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oneM2M welcomes Ireland, others as IoT accelerates - ITREALMS

ITREALMS :   The global standards initiative for Machine-to-Machine technologies, oneM2M has welcomed the National Standards Authority...

SS-ICT4D Week 2018

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

oneM2M welcomes Ireland, others as IoT accelerates - ITREALMS

The global standards initiative for Machine-to-Machine technologies, oneM2M has welcomed the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) and others into its fold, saying its membership has continued to grow as Internet of Things (IoT) accelerates, reports ITREALMS.

oneM2M, ITREALMS gathered, covers requirements, architecture, API specifications, security solutions and interoperability for Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and IoT technologies.

This, ITREALMS reports that cybersecurity specialist, research institutes, service providers and Ireland’s official standards body are among the latest companies to join the global Internet of Things (IoT) standards initiative oneM2M as it evolve universal framework to empower mass adoption of the IoT across a range of sectors. 

The newest additions to oneM2M’s vast membership which is made up of vendors, operators and national bodies – highlights the wide relevance of oneM2M’s work across the globe, with the new members coming from Canada, America, Europe and Asia. 

The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) opted to join oneM2M as part of the Irish Government’s strategy to prepare networks for the digitalisation of key processes, including the future industrial revolution – Industry 4.0. 

“We are joining oneM2M at a pivotal time as we have just kicked-off our standards development programme for ‘IoT & Future Networks’ which will feed into the Irish Government’s National Industry 4.0 Strategy,” said Geraldine Larkin, Chief Executive of the NSAI. “Membership will give our experts the added advantage of having access to and contributing to Technical Specifications which are being created outside of the mainstream standards organisations, as well as the opportunity to collaborate with industry and research institutes from various backgrounds.”

oneM2M’s common service layer can be embedded within hardware and software to create a common language between IoT devices, enabling vertical interoperability, best-in-class security and interworking with legacy IoT standards.

Friedhelm Rodermund, Founder and Director at IOTECC, another company to join oneM2M this year, said: “As a company which focuses on IoT standards consulting, IOTECC joined oneM2M to understand how it is evolving further to cover the needs of more and more verticals, and how it enables interworking between oneM2M and a growing number of IoT technologies and standards.”

LG CNS, another new addition to oneM2M’s membership, has recently launched INFioT, an international standard which is based on oneM2M’s horizontal platform. LG CNS has also embedded the oneM2M standard into its recently launched smart city platform ‘Cityhub’ which collects and analyses data generated and sent by various city infrastructures via IoT technology.

New member CSEM will combine oneM2M’s platform with its secured, low-power IoT solutions to create autonomous and optimised interoperable platforms. GlenMartin will use its membership to explore the launch of a secure data exchange for IoT data.

The companies which have joined oneM2M since January 2018 include CSEM, GlenMartin, IOTECC GmbH, LG CNS, National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI), Telensa Limited and the University of Athens.

“This year has seen a great increase in membership which highlights that as momentum behind the global roll-out of the IoT gains pace, so too does the industry’s standardisation efforts,” said Fran O’ Brien, oneM2M’s Steering Committee Chairman. “This is leading to an ever-growing number of companies recognising the importance of seamless interoperability across all connectivity technologies as the foundation for a valued, future-proof IoT platform. As more IoT devices and applications emerge, this will only escalate and as a totally agnostic framework, we are confident the growth in oneM2M members will also continue.”

oneM2M will also address the adoption of the IoT at its Industry Day, which will be held during IoT Week Korea, on Friday, September 14, at the COEX Convention Center, in Seoul, Korea.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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Buharis signs accession to cocoa agreement - ITREALMS

Sequel to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval for Nigeria to accede to the International Cocoa Agreement, 2010, President Muhammadu Buhari, Monday, at the State House, Abuja, signed the Instrument of Accession to the International Cocoa Agreement, 2010, ITREALMS.
Disclosing this, Senior Special Assistant to the President, (Media & Publicity), Mr. Garba Shehu on Monday said that following the execution of the instrument of accession, Nigeria undertakes “faithfully to abide by all the stipulations therein contained” in the Agreement.

Among other benefits, he said, the agreement is expected to strengthen cooperation between exporting and importing member countries; improve their cocoa economies through active and better focused project development and strategies for capacity-building.
ITREALMS recalls that the 2010 Agreement is also expected to build on the successes of the 2001 Agreement by “implementing measures leading to an increase in the income of cocoa farmers and by supporting cocoa producers in improving the functioning of their cocoa economies.”
For Shehu, it will also “deliver cocoa of better quality, take effective account of food-safety issues and help establish social, economic and environmental sustainability, so that farmers are rewarded for producing cocoa that meets ethical and environmental considerations.”
Uboshe Uboshe/GEE
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IBM’s Watson Workspace debuts in Nigeria - ITREALMS

The IBM Watson Workspace, a messaging application which helps teams improve work productivity and also provides the capability to hold group conversations and share data files is now available to companies in Nigeria, reports ITREALMS.

Through its built-in AI capabilities, the solution enables sales and technical teams to create workspaces where they can collaborate on all sales activities. Watson Workspace also enables companies to significantly reduce the time group members spend reading through conversations to obtain information relevant to them.

Descasio, a leading cloud services provider in West Africa, has adopted IBM Watson Workspace to enhance its existing email services and provide a smart employee collaborating tool on desktop and mobile devices. The company was looking for an application that could enable smarter and seamless communication, helping their teams to focus on the strategic aspects of their business.

”One of the things that really excites us about this platform is the ease with which we can build new solutions using APIs. We are now thinking about ways we can use IBM Watson APIs to create value-added solutions such as virtual assistants, which could help to automate repetitive tasks," says Dele Nedd, Co-Founder and CEO, Descasio.

“As a new reseller of the IBM's Watson Workspace Essentials in West Africa, Descasio plans to sign on clients for this solution. To achieve this, the company is working with a team from IBM to integrate IBM Watson Workspace into its cloud services portfolio—enabling it to deliver the solution as a service to clients across the region” he said.

Watson Workspace helps companies turn conversations into actionable insights, summarized information, prioritize next best actions and make recommendations enabling its employees to connect and collaborate with their teams and other work groups on any device. For example, the solution has enabled teams save up to 30 minutes per team member on responding to issues relevant to their role. It also provides a full, searchable history of all conversations and one central place for all shared images and resources.

“Organizations have seen a proliferation of tools and applications that employees use to get their jobs done at the workplace which has often caused information overload, interruptions and difficulty getting back into the flow of productivity. What IBM Watson Workspace does, is take away these pressures, allowing employees to focus on the activities that really matter,” says Dipo Faulkner, the Country General Manager of IBM Nigeria.

Nenye Dom/GEE

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Son attempts killing mother for yahoo plus - ITREALMS

Lagos suburb of Ayobo was on Sunday greeted with the gory sight of a helpless mother whose face and skull was badly battered by her son in his attempt to advance his cyber fraud business (yahoo, yahoo) to the bloody or ritual level  (yahoo plus), reports ITREALMS.

According to Police source, the incident took place about 0830hrs on Sunday at No.2 Raji Ajanaku street, Alaja Road, Ayobo, Lagos, inside the flat the suspect, Taiwo Akinola, age 29 years lived with his mother, Mrs Alice Iyabo Akinola and her grandchild Master Faruk, age 14 years. 

ITREALMS confirmed that in a carefully thought out plans to kill his mother, Taiwo, said to be staunch member of the notorious Aiye confraternity,  went to the victim's  provision store in front of their apartment and told his mother to meet him inside the house for an important discussion and at same time sent his nephew, Faruk to go buy him a white handkerchief and a stick of cigarette.

As soon as the victim entered the house, the suspect attacked her, smashing her head with a plank, pressing iron and a UPS charger to ensure she didn't survive the ferocious attack.

When Faruk returned from the errand, he didn't see his grandmother in the shop so he went into the house only to see the poor woman lying in a pool of blood. Shocked by what he saw, the small boy raised the alarm which attracted neighbours to the scene.

They called the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Ayobo Division who arrived the scene with his team and promptly arrested the suspect and secured the scene for further investigation by the police forensic experts attached to the Homicide section SCIID Panti, Yaba .

The victim was rushed to an undisclosed hospital for treatment and was found to be hanging onto life. Right now, the doctors are battling to revive Mrs Alice Akinola presently unconscious . Meanwhile the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Imohimi Edgal, was reported to had paid the initial hospital cost which  enabled the doctors to commence treatment.

During a brief interrogation, the suspect disclosed that he was asked to kill his mother in order to have more money. When his room was searched, the following exhibits were recovered in it, viz:
1. Two calabashes with one containing human skull and the other, a mixture of dark concoction;
2. A plank perforated with  nails and  stained with blood;
3. A pressing iron stained with blood;
4. A white handkerchief with which he wanted to scoop the victim's blood;
5. A bottle containing oil and labelled Back To Sender;

The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Imohimi Edgal calls on Lagosians to rise against all forms of crime and criminality. He added that the Command defeated the Badoo cult group with the help of  people who provided credible and timely  information to the police . He added that the time has come to root out the street cult groups. He notes that complacency is not an option in the face of threat to peace and security  posed by these nefarious associations.


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President Buhari in Daura for Eid-El-Kabir Celebration - ITREALMS

President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived his home town of Daura for the Eid-El-Kabir celebration, reports ITREALMS.

President Buhari was welcomed by the Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State, Katsina State Deputy Governor Alh. Manir Yakubu and Minister of State Aviation Hadi Sirika on Monday, August 20, 2018.

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Monday, August 20, 2018

Unmasking Calls - ITREALMS

If you receive a lot of foreign calls, chances are that quite a few of them have reached your handset bearing a local GSM or fixed line number. In industry parlance, what you got is called a “masked call”. What has happened is that your foreign contact has called you directly with their number, but someone has manipulated something somewhere between you and your caller, changing the caller’s number to the strange local number you see on your handset.

Close industry watchers will recall that incidence of call masking significantly reduced after the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) took decisive actions against some of its licensees earlier in the year for this unfair, irritating, risky and ultimately illegal practice. So determined was NCC to stamp out the practice that it invoked one of its most extreme regulatory sanctions in its arsenal and suspended the operating license of an indicted major licensee.

Sadly however, ”masking” persists, including the more prevalent one called Sim Boxing. Simbox or Interconnect Bypass Fraud is one of the most prevalent frauds in the telecom industry today. This fraud costs the industry about USD3Billion in lost revenue. It happens when calls made via the internet are sent to Simboxes (machines that house SIM cards) which redirect this illegal VoIP traffic onto mobile networks.

NCC is aware of this menace and even just one case is too many for the NCC, because of the grave implications call masking has for the social, economic, security and communications well-being of Nigerians. ”Victims” who have lost important social or business calls, or have had serious relationships damaged due to the practice are justified to ask: what is going on, what is the NCC is doing about masking, and whether ’phone users should be hopeful that this menace will end soon?

Masking (or ‘refiling’ when a number is deliberately classified to a different route and “SIM boxing” to describe one of the many tools in use) has many dimensions. In the first scenario, the perpetrator is somewhere between the two networks. Telecoms is a game of volumes, and some players have positioned themselves as middlemen who aggregate huge volumes of traffic bound for the country from several operators around the world. 

To make their margins, they compress the calls and strip them of their original numbers before terminating them on local networks. In another scenario, the calls reach Nigeria in their original form (i.e. with Calling Line Identity), but are ”masked” or disguised by a local player who presents it to the terminating network as a local call. Thus disguised, the perpetrator pays the local player the lower domestic interconnection rate and pockets the differential between this and the higher amount he collected in foreign exchange.

It is important to appreciate that call masking is both complicated and widespread. The explanation above has been very much simplified for easy understanding.

Just like Nigeria, other countries are fighting the menace, deploying several regulatory, economic and technology tools. Masking and SIM boxing are a bit like virus attacks – perpetrators continue to devise complicated strategies; and as regulators and other stakeholders deploy “anti-masking” “anti-virus” solutions, they try to up their game. The NCC is nonetheless up to the task. We are determined to prevail, and so we shall.

What is NCC doing about masking, in specific terms? NCC’s determined actions can be grouped into three. First are the Regulatory actions.

As noted above, NCC took the unprecedented step of suspending a major operating license in February. Although the suspension of Medallion Communications Ltd. was later lifted (since the company fulfilled the requisite conditions); this was an unprecedented sanction on a major licensee. In addition, very strong censure was visited on other clearing houses, and some licenses were disconnected from the national network pending compliance with necessary regulatory requirements. All of these measures were taken after painstaking investigations with the participation of security experts from the Office of the National Security Adviser and the Department of State Services.

Another regulatory measure is the tightening of SIM registration processes across all networks. The reader may recall that a broad-based task force to deal with SIM registration failings was established in October 2017. The task force has made far-reaching recommendations which are now being implemented. A few of the actions the industry will activate in the days to come may cause inconvenience to some, but, it is in our national best interest that we show forbearance and see this process to its logical conclusion. Tightening up the SIM registration process would not only reduce the availability of SIMs for SIM-boxing, it would also help address the security issues around the availability of pre-registered or fraudulently registered SIMs.

The second set of actions are the technical measures. These include the barring of about 750,000 numbers assigned to 13 operators from the national network. This numbers were suspected of being used for masking and NCC took a hard, no-compromise stance to withdraw their use.

Now, since the “action” happens on their respective networks, NCC law requires operators to take necessary steps to ensure that their networks are not used for the commission of crime. As such we insist, and have verified, that operators-commission solutions to tackle the menace on their respective networks. Monitoring is continuous. Meanwhile on its own part, NCC has just completed a painstaking solutions evaluation process and is rolling out a sophisticated SIM-box hunting technology which will enable us track perpetrators anywhere they may be in-country.

Readers would probably have noticed a series of publications from the NCC asking persons who have received masked calls to supply details to the commission. The objective is simple. Operators are deploying a number of technical solutions to try to identify perpetrators (we cannot give details here for obvious reasons). However, these solutions will be more effective if the direct victims, i.e. the customers supply details to us for investigations. In addition to the social media channels we have already deployed, we will shortly roll out short-code and USSD channels for ease of reporting. We would be counting on the co-operation of everyone who has experienced call masking in whatever shape to provide us with the details for investigation, apprehension and punishment of perpetrators.
The last question is whether telephone users should be hopeful that this menace will end soon.
As we noted above, masking is not peculiar to Nigeria, and no country has yet discovered the “silver bullet” to eliminate masking completely. NCC is nevertheless determined to do whatever needs to be done to eliminate the menace in the shortest possible time. That is our promise.

At the end of the day, masking profits no one, not even the domestic perpetrators. Their short-term commercial gains are easily wiped-off by long-term considerations and the very threat they pose to industry sustainability. The government loses significant revenue from taxes due from operators (Nigeria does not charge surtax on international calls). The local terminating network loses significant direct and indirect revenues (e.g. from the opportunity cost of masked transactions). Consumers lose from quality of service and trust perspectives. The work of law enforcement and security agencies are greatly compromised, etc. All of these underscore the need for the full co-operation of all stakeholders at all ends of the telecoms value chain.

Our determination to end this menace brooks no compromise. There are areas where NCC is normally loathe to intervene, such as the pricing of services not within our control. However, indications are that masking may force the Commission’s hands, and that we will have to take necessary regulatory measures regarding pricing of international traffic.

The success of the measures detailed above depends on the support of critical stakeholders. We are making this unusual intervention to seek that support even as we provide more clarity on the subject. We shall therefore be counting on the support of all Nigerians to succeed in this endeavour.

*Sunday Dare is Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Nigerian Communications Commission, Abuja

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2019 ambition: Saraki to Tinubu ‘You’re fake news monger’ - ITREALMS

The Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has described the All Progressive Congress (APC) national leader as ‘fake news monger’ over his reasons for recent defection to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), reports ITREALMS.

Refuting reports attributed to Tinubu that he left APC because of automatic return tickets, oil blocks and other benefits, tagged “TheTinubu Rhetoric: My Response” made available to ITREALMS, Saraki expressed surprise that Tinubu is still peddling this rumour.

“It is a surprise to me that Asiwaju Tinubu is still peddling the falsehood about the fact that my defection is about automatic ticket and sharing of resources,” he said.

Saraki recalled that when the issue of his decision to quit APC came to the fore and many APC leaders were holding meetings with him, a newspaper owned by the same Tinubu published a false report about the promise of automatic tickets, oil blocks and other benefits.

“I immediately rebutted their claims and categorically stated that I never discussed any such personal and pecuniary benefits with anybody,” he said, challenging anybody who has contrary facts to come forward with them and still remains open.

He pointed out that while his own decision was based on protecting the collective national interest, Tinubu will rather live with the identified inadequacies of the government for the sake of fulfilling and preserving his presidential ambition in 2023.

“This new position of Tinubu has only demonstrated inconsistency — particularly when one reviews his antecedents over the year,” he alleged.

Senate President went further to note that democracy is a system that allows people to freely make their choices, stressing that his choice to defect is to join others to present a viable alternative platform for Nigerians in the coming elections.

“Tinubu and leaders of the APC had better respect this decision or lawfully deal with it. As for me, Allah gives power to whom He wishes. Human beings can only aspire and strive to fulfill their aspirations,” he said.

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Femi Kuti Live Concert set @Sheraton Lagos Hotel - ITREALMS

Sheraton Lagos Hotel will host the living legend Femi Kuti, live in concert, on 22nd September, 2018, reports ITREALMS.

Curated in partnership with media and entertainment company Chocolate City Group, the critically acclaimed singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, and four-time Grammy Award nominee, is set to enthrall music lovers, Afrobeat enthusiasts and members of Marriott International’s award-winning loyalty programs – Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), with an exclusive live performance of his seventh studio album, One People One World.

Marriott International has been focused on stepping up its experiences game, creating exclusive Moments that help connect with members through their passions, be it culinary, music or sport. From Masterclasses with renowned chefs, mixologists, DJs and photographers to behind the scenes access to concerts, to experiences around your favorite sport or an immersive experience of the local cuisine or culture, there is a lot to explore and discover what makes travel more enriching.

“We are committed to creating unforgettable moments for our loyal members, and what better way to do that than to connect with them through their passions,” said Neal Jones Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “This is an opportunity for us to engage with our loyal members and build a strong emotional connection with them by creating a once-in-a lifetime experience while amplifying the benefits of our Loyalty Programs. Through this very special experience created by Sheraton Lagos Hotel, we want our members to carry back a memory that ties back to the destination and our brand.”

“Chocolate City is happy to collaborate with Marriot International and Sheraton Lagos to give its guests and Marriott International loyalty members an exclusive live music experience with its artist and Afrobeat legend Femi Kuti. His music and brand embody Africa’s rich culture and we have tried to replicate that in the set up, management and curation of the event. We expect guests to remember the event for the energy and excitement that Femi’s music brings” said Edward Israel-Ayide, Senior Marketing Manager Chocolate City Group.

Uj. N. Dominic/GEE

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Nigerian Stock Exchange joins ‘FOI Hall of Shame’ says MRA - ITREALMS

Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has accused the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) of showing complete nonchalance towards the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2011, consequently inducted NSE into “FOI Hall of Shame” reports ITREALMS.
Ms Chioma Nwaodike, MRA’s Legal Officer, announced the institution as this week’s inductee into the Hall of Shame, noting that the NSE has defaulted in complying with its duties and responsibilities under the FOI Act and by this action challenged the essence of the Act.
The NSE was established in 1960, originally as the Lagos Stock Exchange, and subsequently renamed the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1977.  The NSE is licensed under the Investments and Securities Act (ISA) and regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and serves as the most significant source for companies to raise funds and business capital.
Ms Nwaodike said: “Given its mission, the NSE should operate and project itself in a manner that will uphold integrity, transparency and protect the investors, thereby creating confidence in the institution. One way of doing this effectively is to observe all the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, which will enable it to be transparent and project an image of integrity.”
According to her, although the NSE has on its website names of members of its corporate governance team, detailed summaries of securities traded each week, notice to dealing members, company-specific financials, corporate actions and some market information, it has, however, failed to comply with its other obligations under section 2 of the FOI Act, which mandates it to proactively disclose certain categories of information and update them regularly.
Ms Nwaodike observed that there is no reference to or mention of the FOI Act on the NSE’s website as the institution has treated the Law with complete disdain based, perhaps, on its initial mistaken belief that the Law was not applicable to it.
The NSE expressed the view that it is not subject to the FOI Act when Dr. Owei Ayibatonye and his four children, who had lost substantial amounts of money following an investment in an unregistered investment product, referred to as the Partnership Securities Deposit Account (PSDA) promoted by the Partnership Investment Company Limited (PICO) and Partnership Securities Limited, applied to the NSE pursuant to the FOI Act, for information and documents, relating to the Partnership Entity.
In refusing to disclose the information, the NSE claimed that it is not subject to the FOI Act and therefore not under any obligation to honour their request for information.
In the ensuing litigation at the Federal High Court in Lagos, the Court noted that the NSE exists to serve the interest of the public, which is a public function, as it was established to carry out its activities in the interest of investors and the public. Justice Ayokunle Faji accordingly ruled that “on a literal interpretation of Section 2(7) Freedom of information Act therefore, it seems to me and I hold that the Defendant (NSE) is a public institution and therefore subject to the Freedom of Information Act.”
Ms Nwaodike noted that even in the aftermath of the Court’s decision, the NSE has not taken steps to bring itself into compliance with the FOI Act and has continued to insist that the Act does not apply to it.
She observed that in the last seven years since the commencement of the FOI Act, the NSE has failed to submit its annual reports on its implementation of the Act to the Attorney-General of the Federation as directed by section 29 of Act, adding that “its failure to comply with this mandatory requirement obviously amounts to a violation of the Law.”
Ms Nwaodike said in addition to this dereliction, the NSE was also guilty of non-compliance with Section 2(3)(f) of the Act as it has failed to designate as well as publish the title and address of an appropriate official of the institution to whom applications for information under the Act should be sent by members of the public.
According to her, there is little doubt that the failure to designate such an official and publish his or her contact details has had negative implications for the rights of members of the public to access to information from the NSE as those interested in obtaining information from it would obviously not know where to direct their requests for information.
Nenye Dom/GEE
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Damnation of SARS in Nigeria? - ITREALMS

 'Flies that does not exhibit caution, joins the corpse into the grave' African proverb.
Condemnation of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was awash in the media over forceful arrest and harassment of journalists to disclose source of damning report purportedly enmeshed with errors as part of correspondence by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris. REMMY NWEKE in this report wondered if that will bring about the needed change in SARS given the avalanche of undercurrents.

Yes, it started like a drama, every Tuesday, one national redirection; after the siege of the National Assembly the previous Tuesday and defection gale of some Federal legislators, the previous week.
That on Tuesday, while the Nigeria Police arm of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was perfecting the arrest and harassment of Samuel Ogundipe of Premium Times, his Editor-In-Chief, Musikilu Mojeed, and Education Reporter, Azeezat Adedigba, the noble office of the acting president, Prof. Yomi Osinbajo, decided on its fate by directing Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris to reform SARS and restrict operations within its mandate, amidst recent social media campaign with the hashtag #EndSARS on its high-handedness in policing Nigeria entity.

Premium Times reporter, arrested:
Ogundipe was arrested over a report on a correspondence sent by IGP Ibrahim Idris, to acting President Osinbajo on the sacked Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, even as Daura was dismissed a week earlier by Osinbajo for illegally deploying DSS operatives to the National Assembly in a show of bully force.

The Publisher, Premium Times, Dapo Olorunyomi, confirmed the arrest of Ogundipe to ITREALMS, and demands by SARS for the source of damning and error-filled report the IGP Idris, sent to Osinbajo on the sacked Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura.

“Premium Times hereby calls for the immediate release of its reporter, Samuel Ogundipe, who was detained on Tuesday by Nigeria Police over a report. On the day the Nigerian presidency was complaining about the excesses of a unit in the police, the same unit was forcing a Premium Times journalist to disclose his source,” Olorunyomi said, stressing that Messrs Mojeed and Ogundipe were driven from SARS headquarters in Abuja to IGP Monitoring Unit at Force Headquarters where Mr Ogundipe was made to write a statement, whereas a Deputy Commissioner of Police at the IGP Monitoring Unit, Sani Ahmadu, was heard directing lawyers to ‘rush to court’ to obtain a warrant to detain Mr. Ogundipe.

Unacceptable abridgement of professional privileges:
Condemning gestapo manner in which the Police took Mr Ogundipe into custody, he insisted on his immediate and unconditional release, labeling the detention as gross violation of his rights, the Nigerian laws and all democratic tenets; and is an unacceptable abridgement of his citizenship and professional privileges.

“This heavy-handed treatment of a journalist against whom no case of violation of the law has been made is an embarrassment to Nigeria and advertises the country as disdainful of its own laws and democratic practice. We wonder what the Inspector-General of Police, Idris Ibrahim, finds attractive in making Nigeria a laughing stock at a time the eyes of the civilised world are on the country as it approaches a milestone in the development of its democracy,” Olorunyomi said, and called on then Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to direct the Police to release Mr Ogundipe immediately and unconditionally.

The National President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Abdulwaheed Odusile, also condemned the arrest of Ogundipe, declaring that NUJ was horrified by the constant harassment and molestation of Journalists by the Police and other agents of the State and requested that such should abate forthwith.

Odusile noted that confidentiality of sources is necessary for good journalism to flourish and Journalists should not be coerced into revealing such sources, insisting on immediate and unconditional release of Samuel Ogundipe and an end to all forms of impunity against the media.”
#FreeSamuelOgundipe hashtag trends gains moment:
About 24 hours later, the Nigerian Police spokesman, Jimoh Moshood denied knowledge of the arrest and detention of Premium Times journalist, Samuel Ogundipe, just as the hashtag #FreeSamuelOgundipe on Twitter trends since Tuesday, August 14, 2018.

Speaking on AIT programme, Kakaaki, Wednesday morning, Moshood, insisted, no Nigerian is beyond being arrested by the police when an investigation is being carried out, and denied knowledge of arrest of Mr. Ogundipe.

“I am not aware of the details of the matter. But what I can say is that any Nigerian, whether a journalist or any member of the public can be invited by an investigating officer to come around so that he or she can clear themselves of any allegations against them. Since you are telling me now, I will find out exactly what is happening,” Mr Moshood was quoted as saying, meanwhile the hashtag #FreeSamuelOgundipe on Twitter has trended since Tuesday with many tweeting at the police.

Outcry against assault on press freedom:
Reacting, the Director, International Press Centre (IPC), Lanre Arogundade, described the arrest, harassment and detention of journalists as a “clear assault on press freedom and a threat to the safety of the detained journalist and his colleagues.”

He reminded Police that 2011 Freedom of Information Act (FoI) in Section 16 subsection C, confers on the media 'Journalism Confidentiality Privileges' and as such should desist from engaging in unconstitutional acts, asserting, “We condemn the arrests and detention of the concerned journalists and hereby demand the immediate release of Mr. Ogundipe.”

Journalists ethically bound to protect sources:
Equally, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Africa Programme Coordinator, Angela Quintal, reacted from Johannesburg, South Africa, saying, “CPJ is gravely concerned  by reports that Premium Times journalist Samuel Ogundipe was detained by Nigerian Police for his report. 

“Samuel Ogundipe must be released immediately without any condition and be allowed to report without fear of reprisal; Journalists are ethically bound not to disclose their confidential sources and the fact that police reportedly arrested him because he refused to name his source is outrageous,” CPJ said, insisting that “Samuel Ogundipe, is a journalist who is protecting his sources, and not a criminal. He must be freed now.”

Nemesis of notorious SARS:
For Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), via its Publicity Secretary, Olumide Iyanda, condemned the arrest of Ogundipe by SARS and harassment of the online newspaper’s Editor-In-Chief, Musikilu Mojeed, and Education Reporter, Azeezat Adedigba, both of who have been released.

GOCOP noted with disappointment that the Police action was carried out on the day Acting President Yemi Osinbajo ordered the restructuring of the dreaded SARS, which is notorious for blatant human rights abuses. Thus, it considered the circumstances of the journalist’s arrest as a damning indictment of the President Muhammadu Buhari Government, which has been accused by several groups and individuals of gross abuse of citizens’ rights.

Ogundipe lauded for professionalism:
GOCOP pointed out that Ogundipe’s commendable refusal to disclose the source of his report is the reason the Police held on to him in flagrant disregard for the Nigerian Constitution, which states that the Press shall at all times be free to hold the government accountable to the people.

Besides, GOCOP condemned the arrest and harassment of journalists in whatever form, urging Nigerian Government to lecture its security agents on the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, which confers ‘Journalism Confidentiality Privileges’ on the media, hence, requested release of Ogundipe, other journalists held by the Police and other government agencies without further delay.

Overhauling SARS, Applause for IGP, but …
Though President, Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON), Dr. Ona Ekhomu, applauded IGP Idris on adherence to overhaul SARS, whose has become synonymous with human rights abuses, depicts the government was responsive to the concerns and complaints of citizens.

He underscored the fact that new administrative measure centralizing SARS in IGP’s office was a mistaken strategy which will deepen lack of accountability of the unit, and said the problem with SARS is excessively violent behavior which involve brutality, torture, high-hardened extra-judicial murders and so on.

For him, it was a ‘big mistake’ to relocate SARS from FCID to Operations Directorate, pointing out that SARS, as a tactical/detective unit naturally and operationally resides in the Investigations Directorate. Reform, he said, must be aimed at improving process activities, service delivery, and quality of service but reform should never be for its own sake.

“However, due to poor supervision and a culture of corruption, the squad went rogue - torturing, maiming and killing as alleged by the #ENDSARS campaigners and Amnesty International. The strong-arm tactics of SARS has tainted the entire police force and created a gulf between the people and the police agency. That is why people ‘fear’ the police, and refused to give information that could help in solving crimes. Unfortunately, citizen trust and co-operation are vital in effective policing,” he lamented.

There is no doubt, SARS has taken an overhaul, which happened after a long time and #EndSARS campaign as well as outcry from all quarters and particularly by the media.

Although the overhaul by the current IGP Idris may not be holistic, there is room for improved relationship between the security agencies and Police precisely and the public, who they claim is their friend. The question is whether the public actually believe in the prism that “Police is your friend” and if they, populace, accepted the friendship claim after all, rather than the fear-induced relationship.

Noteworthy is the allegations of poor supervision and a culture of corruption, which led to the squad becoming a ‘rogue agent’ for torture, maiming and killing.

In addition, is examination of the evident strong-arm tactics of SARS which left Police with tainted gulf between the people and the police agency, and which adversely affected citizens’ trust and co-operation vital for effective policing, so the earlier this is dealt with directly, the Osinbajo dream of reformed SARS to finally damn its highhandedness on citizens may be a short-lived political mirage.

*Remmy Nweke/ED,Ops

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Adesina eulogizes late Kofi Annan - ITREALMS

The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina has eulogized the late former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi A. Annan, saying he will greatly miss his words of wisdom, reports ITREALMS.

A tribute made available to ITREALMS, Adesina said, "It is with much sadness that I learnt of the death of Mr. Kofi A. Annan, the former Secretary General of the United Nations.

"He was a great personal mentor and father to me. His simplicity, decency, uncommon humility, selflessness and compassion made him a gem for humanity.

"A distinguished gentleman. He was a global icon and a man of peace who stood firmly in support of good governance and accountability for leaders.

"He was my boss as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), when I was the Vice President for AGRA. He had an infectious passion for ending hunger and poverty in Africa. He greatly supported me when I was Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria, when he served as a member of the Eminent Persons Group that helped to support the transformation of agriculture in Nigeria.

“He energetically co-Chaired the High-level Panel of global leaders to support the African Development Bank in its efforts to accelerate Africa's development.

"As U.N. Secretary General and throughout a distinguished career, Mr. Annan made Africa stand tall globally. Africa has lost a great gem.

“I will greatly miss him and his rich words of wisdom. May his soul rest in peace.”

Chuks Egbune/ED, Ops.

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SPDC progresses clean-up in Aghoro, Odimodi - ITREALMS

The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) has recovered over 95 per cent of spilled oil from the recent spill incidents  on  sections of the Trans Ramos Pipeline (TRP) in Aghoro community, Bayelsa State, and in Odimodi community in Delta State, reports ITREALMS.

The pipeline, which has remained shut-in since the incidents, supplies crude to the SPDC Joint Venture-owned Forcados Oil Terminal in western Niger Delta for export.

In a statement,  a spokesperson for SPDC acknowledged the spills as very regrettable, adding that in line with the standard operating procedures of SPDC, the TRP was shut down immediately the incidents were reported and the Oil Spill Response and the Emergency Response teams were activated to manage the incidents and prevent further spillage.

“As soon as clean-up and site assessment are completed, we are committed to starting the immediate remediation of the impacted areas in Aghoro and Odimodi,” the spokesperson said.

According to the spokesperson, details of the cause and impact of the spills will be captured in the Joint Investigation Visits (JIV) reports, which will be released after sign-off by all parties.

“The JIV is a multi-party exercise involving the regulators, the community, representatives of the state government, security agencies, and representatives of SPDC. The outcome is then signed off by the stakeholders to authenticate the findings,” the spokesperson explained.

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE

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Tinubu alleges Saraki, Tambuwal left APC because they wanted automatic ticket - ITREALMS

All Progressives Congress National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has opened up on the recent defections in the polity, saying Senate President Bukola Saraki and Sokoto State Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal among others left the APC because the party could not offer them what they wanted, reports ITREALMS.

He said on Sunday in Lagos that the defectors wanted automatic tickets and sharing of the national wealth which the governing APC could not guarantee.

The APC leader unfolded his mind in a lengthy statement he personally signed, entitled “They Go Away Because We Go the Right Way”.

According to him, the defectors “left the party to return to a motley agglomeration that would promise them what true democracy could not: automatic tickets, sharing of the national wealth and other offices and privileges”.

Asiwaju Tinubu asked the people to go beyond the debate on the numbers in the Senate of House of Representatives, saying “we must pull back from the shallow headlines to recognize that something fundamental is at stake.

“Nigeria is undergoing a historic transition. Sometimes awkwardly, tentatively, yet inexorably, we nurture political and governance reform.  We steadily close the door on the old malpractices that have caused a rich nation to reside in the tenement of the global poor”.

Speaking specifically on the Sokoto governor’s defection, the APC leader said: “Governor Tambuwal’s exit can be distilled to one cause. He covets the presidency. However, he had not the stomach to challenge President Buhari in a primary. Tambuwal felt further insulted that he would be compelled to face a direct primary just to retain the governorship nomination.

“But for the promise made by PDP headliners like Rivers State Governor Wike that he would have the PDP presidential nomination, Tambuwal would not have left. His exit had nothing to do with governance of the nation. It was about forging a personal ambition predicated on the defeat of progressive reform not the advancement of it”.

On Senate President, he said: “Much the same for Senate President Saraki. Returning to the PDP, he harbors dreams of the presidency but Tambuwal’s ambition will dwarf Saraki’s when the two collide. If Saraki had remained in the APC, he would be unable to reclaim his Senate seat let alone the Senate Presidency. He thus bolted because he lusts for the presidency but was promised by the PDP, at least, a return to his position in the Senate”.

He added: “For Saraki to talk about lack of governance is for him to deny who he is and the position he holds. This man stands as Nigeria’s Number 3 citizen. Clothed is he in ample power and influence. If he saw areas where government and the nation needed help, he could have easily applied his energies to these areas. He could have drafted legislation and easily got laws passed.

“However, no progressive enactment bears his name for he cared not for progress. He has been more focused on changing the rules of the Senate to favour himself and changing the order of elections so as to coincide with his selfish designs”.

The full statement reads: “The defections of some people from the APC have generated sensational headlines and exaggerated talk as to what their departures foretell for the APC, the party to which I belong.  Some have predicted the demise of the APC.  Those who hope for our decline will be disappointed by the inaccuracy of their desires. The days, months and years ahead will bury such errant forecasts for these predictions are born more of bitterness than of objective analysis.

Much of the attention has centered on which party now controls this or that state and which party maintains a majority in the National Assembly. These considerations are important to members of the political class and the electoral calculations of the political parties. But these calculations cannot be all there is. We must be careful not to reduce our horizon to a mere accounting of elected officials moving from one party to another.

“Many in the political class believe this score keeping between the parties encompasses all that is important. For such people, the mere holding of office is the sole objective. The quality of governance they provide means little to them. Yet, there are greater things at stake than the fortunes of individual politicians. The people of Nigeria focus their attention on something materially different than this narrow political game.

The people are more deeply concerned with the quality of governance they experience than with the intense cunning by which the political game is played. They are more interested in helpful policies than in the tempests created by politicians in pursuit of personal ambitions. That which provides a better life in a more prosperous nation is what beckons to them. That which shines in the eye of the political opportunist is dross to the average person.

“We must pull back from the shallow headlines to recognize that something fundamental is at stake.

Nigeria is undergoing a historic transition. Sometimes awkwardly, tentatively, yet inexorably, we nurture political and governance reform.  We steadily close the door on the old malpractices that have caused a rich nation to reside in the tenement of the global poor. The corruption of the past is ending; for it must end if we are to fulfill our collective purpose. With this correction, less public money will be diverted to private benefit. More will be afforded to the causes of the people. The economy is being transformed so that the average person will have a better chance of finding a better life.

“We move toward a more democratic union. The old days where a handful of uninformed men and those with deep pockets decided everything for everybody are being swept away. The will of the people can no longer be ignored. Those who would be the masters over the people must now be public servants.  A party or elected official may no longer rule over the people. They must govern for the benefit of the people.

By so doing, the arc of our national progress is shaped. Not everyone is happy with this trajectory. As a whole, the political class must relinquish some of its power and wealth so people can enjoy a more equitable portion of the national enterprise.

This is the correct and perhaps inevitable course Nigeria must pursue. To their credit, many politicians see the need for reform and even champion it. Yet, there are those in the political class who scheme against collective improvement. They seek to halt progress toward a fairer nation. They seek to hold to the old ways. The difference between the two parties and why some people returned to their PDP conclave must be seen in this light.

“This is more than competition over numbers. What rests in the balance is not whether one party has more elected officials on its roster, but which party has the right mindset and policies to reform Nigeria that she may become what goodness demands of her. We are in locked battle to define the future of this nation and the quality of its governance. This battle pits one party, the APC, with all of its imperfections, that seeks national reforms against another party, the PDP, which symbolizes the perfection of the most selfish designs of the most selfish politicians among us.

This moral battle informed the recent defections. Those who belong to that PDP mode of thought could find no permanent comfort in walking the path of progressive reform and progress.  All the things we have inaugurated such as school-feeding programs for poor pupils, social security for poor families, affordable housing programs, greater access to credit for small businesses and greater access to education and health care, these things the defectors could not well abide. They detested President Buhari’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) innovation because it barred them from mis-directing funds into a maze of unaudited accounts from which they could siphon as they pleased. Buhari cut off their clandestine illicit spigot.

“These politicians see accountable good governance and lifting of the common person as the tearing down of their quest for great riches and power.

Even more so, they detested the APC drive toward greater internal democracy. They bristled when we demanded that congresses and conventions be held; they had demanded giving themselves automatic extension in their positions. They privately erupted as the APC decided that direct primaries where all party members vote on the party’s nominations should be the way of the future. The injection of greater democracy meant a decrease in their ability to manipulate end results. Politics will be ushered out of the backroom and given to the people to whom sovereignty genuinely belongs. These men could not countenance such transformation. They saw it not as the gift of democracy but as an obstacle that complicated their self-interest. They left the party to return to a motley agglomeration that would promise them what true democracy could not: automatic tickets, sharing of the national wealth and other offices and privileges.

“Their defection statements swell with high-sounding words and the attempted grasp of lofty ideals. While I shall refrain from being so coarse as to call these statements counterfeit, I must invoke a sufficient level of common sense for the protection of all. Anyone who accepts their statements at face value will quickly experience buyer’s remorse. Their attempt at fine notions aside, what compelled these people was galloping yet blind ambition.

Governor Tambuwal’s exit can be distilled to one cause. He covets the presidency. However, he had not the stomach to challenge President Buhari in a primary. Tambuwal felt further insulted that he would be compelled to face a direct primary just to retain the governorship nomination. But for the promise made by PDP headliners like Rivers State Governor Wike that he would have the PDP presidential nomination, Tambuwal would not have left. His exit had nothing to do with governance of the nation. It was about forging a personal ambition predicated on the defeat of progressive reform not the advancement of it.

“Much the same for Senate President Saraki. Returning to the PDP, he harbors dreams of the presidency but Tambuwal’s ambition will dwarf Saraki’s when the two collide. If Saraki had remained in the APC, he would be unable to reclaim his Senate seat let alone the Senate Presidency. He thus bolted because he lusts for the presidency but was promised by the PDP, at least, a return to his position in the Senate.

For Saraki to talk about lack of governance is for him to deny who he is and the position he holds. This man stands as Nigeria’s Number 3 citizen. Clothed is he in ample power and influence. If he saw areas where government and the nation needed help, he could have easily applied his energies to these areas. He could have drafted legislation and easily got laws passed. However, no progressive enactment bears his name for he cared not for progress. He has been more focused on changing the rules of the Senate to favour himself and changing the order of elections so as to coincide with his selfish designs.

“The rest of the defectors were given similar assurances by the PDP as to their offices. The APC refused to make such bargains as they are part of the ancient regime; these bargains are not of our democratic new way.

There is nothing wrong with ambition. Without a degree of ambition, we would never strive to improve and develop ourselves. But ambition, restrained by nothing but itself, is a dangerous commodity. Unwedded to social conscience, it leads to ruthlessness; it is the father of the deception that leaders are meant to lord over instead of to serve the populace.

In the final analysis, the reason for the defections is as clear to see as it is crooked in its motives.  The APC seeks to reform governance and politics. However, many powerful people believe the established system assures their maximum benefit. Progressive reform would defeat them. They must fight reform and never be allied to it. Thus, they had to leave the APC.

“In a fundamental way, the APC may be better for their exit. It would be untrue to say their departures did not generate concern. As the air clears and we can better assess what is lost and gained by their exit, I can truthfully say the APC will be better off because they are gone.

We can now focus more wholly on democratic governance inside and outside the party. Inside the party, we have adopted direct primaries to discourage corruption of the democratic process. Regarding public policy, we can now better articulate our progressive stance without having naysayers among complaining that we are going too far or that the good we seek for the people ought not to be done.

We can more decisively push for the jobs program, expansion of social security for the poor, affordable housing programs and a viable mortgage system, national infrastructural program that will provide adequate power and potable water, basic health care for all, and educational reform.  Each of these is important in itself. In combination, these objectives shall reshape the very landscape of our political economy. They shall bring fairness and prosperity where none has been.  They will give the average person a government that serves them and the land that they deserve.

“But this prospect means a large segment of the political class will oppose the APC. We, as a party, must have the courage to accept this reality. Having decided to place the public welfare above the private welfare of the few, we must forge ahead no matter the foes aligned against us.

This struggle toward a better Nigeria is hard, described more by difficult obstacles than by smooth passages. Had reform been easy, the task would have already been accomplished. Powerful hands have gathered to halt our collective move forward.  Not everyone wants a better Nigeria for all. Those who profit from the imbalances of the past are those who fear a fairer tomorrow.

Come the general election, the people will face a stark choice. If they want to relive the certain failure and inequality of the system the PDP had erected against their very interests, the people will walk the way of the defectors. If the people want to give themselves a better chance at an excellent nation they will adhere to the path elected in 2015 when they voted for reform and the APC.

“I believe in the collective wisdom of the people. They will choose the right way for they are Nigerians which means they shall do what is right and just”.

Ayo Midele/GEE

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