17 Jul

Daily Watch – Truecaller fingers telcos, Only 3% of tourists to Africa come to Nigeria

  • The Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria says that less than three percent of tourists visiting Africa annually choose Nigeria as their tourism destinations. Karim Rabo, the FTAN president, said that the figure was low compared to other African countries that usually recorded huge patronage of international tourists. He attributed the low patronage to poor attitudes usually exhibited by Nigerian tour operators and travel agencies. He also said that Nigerian tour operators and travel agencies were more interested in packaging Nigerian tourists wishing to travel abroad rather than packaging international tourists to Nigeria. Rabo also said that there was a dearth of data about tourism consumption and market patterns.
  • U.S. officials said Friday they plan to confiscate $144 million in corruption-tainted assets of Nigerian oil executives found in the United States including an $80 million yacht, the “Galactica Star.” The yacht and a $50 million condominium overlooking New York’s famed Central Park were among the riches tied to dirty contracts awarded by Nigeria’s former oil minister between 2011 and 2015, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement. “The United States is not a safe haven for the proceeds of corruption,” acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco said. The assets were purchased using proceeds of oil sector contracts awarded by Nigeria’s former minister for petroleum resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, who oversaw the state oil company, according to the Justice Department. Prosecutors allege she accepted bribes from oil executives Kolawole Akanni Aluko and Olajide Omokore, who spent millions of dollars buying and furnishing London-area homes with artwork, furniture and other luxury items acquired in Texas. The minister allegedly steered lucrative oil contracts to companies owned by Aluko and Omokore, which sold $1.5 billion worth of Nigerian crude. They then used shell corporations and intermediaries to launder the funds through US banks and buy the assets which the Justice Department is now seeking to seize.
  • The NNPC, says it supplies five million litres of kerosene consumed in the country. Ndu Ughamadu, NNPC spokesman, said that the three refineries in Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Warri produce five million litres of kerosene daily, representing more than 60 percent of the national daily consumption requirement of eight million litres. The balance of three million litres of the product is being imported by private petroleum products marketers.
  • Truecaller, an application that helps GSM users identify callers that are not in their phone book, has said telecommunications operators are to blame for the bulk of spam calls in Nigeria. Spam calls are unsolicited calls received on mobile phones and these are largely advertorial messages. In a recent ranking by the firm, Nigeria was 9th out of the top 20 countries affected by spam calls globally. India, USA, Brazil, Chile and South Africa were the top five countries. “Similar to its regional partner, Kenya, the country of Nigeria also has an issue with scam calls (27 percent), but is plagued more by calls from operators,” the company wrote in a statement. According to its findings, 61 percent of the total spam calls were from telecoms operators. During these calls, call centre agents would often seek to inform customers of promotional offers. 27 percent were said to be nuisance calls, 10 percent were scam calls while two percent were telemarketing calls, which are promotion calls from companies, and surveys being done by analytics firms on behalf of their clients. In the first week of May 2016, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) mandated telecommunication companies to activate a Do Not Disturb code, giving June 30 of the same year as the deadline for implementation. The code gave subscribers the option to opt-in or opt-out of unsolicited text messages and calls.