Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy, has denied having any link with the Boko Haram insurgent group as alleged in some viral reports.
The minister said he has been preaching against the doctrines of Boko Haram and similar groups, endangering his life in the process.
“My lectures against the doctrines and all other evil people have been available for over 15 years, including debates that endangered my life against many criminals in Nigeria,” he wrote via his Twitter handle on Monday.
“By the Almighty, no amount of intimation will stop @IsaPantami from implementing the good policies of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR on security.”
The minister was reacting to an unconfirmed report by Daily Independent that the United States government allegedly placed him on a watchlist for reported links with Mohammed Yusuf, the founder of Boko Haram.
The news platform did not provide any source of the claim other than citing the “America’s Intelligence Service.”
We could not verify the information; official sources including the US embassy in Nigeria have not responded to enquiries regarding the issue.
A video featuring Pantami and Yusuf is also being shared online to back claims in the news report.
But the video, which can be found here, is of a debate between the duo in which the minister was educating the late Boko Haram leader against the group’s extremist anti-western education ideologies.
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) as part of the United Nations’ World Creativity and Innovation Day 2021 is organizing an innovation challenge with the theme “Inspiring Creativity and Innovation in the Nigerian Digital Economy” to harness innovative and impactful solutions for the development of a vibrant digital economy.
The World Creativity and Innovation Day is a global UN day celebrated to raise awareness around the importance of creativity and innovation in problem solving with respect to advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also known as the “global goals”.
A statement by Mrs Hadiza Umar, Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations, NITDA disclosed that the agency is calling on all Nigerians with innovative and impactful working solutions to make entries for the innovation challenge.
According to her, solutions will be evaluated based on job and wealth creation potential, originality, marketability, scalability and inclusiveness. Successful entries will have an opportunity to present their solutions to the Tech Industry Stakeholders.
Our correspondent learnt that the event is scheduled as follows:
Submission of entries via: http://bit.ly/NITDA21WCID
The portal will be opened from April 12, 2021 till April 17, 2021
Entries will be evaluated and assessed by April 19, 2021 and successful ones will be required to do a 5-minute live pitch on Wednesday April 21, 2021
Former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd), has advised the military leadership to develop a new strategy in the counter-insurgency operations in the North-East.
Dambazau gave the advice in a lecture titled, “Strategic Military Leadership and the Emerging Threats to National Security: My Perspective” during the inauguration of Army War College Nigeria Course 5/2021, on Friday in Abuja.
He said that the Forward Operations Base (FOB) and Super Camp strategies so far adopted by the military in the Northeast had not been most efficient in tackling insurgents.
Dambazau, who is the immediate past Minister of Interior said that while the super camp strategy had not in itself most efficient in force protection, it exposed the vulnerable communities to terrorists’ attacks.
He said that the whole idea was to create a balance between force protection and civilian protection, adding that there was a need for the military authority to seek the best way to achieve that.
“I cannot stand here to tell you that this is what they should do but I believe it is something that can be done because it is very important to protect the force and equipment and also protect the civilian communities.
“Like suggested too this cannot be left to the military alone as the military has their role very clearly and, therefore, the civil defence and the police should be used to ensure the protection of our civilian communities.
“Because the insurgents have realised the fact that civilian communities are soft targets,” he said.
The former army chief also called for effective coordination of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to ensure more commitment by member countries to be able to defeat the terrorists.
He also advocated a holistic and all stakeholders approach in tackling the security challenges as well as enhanced intelligence, adequate equipment, manpower and personnel welfare.
According to him, intelligence is a critical area in tackling the current and emerging security threats.
Dambazau also suggested that more needed to be done to address the current ethnic agitation in different parts of the country, adding that those non-state actors were also citizens of Nigeria.
According to him, “Boko haram started as a Taliban of young men hiding in Yobe but today we have insurgents and ten years on we are still fighting.
“I believe that the multifaceted approach can be adopted and the problem is that we think that every security issue is the military show but we have the administration of justice approach.
“It is the primary responsibility of the police to maintain law and order and so we need to also strengthen the police to be able to do that aspect,” he said.
According to him, there are four aspects that need to be addressed; one category has to do with a threat to our sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“Other categories have to do with the issue of law and order, the wellbeing of citizens and the corporate existence of the country.
“There are also issues that have to do with governance like the issue of education, poverty, health and more,” he said.
Dambazau said the country had started witnessing a new war of “ethnic extremism” emanating from IPOB in the southeast and OPC in the southwest, alongside secessionist threats.
According to him, the two groups had been making efforts to ignite nationwide inter-ethnic conflict through their violent attacks on northerners, resident or transacting businesses in the south as a quick way to realise their dream for a divided Nigeria.
He said there was parallel between Boko Haram, a religious extremist group and the IPOB and OPC, both ethnic extremist groups, adding that all the three groups operate on the platform of extremism.
“They are all non-state actors; they all have separatist agenda to carve out states out of Nigeria’s territory; they all do not believe in the Nigerian project, its unity and peaceful co-existence just like Boko Haram.
“They are also beginning their projects by attacking security forces and those they consider their enemies,” he said.
The Imo government has accused Rochas Okorocha, a former governor of the state, of inciting youths to destroy state property.
The state made the allegation in a statement released by Declan Emelumba, commissioner for information, on Friday.
On Monday, gunmen attacked the correctional centre and the police command headquarters in Owerri, the state capital.
Over 1,500 prisoners were reportedly freed in the attacks.
Hope Uzodinma, the state governor, blamed politicians for the incidents.
But Okorocha, who represents Imo west at the senate, said the governor should approach him for counsel rather than politicise the security situation.
“The recent attacks on the police headquarters and the correctional centre in Imo State, the unending herdsmen crises, the banditry, the unending Boko Haram, kidnapping – these are all products of poverty and injustice,” Okorocha said.
“While I call for peace and understanding, we have a duty as leaders to correct these ugly issues of injustices and poverty which are ravaging the country.
“Whoever is saying politicians are involved is trying to politicize the whole thing. I don’t think that any sane politician will go and ask youths to shoot at the police headquarters and all that.”
The commissioner flayed the former governor for blaming the attacks on poverty and injustice, saying Okorocha kept the people impoverished during his tenure.
Emelumba said Okorocha has refused to condemn the Imo attacks, adding that the former governor has been inciting northern youths to destroy state property.
“He is reaping political capital over the unfortunate incidents and had even gone ahead to incite northerners against the government and people of Imo state,” he said.
“It is a direct slap on the face of Imo people for Okorocha to say that the cause of the security breaches in the state was poverty and injustice when he greatly impoverished Imo people by mindlessly appropriating their commonwealth in a most unjust manner, as established by the judicial commissions of inquiry that investigated his tenure in office.
“Do you know the collateral damage that rascality and indiscretion has cost Ndigbo? As I speak, Northern youths are planning attacks against Igbo property in the north because someone chose to sell out for political patronage.”
The Nigerian Correctional Service has released more photos of inmates who were unlawfully released during the Imo jailbreak on Monday, April 5.
Gunmen stormed the Owerri Custodial Center and released over 1800 of the inmates. 84 of them have so far returned voluntarily.
The Nigeria Correctional Service earlier today released photos of 9 of the inmates. More photos of fleeing inmates have now been released. See them below
The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), has agreed to work together to build the capacity of beneficiaries of the amnesty programme.
This was the focal point of discussion at a meeting between the leadership of both organizations held at the NCDMB’s content tower in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Interim Administrator of the PAP, Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (Rtd), while enumerating the vision and strategic plan of the PAP under him, said everything is being done to reposition the programme to its original mandate of security and development of the region.
He explained that as a deliberate arrangement, there is an ongoing interface with key stakeholders in the region, to get them involved in the overall transformation of the PAP and its beneficiaries in order to provide the desired results.
According to him, they decided to approach the NCDMB because of its industry role, which will be of immense benefit to get the ex-agitators to become entrepreneurs and employers of labour.
Dikio noted that by doing so, the ex-agitators will also become net contributors to the economy of the region and the country, whilst the dependence on stipends and handouts will become a thing of the past.
The PAP boss highlighted the role of the NCDMB in the Niger Delta Recovery Plan (NDRP) as a very vital one.
He assured the commitment of the PAP to be willing partners to address the core issues in the region and the general aspirations of the people all geared towards peace and development.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, thanked Dikio for the visit and assured that the board is willing to collaborate and synergize with the PAP in achieving its mandate.
He expressed optimism that the possible areas of collaborations will deepen and strengthen cordial relationships between both agencies which will in turn become profitable to the Niger Delta region.
Wabote took time to highlight some activities and achievements of the board, especially in the area of training youths in diverse sectors of the economy to give them comparative advantage over their contemporaries anywhere in the world.
The highpoint of the meeting was the agreement by the two federal institutions to set up a team to design a working plan and a Memorandum of Understanding on the core interest of human capacity development.
The Governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai, has claimed he will not pay any ransom even if bandits kidnap his son.
El-Rufai stated this while speaking during a radio interview on Friday.
According to him: “I mean it and I will say it again here. Even if my son is kidnapped.
“I will rather pray for him to make heaven instead because I won’t pay any ransom.”
He foreclosed paying ransom to secure the release of the students abducted by bandits from the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Kaduna in March 11.
According to him, his government is “absolutely not paying ransom” but considering other means to ensure the students are returned to their parents.
MegaNews Nigeria reports that American rapper, actor DMX is dead
His family shared the news with The Associated Press on Friday, a week after the rapper suffered a heart attack that left him on life support.
“We are deeply saddened to announce today that our loved one, DMX, birth name of Earl Simmons, passed away at 50 years old at White Plains Hospital with his family by his side after being placed on life support for the past few days,” the family told People in a statement.
“Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end. He loved his family with all of his heart and we cherish the times we spent with him. Earl’s music inspired countless fans across the world and his iconic legacy will live on forever. We appreciate all of the love and support during this incredibly difficult time. Please respect our privacy as we grieve the loss of our brother, father, uncle and the man the world knew as DMX. We will share information about his memorial service once details are finalised.”
DMX was taken to a hospital in White Plains, New York, after suffering a heart attack on 2 April. A vigil was held there on Monday (5 April).
DMX made a splash in rap music in 1998 with his first studio album, It’s Dark and Hell is Hot, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart. The multiplatinum-selling album was anchored by several hits including “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” “Get At Me Dog,” “Stop Being Greedy”, and “How It’s Goin’ Down”.
DMX followed up with four straight chart-topping albums: … And Then There Was X, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, The Great Depression, and Grand Champ. He released seven albums, earned three Grammy nominations and was named Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist at the 2000 American Music Awards.
DMX arrived on the rap scene around the same time as Jay-Z, Ja Rule and others who dominated the charts and emerged as platinum-selling acts. They were all part of rap crews, too: DMX fronted the Ruff Ryders collective, which helped launch the careers of Grammy winners Eve and Swizz Beatz, and relaunch The Lox, formerly signed to Bad Boy Records. Ruff Ryders had success on the charts and on radio with its Ryde or Die compilation albums.
Along with his musical career, DMX paved his way as an actor. He starred in the 1998 film Belly and appeared in 2000’s Romeo Must Die with Jet Li and Aaliyah. DMX and Aaliyah teamed up for “Come Back in One Piece” on the film’s soundtrack.
The rapper would later open Aaliyah’s tribute music video, “Miss You”, alongside her other friends and collaborators, including Missy Elliott, Lil’ Kim and Queen Latifah, after Aaliyah’s 2001 death in a plane crash at age 22.
The rapper also starred in 2001’s Exit Wounds with Steven Seagal and 2003’s Cradle 2 the Grave with Li.
He is survived by his mother and 15 children.
Missy Elliott shared a tribute to DMX shortly after the news of his death broke, writing:
“Even though you had battles you TOUCHED so many through your MUSIC and when you would PRAY so many people FELT THAT! This is heavy for the HipHop family but your LEGACY LIVES ON & your SPIRIT. Continued Prayers for X family & friends for STRENGTH/HEALING.”
Ibukun Awosika, Chairman Board of Directors of First Bank, says the ongoing conversation around the dissolution of Nigeria is not an option because the country “is many decades too late to disintegrate”.
The business woman, motivational speaker and author made her position known on Thursday in Kaduna at a Town Hall Meeting on National Security.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the town hall meeting, with the theme: “Setting Benchmarks for Enhanced Security and National Unity in Nigeria,” was organised by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
The event was attended by Governor Nasir el’Rufai of Kaduna State and his Deputy, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, while the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, led six other ministers to the meeting.
Awosika, who was one of the discussants at the event, said the forefathers, who fought for the independence of Nigeria, did not come from the same tribe, rather from diverse background.
The discussant, who joined the town hall meeting virtually, said Nigeria was not the only country made up of combination of many tribes, ethnic groups, culture and tradition.
She said: “One of the blessings is that the combination that created Nigeria presented us the opportunity in terms of talents, diversity, natural and human resources that were brought to the table.
“When you look at what Nigeria state represents in terms of the size of market and population, the country is richly blessed.”
Awosika said every Nigerian desired to be able “to live in peace, want food on their table while every father and mother want to provide for their household.
“Everyone want to be able to meet their obligation, educate their children and have opportunity for health facility when they need it and have a peaceful coexistence with their people.”
She recalled her youthful age as a young Nigerian raised in a Muslim home with huge Islamic heritage, but later converted to Christianity,
She said as a Christian, many of her family members, friends, business associates are Muslims and they live in peace and harmony.
Awosika blamed political leaders for not doing enough and for playing politics with the issue of disintegration.
She noted that in creating division for political power, if the politicians succeeded in destroying the country, there would be nothing left to govern,
She said: “I challenge the political class to review the approach of gaining power to understand that we cannot attain leadership at all cost.”
Awosika concurred with Prof. Jubrin Ibrahim, the lead presenter at the event, that farmers-herdsmen clashes was being largely fuelled by economic activities engendered by space.
She, therefore, suggested that the private sector should be encouraged to actively engaged in livestock and meat production business.
In encouraging this, she said the government should remove all of the barriers that had resulted from the traditional limitation of the sector.
She said: “We must address some structural systemic situation in terms of engagements that will allow private sector involved in that space and introduce modern ways of approach.
“Government has no business in setting up cattle ranches but it can create an inspired atmosphere that will encourage independent private sector to participate in the space to be sustainable.”
Awosika also underscored the need to invest in education to grow democracy as well as the need for Nigerians to challenge the political class and make them accountable.
Other discussants at the event were Prof. Saka Nuru, Prof. Kokunre Eghafona and Prof. Chudi Uwazuruike, who also joined the meeting virtually.
The Lagos State Government has eased restrictions on social/event centres across the State.
A joint statement issued by the Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf and the Director General, Lagos State Safety Commission, Mr. Lanre Mojola on Friday said Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu approved the ease of restriction.
The statement said Sanwo-Olu, after due consultation and deliberations with relevant stakeholders and MDAs, including Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and Lagos State Safety Commission, approved the further easing of social centres across the State with immediate effect.
The government said all event centres must hold a valid license of the Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture prior to operating as an event centre in the State.
“All event centres must be duly registered and verified on the Lagos State Safety Commission website www.lasgsafetyreg.com prior to holding any event.
“An Event Safety Clearance must be obtained from the Lagos State Safety Commission through the website www.lasgsafetyreg.com for any proposed event or exhibition,” it said.
The statement said safety marshals shall be deployed by an accredited event safety consultant from Lagos State Safety Commission for every social event with attendance exceeding over 200 people.
It added that occupancy limit at any event must not exceed 50% of the maximum design capacity of the hall, wherein occupancy limit stickers provided by the Lagos State Safety Commission must be boldly pasted at the entrance of the event hall.
“Maximum allowable capacity for Event Centers irrespective of occupancy limit is 500 people. Deep cleaning must be carried out before and after every event.
“Physical distancing shall be maintained between seated guests and a maximum number of seated guests should be 6 (six) people on a table of 10 (ten)persons. Event duration should not exceed a maximum period of 6-hours.
“All guests and service providers at the facility must wear a nose mask and make use of hand sanitizers All guests and service providers must endeavour to wash their hands before entering the venue or in the alternative use hand sanitizers. Temperature checks must be taken at all entry points into a facility,” the government stated.
The statement further said guests and service providers with temperature (above 37.5) were to be politely turned back and referred to paramedics or the emergency response team on ground.
It said hand sanitizers must be positioned at the entry points and different spots within the hall, while all event centres must endeavour to display standard COVID-19 safety signs.
“The signs must be bold and installed at conspicuous locations. Event centres owners/ planners/vendors would be responsible for any breach of protocols by their staff. He stated that any violation of this protocol shall attract fines and penalties in line with the Lagos State Infectious Diseases Control Regulation 2020,” it added.