Monday, January 1, 2024

Immigrants in Canada: A perspective

Jacqueline Addo remembers the time two years ago when her husband Joshua confided to her that the stress of adjusting to life in Canada from Ghana was proving too much for him to bear. He had reached a breaking point, and her own mental health wasn't great. "I was just a shadow of myself, basically," she said.

Joshua was struggling to find a job in his field as a financial adviser and had instead worked stints at a courier company and at Costco. With Jacqueline looking after their children, they were unable to make ends meet on one salary and had to borrow money from family and friends every month to survive.

While Joshua has an administrative job with Nova Scotia Power today, and the couple is finally able to rest a little easier and plan for the future, not all immigrants fare as well.

The stresses caused by the upheaval of moving to a new country — and the often-huge chasm between what immigrants are led to expect about life in Canada and the reality — can lead to depression, frustration and a loss of self-esteem, according to experts.

A study released in December by Mental Health Research Canada found that new Canadians are almost twice as likely to express concerns about feeding their families as people born in Canada.

It said food insecurity and isolation from a family and friends support network have been tied to higher incidences of mental health challenges.

In 2022, more than 437,000 immigrants moved to Canada. A record 12,500 of those arrivals came to Nova Scotia, according to a survey commissioned by the province — and that figure could rise, with Ottawa hoping to attract 500,000 newcomers a year by 2026.

Research indicates immigrants tend to have better mental health than their Canadian-born counterparts.

Other research suggests people who successfully navigate Canada's immigration system, particularly in the economic class, are healthier because they are well educated, slightly younger than average Canadians and must go through medical screening.

But over time, he said, the mental health of immigrants deteriorates until it matches that of the general population — a phenomenon described as the healthy immigrant effect, or the immigrant paradox. One of the potential causes, he said, is stress associated with the acculturation process.

Another is diminishing self-worth. As part of the immigration process, people are considered based on their training and employment history in their country of origin, and they have the expectation of getting a similar job in Canada. But once they arrive, they often find it very hard to use their previous experience and educational credentials, he said.

"It actually affects their aspiration and affects their self-esteem, and I would say that it also prevents them from developing a social network with their community in Canada.”

"When they cannot get a job in the labour market, they find it is really a kind of shame to share with people back home, as well as the community living in Canada."

 Mental health is one of the important determinants of social and economic development and progress. If Canada wants to build a productive future generation of immigrants, he said, it is important to study the problems faced by immigrants and take a close look at the resources that are available to improve their mental health.

It can take immigrants years to work their way back up the career ladder, the Conference Board of Canada noted in a report it released in September.

"While the fairy tale of Canada as a land of opportunity still holds for many newcomers, this study points to burgeoning disillusionment," conference board CEO Daniel Bernhard said in the report.

"After giving Canada a try, growing numbers of immigrants are saying 'no thanks,' and moving on."

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said in a statement that it offers preventive and non-clinical mental health support to newcomers through third-party settlement organizations.

It also partners with the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health to help address the mental health needs of newcomers, the statement said.

According to the conference board report, nearly 15 per cent of immigrants left Canada within 15 years of obtaining permanent resident status. But for some who are now hoping to move elsewhere, the process of uprooting again is not a viable option, particularly if they are older.

A couple sold everything they had and moved from the Indian state of Punjab in 2018 with their two children. The couple, who are in their 50s, have post-graduate degrees from Indian universities.

Manmeet was a principal at a teaching college and Randeep was a credit manager at a bank. Manmeet got her Nova Scotia teaching certification and now works as a substitute teacher but has been unable to find a permanent position.

Manmeet and Randeep Oberoi moved to Halifax from India in 2018.  Despite taking several banking courses since arriving, Randeep said he is still jobless. He said they expected it would take some time, maybe up to two years, to find permanent employment. While the couple are now Canadian citizens, Randeep said he still has no idea how to make inroads in the job market.

Manmeet said the experience has been especially frustrating because she loves teaching and has a wealth of specialized skills.

Carmen Celina Moncayo, a supervisor at Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia and a psychologist by training, said the stress caused by the immigration experience can manifest itself in many ways. "People can develop depression. People can develop anxiety. People can have sleeping problems, eating [problems], irritability," she said.

Moncayo, who is originally from Colombia, said her association teaches people that what they are experiencing is a completely normal reaction to the feeling of being uprooted. After more than five years in Nova Scotia, Manmeet Oberoi wonders if the decision to move here was the right one.

source: yahoo news


Saturday, September 16, 2023

Cardoso emerges new Central Bank of Nigeria Governor

President Bola Tinubu has given his approval for the appointment of Dr. Olayemi Michael Cardoso as the new Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for an original term of five years, pending evidence by the Nigerian Senate. This action aligns with Section 8(1) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007, which grants the President of Nigeria the authority to elect the CBN Governor and four Deputy Governors, subject to Senate evidence. 

Dr. Olayemi Michael Cardoso 

Also, President Bola Tinubu has backed the nominations of four new Deputy Governors for the CBN for an original term of five, pending Senate confirmation. The appointees are: Mrs. Emem Nnana Usoro, Mr. Muhammad Sani Abdullahi Dattijo, Mr. Philip Ikeazor, and Dr. Bala M. Bello.

These appointments reflect President Tinubu's Renewed Hope docket, with the anticipation that these appointees will lead essential reforms at the CBN. These reforms aim to boost the trust of both Nigerians and transnational partners in the Nigerian economic restructuring for sustainable growth and development.

Simha Asuquo contributes from Lagos, Nigeria. 

Herders/Farmers Conflicts Commission inaugurated in Nigeria

President Bola Tinubu has given the green light to produce a special commission to perfect the livestock industry and find lasting solutions to the frequent clashes between herdsmen and growers in Nigeria.

This decision came after the submission of a report from the National Conference on Livestock Reforms and Conflict Mitigation in Nigeria, organized by Dr. Umar Abdullahi Ganduje, the former Governor of Kano State and Chairman of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC).

The President revealed that this commission will work closely with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to propose recommendations aimed at fostering peaceful concurrence between herdsmen and growers while ensuring the safety and profitable well-being of all Nigerians.

The President also stressed the implicit benefits of this action, like creating employment openings for veterinarians., supporting the private sector, furnishing education for herdsmen's children, establishing medical installations, and boosting Nigeria's dairy and leather diligence.

Dr. Umar Abdullahi Ganduje, the former Governor of Kano State

President Tinubu praised Ganduje for assembling a platoon of experts to address the long-standing issues between pastoralists and growers, and he commended the commission for their active work in examining the complex issues related to beast operation, land use, and security.

Ganduje, in his reflections, emphasized the significance of the commission's report, which he believed held the answers to the beast's problems. He stressed that enforcing the proffers would enhance productivity, ameliorate livelihoods, promote environmental conservation, reduce conflicts between growers and pastoralists, and drop the need for importing beast products like milk and beef.

A Trendy Comms report by Simha Asuquo

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

All Eyes On the Nigerian Judiciary

Today marks a pivotal moment in Nigeria's political landscape as the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) prepares to deliver its long-awaited judgment. The Labour Party (LP), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), along with their respective presidential candidates, have zealously petitioned the tribunal in their quest to nullify the victory of President Bola Tinubu in the 2023 presidential election.

In a move to uphold transparency and openness, the Chief Registrar of the Court of Appeal, Umar Bangari, has announced that the judgment will be broadcast live. Bangari stated, "In a bid to promote transparency and openness, these judgments will be televised live by interested television stations for the public to follow." This decision emphasizes the importance of ensuring that the public is fully informed about this critical verdict.

It's worth noting that access to the court premises will be restricted to accredited individuals, including counsel and political representatives. For the general public, the best way to witness this historic moment is to tune in to their television sets.

In the February 25 election, President Tinubu secured a significant victory with 8,794,726 votes, surpassing Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, who garnered 6,984,520 votes, and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), who received 6,101,533 votes. However, discontent with the election outcome led five political parties, including the PDP, LP, Action Peoples Party (APP), Allied Peoples Movement (APM), and Action Alliance (AA), to file separate petitions before the tribunal, seeking to overturn Tinubu's triumph.

As the nation holds its collective breath, today's judgment will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications for the future of Nigerian politics, and it remains a momentous event that will be closely watched by citizens across the country.


In a significant ruling, the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPT) dismissed the Labor Party (LP) and Peter Obi's petition, which challenged the requirement of securing 25% of the vote to win the presidential election. The court emphasized that residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) do not have any special privileges, as claimed by the petitioners.

Additionally, the court rejected forensic analysis reports presented by LP's witnesses, citing that they were either created during the case or by biased parties. The European Union's report on the election was also rejected because it was not presented by an official of the organization.

The court declared the All Progressives Congress (APC)'s petition against Peter Obi's LP membership as incompetent, asserting that party membership is an internal matter. It raised concerns about the non-joinder of Atiku Abubakar, the second-place candidate, in the petition, as it deemed his inclusion necessary for an effective determination.

Furthermore, the court criticized LP's allegations of widespread irregularities, emphasizing the need for specific details and polling unit particulars when making such claims. It stated that generic allegations without specific evidence in a presidential election involving numerous polling units could not succeed.

As the court reconvened to deliver its judgment, members of the panel of justices and various political figures were present. Vice President Kashim Shettima and governors from different states were in attendance, representing the APC, PDP, and LP. Notable personalities like the Chief of Staff to the President, the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, and the Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo, were also present, along with Aisha Yesufu and the Chairman of the Labor Party, Julius Abure.

Simha Asuquo contributes from Lagos, Nigeria

Thursday, August 17, 2023

kidnapped schoolchildren in Nigeria exceeds 1,680 since the 2014 Chibok girls abduction

More than 1,680 schoolchildren have been kidnapped in Nigeria since the 2014 abduction of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok in Borno State, with fear of attacks stopping some children from ever attending school, said Save the Children.

In April 2014, the abduction from a school in Chibok made global headlines and sparked the #BringBackOurGirls movement and protests, which attracted public support from celebrities and public figures including Malala Yousafzai, Hillary Clinton, and then First Lady Michelle Obama. 

However new data analysis by Save the Children reveals that attacks on schools have been continuing out the spotlight and highlights the violence that schoolchildren and teachers face across Nigeria.

In addition to the abductions, over 180 schoolchildren were killed and nearly 90 injured in 70 attacks between April 2014 and December 2022, with an estimated 60 school staff kidnapped and 14 killed. Twenty-five school buildings were reportedly destroyed during that period.

Nigeria President Bola Ahmed Tinubu

Most of these attacks took place in North-West Nigeria (49 attacks), followed by North-Central Nigeria (11 attacks).  These attacks have long-lasting consequences for communities and for children’s access to education, often leading to the mass withdrawal of children from school and school closures. In Katsina state in the North-Western part of the country, nearly 100 schools remain closed due to insecurity, affecting the education of over 30,000 children. 

Famari Barro, Country Director at Save the Children Nigeria, said more needs to be done to prevent attacks but also to support children and their families in the aftermath. 

In 2015 Nigeria endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration, which seeks to ensure the continuity of safe education during armed conflict and outlines commitments to strengthen the protection of education from attack, but it remains largely unimplemented at the state and community levels. Rural community schools remain vulnerable to attacks. 

Save the Children has been working in Nigeria since 2001 and responding to the humanitarian crisis since 2014, providing food, clean water, nutrition and protection services, sexual and reproductive health care, and education to families across the region. 

Save the Children is also providing technical support to the government on policy changes and reforms, especially in critical sectors such as health, education, and social protection.  

In 2017, Save the Children launched Schools as Zones of Peace, a project which works with partners in Education in Emergencies Working Group (EIEWG) to support the implementation of the Safe Schools Declaration and its guidelines to ensure the protection of education from attack.

Source: APO Group

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Africa Bar Association Confers Medal Of Merit In Leadership Award On President Akufo-Addo

The Africa Bar Association has, at its 2023 Annual Conference of the African Bar Association in Pretoria, South Africa, conferred a Medal of Merit in Leadership Award on the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

The Award, according to the President of the Association, Hannibal Egbe Uwaifo, was conferred on President Akufo-Addo because he is “a pan Africanist, Anti-Corruption Crusader, a rare democratic leader in the field of good governance, a true African Statesman whose legacies present African leaders must emulate, and we are minded to say will stand the test of time.”

Thanking the African Bar Association for the award, the President stated that the legal profession has a rarefied position in African societies, and lawyers are assured of a special status.

“In all our countries, it must be a source of pride for us that lawyers were in the forefront of the fight for liberation from colonialism. Indeed, since independence, lawyers have moved seamlessly between politics and the legal profession,” he stated.

President Akufo-Addo

With Africa having been unable to translate all her abundant natural advantages into building successful states, the President told the gathering that the time is long overdue for Africa and Africans to define her own narrative.

“We must be defined by what we see in ourselves, and not what others choose to say about us. However, this cannot happen if we do not trade amongst ourselves. Africa accounts for only three percent (3%) of global trade, and intra-African trade is one of the lowest of any region globally,” he said.

The President continued, “This is largely due to the “colonial” economic model characterised by small individual economies, fragmented and disconnected regional markets, over-reliance on the production and export of primary commodities, and the presence of low productive capacities, which have been in existence for the last century.”

The emergence of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), in which trading began on 1st January 2021, and whose Secretariat Ghana is privileged to host, President Akufo-Addo noted, represents a historic opportunity for Africa to strengthen, immeasurably, intra-African trade as a powerful avenue for developing Africa’s vast economic and material potential. 

Describing the AfCFTA as a major gamechanger, the President indicated that “once fully realised, we can increase intra-Africa trade by thirty-five billion United States dollars (US$ 35 billion), and reduce external imports by ten billion United States dollars (US$ 10 billion) yearly.”

This, he explained, “will mean more opportunities for growth for our small businesses, and the potential to lift some thirty million (30 million) people out of extreme poverty. Additionally, a successful AfCFTA will mean that Africa’s industrial exports will be diversified, thus moving away from undue reliance on extractive commodities and foreign imports.”

He told the gathering that “the vision of our forebears who fought the liberation of our continent from colonialism and imperialism, the AfCFTA has set the stage for Africa’s industrialisation and transformation. What is required now is for our respective Governments and businesses to show bold leadership.”

source: APO 

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Texas man slaughters neighbors

A man went next door with a rifle and began shooting his neighbors, killing an 8-year-old and four others inside a house near Houston, after the family asked him to stop firing rounds in his yard because they were trying to sleep, authorities said Saturday.

San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said authorities were still searching for 38-year-old Francisco Oropeza following the shooting in the town of Cleveland, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of Houston. He said Oropeza used an AR-style rifle in the attack, which happened shortly before midnight Friday.


Thursday, February 23, 2023

Kenya Must be Exporting Rather than Importing Food - President Ruto

President William Ruto has said Kenya should be exporting rather than importing food. He said it is time bold, ambitious and progressive policy decisions were pursued to make the country produce more. The President insisted that Kenya has the potential to feed itself and sell the surplus to other countries. “We must turn agriculture into a commercial economic activity,” he said.

President William Ruto

The President explained that the Government was consolidating main trading blocs in Africa “so that we can give value to our farmers”. “We should allow our farmers to earn more from their sweat by exploiting new and lucrative markets for them,” he noted.

He made the remarks recently at State House in Nairobi during a consultative meeting with Governors, Ministry of Investments, Trade and Industry and Development Partners. The meeting focused on the promotion of trade, strengthening of market linkages, and the establishment of aggregation centers and industrial parks in counties. “We have agreed to work together to promote investment and trade so as to stimulate our country’s economic growth.”

The President insisted that Kenya’s products are premium and much sought-after in the world. He added that land in regions such as Turkana, Mandera, Wajir, among other arid areas should not be lying idle. “Commercial irrigation will turn these regions into our food baskets. Water harvesting will, therefore, form the main part of our country’s transformation plans.”

Source: APO

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

U.S.-Africa Business Summit set for July 11-14 2023 in Gaborone, Botswana

During a recent visit to Gaborone, Botswana, Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) President and CEO Florizelle “Florie” Liser was honored to meet with H.E. Mokgweetsi Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana, who reiterated his Government’s commitment to successfully co-hosting the 15th U.S.-Africa Business Summit (USABS) in Botswana later this year.

Ms. Liser made the announcement with Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Hon. Mmusi Kgafela that the Summit will be held July 11-14 2023 in Gaborone.

President Masisi noted that key Cabinet officials who attended the meeting were ready to mobilize their ministries and work collaboratively with CCA and the private sector to organize a highly successful Summit.

Florie Liser with H.E. Mokgweetsi Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana

The U.S.-Africa Business Summit is the Corporate Council on Africa’s premier annual event, bringing together African heads of state, senior U.S. and African government officials, and top CEO’s and senior business executives from the U.S. and Africa spanning major business sectors that are critical to the continent’s development. These include infrastructure, ICT / digital, health, energy, mining, agriculture, consumer goods, finance, tourism and creative industries.

The 15th USABS theme “Enhancing Africa’s Value in Global Value Chains” highlights an issue that was heavily discussed during the U.S. - Africa Business Forum, hosted by President Joseph R. Biden on the second day of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC in December 2022. During the Forum, President Biden announced more than $55 billion in new U.S. government programs to support trade, investment and development in Africa along with more than $15 billion in new trade and investment deals made by private sector companies that were in attendance.

 CCA was proud to have co-organized the U.S.-Africa Business Forum which highlighted opportunities for greater collaboration between the U.S. and African private sector. This year’s CCA Summit will build on and advance those discussions, further deepening U.S.-Africa economic engagement and business ties.

 With a desire to keep the positive momentum going from the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit and Business Forum, Ms. Florie Liser stated that " the U.S.-Africa Business Summit is an important platform and opportunity to again bring together U.S. and African government and private sector leaders to grow U.S.-Africa trade, business, and mutually beneficial gains for the people and businesses of both the United States and Africa.”

Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry the Honorable Mmusi Kgafela said, “We look forward to working with our partners at the Corporate Council on Africa to herald a new era of two-way trade and investment between Africa and the United States. We welcome U.S. private sector businesses to drive investment and technology that can enhance Africa’s role in key global value chains, create jobs, and spur economic growth here in Botswana and across the continent.”

Click HERE for updates.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Starlink, SpaceX's satellite internet service now live in Nigeria

Starlink, SpaceX's satellite internet service, has gone live in Nigeria, making it the first African country to receive service. The company announced the development on its Twitter page on Monday. Isa Ali Pantami, Nigeria's minister of communications and digital economy, celebrated the milestone in a social-media post.

He tweeted: "We have made it again. @SpaceX thank you for hosting me in your Headquarters, USA in December 2022 to complete the logistics for the deployment."

Elon Musk

SpaceX's CEO, Elon Musk, announced Starlink's plans to expand into Africa last year. In May, he said Starlink had been approved to provide broadband internet in Nigeria and Mozambique. Starlink operates in dozens of countries and has more than one million users. However, Musk said the service is losing money.

Musk said in October that Starlink was suffering from a lack of funds, in response to a Twitter user who referenced CNN's report about SpaceX asking the Pentagon to pay for the service in Ukraine. He later said SpaceX had withdrawn the request for funding over Starlink in Ukraine.

SpaceX has provided the country with thousands of Starlink dishes since Russia invaded in February. The billionaire said in October that only 10,630 out of 25,300 Starlink terminals in Ukraine were paying for service.

SpaceX did not immediately respond to Insider's request for further comment made outside normal working hours.

Source: Business Insider

Friday, January 27, 2023

Malawi experiencing worst cholera outbreak in two decades

Malawi is currently facing its worst cholera outbreak in two decades, with over 29,000 cases reported and more than 900 people dead. The Malawi Red Cross, in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and in-country partners—Danish Red Cross-led consortium and Swiss Red Cross—is scaling up its cholera response to assist over two million people.

Since the first recorded case in February 2022, cases have continued to spread, with all 29 districts affected. Cholera is now putting over 10 million people at risk, including more than five million children.

President Chakwera

“Malawi Red Cross Society is committed to continue supporting the Government of Malawi in responding to the cholera outbreak and other health emergencies. We are grateful to the IFRC and other Movement partners for continued finance and technical assistance to the MRCS Cholera response plan,” said McBain Kanongodza, Secretary General for the Malawi Red Cross Society.

According to the Malawi Ministry of Health’s cholera update on 22 January 2023, over 29,364 cases and 960 fatalities were reported, leaving the fatality rate at 3.27 per cent, which is considerably higher than the acceptable rate of less than 1 per cent set by WHO.

The Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) is already providing lifesaving treatment at the community level by administering Oral Rehydration Therapy. Volunteers ensure that water supplies are safe and that sanitation facilities are working. They also go door-to-door to raise awareness on preventing the disease from spreading. With the rainy season underway, it is crucial that people take precautions to protect themselves and their families.

“We have been monitoring the developments on the ground since the first cases, and we are deeply concerned that this outbreak has taken a foothold in every corner of Malawi. We need to support the joint efforts of the MOH and Malawi Red Cross in their response to this devastating situation. As the outbreak worsens, partnerships are crucial to ensure lives are saved,” said John Roche, Head of IFRC’s Delegation for Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The IFRC and its membership are launching an Emergency Appeal seeking 5.2 million Swiss francs, which will help the Malawi Red Cross reach a further 1,385,391 people in need of assistance. Malawi Red Cross and its partners with the IFRC aim to target 15 affected districts, with the core objectives being to prevent and control the spread of the outbreak, reduce morbidity and mortality due to cholera and improve the availability of safe water and sanitation facilities, through continued support to communities and district health offices.

Source: APO

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Soccer Icon, Pele, passes at 82

Pele, the Brazilian who has long been considered the greatest footballer of all time, has died at the age of 82. The legendary figure, a man who transcended his sport and was a global icon, learned that his colon cancer had advanced on December 21 and was told he would be kept in hospital over Christmas - with the iconic forward needing treatment for cardiac and renal dysfunction.


source: Dailymailonline 

Monday, December 5, 2022

ECOWAS Leaders Lay Foundation for a New Headquarters Building in Abuja

The Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) laid the Foundation of a new ECOWAS Headquarters building on December 4, 2022 in Abuja, Nigeria. The new headquarters Project which is being financed by the Chinese Government through China Aid is expected to be completed in 26 months.

In his opening address, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, H.E. Dr. Omar Alieu Touray thanked the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for providing the plot covering an area of seven hectares along the Airport Road in Abuja for the building Project and the Chinese Government who provided technical and financial support for the construction of the headquarters. He added that the New headquarters will enhance productivity among staff and reduce operational costs as the ECOWAS Commission currently operates from three (03) locations in Abuja.

H.E. Cui Jianchun, the ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ECOWAS, said the government of China is keen on expanding diplomatic relations with Africa through support for construction projects like the new ECOWAS Commission headquarters. He highlighted that these buildings demonstrate China’s sincere determination to support the unity, peace and development of the African region along her efforts to promote and support Africa’s infrastructure development programme.

In his remarks, H. E. Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, highlighted that the project represents China’s commitment to West Africa’s subregional bloc and evidence of a strong and cooperation between Africa and China. He added that the new Headquarters is a symbol of the unity and brotherhood of ECOWAS Member States and signifies a re-commitment to regional integration and development of the countries in the sub-region. He thanked the Chinese Government for their technical and financial support for the building.

H.E. Umaro Sissoco Embaló, the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government and President of the Republic of Guinea Bissau, thanked the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for their contribution towards the realization of the building complex. He said the new and modern headquarters will enable the staff of the ECOWAS Commission perform their duties better and provide a suitable working environment.

The new ECOWAS Headquarters will house the ECOWAS Commission, Community Court of Justice and the ECOWAS Parliament all Headquartered in Abuja, Nigeria.

Source: APO

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Lagos Set for $2.5B fourth mainland bridge

A consortium led by Portugal's builder Mota-Engil and two Chinese ventures has been shortlisted by Nigeria's Lagos state to build a $2.5 billion bridge that is expected to relieve severe congestion in the mega city, an official said on Sunday.

The 37-kilometre Fourth Mainland Bridge will be built under a public-private partnership. It will include three toll plazas, nine interchanges and a design speed of 120 KPH according to a spokesperson for the Lagos state governor.

Mota-Engil is partnering with China Communication and Construction Corporation and China Road and Bridge Corporation in the bid.

China Gezhouba Group Company and China Geo-Engineering Corporation joint venture and a

consortium led by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation are the two other shortlisted bidders. The winner of the bid will be announced before the end of the year, said Gawat.

source: Yahoo news

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Flying fun facts to know about: flight attendants’ perspective

Are you ever curious how often they clean the inside of a plane or where the food really comes from? After years of experience in the industry, flight attendants have seen it all and are ready to spill all of the secrets they've learned. Since flying is supposed to be a fun experience, it's about time to feel more adequately prepared. So, if you're ready to uncover the things that have been kept under wraps for so long, here's your sneak peek at the inner workings of the airline industry.


source: travlerz

Nigeria and African Energy Poverty and Gas-To-Power Projects: Build More and Build Better

As the executive chairman of the African Energy Chamber (AEC), it’s my honor and my privilege to tell the world the story of Africa’s oil and gas industry – to explain what this continent can do to help power the world and fuel its own future. But it’s also my mission to talk about African energy poverty and to explain why this continent needs better access to energy now in order to illuminate its own potential and power forward.

To illustrate the issue of energy poverty in general, I’d like to focus on energy poverty in Nigeria in particular.

Within Africa, Nigeria is an interesting subject. It’s the most heavily populated country in Africa, with more than 200 million citizens. It surpassed South Africa to become the continent’s largest economy about a decade ago, and its GDP topped USD441.5 billion in 2021. It has the largest crude oil reserves in sub-Saharan Africa and is typically the largest liquids producer in the region, though output figures have slumped this year due to problems with theft and sabotage. Likewise, it has sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest reserves of natural and associated gas and is far and away the region’s biggest gas producer.

Nigeria also experiences significant energy poverty, despite these advantages. As noted in the AEC’s recently released report, “The State of African Energy: 2023 Outlook,” consistent access to modern energy services – that is, steady and reliable electricity supplies – is available to only 60% of the country’s population on average, and access rates appear to be significantly lower in rural areas than they are in urban areas. And according to World Bank data, about 99.9 million people, or more than 47% of Nigeria’s population, lived in rural areas as of the end of 2021. That means nearly 100 million Nigerians are living without any true level of certainty that the lights and the electric power that so many in the developed world take for granted will stay on.

I, for one, think they deserve to have that certainty.

They deserve it on human grounds, and their country already has a significant amount of what is needed to provide them with it. And by that, I mean that Nigeria has gas that it could use to generate power.

What Nigeria Has

As I’ve already noted, the country’s gas resources are the largest in sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria has already been shown to have more than 200 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas in proven reserves, and government officials believe that the figure could go even higher, perhaps reaching 600 trillion cubic feet (tcf) following additional exploration.

If that prediction comes true, Nigeria will have the fourth largest gas reserves in the world, behind only Russia, Iran, and Qatar. It will have more than enough gas to meet current demand; it will have enough gas to produce significant volumes of LNG for export while also supporting gasification programs, both on the domestic and regional levels.

But it’s not enough just to have all that gas. Nigeria also needs the means to make use of its gas. Without the proper infrastructure, it won’t be able to put its resources to work and will merely have a scattered collection of raw materials.

What Nigeria Needs

In practical terms, this means that Nigeria ought to have the following:

- Upstream production facilities for gas.

- Midstream gas transportation facilities such as pipelines, including field networks and trunk lines.

- Downstream gas-processing plants and production facilities for gas-derived fuels such as liquefied natural gas (LNG), compressed natural gas (CNG), and liquid petroleum gas (LPG).

- Downstream gas distribution systems, including town gas networks.

- Downstream gas storage depots.

- Gas-fired thermal power plants (TPPs) – preferably co-generation plants, as they are more efficient.

- Transmission, distribution, and storage infrastructure for the electricity produced by gas-fired TPPs.

- Smart and secure operational technology (OT) systems that can optimize the flow of data and resources between consumer markets and energy networks.

I’m not suggesting here that it’s the Nigerian government’s job to provide all this infrastructure. But I do believe that it’s Abuja’s responsibility to make sure that this infrastructure becomes available. To this end, I think that Nigeria also needs government bureaucracies that are competent and trustworthy enough to ensure that oil-, gas-, and power-related contracts are only awarded to companies capable of providing the goods and services required within the acceptable parameters.

What Nigeria Envisions

Developing this infrastructure requires the right kind of vision, which Nigeria already has in place: its “Decade of Gas” program is designed to make the country entirely gas-powered by 2030.

When President Muhammadu Buhari rolled out this initiative in March 2021, he indicated that it aimed to make the gas sector the cornerstone of Nigerian economic activity. By the time the “Decade of Gas” comes to an end, he said, the country will have done the following:

- Adopted a new oil and gas law to facilitate investment.

- Carried out new exploration projects, discovered new reserves, and brought new fields onstream.

- Constructed new gas-processing plants and production facilities for LPG and other gas-derived fuels.

- Built new export pipelines and constructed new production trains at gas liquefaction plants such as Nigeria LNG (NLNG).

- Constructed new domestic pipelines along routes to serve local customers plus gas-fired thermal power plants (TPPs) to increase domestic electricity supplies.

- Expanded domestic power transmission and distribution networks, especially in rural areas.

Nigeria still has a significant amount of ground to cover before it achieves all of these targets. However, it has made progress. The biggest example of this is the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), which Buhari signed into law after it passed both houses of the National Assembly. The Nigerian government is also successfully promoting LPG, a gas-derived fuel, as a replacement for wood and charcoal as cooking fuel. (According to NLNG, domestic LPG consumption has climbed by around 1,000% over the last 14 years.)

And as recently as this November,  Nigeria moved closer to building its first floating liquified natural gas (FLNG) facility. Nigerian company UTM Offshore signed a front-end engineering design (FEED) contract to design the facility with JGC Corporation, Technip Energies, and KBR. Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of Petroleum Resources, Nigeria, described the project as a step in the right direction for Nigeria to develop, exploit, and monetize its natural gas.

During the African Energy Week in Cape Town, Amni International Petroleum Development Company Limited, a Nigerian independent oil and gas exploration and production company and the African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank) signed an agreement for the provision of a $600 million syndicated reserve-based lending facility.

To a lesser extent, Abuja can also claim credit for the headway it has made on the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline, which is being built to bring gas to the northern part of the country. When finished, the pipeline will deliver fuel to gas-powered industrial facilities and feedstock to TPPs with a generating capacity of 3,600 MW. It may also serve eventually as the first leg of the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline (TSGP) network, which will allow Nigeria to export gas to Europe via Algeria. Unfortunately, though, the project has been running behind schedule, and the heavy floods that began hitting many parts of the country in mid-2022 have caused additional delays.

In the meantime, Abuja has also moved forward with plans for establishing another gas export network – the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline (NMGP), a 5,600-km offshore network that would serve more than a dozen West African states. This system would, like TSGP, pump Nigerian gas to Europe, but it would also serve the purpose of delivering the gas to regional markets as well. As such, it would establish Nigeria as a supplier of fuel to much of West Africa.

Thus far, neither NMGP nor TSGP has been built. But Nigerian authorities are working to hammer out agreements on these projects – and they see the ways that European market conditions have changed since the beginning of 2022 as an incentive to work harder and to work faster.

What Nigeria Could Achieve

If they succeed, they will create infrastructure that could do quite a bit to alleviate energy poverty in Nigeria and beyond.

In the case of NMGP, the construction of this pipeline would provide multiple countries beyond Nigeria with a steady source of gas. As such, it would serve as an incentive for the construction of TPPs in places where millions of people do not have access to reliable energy supplies. At the same time, the pipeline’s access to European markets, where buyers are more likely to pay in hard currency, would help ensure the profitability of the whole system.

Likewise, the TSGP network has the potential to benefit Nigeria by ensuring that the country has enough access to hard-currency markets in Europe to cover the costs of the domestic initiatives that depend on AKK – that is, the gas-fired power and industrial projects in the northern part of the country.

Infrastructure Is Needed Throughout the Continent

Of course, energy poverty is not limited to Nigeria; more than 600 million people in Africa lack access to electricity, and nearly 730 million use hazardous and inefficient cooking fuels and technologies. Nevertheless, while each African country is unique, I hope that this look at Nigeria helps shed light on some of the common challenges facing our continent’s countries — a higher rate of energy poverty in rural areas and the tremendous need for infrastructure development.

As “The State of African Energy: 2023 Outlook” points out, even in the four African countries with a universal electricity rate of more than 70% — Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, and Algeria — access to electricity drops significantly in rural areas, to an average of about 63% of the population, compared to an average of 96% in urban areas.

The situation for rural Africans is even more dismal in other parts of the continent. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, only about 19% of the overall population has access to electricity and in rural areas, only 1% of the population has electricity.

This will not change until we develop the necessary infrastructure to deliver energy to Africans throughout the continent.

On the brighter side, Nigeria also gives us examples of measures African countries can take to begin addressing these challenges. No, Nigeria has not achieved its ultimate goal-eradicating energy poverty, but it has plans and initiatives in place with real potential to make a difference — as long as Nigeria continues pursuing them.

If they haven’t done it yet, governments throughout the continent should be developing and implementing multipronged programs of their own to eradicate energy poverty. They, like Nigeria, should be leveraging their natural gas resources. They should be developing and executing gas utilization plans, improving their approach to resource management, monetizing natural gas to help pay for infrastructure projects, and launching more gas-to-power initiatives.

Instead of being daunted by the vast numbers of Africans without electricity, shrugging our shoulders, and giving up, I hope that we will be steadfast in our determination to make energy poverty history by the end of this decade.

For a complete look at our recommendations and “The State of African Energy: 2023 Outlook,” download our report here (

OPINION PIECE by By NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman, African Energy Chamber

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Energy Chamber.


Monday, November 21, 2022

Axxess Training and Certification Program Surpasses 20,000 Users

The Axxess Training and Certification Program has reached an impressive milestone by attracting more than 20,000 users in just five months. The popular program not only is succeeding in making care at home professionals more knowledgeable about all aspects of care delivery, but organizations have also begun using the material to rethink their staff development efforts.

The Axxess Training and Certification Program, which includes materials for home health, home care and hospice across clinical, operational and financial responsibilities, was launched in June and made available to anyone in the industry at no cost. About 2,000 organizations are currently using the program with more joining each day. Through a robust online curriculum using a series of focused training modules, participants are trained and tested on their understanding of care at home industry standards and Axxess solutions in short elements that can be completed all at once or between other tasks.

“The home health material has been the most widely adopted so far,” said Tammy Ross, senior vice president of professional services at Axxess. “The skilled home health courses have been very popular due in part to OASIS-E and value-based purchasing implementation in 2023. We are also seeing acute care nurses return to practice after the Great Resignation so we have created special breakout courses that focus on compliance elements to ease their entry into home health practice.”

Early program adopters such as Liberty Homecare, Hospice and Palliative Services have enjoyed the program so much they are sunsetting other training tools and switching to the Axxess program.

“We’re moving away from our current learning management system because Axxess has better, more up-to-date features,” said Pamela Reyes, HCM Software Education Coordinator at Liberty. “And the fact that Axxess solutions are ACHC Certified gives our team peace of mind knowing we’re staying compliant.”

The Axxess Training and Certification Program leverages industry expertise alongside Axxess solution training to provide continuing education and development for leadership and staff at all levels. Participants may earn certification from foundational to expert levels across clinical, operational and financial tracks. Up to 66 hours of nursing continuing education units are available at no cost.

About Axxess

Axxess is the leading home healthcare technology company, providing solutions that improve care for more than 3 million patients nationwide and are trusted by more than 9,000 organizations. Axxess offers a complete suite of easy-to-use, innovative software solutions, empowering home health, home care, hospice and palliative care providers to grow their business while making lives better. The company's collaborative culture focused on innovation and excellence is recognized nationally as a “Best Place to Work.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Four U.S.A. Students Knifed to death at home

The four University of Idaho students knifed to death in the early hours of Sunday morning were killed so brutally, blood was left oozing through the walls of their rented home, can reveal.

Police say the scene inside the home is ‘the worst they’ve ever seen’ with the victims left to bleed out following the brutal early morning attack.


source: Dailymail

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Oguta killings irks Buhari

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari is irked by the recent killing of Imo State traditional ruler, Eze Ignatius Asor and three others. Reports claim that the attackers entered the chief's home on false pretense before shooting him dead. Two of the people killed in Monday's attack in Oguta were aides to the traditional ruler.

 President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that the killers will face the "full wrath of the law".  Police believe the gunmen were separatists posing as "distressed" passers-by who needed help. It is not clear why the, was targeted.

President Muhammadu Buhari

Monday's attack in Imo state is the latest of a string of killings in the south-east. The secessionist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) - which police blame for these killings and rising violence in the south-eastern region - has not yet commented.

In his statement, President Buhari condemned what he calls the "heinous" killing, describing the attack as a "dastardly act". The gunmen also attacked the office of a community vigilance group as they fled - killing at least one person and stealing three motorbikes, police say.

source: naija news

Monday, November 14, 2022

President Ramaphosa arrives in Bali, Indonesia for the G20 Leaders' Summit

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa has arrived in Bali in the Republic of Indonesia for the annual G20 Leaders' Summit. The President will participate in deliberations among world leaders whose economies account for 85% of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 80% of world trade and two-thirds of the world’s population.

The Summit takes place on 15 and 16 November 2022 under the G20 Presidency of Indonesia, themed “Recover Together, Recover Stronger”.

The G20 was formed in 1999 as a result of the Asian financial crises of the late 1990s, initially as a gathering of finance ministers and subsequently as a platform for Heads of State and Government in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

The group consists of leading developed and developing economies aiming at a collective response to global economic and financial challenges rooted in the interconnected economic and financial architecture.

President Cyril Ramaphosa 

The G20 also seeks to increase multilateral cooperation for the recovery of the global economy, to bring stability to the global financial system, to promote long-term sustainable growth and to strengthen global economic governance.

G20 Leaders will seek consensus on Global Health Architecture, Sustainable Energy Transition, and Digital Transformation.

The G20 agenda has expanded beyond economic and financial issues and now encompasses issues of peace and security, global governance, international terrorism, the environment, refugees and other geo-political and foreign policy-related matters.

President Ramaphosa will be accompanied by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor and Minister of Finance, Mr Enoch Godongwana.

Ahead of the start of the G20 Leaders' Summit, the President will chair an engagement of the African Union and NEPAD on Africa’s value proposition and priorities.

Issues under discussion in this forum will include the continent’s aspirations to reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, the realisation of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 goals, and securing permanent membership of the G20 for the African Union.

Distributed by APO

Friday, November 11, 2022

$19.3 billion worth of military assistant spent on Ukraine by the U.S.

The United States continues to support Ukraine with military assistance to approximately $19.3 billion since the beginning of the Biden Administration. U.S. secretary of State Antony J. Blinken announced an additional $400 million drawdown to include additional arms, munitions, and equipment from U.S. Department of Defense inventories.

“The United States will continue to stand with more than 40 allies and partners in support of the people of Ukraine as they defend their freedom and independence with extraordinary courage and boundless determination”.

 Antony J. Blinken

The air defense, long-range, and precision fire capabilities that we are providing are carefully calibrated to best serve Ukraine on the battlefield as it makes gains from Kherson to Kharkiv. The U.S. stated that it will continue to support Ukraine so it can defend itself and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table when the time comes.

Source: U.S. state department

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Ooni lauds tech entrepreneur for solutions driven initiative

His Imperial Majesty Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, recently visited the Lagos offices of Cavista Nigeria, and lauded its founder and chairman Niyi John Olajide for his strides in creating advanced technology as a tool for development and job creation.

During the visit, the Ooni further stated that the giant strides of Olajide, a proud descendant of Oduduwa from Erinmope-Ekiti, Ekiti State, should not go unnoticed.

“Despite the stereotype woven around Nigerian youths, Olajide has proven himself to be a worthy ambassador putting Nigeria on the world map as a problem-solver.,” the Ooni said. “The purpose of my visit is to show my unflinching support for him and task the government to encourage technology businesses and entrepreneurs to achieve their dreams by creating an enabling environment.”

The Ooni also said Olajide, the founder and president of leading global healthcare technology company Axxess, a global partner to Cavista, is setting an extraordinary example for other business leaders.

“At a time when the best brains of our young people are relocating out of Nigeria due to a harsh economic climate, Olajide is in Nigeria utilizing his wealth of experience to create opportunities for job creation while ensuring consistent development of technology solutions in healthcare delivery across Africa,” the Ooni emphasized.

“Olajide is doing a lot, not only for himself but for the Nigerian youths he has engaged,” the Ooni continued. “Nigeria requires more than 65% of its total young population to take the lead in instituting modern governance and leadership, as well as establishing the noblest economic outlooks capable of competing favorably with any nation in the world through their entrepreneurial spirit.”

Since Olajide created Axxess in 2007 as an IT consulting firm, it has created and pioneered innovative healthcare solutions using cutting-edge technology to solve complex challenges in healthcare in North America and Africa. Today, Axxess is trusted by more than 9,000 organizations that serve more than 3 million patients worldwide.

“With investments in Cavista Nigeria, where more than 250 software engineers are currently employed, we provide cloud-based solutions that can be used anytime, anywhere, so people can receive the absolute best healthcare efficiently, and in the privacy and comfort of wherever they call home,” Olajide said.


John Olajide with the Ooni of Ife

“Olajide’s story of struggles and challenges resonate with me and strikes a chord with a lesson of always believing in your dreams,” the Ooni said. “His toughness and doggedness exemplify the widely-held belief of ‘no pain, no gain.’ Indeed, there is the promise of greater value and reward for the price of persistent and intentional work.”

Appreciating the Ooni for his words of encouragement and playing his fatherly role during the visit, Olajide noted he kick-started his entrepreneurial sojourn from his days at the University of Texas at Dallas, where the vision for Axxess was conceived.

Ooni presents a gift to John Olajide

Axxess has a diverse pool of employees representing more than 45 countries worldwide.

“I believe that when we can harness the power of our diversity, we will replicate our success around the world in Nigeria at Cavista,” Olajide said.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs) and the Future of Capital Raising in Africa

Since January, I have been approached by investors and projects owners alike who are looking to get projects funded or deals flowing. At the same time, I have been trying to estimate using available data the gap between infrastructure and energy funding. The figure we have been using is $250 billion a year between now and 2025. Given that the African population is set to double between now and 2050, we can expect that figure to be in the trillions unless the continent finds a way to successfully develop and fund energy projects to universally guarantee electricity access and infrastructure expansion.

Over the past few months, I have made a couple of observations of which the most prominent is that not all deals are made equal. Many investors want renewable projects but only deals above a certain size - $2 million is too small, for example, for many larger investors though this project size timeline is much shorter and can bring immediate impact. A project upwards of $2 billion is more attractive in terms of funding returns but the timeline to project completion could be up to a decade. Overall, there is a hesitancy to engage in hydrocarbon projects even though there are about a dozen markets actively touting their blocks, which, in oil and gas hotspots, could be easily tied into existing infrastructure.

Given the enormous funding gap, I truly believe there is an opportunity to revolutionize how projects are funded. My thesis is that more African energy projects should be crowdfunded either in fiat or digital currency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to ensure that these projects get developed, especially the smaller ones.

This could work in two ways. Firstly, through crowdfunding debt. A project needs to raise debt for a project to start. All agreements and feasibility studies have been completed and the project has a 30-year term agreed with the government. Investors can loan the project money with a fixed percentage of return over a two-to-three-year period. The project gets funded, and investors get a great return on their money. Some projects could deliver up to 30% return if successful.

Secondly, through crowdfunding equity. A project needs to raise a percentage equity funding to attract larger institutions who will structure and loan the rest. The owners of the project have already invested all their working capital into completing pre-feasibility studies and there is little scope of sovereign guarantees due to historical mismanagement of funds. Investors can crowdfund to own an equity stake in the project and make the project more attractive to institutions. Equity owners later receive annual dividends over the lifespan of the project. With off take agreements in place from the beginning of the project, this could make the deal even sweeter.

Neither of the above is revolutionary as both strategies are often employed in the start-up scene. However, given the investment gap and how few Africans have a stake in their own energy futures, this could prove an interesting theory.

Then, in my opinion, I started to get a bit creative. I’ve been paying a little attention to crypto, blockchain, web3 and NFTs. I am not an expert by any means and the NFT pump mostly disinterested me until I started to hear about real-world utility. NFTs can be used to prove authenticity and ownership, and this has instant utility in the world of event ticket reselling and luxury fashion. A few weeks ago, I read a few articles about the tokenization of real estate in Miami whereby investors could “mint” a real-estate token giving them part ownership of the building. There must be an analogue linking of the deed to the token but after that point, the token is on the blockchain and can be transferred to future owners. In this respect, the barrier to entry is much lower. Instead of finding a 10% deposit for an apartment, real-estate NFTs could be minted for as little as the creator sets it at.

Could this be applied to African energy projects? I think so!

Let’s look at the above scenarios with a web3 lens such as energy asset NFT – debt. In this regard, the project raises capital via a cryptocurrency. Ethereum based technology makes sense, especially Polygon or Solana. Investors mint an energy debt NFT in order to raise capital for the project. NFT holders are rewarded through holding the NFT throughout the debt term by earning additional cryptocurrency interest known as distribution. The NFT can be sold at any point to a new owner on the blockchain and the sale can also trigger smart contracts ensuring a royalty to the project owner or the wider community where the project is taking place.

Secondly, let’s look at energy asset NFT – equity. This is where things could get interesting. If you tokenize a whole asset – such as a solar farm, oil block, or biogas plant - it means that anyone (with access to a smartphone, WiFi and a cryptocurrency) can own part of a real-life asset. What I like about this idea is the democratization of the energy asset ownership. It is not just energy companies, finance institutions, governments that get to get to own our infrastructure but anyone including everyday Africans and those in the diaspora. While NFTs cannot pay a dividend as they only prove ownership, the value of the NFT will naturally rise over time as a project comes online and starts to cashflow. Owning 1,000 tokens of an oil block pre-production will become far more valuable when the asset is producing, especially at $100 per barrel. Token owners can be rewarded in cryptocurrency or fiat when distributions are paid out.

I think the key thing here is transparency in ownership and transparency which sets the continent up for long-term success. If token holders are also constituents in the project vicinity, it brings an additional layer or accountability and governance. An NFT could contain voting rights, and future sales generate royalties that are directed back into the local community.

By Kelly-Ann Mealia

Source: APO Group on behalf of Energy Capital & Power.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Covid relief fraud lands Texas Nigerian in Jail

Lola Shalewa Barbara Kasali, 24, of Houston, submitted two fraudulent loan applications to two different lenders on behalf of her companies, Lola’s Level and Charm Hair Extensions. Through these loan applications, Kasali sought over $3.8 million in PPP loan funds. Kasali falsely represented the number of employees and payroll expenses in each of the PPP loan applications. 

To support these applications, Kasali also submitted fraudulent tax records. Kasali ultimately received over $1.9 million in PPP loan funds. The Justice Department, along with its law enforcement partners, seized the funds that Kasali fraudulently obtained.

Kasali was convicted of two counts of making false statements to a financial institution and two counts of bank fraud. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 25, 2022, and faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison for each count of conviction. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.