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Ex-Army Chief, Buratai Lobbies Beninese Government To Extradite Sunday Igboho To Nigeria



The media was told that Buratai, who was appointed Nigerian envoy to Benin in June 2021, was also instrumental to the arrest of Sunday Igboho.

The Nigerian Ambassador to the Benin Republic, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (retd.),  is in the forefront of the desperate efforts by the Muhammadu Buhari regime to get Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, aka Igboho, extradited to Nigeria.

The media was told that Buratai, who was appointed Nigerian envoy to Benin in June 2021, was also instrumental to the arrest of Sunday Igboho.

A top security source in the Benin Republic revealed that Buratai had secretly written a letter to the Beninese security agencies to arrest Igboho wherever they found him.

“At the moment, Buratai is leading other Nigerian officials and lawyers together with the Interpol to ensure that Igboho is returned to Nigeria as soon as possible. He wants to make that his first success,” a source noted.

“Buratai since the declaration by the Department of State Services sent a secret letter to the Beninese government to be on the lookout for Igboho. There were feelers that Igboho was in the small West African country and some of Igboho’s associates also gave him away,” the source added.

Buratai’s memo was behind the arrest of Igboho and his wife, Ropo, at the Cadjèhoun Airport in Cotonou, the largest city in the French-speaking country.

Recall that three weeks ago, the Department of State Services declared Igboho wanted for allegedly stockpiling arms, an allegation he had since denied.

Before then, the DSS on July 1, 2021 raided his house at Soka area of Ibadan, killing  two of his aides and arresting 12 others.

Later that day, the DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, at a press briefing in Abuja, paraded Igboho’s associates and detained them thereafter, denying them access to their lawyers and not charging them to court.

The DSS also paraded some passports, AK-47 rifles, rounds of ammunition, African bulletproof vests, among others as exhibits. The secret police claimed that the items were recovered from Igboho’s house during the bloody raid.

Meanwhile, the activist’s lawyers have reached out to the Benin Republic government to halt his extradition.

It was gathered on Tuesday that the legal team in Benin met with some senior officials in the Francophone country to thwart moves by the Federal Government to repatriate Igboho.

Speaking on the circumstances of Igboho’s arrest and moves by the FG to repatriate him to Nigeria, one of the activist’s lawyers, Pelumi Olajengbesi, explained that the legal team representing the activist had said  they would do all that was necessary to prevent their client’s extradition.

Speaking with Punch, he said, “The lawyers we engaged in Benin have met with some  officials of the country to prevent the extradition.

“Igboho’s lawyers in Benin have already reached out to senior officials in Benin to ensure that he is not brought back to Nigeria. They (legal team) have assured us that they are doing all that is necessary to keep him in Benin.

“The Federal Government or Benin Republic won’t be able to circumvent the law to bring him to Nigeria. He is currently a prisoner of conscience in Benin Republic and the entire world is watching how the Benin government would manage the matter.”

Culled from the Sahara Reporters


EFCC arrests ex-governor, wife over corruption allegations



The ex-governor is being grilled at the headquarters of the EFCC in Abuja, sources say.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested a former Governor of Nasarawa State and serving senator, Tanko Al-Makura, and his wife, Mairo.

The couples are currently being grilled by operatives of the anti-graft agency at its headquarters in Abuja, sources in the anti-graft agency told PREMIUM TIMES.

Although details of the allegation against the ex-governor and his wife were sketchy as of press time, the sources said their arrest relates to an alleged breach of trust and misappropriation of funds allegedly perpetrated during the former governor’s eight-year administration as Nasarawa State governor.

Mr Al-Makura served as Governor of Nasarawa State between 2011 and 2019 before he was elected into the National Assembly as Senator representing Nasarawa South Senatorial District.

When contacted, the spokesman of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren said he was yet to be briefed on the development.

When contacted for his comment, the ex-governor’s spokesperson, Danjuma Joseph, said he was not aware of the arrest.

“His Excellency left Lafia (Nasarawa State capital) for Abuja this morning. I am not aware of such arrest,” Mr Joseph said.

The former governor, until Wednesday, has never been known to be facing EFCC probe.

The EFCC had, in fact, been helpful to the ex-governor’s family when a suspected fake investigator allegedly tried to defraud the then sitting governor in 2018.

The suspect, Mohammed Momoh, was said to have while posing as a “private investigator from the villa” approached Mr Al-Makura’s wife with a proposition to help stop a purported investigation of two accounts belonging to the governor.

Mr Momoh, who was arraigned before an FCT High Court, reportedly claimed that he came across information regarding the two accounts that had been under investigation since 2011 and also intercepted mails of an investigation report purportedly sent to First Bank by the

Culled from the Premium Times Nigeria

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How NCC misled lawmakers, Nigerians on electronic transmission of election results



Documents emerge showing NCC, telecom operators and INEC agreed to transmit election results electronically.

In the presence of journalists, and an anxious public, the Senate passed the electoral bill on July 15. The next day, again amid chaos, the House of Representatives passed it too.

Allegations of backdoor moves to alter the consensus provisions of the bill were rife prior to the passage, all of which the National Assembly denied.

Long sought by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and craved by many Nigerians, the provision in section 52(3) for the electronic transmission of election results generated the most controversy.

Proponents wanted the National Assembly to legally empower INEC with the responsibility to transmit election results electronically.

However, legislators, especially of the All Progressives Congress, many of whom voted along party lines, voted against it.

At the House of Representatives, the passage of the bill was brokered by a remarkable legislative maneuver which the opposition described as undemocratic.

INEC’s power to transmit election results electronically is now subject to the proposition of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the approval of the National Assembly.

By doing so, the National Assembly has stripped INEC of the independence it was due, analysts believe.

Assisted by the submission by the NCC, the National Assembly believes that INEC does not have the capacity to do it on its own, a development that has startled officials at the electoral commission, this newspaper learnt.

Findings by PREMIUM TIMES, however, show that the NCC, the regulatory agency for the telecoms sector, misled the lawmakers and indeed Nigerians on the electronic transmission of results; a view also shared by INEC.

INEC says NCC lied

When the debate at the House of Representatives on electronic transmission of results became heated, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, ruled that the NCC and INEC would be invited to guide the House on whether or not electronic transmission of results was practicable across the country.

When the NCC representative, Adeleke Adewolu, appeared before the lawmakers about a fortnight ago, he said less than half of the polling units in Nigeria have the needed network coverage for the transmission of election results.

The NCC commissioner, technical services, Ubale Maska, corroborated this by saying that by the survey the NCC conducted in 2018, about 50.3 per cent of the 109,000 polling units out of 119,000 polling units have 3G network facilities. Others, he noted, are with 2G network, while some are without coverage as of 2018.

To the consternation of many Nigerians including opposition lawmakers, INEC was not allowed to brief lawmakers on the matter, with majority of the lawmakers, perhaps influenced by the position of the NCC, voting against electronic transmission of results.

INEC, however, publicly faulted the claim that electronic transmission of results was not realisable due to poor network coverage across the country.

In what he described as a “blatant lie” during African Independent Television (AIT) breakfast programme Kakaaki, INEC’s director of publicity and voter education, Nick Dazang, faulted the claims by the NCC officials.

“In January 2018, INEC approached NCC that it wants a technological-driven Commission and both have been working closely to deliver free, fair and credible elections in our country for the benefit of our citizens. They are also aware that two network providers- MTN and Airtel have assisted JAMB conduct their examinations across Nigeria. So INEC is still wondering why NCC has suddenly made a U-turn that there is not enough network coverage in every part of Nigeria,” he said.

“I am convinced that if INEC was given the chance to appear before the National Assembly alongside NCC, the Commission would have told the Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members that all the network providers in Nigeria have assured INEC that network coverage is 100 per cent across the country,” Mr Dazang insisted.

“There is no website that is not prone to attack by hackers even in the most advanced nations but Nigerians should be rest assured that INEC has what it takes to fight off hackers and the Commission is well prepared to safeguard its websites against hackers.”

Documents back INEC, show NCC lied

Documents have now emerged affirming the capacity INEC had built prior to the 2019 general elections and which was vetted by both the NCC and officials of the four telecommunication companies. The documents also counter the submissions made by NCC.

The two documents seen by this newspaper detailed the minutes of the meetings INEC held in 2018 with the NCC and the telecoms.

The overall resolution was that electronic result transmission was “practicable” in spite of the improvements that were suggested.

NCC’s meeting with INEC in 2018

Pressed by a desire to improve Nigeria’s electoral system, the Independent National Electoral Commission chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, on January 30, 2018, visited his counterpart at the Nigerian Communications Commission, Umar Danbatta.

Top of the agenda of the meeting between delegates of the two government agencies was to discuss how they could collaborate to enhance the electoral process in the country.

The meeting birthed a joint technical committee, delegates of which were drawn from both teams and whose mandate was to “map out strategies that will reduce human interventions in the transmission of election results” while also ensuring quality electoral service delivery.

Headed by the NCC’s executive commissioner for technical services, Ubale Maska, it was co-chaired by INEC’s national commissioner, Muhammed Lecky.

From March 2018, the joint technical committee began to meet and it opted for the “traditional data communication connection service from MNOs using APN as the most appropriate solution for the electronic transmission of election results.”

This method, the final report of the committee submitted August 9, 2018, and reviewed by this medium showed, would help minimise cost and ensure “security and data confidentiality” which are “not guaranteed by the other solutions that were explored.”

This would require all operators to configure “one Access Point Name (APN) and Virtual Private Network (VPN) towards the INEC platform to enhance security,” one of the documents read.

While NCC was to present the network coverage map of the country detailing 2G, 3G and 4G coverage, INEC was tasked to provide the GPS coordinates of all its PUs nationwide.

The mappings will be mapped to the network coverage network (2G, 3G or 4G) and strength prevalent in each polling unit documents show.

“The coordinates of the INEC polling UNITS (PUs) and Ward Collation Centres (WCC) be forwarded to the Operators to enable superimposition of the same into their respective coverage maps,” the documents further read.

“The Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards to be used by INEC’s Card Readers should be customized to carry unique security features and functionalities.”

It was further resolved that the NCC should liaise with the law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety of the telecom infrastructure, especially during the election.

At the time, INEC had 119,973 polling units, and it was able to provide the coordinates for 118,302, and the commission was expected “to supply the balance of 1,671 PUs in due course.”

“Similarly, NCC carried out a coverage analysis of the PUs on the national mobile network coverage map based on the standard signal strength threshold of -95dBm.”

Telecoms consensus

In March 2018, INEC and NCC met with the quartet telecommunication companies of MTN, Airtel, Globacom and 9 Mobile to discuss “technology requirements for the electronic transmission of results (ETR) and its implications.” The four mobile operators together account for virtually all of Nigeria’s mobile telephone networks.

After the meeting, the consensus reached by all the operators was that “the requirements for the ETR proposed by INEC is practicable.”

They resolved at the meeting that “the solution that the INEC wants to deploy is possible, bearing in mind the cost implication related to network coverage especially in the remote areas where INEC have PUs and WCCs.”

Again, at another meeting on April 5, 2018, according to the minutes seen by PREMIUM TIMES, mobile operators in the country “all committed to the workability of the solution, having done similar service for JAMB and the FIRS.”

On one hand, MTN and Airtel both confirmed that they have jointly implemented similar solutions for the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB). On the other hand, 9 Mobile said it had done so for FIRS.

They nonetheless said there was a need for a “high level of confidentiality” to shield the system from infrastructure and personnel attacks “by unscrupulous politicians,” proper test running and deeper understanding of the systems.

This was to help “completely eliminate human interference in the result collation process in the country.”

This optimism came about a year to the 2019 general elections. However, largely because there was no legal backing for it, INEC did not implement in the 2019 elections.

With the next general elections about two years away, the NCC sang a different tune, thus influencing lawmakers to reject electronic transmission of results which many Nigerians believe would bring more transparency to the electoral process.

Culled from the Premium Times Nigeria

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Food insecurity looms in Northern Nigeria — UN



A UN official said an estimated 13 million people in northern Nigeria face the risk of acute food insecurity in the next few months.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) – Global Environment Facility (GEF) said the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) had warned that people in northern Nigeria are at risk of acute food insecurity.

The UN-FAO projected that an estimated 13 million people in the area face the risk of acute food insecurity in the next few months.

Rhoda Dia, Project Manager, UNDP – GEF, in charge of Resilient Food Security Project, gave out this information on Wednesday while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

Ms Dia who spoke on phone with NAN said the warning had become imperative because the country was facing growing levels of acute food insecurity due to decades of insecurity across the country.

She said the insecurity had resulted in increasing poverty and economic crises.

According to Ms Dia, the situation has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic and recently, the series of clashes between farmers and herders.

She stated that, women, girls and the elderly were the most vulnerable groups to climate change, adding that it was because they were highly exposed to climate risks.

Ms Dia said the adaptive capacity of these groups was low, which according to her was constrained by the poor quality of access to, and control of resources.

She added that they were more likely to live in poverty, as they were traditionally excluded from the decision-making process at local, national, and international levels.

“Food production requires the use of valuable resources such as land, ecosystems, water, energy among others and its wastage results in high water and carbon footprint losses,” Ms Dia said.

She said that the global estimate of agricultural waste produced yearly was approximately 1,000 million tonnes with the current market size for waste to energy of 30 billion dollars at a rate of 4.4 per cent.

The project manager said that, Nigeria’s palm oil production industry alone generated over 90 million tonnes of effluent annually.

“The country is also generating 4.34 million tonnes of rice straw and 0.9 million of rice husk, and has an estimated 19.5 million cows which also generate waste.

“With the increasing Nigeria population, it is projected that the quantity of agriculture waste generated in the country will triple in coming decades,” she said.

Ms Dia said that with respect to agricultural waste, there existed the potential of resourcefully reusing the materials to reduce environmental harm and boost soil fertility and farm productivity.

She said that the time was ripe for northern regions to tap into the potential present in converting agricultural wastes to energy as well as other economically viable re-purposed products.

Ms Dia said it was against this backdrop that Sonvisage Nig. Ltd. in collaboration with the UNDP- GEF- IAP Project was training extension agents from project communities.

She said the training was on Waste-to-Wealth that is, rice and groundnut waste re-purpose for self-reliance training.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the UNDP-GEF is currently training extension workers in Kano on how to turn waste to energy (briquettes making) and waste to animals feed (livestock and poultry). (NAN)

Culled from the Premium Times Nigeria

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