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Elections may not hold in Nigeria if security threats persists, CAN, Vision Africa, Warn

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The president, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Dr. Samson Ayokunle and the president, Vision Africa (VA), Bishop Sunday Onuoha have warned that elections may not hold in Nigeria come 2023 if insecurity is not addressed.

Both religious leaders stated this at the Inclusive Security Dialogue (ISD), organised by Global Peace Foundation and Vision Africa with a focus on “steps to violence-free elections” ahead of 2023.

According to the CAN president, security chiefs must educate those under them to prioritise the future of Nigeria over the selfish interests of politicians who want to use them as tools against peaceful elections.

He warned politicians to shelve their desperation to win elections and therefore advised Nigerians to take note of the money bags whose statements are that of desperation and desist from voting for such individuals.

He said, “This is the right time to do whatever we need to do to make sure that elections in 2023 are not a threat. The election that is to be won is not about any political party, it is about the future of Nigerians so if you put a mischief there because of your excessive love for your party, then you put Nigerians in great harm.

“Let us reject the money bags whose hands are soiled in corruption, who have wealth in excess that they cannot explain how they got it.

“We have the power of our votes to reject them this time around. Let us shine our eyes and not follow the crowd, let us be very deliberate when we are going to vote, don’t just follow political party; I am looking forward to the total emancipation of Nigerians to the point that we will look beyond political party when we want to vote, but the quality of the individual that each political party is presenting.
“It will go beyond ethnicity, religion, but zero in on the quality of that individual. We should look at their antecedence before committing our future into their hands with our votes.

“Insecurity, if it is not taken care of, there will be no election in 2023. In the present state we are, I see politicians more concerned about declaring interest. Which nation are you going to rule in 2023? Are you sure that the bandits and terrorists will not overwhelm us before 2023 the way things are going?

“Care must be taken to ensure that security agencies do not bamboozle anyone during the election and let us also plead with security chiefs to educate those under them not to destroy Nigeria by being used by any politician to carry out their personal interests.”

He stated that INEC must be seen to be transparent, unbiased and fair and adhere to the electoral laws strictly and not use them to manipulate or suit any individual, adding that background checks must be done for the ad-hoc staff that would be used for the elections.

He commended the government and the National Assembly for the passing of the electoral act into law which is a step in the right direction towards ensuring a free and fair election, but said that it is not enough in ensuring free and fair elections. “The party in power must be sincere in ensuring level playing ground for all contestants for the forthcoming 2023 general elections, ” he further said

The President, Vision Africa and Facilitator of the ISD, Bishop Sunday Onuoha on his part, emphasised the need to expand the list of stakeholders – leaders and influencers of the polity, in brainstorming solutions to a violence and crisis-free election.

He stressed the need to invest time in promoting a culture of peace in this time when the fortified walls and mechanism gates do not protect the elite.
He said that Nigeria under this insecurity stands the risk of not holding a fair election come 2023.

“The circulation of small arms and light weapons is contributing to the security challenge we have today. We must de-escalate tension and invest our time in promoting a culture of peace and not that of violence.

“It has become difficult to travel around the country due to insecurity. Fortified walls and highly mechanized gates do not protect the elite anymore.
“Faith leaders and traditional rulers are being kidnapped, and some are even killed. How can anyone conduct any meaningful election under this kind of insecurity?
“Poverty and unemployment could mar our elections because many have seen politics as a time to collect from the candidates.

“Our farmlands are not safe, our railways are not safe, our highways are not safe, and now, our airports are not safe either. We must be careful not to wake up one day to hear that non-state actors have blocked Mr. President from coming out of the villa.
“As of today, most of our national leaders no longer go back to their villages. Many are now Abuja-based, but even Abuja is no more a safe haven. Our fortified walls and mechanized gates will do little to ward off a well-calculated and organized band of marauders.
“We do not need a 4-year degree course of study to end the wanton destruction that threatens to destroy our heritage!

“Our children are at home and away from learning and catching up with their peers around the world, and we are politicizing their future over very petty and flimsy arguments.
“We may never be able to fully assess the psychological impact of these recurrent and counter-productive ASUU strikes, as it continues to endanger the future of our young and truncate their ambitions and life goals.

“To tackle these problems, first and foremost, we must deliberately choose to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. “Men of good conscience and consciousness must rise above ethnic sentiments and religious fanaticism to address these bedeviling challenges as our common enemy. Regardless of which region we were born in (a factor none of us could control), we all have the same basic needs, and we all feel pain and hurt the same way.

“In dealing with the security situation in Nigeria, we must stop ethnicising it. Criminals and extremists are found in every ethnic group and there are also men of good character in every ethnic group.
“Let men of goodwill from every part of our country come together for the sake of our shared humanity, because without one, the other suffers, ” the cleric said.

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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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