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Tech Roundup: Google, NIPOST was in the news this week

Welcome to Nairametrics’ weekly tech news roundup. This week we bring you a compilation of the major tech news.

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Tech Roundup

Welcome once again to Nairametrics’ weekly tech news roundup. This week, as always, we bring you a compilation of the major tech events and activities that made the news.

We go behind the scenes, focusing on some of the major talking points and backstories just to keep you updated with the latest developments in the tech space.

This column is dedicated to investors, as well as enthusiasts of Nigeria’s growing tech sector.

You know we love feedback, so please keep them coming.

News from Nigeria

NIPOST goes Banking

In recent times, there have been increased efforts by the government to diversify the revenue base of the Nigerian Postal Service and also make it more efficient. As a result, the once-moribund government agency launched the pilot phase of its agency banking service aimed at aiding financial inclusion and banking the unbanked across its vast network of outlets in Nigeria, in collaboration with tier-2 Bank, Wema Bank.

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According to NIPOST, the new product, Easy Life Account, was created in line with its bid to leverage new-age technology, to enable it serve Nigerians more efficiently and become an institution that will be integral to the everyday lives of Nigerians through providing valuable services.

It is expected that the postal agency would soon diversify its operations into financial services, insurance, logistics, real estate and e-Government services, in a bid to enhance its revenue.

10,000 hotspot zones going live in Lagos

After its pilot rollout program, Mobi Hunter is working with SWIFT Networks and Google to provide more free Wi-Fi centres in Lagos.

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In the pilot phase, some locations including MMA-2, Hard Rock Café, Shiro restaurant, Festival Mall, some Tastee Fried Chicken and Bukka Hut outlets, over 200 BRT Buses, Smart Cabs, Eko Hospital, and VGC Club, benefitted from the free SWIFT Wi-Fi project. According to the company, more locations are being added on a daily basis towards the 10,000 hotspot target in Lagos.

The hotspots can be accessed via the Red Cheetah app which is free to download from Google Play store. Also, users will view adverts at intervals from the sponsors and partners who make the free service possible.

German VC firm announces investment in Nigerian logistics startup

There is more good news in Nigeria’s startup ecosystem this week as Parcel-it, a Nigerian logistics startup, received a huge boost with a new round of funding from venture capitalist firm, GreenTec Capital Partners. Parcel-it, dubbed as the Uber for delivery services, is a Nigerian on-demand logistics startup launched in June 2017. But unlike logistics startups in the ecosystem, Parcel-it aggregates information on courier services and provides a “marketplace” for dispatch-riders.

However, the Germany-based VC company declined to reveal how much it has invested in the one-year-old logistics startup.

Global Tech News

Google appeals EU’s $5 billion fine

Few months after being fined $5 billion for anti-trust issues by the European Union, tech giant, Google, has announced plans to appeal the fine.

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EU authorities accused the tech giant of abusing the dominance of its Android operating system to stifle competitors. The company said that it has filed its legal challenge with the General Court of the EU.

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In July, EU’s executive commission issued the fine to Google, after it found out that the company forced smartphone makers using Android to install its search and browser apps. It was also alleged that the company paid big phone makers to exclusively pre-install the Google Search app.

Google, however, argued that its free, open-source operating system has led to lower-priced phones and stoked competition with its chief rival, Apple.

Android remains the most widely used mobile operating system, beating even Apple’s iOS. The fine by EU, which follows a three-year investigation, is the biggest ever imposed by the organization on a company for anticompetitive behaviour.

Under the ruling, Google must take measures to fix the problem by the end of October or risk further fines.

WarnerMedia plans to unveil streaming service by end of 2019

AT&T has announced plans to unveil a digital video service featuring WarnerMedia’s films and television shows, by the end of next year. This is expected to move into direct competition with rivals like Netflix, Disney, and Amazon.

This means that blockbuster Warner movies like the Harry Potter franchise and “Wonder Woman” could show up on the service, next to TV shows like “Friends” and HBO hits like “Game of Thrones.”

Google+ is shutting down after data leakage

It could soon be time to wave goodbye to Google+ with its over 5.5 million followers, as Google announced that it is going to shut down the consumer version of google plus over the next 10 months.

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The decision follows the revelation of a previously undisclosed security flaw that exposed users’ profile data which was remedied in March 2018. The review revealed that a bug in the software allowed apps access to profile fields that were not marked as public.

Also during the week, Google unveiled its new line of Pixel devices at its ‘Made by Google’ media event. The new devices include a set of Google Pixel phones, Chromecast, Pixel Slate and other devices. The global tech giant which celebrated its 20th year recently used its “Made by Google” event to exhibit its range of hardware and cutting-edge gadgets.

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ENDSARS

#EndSARS: Anyone found culpable in Lekki Toll Plaza shooting would be held accountable – Sanwo-Olu

Sanwo-Olu has continued to ensure Nigerians that those found culpable in the unfortunate Lekki shootings will not escape the law.

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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said that the Lagos State Government would ensure that anyone found culpable in last Tuesday’s shooting at the Lekki Toll Plaza would be held accountable for their actions.

This was disclosed in a statement by the Lagos State Government, after the Governor’s interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson.

In the interview with CNN, the Governor said, “We will be committed to a full investigation of what happened and people would be held accountable. They certainly would be held accountable. We would do everything possible to ensure that they are held accountable.

“People have claimed that their friends and family members have been killed. So, this Judicial Panel of Enquiry is meant to bring all of these stories to accountability; where we can make restitution, where families can prove and identify officers that were responsible for this.

“I am not the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, I am Governor of a State. The report would be out and we would channel the report to all the relevant authorities in the state to ensure that every one that is found culpable is accountable for the act.”

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He added that there was no international pressure on Nigerian leaders to investigate the Lekki incident, and he had met the #EndSARS protesters. He also acknowledged that the protests were legitimate.

“There are no international pressures whatsoever. These are genuine protesters that we all believe and we all have knowledge about. I was the first governor among governors, with due respect to all my other colleagues, who came out to meet with them, who started from the front. I carried the EndSARS flags with them. I met with them twice and we all had the rally together and worked together,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu also said that the investigations would be a catalyst for positive change of Governance, and he saw it as a wake-up call for those in power.

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“I genuinely believe there would be a change for two reasons. One, what has happened, especially in Lagos is extremely unimaginable. Number two is that it was a clarion call for all of us in government, especially understanding and realizing what the youths truly want us to be doing. So, it hit all of us like a thunderbolt and it was just a wake-up call,” he said.

What you should know

Nairametrics reported last week that several social media accounts had revealed that peaceful protesters were allegedly being shot at by the military at the Lekki toll holdout. The Nigerian Army, however, denied deploying soldiers to attack #EndSARS protesters who assembled at the Lekki Toll Plaza.

The Lagos State Government ordered an investigation into the Lekki Toll Plaza shooting that was allegedly done by some men of the Nigerian Army on Tuesday evening. Babajide Sanwo-Olu had also stated that Lagos State would not burn on his watch, as he tried to calm things down after hoodlums wreaked havoc post-Lekki shootings, and announced that the Judicial panel set up by the state would include the incident at Lekki toll gate.

Bottomline

The Lekki incident has gotten the world’s attention, with the Governor and other members of government admitting that there were casualties as a result of the incident. The onus is on the Federal Government to ensure the recommendations of the state judicial panels are properly executed after they submit their reports.

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ENDSARS

#EndSARS: The deliberate shooting of unarmed protestors was an outrage – Archbishop of Canterbury

The Archbishop of Canterbury has once again condemned the deliberate shooting of unarmed protesters in Lekki, calling it an outrage.

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#EndSARS: Archbishop of Canterbury condemns Lekki shootings

The Archbishop of Canterbury and Head of the Anglican Church, Justin Welby, has said that the deliberate shooting of unarmed protesters in Lagos was an act of outrage, and he urged for a path to peace, justice and reconciliation.

The Archbishop disclosed this in a social media statement on Monday evening. He had earlier called on Nigerian leaders to “come together and agree a common vision that puts aside difference, steers the ship of state away from the rocks of conflict and sets a course that is for the good of all.”

What you should know

The Archbishop last week condemned the shooting of unarmed protesters in Lekki and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that lives were protected.

I condemn in the strongest terms the reported deliberate shooting of unarmed protesters in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria.

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“I have urged President Muhammadu Buhari directly to ensure that lives are protected – and I say that again now,” he said last week.

In yesterday’s statement, Mr. Welby said: “The deliberate shooting of unarmed protestors in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria last week was an outrage. I say this as a human being, as a Christian, and as the leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion – which counts some 18 million Nigerians as part of our global family.”

He warned of the violent past of Britain’s colonial history and urged that Nigeria learned from the UK’s past mistakes.

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“But I also say this as a British citizen, knowing that in our recent colonial past the UK has committed appalling acts of violence.

“And while I absolutely have no place to lecture or rebuke Nigeria, a country that is very dear to my heart, I can say this: learn from our mistakes. Do not go further down the path of violence and injustice. Turn around and find the path of peace, justice and reconciliation,” he said.

He said that Nigerian leaders could become heroes if they sacrifice ambition and work to unite Nigeria in a time of trouble.

“No nation can be built without heroism. This is a time for all those who play a role in the political and civil leadership of Nigeria to be heroes for the common good. This is a time to sacrifice ambition, to set aside party, to unite to serve in order that Nigerians from richest to poorest may flourish,” the Archbishop concluded.

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 26th of October 2020, 119 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria

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The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 62,111 confirmed cases.

On the 26th of October 2020, 119 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 4,719 samples across the country.

To date, 62,111 cases have been confirmed, 57,571 cases have been discharged and 1,132 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 612,154 tests have been carried out as of October 26th, 2020 compared to 607,435 tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 26th October 2020,

  • Total Number of Cases – 62,111
  • Total Number Discharged – 57,571
  • Total Deaths – 1,1132
  • Total Tests Carried out – 612,154

According to the NCDC, the 119 new cases were reported from 6 states- Lagos (77), FCT (26), Plateau (9), Edo (4), Oyo (2), Nasarawa (1).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 20,884, followed by Abuja (5,993), Plateau (3,603), Oyo (3,425), Rivers (2,773), Edo (2,652), Kaduna (2,617), Ogun (2,010), Delta (1,812), Kano (1,742), Ondo (1,666), Enugu (1,314),  Kwara (1,067), Ebonyi (1,049), Katsina (952), Osun (923), Abia (898), Gombe (883).  Borno (745), and Bauchi (710).

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Imo State has recorded 614 cases, Benue (486), Nasarawa (479), Bayelsa (403),  Ekiti (332), Jigawa (325), Akwa Ibom (295), Anambra (277), Niger (274), Adamawa (257), Sokoto (165), Taraba (140), Kebbi (93), Cross River (87), Yobe (82), Zamfara (79), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

Lock Down and Curfew

In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

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The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.

On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.

On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.

READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

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