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Let Ogoni Clean-Up Begin Now -Buhari …Wike Pledges Support

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President Muhammadu Buhari afterall, failed to show up for the flag-off of the Ogoniland clean-up but speaking through Vice President Osibanjo, stated that he has fulfilled his 2015 electioneering campaign promise to Ogoni people through flagging-off of the project. He stressed that, he will monitor the daily progress of the clean-up.
The president said this at the site of the flag-off of the clean-up of Ogoni environment in Tekru Waterfront, Bodo, Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Buhari, who was represented by Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osobanjo, said this after kick-starting the proactive implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report recommendations, noting that, it was a reward for sacrifices made by the heroes and people of Ogoniland.
Buhari, who frowned at the resurgence of oil pipeline vandalism and crude theft which has drastically reduced gas supply to power stations, assured that the sabotage of oil pipelines would not be tolerated.
He noted that the Federal Government will enforce the rule of law in protecting critical national assets anywhere in the country.
Also speaking at the flag-off of the clean-up exercise, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for kicking-off the clean-up process, describing it, as a good gesture that will lead to the restoration of the environment of the Ogoni people.
Wike pledged the support of the Rivers State Government in the full implementation of the UNEP report in Ogoniland, noting that, Ogoni people have adopted a non-violent posture in fighting for environmental justice.
The Rivers State governor said that the clean-up presents a road map to gauge the extent of damage to Ogoniland and the ecosystem of the Niger Delta.
The Executive Director of UNEP, Mr Achim Steiner, said the organisation’s team had produced a document of what happened in Ogoniland.
He said that the team would stand with the Nigerian government to ensure the implementation of the report.
In his remarks, President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Legborsi Pyagbara, said the flag-off of the clean-up exercise by President Buhari was a reward for the non-violent posture of Ogoni people in their struggle, and further heralds a healing process in Ogoniland, which for years, has suffered environmental pollution and loss of lives.
The MOSOP leader said that President Buhari’s decision to keep to the promise he made during his campaign in 2015 marks him out as a leader in Africa who says something and keeps to his word.
“President Buhari has proven that he is a leader we should trust. He is the last export of a great leader in Africa continent,” Pyagbara noted.
He said other places in the Niger Delta should learn from the Ogoni people and adopt a non-violent struggle as the best way to go.
“Our road may have been rough with lives lost but the Minister of Environment, Aisha Mohammed, and President Buhari are rekindling our faith in Nigeria,” the MOSOP leader added.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday warned that the Federal Government would no longer tolerate the current theft and illegal refining of crude oil in the Niger Delta.
Buhari, represented by Vice-President, Yemi Osinbanjo, gave the warning at the launch of “Clean-Up of Ogoniland’’ in Bodo, Gokana Local Government of Rivers.
He urged the regulators of oil industry to carry out their responsibilities in line with best practices.
Buhari said that government was laying a foundation for change to ensure the rule of law and safety of the people.
He said the aim was to diversify the nation’s economy and provide jobs and wealth for the people.
According to him, the clean-up of Ogoniland will have sustainable development components will benefit the people.
“The methodology for the clean-up will ensure job creation for young people. The agro-allied industries required for processing of agricultural produce will also be put in place,’’ the president said.
Buhari also said that approval had been given to set up necessary institutional framework to drive the implementation of the UNEP Report.
Governor Nyesom Wike  commended Buhari for inaugurating the implementation of the UNEP Report on Ogoniland.
He said that the state government would provide the platform for the smooth implementation of the Report.
The governor said that environmental degradation had affected ecosystem and wild life of communities in the Niger Delta.
The Minister of Environment, Hajia Amina Mohammed, said that government had taken stock of the work done in the past to start the implementation.
She said the clean-up would require collective responsibility of all stakeholders to ensure its success.
Mohammed said the implementation “requires transparency, accountability, genuine partnership and proper representation of the people at the grassroots in what we are doing in investing in their future,’’ she said.
Mr Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP, said the organisation’s team had produced a document of what happened in Ogoniland.
He said that the team would stand with the Nigerian government to ensure the implementation of the report.

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Destroy All Illegal Refinery Sites In Rivers, Wike Orders LGA Chairmen

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has ordered all the 23 local government chairmen to hire bulldozers and destroy every identified illegal crude oil bunkering and artisanal refinery sites in Rivers State.
The governor has also asked the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr Eboka Friday, to provide adequate security for the local government area chairmen as they embark on the mass destruction of illegal refinery sites across the state.
Wike gave the order, last Wednesday, during a meeting with the 23 local government chairmen, the state commissioner of police and the commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
It would be recalled that Wike had on Friday, January 14, 2022 issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the 23 local government chairmen to provide him a comprehensive list of all illegal refinery sites and their operators within their respective jurisdictions.
Wike said with the receipt of the list of identified illegal refinery sites, the state government would provide financial support to the LG chairmen to hire bulldozers and swamp buggies for the purpose of destroying all the sites.
“I will not relent in this fight. And all of you should hire bulldozers. All those areas where the illegal refinery sites are in the bush, in the creek, clear them. Government will give you some money to go and hire bulldozers to go and clear the sites so that they will know we are serious.”
He urged the commissioner of police to give the LG chairmen adequate security personnel to go and destroy all illegal refinery sites.
According to the governor, the government would not allow those engaged in illegitimate business to operate in Rivers State.
“One thing I want to say and which is very clear, and like everybody knows, I am not against anybody making money. But, we cannot allow people to make money, while others are dying.”
The governor acknowledged that since the state government intensified the fight against illegal refinery operators, who are primarily responsible for the discharge of impure carbon particles resulting from the incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons into the atmosphere, the air quality in parts of Rivers State has improved remarkably.
Wike said he was mindful that as the state government intensifies the war against illegal refinery activities, the cartel behind the illicit business would make effort to compromise unscrupulous security agents in the state.
The governor, however, warned that he would personally visit the Inspector General of Police, the Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Chief of Army Staff in Abuja, to report any of their personnel implicated in illegal crude oil bunkering and artisanal refinery activities in Rivers State.
“You know in Nigeria, we don’t believe that anything can happen. We don’t take government seriously, but in our own case, they have no choice, they’ll take us seriously. “
The governor, who regretted the failure of the Federal Government to take any action to end the soot crisis in the oil producing states, said his administration cannot fold its arms and watch some deviant persons destroy the environment and endanger the health of the citizens.

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Customs Declares War On Sea Criminals, Commissions 18 Boats In Rivers

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has renewed offensives against hoodlums operating on the Southern waters (Eastern and Western Marine Commands) with the acquisition of 18 creeks patrol boats.
Comptroller General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali (rtd), who spoke at the occasion of the commissioning of the boats constructed and built by SEWA West Africa in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said the boats, which comprise nine gunboats and nine logistics boats, were serious signals to criminals.
Ali stated that the boats, which have high functionalities, are an addition to the service’s Marine arsenal at a time smugglers are running away from the heat on land.
He expressed: “I feel highly elated to be with you and most importantly, to commission the 18 creek patrol boats.
“The addition of these boats to the service Marine arsenal at a time when more smugglers are running away from the heat on land to water is simply the right thing to do.
“This event, no doubt, marks the beginning of a renewed offensive against those who chose creeks and waterways as safe haven for their illegal trade.
“The 18 creeks patrol boats, consisting of nine logistic support boats and nine gunboats whose parts are armoured, should send clear signals to the criminals that the game is up. Unlike before, we now have boats with flat bottoms that can access the creeks even when the water has receded.”
The comptroller-general stated that NCS tapped into the ingenuity of a Nigerian company, SEWA to design, construct and build the edifices in-line with Executive Order on Local Content of 2017.
He noted: “As you can see, these boats are not only built with our weather and circumstances in mind, they can compete with similar ones built anywhere in the world.
“The relationship between NCS and SEWA represents excellent examples of what Nigerians can achieve when we come together.
“I, therefore, commend SEWA for delivering on their promise and have no hesitation to recommend them to individuals or organizations that need what they are capable of producing.
“As we commission these boats, which will be deployed for the Southern waters, (the Eastern and Western Marine Commands), I urge our marine operatives to use them judiciously in the interest of the nation.
“Let me state here that even with the best of working tools, NCS efforts will not yield maximum output, If Nigerians for which we work, do not give us needed cooperation.”
Speaking at Onne seaport, where he inspected the newly acquired scanning machine, the NCS boss said the scanner would facilitate trade and reduce the issue of importation of contraband goods.
Ali added that acquisition of the scanning machine would reduce cost and time spent on inspection of containers.
He, however, lauded other security agencies for the existing synergy in complementing the fight against insecurity and bunkering on the waterways and creeks.

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Interpol Nabs 11 Nigerian Cyber Scam Kingpins

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Interpol, in collaboration with Nigeria Police Force, has arrested 11 members of a Nigerian cybercrime gang, potentially responsible for targeting as many as 50,000 victims in various scams in recent years.
At least, six of the suspects belong to “SilverTerrier,” a syndicate accused of employing a range of malware variants in tens of thousands of financial scams dating back to, at least, 2014.
Palo Alto Networks’ threat intelligence arm, Unit 42, which helped in the investigation, said the six Silver Terrier members have “successfully avoided prosecution for the past half a decade.
This, it said, was due to the complexities of mapping global victims beyond the flow of stolen funds back to the source of malicious network activity.
Unit 42, reports cyberscoop.com, also noted that rather than targeting “easily identifiable money mules or flashy Instagram influencers,” the operation focused instead on the “technical backbone of BEC operations”.
It focused on individuals who have the skills and knowledge to build and deploy the malware and domain infrastructure used in the schemes.
The announcement, last Wednesday, comes two months after three members of the same group were arrested in Operation Falcon.
The arrest of the three followed a year-long Interpol-led investigation into the prolific business email compromise (BEC) scams the group’s members are alleged to have pulled off over the years.
Authorities called this latest roundup Operation Falcon II.
The arrests occurred between December 13 and 22, but it’s not clear exactly where.
Read the full Interpol statement: “The Nigerian Police Force (NPF) has arrested 11 alleged members of a prolific cybercrime network as part of a national police operation coordinated with Interpol.
“Arrested by officers of the NPF Cybercrime Police Unit and Interpol’s National Central Bureau (NCB) in Nigeria, many of the suspects are thought to be members of ‘SilverTerrier’, a network known for Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams which have harmed thousands of companies globally.
“The ten-day Operation Falcon II (13-22 December) saw 10 NFP officers deployed from the Abuja headquarters to Lagos and Asaba to arrest target suspects identified ahead of time with intelligence provided by Interpol.
“Field operations were preceded by an intelligence exchange and analysis phase, where Nigeria used Interpol’s secure global police communications network, I-24/7, to work with police forces across the world also investigating BEC scams linked to Nigeria.
“The Interpol General Secretariat supported field operations 24/7, forensically extracting and analysing data contained in the laptops and mobile phones seized by NPF during the arrests.
“This preliminary analysis indicates that the suspects’ collective involvement in BEC criminal schemes may be associated with more than 50,000 targets.
“One of the arrested suspects was in possession of more than 800,000 potential victim domain credentials on his laptop.
“Another suspect had been monitoring conversations between 16 companies and their clients and diverting funds to ‘SilverTerrier’ whenever company transactions were about to be made.
“Another individual was suspected of taking part in BEC crime across a wide range of West African countries, including Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria.
“By alerting Nigeria to this serious cybercrime threat, Interpol enabled me to give the order to hunt down these globally active criminals nationwide, flushing them out no matter where they tried to hide in my country,” Head of NCB Abuja and INTERPOL Vice President for Africa,Assistant Inspector General of Police Garba Baba Umar, said.
“The outstanding results of Operation Falcon II have served to disrupt this dangerous cyber gang and protect Nigerian citizens from further attack.
“I encourage fellow African countries to also work with Interpol in ridding our continent of cybercrime to make the cyber world a safer place,” Umar added.
“With BEC fraud having both a cyber and a financial element, Operation Falcon II saw financial ‘pathfinder countries’ belonging to Interpol’s Global Financial Crime Taskforce (IGFCTF) – including Nigeria – work together on cross-border financial investigations linked to the operation.
“The IGFCTF is now coordinating further action against ‘SilverTerrier’ bank accounts and sharing intelligence on the domain credentials of potential victims with member countries to prevent further fraud.
“Operation Falcon II sends a clear message that cybercrime will have serious repercussions for those involved in business email compromise fraud, particularly as we continue our onslaught against the threat actors, identifying and analysing every cyber trace they leave,” said Interpol’s Director of Cybercrime, Craig Jones.
“INTERPOL is closing ranks on gangs like ‘SilverTerrier’; as investigations continue to unfold, we are building a very clear picture of how such groups function and corrupt for financial gain. Thanks to Operation Falcon II we know where and whom to target next,” Jonesadded.
“Led by Interpol’s Cybercrime Directorate in Singapore, Operation Falcon II was a cooperative effort involving IGFCTF, Nigerian law enforcement agencies, a range of Interpol expert teams and vital private partners Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 and Group-IB’s APAC Cyber Investigations Team.
“Through Interpol’s Gateway initiative, Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 and Group-IB have contributed to investigations by sharing information on ‘SilverTerrier’ threat actors, and analysing data to situate the group’s structure within the broader organized crime syndicate. They also provided key technical expertise consultancy to support the Interpol teams.
“Gateway boosts law enforcement and private industry partnerships to generate threat data from multiple sources and enable police authorities to prevent and investigate attacks in a timely manner.
“The operation was developed as part of efforts to support joint operations in Africa with funding by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (UK). Interpol extends its thanks for this support.
“At a time of increased threat, members of the public, businesses and organizations are reminded to protect themselves from online scams by following the advice featured in Interpol’s #JustOneClick, #WashYourCyberHands, #OnlineCrimeIsRealCrime and #BECareful campaigns.
“BEC remains “one of the most financially damaging online crimes,” according to the FBI.
“In 2020 the FBI received more than 19,000 BEC and email account compromise complaints, costing victims as much as $1.86billion.
“BEC refers to a scam where a company employee authorized to make payments on behalf of the company is tricked into authorizing phony payments or money transfers into accounts controlled by the attacker, via spoofed or legitimate email, or over the phone”.

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