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CSO-PTF Support Group queries commissioning of substandard police equipment

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The CSO-PTF Support and Oversight Group has expressed dismay over the Commissioning by President Buhari of alleged substandard police equipments that were alleged to be fraudulently purchased by the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (NPTF) Management.
In a joint statement by the group, they indicated that fighting corruption is one of President Buhari’s signature commitments and the mantra on which he campaigned to be elected President.
However, they said they were at a loss as to why president Buhari will commission the equipment despite the widely reported scandal associated with the procurement
“It is unbecoming of the President that despite the alleged scandal associated with this procurement which allegedly breached due process and despite the ongoing investigation by the ICPC over the petition alleging fraud and corruption, the President went ahead to commission those equipment.
“Our concern arises from the fact, not only that the said equipment were fraudulently purchased in utter violation of the PTF Act, but also that the equipment are currently subjects of ongoing investigation by the Independent Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC)”
The investigation they said is based on a petition alleging abuse of due process, corruption and mismanagement of funds by the PTF Management.

“Several news media reported this scandal. According to the Vanguard Newspapers report of September 20, 2021 captioned “N11bn police equipment contract fraud: How infighting within NPTF management led to ICPC’s petition, investigation” over N11 billion substandard equipment were fraudulently purchased for the Nigeria Police by the management of the PTF.

“The report further revealed that ‘sharing formula of proceeds from the fraudulent purchase of substandard equipment led to the petition’.
“The Chairman of the PTF Board of Trustees former IGP Abba Suleiman was reported to have testified before ICPC investigators as a witness, during which he made startling revelations of fraud, abuse of due process and mismanagement of the PTF funds by the management.
According to the statement, the Management staff of the NPTF have also been invited by ICPC over the matter.

“It was further alleged that a former Deputy Governor who is a serving Senator eyeing 2023, and a Minister were fingered in the substandard equipment purchase.

“It was, for instance, alleged that the bullet proof vests that ought to possess double sided shields were found to only possess shield on one side.
“It was further alleged that the helmets were too small and the Toyota Buffalo vehicles procured were largely substandard.”

The statement indicated that the chairman of the board was quoted to have denied knowledge of the procurement process and that the management of the NPTF has been frustrating him from resuming work with his staff at the office provided by the Nigeria Police Force.
The statement asked rhetorically, “Is it that the President is unaware of these facts depsite being widely reported in the media or is it that someone or a group of people are misleading the President?
“We, the undersigned members of the CSO-PTF Support and Oversight Group have received with serious concern the news of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commissioning on the 13th of January 2022 of 200 Buffalo Toyota operational vehicles and other equipment purchased by the Police Trust Fund for the Nigeria Police Force through alleged contract fraud.

“We note that President Buhari was represented at the commissioning by the Minister of Police Affairs who was quoted to have described the provision of the equipment as part of the ongoing reformation of the Nigeria Police Force. “How can the commissioning of equipment that are alleged to be substandard and capable of exposing police personnel to grave danger if faced with criminals be part of any reformation?

“The Minister, speaking for President Buhari also commended the Board of Trustees, Management and Staff of the NPTF “for meticulously and meritoriously completing the project.”
“We dare to ask: what can be meticulous and meritorious about an alleged fraudulent act that breaches the laws of the country?
The group also quoted the IGP, Usman Baba in his remark during the commissioning to have said that ‘the items provided for the force are largely in line with requisite operational specification, tested and found to be standard that would enhance effective and efficient policing’.

“Again, we dare to ask: on what did the IGP base this assessment? We are not aware that the ICPC has concluded or made public the outcome of its investigation into allegations that the equipment were substandard and unsuitable, in fact dangerous, for use by the police.
“Again the IGP’s remark is preemptive of and prejudicial to the ongoing ICPC investigation.
“Was the IGP under pressure or in cahoots with those accused of mismanagement of police trust fund?

The group therefore called on the ICPC to expedite action, conclude its investigation into the serious allegations of fraud and mismanagement of PTF funds and make its findings public.
“All those found to be involved in the allegations should be brought to account.
They said, ICPC owes Nigerians the legal, moral and sacred duty of ensuring that nobody or group of individuals or groups, no matter how powerful, should be allowed to interfere with or derail the investigation

“We in the CSO Observatory will continue to monitor and regularly update Nigerians on the progress of this investigation and generally on the operations of the PTF.”
This they said they would do to ensure transparency and accountability in the management of the PTF and to ensure that the purpose of establishing the fund- which is to fill the funding gap for the Nigeria Police with a view to enhancing their operational capabilities to effectively discharge their functions of securing and protecting Nigerians from crimes and insecurity is achieved.

The group which is a Civil Society Organisations Observatory on the Implementation of the Police Act 2020 and the Police Trust Fund Act 2019 is a coalition of over 200 civil society organisations and activists spread across Nigeria and committed to promoting transparency and accountability in the implementation of the NPTF Act.

The group is established to act as a catalyst to spur the Police Trust Fund to deliver on its mandate and to carry out vigorous and sustained sensitisation to create public awareness across the geo-political zones on the existence of Police Trust Fund and its mandate.

The 33 CSOs who jointly signed the statement include:

  1. Rule of Law And Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), Lagos
  2. International Peace And Civic Responsibility Centre (IPCRC), Anambra State

3.Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution. Lokoja, Kogi State

  1. Centre For Human Rights And Ethics in Development (CHRED), Oyo State
  2. Initiative For Gender Equality And Advancement, IGEA/ Edo Civil Society Organization, Edo State
  3. Community Outreach For Development And Welfare Advocacy (CODWA), Kwara State

7.Human Rights Social Development And Environmental Foundation (HURSDEF), Rivers State

  1. COMPPART Foundation For Justice And Peace Building
  2. Habitatcare And Protection Initiative
  3. Centre For The Advocacy of Justice, And Rights (CAJR), Plateau state
  4. Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), Lagos State
  5. Foundation For Environmental Rights Advocacy And Development (FENRAD) Nigeria, Abia State
  6. Young innovators And Vocational Training Initiative (YIVTI), Kaduna State

14.International Solidarity For Peace And Human Rights Initative, Enugu State

  1. Vivacious Development Initiative, Abia State
  2. Vision Spring Initiatives, Lagos
  3. Anthony Opara, a private citizen
  4. Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN), Enugu
  5. Elixir Trust Foundation, Benue State
  6. Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD), Rivers State
  7. Social and Integral Development Center (SIDEC),
    Anambra State
  8. African Centre for Entrepreneurship and Information Development (ACEIDEV), Abuja
  9. Centre for Mmadu on Human Rights, Enugu
  10. Grassroots Development Monitoring and Advocacy Centre (GDMAC), Ilorin Kwara State
  11. Women Environment and Youth Development Initiative (WOYODEV),
    Kwara State
  12. Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women, Kaduna State
  13. Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), Lagos
  14. Nnabuihe Azinkpali, Activist, Abuja
  15. Initiative for Safety Security and Educational Development (IPSSED NETWORK), Enugu State
  16. Centre for Transparency Advocacy, Abuja
  17. Koyenum Immalah Foundation, Benin
  18. ONYIGBUO, Stephen Uche, Private, Enugu.
  19. Social Intervention Advocacy Foundation (SIAF), Lagos
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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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Akpabio doles out N27m to 7 families of deceased Police officers

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The President of the Senate, Godswill Obot Akpabio has has dolled out N27m to families of seven police personnel killed at Ugheli forest in Delta State on 20th February, 2024.

Akpabio, while making the presentation of the posthumous awards on behalf of the Nigeria Police, announced that he would support each of the families with one million naira to pay their way back home while the Senate as an institution made a commitment to supoort the families of the deceased with N20 million.
Akpabio made the pledge at the maiden edition of the Nigeria Police Awards and Commendations Ceremony which held on Monday evening in Abuja.
In addition to the awards given on various aspects of policing, posthumous awards were also given in memorial recognition of the fallen heroes as Akpabio pledged the full cooperation and support of the National Assembly for better policing of Nigeria.

Akpabio told the audience which included Vice President Kashim Shettima that “as the leader of the National Assembly, I pledge our full cooperation and support for the better policing of Nigeria.

“We recognise the importance of a well-equipped and motivated police force in ensuring the security and well-being of our citizens.

“We will continue to work tirelessly to provide the necessary legislative framework and resources to enable the police to carry out their duties effectively.”

The Senate President commended the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun and the entire leadership of the Nigeria Police Force for organising the event and urged them to use the occasion to celebrate the achievements of the Nigeria Police Force and to reiterate the commitment to working together for a safer and more secured Nigeria.

Akpabio said: “I commend the Police for this maiden effort in organizing this awards ceremony. It is a testament to IGP Egbetokun’s commitment to giving honor to whom it is due.

“By recognizing the gallant, selfless and patriotic contributions of individual officers, we not only motivate them for higher performance but also reinforce the new policing agenda of the Force.

“This agenda focuses on internal ethical regeneration, restoration of professional standards and the enhancement of the anti-corruption drive.

“However, let us not ignore the challenges faced by the police in Nigeria. The ever-evolving landscape of crime and the increasing sophistication of criminal gangs pose significant obstacles.

“Moreso, as we honor the good officers, let us weed out the bad ones because a chain is as strong as its weakest link. It is crucial that we address these issues and work together to find solutions.

“The Police need the support and cooperation of all stakeholders to overcome these challenges and build a stronger and more effective Police Force.

“I congratulate the awardees who have excelled in their respective fields of policing. Their dedication, bravery and integrity have set them apart and made them deserving of this recognition.

“I commend each and every one of them for their outstanding performance and commitment to the service of our nation. I urge them to remember that to whom much is given, much is expected.

Representatives of the families of the deceased received the awards as well as cheques for their entitlements.
Kano State Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf also announced a donation of N20 million to support the families of the deceased.

The Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima commended the Senate President and Kano State Governor for their “show of empathy” to the affected families.

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