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Lai Mohammed Asks Google To Block ‘Terrorist’ Groups On YouTube

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Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed has asked Google to block terrorists organisations from YouTube.

Lai Mohammed who made the request when a team from Google visited him in Abuja on Thursday August 4, listed Biafra Digest TV, Umu Biafra TV, Biafra Digest, Asa Biafra TV as examples of channels that spread subversive information/ contents.

The Minister claimed that some of the channels use local languages during their broadcast to evade being censored.

He said;

“We want Google to look into how to tackle the use of private and unlisted YouTube channels and YouTube live streams by proscribed groups and terrorist organisations. Channels and emails containing names of proscribed groups and their affiliates should not be allowed on Google platforms..

“Your platform is a platform of choice for IPOB, a proscribed terrorist group.

“We implore you not to make your platform available to them for their acts of violence and destabilisation.

“We hope you will cooperate with us as well as our security agencies in this direction.”

Lai Mohammed also said the government recently proposed a “Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/ Internet Intermediaries”.

The code, according to him, provides a framework for collaboratively protecting Nigerian users of Internet platforms.

He added;

“This code couldn’t have come at a better time, as the country prepares for general elections next year. We are committed to working with platforms like yours as well as the civil society, lawyers, media practitioners and other relevant stakeholders to ensure a responsible use of the Internet and to protect our people from the harmful effects of social media.”

In his remarks,Google Regional Dir.,Sub-Saharan Africa,Govt. Affairs and Public Policy, Mr. Charles Murito,said the platform has introduced a prog. called “Trusted Flaggers” for citizens trained to track and engage with online contents in order to flag contents of serious concern

He said;

“As I mentioned earlier, we share the same sentiments, we share the same goals and objectives and we do not want our platform to be used for ill purposes.”

On his part, Google Government Affairs and Public Policy Manager, Mr. Adewolu Adene, said “Equiano”, a subsea cable which recently berthed in Nigeria from Portugal, is aimed at enhancing connectivity and access to the internet as well as to drive down the cost of data,in order to create jobs and facilitate the transfer of knowledge.

He said through the Google News Initiative Challenge, 30 media platforms, with 5 from Nigeria, including the Dubawa fact-checking platform, would be awarded a $3.2 million grant in recognition of their innovative work in information dissemination.

Mr. Adene also pledged the readiness of Google to work with the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture to digitize the recently-repatriated artifacts in order to preserve and market them to a global audience through Google Arts and Culture.

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Subsidy Investigations: FIRS Explains, Our Statutory Role Is Tax Enforcement, Collection, Not Use Of Funds

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The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has responded to queries by the Special Adhoc Committee on Petroleum Subsidy Regime tasked to investigate petroleum products subsidy in Nigeria, that its role is purely the collection of revenue for government and not keeping records of how the monies are expended.

Speaking at the Committee sitting, the Executive Chairman, FIRS, Muhammad Nami, who was represented by the FIRS Coordinating Director, Compliance Support Group, Dr. Dick Irri, explained the role of the Service as provided by its Establishment Act was confined to the assessment of taxpayers, collection of taxes, accounting for and enforcement of taxes that were due to the government of the Federation.

“The Service’s statutory functions remains that of assessment, collection, accounting, and enforcement of payment of taxes that are due to the Government of the Federation and any of its agencies;” he explained, “taxes collected by the FIRS are usually shared amongst the three tiers of the government in line with the constitution of the country; and FIRS does not maintain records of what the funds are used for by the three tiers of government. The Service also does not have the power to ask for such records.”

Explaining earlier, the Executive Chairman had stated that the request by the Committee for information on Subsidy payments and releases were not tax related, and thus were not within the statutory powers of the Service to respond to.

The Special Adhoc Committee had written to the FIRS requesting information on Subsidy Payment releases from the Consolidated Revenue Account, Subsidy claims, lodgment of FOREX into the Consolidated Revenue Account by the NNPC, among others.

“The Service holds the Adhoc Committee on Petroleum Products subsidy Regime and other Committees of the National Assembly in high esteem and will always give necessary support to ensure the success of their oversight functions;

“All the tax related information requested on your letter dated 1st July, 2022 has been duly submitted;

“All the 16 items listed on your letter dated 5th August 2022 are not tax related and also are not part of the responsibilities of the Service,” the FIRS Executive Chairman explained.

Apologising for his inability to appear in person, the Executive Chairman stated that his absence was due to other official national engagements outside the Federal Capital Territory.

The Special Ad-Hoc Committee on Petroleum Products Subsidy Regime, chaired by Hon. (Arc) Ibrahim Al-Mustpaha Aliyu was constituted in June 2022 with a mandate to investigate the Petroleum Products Subsidy Regime covering the periods from 2013-2021.

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Buhari ‘Renews Tenure Of DSS Boss’, Yusuf Bichi Amid Lingering Insecurity

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Buhari Has ‘Renewed The Tenure Of DSS Boss’, Yusuf Bichi Amid Lingering Insecurity in Nigeria.

The tenure of the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi, has been extended by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Recall that Bichi was appointed in September 2018, following the retirement of the former head of the secret police, Matthew Seiyefa.

Sefiya, who headed the agency in an acting capacity from August 7, 2018, to September 14, 2018, handed over to Bichi following his appointment by President Buhari.

According to DAILY NIGERIAN, the President approved the extension of Bichi’s tenure for another four years after rejecting a number of candidates proposed to him.

It was said that Buhari wanted Bichi “to continue with the good job he is doing in intelligence gathering” instead of appointing a new head of the agency.

Confirming the development to the newspaper, the spokesman for the DSS, Peter Afunanya, said Bichi’s tenure has been renewed.

Profile of Bichi

Bichi attended Danbatta Secondary School, the Kano State College of Advanced Studies and the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where he graduated with a degree in Political Science.

He began his career in the security division of the Cabinet Office in Kano, from where he joined the defunct Nigerian Security Organization (NSO) before it became the present-day SSS.

The 66-year-old was appointed in September 2018 after retiring from service two years earlier to serve as the director-general of the service.

 

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Emirates Suspends All Flights To Nigeria From September 1

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There are indications that the failure of Emirates Airlines to repatriate its trapped ticket sales fund in Nigeria back to its home country in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) may have led to the carrier’s decision to stop all flights in and out of the country.

The airline in a statement on Thursday morning said that it would suspend flights from Nigeria effective September 1, 2022.

At least, $600 million of over 20 foreign airlines has been blocked in Nigeria since the beginning of the year.

Emirates had about two weeks ago said that out of these funds, it had about $85 million in Nigeria.

The airline had on Monday cut its 11 weekly frequencies into Lagos Airport to just seven.

A statement by the media consultant to the airline in Nigeria alleged that all efforts to repatriate the funds had proved abortive and it was compelled to take the decision of suspending all flights into the country.

The airline’s statement on Thursday said: ”Emirates has tried every avenue to address our ongoing challenges in repatriating funds from Nigeria, and we have made considerable efforts to initiate dialogue with the relevant authorities for their urgent intervention to help find a viable solution.

”Regrettably, there has been no progress. Therefore, Emirates has taken the difficult decision to suspend all flights to and from Nigeria, effective September 1 2022, to limit further losses and impact on our operational costs that continue to accumulate in the market.

”We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused to our customers, however the circumstances are beyond our control at this stage. We will be working to help impacted customers make alternative travel arrangements wherever possible.

”Should there be any positive developments in the coming days regarding Emirates’ blocked funds in Nigeria, we will of course re-evaluate our decision. We remain keen to serve Nigeria, and our operations provide much needed connectivity for Nigerian travellers, providing access to trade and tourism opportunities to Dubai and to our broader network of over 130 destinations.”

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