Ekiti State Government has assured the people of its readiness to put security agencies across the state on their toes to salvage the state from further bank robbery and other crimes and criminality in the area.
The State Deputy Governor, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, gave the assurance in a statement signed by Mr Odunayo Ogunmola, his Special Assistant on Media in Ado-Ekiti yesterday.
Ogunmola said his boss made this known when he paid a condolence visit to Oye-Ekiti, to commiserate with the residents of the town over Thursday’s bloody robbery attack on UBA Bank branch in the area.
The deputy governor, who noted that two persons lost their lives in dare-devil robbery, describing the bank robbery and loss of lives as sad and unfortunate, stressing that security organisations would be more alert in securing the lives and property of the people of the state.
He said that everything, humanly possible would be done to ensure that banks operating in any part of the state were effectively secured.
Egbeyemi, who also visited both the bank and the nearby police divisional office which was also attacked by the robbers, stressed the need for residents to be more security conscious.
He said government would continue to work round the clock in collaboration with security agencies to ensure safety of lives and investment in the state.
The Deputy Governor also called for collective efforts among the security agencies in tackling security challenges bedeviling the country.
Egbeyemi, who noted that the affected UBA was the only bank serving communities in the axis, promised that the state government would do the needful to get it back to business.
The deputy governor praised police officers on duty for repelling the robbers from gaining access to the station’s armory.
He said: “The officers on duty did well by preventing them from gaining access to their armory. The whole building is riddled with bullets and dynamites were used on it.
“The building needs a total repair to be conducive for officers to perform their duties.We will be on the alert and we will make sure that all the security agencies in the state are on the alert
“It once happened at Ise-Ekiti, Ilawe-Ekiti, Iju-Ita Ogbolu and now in Oye-Ekiti. I don’t think there is any other bank in this axis again.
That of Ifaki is no longer functional again; it was destroyed by robbers sometime ago.
“We will appeal to UBA to renovate the place; government would put more security around too.
He said the renovation became necessary as the robbed bank was the only one serving “Isan- Ekiti, Ikole-Ekiti, Oy-Ekiti and Ifaki-Ekitii axis.”
The deputy governor had earlier paid a condolence visit to the traditional ruler of the town, the Oloye of Oye-Ekiti, Oba Oluwole Ademolaju over the incident.
RSG Set To Commission Two Flyovers, Other Projects
The Rivers State Government has disclosed that from Monday, March 1, 2021, it would kick-start another round of commissioning of projects.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, made the disclosure, last Wednesday, in Port Harcourt.
He said that the government would commission the Okoro-Nu-Odo Flyover on March 1, 2021 by the former Governor of Cross River State, Mr Donald Duke.
According to him, “Rumuogba 1 and 2 Flyover will be commissioned on Tuesday, March 2 by the former Governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.
“Wednesday, March 3 will be the turn of GRA Phase 2 Roads (Tombia Crescent, Opobo Crescent and Isaiah Odolu Street) that will be commissioned by the former Governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Ibrahim Shehu Shema.
“The former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, will be Special Guest of Honour on Thursday, March 4 to commission the new Government House Clinic/Press.
“Earlier that same day, the contract for the two new flyovers at Ikwerre Road/Olu-Obasanjo (Ikokwu) and Aba Road/Rumukalagbor (Waterlines) Junctions will be signed with Julius Berger.
“On Friday, March 5, the Ikwerre Road/Olu Obasanjo (Ikokwu) Flyover will be flagged off by the South-South Zonal Vice Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Dan Orbih.
“Activities for the week will be rounded off on Saturday, March 6 with the flag-off of the Aba Road/Rumukalagbor (Waterlines) Flyover”, the statement said.
Nsirim noted that the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, would be the Chief Host at all the events.
“Please, note that all Covid-19 protocols will be observed at all venues”, Nsirim added.
Insecurity: No Amnesty For Bandits, Criminals, Buhari Insists
Governors of the 19 Northern States and traditional rulers of the region have begun a strategy meeting in Kaduna where they are x-raying the security challenges bedevilling the region.
The two-day meeting of NGF, which opened, yesterday, at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, Kaduna, is also being attended by the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawal, Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, and Information Minister, Lai Mohammed.
Others are National Security Adviser, Maj-Gen Mohammed Monguno, Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Ibrahim, and Director General, State Security Service, Yusuf Bichi.
Speaking at the event, President Muhammadu Buhari said that government shall continue to deal with insurgents, as bandits, kidnappers and other criminals constitute threat to citizens across the country.
“Criminals are criminals and should be dealt with,” he said.
Represented by the Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, the President appreciated the efforts of the Northern States Governors for their contribution towards National Growth and development, “especially in this challenging period in our nation’s being where certain fundamental corporate existence needs to be frankly deliberated upon and actionable resolutions reached.”
He said the meeting was coming at a time when they were making steady progress in addressing the many challenges impeding development, such as providing critical infrastructure like roads, railways, airports among others, which are critical to economic prosperity.
He said government was also providing economic opportunities for citizens to pursue legitimate aspirations, adding that even though they were confronting the various dimensions of security challenges, they would continue the emancipation of the people from poverty and economic deprivation.
“I have already tasked the new service chiefs to devise new strategies that will end this ugly situation where the lives of our people continue to be threatened by hoodlums and criminals. I expect that at this meeting, your forum will also discuss of building stronger collaboration with the security architecture and devise ways and the people in defeating criminality across the region and the nation at large.
“I wish to advocate for, between the Northern Governors Forum synergy and other Forums in the other regions for the collective good of our nation. You should endeavour to compare notes and peer-review one another to exchange ideas and adopt best practices for the good of the people you govern.
“In this regard, I wish to commend the chairman and members of this forum for rising to the occasion to de-escalate the recent tension arising from clashes between herders which resulted in the loss of lives and properties. The efforts of the forum in engaging all farmers, other parties and supporting the efforts of the Federal Government have gone a long way to ameliorate the situation. We need to sustain this tempo to attain total calm.
“Today’s gathering also demonstrates the collective will of the people of the Northern part of this country to promote living together and staying amongst all Nigerians irrespective of religious differences,” he said.
Buhari also downplayed the possibility of the Federal Government granting amnesty to criminals and bandits.
Buhari warned that his government would deal decisively with all forms of criminality in the country.
He said he has directed the security chief to evolve strategy on how to deal with all forms of criminalities.
He said, “I must appreciate the efforts of the 19 Northern States Governors’ Forum for their contribution towards national growth and development, especially in this challenging period in our nation’s being where certain fundamental corporate existence needs to be frankly deliberated upon and actionable resolutions reached.
“At the same time, we are confronting the various dimensions of security challenges that continue to slow down the emancipation of our people from poverty and economic deprivation. The government shall continue to deal with insurgents, bandits, kidnappers and other criminals who constitute a threat to innocent citizens across the country.
“Criminals are criminals and should be dealt with accordingly, without resorting to ethnic profiling. I have already tasked the new service chiefs to devise new strategies that will end this ugly situation where the lives of our people continue to be threatened by hoodlums and criminals.”
Buhari’s comment is coming at a time popular Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi had called on the Federal Government to grant amnesty to bandits.
Gumi had explained that granting amnesty to bandits was better than engaging them in what he termed “operation fire-for-fire.”
He had also pointed out that amnesty to bandits would help calm down the tense insecurity situation.
The governors at the meeting, holding at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, include those of Plateau, Adamawa, Sokoto, Nasarawa, Jigawa and Katsina.
However, governors of Niger, Zamfara, Yobe, Benue, Kogi, Kabbi were represented by deputy governors of the states, among others.
At their last meeting on November 2, 2020, the Northern governors had set up two committees to push for statutory roles for traditional rulers and another on youth and civil societies.
The committee on roles of traditional rulers is chaired by the Emir of Lafia, Justice Sidi Bage, with two representatives from the National Assembly, one from each of the three zones, and a minister as members.
The Committee on Youth and Civil Societies has the Emir of Zazzau, Amb Ahmad Bamalli as chairman, with one representative of elders, youth, women, persons with disability as members from each of the three zones.
The November meeting had also backed efforts to regulate the spread of fake news through the social media bill.
NSA Warns Against 5G Network, Expresses National Security Concerns
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), yesterday, expressed serious national security concerns and cautioned over the deployment of the 5th Generation (5G) Network.
According to him, if wrongly deployed and left in the hands of the wrong persons, it could be a threat to national security.
Speaking in Abuja during Senate investigative hearing on the present status of 5G Network in Nigeria and its technological impact on citizens, Monguno, who spoke through his Director of Communications, Bala Fakandu, said that (5G) Network would require telecommunications operators in Nigeria to upgrade their equipment to the new technology adaptable (5G) network which if not properly deployed could serve as tools for eavesdropping, cyber-attacks and even espionage by external forces.
The investigative hearing was organised by Senator Oluremi Tinubu, All Progressives Congress (APC), Lagos Central-led Senate Joint Committee on Communications, Science and Technology, ICT and Cyber Crimes and Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases.
According to him, the Office of the NSA shared its fears with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) during its initial trial of the technology in the country and expects that the concerns will be properly addressed in the draft national policy when it is ready.
The NSA said, “I will agree with the position of the minister that we were contacted at the office of the NSA before the deployment of the initial trial of the 5G Network. I can affirm that the trial has taken place and from our assessment, that there has not been approved for a licence to deploy such a facility so that at least we can allay the fears of citizens.
“I am going to talk about national security concerns. We are aware that the deployment of 5G will come with different types of equipment and so we understand that the stakeholders in the telecommunications industry will make effort to ensure that they upgrade their systems in order to meet up with the new technology.
“But we are concerned about the deliberate vulnerabilities and backdoors within the 5G network equipment. That is one of the key concerns we have and this will make the infrastructure highly susceptible to eavesdropping, tracking, cyber-attacks, military and industrial espionage and other malicious activities by foreign actors.
“We understand these are things that will be put in place particularly in the policy that the minister has talked about but I need to emphasise it so that the stakeholders in the telecommunications industry will understand where we are coming from because the national security concerns are the concern of the Office of the National Security Adviser and concern of the President as well.
“In that guise, we are going to ensure our own position and we urge the minister to carry the office along within the development of the policy so that we could have a robust framework to take care of these areas”.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government on its part has told the Senate that Nigeria as a country is prepared and ready for the 5G Network, just as it stressed that the country was at almost the final stage of its realisation and implementation.
Speaking at the hearing, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, said that there was no need for Nigerians to express fears against the backdrop that 5G has no Link with the Coronavirus pandemic.
On whether it has a negative impact on the lives and health of citizen, Pantami said all available research including that of the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has shown there are no adverse health effects.
He said there was no scientific proof linking Covid-19 to the deployment of (5G) technology or indeed, any other disease, stressing that the radiation in the current (4G) is more harmful compared to (5G).
According to him, the radiation in the kitchen microwave is more hazardous than the (5G) which he said is an advancement of the (4G), just as he appealed to Nigerians to disregard the myths surrounding (5G) and embrace the technology with open hands.
Pantami said, “We have not gotten there whether we will deploy 5G but we are on track conducting research, investigations, engaging stakeholders and definitely if all issues are addressed, the executive will support the deployment of 5G in Nigeria.
“We are not operating in circles. Nigerian telecommunication sector is part and parcel of the International Telecommunication Union (under the United Nations) where issues of telecommunication technology and its impacts are being discussed.
“Most of them issued their positions based on the research conducted globally. I slightly disagree with the statement made by the chairman, Senate Committee on Science and Technology that WHO will finish its research in 2022. The WHO has conducted its research and this is what they have published. So, the report is ready.
“On 29th August, 2019, the Nigeria Communications Commission, as a regulator of our telecommunication sector in the country, announced their intention to begin to prove of concept trial in the country.
“My attention has been drowning to that. And immediately as a supervising minister and as also enshrined in Section127 and 128 of the Constitution and based on the NCC 2003 Act, Section 23, I reached out to the NCC immediately and they briefed me extensively and I advised them to put the process on hold in other to invite more stakeholders to be involved in the process.
“I can report that we also invited all our security institutions to be part and parcel of the trial.
“On the 19th of September, after contacting all stakeholders, the process of a trial to study the impact of 5G in Nigeria was approved by the Federal Government of Nigeria in some selected places. In Abuja, Kano, Lagos, Ibadan, Abekuta and Calabar.
“As we were studying technology, International bodies like ITU and WHO were also studying it.
“On the 25th September, 2019, we conducted the first trial of 5G in Nigeria. In other to demonstrate trust and prove leadership by example, I personally pledged to make a trial so if there is any security implication or medical implication, then Isah would be the number one victim.
“And if there is any relationship with Covid-19, I will be the first victim. To date, I have not contracted the virus. And I did a test up to ten times. So, I did the trial personally.
“Mr President is very much aware of all these stages from the beginning to where we stopped.
“Part of what we have achieved through the engagement, conducting research, engaging ITU and WHO at the international level, we are in the process of compiling our final position. And most of the compiled position will be part of my draft national policy which will be presented to the Federal Executive Council.
“The position is that we are almost at the final stage. So, now, Nigeria is ready for 5G as long as will address the major challenges.”
He noted that so far no negative impacts have been established from the research and trial carried both locally and at the international level, adding, “There is no link between 5G and Covid-19. And there is a relationship between 5G and any disease. The only issue being raised usually is about radiation. But people don’t realise that the radiation of 4G more harmful than that of 5G.
“The radiation of microwave oven at home is more harmful than that of the 5G. The radiation of even the smartphone itself is even more harmful than that of 5G.”
In her remarks, the Chairman of the committee, Senator Oluremi Tinubu (APC Lagos Central) , said that all the submissions made, will really put to rest, all the fears earlier entertained by some Nigerians on the deployment of 5G in the country.
Tinubu, who noted that the committee, based on an aggregate of views expressed by the critical stakeholders at the hearing, will submit a report to Senate in that direction, said, “However just like the proponents of the 5G claim, that the network is the best thing that has happened in the global telecommunication world, there have also been widespread reactions against its deployment especially as it borders on its probable negative health effects on humans.
“Claims and counterclaims have emerged on the possibility of the technology causing injury to human health. As a result, there were protests in various nations of the world including Nigeria and in some instances violent demonstrations.
“The concerns raised include increased cancer risk, cause of Covid-19, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radiations, genetic damages, structural and functional changes in the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders and negative impact on general wellbeing in humans.
“These and other considerations bordering on human health necessitated the Senate in fulfilling its constitutional responsibility and obligations to mandate its four standing committees to thoroughly investigate the status of 5G Network in Nigeria and its technological impact on Nigerian citizens.”
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