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Akufo-Addo leaves for G-20 compact with Africa conference in Germany
October 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Akufo Addo

Akufo Addo

President  Akufo-Addo, has left Ghana to participate in the conference on the G-20 Compact with Africa, taking place in Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany, between 29th and 31st October. On his way, he made a stopover in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, to confer with his Ivorian counterpart, President Alassane Ouattara, on bilateral and regional issues.

The Compact with Africa (CwA) was initiated in 2017, under the German G20 Presidency, to promote private investment in Africa, including in infrastructure. The 2018 Conference is bringing together reform-minded African countries, international organizations and bilateral partners from G20 and beyond to co-ordinate country-specific reform agendas, support respective policy measures and advertise investment opportunities to private investors.

Already, Ghana, under the Compact, has signed a 100 million Euros bilateral Investment and Reform Partnership agreement with Germany to promote private investment in renewable energy and vocational training.

Whilst in Germany, and on the sidelines of the conference, President Akufo-Addo will hold bilateral talks with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, as well as hold meetings with CEOs of German global enterprises, Volkswagen and Siemens, about their proposed investments in Ghana.

President Akufo-Addo will, on Wednesday, 31st October, 2018, deliver the keynote speech at the 18th International Economic Forum on Africa of the powerful Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), taking place in Paris, France. The Forum will scrutinise the key topics of growth, employment, migration and development in the wake of Africa’s historic decision for closer integration.

He was accompanied by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, MP; Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, and officials from the Presidency and Foreign Ministry.

President Akufo-Addo will return to Ghana on Wednesday, 31st October, 2018, and in his absence the Vice President, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, shall, in accordance with Article 60(8) of the Constitution, act in his stead.

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Nigeria:Updates on the Missing General
October 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Clara Obi

Major General Idris Alkali (rtd)

Major General Idris Alkali (rtd)

The General commanding 3 Division, Major General Benson Akinroluyo who led the Nigerian Army and cordon in search of the missing retiring General, Major General Idris Alkali discovered that the missing General was killed and buried in a shallow grave by unknown men.

According to general Akinroluyo, the retiring general was killed by some angry youths who barricaded the road during a protest. The late general who was travelling along the jos road in his black Toyota corolla was stopped and killed by the youths even after introducing himself as a general in the Nigerian army.

How far has the Nigerian Army gone with the search?

A lot has been put to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice. While in search of his missing body, a shallow grave was discovered in a place called “no man’s land” which was identified by four suspects and sniffer dogs which led the troops on a search and rescue operation to the place where the corpse of the general was earlier buried but subsequently removed.

General Akinroluyo reported that the four suspects were not known to each other but they all differently took the team to the same shallow grave as well as the well trained Sniffer dogs. He said those sniffer dogs were trained with the wears of the missing officer and when they reached the spot where the missing general was buried, they stopped and hover around the spot and concurrently, this was the only place they were led to by the sniffer dogs and the three different suspects.

Interestingly, three of the suspects voluntarily brought themselves to the plateau state police command in jos. The Village head dura-du district in jos south local government area of plateau state,Yakubu Rapp a tipper driver,  Timothy Chuwang and youth leader of the community, Mathew Rwang were those suspects who voluntarily showed up in the state police command 24 hours after being declared wanted by the police.

While some suspects are still waiting to see how those in the police custody would be treated, briefing newsmen at the headquarters, Akinroluyo said the missing general’s car was found weeks ago in the community abandoned pond and the troops had to evacuate everything from the pond to see what is inside but while in the process, some women barricaded to protest against the evacuation of the water saying the water had been of a cultural significance to the community.

The leader of the protesters, Mary Yakubu told Gen Akinroluyo that “if the water is drained out, it could lead to death of our sons and husbands” she cried but according to the general “nothing is going to stop this act except it is a directive from the Army headquarters.

The Army general Akinroluyo did not fail to evacuate the pond as no directives were put to stop them from their headquarters. According to gen Akinroluyo, the missing general’s toyota alongside three other cars were found in the pond. A blood stained T-shirt, a short and a pair of shoes were also found in the car while some other of his belongings such as phone, laptop cash and clothes were said to have been shared among the unknown killers.

Subsequent to the recent findings of his corpse, car and some other belongings found in the community, a meeting was held and a specialist was contracted with immediate effect. His corpse which was earlier buried in a shallow grave was exhumed and relocated away from the community and the specialist who was contracted for the job was later arrested and now in the police custody. Well it’s obvious that the whole community should be at stake but the Nigerian Army is trying to fish out the perpetrators and pleading the community should cooperate with them.

Other rising controversy

Still in search of the suspects, one Idris Ahmed of citizens United for peace and security “an opponent of the people of plateau state and an enemy to the Nigeria army “ was accused to have been posting some wrong statement about the state government and the search of the general by Nigerian Army.

He said “the committed effort of Nigerian Army and the chief of Army staff, lieutenant general Tukur Yusuf to get to the end of the whole story behind the disappearance of General Alkali is a remarkable one but unfortunately just like any country it has its own sad story to share”.

In this regard the president of PPJF, Alexander Mamedu and other members of the state finds it unethical and irresponsible saying that Idris Ahmed has put himself into the highest authority to have declared the retiring general Alkali dead to an extent of already paying tribute to his family.

Ahmed also claimed that the resignation of the late general from the Nigerian Army was as a result of the general’s inability to tolerate corruption that was going on at the highest level of the military hierarchy. It was seen that his post of instigating the people against the Army and the government of the state with the Berom ethnic nationality of becoming the hate speech is almost on a hit as followers like Awwal Yusuf and Fatima A Santuraki have embraced his taught and call for a conflict against Beroms.

According to daily post, Mr Ahmed was told to allow the Nigerian Army do its job perfectly and not to create unnecessary thought in the minds of the people.

The leaders of the community have also called on the people of the state to cooperate with the Nigerian Army so as to do justice to the case of the missing general.

The Nigerian Army said the operation has been conducted in line with respect for Human rights that is why they try to keep target on just the perpetrators and all efforts are being made to bring them to justice and call on everyone within its area to be vigilant and report any suspect case of insurgency.

Finally, the division also wishes to commend members of the pubic for their support and still solicit for anyone with sound information on where the retiring general was reburied.

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Polio: WHO Warns Nigeria not to Relent Effort until the Virus is totally eradicated
October 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Clara Obi

File picture.Dr Moeti flags off a Polio & Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) integrated

File picture.Dr Moeti flags off a Polio & Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) integrated

Polio is a virus that is liable to cause paralysis of the limb which is mainly common among children. According to the WHO this endemic virus is likely to cause more than 20,000 death cases each year. However, following the detection of this virus in the northern part of Nigeria, multiple vaccination campaign has been set to raise population against the widespread of the poliovirus. Nigeria and other neighbouring countries are teaming up to tackle this impending disease.

As Nigeria join the rest of the world in celebrating the world polio day, the WHO commended the effort of Nigeria to help curb this disease and also advises the country not to relent in their effort to eradicate this virus. Although the WHO regional director of Africa Dr Matshiso Moet further stated that all countries will continue to remain at risk of this outbreak until polio is totally eradicated. She made it known that Africa is likely to be a polio free region by 2020 if there are no further cases of the virus alongide strong surveillance to curb this poliomyelities.

A range of innovative strategies are being put together to reach out to children, mostly those who stay in areas where this disease can be easily spread. Nigeria and other countries are working endlessly to ensure that polio is a thing of the past. More effort is being seen by the government In support of this eradication with the funding of some programmes to help increase the awareness of the virus.

Polio in Nigeria

Although the number of polio cases has decreased in some region in Africa, but according to study, Nigeria still has half of the world’s cases of polio, which eventually need a quick and immediate response from the ministry of health. During this year’s polio day organized by WHO, the minister of health Isaac Adewole who was in attendance said over 120,000 children are yet to be immunised in the north eastern part of the country. He however said that the insurgency in that part of the country has made the rapid spread of this disease through ingesting food or water containing fecal matter.

Mr Adewole still applauded the effort of Nigeria and Africa at large in eradicating this virus saying although there is no cure but some countries has improvised safety measures and vaccines to prevent its spread.

How have we tackled the spread of Polio

As earlier stated, the polio virus so far has not been cured but there have been vaccines that prevent its spread in the community and recently it has been a good one for Africans in tackling this disease with some great improvement seen in the region.

In 2012, a hundred and twenty eight cases of the polio spread were reported in Africa but interestingly 76 cases were later reported in 2013, 16 cases in 2014 and none in 2015 . Obviously that’s a great record although some research lately confirmed two new cases in borno state, Nigeria. The government in the north eastern part of the country has declared emergency on the outbreak followed by the implementation of large supplementary immunization activities in the affected state.

The regional boss said that since the launch of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, there has been a drastic reduction in the cases of the virus by more than 99.9 percent.

 

Polio in Africa

According to research, Kenya has the highest risk of this outbreak which occur as a result of the inability to vaccinate at least 20 per cent of its 1.5 million children. In a recent news update, the ministry of health, Kenya paediatric association partnering with other health association are launching a nation wide campaign to prevent the continuous spread of this disease with a target of curbing this disease among those under the age of 5. It is a house to house campaign to help eradicate this disease by immunising every child. Although, Ethiopia celebrated a polio free status, other regions in Africa are still advised to remain committed to its polio eradication effort in order to put an end to polio. The government of Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria as well as other countries in the region are working together to end this outbreak as soon as possible.

Nigeria may be polio free by 2019

Lately, some interesting solution has been made to curb the disease and soon Nigeria will be declared a polio free region. Mr Kola Sodipo said this in the just concluded house to house campaign to eradicate the virus. The district governor of the rotary club Mr Sodipo said the club had spent some billions of dollars in campaign erdication. While speaking with journalists, Sodipo posited that for the past 26 months there has not been any single case of the virus in the country. In the recent research study it was recorded that the cases of polio has been reduced from 388 to zero assuring that Nigeria will be removed from the polio endemic nations by next year.

The polio infrastructure in Nigeria is a developed system that governments and other partners can rely on to achieve this nationwide health coverage, the country’s WHO representative Dr Wondimagegnehu said they will continue to ensure its adequate support to the federal and state government.

However, the WHO said they won’t stop until every child is vaccinated against the virus. Urging the health workers not to relent in its effort until the polio is totally eradicated since other countries are still at risk of the outbreak. The Africa region can only be a certified polio free region if three years have passed and there is no case of the virus.

Therefore, WHO advises that all partners needs to work together to stop the outbreak and also, increase community awareness among us. Parents and communities need to work together to ensure their children are protected from this virus. It is important that health facilities and parents work together to make polio a history in the region.

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Prof. Chidi Odinkalu Demands Election Results Be Collated And Transmitted Digitally In The Nigerian 2019 Elections.
October 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Clara Obi

 

Professor Chidi Odinkalu

Professor Chidi Odinkalu

It’s all hands on deck in Nigeria with her 2019 elections just around the corner. With the highly anticipated election season almost here, the Senior Team Manager, Africa Programme, Open Society Justice Initiative, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, has come forth with a motion, pushing for the digital collation and transmission of election results.

 

At a conference held in Abuja on Thursday last week, and so themed; Government, New Media and Civic Spaces, Prof. Odinkalu explained that digitally collating, transmitting and essentially compiling all data in respect of the elections, would solve major road blocks. He also tried to highlight some of the challenges faced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), attempting to spell out, that going digital is a viable option that should be considered.

 

As further explained by Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, a former chairman of the Governing Board of National Human Rights Commission, one of the biggest pitfalls of Nigeria’s election on all levels is result collation. The professor sited that one of the foremost problems of electoral misconduct in the country, can be attributed to the unsafe and unprofessional method in which election results are put together.

 

There’s typically a large movement of documented papers and votes polled handled by one too many people during elections. Prof. Odinkalu argues that the movement of such sensitive materials that are potentially capable of making or marring a candidate’s legitimate chances of winning, can only lead to massive corruption. These documents are taken from the polling units to INEC and any number of things can interfere with the integrity of the results, he explained.

 

The inadequately monitored movement of materials after an election exercise from the polling units to the local government collation center, or the state collation center and even the national collation center, is nothing but an avenue for fraud.

 

To fully understand the magnitude on which the potential for such grand corruption lies, there are 119,973 polling units currently in existence that will be employed for the 2019 elections according to Prof. Odinkalu. Each polling unit around the country has a significant number of people assigned to it. When you factor in the multitude of people that will be going through this collation process, it becomes quite imminent that electoral mishaps are bound to occur.

 

Nigeria has performed elections for more than two decades now and yet incidents like stolen or missing ballot boxes still plague the electoral process. The vulnerability of the whole exercise will always be at an all time high as long as the analogue approach is still in use. Prof. Odinkalu fantasizes that if the digital option was activated, criminal activities such as stealing of ballot boxes, things like rigging very well known to be the order of the day and other unfortunate, unpleasant circumstances can be avoided.

 

The professor postulated that if all the polling units scattered around the country were digital data transmission enabled, this fiasco would disappear in a jiffy. He proposes that going digital will be phenomenal for Nigerians and INEC alike. He is reported to have inquired of the government and relevant authorities, asking if the digital way out would be employed in the 2019 elections or at least taken into consideration for the elections in 2023.

 

Speaking on social media, Prof. Odinkalu says there are real threats that may or may not arise via the participation of Nigerians digitally. He therefore charged Nigerians to keep the election banter to a respectable degree in order to foster a united nation. In addition, he also made reference to the fact that if Nigerians do not intentionally desist from causing harm and chaos to the elections on social media, they should all be ready to face the consequences.

 

Odinkalu laid down emphasis in his remarks concerning the use of social media by all parties involved. He explained that everyone had a huge role to play and it did not matter in what capacity they did so. He charged INEC to be intentional in disseminating helpful, not unclear information via social media. He also admonished the police and other security agencies to strongly utilize their social media positively, constantly reassuring the people. Lastly, he encouraged the masses to take complete advantage of their social media. He enjoined them to use it as a tool to not only effect a change but more importantly to monitor and speak up concerning the turn of events during the forthcoming elections.

 

The Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative, Gbenga Sesan, was also said to have made remarks concerning the involvement of Nigerians digitally, stating that at four months to the elections, the conference couldn’t have come at a better time. He said this at the same New Media, Citizens & Governance Conference (#NMCG2018) organized by Paradigm Initiative, BudgIT and Enough is Enough.

 

Mr. Sesan tried to illustrate that the conference was a welcomed opportunity and deemed it necessary in aiding all and sundry in critically analyzing the impact of the electorate in the digital atmosphere. It is no secret that the influence of social media in Nigeria is on a steady rise and has continued to gain momentum. Mr. Gbenga Sesan is of the opinion that this growth needs to be monitored and hence the conference was therefore paramount in achieving this. He maintained that it helped to lead the right conversations pertaining to Nigerians and their digital interaction with government and politics.

 

In closing, an Emmanuel Alebiosu, from the Department of Political Science, Federal University, Wukari, further hinted that the conference was beneficial in keeping the Nigerian populace abreast on how to effectively utilize the power of social media as the elections drew nearer. These statements were made to support and also to lay emphasis on the huge role the Nigerian social media is going to play in the forthcoming elections.

 

All over the world, the power of social media has been used to change policies, keeping public exercises like elections and public officials honest. Subscribing to Prof. Chidi Odinkalu’s perspective, the digitalization of the Nigerian electoral process would be a defining moment in the nation’s history towards achieving free and fair elections.

 

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Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla to Visit Nigeria in 2 Weeks
October 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Clara Obi

File picture.Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall met models in traditional Zulu attire as they visited Soweto. Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

File picture.Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall met models in traditional Zulu attire as they visited Soweto.
Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

We all love the Royal family. We love their culture, their clothing, their chinaware, cities, monuments and all of what England has to offer. But what we especially love is their interest in society, charities and actual contributions in making the world a better place. Now, this entire family doesn’t take all these responsibilities lightly, and yet again even in their advanced ages, they are planning a visit to the African continent in 2 weeks. The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, who by the way is the heir apparent to the throne of England, and his wife the Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess Camilla are set to embark on a royal trip of nine days to Africa. England’s number 2 couple is said to follow in the footsteps of May, the British Prime Minister, who had just visited South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya in August.

When does it start?

The royal trip to Sub-Saharan Africa begins on the 31st of October, with Nigeria being the royal couple’s first stop. The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall are expected to arrive Nigeria on the 6th of November 2018, which is two weeks from today. They will embark on this journey on the same day the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Prince Harry and Meghan Markle) will be expected to arrive in England from their tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and the Kingdom of Tonga which lasted 2 weeks. So it’s very likely that they miss each other.

As part of their 9 day tour of Africa, it is also required of them by the British government to also visit Ghana and The Gambia. This information was relayed by the British High Commissioner in Nigeria in the person of Paul Tarkwright. The High commissioner’s statement was made in Abuja, Nigeria capital city on Wednesday the 24th of October. He further added that he’s looking forward to the welcoming ‘Their Royal Highnesses’ to an experience of wealth and cultural diversity that is embedded in Nigeria.

What is the purpose of the visit?

Unlike Theresa May, whose purpose was to reinforce Britain’s fortunes from its exit from the United Kingdom (Brexit fortunes), the royal couple, as stated by the British High Commissioner, is on a mandate to celebrate the dynamics of the United Kingdom in Africa. Also, this royal tour is about laying foundations for future partnerships with these three Commonwealth member countries on a leveled ground of mutual interests. The royal couple is also expected to visit some slavery sites and acknowledge slavery in these African continents, and really see its impact on the African society. After all, it is these three countries that were synonymous with selling off people as slaves to the British and American citizens. Even the royal family was actively involved in this practice, from Elizabeth the 1st who commended and supported John Hawkins, one of the first slave traders in Britain to King William the 4th who was a strong opposition to slavery abolition.

Who will they meet?

First of all, the Prince of Wales and his wife, Duchess Camilla will be warmly received by the president himself, President Muhammad Buhari at the presidential villa in Aso Rock immediately they arrive in Nigeria. The United Kingdom Mission Senior Communications Officer, Mrs Tinu Adelegan said that during the visit, the royal couple is expected to meet some of Nigeria’s dynamic youths. They will also meet the traditional leaders, the Nigerian armed forces, some artists, fashion, the Nigerian business hub and lastly some noticeable charity inclined sectors.

This visit is also supposed to shed light on the important themes in the UK – Nigeria relationship as well as solidify the country’s Commonwealth links, literacy, youth opportunities, women and girl child education, the country’s defense strategies and possible co-operations, it’s religious, ethnic as well as cultural diversity and other related opportunities. Their 2 day visit to Nigeria will involve a series of engagements in Abuja and Lagos. The aim of this is to tighten the UK-Nigeria cooperation across all its sectors, even in art, music, medical research, fashion and film.

During their visit the Prince and the Duchess will also partake in commemorative activities and events as a means to acknowledge the soldiers in Nigeria, The Gambia and Ghana who sacrificed so much during the war times. These fallen soldiers sacrificed their lives and properties during the first and second world wars and also during the recent international peacekeeping missions. The Deputy Private Secretary to the Prince of Wales, Scott Furssedonn-Wood added that ‘their tour will also highlight the people-to-people links between our countries and the invaluable contributions they make to our shared prosperity and security.’ This is the major significance of the royal Sub-Saharan African tour.

When will they leave?

This royal tour is set to kick off by the 31st of October. The Tour is 9 days long for the Prince and 7 days long for the Duchess. Their 2 day visit to Nigeria will elapse on the 9th of November 2018 after which the royal couple will move on to visit Ghana and The Gambia. In Ghana, the Prince will visit Christiansburg Castle which was built in the 17th century. This castle was previously a Danish slave fort, but after the abolition of slave trade, it was possessed and owned by the United Kingdom. This fort is found in Accra, Ghana’s capital city and up until a few years back, it was their seat of Governance. The Prince even stayed in this building during his 1977 visit to the country.

Lastly, the royal couple is expected to make it back to England before the Prince’s birthday which is on the 14th of November. The prince will be turning 70, and this celebration will continue throughout the year.

Its always an honor to receive the Royal Family in Nigeria, and yet again the heir apparent to the throne of England and his wife are embarking on a tour of Africa, where they will visit Nigeria, The Gambia and Ghana. Their visit is meant to tighten the UK-Nigeria relationship and cooperation across diverse sectors like health, culture, education, art etc. This is great news and as Nigerians, we are ecstatic to receive and host Prince Charles and his wife, Duchess Camilla during their visit.

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Nigeria is the strongest and most profitable economy in Africa, Kachikwu tells investors
October 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Teslim Olawore

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Emmanuel Kachikwu declared that Nigeria has the most profitable and strongest economy in Africa. He also said Nigeria is the most profitable investment destination in the world. He said this in Atlanta at ‘The Nigerian Oil and Gas Core Strategic Investors’ meeting, aimed at presenting the various investment opportunities in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry to the United States investors.

The minister said Nigeria looked to the Diasporas of Africa to see where they could form permanent partnership that would invest in very critical areas in the country, where they could break even in three years. Kachikwu said: “Infrastructure is key, the oil sector alone has infrastructure deficit of over 30 billion dollars to get us to where we should be.

“We need to be able to supply gas sufficiently to power the entire country, and if we succeed in doing that over the next 10 year-period, we would have a very booming economy. “Nigeria still has the strongest economy in Africa but we could double that, we could become quite frankly what America is to the entire American diasporas for Africa”.

The minister invited investors to come and invest in Nigeria, assuring that their investments are protected and safe. “So I invite you to a country that has its challenges but has huge opportunities probably the only country in the world where the average returns on investment is in excess of 25 per cent a year.”

“It is now time quite frankly for a lot of us who sit here as investors, as players, to begin to look to the country of the future – Nigeria.” He said since 2016, Nigeria started major policies called the ‘7 Big Wins’ focusing on gas, infrastructure growth, and trying to refine the country’s petroleum products locally.

The minister said Africa could not continue to be a continent dependent on aid, but that Africa had got to create trade, opportunities and mixes that would help the region stand on its feet. Executive Directors of the ministry and heads of its subsidiaries also added to what the minister said on the investment opportunities and attractiveness in the Nigerian oil and gas sector awaiting investors.

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Nigeria: Overstaying Foreigners to pay fine of $4000
October 27, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Teslim Olawore

The federal government of Nigeria has introduced strict measure against foreigners who overstay their visa approved days in the country. Depending on the number of days, foreigners who overstayed their visa deadline may pay from $200 to $4000 or its naira equivalent as a fine for attempting to beat the system.

Inside Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) sources confirmed that this policy has been implemented by the Ministry of Interiors, which also expects to generate revenues for the federal government.

For effective implementation of the policy, the federal government has ceded to Concec Limited the concession to generate money from this policy and since the implementation was approved, foreigners travelling outside the country and those still staying within have paid to legalise their stay in Nigeria.

“This policy has been implemented and it is not a secret. It is even on the notice for everyone to see. But Nigerian Immigration Service is not directly in charge; a company known as Concec Services Limited is in charge, though it is under Immigration. So this is punitive measure but if you wish to regularise your stay, you pay for it. It is stated in clear terms,” an immigration officer said.

So government through the Ministry of Interior is using this new regime to monitor the movement of foreigners, but the new policy does not affect visitors from ECOWAS nations. A document recently signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior and made available to newsmen indicated that a foreigner would be adjudged to have overstayed in the country if he exceeded the number of days approved for him in the visa he obtained from Nigeria.

The document, which was obtained from the Ministry, indicated that a non-ECOWAS visitor who intended to stay in Nigeria for a period exceeding 56 days, but not beyond 90 days aggregate would be sanctioned with a fine of $200 or the naira equivalent. or a non-ECOWAS visitor who stayed in Nigeria beyond 90 days, but not exceeding 180 days aggregate would be sanctioned with the sum of $1000 or its naira equivalent. Any non-ECOWAS visitor who intended to stay in Nigeria or who stayed for a period exceeding 180 days, but not beyond 365 days aggregate in the country would pay to the government the sum of $2000 or its equivalent.

Also, any non-ECOWAS visitor who overstayed in the country without authorisation or regularisation would pay penalty equivalent of $4000. An informed source confirmed that several foreigners especially from China, Malaysia and Indonesia had been sanctioned by the government for violating the orders.

The official who spoke to newsmen said, “The federal government had to introduce this new regime in order to monitor foreigners who abuse visas granted to them by the government. It was discovered that some of them intentionally overstay in Nigeria without regularising their papers. The government will not agree with this and will do everything humanly possible to stop such abuse.

However, in order to prevent corruption or leakages in the system, the federal government awarded the concession to a firm, Concec Services Limited, which liaises with officials of Immigration at various points for the remittance of the sanction fee.

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Cyber crime in Africa, studies and facts
October 27, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Khaled Mohamadi

The cost of cybercrime in 2017 has been estimated by the Center for Strategic and International Studies to be around $600 billion and has increased 22% since 2016. Africa, shares a $3.5 Billion of the total as a victim of cybercrime in 2017 – ISS

As business opportunities in Africa according to the Economist are booming in billions of dollars and are on the rise, ever increasingly available online services in banking and telecoms, offer interactions that require storage and access to user data. However, once data is online it has become vulnerable and available. It is not a published kind of availability, but crime is as professional and scientific as organizations have become. Both crime and protection are advancing in competition.

A cybercrime is simply any illegal activity carried out using a computer over the internet or wide network. Generally a computer is used to connect to another computer, server or network device. However, it is not a simple task to access a server on the other end as there are layers of security that challenge a criminal to breach.

Security Awareness in the African continent is on the rise but it seems insufficient in terms of keeping pace with development of cybercriminals from within and outside. It was reported that in 2014 cybercrime in Africa was increasing at a higher rate than anywhere in the world.

Africa has long been considered a fertile environment to commit criminal acts as awareness in governmental institutions has just started to pick. And in response there are countries speeding up like Egypt with its CBE (Central Bank of Egypt) enforcing strict regulations on the banking sector regarding user privacy and data protection, hence a general implementation of information security governance. This includes highly qualified individuals who possess information security know how.

Unfortunately, it has been reported by the Digital Guardian that increasing rate of cybersecurity talent shortage will amount to 3.5 million in 2021.

“The economic impact of inadequate cybersecurity is colossal. The Norton Cybercrime Report 2012 indicated that direct financial losses totaled an average of $197 per victim worldwide, while globally a grand $110 billion in direct financial loss was recorded.”

It has been indicated in a report developed by Data Group Connect focused on an economic correlation that focused on South Africa, Egypt, Kenya and Nigeria stated that cybersecurity directly affects an economies rate of growth.

IT and Information Security are two departments in any organization that work hand in hand along with other stakeholders to ensure that all 7 layers are secure using the latest technologies available.

Companies invest millions and billions of dollars on security devices and software and more to serve all the layers and make sure they are secure.

But it seems that on a yearly basis, security breaches and hacking incidents are a phenomenon that never cease to exist. On the contrary they are relentless, endless and unlikely to stop.

FACTS: The number of internet users in Africa has been reported to be 330,9 million (according to scidev.net) and the number of internet penetrations is 28,6% of all transactions. The number of cyberattacks neutralized by Kaspersky in 2014 in Africa were 49 million attacks.

Today planet earth has literally become a global village. It is one connected platform that offers instant communication, fast paced transactions of finances and information. Alas, the faster the widespread of technology the more we are vulnerable to attacks. Most services if not all, require input of one’s personal information including location. Especially social media, telecoms and banks are required to protect user information not only from the outside but also from the inside.

We are not only talking about organizations but also individuals are targets. Phishing emails target both worlds. Phishing is a type of social engineering attack. A very common word coined to describe malicious emails or communications that aim to collect sensitive information about a user such as username, password and credit card details. One of the methods of phishing is email. Where you receive a fake message imitating a known social media platform, requesting password reset. Or direct you to a fake login page of social media. In this case, if you are doubtful or as a method of precaution, always enter a fake password and if you appear to be signed in then you are definitely on a phishing website.

This not only about Africa and how it is vulnerable aside from the rest of the world. In the UK almost 50% of reported crimes are cyber related. It was identified that cybercrime is simply any criminal activity that is taking place in cyberspace. Same as robbing a bank or stealing valuable documents from a business. It is literally a parallel dimension where people connect and interact. But anonymity is the one characteristic of this realm that authorities, governments, enterprises and financial sectors are fighting. All entities are working simultaneously on identifying all individuals that connect or interact with them.

Businesses and institutions lose confidential information and intellectual property as they lack practice of proper protection methods. The increase in cybercrime and analysis of loss urge governments to apply new legislations. On the other hand businesses realize the threat when they are exposed to an attack or witness a market under siege.

“Cath Hackett, VP of Product Portfolio at Becrypt, commented: “Cyber risk is fast emerging as one of the most significant risks to most businesses. The proliferation of mobile devices means that organisations can no longer point to their data center as the repository of all their data. Data is everywhere and therefore harder to control. Should your company’s confidential information be disclosed to your competitors the impact could be significant and include lost sales, lost customers and lower profit margins.” – Business Matters

In the second half of 2018 Facebook had its security department hit by a comet. After being under heavy scrutiny for user information privacy breach and dissemination with third parties, a stronger slap on the face came as a surprise. Over 50 million accounts were compromised

It is no secret that no one is immune to cyber-attacks. In the past few years many organizations fell victim to attacks. Sony Pictures, Hacking Team (Cyber Security)…

In short, cybercrime is inevitable. Try not to share your private information. Don’t use other people’s phones to make any transactions. Create complex passwords. Back up your data. Practice safe clicking (do not download any attachments or click on any links). Lock your devices with password, finger prints and face/ voice recognition.

To some people, living off grid seems to be more relaxing and hassle free. Others enjoy the world of IOT (internet of things). Connecting all your devices and home appliances to your network for automation and to the internet for updates and communication is the trend of all trends – But you are definitely open to prying eyes and attackers. Today cars and watches have been added to the equation IOT everything is connected to a cloud (server that can be breached).

Cyber-awareness should be the message of this era!

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Nigeria: NDLEA clamour for community support in curbing drug abuse
October 27, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Teslim Olawore

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Friday said that the support of communities would be needed in order to succeed in its bid to get rid of drug abuse in the Federal Capital territory (FCT). Represented by the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the NDLEA FCT Command, Mr Peter Adegbe, in a meeting with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, yesterday said that stronger collaboration between NDLEA and the community would bring the desired result in the fight.

In his words, “I want to urge the community to help in the campaign against drug abuse by giving information that will help our operations at various black spots.” “The community needs to understand that without their support, the NDLEA will not only fail to deliver but also the society will be in danger.’’ Adegbe said that drug abuse leads to all forms of social vices and must be tackled collectively. According to him, the NDLEA has embarked on occasional sensitisation programmes on the dangers of drug abuse in the communities. “A lot of people ran away and we saw most of them entering shops around the place.”

“The community must come forward with information; they must not keep quiet and withhold tangible information.” According to him, without strong partnership with the community, the efforts of the NDLEA will be fruitless. “I appeal  to residents of the FCT to join hands with the NDLEA in ensuring a responsible society devoid of social vices.”

“The public needs to understand that they should also support the NDLEA in tackling this drug menace.” The spokesman said the command would not relent in its efforts to clean the FCT of hard drugs, adding that continuous campaign would be conducted. He urged Nigerians, most especially parents and guardians, to pay adequate attention to their wards and youths, describing them as vulnerable groups.

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Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire close to harmonizing trading system
October 27, 2018 | 0 Comments

The Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, has said Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire are close to harmonizing their system of trading cocoa at the world market to give some control to the producers at the cocoa market.

The harmonization will help the two countries in their quest to take a strong position on deciding the price of cocoa at the world market.

The two countries have been collaborating in recent times on how to improve the income of farmers in the two major cocoa producing countries.

Speaking as a panelist at the ongoing World Cocoa foundation meeting in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Mr Aidoo said a technical team has been set up between the two major cocoa producing countries to come out with the true cost of production per tonne and this they believe will serve as the basis of setting the floor price.

“It’s unethical, unfair and we cannot talk about the sustainability of the industry when we are not paying the commensurate and rewarding price to farmers,” said Mr Aidoo.

Mr Aidoo further indicated that all other producing countries will be engaged to be part of such a major revolution in the industry.

The world Cocoa foundation partnership is a meeting of all major and minor stakeholders in the cocoa industry.

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Army of jobless youth a danger to Africa – Akufo Addo
October 27, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Akufo Addo

Akufo Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has challenged participants of the high level retreat on the Promotion of Peace, Security and Stability in Africa to as a matter of urgency, develop a clear strategic plan that will aid the securing of Africa’s security.

Addressing the 9th High Level Retreat on the Promotion of Peace, Security and Stability in Africa on the theme: ‘Strengthening the African Union’s Conflict Prevention and Peacekeeping efforts,’ President Akufo-Addo said the African continent is blessed with a lot of youth, however, their continued unemployment challenge poses a continental security threat that must be dealt with within the shortest possible time.

“We are required to pay attention to the bubbling volcano that is the army of the young unemployed. The World Bank tells us that in forty African countries, over 50% of the population is under the age of 20. Indeed the median age across the continent is stated to be 19 years and five months. That is a lot of good energy that can be mobilized for the development of the continent. We must create opportunities and jobs for our youth or they risk becoming instruments of instability or targets of recruitment by terrorists,” the President said.

The President in the same vein noted that the high ranking officials drawn from the whole continent as well as the panel of the wise in their deliberations must develop strategies that would lead to security sector reform, peace support operations, the engagement of the youth and rehabilitation programmes to persuade them from joining extremist groups.

The AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui, in his opening remarks said the retreat will map up and discuss emerging threats to peace and security on the continent such as youth unemployment, as observed by President Akufo Addo and propose solutions to same.

He added that the fight against conflicts on the continent requires the collaborative efforts of all African Union organs and partners. He urged all the AU organs and partners to join forces to fight for the peace of Africa and for her prosperity.

Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of the UN office for West Africa (UNOWAS), Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambers in his address at the opening ceremony said, “The UN has observed that violent conflicts on the continent has increased after decades of its decline. It is the recommendation of the UN therefore that, to deal with these increasing conflicts on the continent, African leaders must ensure that African countries are resilient through investments in inclusive and sustainable development.”

 

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Italy arrests 3 African migrants in connection with teenager’s death.
October 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Teslim Olawore

The Italian police department have detained 3 migrants from Senegal and Nigeria in connection with the drugging, gang rape and death of an Italian teenager, which has reignited Italy’s tense immigration debate. Desiree Mariottini, 16, was last heard from on October 17, when she called her grandmother to say she missed the last bus home and would stay overnight in Rome with a friend.

Her body was found two days later, on October 19, in an abandoned building known as a drug den, in the San Lorenzo district of Rome. It is believed that she had been drugged and gang raped. Mayor of Rome Virginia Raggi announced on Twitter that she would move to place a 9 p.m. curfew on alcohol consumption in the district, police would carry out stricter checks and the building where the victim’s body was found would be demolished. In another tweet, she said police were still on the hunt for two accomplices to the “atrocious crime.”

“As the mayor, as a woman, and as a mother, I can not tolerate the harrowing image of a girl brutally raped killed,” she added in a Facebook post. Two Senegalese and one Nigerian were arrested on Thursday in connection with her death, rekindling Italy’s ongoing debate over immigration. But it was the reaction from Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini that gained much attention.

Even before the arrests were made, Salvini had used the case to push his anti-immigration policies. He visited the scene several times, promising to return with a bulldozer, which was met both by protesters chanting “jackal” and supporters who applauded him. “I will do everything to make the worms guilty of this horror pay,” he said in a tweet following reports of the arrests.

While some criticised Salvini for politicising the case, many of Italians took to social media to reignite discussion of the country’s policy on immigration. Italian Twitter user Sabrina Donna Rachele said she thought it was not propaganda to use the case as an example for discussion, saying “if those filthy beings had not been in Italy, Desiree would still be alive.” But others remained firm in their negative view of using the case to boost policy. This Twitter user from Italy’s Lombardy region said politicians should “take the culprits to the court of law,” but “not to use the human tragedy to political advantages.”

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