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Truecaller Launches Spam Eliminating Feature, Two Other Things And A Trivia

This line-up of stories will help you discover the latest happenings around the tech world, today.

1. Truecaller launches spam eliminating feature

The world’s most trusted and accurate Caller ID and telephone search engine, Truecaller, has launched a new feature to further augment its user experience.

The new feature will serve as a spam filter, helping users focus on important messages.

According to Truecaller, the feature was introduced based on user feedback and was designed to cater to the evolving needs of consumers.

It is expected that the new feature will offer a host of new services to make day-to-day communication a lot more convenient.

Speaking on the development, Zakaria Abdulkadir Hersi, Truecaller’s Director of Business Development & Partnerships Africa, noted that the new feature was to reduce distractions of users.

He said: “Roughly 80% of SMSes one receives daily are from businesses, disengaging users from important/useful messages. To combat that, SMS apps need to become smarter by filtering out spam and categorising useful information”.

Tech Trivia: Brilliance Auto is from which country?

A. Nigeria
B. Korea
C. China
D. Russia

Answer: See end of post.

2. Ghana’s Motito launches interest-free credit venture

Ghana’s ‘buy now, pay later’ platform, Motito, has announced launching a venture to offer interest-free credit to small businesses.

The startup, which only launched in Ghana last November, participated in MEST Express accelerator programme, and is one of the three Ghanaian startups selected to receive equity-free grant funding and support from MEST and the Mastercard Foundation.

According to local media, Motito is a value added service for merchants, and offers consumers increased affordability and convenience.

The startup recently took part in the Pan-African Fintech Accelerator programme.

Since its launch, users can download the app, sign up, go through an underwriting process tied to source of income, and then proceed to buy now, while they pay later.

Speaking on what inspired the initiative, Tobi Martins, co-founder of Motito, lamented the inefficiencies of exciting solutions.

He said: “Access to credit is still relatively low on the continent, credit cards are practically ineffective and micro lenders have high interest rates.

“For payment plans that go beyond four weeks, we charge a five per cent service charge to our customers as well.”

3. Payment24 launches ‘vehicle biometrics’ to fast track refueling

South African payment solutions specialist, Payment24, has launched a ‘pay by car, not by card’ model as it looks to drive cardless, contactless payment in South Africa.

Under the name FastLane, the technology works as a ‘biometrics for the vehicle’ and is capable of identifying any vehicle enrolled in the system as it drives into the forecourt.

According to Payment24, after identity is confirmed, the technology then authorises refuelling and automates payment.

The new solution is designed to allow petroleum companies and organisations operating their own fuelling homebases to improve service and efficiency, while also reducing the risk of fraud.

Operating in the artificial intelligence field, FastLane system uses programmed cameras to detect a vehicle’s registration number, make, model, colour and type as it drives into the refuelling station.

Speaking on the new technology, Nolan Daniel, CEO, Payment24, stated that the development of the new model was to shift the payment game away from traditional methods while leveraging technology.

He said: “We are advancing to a stage in which the vehicle becomes the payment mechanism, taking away the time and effort that was traditionally needed to refuel a vehicle. Using advanced algorithms and artificial intelligence, we have made ‘paying by car’ a lot faster and more secure than using something like a fleet card.

“It’s the gateway to a world of cashless transactions, real-time visibility, and satisfied customers. Payment24 FastLane is a way to distinguish yourself, giving customers peace of mind and building loyalty with them.”

Tech Trivia Answer: China

Huachen Automotive Group Holdings Co. Ltd., known for its brand name Brilliance Auto Group, is a Chinese automobile manufacturer headquartered in Shenyang. Its products include automobiles, microvans, and automotive components. Its principal activity is the design, development, manufacture and sale of passenger cars sold under the Brilliance brand.

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Gov. Fintiri approves N10,000 monthly allowance for corps members in the state

Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, has announced a monthly payment of N10,000 for all corps members serving in the state.

Fintiri stated this while declaring open the 2024 batch ‘A’ stream 1 orientation programme for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members, deployed to Adamawa in Damare, Girei Local Government Area of the state.

Represented by deputy governor, Professor Kaletapwa Farauta, Fintiri said the payment was to cushion the effects of inflation currently being experienced in the country.

“I have no doubt in my mind that you will reciprocate this gesture by being diligent, disciplined, hardworking and committed to your various places of primary assignments for the betterment of your host communities,” he said.

Fintiri said that Adamawa remained a home away from home for corps members serving in the state.

“More so, as corps members, you are automatically bonafide indigenes of Adamawa.

“This is a privileged status conferred on you by me as the number one resident and executive governor of the state.

“I always regard you as our strategic partners in the execution of our people oriented policies and programmes, particularly on education, healthcare, agriculture and rural development,” he said.

In his address, Mr Jingi Denis, Coordinator of the NYSC in Adamawa, described the approval of N10,000 monthly allowance for corps members as first of its kind in the state and lauded Fintiri for his practical support.

He encouraged the corps members to comply strictly with all camp rules and regulations, and be obedient to the corps officials.

He said they would apply appropriate sanctions on recalcitrant corps members in line with the provisions of the NYSC Bye-Laws.

“The oath of allegiance, which you have just taken today is solemn.

“I implore you to always find time to meditate over its spirit and letters, and be guided by same throughout the service year and beyond,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that no fewer than 1,336 corps members were registered and the oath of allegiance was administered by Justice Helen Hamman-Joda of the Adamawa High Court.

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Over 100 houses submerged as flood traps Lagos residents

Hundreds of residents in Lagos were on Tuesday trapped after the early morning rain leaving scores of houses and cars submerged with occupants fleeing their homes for fear of drowning.

Officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Fire Services, police and other stakeholders, rushed to the scene to prevent a stampede as the residents were already panicking.

It was learnt that the affected communities included Oke Ishagun, Isale Aboru, Ikola, Olubodun Majiyagbe-Ajayi, Makinde Street, Olokowo Street and Adeola Street.

Some of the affected areas were said to have been flooded after the rainfall on Sunday and the water was yet to dry up before Tuesday’s rain compounded the situation.

It was gathered that residents of ayobo axis were worse hit as a result of the volume of water channelled through the Marwa bridge which became flooded after the rain.

The bridge was constructed by then Military Administrator, Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd) to take water from only 15 canals.

At the moment, information gathered revealed that the channel was receiving water from over 60 canals, thus overstretching its capacity by four times.

Residents lamented that the bridge was taking in more water than it was originally contracted to absorb, urging the government to upgrade the place so that it would accommodate more water thereby reducing the flood situation.

The over-flooded river ran into nearby business centres, destroying wares such as caskets, gates, doors, furniture, bricks and destroyed houses.

Confirming the incident, the Lagos Office Coordinator of NEMA, Ibrahim Farinloye, said that 151 houses were affected by the flood, adding that there was no loss of lives or injury.

He said the emergency workers were able to hold the bridge and also organize the people for ease of evacuation, noting that while some of them were successfully moved from their submerged homes, others were still there, against advice.

Farinloye said 23 houses were affected at Oke Ishagun, 35 at Isale Aboru, 29 at Ikola, 15 at  Olubodun Majiyagbe-Ajayi, 12 at Makinde, 16 at Olokowo and 21 houses at Adeola.

He urged residents to prepare for the rainy season, noting that the incidents of Sunday and yesterday should serve as a pointer for what to expect this year.

“It is important to imbibe the culture of disaster risk reduction strategies in all spheres of our societal endeavours. We must begin adhering to safety measures against flood disasters.

“Thanks be to God that no life was lost and no one was injured. What we witnessed the most was the disruption of the normal lives of the people.

“NEMA is working with the appropriate state MDAs in amelioration of observations and findings from today’s incident and the state has promised to make sure no stone is unturned to make the state safer.

“The Director General of NEMA, Alhaji Mustapha Habib Ahmed, hereby appeals to Nigerians to start clearing their drainages of dirt and desilt them. Community Development Associations should live up to their responsibilities in coordinating the activities of neighbourhoods toward safer environments,

“Local Government Authorities must not spare the rods against corporate organisations blocking the drainages while people must be prosecuted for blockage of drainages, dumping of refuse in drainages as envisaged in environmental laws to save the society.

“The Director General expressed his support of the Lagos State Government’s bold decision after the 2023 rainy season by pulling down drainage obstructing structures across various parts of the state”.

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After notice of disconnection, Tinubu orders payment of Aso Villa’s outstanding electricity bill

President Bola Tinubu has directed immediate payment of the electricity bill utilised by the State House to Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC).

Recall that on Monday, the AEDC threatened to disconnect the electricity supply in the State House, the Central Bank and EFCC office, amongst 83 other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) over debt of N47.1billion.

The disco gave the MDAs ten days to comply and defray their debts or risk blackout from February 28, 2024.

In a statement on Tuesday, the presidential Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Mr. Bayo Onanuga said the President’s directive followed the reconciliation of accounts between the State House Management and AEDC.

The Presidency faulted AEDC’s near N1 billion claim, saying the Presidential Villa’s outstanding bill stood at N342,352,217.46.

“Contrary to the AEDC’s initial claim of N923 million debt in a paid advertorial in newspapers, the State House’s outstanding bill is N342,352,217.46, according to a letter by the management of AEDC to the State House Permanent Secretary, dated 14th February  2024.

“Having reconciled the position to the satisfaction of both parties, the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, has given assurance that the debt would be paid to AEDC before the end of this week.

“Following the example of the Presidency, the Chief of Staff also urged other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to reconcile their accounts with AEDC and pay their electricity bills”, the statement said.

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