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Insecurity: COAS Says only enduring solution is holistic assessment of root causes

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***Identifying, tracking sources of funding of insurgents, bandits, stifling them

***Calls for whole of society approach to confront challenges

The Chief Of Army Staff Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya has challenged the entire country to take more than a passing interest on issues of security so that together the collective effort will put an end to all forms of insecurity
He therefore advocated for a need to evolve a whole of society approach for the respective security challenges confronting the nation.
He spoke recently at an interactive session with the senate committee on Army chaired by Senator Ali Ndume.

According to him the enduring solution to the security challenges is a holistic assessment of the root causes of the issues however, he lamented that unfortunately there are challenges as to securing adequate buy in of all the stakeholders to come to the understanding that security is a whole of nations efforts.

This lack of buy in he said has limited the flow of information to promptly identify threats to deal decisively with them. 
“There is therefore the need for sustained advocacy by the respective national institutions such as the senate committee on Army and the national assembly to further awaken the various stakeholders to their responsibilities. 
The COAS indicated that current security  situation across the nation remains fluid and requires that collective approach
“To this end the Nigerian army consider it expedient that enhance effort be targeted at identifying and addressing the root causes of the various security challenges across the country. 
“It is equally important for the government to sustain efforts at improving the manpower challenges and equipment shortfalls in the Nigerian army while also improving the capacity of the primary responders in internal security. 
“There is also the need to enhance ongoing measures to identify and track the sources of funding of insurgents, bandits and other criminal elements with a view to stifling the flow of funds.
He expressed the optimism that he has no doubt that the collective efforts of all Nigerians will be crowned with the required success.
Continuing he said, “In spite of the modest achievements it is evident that there are areas needing more interventions to enhance our operational actives. 

“There is a need for additional manpower and force enablers as the Nigerian Army is far stretched beyond any other time in our history. “The plethora of security challenges imply that our troops are largely committed to one operation in one theater or the other with little respite for the culprits.

“It is increasingly becoming clear that a systematic and fast tracking of manpower strength is imperative too be able to maintain the tempo and adequately support the police. 

“Similarly the employment of other force enablers as well as further development of the capacity of the primary security agencies responsible for intra security is imperative.”

In these security challenges confronting the nation he observed that absence of buy in of the various stakeholders remains a major setback as he reiterated the fact that Security remains a responsibility of every stakeholder which require their buy in for it to be effective. 
“We have challenges really but we are working on the challenges. The Army along with other services, talking about the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Air Force, other security agencies and stakeholders are on it and I want to assure of our commitment and dedication to achieving the results for which we are set. 

“The mandate given to us by the commander in chief of the armed forces. We are doing that. The challenges sometimes appear pervasive but they are not insurmountable otherwise many successes are being recorded. 

“The only thing is that for every event probably you have seen 10, 15, 20 others have been averted, foiled or defeated.”

He said over the past months the Nigerian army made concerted effort at enhancing its operations across the country which are mostly in support of the Nigerian police in order to improve the general security environment.

“In spite of our modest achievements the security situation across the country remains fluid as the Nigerian Army continue to confront security threat scenarios many of which beg for far reaching efforts and tools other than military to sufficiently address them. 

“It is therefore important to emphasize at this point that the enduring solution to a number of current challenges require a holistic assessment of their root causes and emplacing multidimensional interventions to address them. 

“The Nigerian Army under my command remains ever willing ready to continue to improve our operations and to act decisively. We are therefore confident that the weeks ahead portend optimistic outcomes as we are buoyed by the assurances of the Present leadership and the support of the committees like yours  in driving the activities of organs of government to accomplish ongoing operations”

He said they have made remarkable strides in the North east theater since the beginning of the year. 

The offensive operations being carried out across the theater and in conjunction with the multinational joint tax force has stabilized situation in the region. 

“Our troops have cleared and are dominating most of the hide outs in Timbuktu triangle, Sambisa Forest as well as other locations in Northern Borno. 

“There have also been a lot of recoveries in terms of arms and ammunitions as well as various equipments from the terrorists. 

“The operations were complemented by a well crafted non kinetic lines of efforts and other enabling activities which ensured a sustained surrender of bokoharam and ISWAP terrorists. Thus as at today over 51000of the terrorists and their families have so far surrendered.”

He said there multiple interventions in the theater in terms of the procurement and the induction of needed platforms, equipments and other logistics, number of theater nations, specific training for the troops as well as targeted welfare initiatives including the emplacement of the routine welfare to boost troops morale were also emplaced. 

“All these efforts have contributed to the successes being recorded in the Northeast theater. 

He expressed the optimism that by the end of the ongoing operation greater normalcy would have been returned to the Northeast leading to the return of more internally displaced person’s and restoration of civil authority across the area. 

“Now armed banditry manifesting in the form of terrorism, cattle rustling and abduction for Ransome have become one of the main issues in the North West region. 

“There were concerted efforts and interventions in Zamfara and Katsina States which were earlier identified as hotbeds for the criminals by the number of operations by 8 division Nigerian Army with the support of other services and agencies which helped to improve it’s overall presence with laudable successes. 

He said the actions however led to a noticeable drift in bandits activities to some areas in Kaduna and Niger States. 

“Furthermore the relocation of some elements of bokoharam and ISWAP terrorists including IED experts to the North West with the ongoing operations in the North East as well as economic gains further exercebated the threats in the region. 

“This trans-boundary movement of the terrorist have unfortunately led to the surge in incidents recorded in Kaduna and Niger States including recent attack on the Abuja -Kaduna train service on 28th March 2022 as well as those on isolated villages particularly in Kachia, Zangon Kataf Local Government areas and others. “Expectedly efforts are ongoing with services and agencies to expand our operations to clear the terrorists from their hideouts and rescue the abductees. 

“There are also ongoing efforts at improving synergy and cooperation with other services and security agencies for holistic and enduring interventions against criminals. 

“In the North Central the security issue is a blend of banditry in Niger State and farmers/herders crises and ethnic clashes in plateau and Benue States. “These necessitated several interventions that have seen an improvement in the situation across the zone, although with some challenges especially in Niger. 

“In Plateau and Benue States a deep combination of Kinetic and non kinetic efforts  were driven by ‘Operation Safe Haven’  and ‘Operation Wild Stroke’ which has curtailed the farmers/herders crashes in Plateau, Benue and Nasarawa States, though one off incidences are still being recorded. 

“On the other hand Niger State witnessed a surge in banditry activities particularly in the month of January and February in 2022 largely due to the southward movement of the criminals in operations in Zamfara and Katsina States 

“These necessitated several interventions including the operationalization of a new army unit in Bida. The resultant improvement in the situation is being monitored even as greater stability is being envisaged in North Central in the weeks ahead.”

In the south west he said the security situation has remained largely calm with isolated cases of armed robbery and kidnapping in addition illegal oil bunkering activities continue to received the required attention. “Equally the activities of criminals around old Oyo National Park are being decisively dealt with.”

He said their contingency plans are undergoing the much needed reviews to support the police at the electioneering period kicks in with the gubernatorial election in Ekiti and Osun States scheduled for 18th June 2022 and 26th July 2022 respectively

“Consequently our formations are being resourced and efforts are ongoing in concert with other security agencies to insulate the zone from politically induced security problems. “Security threats in Southeast continue to revolve around the activities of the proscribed indigenous people of Biafra an eastern security network. In this regards intelligent driven operations have led to the arrest and neutralization of a special number of the criminals and domination of their hideouts and camps. 

“In spite of the gains made the criminals have shown some resilience with IPOB and ESN trying on piece mill deployment of security agencies Although with very limited success.”

The COS observed that the criminals have also continued to invest in the development and deployment of IEDs with a number if such IEDs being recovered since the beginning the year. 

“Nevertheless deliberate operations have continued to senate.leading to special recoveries and improvement in the security situation.”

For the south South geopolitical zone he said it has remained largely calm although with limited incidence of kidnapping cultism and militancy being the main security threat. “Significantly oil oil theft in the region continue to constitute severe economic losses to the nation and provides criminals with funds for their illegal enterprises. 

“Accordingly the Nigerian army has stepped up offensive operations targeting oil thieves with significant results. 

“The efforts have been complimented in some states of the region through an improved buy in of the local authorities against the menace of illegal oil bunkering. 

“This has expectedly led to direct attacks on troops intended to dissuade troops from further anti illegal bunkering operations. 

“The Nigerian army will continue to further deepen synergy with other security agencies in order to enhance the flow of intelligence on major oil thieves with a view to countering their actives. In respect of releases for the fiscal year”

Earlier the senate committee chairman Senator Ali Ndume said they invited the army to the interactive session because of rising insecurity

He said it is an opportunity to boost the confidence of the general public those information you will want to share with them because Nigerians have been looking forward to the interactive session due to the worrisome security situation.

He sited  the escalated one recently

Starting with the event in the north east, ‘that is what you have been battling with for a decade now and then the recent daring attack on the train last two weeks that led to the death of about 8 or more people and the kidnap of unconfirmed number of people and unaccounted number of passengers 

“The most recent one again is in the North west and also in the north central. What happened recently in Wase in Plateau and even now in the last 71 hours over 31 people have been killed in the South East.

South west is relatively calm. 

“That is why we want as a committee oversigting the army to share or to get information about what you are doing about this and what is the level of your achievement and what level of confidence you will build on Nigerians 

“The second one the issue of funding the committee has been crying out on your behalf. 

“We want to know how far these funds have been released overhead and recurrent, what challenges and also we will go for oversight and see for ourselves the level of implementation or utilisation of the fund allocated. “Basically that is the reason why we invited you here today to have an interactive session so that we will know what we would do in order to support you as you continue to do that to achieve what you set out and to overcome the numerous challenges that the Nigerian Army is facing.”

He said the senate knows that most of the issues are internal which is more of policing but the army is now engaged in war and policing at the same time. 

“We want to know the challenges and the expectations so that we can interact with other committees especially that of police and security services to overcome this worrisome situation

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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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