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President of the Senate laments over killings, says Nigerians are tired

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Apparently worried by incessant killings in the country by  different groups of criminals, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has decried the situation saying Nigerians are tired of stories on such carnages.

Lawan who spoke at the Maitama Guest House of the Senate President while thanking Senators and journalists covering the Senate who visited him on his 63 birthday, said the situation is not  too good for the country.
For that reason  he said his 63rd is going to be subdued and solemn occasion because of what the country is passing through. 
“Recently we lost 200people in Zanfara and some numbers in other parts of the country. 
“These are not the types of stories we want to hear as a Government and as a country.
“Few days ago, reports have it that over 200 people were killed in Zamfara. This is not the kind of story we want to hear as a people and as government.
According to him, the sense of sympathy, empathy and humanity guided the low-key celebration, praying that God will help the leadership of the country to find lasting solution to the security situation in the country.

“The country is going through a hard time security-wise. Challenges across all parts of the country, which stretched the Armed Forces who have been at their best to fight to defend Nigerian sovereignty”.

“The government has not been able to adequately provide for the needs of the Armed Forces, hence the resolve of the National Assembly to do it’s best in spontaneous reaction to appropriate funds for effectiveness of the Armed Forces and we promise to continue to do this”.

“The situation is not too good as far as the unwanton killings by all manners of criminals  are concerned.

“I however believed that things can be turned around for better within  the remaining one and half years left for this  present administration, inclusive of the 9th National Assembly “, he said .
He added that though the armed forces and security agencies generally, have been putting in their best in curtailing the killing spree, but more efforts and results are still expected from them.
“In supporting the security agencies for more potent war against the killers in the land, the National Assembly has appropriated over a trillion for security in the 2022 budget which will be monitored very well for desired results.
“In achieving  this, our relevant committees will ensure that procurement process is transparent and what and what projected to be bought or acquired, are bought.
“The security situation in the country is begging for more attention and it shall be given because that is the primary purpose of governance “, he added. 
He however stated that despite the security challenges in the country, the 9th National Assembly has collaborated well with the executive arm of government in giving dividends of democracy to Nigerians within the last two and half years .
“The first thing done by the 9th National Assembly in this regards , was the restoration of the January – December budget implementation timeline , which has helped in stabilising the economy.

“The 9th National Assembly based on  legislative agenda set at both Chambers in June 2019, has also helped in stabilising the polity through results – driven harmonious working relationship with the executive arm of government.

“We don’t mind whatever name being called now, our focus is on Nigeria and Nigerians and not unnecessary rivalry with any arm of government or even between the Senate and the House of Representatives ” . 
On borrowing, he said as long as expected revenues are not generated by agencies saddled with that purposes , so long will government be faced with challenges of borrowing.
“Nobody likes taking loans or accumulating debts but can’t be avoided as long as revenue generation is low.
‘In stemming the tide , aggressive engagements with various revenue generating agencies by relevant committees  in the Senate , will take  place on quarterly basis this year in meeting up and even  surpassing  targeted revenues for budgetary implementation .
“The current status of low revenue to GDP ratio must be changed “, he stressed.

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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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