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Actionaid Nigeria engages 1,614 youths, women in preventing violence in Kogi

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By Friday Idachaba

ActionAid Nigeria Country Director Ene Obi has indicated that the organisation has engaged 1,614 youths and women in programmes on preventing violence in Kogi in the last six years.

Obi stated this at the end of the second phase of the System and Structure Strengthening Approach Against Radicalisation to Violent Extremism (SARVE I and SARVE II) project learning and dissemination meeting in Lokoja on Wednesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria NAN reports that the occasion also featured the inauguration of the Kogi Youth Action Plan for the domestication of United Nations Security Council resolution 2250.

The country director, represented by Mrs Funmilayo Oyefusi, ActionAid Director, Organisational Effectiveness, noted that the organisation had succeeded in engaging 1,105 young men and women.

According to her, it also equipped 509 adult women in Kogi with valuable life and economic empowerment skills with the aim of reducing their vulnerability to violent extremism.

Obi explained that ActionAid Nigeria partnered with her local rights partners in Kogi, Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID) to execute the projects.

She said that the project in last six years had dwelled in the area of building community resilience against violent extremism in Kogi with funding support from the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF).

She added that in April 2019, ActionAid Nigeria, building on the successes in the implementation of phase one of the SARVE project expanded the coverage to 12 communities across six local government areas.

She said that the project implemented in Igalamela/Odolu, Ankpa, Adavi, Okehi, Lokoja and Kogi focused on identifying and digging deep into the fundamental causes of the types of violence that exist in the host communities.

”Benefitting communities in Kogi were also supported against injustice and inequalities through series of activities targeted at building tolerance, strengthening community agencies where violent extremists exploit weak governance.

Obi added that Actionaid had, within the period, built the capacities of 120 middle and higher-level media professionals on conflict sensitive reportage, feminist journalism and peace building.

“In addition, 60 police officers (15 women, 45 men), were trained to respond to rising issues of violent extremism through the fundamental Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) while working closely with existing community policing structures.

“Other landmark achievements include the establishment of 12 Local Government Conflict Management Alliance (LOCMA) structures in 12 local government areas in Kogi and Nasarawa State to prevent conflicts from escalating in the communities and promoting peace in the states at large”, she said.

Obi noted that the SARVE II project also achieved some milestones at the institutional levels with the enactment of Kogi Youth Development Commission Law.

The commission, she said was designed for the inclusion and engagement of youths in government and increased employment opportunities as part of efforts towards reducing the vulnerability of youths to violent extremism.

Earlier in her opening remarks, the Executive Director of PIBCID, Halima Sadiq, said tthat the aim of the project was to reduce the vulnerability of the at risk young men and women and creation of enabling environment to reduce youth restiveness and prevent violent extremism.

She said that the journey so far had been exciting with great milestones achieved and attributed the success so far to the support of Kogi government which demonstrated commitment towards the successful implementation of the project.

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CBN backpedals, Withdraws Circular On Cybersecurity Levy

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The circular the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued to all commercial banks on May 6, 2024, directing them to implement a compulsory withdrawal of 0.05 per cent from every electronic transaction as cybersecurity levy has been withdrawn
The directive for collection of the levy led to a nationwide uproar when the central bank introduced the policy last week.
The Presidency however, heeded the warning from various quarters, succumbed and immediately suspended the implementation of the Cybersecurity Levy.
In a withdrawal circular that was issued by the CBN on Sunday night, it directed the banks not to go ahead with the initial directive, in line with the presidential directive. The apex bank authorities claimed it’s a sign that the present administration was a listening one that prioritises public good.

“Further to this, please be advised that the above referenced circular is hereby withdrawn,” CBN director in charge of payments system, Chibuzo Efobi, and the director, financial policy and regulation, Haruna Mustapha, said in the circular, adding that all banks should “Please be guided accordingly.”

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Kogi: Police Confirm Rescue Of 7 More CUSTECH Students

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By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.

Nigeria Police, Kogi State Command has announced the rescue of seven more students of Confluence University of Science Secondary Technology (CUSTECH) kidnapped by hoodlums on Thursday, May 9.

Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) SP William Ovye Aya, made the announcement in a press statement on Thursday in Lokoja.

He said that feat was achieved through the intervention of Inspector-General of Police, IGP Kayode Adeolu Egbetokun who ordered the deployment of the Air Component of Police Security Apparatus made up of a Helicopter Crew.

The deployment, he said was in furtherance of the ongoing Rescue Operation and to sustain the onslaught to rescue all the kidnapped students.

He said that the Air Component deployed to Kogi State on Tuesday 14th May, 2024 was made up of Helicopter Crew specially trained for Aerial Surveillance, Monitoring Team as well as Technical Intelligence Unit (TIU).

“The reinforcement is in response to IGP’s unwavering passion about protecting lives and property of all Nigerians especially the safety of our children in various schools in the country”, Aya said.

With the new development which Aya ascribed to the diligence and indomitable spirit of all the combined team, 27 students have so far been rescued from the kidnappers as a total of 20 students were earlier rescued.

“Be it noted that it is not over until it is over” so we should not rest on our Oars, instead all hands must be on deck to ensure all are safely rescued and perpetrators brought to deserved justice”, the PPRO declared.

He stated that Kogi State Government as well as the University Community were satisfied with the Rescue Operations so far.

“The State Government has commended the indubitable, unassailable level of cooperation, collaboration and synergy amongst the Security Agencies, Local Vigilantes and Hunters in the State”, he enthused.

According to Aya, the Commissioner of Police, CP Bethrand Onuoha has seized this occasion to thank and appreciate the Inspector-General of Police for the deployment of the Air Component.

The CP, he said, also commended the Security Personnel, and Vigilantes/Hunters for their “show of unprecedented and undiluted patriotism and altruism, and to the good people of Kogi State as well as the vibrant Press for their show of concern and empathy.”

“The CP will continue to solicit the cooperation, collaboration and solidarity of the good people of Confluence State with the Police and other Security Agencies.

“Together, we shall ensure adequate Security of life and property of law-abiding citizens in the State”, he assured. (Ends)

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Senate backs FG, CBN over controversial Cybersecurity levy

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***Insists, it is NASS creation to safeguard economy, country against insecurity

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on National Security and Intelligence, Senator Shehu Umar Buba, has allay the fears being entertained by Nigerians over the proposed implementation of the Cybersecurity levy by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

While giving tacit support to the Federal Government on the levy that has created bad blood among Nigerians against the Tinubu administration Senator Buba said th levy is provided for in the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) (Amendment) Act, 2024.

He clarified that the levy is not punitive as it has numerous exemptions to protect and relieve ordinary citizens, particularly the poor.

According to him, the exemptions include salary payments, intra-account transfers, loan disbursements and repayments, and other financial transactions.

Senator Buba said the amendments to the Cybercrimes Act were collaborative effort with the National Assembly’s ICT and Cyber Security Committee. Explaining further he said committee also underwent a transparent public hearing process, receiving contributions from various stakeholders.
“Both chambers of the National Assembly unanimously passed it before President Bola Ahmed Tinubu signed it into law.

Senator Umar reiterated the fact that the provisions for the cybersecurity levy have been in place since 2015 but were delayed due to unclear interpretations and applications.

“The Cybercrimes Act of 2015 has provisions for imposing a cybersecurity levy since its enactment, but the vagueness of Section 44 led to different interpretations until the 2024 amendments. The levy is 0.5%, equivalent to half a per cent of the value of all electronic transactions by businesses specified in the Second Schedule to the Act.

“The amendments addressed crucial gaps in the Act and empowered the nation to implement the National Cybersecurity Programme effectively. They also seek to realign and empower the country to combat the inadequate funding and disruptive effects of cyber threats on national security and critical economic infrastructures,” he said.

Senator Umar underscored the criticality of the cybersecurity levy’s implementation, stating that its prudent utilisation will bolster the nation’s capacity to evaluate, execute, upgrade, and fortify the security of national critical economic infrastructure, thereby safeguarding the nation’s cyberspace.

The chairman commended the Office of the National Security Adviser and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for initiating the operationalising the cybersecurity levy, highlighting its benefits far outweigh its drawbacks.

He expressed appreciation to the leaders and representatives of MDAs at the federal and state levels, as well as to all stakeholders who contributed to this effort’s success.

While maintaining that the Committee’s mandate is to create laws that align with the aspirations of Nigerians, he appealed for public support, assuring that the policy will yield maximum benefits for citizens in the shortest possible time.

Following the enactment of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) (Amendment) Act 2024 and under the provision of Section 44 (2)(a) of the Act, a levy of 0.5 per cent (0.005) equivalent to half per cent of all electronic transactions value by the business specified in the Second Schedule of the Act is to be remitted to the National Cybersecurity Fund, which the Office of the National Security Adviser shall administer.

Though the announcement created controversy, the circular exempted some transactions from cybercrime levy.

The exemptions included loan disbursements and repayments, salary payments, intra-account transfers within the same bank or between different banks for the same customer, intra-bank transfers between customers of the same bank, and Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) instructions to their correspondent banks.

The exemption also applies to interbank placements, banks’ transfers to CBN and vice versa, inter-branch transfers within a bank, cheque clearing and settlements, and Letters of Credit (LCs).

Others include banks’ recapitalisation-related funding only bulk funds movement from collection accounts; savings and deposits including transactions involving long-term investments such as treasury bills, bonds; and commercial papers; government social welfare programmes transactions, e.g. pension payments; non-profit and charitable transactions including donations to registered non-profit organisations or charities; educational institutions transactions, including tuition payments and other transaction involving schools, universities, or other academic institutions.

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