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S/Africa, Nigeria @ War over Seizure of New $5.7m Arms Cash

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South Africa authorities have confiscated fresh $5.7 million arms money from Nigeria, about three weeks after seizing $9.3 million in cash transported by two Nigerians and an Israeli for arms purchase, South Africa-based City Express reported on Monday.

But the Federal Government said Monday, contrary to insinuations, said end user certificates and a “shopping” list accompanied the transactions, as well as a note authenticating the deals.

As with the first deal, South Africa’s Asset Forfeiture Unit of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) seized the $5.7 million (about N952 million) for allegedly being the proceeds of illegal transactions, the paper said.

“Both are now the subject of a criminal investigation and all possible information and connections are being investigated,” Mr Nathi Mncube, spokesperson of NPA was quoted as saying.

However, the military said South African media vindicated the legitimacy of the arms deal and described it as “an old story being refreshed for impact.”

According to the reports, documents showed that the earlier consignment was approved by the Nigerian government, through the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), which is officially mandated to issue the end-user certificate for such transactions that involved security agencies in Nigeria.

An entire “shopping list” was also said to have been supplied with the certificate, which included everything from helicopters to unmanned aircraft, rockets and ammunition.

PR Nigeria, which consults for the Nigeria military said, a top security source in the intelligence service disclosed that “in issuing end-user certificate, the NSA ensures it carried all relevant agencies and stakeholders along, a development that shows it was not unilateral.

“For security reasons, the chains leading to the issuance of end-user certificate cannot be put in the public domain.

“The recent interest in arms purchase was informed by the challenges of insurgency which our nation had been grappling with in the last few years. This is why the understanding of all Nigerians is necessary.

“Nigeria is desperate to counter the activities of terrorists, no matter what it takes, even when some of our friends are not being fair to us,” he said.

The PR statement appealed to the media and all Nigerians, especially the opposition, to consider the overall national interest on security issues.

The curious interest in the nation’s arms deal in the past few weeks appeared to have suggested that some vested interests did not want the nation to win the war against insurgency, with some fifth columnists said to be at work to achieve a clandestine purpose.

The government and some top intelligence officers in the country were concerned about how some officials of South Africa decided to frustrate the efforts of Nigeria at containing the activities of terrorists operating in the North-East axis, especially since authoritative sources confirmed that there were official communications at the top level of the two governments.

Some diplomats in Nigeria were also concerned that despite the leeway given to South African companies to thrive in Nigeria, there were officials of the country who are determined to frustrate Nigeria.

The latest transaction, according to the South African paper, was between Cerberus Risk Solutions, an arms broker in Cape Town and Societe D’Equipments Internationaux, said to be a Nigerian company based in Abuja.

The paper said the deal fell apart after Cerberus, which had earlier received from Nigeria R60 million (N1.02 billion) in its  account at Standard Bank, tried to repay the money, as it it could not resolve its registration formalities with the South African authorities.

“Cerberus was previously registered as a broker with the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC), but the registration expired in May this year,” City Press said.

“The marketing and contracting permits also expired at the same time. The company has since applied for re-registration, but the application lay in the NCACC’s mailbox for more than two months.

“Sources told Rapport that Cerberus apparently tried to pay the money back to the Nigerian company, after which the bank became suspicious,” the paper reported.

The paper added that while the NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit subsequently obtained a court order in the South Gauteng High Court to seize the money, the NPA spokesperson, Mncube, said there were no indication the two transactions were related.

In the first deal, the NPA said there was an invoice for helicopters and armaments intended to be used in Nigeria.

Two black plastic suitcases, filled with 90 blocks each containing $100,000 in notes, with combination locks, were seized, as well as two pieces of hand luggage also containing US currency, according to City Press.

The Israeli national, Eyal Mesika, had the combination to open the locks.

Under South African laws, a person entering or leaving the country is expected to carry cash not exceeding $2,300, or the equivalent in foreign currency notes.

The South African newspaper, City Press, said documents in its possession showed that the first consignment was personally signed off by the NSA, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retd), who issued the end-user certificate for the transaction.

An entire “shopping list” was supplied with the certificate, which included everything from helicopters to unmanned aircraft, rockets and ammunition, it said.


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CBN Pulls Rate Cut Trigger, King Dollar Returns

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By Lukman Otunuga, Senior Research Analyst at FXTM,

In a move that caught investors off-guard this week, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) slashed interest rates by 100 basis points bringing the MPR to 11.5%. Given how inflation has been above target since 2015, rates were expected to remain unchanged for the rest of 2020 and possibly early 2021.

 

The question on the mind of many is whether the rate cut will achieve the desired effect by stimulating consumption and economic growth? Ongoing border closures and disruptions created by COVID-19 have pushed inflation to levels not seen since March 2018 above 13.20% while a drop in the production and price of Oil continues to rub salt into the wound. While looser monetary policy could support growth, it may come at the cost of rising inflation and weaker Naira.

 

Over the past few months, central banks across the globe have deployed unprecedented measures to defend their respective economies against the coronavirus menace. However, fiscal policy has been identified as the sharper tool with governments across the world providing a critical lifeline to keep the wheels of their respective economies rolling.

 

Outside of Nigeria, King Dollar made a return by appreciating against every single G10 currency. In times of uncertainty, everyone wants a juicy piece of the world’s most liquid currency. As coronavirus cases rise in Europe and other parts of the world, the flight to safety is likely to boost appetite for the Dollar. This is bad news for many emerging markets currencies, especially those with high Dollar-denominated debt.

 

On the commodity side, Oil prices remain heavily influenced by demand-side factors and the state of the global economy. Prices are likely to remain stuck around the $40 regions in the near term, especially If another round of possible lockdowns hit Oil demand. Looking at the technicals, WTI Crude is under pressure on the daily charts. If prices are unable to break away from the sticky $40 regions, the next key point of interest remains around $38. A weekly close above $41.50 could pave a path towards $43.


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NCC Arrests Man for Hacking into DSTV System

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Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC), has arrested one Mr Aliu Olalekan, for allegedly hacking into DSTV system and watching the channels free without subscription.

NCC Arrests Man for Hacking into DSTV System

Mr Matthew Ojo, NCC Director in the Lagos Directorate Office said this while speaking with newsmen in Lagos, on Tuesday.

He said that the suspect used to watch DSTV channels free without subscription on his Android phone via an app which he downloaded on google play store.

“This suspect distributed the know-how to his telegram followers and on his blog with the aim of gaining more followers and viewership on his blog and makes more money through google ad-sense.

“The operation was based on surveillance which had earlier been carried out by the Multi-choice team and verified by a copyright inspector, ” he said.

He added that the arrest was made in collaboration with a team of copyright inspectors led by the Head of Enforcement Department, Mr Charles Amudipe.

Others included; a team from Multichoice Nigeria led by Mr Umar Ibrahim and policemen from Lagos Command Headquarters, Ikeja.

Ojo said that the joint team conducted an anti-piracy operation at the premises of the culprit in Amukoko, Lagos.

According to him, the suspect was contacted on phone by a member of the operation team on the disguise of patronising him. “The suspect came out to meet the caller and in the process of discussion, he was apprehended.

“The suspect took the team to his resident. The squad paraded his one-room apartment and recovered his laptop and phones used in perpetrating the ungodly act. “He was arrested and brought to the copyright commission office for further investigation, ” he said.

Ojo said that, on getting to the commission’s office, the statement of the suspect was taken and the inventory of items seized from him taken. He said that investigation on the matter was still ongoing and if found guilty the suspect will be charged to court.

 


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NCC, Digital Encode Support NITRA Innovative Tech Forum On Post-COVID-19 Strategies

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria’s telecommunications regulator and Digital Encode, Cybersecurity and Compliance advisory company, have indicated interest to partner with the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), the national umbrella body of ICT reporters, as it organizes a forum that will x-ray the industry’s future plans for ICT growth post pandemic era.

 

The event, slated to hold on October 15, 2020, will seek to discuss the needs for a fortified ICT sector after the COVID-19 era, and the level of preparedness of ICT stakeholders to embrace the challenge of being pivotal to the stability and growth of all other sectors.

 

A statement from NITRA National Secretariat in Lagos indicates that due to the pandemic and need to observe the COVID-19 protocol on social distancing, the event will be held via a Webinar.

 

This year’s theme, “Multi-stakeholder Approach To National Recovery Post-Pandemic”, is in line with the annual event’s generic theme, ‘NITRA Innovative Tech Forum’, a contribution by NITRA to the development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) innovations and policies in Nigeria.

 

Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, NCC is expected to deliver the keynote speech at the event and will throw more light on Federal Government’s plans, programmes and policies on post-pandemic strategies using ICT.

 

Dr. Adewale Obadare and Dr. Seyi Akindeinde, founders of Digital Encode, while accepting to support the event expressed their readiness to offer their expertise in Cybersecurity for organisations to prepare against cyber- attacks with the new normal.

 

They will also highlight areas that are high risks that need fortification in terms of cybersecurity.

 

Speaking on the event, Mr. Chike Onwuegbuchi, national chairman, NITRA, noted that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to leave its negative trails across the globe, economic reboot for countries will not only depend on how well they readapt to the new normal, but also more on their recovery plans.

 

According to him: “While the federal government has consistently expressed its willingness to set all policies in place to engender growth, and accelerated implementation of these policies, private sector firms have also shown great hunger for the task ahead in post-COVID-19 era.

 

However, the question that needs to be answered is whether all stakeholders are ready for the required task ahead.”

 

The event will also offer participating companies opportunities to publicize some of their individual efforts at contributing to reacting a soft landing or lifeline for SMEs and other ancillary companies as the pandemic threatens their survival.

 

Digital Encode is a multi-award winning and leading consulting and integration firm that specializes in the design, management, and security of business-critical networks, telecommunications environments and other Information Technology (IT) infrastructures.

 


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