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Organisation Bemoans Technology Use For  Crime In Nigeria  

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The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has expressed concern over the  use of technology to increase activity of human trafficking in Nigeria.
The IOM Nigeria Chief of Mission, Prestage Murima, expressed the concern in a message to mark the 2022 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons (WDATIP).
Murima in a statement by IOM’s Senior Communications Assistant, Mrs Mariam Owoeye, said the theme for this year’s celebrations was “Prevent, Protect and Prosecute to Highlight the Need for Action and The Importance of Having an Integrated Approach in Addressing Trafficking”.
According to her, “the increasing use of technology has enabled human trafficking, with numerous tricks deployed and with greater speed, accuracy and anonymity to recruit, exploit and control victims.
“They also organise their transport and accommodation, advertise victims and reach out to potential clients, communicate among perpetrators and hide criminal proceeds.
“Traffickers use social media to identify, groom and recruit victims, including children.
“E-mails and messaging services are used for the moral coercion of the victims and online platforms allow traffickers to widely advertise services provided by victims”.
She said since technology was a tool that could both enable and impede human trafficking, “IOM interprets this theme in terms of how technology can be harnessed as a preventive tool and for facilitating protection”.
She explained that it will  take a comprehensive approach to address trafficking in persons, hence the organisation’s decision  to join the United Nations System to raise awareness under the global theme: “Use and Abuse of Technology”.
According to Murima, persons seeking better economic opportunities, asylum seekers and refugees fleeing crisis are vulnerable to the risk of trafficking with traffickers profiting from the desperation and separation of people, particularly women and children, from support systems and family members.
“However, in the use of technology also lies great opportunity. Future success in eradicating human trafficking will depend on how law enforcement, the criminal justice systems and protection actors can leverage technology in their responses, by aiding investigations to shed light on the modus operandi of trafficking networks, enhancing prosecutions through digital evidence to alleviate the situation of victims in criminal proceedings, and providing support services to survivors”, she said.
She continued that on  this World Day against Trafficking in Persons, that people should  have a heart for the victims of human trafficking and join the campaign against human trafficking.
Murima also noted that advocating for rights and protecting the physical, mental and social well-being of individuals and their communities, and promoting sustainability through institutional capacity development and partnerships were at the centre of the organisation’s counter-trafficking efforts.
“This  theme is at the centre of the institutional approach in combating trafficking and protecting the rights of migrants, through the ‘Theory of Change”, she said.
According to her, Nigeria is an important locus as a source, transit and destination country in the trafficking process.
Murima, however,  revealed that IOM operates from the outset that trafficking in persons needs to be approached within the overall context of managing migration for the benefit of all with interventions centered on the needs of the victims.
“Since 2017, IOM Nigeria has coordinated the return of over 27,000 Nigerian migrants from 82 countries.Out of this number, 3,599 are victims of trafficking, while 1,726 victims  of trafficking had received in-kind support to start businesses of their choice”, she added.
The WDATIP is a day set aside to raise awareness on the plight of victims of human trafficking and to promote and protect their rights.
Trafficking in Persons (TIP) is a crime and grave human rights violation of enormous scale, which is prevalent in situations of vulnerability.

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Expert Wants Telcos To Prioritise Improved QoS

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A Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy Advisor, Mr. Jide Awe, has urged telecommunication operators to give priority to improving Quality of Services (QoS).
Awe, who is also the Founder of Jidaw.com, made the appeal in an interview with newsmen  in Lagos State, recently.
He said it was necessary to improve the current poor QoS using strategic investment in infrastructure to support current and future needs.
Awe said the future needs included increased number of users and increased traffic volumes of transactions among others.
“Customer journey has evolved significantly over the years, largely influenced by the advancements in telecommunications technology.
“Customers now expect seamless and uninterrupted connectivity across multiple touchpoints, be it through their smartphones, laptops, or Internet of Things (IoT) devices”, he said.
Awe also noted that the telecoms industry was plagued with right-of-way charges, multiple taxation, and insecurity of telecoms infrastructure.
According to him, addressing these challenges is essential for consumer protection to ensure QoS standards are met, and that consumers receive the promised level of service quality.
The policy advisor added that solving the issues would also help in promoting affordable broadband services.
On the role of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) as a regulator, he said the NCC needed to adopt an innovative, supportive, and visionary regulation approach that appreciated the importance of innovation and expansion.
“As new technologies continue to emerge, regulation cannot afford to be static. NCC should inculcate a spirit of innovation and growth in the sector.
“Innovative regulation helps to cultivate an environment that attracts investment to propel sectoral growth. Investor-friendly initiatives, simplification of regulations, strategic and disruptive thinking/approaches are crucial”, he said.

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‘No Going Back On Plans Against Passport Racketeers’

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A top immigration officer in Port- Harcourt, who spoke anonymosly, has stressed that the Immigration Service, Rivers State Commission will not soft pedal on plans to go against passport racketeering  in the State.
Stating this in an interview  with the press in Port Harcourt, Monday, he  warned against any attempt to portay  the agency in bad light, saying such will be resisted by the  system.
He emphasised that passport racketeering is  capable of portraying the command in bad light, especially the Passport Unit, at the international group where it belonged.
Noting that the passport processes do not require a third party, easy and pocket  friendly, the officer expressed  regrets that the saboteurs charge the unsuspecting members of the public seeking passport exhobitantly thereby making the process cumbersome.
He boasted on how the passport personnel “have all it takes to deliver tasks on schedule with zero complaint”.
According to him,  those  in the act of the alleged sabotage risk imprisonment, if caught,  in that it is viewed as economic sabortage on the part of the Federal Government.
“Passport racketeering is against  the law and abuse of process. Things  must be done in order and decently. We are an agency  established by law. So, anything  we are doing must follow  due process”, he said.
He has also called on members of the public to be wary of patronising road-side passport operators to avoid double payment.
“If due process will be followed,  according to him, the issue of passport  racketeering will belong  to history”.
He also described as a plus, the introduction of e-gates in about four International Airports in the country, including Port Harcourt.

Stories compiled by King Onunwor

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Minister Wants States To  Align Technological Advancement With Local Prionties

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Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, Chief  Uche Nnaji, has urged states to align their technological advancements with local priorities.
The Minister said this at the first edition of the interactive forum for state commissioners in charge of Science and Technology, held in Abuja recently.
Nnaji said  states should also provide solutions for regional-specific challenges and promoting a more robust and resilient scientific ecosystem that fosters collaboration and knowledge sharing.
“This alignment will ensure inclusivity, unlock the immense potential of our nation’s intellectual and technological resources, and propel our states to the forefront of technological advancements”, he said.
The Minister also urged the commissioners to actively engage local industries, research institutions and community stakeholders, so as to collaborate in amplifying the impact of Nigeria’s scientific endeavours.
He said this was important to ensure seamless transition from research to application of the scientific endeavours, to facilitate economic growth and ensure technological advancements that meet the needs of citizens.
“As Nigeria transits from a resource to a knowledge-based economy driven by innovation, it is worth emphasising that this task is daunting but certainly surmountable, and will require strong commitment, continuous learning and adaptive strategies.
“Let us, therefore, approach it with a sense of urgency, recognising that the decisions we make today will shape the future of our scientific landscape”, he  said.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs Esuabana Asanye, said the forum was meant to broaden their scope and ensure their buy-in and implementation of the National Science and Technology Roadmap 2017-2030.
Asanye stated that the roadmap represented the desire to implement the National Policy on Science, Technology and Innovation designed to hasten innovation, economic growth and inclusive scientific development to meet national aspiration.
“The task before us is a shared responsibility to harness the full potential of our sub national for the national scientific landscape for environmental sustainability and curbing climate devastation. Each state has its unique demographic resourcefulness and if properly managed, would exponentially foster the culture of innovation at the grassroot level for sustainable development”,  she said.

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