The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, yesterday says 66 attempts by hackers from Europe to compromise the virtual meetings of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) were foiled.
Pantami said all the cases were reported to the appropriate authorities for the record and actions.
He spoke in Abuja at the 19th edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) Administration Scorecard Series (2015-2023).
He noted that no fewer than 108 virtual federal cabinet meetings had been held since the National Policy on Virtual Engagements for Federal Public Institutions in October 2020 to formalise government online meetings including those of the FEC and the Council of State.
He said that for the implementation of the virtual meetings, Nigeria would have spent over N47 billion holding physical meetings.
He said no fewer than 2.2 million jobs had been created in the nation’s digital sector in the last three years.
Pantami attributed the challenges in telecommunications to infrastructure deficit and vandalisation of fibre optic cables.
He said in one particular year about 13,000 cases of vandalisation of fibre optic cables were recorded in several locations across the country.
The minister put broadband penetration as of November 2022 at 46. 2 per cent, and quarterly revenue generation from the ICT sector at N408 billion.
On why the government had not been able to track kidnappers who used telephone calls to reach families of captives for ransom negotiation despite the SIM card registration, he said, “This falls under cybercrime. Cybercrime is under the office of the national security advisor and other security institutions.
“Our role in cyber security is to ensure we minimize the possibility of a criminal deploying technology to commit a crime. So our work is proactive. At the same time, if the crime is committed and our intervention is required officially then we are going to intervene.
“So, here when it comes to minimizing the probability of criminals committing a crime, we need to reintroduce the national NIN and civil registrations. Two, we enforce the NIN registration. NIN registration is by our law in Nigeria, NIN is mandatory for all citizens.”
The Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has urged his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to leave me out of his plot to blackmail President Muhammadu Buhari.
The former vice president asked Tinubu not to drag him into his alleged feud with Buhari, which resulted in his open condemnation of the President’s monetary policy on redesigned Naira notes and his handling of the fuel scarcity rocking the nation.
Recall that speaking on Wednesday during the APC presidential campaign in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Tinubu claimed that there were plans to sabotage the 2023 elections and his success in the forthcoming polls.
Tinubu cited the lingering fuel crisis and naira redesign by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as part of the plot to scuttle the poll and his expected victory.
Reacting, the flagbearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, and the spokesman for the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, Kola Ologbondiyan, said Tinubu was using the problems as an excuse for his imminent defeat.
Firing back, Tinubu, through the Director of Media and Publicity, Bayo Onanuga, said he was only drawing Buhari’s attention to saboteurs possibly working in cahoots with the PDP.
Onanuga stated that no political blackmail and attempt by the PDP campaign to create a conflict between Tinubu and Buhari, his long-term ally, could succeed.
Spokesperson of the Atiku/Okowa Campaign Organization, Kola Ologbondiyan, while reacting to Tinubu’s reaction to an earlier comment by the Atiku campaign organisation, described as pathetic Tinubu’s attempt to turn around to blame the PDP for his woes less than 24 hours after he stood on the public stage at his presidential campaign rally to accuse the Buhari administration of sabotage.
Ologbondiyan said, “It is important to remind Asiwaju Tinubu that in accusing the “powers that be” of creating fuel scarcity and hoarding the naira to truncate the election, he knew that President Buhari is the Minister of Petroleum Resources and that all agencies of government in charge of prospecting and distribution of petroleum resources are under his (Buhari) office.
“Asiwaju also knew that President Buhari approved the redesigning of the naira and that issues of distribution of the naira notes are vested on the APC-controlled Federal Government and not on the PDP.
“It is therefore clear that Asiwaju’s verbal assaults against President Buhari is the official position of his confused, disoriented and disorganized Campaign Organization.
“It is noteworthy that having come to the conclusion, by himself, that he does not enjoy the support of President Buhari, having realized that his campaign is now falling apart with its leaders leaving in droves given his manifest rejection by Nigerians, Asiwaju Tinubu now seeks to blackmail the President and incite his followers to violence, with the view of truncating the electoral process and blaming it on President Buhari.
“This further explains why Asiwaju Tinubu had set up the dangerous militia group, code-named the Jagaban Army, which is reportedly being trained and equipped to unleash violence on Nigerians and truncate the electoral process, having realized that there is no way he can win in a free, fair and credible election.
“Asiwaju Tinubu had always sought to exonerate himself and blame only President Buhari for the failure of the APC administration in spite of the fact that he (Tinubu) is behind the corruption ridden policies of the APC government that have brought untold hardships on Nigerians in the last seven and half years.
“His verbal somersaults within a space of less than 24 hours presents him as a person that must not be entrusted with power.
“Since Asiwaju Tinubu wants Nigerians to believe that he is fighting for their course, he will need to respond to some of these troubling questions;
“What has he done as a loaf of bread which sold at N300 in 2015 now sells for N1000 under the APC administration which he claimed to have brought into power?
“What has he done to encourage or alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians as kerosene which was being sold at N150 in 2015, is now selling for over N1000.
“What advice has Asiwaju Tinubu given to the Federal Government to save the situation as a bag of rice which sold for N8000 in 2015 went up to N46,000 under his APC?”
He stated that Tinubu’s politics had always been about “self and the cabal” who never cared for Nigerians or the success of the government he claimed to have brought to power.
Ologbondiyan urged the former Lagos State governor to leave the PDP and its Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, alone and face his self-inflicted woes.
He said the Atiku/Okowa Campaign will not be distracted by Tinubu but will continue to focus on rallying with Nigerians in their determination to vote for Atiku as the next President of Nigeria.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, yesterday declared that going forward, dollar charges on all domestic cards and online transactions would not be permitted.
Emefiele said all transactions on existing local bank cards must, therefore, be routed through the Nigerian National Domestic Card scheme which he officially unveiled yesterday.
Speaking at the virtual launch of the card scheme, the CBN governor pointed out that at a time when foreign exchange challenges had persisted globally, the central bank came up with the domestic card scheme to, “ensure that all card transactions, online transactions where you’re using cards will now effective immediately, begin to go on the Nigerian National Domestic Card system.”
Emefiele, however, clarified that though there was nothing wrong with existing local bank cards, customers are at liberty to continue using them.
He said, “But given that charges by foreign cards are in dollars, we will no longer pay dollars for charges on those cards.”
He said: “All domestic card transactions that are going to be conducted in Nigeria will have to be through the Nigerian domestic card.
“We would only pay dollars for charges on transactions that are done with this domestic card or foreign cards outside Nigeria.”
He, however, clarified that the CBN’s effort was not to prevent international service providers from continuing to provide services in Nigeria.
He said, “Rather, it is aimed at providing more options for domestic consumers while also promoting the delivery of services in a more innovative, cost-effective, and competitive manner.”
Emefiele also disclosed that the CBN would collaborate with the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), Nigerian banks, and other electronic payment operators to see, “how to segregate those transactions to ensure that we would only make charges or fees for international transactions that are conducted on these cards or the Visa or MasterCard as they are used today.”
The CBN governor insisted that while there was no preference for any particular domestic card, “we don’t need to have our domestic cards but most importantly is that we do not have foreign exchange, and we would bar payment of charges for domestic transactions from the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market at some point in the very near future.”
He said given the limited usage of cards by Nigerians and in a bid to deepen penetration, the central bank actively promoted the national domestic card scheme which would be accessible to all Nigerians and also address local peculiarities.
He said the scheme represented an important plug in the gap that has remained with the system since the cashless policy was introduced.
Yet, the CBN governor said the unveiling signaled another major step in the country’s drive toward achieving a thriving and competitive payments landscape in the country.
Emefiele said the cashless policy has created value, engendered competition, and attracted investment into the Nigerian banking and payments ecosystem, adding that “We have witnessed the proliferation of products, channels, and participants with significantly increased foreign direct investments into the Nigerian payments space.”
He said the CBN had over time focused attention on the robust development of financial service touchpoints including the ATMs, POS terminals, and agent networks, explaining that the success of the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility has led to growth in the number of agents to about 1.5 million across the federation with the capacity to accept card payments from Nigerians.
Emefiele said while the penetration of card payments in Nigeria has grown tremendously over the years, many Nigerians are still excluded.
He said that the challenges that have limited the inclusion of Nigerians included the high cost of card services as a result of foreign exchange requirements of international card schemes and the fact that existing card products do not address local peculiarities of the Nigerian market.
According to him, the cashless policy which commenced in 2012, signposts the CBN’s common drive to strengthen the national payment system and deepen the usage of electronic platforms in the country.
He said in line with the National Payments System Strategy, the CBN had been deliberate in collaborating with relevant stakeholders to enhance the national payments infrastructure through initiatives such as the Bank Verification Number (BVN), Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS), Shared Agent Network Facility (SANEF), Regulatory Sandbox, Open Banking, and the eNaira.
Emefiele said, “It is important to note that the establishment of National Domestic Card Schemes is in line with global trends. Nigeria, by this initiative, will therefore be joining countries like China, Russia, Turkey, and India which have launched domestic card schemes and harnessed the transformative benefits for their respective payments and financial systems, particularly for the underbanked.
“The CBN is committed to a robust, efficient, and safe national payments system and welcomes innovation from both domestic firms and foreign investors. The Nigerian market is vast, and the current participants have done so much in the last twelve years to transform the ecosystem.”
He said, “Yet there is much ground to be covered as millions of Nigerians are yet without payments cards to consummate transactions.”
“I am convinced that the National Domestic Card Scheme will make this a reality in the coming months. We can no longer neglect the vast majority of Nigerians whose daily payments needs are micropayments.
“We need to capture them in national statistics to further understand their transaction dynamics and properly target interventions in that sector of the economy.”
The CBN governor said the card scheme presented opportunities for the economy to integrate the informal segment of the economy, reduce shadow banking, and bring more Nigerians into the formal financial services with attendant diversification of deposit portfolio which will further strengthen the stability of the banking industry.
In her remarks, CBN Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability (FSS) Directorate, Mrs. Aishah Ahmad, said the innovation would revolutionise Africa’s payment landscape.
She said a major value proposition of the card scheme was the ability to lower operating costs and reduced charges, stressing “We’re not in business to make a profit but rather to reduce costs. This is to deepen financial inclusion.”
According to her, the initiative would deepen financial payment, disclosing that it was the first central bank-led domestic card innovation in Africa.
“It also gives us sovereignty of our data and presents a new vista for the card business,” he added.
President Muhammadu Buhari says he believes history will be kind to his administration, going by the situation inherited on security and economy, and the difference that has been made.
Buhari, according to a statement by spokesman Femi Adesina, stated this when he inspected and inaugurated some projects in Katsina State on Thursday.
Tinubu accuses PDP of sabotaging fuel supply, blackmailing FG
He extolled Governor Aminu Masari for silently growing the state via effective management of resources.
“I have done my best and I hope history will be kind to me,’’ he declared at a lunch after the inauguration of the projects in Katsina town.
The president also inaugurated the Muhammadu Buhari Meteorological Institute undertaken by the Ministry of Aviation, the Darma Rice Mill in Batagarwa, and the Katsina State General Hospital.
Buhari, who is on a two-day official visit to the state, also inspected ongoing work on the first flyover in Katsina which had reached 90 per cent completion in the Government Reserved Area.
While noting that former military Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, had been criticized for his leadership style, he regretted that the critics had ignored the contributions of the Petroleum Trust Fund, which he chaired.
He particularly noted that the PTF implemented many developmental projects in the health and education sectors, with some of them still evident in many parts of the country. (NAN)
Al-Hilal striker, Odion Ighalo, has said he could play in the Nigerian Premier Football League (NPFL) if certain conditions are met.
The NPFL recently dropped 20 places in the latest ranking by IFFHS
But Ighalo said he will retire to his country’s league if the security is improved upon.
Poor officiating, hooliganism and corruption have marred the NPFL in recent years
“Our players abroad can come back to Nigeria but security must be improved upon.
“The League (Nigerian Premier Football League) must be well organized. A lot of money will be pumped into the game and matches should be on television,” Ighalo said on Super Sport.
Ighalo began his career for Julius Berger FC before moving to Europe, where he has scored 150 career goals in 354 domestic league appearances for 10 clubs.
The Federal Government said on Thursday that the number of base stations in Nigeria providing fourth generation communication network in the country has reached 39,006 while the number of people who have access to broadband services have risen to 88,273,690.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Pantami, who gave the information at the presentation of the scorecard of his ministry in Abuja, said that number of citizens and legal residents in Nigeria captured under the National Identity management system has reached 94 million.
At the same time, the minister disclosed that number of Ministries, Departments and Agencies currently participating in the e-gov programme stands at 501 and the ministry was working tirelessly to ensure that more and more Nigerian businesses can be conducted online.
Prof. Pantami also boasted that the ministry had successfully fashioned out 19 policies guiding the operations of its agencies while broadband coverage in Nigeria had hit 100 percent as at January this year.
According to the minister, the percentage of 4G network coverage in Nigeria has reached 77.52 while the cost of 1GB Data has dropped from N1250 to a paltry N350.
The minister ruled out the possibility of the ministry taking the lead in the control of fake news in Nigeria, saying that it was the duty of the ministries of information, justice and the office of the National Security Adviser, who have the mandate to tackle fake news.
But Pantami said however that whenever his ministry was called upon to deploy technology to curtail the spread of information that has the capacity to affect the interest of Nigeria, it would do so within the ambit of relevant laws.
On why certain elements continue to use unregistered subscriber’s identification modules, sims, to make calls without being barred, the minister said that it was also not the direct function of his ministry to tackle the elements involved in such acts, but that the security agencies are saddled with the responsibility of dealing with such infractions.
He said however that the ministry and its relevant agencies had put in place necessary measures to ensure that criminal elements using mobile phones to commit crimes are tracked and apprehended once the relevant persons, who should not be below the level of a director in the security agencies, lodge complaints.
On the seeming overlap of functions between the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, and the National Information and Technology Development Agency, NITDA, the minister asked the two strategic agencies of government to continue to work together and deliver results until necessary laws and policies were developed to take care of the areas that seem to overlap between them.
Nollywood actor, Charles Okocha, popularly known as Igwe Tupac, has revealed why he’s yet to get married.
In an interview with Punch, the father of two explained that he has never married because he is taking his time finding the right woman.
He said: “The truth is I have never been married in my life and I am a happy man. You and I know what is going on these days, you see a couple married for a couple of years and next, they are divorced.
“People you see as role models are getting divorced and when you see them you are like what is going on? These are people you have been looking up to and now they are divorced, how then do you want me to get into this marriage thing?
“Some say I am not going to get married. No! Don’t quote me wrong, I am going to get married most definitely, my kids are growing up, and so I need a partner that will be able to take care of their needs and mine. I will get married, but I am just taking my time.
“I have two beautiful kids; a son and a daughter. At this time I am just focused on taking care of my adorable kids and that’s it, and that’s enough. They are my kids and they keep me motivated.”
The Sarkin Karshi in Abuja, Alhaji Ismaila Mohammed, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari against assenting to the constitution amendment bills to be transmitted to him by the National Assembly, describing majority of the approved proposals as self-serving.
He gave the advice in Abuja on Thursday at the 20th Daily Trust Dialogue.
The federal parliament had, in March, voted on 68 bills aimed at amending the 1999 Constitution, after which 44 were approved by both the Senate and the House of Representatives and transmitted to the state assemblies for concurrence.
A simple majority of votes is required in at least two-thirds of state assemblies (24 out of 36) and the amendments that sail through would be sent to the president for assent.
The Senate had, on Tuesday, said 35 bills had satisfied constitutional provisions having been approved by not less than 24 state assemblies.
The Red Chamber had added that the approved bills would be transmitted to President Buhari for assent.
Among the 35 bills approved by state assemblies are: financial autonomy of state legislatures and state judiciary; power devolution to allow state governments build and operate airports, prisons, railways and power grid system.
Others are legislative power to summon the president and governors; timeframe to submit ministerial and commissioner nominees; timeframe for submission of national budget; and separation of the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and of the State from the minister or commissioner for justice.
Those voted against included bills seeking to grant financial and administrative autonomy to local governments.
Speaking at the Daily Trust Dialogue, Alhaji Ismaila Mohammed, in advising Buhari against signing the bills, spoke against the establishment of state police and allowing the state government to build and operate prisons.
The monarch said the state police would be abused by governors to fight their political opponents; while convicted politically-exposed persons sent to state-owned prisons to serve jail terms would enjoy unfettered freedom.
He said: “I want to advise the president very strongly not to sign the constitution amendment bills the National Assembly is about to transmit to him. This is because some of the provisions are really self-serving.
“There are three areas of concern to me; chief among them is state police, allowing state governments to establish prisons and autonomy for state judiciary.
“The clamour for state police by governors is nothing but an attempt to have absolute control of the state apparatus including security.
“The governors are like emperors in the state. They have control over the state assemblies while the state treasury is in their pocket. They are also in control of the political structures in their states.
“If you create state police, there will be more insecurity in the country because their concern is not to fight crimes but to use the agency to fight political opponents, which will cause more crises.
“I’m afraid that the governors will simply assemble their thugs, give them arms and uniforms and call them state police officers.
“Secondly, if you allow the state government to establish prisons, anytime someone is convicted, and happens to be close to the governor, he or she will not serve jail term in the prison but in their bedroom.”
Residents of Ogun State are having a hard time accessing fuel at various filling stations across the State.
This is despite the fact that the people are ready to buy the product at any price dictated by the sellers.
In Abeokuta, there are extremely long queues at the few filling stations where the product is available.
Motorists spend hours queuing for petrol, which they buy at prices above N300 in most filling stations.
“Fuel is scarce. I just bought one litre at N350. It was like a war to get the fuel. I spent four hours before I finally got four litres,” a commercial motorcyclist told DAILY POST correspondent while negotiating the cost of transporting him from FMC to Okemosan, Abeokuta.
It was observed that many filling stations in the State capital have been under lock and key for weeks.
Artisans like barbers, welders, printers and others who depend on electricity to do their daily works are bitter over their inability to buy fuel.
Their problem was compounded by the failure of the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company to supply power for more than 10 days now.
While saying they have never depended on the power distribution company, the artisans condemned the Federal Government for failing to find a solution to the lingering fuel problem for several months.
“At the moment, barbers and others have increased the cost of their services, while drivers and okada riders charge double their usual transport fare,” Adewale Semiu, a resident of Isale Igbein said.
Likewise, the majority of private car owners have resorted to commercial means of transportation as they could not buy fuel.
Many Ogun residents said the fuel crisis is affecting commercial activities in the State and having its toll on traders and buyers alike.
Coincidentally, the fuel crisis is hitting harder with the scarcity of the new naira notes, two situations the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu said were targeted at him to scuttle his chances.
Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says he will be committed to restructuring if elected president.
Abubakar spoke on Thursday during the PDP presidential campaign rally in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi capital.
He said if elected, restructuring will be the major policy of his administration, adding that the south-east will be able to attend to local issues through his “power transfer” policy.
“I am committed to power devolution and restructuring. All the south-eastern states have been yearning and have been propagating for restructuring of this country because they want to have more powers, more resources to deal with their own local affairs,” he said.
“We agree entirely and that is why it is a major policy of our government to be, if you support us and if you give us the opportunity.”
“APC had promised the same. Did they do it? They abandoned the issue of restructuring. They are a very deceitful alliance; very deceitful.
“We are committed and we mean what we say and if you give us the support, we will deliver.
“They said some people formed a party. It is not a party; it is an alliance and the alliance is collapsing and it has collapsed.”
Meanwhile, Abubakar defected to the APC from the PDP in 2014.
He had, however, resigned his membership of the APC in November 2017, saying “the party we put in place has failed and continues to fail our people, especially our young people”.