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US put N1.1Bn Bounty on Shekau, Boko Haram Leader

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The United States is offering some N1. 1 billion reward to persons with information on the whereabouts of Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram, the militant Islamist sect.

The N1. 1 bilion about $7 million is part of  the $23 million posted by the US State Department’s Rewards for Justice programme in rewards to help track down four other leaders of militant groups such as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb spreading terror in West Africa.

Up to $5 million was posted for Al-Qaeda veteran Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the one-eyed Islamist behind the devastating attack on an Algerian gas plant in January in which 37 persons,  including three Americans, were killed.

A further $5 million was offered for top AQIM leader Yahya   Al-Hammam, reportedly involved in the 2010 murder of an elderly French hostage in Niger Republic.

Malik  Abdelkarim, a senior fighter with AQIM, and Oumar Ould Hamaha, the spokesman for Mali’s Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, were also targeted by the rewards which will give up to $3m each for information leading to their arrests.

The bounties which the Federal Government described as a welcome development, acknowledged the growing links between AQIM and Nigeria’s Boko Haram, which is under pressure from a military offensive.

A senior  US State Department official, who made this known to the Agence France Presse on Monday  said, “They’ve had a relationship for some time. They send people back and forth for training, they’ve done the provision of arms back and forth.

“The links are… not quite as solid as some of the other terrorist organisations,” he said. “Nonetheless, it’s a dangerous link and it’s something that we feel we should try and stop.”

 Shekau had last week called on Islamists in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq to join the bloody fight to create an Islamic state in Nigeria.

In a video obtained by AFP last week, he claimed Boko Haram forces had made significant gains against the Nigerian Army while sustaining little damage since the start of the military offensive on May 15.

“Under his leadership, Boko Haram’s capability has certainly grown,”  the official, who asked not to be named   added.

He highlighted how the group set off “their first improvised explosive device in early June 2011. By August (2011) they used a car bomb against the United Nations facility,” an attack which killed 25 people.

“When we see someone like this who… is actually leading to an increase in the capability of an organisation, that’s something that we would naturally try to see if we can do something to impede,” he added.

Shekau’s whereabouts could not be determined in the video, in which he was shown seated and dressed in camouflage and a turban, with an AK-47 at his side.

His comments contradicted  statements from the military, which claimed major successes during the offensive, including the destruction of Boko Haram camps and dozens of arrests.

Shekau was placed on a US blacklist last year, but Boko Haram has yet to be designated a foreign terrorist organisation – an absence which has raised eyebrows among regional experts.

The US department official also  told the AFP  that the  “AQIM has been increasingly active in the North and West Africa. They’re one of the pre-eminent kidnap for ransom groups in the terrorist world now.”

“They cause us a great deal of concern. Anything that we can do naturally to cut down on the capabilities of AQIM, anything that we can do to get information on these people so that we can get them in front of a court… That is our goal,” he added.

The US has been increasingly worried about the spread of Islamist groups in   Mali and across the vast and lawless Sahel since a military coup ousted the government in Bamako.

Former colonial power France had led a military offensive in January against the militants in Mali’s northern desert. The West African nation prepares for presidential elections on July 28.

There are fears however that the spread of militant groups risks destabilising the entire West African region.

Belmokhtar, who was a senior commander for AQIM, broke away from the group last year to set up his own group dubbed the “Signatories in Blood.”

Branded “the Uncatchable,” Belmokhtar also personally supervised the operational plans for the twin car bombings in Niger that killed at least 20 people late last month, according to a spokesman for his group.


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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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NCC Threatens Illegal Users of GSM Boosters with Arrest, Prosecution

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Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has warned telecom consumers to desist from using illegal GSM boosters.

NCC Threatens Illegal Users of GSM Boosters with Arrest, Prosecution

The commission also said that anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.

GSM boosters are devices that transmit and receive telecommunications signals and can therefore interfere with other radio frequency equipment.

Ikechukwu Adinde, director, public affairs, NCC, said in a notice published on NCC website, that only licensed network operators are allowed to use GSM boosters.

The booster, also known as amplifier or repeater is made up of three main elements – exterior antenna, amplifier, and interior antenna.

They form a wireless system to boost cellular reception

“Members of the public should note that, willful interference with any wireless telegraphy is an offence under Section 16 of the Telegraphy Act, 2004,”it said

The agency said it will not condone any flagrant breach of this law.

It has also enforced measures to prosecute offenders.

Accordingly, monitoring mechanisms have been put in place and anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.

“Any member of the public with useful information regarding the illegal use of GSM Boosters should contact the Commission on 09-4617000/7351 or send an email to [email protected],” the notice said.

“Individuals desirous of using GSM Boosters should note that they can only do so in conjunction with licensed network operators,” it added.

 

 


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Tizeti Selects Nokia to Provide LTE Fixed Wireless Access Solution for High-Speed internet Services in Nigeria

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Tizeti announced that it selected Nokia’s Fastmile Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology to enable usprovide superior internet services to over 1 Million subscribers in Port Harcourt, Edo and Ogun in Nigeria.

Tizeti Selects Nokia to Provide LTE Fixed Wireless Access Solution for High-Speed internet Services in Nigeria

Tizeti will deploy Nokia’s AirScale Base Station TDD-LTE and FastmileFixed Wireless Access (FWA) gatewaysto deliver premium internet and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services to Residential, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The solution will also enable Tizeti’sto deliver a more robust, high-speedinternet service to subscribers and the flexibility to seamlessly evolve to 5G Fixed Wireless Access when needed.

Nokia’s FWA solution enables Tizeti to fast-track broadband access and provide a best-in-class broadband experience to its subscribers.

Nokia’sAirScale Base Stations ensure high-quality connectivity and coverage and enablesTizeti to evolve the network in line with customer demand.

Nokia’sFastmilegateways connect wirelessly to the existing network to createa fastbroadband connection and enhanced Wi-Fi experience in the home.

The Nokia Network Services Platform will help Tizeti to simplify operations and quickly respond to changing market demands.

Kendall Ananyi, Tizeti, said:“We are committed to providing the best-in-class network experience to our subscribers. We are confident that Nokia’s proven technology and expertise will help us differentiate our services based on quality. This a crucial project for us as it introduces LTE in our networks and allows us to bring new and innovative services to our subscribers.”

Eniola Balogun, Nokia, said:“We are thrilled to work with Tizeti on the initiative to upgrade their network to bring the latest products and services to its subscribers. Nokia Fastmile will help Tizeti to cost-effectively enhance the customer experience.

The project will also enable them to delight their subscribers by providing more reliable data services.

On the other hand, Tizeti will benefit by adding new revenue streams.”

 

 


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