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Terror-tainted Pantami says NIN meant to track Nigerians’ activities online

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Isa Pantami, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, said the Muhammadu Buhari regime has mandated the linking of national identification numbers, NIN, with Nigerians’ digital devices in order to monitor their activities online.

Mr. Pantami made the statement at the International Partnership Forum in Paris, France, on Thursday.

Pitching to investors, the minister noted that Nigeria was joining its foreign counterparts to mandate NIN for all legal residents, which will be used to reveal identities of everyone who logs onto the internet.

According to him, NIN will form a crucial part of Nigeria’s security structure as the government can now unveil citizen’s true identity through their online activities.

“Some of these initiatives that happen to be the foundation of even our economy is the introduction of the national identification number. Nigeria has joined the global community by making the use of national identification numbers for both citizens and legal residents mandatory,” he said. 

“This is going to be the foundation of our economy and also the foundation of our security that whoever happens to go online, his identity will be known by the federal government and also by our security institution. 

Mr Pantami justified his position, saying the Nigerian Constitution stipulates that the government’s primary responsibility is the security and safety of its citizens.

He stated that President Buhari has been so passionate about the push to bring all residents of Nigeria under the compliance to NIN registration.

Mr Pantami assured prospective investors of digital safety, declaring that more than 67 million persons have already enrolled for the security initiative.

“As it is today, the enrollment has been over 67 million and most importantly we are able to capture the most important category of people that come out to do businesses.” 

The minister also mentioned that Nigeria residents who are not captured under NIN would no longer be able to enjoy government services as NIN has become a prerequisite for access to business and social services.

“So it becomes a prerequisite to enjoying government services and I believe this will bring more peace of mind to potential investors to know that the government has been doing something significant in that regard,” he stated.

In April 2021,  Mr Pantami, also a Muslim cleric, came under public spotlight and criticisms for his extremist affiliations as an Islamic preacher.

His infamous support for terrorist groups al-Queda and the Taliban drew intense ire from the public who queried how such a hardliner could be entrusted with sensitive national data.

Mr Pantami has not recanted his past extremist views but has continued to maintain that he has no untoward motives to people of other faiths.

The minister continues to enjoy the confidence of Mr Buhari despite several calls for his resignation. 

In the heat of the controversy, the presidency claims Mr Pantami held such salacious views when he was below the age of accountability, a claim that has been found untrue as the minister was in his 30s during the explosive preachments.

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Aiteo oil leak in Nembe worse than Gulf of Mexico spill: Gov. Diri

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Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa says the ongoing oil leak at the Aiteo exploration facility in Nembe is worse than the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The Aiteo oil leak was reported on November 5 this year.

“Today happens to be a very dark day for me. What we have seen, I believe, is worse than what happened in the Gulf of Mexico. In all my life, I have not seen such a magnitude of oil spillage,” the governor stated. “Our people are endangered. Our people’s source of livelihood is endangered. I empathise and sympathise with the people of Nembe on behalf of the government and the people of Bayelsa state.”

On April 20, 2010, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the oil drilling rig Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Macondo Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico, causing the “largest spill of oil in the history of marine oil drilling operations.” 

According to the EPA, four million barrels of oil flowed from the damaged Macondo well over 87 days and capped on July 15, 2010. 

“I like to give you hope that we will stand shoulder to shoulder with you. Your government will activate every constitutional means to arrest and redress this magnitude of the oil spill. I, therefore, call on the federal government, the operators of the oil field, NNPC, and Aiteo to immediately look for superior technical know-how to contain and stop the spread of the oil,” the governor urged.

Mr Diri directed the State Emergency Management Agency and Ministry of Health to provide relief materials and healthcare services to the people immediately.

The management of Aiteo had visited the impacted community and donated four truckloads of food items, medical supplies, and a cash gift of N5 million and pledged to stop the leak in the shortest possible time. 

An oilfield operated by Aiteo Exploration and Production Company Limited has been spilling crude into the Santa Barbara River and Nembe creeks since November 5.

The management of Aiteo had enlisted foreign experts from Boots and Coots, a Halliburton company currently working to cap the leaking well.

Mr Diri claimed that an estimated two million barrels of crude had been spilt into the river, polluting the flora and fauna of the area.

However, sources close to the oilfield said so far, five barges of 1,000 barrels capacity consisting of a mixture of crude and water had been evacuated since the oil recovery commenced three weeks ago.

(NAN)

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2023: Dark horses trying to destroy APC, says Patriotic Association

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A group, Zamfara State Patriotic Association, has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari and elders of the All progressives Congress (APC) to save the party from the hands of some dark horses.

On Wednesday, the chairman of the group, Ibrahim Nabature, made the call while addressing a press conference in Gusau, Zamfara.

“There are some dark horses trying to destroy the party before the 2023 general elections if things do not go their way,” said Mr Nabature.

He further stated that the group had observed with dismay that some governors were bent on destroying APC, citing the crisis rocking the party in several states after their congresses as attempts to destroy the party.

The group’s chairman appealed to Mr Buhari and party elders to intervene and rescue the party.

“Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, a foundation member of the APC, had at no time ever discussed or thought of leaving the party without the knowledge of his true supporters across the country,” he said.

Mr Nabature explained that Mr Yari’s faction of the APC was in court challenging the dissolution of the Lawal M. Liman-led caretaker committee in Zamfara.

“Therefore, he cannot abandon the party he helped to build for newcomers. It is the handwork of some forces who were his friends now turned enemies,” he added. “Yari had done so much for Zamfara and the APC in the state and at the national level.”

He fingered some governors, who he described as agents of destruction working to strangulate the party before the 2023 elections due to their selfish reasons.

The Governor Mai Mala Buni-led APC National Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee had dissolved the party executives shortly after Governor Bello Matawalle defected to the APC on June 29. 

(NAN)

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Eighty-nine billion naira generated in November at Apapa: Customs

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Apapa area command,says it raked in N89 billion as revenue in November.

The customs area controller of the command, Malanta Yusuf, announced this in a statement signed by NCS spokesman Abubakar Usman in Lagos.

According to Mr Yusuf, the amount generated is the highest monthly collection by any of the NCS’s commands.

“This feat is coming after the command generated N86 billion in the month of October following improved inter-agency synergies, enhanced trade facilitation, speedy dispute resolution and prevention of revenue loss,” he said.

Mr Yusuf, who described the N89 billion revenue as the beginning of improved outputs for the command, also said the tempo for the rising revenue profile would be sustained.

He commended the NCS comptroller general, Hameed Ali, for his support in deploying artificial intelligence tools and improved logistics.

“This N89,097,888,609 collection is an improvement, but we are aiming higher than this. Our first step is to improve our stakeholders’ compliance level, which in my assessment is commendable. The second is to strengthen the inter-agency synergies between customs in Apapa and other agencies of government,” explained Mr Yusuf. “This is also a huge success. We are gradually making Apapa Port a no go area for perpetrators of illegalities because all recent attempts at smuggling prohibited items through the port were uncovered.”

According to Mr Yusuf, while customs officials facilitate trade, collect revenue, and promote ease of doing business, their attention would also be on national security.

He added that this would continually be evident in their mode of cargo examination and intelligence sharing with sister agencies.

“By the time we commence the use of scanners and other tools of artificial intelligence, trade facilitation will be at a higher speed and as the flagship command, this will reflect very positively on our revenue,” he said.

(NAN)

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