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Economy & Politics

Just In: DSS invites EFCC’s Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu for questioning

A 2016 report had indicted Magu of several criminal acts including diversion of recovered loot. 

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Ibrahim Magu, Buhari appoints new Ag. Chairman of EFCC, gives reason for Magu's suspension

Ibrahim Magu, the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been invited by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) for questioning. 

Nairametrics gathered Magu was invited Monday afternoon by the DSS. 

Tony Amokedo, a spokesman for Ibrahim Magu claims Mr. Magu wasn’t arrested as reported in a section of the media, but was invited for questioning by DSS officials. He said Magu was invited for a Panel set up by the Federal Government investigating corruption allegations against Magu. 

READ ALSO: Reasons we arrested Innoson Motors’ boss, Innocent Chukwuma – EFCC

Also, following earlier reports of Magu’s alleged arrest, the DSS quickly released a statement through its Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunanya, Ph.D, denying the arrest of the chief of Nigeria’s anti-graft agency.

“The Department of State Services (DSS) wishes to inform the public that it did not arrest Ibrahim MAGU, Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as has been reported by sections of the media. The Service, has since, today, 6th July, 2020, been inundated with enquiries over the alleged arrest,” DSS statement read.

Last month, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), wrote to Buhari, recommending the removal of Magu, accusing him of misconduct, insubordination and diversion of recovered loot. 

READ ALSO: EFCC and other anti-graft agencies demand speedy repatriation of stolen funds

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A 2016 report by the DSS revealed Ibrahim Magu lives a “high-profile lifestyle”. The report revealed Magu lives in a house rented for N40 million at N20 million a year which was paid for by one retired Air Commodore, Umar Mohammed.

Magu is also accused of using private jets belonging to Mohammed and going on trips with bank executives being investigated by the EFCC. 

The report also revealed Magu was guilty of withholding EFCC files, obstruction of justice and sabotage by the Nigerian Police Commission in 2010.

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    Economy & Politics

    Full text of Minister of Information’s speech on National Security

    All Nigerians should continue to support our security agencies, who today face the added task of having to watch their backs while working to protect us.

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    Covid-19: Nigeria now has over 100 testing laboratories - FG

    TEXT OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE HON. MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE, ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED, ON NATIONAL SECURITY….IN LAGOS ON TUESDAY, 11 M

    Good morning gentlemen, and thank you for once again honouring our invitation.

    2. It is no longer news that our dear nation is facing security challenges.However, I have read comments saying @NigeriaGov is overwhelmed and doesn’t have a clue as to how to tackle the challenges.

    Some have even gone as far as suggesting a truncation of the democratic order, a clearly treasonable stance.

    3. Well, I am here today to assure all Nigerians that while the government acknowledges the security challenges we face at this time, from terrorism to kidnaping,

    …banditry and farmer-herder conflict, it is definitely not overwhelmed and indeed it
    has the wherewithal, as you will see in the days ahead, to confront the challenges headlong and restore law and order, peace and security.

    4. One of the most difficult things to do, for a democratically-elected government, is to use the instruments of coercion against its own people. For example, while the nation’s military have superior firepower over the rag tag band of Boko Haram and ISWA,

    the terrorists most often than not operate among the populace, either in our villages or towns, hence the military, in tackling them, is usually careful to avoid collateral damage. The same
    applies to the kidnappers who abduct our school children.

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    Usually, the location of the kidnappers is not unknown to the security forces, but they still have to exercise caution in order not to hurt the same children they are trying to rescue.

    Despite these inhibitions, the security forces have the wherewithal to decisively tackle the challenges.

    5. Now, there is a growing dangerous trend which I will like to comment on. It is the practice of launching deadly attacks against the nation’s security personnel.

    Soldiers as well as police, customs and other security agents have been killed and maimed in some parts of the country in this growing trend of targeting security forces.

    I want to say, unequivocally, that any attack on our security men and women is an attack on the state and a declaration of war against the nation. It follows, therefore, that this will be countered with overwhelming force.

    When those whose responsibility it is to protect us are themselves being subjected to mindless attacks, it can only be for one reason only: To instill fear and evoke a sense of pervasive insecurity among the people.

    Whether known or unknown gunmen, those engaged in
    this dastardly act will pay dearly for their actions.

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    6. Gentlemen, the government realizes that the security challenges we face today are systemic, hence has – in addition to kinetic efforts
    – also embarked on various non-kinetic measures to most effectively tackle the challenges.

    Recently, specifically on April 8th 2021, we held a #FGTownHallMeeting on national security in Kaduna, after which we came out with an implementable, 10-point agenda.

    i. That the governance of human society should be based on Law rather than the whims and caprices of human beings and must be obeyed by all as all persons are equal before the law including the law givers.

    ii. That there is an urgent need for political restructuring and not separation.

    iii. That the Judiciary be decentralized and reformed through Constitutional Amendment to remove the unitary control of the Superior Courts.

    iv. That governments at all levels should ensure free, qualitative and compulsory Primary Education for all children of school age.

    v. That the Military, Police and other Security Agencies should be expanded in number, retrained, provided with modern equipment and technology to cope with emerging security challenges.

    vi. That both religious and traditional leaders should encourage and promote inter-marriages for unity as contained in the 1999 Constitution as amended, Article 15, 3(c)…

    app

    …which prescribes inter-marriage among persons from different places of origin, or of different religious, ethnic or linguistic association or ties.

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    vii. That the establishment of State Police should be supported by the National and State Houses of Assembly to enable State Governments have firm control in addressing security issues.

    viii. That Traditional Rulers should be given their age-long role of maintaining peace and security within their domain.

    ix. That the Local Government Autonomy be actualized to enable them have control of their areas including the ungoverned spaces in tackling security challenges.

    x. And finally that the Farmers/Herders clashes be addressed by establishment of ranches, grazing reserves with modern amenities to check the trans-humans of the herders.

    7. As far as a national stakeholders’ engagement is concerned, the town hall meeting fits that bill. In a complete departure from our town hall meeting format, we invited panellists and discussants from outside the government .

    The Lead Presenter was Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim, and the four discussants were Mrs Ibukun Awosika, the erstwhile
    Chairperson of the First Bank; Prof. Saka Nuru, a renowned veterinary surgeon;

    Prof Chudi Uwazuruike, an academic and a former member of the House of Representatives, and Prof Kokunre Eghafona, also from
    academia.

    The stakeholders who attended included all the service chiefs, members of the legislative and executive arms of government,
    civil society organizations, traditional and religious leaders, women and youth groups as well as labour.

    It is therefore baffling that some
    commentators give the impression that the Administration is not engaging with the various stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the challenges facing the nation.

    8. Now, we didn’t just engage in a talk shop. We have taken those resolutions to the National Economic Council, Chaired by His Excellency the Vice President, and which also includes all the state governors.

    As a prelude to adopting the recommendations, the NEC has directed all state governors to organize state-wide consultation on them, and then revert to the Council in its next meeting.

    9. Of course, you are all aware that the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has announced that the Federal Government is set to prosecute 400 suspects arrested for allegedly funding terrorism.

    This is unprecedented and its a testament to the government’s determination to decisively tackle terrorism and other violent crimes.

    10. While the government continues with these efforts to restore peace and security continues, I want to appeal to all of us to play our part in lowering the palpable tension in the polity as a result of the security challenges.

    The first step is to tone down the rhetoric. While the media must continue to carry out its primary responsibility to inform, criticize and stimulate debate, it must also realize that it can only carry out this responsibility in an atmosphere of peace and security.

    I am therefore appealing to the media to play its part in dousing the pervasive tension. Lending your platforms to uncompromising separatists and die-hard pessimists about the survival
    of our nation can only overheat the polity and aggravate the security challenges.

    This is not a call for censorship. It is a call for responsibility, in the national interest.

    11. For the avoidance of doubt, the government retains total confidence in the ability of our security forces to tackle the
    security challenges we are facing now, whether it is terrorism, banditry, kidnapping or even the farmer-herder conflict.

    We therefore appeal to all Nigerians to continue to support our security agencies, who today face the added task of having to watch their backs while working to protect us. The least we can do is to give them our unalloyed support.

    12. I thank you for your kind attention. I will now take your questions, which must be on the issues that I have addressed here.

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    Business

    How FG can implement blockchain technology for efficient service delivery

    Blockchain technology is an efficient and cheaper platform for governance as it curbs middlemen and bureaucratic channels, makes processes more effective and adequately reduces fraud.

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    KPMG, PwC, Blockchain technology expected to tackle Africa’s challenges across multiple industries

    A report on the Nigerian budget by BugIT last week revealed that Nigeria’s 2021 budget had 316 duplicated capital projects totalling N39.5 billion, a 14% increase to the security sector allocation with no audit done in 5 years and many others.

    Other discrepancies discovered in the report include ZERO audit records of the N10.02 trillion received by the security sector between 2015 and 2021, a total of 117 federal agencies received allocations for “Security Votes” worth N24.3 billion despite many of these agencies already having allocations for “Security Charges” to cover each agency’s security needs, etc. These figures show that the government is permitting multiple leakages in its budget despite falling crude oil revenues and rising debt to revenue ratio.

    The damning report was a catalyst for Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) to petition President Muhammadu Buhari to probe the reported N39.5 billion duplicated and mysterious projects inserted into the 2021 budget.

    The Election problem

    Nigeria also lacks transparency in her electoral process resulting in voter apathy, rigging and other forms of electoral fraud, post-election violence, and post-election litigations. The ugly situation is not lost on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which has called for better use of technology in the conduct of elections, stating that the introduction of technology would enhance the credibility of elections in Nigeria. The electoral umpire has also alluded to working with the National Assembly to introduce reforms to Nigeria’s Electoral Act.

    “There is a need to introduce further technology to enhance the credibility of the elections that we are going to conduct in 2023. That explains why INEC intends to introduce new technology in the revalidation of register, that we have been putting in place since 2010-2011. The way forward is to introduce technology and ensure the register is credible and 2023 elections reflect this credibility and that election are better,” INEC said.

    Can Blockchain offer this technology for transparent service delivery?

    According to euromoney.com, a blockchain is essentially a digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems on the blockchain. Each block in the chain contains a number of transactions, and every time a new transaction occurs on the blockchain, a record of that transaction is added to every participant’s ledger.

    The decentralised database managed by multiple participants makes blockchain technology a system that is difficult to change, hack, falsify or defraud.

    In 2018, Sierra Leone became the first country in West Africa to conduct an election with the aid of the Blockchain, recording votes at 70% of the polling to the blockchain, a first of its kind to prevent electoral fraud.

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    Sierra Leone wishes to create an environment of trust with the voters in a contentious election, especially looking at how the election will be publicly viewed post-election. By using blockchain as a means to immutably record ballots and results, the country hopes to create legitimacy around the election and reduce fall-out from opposition parties,” the developer, Agora said in a statement.

    “Blockchain is the only technology that has been created which can provide an end-to-end verifiable and fully-transparent voting solution for the future” they added.

    Perhaps, Blockchain is proof that it may indeed be possible to “ innovate to prosperity” using technology, especially in low trust societies like Nigeria bedevilled with poor public accounting and electoral processes.

    This position is supported in a report by Northwestern University, citing that Blockchain’s smart contracts can improve efficiency in emerging markets like Nigeria.

    “Blockchain technology has the potential to eliminate one of the most significant barriers to economic growth through private business transactions in developing countries—lack of trust,” the report said.

    “Developing countries often lack effective or transparent institutions and are frequently plagued with corruption that weakens substantially their level of security in economic transactions.

    First, because blockchain uses an open architecture, all transactions are publicly accessible, immutable, and verifiable by anyone. This helps to eliminate corruption and fraud from the transaction. Second, because all smart contract transactions are recorded along a blockchain and cannot be modified ex-post, a permanent and publicly accessible ledger is available to shed any doubt about payments or other transactions throughout the process. And third, because blockchain systems are automated, security in the enforcement mechanism is all but guaranteed. For instance, failure to deliver goods by a set time will automatically trigger a default clause that transmits payment of liquidated damages to the injured party without the intervention of a judge or arbitrator,” the report added.

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    Basically, the report suggests that if the Nigerian government pursues a policy on total efficiency in service delivery, blockchain could be the best alternative for the nation as it reduces corruption and fraud in multiple government sectors.

    Olumide Adesina, a financial market analyst and Yahoo Finance Contributor says implementing a blockchain-driven service delivery model would make governance cheaper and reduce corruption.

    “A blockchain is simply a digital ledger that records information on the network in such a way that it is almost impossible to forge, hack and manipulate despite being open source,” he said.

    “This is an efficient and cheaper platform for governance as it curbs middlemen and bureaucratic channels, makes processes more effective and adequately reduces fraud,” he added.

    Would the CBN’s crypto ban affect blockchain’s use in governance?

    “The CBN ban has little or no effect on the blockchain, as its statutory powers only excluded Nigerian financial institutions from relating to Crypto Exchanges and platforms,” Adesina said.

    Bottomline

    The report of over N39 billion in duplicate expenses shows that even in a period of revenue decline, the government is struggling with curbing corruption in various sectors. The implementation of technology-backed solutions will not only save the nation from resource pilfering and wastage, but it will also be vital in electing credible government officials to oversee proper, efficient service delivery and governance.

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