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EndSARS: Ministry of Youth, Atiku and Saraki condemn police harassment, extortion

Prominent Nigerians have added their voices to the on-going demand for the reformation of SARS.

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SARS, ENDSARS, police harassment,Coronavirus: Atiku calls for petrol pump price reduction, stamp duty suspension

The issue of extortion by the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) on Nigerian youth which has been trending through online protests got the attention of Nigeria’s Ministry of Youth, former Senate President, Bukola Saraki and the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.

The Ministry of Youth and Sport said in a statement last night that it is worried about the increasing menace of SARS and has brought it to the attention of the relevant security agencies in Abuja.

“The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development is worried about the increasing menace and increasing harassments and attacks by SARS especially targeted at the Youth and other innocent members of the public,” it said in a statement.

Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic Data

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The Ministry said it has monitored some of the attacks and brought it to the attention of the relevant security agencies in Abuja. The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, who has also been monitoring the news and reports of alleged SARS harassment and attacks has called for immediate investigations that will unravel the truth.

“The Ministry wishes to assure that this government through relevant security agencies will step into the matter to protect our youth and the fundament human rights of every Nigerian,” it added.

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar added his voice by saying said the unit has deviated from its purpose of fighting armed robbery and has become an oppressor of the masses.

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READ: How to access new N75 billion Nigerian Youth Investment Fund

“The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Police was set up to confront violent crimes such as armed robbery, kidnapping and other related crimes. However, the unit has today morphed into an oppressor of the Nigerian masses who strive every day for a better life. Reports of intimidation, harassment and outright extortion by officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) have continued unabated,” he said.

He said he condemns their actions and urged the FG to intervene, as it is important for a review to be conducted on their activities “to ensure that the rogue elements are excised from the unit and sanity returned to its operations.”

Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki says the continuous reports of harassments and illegal arrest by the unit is disheartening and urged the FG to restructure the unit. Saying, “The reports of the continued harassment, illegal arrest, detention and high handedness by rogue cells of the SARS Unit of the Police against innocent Nigerians – most of them young people – in spite of efforts to reform the Police & raise standards of policing, are disheartening. A situation where the officers of Police become a threat to the lives and property of the very citizens they swore to protect is condemnable and unacceptable. I call on the Federal Government to immediately put a stop to these reprehensible activities and restructure the unit to better perform its lawful duties of safe guarding the lives and property of the Nigerian people.”

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Naiarametrics reported in 2019 that tech founders have resolved to raise funds to combat extortion by the Nigerian Police after the alleged harassment and extortion of a software developer, Toni Astro by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

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ENDSARS

#EndSARS: Lagos State needs N1 trillion to rebuild losses – Gbajabiamila

Gbajabiamila has said that the Lagos State Governor told him that the state would need N1 trillion for the reconstruction of destroyed assets.

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Closing of Nigerian-owned shops in Ghana must be dealt with decisively - Femi Gbajabiamila, Lagos State needs N1 trillion for reconstruction - Femi Gbajabiamila

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has disclosed that Lagos State will need about N1 trillion for the reconstruction and repair of the properties and infrastructure that was vandalized and destroyed by hoodlums.

Gbajabiamila disclosed this while responding to questions from State House Correspondents after the assessment visitation of some of the properties that were destroyed during the protest.

What you should know

The #EndSARS protest which started as a peaceful demonstration by thousands of youths, degenerated into chaos after the protests were hijacked by hoodlums. The distasteful actions of hoodlums and arsonists have seen properties worth billions of naira vandalized, destroyed and razed down.

One of the consequences of these events was reported by Nairametrics as the Lagos State Government revealed that 27 of the burnt Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) vehicles in the Oyingbo and Ojodu Berger areas of the state cost $200,000 each, while 57 of them cost $100,000 each, which gives a total of N3.9 billion.

(READ MORE: Lagos to support owners of looted, vandalised stores)

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What they are saying

According to information gathered by The Punch, the Speaker said, “The House of Representatives will do all it can to compensate all those who suffered brutality, including policemen that lost their lives in the process.

“However, we want to know what exactly happened at the Lekki Toll Gate. The judicial panel must reveal this. However, I want to encourage Nigerians to allow peace to reign.

“I learnt from the governor of Lagos State that it will take N1trn to rebuild what had been lost and asked him what’s the budget size of the state, he said about N1trn. You can see we are moving backwards.

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“Hence, we must consider the consequences of our actions before embarking on any venture. I, therefore, appeal to the youth to allow peace to reign henceforth. I still believe in the unity of Nigeria.

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ENDSARS

#EndSARS: NBC fines AIT, Channels and Arise TV over use of “unverifiable” footages

The NBC has sanctioned three major Nigerian television stations over their reportage of recent unrest across the country.

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NBC slams N5 million fine on Nigeria Info over Mailafia's inciting comments

The National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, has fined Nigerian media houses including AIT, Channels TV and Arise News, claiming they used unverifiable video footages from social media to cover the #EndSARS protests.

READ: NCC sets up committee to review licensing framework of Infrastructure Companies

This was disclosed in a report by AIT on Monday afternoon. According to media reports, the regulators imposed various fines on Arise TV, African Independent Television (AIT) and Channels Television between N2million and N3million.

READ: Chinese Loans: Clauses are international standard terms – Amaechi

“The National Broadcasting Commission has sanctioned Africa Independent Television, AIT, Arise TV and Channels for what it calls, a gross violation of the broadcast code, top of which is the use of unverifiable online video footages on the social media,” AIT said.

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READ: MultiChoice in another pay-as-you-view tussle with Reps

The Acting Director-General of the commission, Armstrong Idachaba, warned that further sanctions will be harsher and announced that the owners of AIT, DAAR Communications would be fined separately for alleged reports of a fire incident at the National Christian Centre.

The sanction according to Idachaba, will be a fine of not less than N2 million.

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READ: Telecoms operators fined N74 million for violating regulations

The NBC had warned last week that broadcasters must “perform the role of a peace agent by adhering to the principle of responsibility, accuracy and neutrality” in reporting the protests.

More details later..

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Business

Remittances to sub-Saharan Africa totaled $48 billion in 2019

According to the World Bank, the remittances to sub-Saharan Africa totalled $48 billion last year.

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The New Normal - Digital Transfers and Remittance in Nigeria

There is a boom for Africa-focused money transfer companies, as diaspora wanted to help their families amid COVID 19 pandemic. According to the World Bank, the remittances to sub-Saharan Africa totalled $48 billion last year. This development is despite predictions from the World Bank of a historic 20% drop to $445 billion in remittances to poorer countries this year, as a result of a pandemic-induced global economic slump.

READ: World Bank announces $12 billion COVID-19 vaccine finance plan for poor countries

READ: World Bank predicts Nigeria’s impending recession will be worst in 40 years

Remittance companies got an additional boost early on in the pandemic, when African central banks reduced fees and loosened limits on digital transactions, to encourage the public to use digital services to facilitate social distancing.

According to Dare Okoudjou, Founder of MFS Africa, “I would probably agree with the World Bank that the total amount (of remittances) will go down, but anyone who’s in digital would actually gain market share and see their volume go up.”

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READ: Nigeria’s Asset to GDP Ratio Is low despite rise in Mutual Fund value

What you should know

Nairametric had earlier reported that PricewaterhouseCoopers, a global tax and consulting firm, estimated that migrant remittances to Nigeria could grow to US$34.8 billion by 2023.

The pandemic gave remittance companies an advantage over their main competition in Africa; the sprawling informal networks of traders, bus drivers, and travellers used by many migrants to send money home.

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READ: World Bank predicts rebound of Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy next year

  • Remittances to sub-Saharan Africa officially totaled $48 billion last year, according to the World Bank. Experts, however, said this figure only tells a part of the story, though much of the monies Africans ship home via informal networks is absent from official data.
  • Amongst the industry executives, the shift is likely to last as digital remittance services are typically cheaper, faster, and safer than informal networks, which are difficult for governments to regulate.
  • Online remittance company, WorldRemit, reported last week that transfers to Zimbabwe via its service had doubled over the past six months.
  • Azimo, a UK-headquartered remittance company, whose major African markets include Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya, saw a nearly 200% increase over the expected number of new customers in April, May, and June.
  • According to Kenyan central bank data, remittances to Kenya were up 6.5%; though, August compared to the same period last year. Remittance inflows to Zimbabwe were up 33% through July.
  • Remittance companies got an additional boost early on in the pandemic when African central banks reduced fees and loosened limits on digital transactions, to encourage the public to use digital services to facilitate social distancing.
  • MFS Africa, which runs networks across 36 African countries to channel remittances between mobile money accounts, has seen year-on-year transaction growth of over 90% in 2020.
  • The company, which runs networks across 36 African countries to channel remittances between mobile money accounts, has seen year-on-year transaction growth of over 90% in 2020.
  • Mukuru based in South Africa, which focuses mainly on African remittances and allows customers to send both cash and groceries, has seen a roughly 75% acceleration in growth compared to last year.

 READ: World Bank ranks Nigeria among World’s most improved countries in “Doing Business” 

What they are saying

Having fled an economic implosion in his native Zimbabwe, Brighton Takawira was able to support his mother back home with modest earnings from a small perfume business he set up in South Africa.

Brighton Takawira uses the Mukuru remittance app which enables him to send money and groceries home to family in Zimbabwe from his home in Pinetown, South Africa. Then the pandemic struck and borders closed. The buses he had used to send his cash stopped running. According to him, “I had to send something, even a few dollars, though it meant sometimes going without bread

READ: World Bank predicts rebound of Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy next year

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According to Patrick Roussel, Head of mobile financial services Africa at French telecom company, Orange, “We saw an increase of transfers as the diaspora wanted to help their families

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READ: $70 billion per annum will be needed to tackle pandemic induced poverty – World Bank

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According to Andy Jury, Chief Executive of Mukuru, South Africa, “We’ve seen an influx of new customers, and we see them mainly coming to us from the informal market.”

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