy in professional practice, and character, to be upgraded to the prestigious Fellowship Society”.

Your reliable news portal, Jungle Journalist Media Limited was at the event live and brings you an array of photographs taken at the ceremony:

(PHOTOS) Ikpeazu awards full 5-year undergraduate scholarship to Abia-born electricity transformer innovator

Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has awarded 5 years scholarship to Mr Solomon Ukoha who constructed an electricity sub station with crude oil and other locally sourced materials. The scholarship is for him to further his education in any tertiary institution of his choice.

Governor Ikpeazu who made this pronouncement at his lodge in Aba while receiving the 24 year old Solomon who is from Amaekpu in Ohafia LGA of the State expressed joy over the technical ingenuity exhibited by the young innovator noting that Abia has youths who can compete favourably with their international counterparts in technical education if given the opportunity.

The Governor explained that power supply has been a major problem facing the country and as such has impacted negatively on economic growth and industrialization especially in the shoe, leather and garments sub sectors for which Aba is well known.

The Governor encouraged Solomon to train some other youths and impart same knowledge to them for the greater benefit of society.

The Chief Executive however encouraged him to build a more presentable prototype of the sub station to enable it compete in external exhibitions revealing that the scholarship covers his tuition fee and accommodation immediately he gets admission.

Showcasing his innovation to the Governor, Mr Solomon Ukoha who said he has completed his secondary school education without any hope of going to the university due to financial challenges revealed that he got the inspiration from God.

He appealed to the State Governor to assist him further his education, a step he said would help him greatly in fulfilling his ambition and expressed his readiness to teach other youths as advised by the Governor.

Recall that Mr Solomon Ukoha whose video went viral on the social media last week tested the electrical sub station before the Governor.

More photos:

How ‘little known’ Chinese brand beat Samsung smartphone in Africa

Samsung may be the biggest smartphone maker globally, but this isn’t the case in Africa.

According to a new report from research firm Counterpoint, the dominant Korean smartphone maker was bested by little known Chinese brand Tecno in 2020.

Per Counterpoint’s data, Transsion-owned Tecno was responsible for 18% of the total smartphone shipments in Africa last year. The research firm attributes Tecno’s rise to a strong second half of the year and its affordable smartphone portfolio. In contrast, Samsung could muster just 15% as it reportedly faced “supply chain disruptions” in the early half of 2020.

Samsung isn’t the only big smartphone name coming under pressure in Africa.

Huawei retained its fourth place on the continent with an 8% market share but fell further behind Tecno’s sister brand Itel (12%).

Xiaomi, meanwhile, saw massive gains in Africa. Its shipment numbers grew by 126% in 2020 compared to 2019, doubling its market share to 4%. Oppo saw gains of 57% year over year, too, holding on to 4% of the market share ahead of Apple, HMD, and Realme.

Transsion’s premium brand Infinix also saw gains and held onto its fifth position in the market shipment hierarchy.

Budget phones are big business

So why is Samsung floundering in Africa? Unlike North America or the EU, around four in five smartphones shipped in Africa fall below the $200 price band per Counterpoint. It’s a market heavily driven by value, and the players that can offer solid devices at lower price points are reaping the rewards.

While Tecno doesn’t offer cutting-edge or novel technologies in its products, its budget Spark and flagship Camon lines come in well under $300. Samsung’s Galaxy A series is the only affordable competitor at this price point. Huawei’s Y series has also been a solid performer, according to the report.

With the pandemic marginally abating across the continent, Samsung will likely recover some market share in 2021. But will it play second fiddle to Tecno going forward? We’ll have to wait and see.

High expectations as Eastern rail project takes off

The ground-breaking of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri narrow gauge line, otherwise known as the Eastern rail, this morning would go down as the continuation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ambitious’ mandate to link all parts of the country by rail, writes ADEYINKA ADERIBIGBE

Finally, the Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi, will today bring the dividends of democracy closer home, as he, on behalf of his principal, President Muhammadu Buhari, performs the ground breaking of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway project.

The Eastern Narrow Gauge Railway project with a construction time of 36 months estimated at about 1,000 kilometres, is expected to cost $3billion, with the Federal Government obligated to pay only 15 percent counterpart funding.

Instructively, the project is coming with two new elements – the link to the Bonny Deep seaport and the Railway Industrial Park – to be located in Port Harcourt.

The project, which would be executed by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, (CCECC), had been approved since September, to link Port Harcourt on the Atlantic Coast, southsouth, to Maiduguri, on the border with chad, on northeast Nigeria.

Amaechi, who broke the news to reporters during his routine inspection of the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project, expressed happiness that at last his people would be happy that the railway is, at least, coming closer home.

The minister added that two new spurs (branch lines) may be added to the project to link Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital and Akwa, the Anambra State capital, thereby achieving the dream of linking the Southeast capitals by rail system.

He clarified that the ground breaking entailed only the take-off of front end engineering procedures including engineering designs and planning, after which the actual construction is expected to begin.

On the viability of the corridor, Amaechi said though the Lagos-Kano rail could move 30 million tons of cargo; when completed, the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri line would move 11 million tons of cargo.
He said: “When we complete the railways, there are certain cargoes that will no longer be allowed on the roads.
“This is to encourage the movement of cargo on the rail lines and to ensure that our roads are preserved.
“Moving cargo across the country through rail would be cheaper and faster than the roads.”

The Global Construction Review, a website of the Chartered Institute of Building, quoted the minister as saying last year, that the Federal Executive Council has approved the award of contracts for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri narrow-gauge railway, with new branch lines and transshipment infrastructure. These are the construction of a deep-sea port in Bonny and a railway industrial park in Port Harcourt.
According to the website, the minister said the reconstruction of the railways would cost around $3billion. The industrial park is expected to cost $240million and the port $480 million.

These last two projects would be developed as public–private partnerships “at no cost to the federal government”.

The port at Bonny will have a rail connection to the Port Harcourt line. Others will be built to Owerri, the Imo State capital, and Kafanchan in Kaduna State.

The Eastern rail line project was started by the British colonialists from Port Harcourt to Enugu, 243 km between 1914 and 1916, from Enugu it extended to Makurdi 223km from 1916–1924, and from Kaduna to Kafranchan 179 km 1924-1927, and Kafranchan to Jos, 101 km from 1924 -1927.
For about 31 years, 1927 -1957 there was a lull in railway development until 1958, when the rail line was extended from Kafanchan to Bauchi in 1961, 238 kms and, ultimately, to Maiduguri 302 kms from 1963 to 1964.

This development, in addition to the western narrow gauge rail line, brought the nation’s total narrow gauge assets to 2,505 and track kilometres to 4,332 managed by the Nigerian Railway Corporation.

From its peak of glory, regarded as the golden age of the early ‘60s, the railway fell into stormy waters, because there were no comprehensive maintenance provision for the narrow gauge, and the corporation went into bankruptcy.

The corporation existed in fits and starts until 2002, when the government birthed the 25-year strategic vision for the railway, which favoured the modernisation of the rail system with the construction of the standard gauge.

The vision has three phases: Phase One; system transition from 2002 to 2007, entails the transition of the narrow gauge rehabilitation which narrow gauge functions effectively and become attractive to concessionaires. Phase two includes system modernisation from 2007 to 2015, and both phases are being implemented concurrently and because of some delays in budgetary allocation and implementation, which involves the construction of new standard gauge infrastructure and the attraction of private investment and modernisation of operations and increasing local technological capacity.
Phase Three system stabilisation 2015 to 2027. This will consolidate on the advancements of the two previous phases with the extension of new routes to reach all the state capitals and commercial centres and effective commercialisation of rail operations and development of high speed lines with optimal efficiency.

The Port Harcourt narrow gauge rail line would have been in total comatose but for skeletal services being provided by the NRC between Port Harcourt and Calabar, which has been suspended due to COVID-19 and loss of tracks.

In May 2010, former President Goodluck Jonathan launched an ambitious rail rehabilitation project meant to see the rail network rehabilitated. One of the lines identified for immediate rehabilitation was the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri corridor, which was partitioned into three contracts, the 463 km Port Harcourt- Makurdi, which collapsed and was abandoned, in need of reconstruction and rehabilitation.

Logistics stakeholders said the rehabilitation of the rail corridor would unleash huge economic potential of the areas and support economic diversification and job creation.

The Nation

The police still ranks number one in corruption in Nigeria – Activist Eholor

Democracy Observer-General and social crusader, Comrade Patrick Eholor has decried the continued rot of corruption eating up the Nigerian Police Force.

Eholor, who made exhaustive but damning reference to a report by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), expressed that it has become expedient that a total reform be carried out in the Police Force, if the government considers its corruption war serious at all.

“As we begin to enter into a New Year, it saddens me that the road to a new Nigeria is still far away, since despite the efforts we made during #EndSARS, no effort has been made to clean up the Police Force.

“What they are doing is window dressing, while the real puke is still right there in the police. Take for instance this report by SERAP. It says that the police is number one in bribery and corruption, out of all the public institutions they surveyed.

“Looking at the survey, it says that “a bribe is paid in 54 per cent of interactions with the police. In fact, there is a 63 per cent probability that an average Nigerian would be asked to pay a bribe each time he or she interacted with the police. That is almost two out of three.”

The survey, which was presented to our reporter by Eholor, quoted the chair of the report launch, Akin Oyebode, as saying: “Nigeria is looked upon as a giant of Africa. Yet Nigeria could not conduct free, fair and credible elections. It is a smear on the image of Nigeria. If we do away with selective enforcement and condonation of corruption, we will build and live in a better society. Corruption is a refined form of stealing. The politicians are stealing our common patrimony. Development of the people is almost inversely proportional to the level of corruption.”

Part of the survey report stated: “Corruption remains a significant impediment to law enforcement, access to justice and basic public services such as affordable healthcare, education, and electricity supply. Several Nigerians have to pay a bribe to access police, judiciary, power, education and health services.

“Corruption is still a key concern in the country with 70% of Nigerians describing the level of corruption as high and in the same measure, stating that corruption levels either increased or remained the same in the last five years.”

“The national survey carried out between September and December 2018, covered the police, judiciary, power, education and health sectors to assess the state of corruption in law enforcement and public service provision.”

“From the analysis of the anti-corruption legal and institutional framework in Nigeria, the following cross-cutting issues emerged: there is lack of political goodwill to consistently enforce the different anti-corruption laws; inadequate funding for the various anti-corruption agencies; weak public support and/or ownership of anti-corruption initiatives; poor clarity of roles between various anti-corruption agencies; and public perceptions of politicisation of corruption arrests and prosecutions.”

“Bribery experiences were interrogated and recorded in the key sectors of education, health, the police, judiciary and power. Data analysis was conducted under five different and interrelated variables. There was a 63 per cent probability that an average Nigerian would be asked to pay a bribe each time he/she interacted with the police. The likelihood of bribery in the power sector stood at 49 per cent. With the chances of encountering bribery at the judiciary, education and health services standing at 27 per cent, 25 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.”

“The police were the most adversely ranked on this indicator. For every 100 police interactions reported by the respondents, there was a bribe paid in 54 interactions. The prevalence levels stood at 37 per cent in the power sector and 18 per cent in education,17.7 per cent in the judiciary and 14 per cent in the health sector.”

“51 per cent of the individuals that paid bribes to the police and 35 per cent to the power sector believed this was the only way to access the services sought from the institutions. The ranking of the education sector and the judiciary was less adverse with 16 per cent perceiving bribery as the main avenue of accessing services in the institutions, and health services recording 13 per cent.”

“The police and judiciary had the largest proportion of total bribes paid at 33 per cent and 31 per cent respectively. Bribes paid for education, power and health services accounted for 19 per cent, 10.9 and 5 per cent respectively of all bribes reported. The average amount of bribe paid by the respondents was highest among those who paid to the judiciary at about Naira 108,000 (US$ 298). All the other institutions ranked lower on this variable with Naira 12,253 and 11,566 reportedly paid to the police and education sectors, and Naira 6,462 and 5,143 paid for health and power services respectively.”

“Perceptions on corruption trends in Nigeria show almost 70 per cent of the respondents perceived the current level of corruption as high compared to 15.5 per cent that felt it was low. 70 per cent of the respondents said corruption levels either increased or remained the same in the last five years. Only a quarter of the respondents felt corruption reduced in this period.”

“About 41 per cent of the respondents projected that corruption will either increase or remain the same in the next year. About a third of the respondents (31.5 per cent) believed the ruling elite are pursuing their selfish interests only, therefore, corruption levels will increase into the future. Additionally, about a quarter of the respondents (24.9 per cent) believed the current anti-corruption efforts are not comprehensive enough. The poor state of the economy was also seen as a driving factor to increased corruption at 17.2 per cent.”

“Respondents identified poor coordination among the different state players as a key obstacle at 18.4 per cent. Lack of political will from the government and weak public support were ranked second at 12 per cent. Civic action against poor governance:

54.8 per cent of the respondents reported that they had not taken any action against poor governance. That more than half of the respondents were unwilling to initiate action is alarming and points to low confidence levels that appropriate measures would be taken even if the respondents took action.”

“This assumption is buttressed by the finding that 82 per cent of the actions taken were either not responded to or deemed sufficiently appropriate. Low civic action may also indicate low levels of public awareness on what redress mechanisms exist or how to access them.”

“The federal government should establish an independent commission of inquiry to conduct a transparent, comprehensive, and impartial investigation into systemic corruption within the Nigeria Police Force, judiciary, and the ministries of power, education and health.”

“The Inspector General of Police should receive and investigate complaints of bribery and corruption against police officers filed by members of the public. The police should liaise with community leaders and civil society organisations in regard to incidents of police bribery and corruption within the community.”

“The Chief Justice of Nigeria and the National Judicial Council should identify and review all outstanding cases of judicial corruption and refer such cases to appropriate anti-corruption agencies. They should apply the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers in a consistent and transparent manner, with full respect for the fundamental guarantees of fair trial and due process.”

“The Chief Justice of Nigeria and the NJC should publish annual reports of all activities involving the judiciary, including expenditure, and provide the public with reliable information about its governance and organisation, including the number of judges found to be corrupt, as well as ensure that the Chief Justice of Nigeria and all other judges make periodic asset disclosures.”

“The National Assembly should move swiftly to amend the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act to ensure public access to asset declarations made by public officials, and urgently pass the Proceeds of Crime Bill, the Whistleblowers Bill, and the Witness Protection Bill among other relevant pieces of legislation.”

“The National Assembly should immediately publish all reports of investigations on corruption and corruption-related matters in the judiciary, education, power and health sectors among others that have been conducted by the National Assembly since the return of democracy in 1999.”

“A positive legacy by the in-coming administration on 29 May 2019 and the recently appointed Inspector General of Police will mean improving accountability of the police, and proactively working to end all forms of corruption within the rank and file of the police. The Inspector General of Police should streamline and prioritise internal control mechanisms by establishing an Ethics and Integrity Unit at each police station. The unit should include a human rights officer, an anti-corruption officer, and an officer responsible for service delivery complaints.”

“The survey targeted a total of 2,655 respondents selected from seven states spread across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria and the capital city of Abuja. The sample was proportionate to population size across these zones. The survey covered the police, judiciary, power, education and health sectors to assess the state of corruption in public law enforcement and service provision.”

“Data for the survey was collected through a survey among ordinary citizens picked through simple random sampling of Nigerians above 18 years; in-depth interviews with key governance experts including representatives of national anti-corruption bodies, trade unions, the business community, media, lawyers, academia, people living with disability and university student leaders; and a review of the legal and institutional frameworks guiding anti-corruption efforts in Nigeria to assess their effectiveness.”

Zucked: United States government wants to break up Facebook

Less than 2 months ago, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) smacked Google with an antitrust case.

In perhaps the greatest “hold my beer” ever, another government agency — the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) — just launched an antitrust case of its own against Facebook.

And, unlike the Google case, this case is aiming for a breakup of its Big Tech target, according to the New York Times.
More than 40 states will join in on the lawsuit.

The meat of the case concerns Facebook’s history of buying on-the-rise social apps and snuffing out future competition.

Of particular note are Facebook’s acquisitions of:
Instagram for $1B in 2012
WhatsApp for $19B 2014
Today, Facebook is a $790B+ behemoth with annual revenue of $80B+ and 4 products that boast 1B+ users: Facebook (2.7B), WhatsApp (2B), Messenger (1.3B), Instagram (1.1B).

Few major antitrust cases have tried to unwind previous mergers.

One of Facebook’s defenses is the very fact that the FTC approved these mergers years ago.

Facebook further contends that without its infrastructure and social expertise, the likes of Instagram and WhatsApp would not have seen the same growth.

In more recent years, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has latched onto TikTok as an argument against a breakup of Facebook:

First, the video app’s hockey stick rise proves that social media remains competitive.
Second, Facebook is a defense against the rise of social apps from China, a country which has a “dangerous” approach to internet regulation, according to Zuckerberg.

Prosecutors want to break up Facebook and block future deals.

These are “some of the most severe penalties regulators can demand” according to the New York Times.

The case — which took 18 months to put together — will likely take years to resolve.

Somewhat ironically, Facebook announced a $1B acquisition of chatbot startup Kustomer last week.

If the FTC wins this deal, the period of freewheeling Big Tech M&A may come to an end.

The Hustle

Chairman of Samsung Group, Lee Kun-hee dies at 78

SEOUL, South Korea –

Samsung Electronics Co. said in a statement that its chairman, Lee Kun-hee, died Sunday. He was 78.

No cause of death was given by the company, but Lee had been incapacitated since suffering a heart attack in 2014, according to The New York Times.

“All of us at Samsung will cherish his memory and are grateful for the journey we shared with him,” the company said in a statement.

Lee Kun-hee, who built Samsung into a global technology giant and was convicted — and pardoned — twice for white-collar crimes, has died at 78.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 25, 2020

Lee was born in Daegu, in Japanese-occupied Korea, on Jan. 9, 1942, He built Samsung into a global giant of smartphones, televisions and computer chips, the newspaper reported. He was convicted twice — but pardoned twice — for white-collar crimes.

Lee took over the company in 1987 after the death of his father and Samsung’s founder, Lee Byung-chul. He steered Samsung past American and Japanese rivals to become the market leader in memory chips, according to the Times. The company also dominated flat-panel screens and established itself in the mobile market as cellphones became more of a computer device during the 2000s.

Samsung sells Galaxy phones and makes the screens and microchips that power Apple’s iPhones and Google Android phones, according to The Associated Press.

Forbes estimated in January 2017 that Lee’s fortune was worth $16 billion, according to the AP.

In 1996, Lee was convicted of bribing South Korea’s president, but was then pardoned, the Times reported.

Years later, Lee was convicted of tax evasion but was pardoned again so he could help South Korea lobby to bring the Winter Olympics to the mountain town of Pyeongchang in 2018.

Chinese Tecno phones with built-in malware that steals users’ data on sale in Africa

Malware which signed users up to subscription services without their permission has been found on thousands of mobiles sold in Africa.

Anti-fraud firm Upstream found the malicious code on 53,000 Tecno handsets, sold in Ethiopia, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana and South Africa.

Manufacturer Transsion told Buzzfeed it was installed in the supply chain without its knowledge.

Upstream said it was taking advantage of the “most vulnerable”.

“The fact that the malware arrives pre-installed on handsets that are bought in their millions by typically low-income households tells you everything you need to know about what the industry is currently up against,” said Geoffrey Cleaves, head of Upstream’s Secure-D platform.

The Triada malware found by the firm on the Android smartphones installs malicious code known as xHelper which then finds subscription services and submits fraudulent requests on behalf of users, doing so invisibly and without the user’s knowledge.

If the request is successful, it consumes pre-paid airtime, the only way to pay for digital services in many developing countries.

In total, Upstream found what it described as “suspicious activity” on more than 200,000 Tecno smartphones.

According to research firm IDC, Transsion Holdings is one of China’s leading phone manufacturers and in Africa it is the top-selling mobile manufacturer.

In response Tecno Mobile said that the issue was “an old and solved mobile security issue globally” to which it issued a fix in March 2018.

“For current W2 consumers that are potentially facing Triada issues now, they are highly recommended to download the over-the-air fix through their phone for installation or contact Tecno’s after-sales service support for assistance in any questions,” the firm told the BBC in a statement.

It added that it is attached “great importance to consumers’ data security and product safety”.

“Every single software installed on each device runs through a series of rigorous security checks, such as our own security scan platform,” it added.

At the beginning of the year, security firm Malwarebytes warned that similar pre-installed apps were found on another Chinese Android phone – the UMX U686CL. This handset was offered to low-income families in the US via a government scheme.

And in 2016, researcher Ryan Johnson found that more than 700 million Android smartphones had malware installed.

Google, which developed the Android operating system, is aware of the issue.

In a blog written last year it blamed third-party vendors, used by manufacturers to install features such as face unlock, for pre-installing Triada malware.

It said it had worked with manufacturers to remove the threat from devices.


Aba Automated Shoe Factory, Best In Nigeria – Technical Partner

The Technical Partner of the Aba Automated Shoe Factory, Mr Osaro Ekonweren, has described the Aba Automated Shoe Factory as currently having the most updated shoe producing machines in the country.Mr. Ekonweren said this yesterday in an exclusive interview immediately after the inauguration of the Board of the Company by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.According to the Technical Partner, “we were amazed and impressed by what we saw on ground. Our group has been into shoe production in Nigeria for over a decade now and I must confess that the machines we saw there when we went on inspection cannot be found anywhere in the country. We use machines in our own company but we have is no where near what is at the Aba Shoe Factory”.Mr. Ekonweren said that at present, the factory has an installed capacity for the production of 5000 pairs of shoes every day which translates to about 2 million pairs of shoes annually, with facilities for expansion and assured that they plan to actually expand this capacity within the next one year.He saluted the foresight of Governor Ikpeazu and confirmed that the factory will change the face of shoe production in Nigeria.He said that his organization was selected as Technical Partners for the factory based on a proven and verifiable track record of quality automated shoe production spanning over 10 years. He stated that they make shoes for companies like PEP of South Africa and several others, assuring that the products from the Aba factory will be well received by the markets. According to him, products from this factory will not just be for the local market here but will be sold across West Africa and beyond.He assured that the factory will be run as a professional and commercial outfit with clear opportunities for value addition and job creation.On when actual production will commence at the factory, he assured that they will start test runs in the next two weeks while they will start production by the second week of September. He made it clear that by December this year, shoes from the factory would have gained ground in the local and international markets. He also stated that the factory will also produce other leather works like bags, belts, wallets, etc.Also speaking, the Executive Director, Operations of the Factory, Mr Chinenye Nwaogu said that with the new management structure in place, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has sent a clear message that the factory will be run solely on a basis of professionalism inspired by commercial expediency. He said that the 30 shoe makers who were sent to China by the Governor for training on the use of machines in shoe production will form the initial technical staff of the factory while there will be huge emphasis on training for more operators.Mr Nwaogu said that the apparent delay in the start of production at the factory was because the Governor insisted that a professional organization must be found to run the place and the process took some time, coupled with the pandemic of COVID-19 which shut down the country for about three months.The Governor inaugurated the Board of the Factory yesterday and gave them a clear mandate to raise the bar and cement the place of Abia State as the powerhouse of leather works in Nigeria and West Africa. The Board has Mr. Mark Atasie, a Management Consultant as Chairman.More photos: