FORMER president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has thrown his weight behind the Fourth Nigerian Direct Diaspora Investment Summit (NDDIS) taking place in London next month and plans to unveil three initiatives at the event.
Being organised for the fourth time, NDDIS 2017 is focusing on developing the government’s plans to diversify the Nigerian economy and end the dependency on oil even as it encourages collaboration between Nigerians in the Diaspora and companies in Nigeria in all the sectors. It aims to tap into the potential of the diaspora as well as attract foreign direct investors, who will be linked up with the federal and Nigerian state governments.
Among those who will be attending will be Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State; Senator Lanre Tejuosho, the chairman of the senate committee on health; Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on diaspora affairs and the chair of the Diaspora Committee at the House of Representatives, Hon Rita Orji.
Chief Obasanjo will be represented by Ayo Aderinwale, the deputy coordinator of the Obasanjo Library.
In addition, the African Leadership Forum (ALF) an initiative of Chief Obasanjo is set to be represented by Dr Olumide Ajayi, the chief executive of the organisation.
Founded in Nigeria in 1988, the ALF was set up to help improve the current quality of leadership across Africa while at the same time helping to train the next generation of leaders for the continent.
At the summit in London next month, the ALF will be partnering with NDDIS to launch a diaspora integration and investment support scheme (Diiss). It is designed to help support diasporans as they return to Nigeria to set up their businesses through induction courses and other initiatives.
NDDIS chairman Chief Bimbo Afolayan said: “The overall name for the initiative is Diiss but it is made up of three parts. This includes the diaspora adaptive programme, the portfolio investment scheme and the direct business ownership scheme.
“Taking place at the School of Oriental Studies (Soas) in central London on July 13 and 14, NDDIS has identified 250 existing diasporan businesses that will like to set up their models in Nigeria to provide employment. It will be followed by a summit dinner on Saturday 15th July and among those supporting the event are UK Trade & Investment, the Afford UK, Soas, the British African Business Alliance and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.”
Mr Aderinwale provides consulting services for several international agencies, including the United Nations, European Union and the African Union. He participated in the initial drafting of the Millennium Plan for Africa, which later became the New Partnership for Africa’s Development and was an inaugural member of the Nigeria Steering Committee of the Africa Peer Review Mechanism.
He is currently the chairman of the board of directors of Justrite, one of the largest superstores in Lagos and Ogun States. In addition, he is also the chairman of the board of directors of the Business School Netherlands and chairman of the board of governors of Bells Educational Services, as well as the Bells Comprehensive Secondary School for Boys and Girls.
According to Chief Afolayan, the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has shown an interest in the summit and will be sending a delegation if he is unable to attend. He added that anyone willing to register for the event must visit http://www.nddis.com where they will be able to purchase their tickets online.
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British/Nigerian lawyer, diversity leader and mother, Funke Abimbola (nee Akindolie), has been recognised by Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II in her 91st birthday honours list for 2017.
Nigerian-born Funke has been awarded the M.B.E. (Member of the Order of the British Empire)for services to diversity in the legal profession and to young people.
The Queen has recognised the long-term, significant impact of Funke’s outstanding service to the legal community and to the next generation, serving as an example to others.
Commenting on her appointment as M.B.E. Funke said:
“I was absolutely stunned when I received an official letter from the Cabinet Office informing me of this in early May but have had to keep this news confidential until now”.
“The letter explained that, having taken advice from the Head of the Civil Service and the Main Honours Committee, the Prime Minister needed my permission before submitting my name to the Queen and recommending that I be awarded the M.B.E. It is incredible to think that campaigning for equality in my personal time (having experienced both direct racial and gender-based discrimination myself) and supporting young people to reach their potential has led to me receiving a Queen’s honour.”
“I am still taking it all in and feel very humbled and proud to be receiving this honour. More than anything, I am extremely grateful to everyone who has supported my journey and played a part in shaping and developing my vision – my parents, my family, friends, teachers, mentors and mentees. Mine has not been an easy path at all and I still face many challenges but I am very thankful for the support and encouragement I have received along the way”.
“My aim is to use this recognition as an elevated platform to open more doors for under-represented communities and to further advance the equality agenda by demonstrating that we are all bigger than the box that either society or the workplace chooses to put us in. I will be carrying as many people along with me as possible and continue to drive lasting societal change”.
Currently working full time as a solicitor, compliance professional and senior leader for the world’s largest biotech company, UK-based Funke was educated at Burgess Hill Girls School (an independent school in West Sussex) before studying law at Newcastle University. She now leads the legal team supporting her organisation’s pharmaceutical operations in the UK, Ireland, Malta and Gibraltar. In addition, she heads up the financial compliance function for the UK, ensuring and safeguarding the integrity of the organisation’s financial systems and other financial controls. She is the most senior black lawyer working in the UK pharmaceutical industry and is consistently recognised as being a leading lawyer within the life sciences field by a number of independent legal directories and publications.
Alongside her day job and parenting her 14 year old son, Funke has used her annual leave and volunteered significant amounts of her personal time towards influencing and improving diversity (with a focus on gender equality, race diversity and social mobility within the legal profession). She is a widely-cited authority on diversity, commentating on issues for a range of organisations as well as being a volunteer world news reviewer, appearing regularly on BBC One to a weekly global news audience of 320 million people.
For 5 years, Funke was a board director of City Growth Luton, a government-funded economic regeneration initiative aimed at creating more opportunities for those from a socially deprived background. She currently holds a number of voluntary, board-level roles across a range of organisations within the diversity space including Aspiring Solicitors (the UK’s largest organisation supporting diversity in the legal profession with over 25,000 members and volunteers), Women in Law London (WILL, a 2,400 strong network established to support the career progression of women lawyers) and First 100 Years (a project creating a digital library to celebrate the history of 100 years of women lawyers).
Kindly join the entire Nigerian Community in the United Kingdom in raising funds towards the relief effort for the Grenfell Tower fire victims. To donate, please visit:
She volunteered her time as an expert contributor to Tottenham MP David Lammy’s review of the UK’s criminal justice system and is Patron of the Precious Awards (celebrating women of colour), Power Up (empowering professionals from an ethnic minority background) and University College London University’s Leadership and Management Society (the fastest growing student society at UCL).
Funke is also part of DRIVE (Diverse Recruitment Institute of Value and Excellence), an initiative aimed at creating 150,000 more diverse hires over a 5 year period, meeting at the House of Lords and the Cabinet Office. In addition, she has advised the Justice Secretary and the Ministry of Justice by providing recommendations on how to make the legal profession more diverse. Her contributions and influence have impacted decision-making by a broad range of stakeholders, shaping government policy.
Partnering with legal PR firm Byfield Consultancy and journalist Jon Robins, Funke personally sponsored the award-winning 2015 report, ‘Opening up or shutting out? Social mobility in the legal profession”, a report that has made a significant contribution towards highlighting the ongoing challenges surrounding social mobility within the profession and influencing impactful social change. The report has been shared with over 3,000 young people and presented in Parliament at the House of Lords, at PRIME (the UK’s principal platform for advancing social mobility across the legal profession) and at the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission (chaired by the Rt Hon Alan Milburn).
Funke volunteers regularly at Law Society events, supporting both the Women Lawyers Division (a division that represents over 88,000 female solicitors on the solicitors’ roll) and the Ethnic Minority Lawyers division (over 25,000 solicitors) with a range of initiatives. She has partnered with the President of the Law Society on improving race diversity across the 175,000 solicitors on the solicitors’ roll, driving the business case for diversity across the whole profession.
Having twice served as a school governor (at Sandridge School and Uxbridge College), Funke has since empowered thousands of young people to overcome obstacles and maximise their potential by providing free motivational leadership talks, mentoring, careers advice and work experience opportunities both as a voluntary speaker for Speakers4Schools and independently of that organisation. She shares her personal leadership story with approximately 2,000 school children annually, empowering them to become more resilient in overcoming obstacles. Funke recently received the 2017 Mary Lou Carrington award from the Worshipful Company of Educators in recognition of her significant contributions to the UK’s education system and her contributions towards bridging the gap between schools and businesses.
Together with her siblings, she founded the Akindolie Medical Scholarship in April 2016, a privately funded annual bursary awarded to an outstanding UK-based medical student from a minority ethnic background. The scholarship was established in memory of her late father, Dr Frank Olufemi Akindolie, a gifted, German-trained doctor who tragically died of liver cancer in 2012.
October 2016 saw Funke presented with a ‘Point of Light’ award by the Prime Minister, recognising the impact of her voluntary diversity work.
In a personal letter to Funke at the time, the Prime Minister wrote:
“You have become a role model for thousands of young people, inspiring them to believe that race or gender should not be a barrier to achieving their potential. By speaking so passionately to groups in Parliament, the Law Society and, most importantly, over two thousand school children and university students, you are supporting the professions to become more diverse.”
Funke recently met the Prime Minister who personally congratulated her on the positive impact of her voluntary diversity work at a reception at number 10 Downing Street.
An online dating fraudster from Woolwich scammed more than £100,000 from at least seven men, and police believe she may have targeted even more.
Grace Akintaro, 24, of Pettacre Close, found her victims on the Match dating website using the alias Amanda Jenson.
The men who contacted her thought they had found the love of their lives, but instead were bombarded with repeated requests for money.
They were asked to cover her travel costs so they could meet up, paying the money directly into her bank account, but “Amanda” never appeared.
Various excuses were given to explain why Amanda couldn’t meet them on that date, followed by more requests for money for travel expenses and more excuses why she didn’t appear again.
None of the men ever ended up meeting Amanda, despite transferring thousands of pounds into her bank account.
As well as travel costs, the men were also asked for other short term loans to pay for rent or other costs and would be given different bank account details they were told belonged to her mother or landlord.
Fake documents were used to provide evidence that Amanda Jenson was due to receive an inheritance from a relative and would then be able to pay the money back.
Amongst her victims include a man who had been tricked into handing over more than £46,000, and another who sent money from his wife’s death in service insurance policy from her employer.
Others lost proportions of their pension and another took out an equity release on his house.
All the men ceased contact with Amanda after it became apparent they would never meet her and were unlikely ever to receive their money back.
Police were alerted to the fraud after receiving information from four different men from across the UK saying they had been part of a romance scam. Three further victims of Akintaro’s scam were found as part of the investigation.
Most of the bank accounts involved in the fraud had an address of Pettacre Close, Woolwich, where Akintaro lived.
In total, Akintaro received £104,962.88 into accounts she directly controlled from August 2014 to December 2015.
As for Amanda Jenson, police could find no evidence that this person existed, and the picture Akintaro used on Match appeared to be of a woman who has no idea this fake profile exists.
Another woman, 22-year-old Victoria Nwogu, of Piedmont Road in Plumstead, received £3,490 into accounts she controlled as part of this scam.
Akintaro pleaded guilty to seven counts of fraud, while Nwogu pleaded guilty to money laundering, at Woolwich Crown Court yesterday, June 12.
The women will both be sentenced at the same court on June 20.
Detective Constable Mark Cresswell said: “We managed to identify seven victims of this fraud but I suspect there are many more who have not contacted police.
The CEO of Purple Premium Limited and developer of Woodbury Estate in Lekki Lagos has won the 3rd City People Real Estate Player in the Diaspora Award.
Richard Obahor clinched the award at the star studded event organised by City People Magazine in Lagos last weekend.
This year, City People honoured more than 40 firms/personalities playing under real estate sector.
Awards were presented under different categories under real estate including real estate firm of the year, real estate person of the year, architect of the year, surveyor of the year, real estate woman of the a year, real estate association of the year, local manufacturer firm of the year and a whole lot more
His mother is the world’s richest black woman so it’s little surprise that Folarin Alakija’s wedding was a lavish, no-expense spared, fairytale affair.
Folarin, who is one of 66-year-old oil tycoon Folorunsho Alakija’s four sons, married Iranian beauty Nazanin Jafarian Ghaissarifar in an extravagant bash at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire over the weekend, which is estimated to have cost around £5m (N2 billion).
The father-of-one, who is in his late 30s and lost his first wife to cancer, tied the knot to his stunning wife in front of friends, family and celebrities, including Victoria’s Secret Angel, Shanina Shaik.
While Folarin makes his money as an entrepreneur, investor and cinematographer, it’s his mother who has an estimated fortune of $2.1 billion. Forbes rank her as the 14th richest person in Africa but the richest woman in the country. She is number 80 on its global Power Women list and overtook Oprah Winfrey as the richest woman of African descent in the world in 2014.
It is thought the family flew hundreds of close friends and family members over from Nigeria, who were no doubt put up in the lavish hotel for the weekend.
The Woodstock venue, which is the ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill, was kitted out with one million white roses, a lavish cake decorated with hundreds of ornate white roses and even hosted pop star Robin Thicke at an estimated cost of £150,000.
Wedding planners believe the venue hire was exclusively hired at a cost of £150,000 with the bespoke marquee and bespoke marble floor with their initials etched in gold costing around £200,000 on top.
According to the venue’s website, the cost of hiring the whole venue is on application but hiring just the palace and state rooms costs £33,000.
Searcys are the approved caterer for the Orangery at Blenheim palace and three course meals start at £52 per head – excluding alcohol – but it’s believed they had a much more expensive bespoke package with catering company, rhubarb.
The breathtaking flowers were the work of Jeff Leatham, who is known for his elaborate decorating of the Kardashian’s homes.
Bringing over 30 staff members to the UK for the ceremony, Jeff adorned every inch of the venue with copious amounts of roses and white orchids.
Jeff, who can command up to £250,000 for flowers, has worked for Madonna, Oprah and Tina Turner. He was also the man behind the flowers at Eva Longoria and Tony Parker’s wedding.
Guests were also treated to a surprise performance from Blurred Lines singer Robin Thicke, who reportedly costs around £150,000 to hire and would have been flown over from the US, as well as a magnificent firework display in the hotel grounds later in the evening.
Folarin’s new wife, who once dated Rob Kardashian, studied Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Manchester, has a graduate Diploma in Law and has also worked as a model and marketing consultant.
The stunning brunette is the daughter of businessman Mr. Khosro and Mrs Nooshin Ghaissarifar, who are from Iran. It is believed that Naz, as she is known among her circle, was born in Iran and lived in London in her youth before moving to Manchester to study.
She has also spent time in Los Angeles, where much of her modelling work was based, and regularly mingled with celebrities, including the Kardashians.
Folarin, who studied Geography at Imperial College, London, was previously married to a lady named Chena, with whom he had a daughter. She tragically lost her life to cancer six years ago. It is believed that Folarin met Naz through friends in London.
The new Mrs Alakija has previously featured in a campaign for Monkee Jeans, an organic denim brand, and dated Rob Kardashian in 2013.
She stunned in a traditional strapless white gown with lace embellishment as she was walked down the aisle by her father. She accessorised her look with a dazzling diamond necklace and white Manolo Blahniks.
She later changed into a racier, floor length white gown with sheer panelling. Beaming before her friends and family, she let her hair down as she danced the night away with her new husband and glamorous wedding guests.
The pair became engaged last year and had a traditional Nigerian wedding in Lagos in November.
The cake, which was adorned with hundreds of roses and ornate doves, was created by Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium. Elizabeth’s clients include British, European and Middle Eastern Royalty, celebrities and high net worth individuals.
With eight tiers on their cake, topped with elaborate iced flowers and doves, it is estimated that their cake could have cost up to £10,000.
Elizabeth is also the only three times winner of The Great Cake Bake, a show which featured the best wedding cake makers in the country.
The event was planned by Sade Awe of The Bridal Circle. Sade’s impeccable taste and selective eye for the exquisite make her a trusted resource for an elite clientele and luxury partners alike so it was little surprise she was called upon.
Other famous faces at the event included Starboy Records artist Mr Eazi and Nigerian fashion blogger Temi Otedola, who were recently revealed to be dating.
Hamish Shepard of Bridebook.co.uk, said: ‘The preparations and construction of their custom clear marquee, including a bespoke marble floor with their gold initials, would have required up to a week of exclusive hire of the Palace, with the cost of the marquee on top.”
‘Venue hire would likely be up to £150,000 with the bespoke marquee with marble floor and production around £200,000 on top.
‘The spectacular endless flowers by Jeff Leatham are likely to have cost at least £200,000. With food and drink, Robin Thicke (at £150,000) and all the other items for the big day, including the dress, on top, the wedding will have no doubt cost more than £1 million and potentially several million more.’