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Nigerians Will Know Terrorism Financiers At The Right Time —– EFCC Chair, Bawa

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The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, on Thursday, said Nigerians will know the identities of terrorism financiers in the country at the right time.

He spoke as a guest on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ current affairs programme.

Bawa, who collapsed during an official function at the Aso Rock Villa earlier on Thursday, also said he had seen his doctor and “everything about me is okay, except for the fact that I’m a bit dehydrated and I need to take a lot of water”.

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had on February 16, 2021, named 41-year-old Bawa as the fourth chairman of EFCC following the corruption allegations leveled against embattled ex-acting EFCC chair, Ibrahim Magu, and his subsequent suspension.

The EFCC was established in the early 2000s during the administration of the then President Olusegun Obasanjo to combat economic and financial crimes like advance fee fraud (419), money laundering, terrorism financing, and miscellaneous offenses.

On Monday, the United Arab Emirates named and prosecuted six Nigerians and 32 others for allegedly financing terrorism.

Nigerians on the UAE’s terrorism list include Abdurrahaman Ado Musa, Salihu Yusuf Adamu, Bashir Ali Yusuf, Muhammed Ibrahim Isa, Ibrahim Ali Alhassan and Surajo Abubakar Muhammad.

The Nigerians were said to have transferred up to $800,000 in favour of Boko Haram between 2015 and 2016.

The six persons were said to have been tried and sentenced to at least 10 years in jail in the UAE.

Also in March 2021, presidential aide, Garba Shehu, had said the Nigerian Government arrested 400 Bureau De Change operators for allegedly funding Boko Haram insurgency in the country.

He had said the Nigerians were transferring money to the sect from the United Arab Emirates.

Asked specifically on the television programme on Thursday to reveal the people financing terror and unleashing mayhem on Nigerians in the last 12 years, the EFCC chairman replied the interviewer, “If you are my adviser, will you advise me to come on national television to tell the whole world regarding matters of sensitive national security issue? Certainly, not. But what I want to assure is the fact that we are working tirelessly with other sister agencies to ensure that this country is free of terrorism.”

When further asked whether it was appropriate for the government to conceal the identities of terror financiers whose activities have led to the killing of thousands of innocent lives, Bawa said, “Of course, transparency is one of the bedrock(s) of this administration, of course, I am not a spokesman for this administration, but I believe that at the right time Nigerians will get to know those that are financing terrorism in this country and beyond as well.

“These are issues that are beyond the borders of this country and of course we are working tirelessly with our partners overseas as well as other sister agencies at home. We are working, it is not something we should come out to say that these are the modus operandi that we are adopting.”

Terrorism financing has become a concerning issue in Nigeria in the last few years as some unnamed politicians have been fingered of complicity with the marauders.

This newspaper had earlier reported that a former Navy Commodore, Kunle Olawunmi, said that Boko Haram terrorists mentioned names of current governors, senators, and Aso Rock officials as sponsors during interrogation but the President has demonstrated an unwillingness to go after the high-profile politicians for reasons best known to him.

Last September, a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Obadiah Mailafia, also claimed that a serving northern governor was a Boko Haram leader and moneybag.

For over a decade, the Boko Haram terror group had killed thousands of Nigerians in the North-East, especially in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa States. The Nigerian Army and the Presidency had at several times claimed the group had been ‘technically defeated’ and ‘weakened’ but the bloodthirsty terrorist faction continues to strike with daring effrontery and crude savagery.

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EndSARS Reconciliation: We’ll Walk For Peace With You, LASU Students Assure Sanwo-Olu

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Representatives of the students union of Lagos State University, LASU, Ojo, Thursday expressed readiness to participate in the proposed peace walk being organized by the state government to assuage frail nerves over the October 20, 2020, Lekki Toll Gate shooting incident in the state.

Recall that Sanwo-Olu, a few days ago, before the release of the White Paper, had invited some members of civil society and youths to join him and members of the state executive council in a peace walk for harmony in the state following reports and recommendations submitted by probe panel into EndSARS and Lekki Toll Gate shooting saga, which some individuals have declined to participate.

The students, however, gave the assurance to participate on Thursday, when Sanwo-Olu, commissioned the newly built students’ arcade in LASU, Ojo.

The LASU students Arcade is the largest Student Union Building in any Nigerian tertiary institution.

The governor also donated two large buses to the students union as well as other gadgets and equipment for students’ use.

The President of the Student Union Government, Comrade Oladipupo Uthman Badmus, and Speaker of the Students Union Representatives, Mustapha Adejuwon, who led hundreds of students to welcome the Governor, described him as a youth-centric Governor.

They commended the Governor’s giant strides in Lagos State, especially in the education sector.

The student union president, however, announced that all students of the state-owned tertiary institutions have resolved to walk with the Governor for peace and prosperity of the state.

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Emirates Airline Resumes Flight Operations To Nigeria Dec 5

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Emirates airline says it will resume passenger operations between Dubai and Nigeria from December 5, 2021, mandating COVID-19 PCR tests for all inbound travellers.

With this, we understand that passengers from Nigeria will take the COVID-19 PCR test within three days before departure and another test on arrival at the UAE.

Emirates, the flag carrier of the UAE, said this in a statement on Thursday.

“The world’s largest international airline will operate to and from its Nigerian gateways with daily flights, providing travellers from Nigeria convenient access to Dubai, which remains a highly popular holiday and business destination,” the statement reads.

“It’ll also enable travellers to safely connect via Dubai to the Emirates network of over 120 global destinations.”

The statement added that Emirates will fly to Abuja with EK 785 and 786, leaving Dubai at 1100hrs, arriving in Abuja at 1540hrs. The return flight, EK 786 will take off from Abuja at 1900, arriving in Dubai at 0435hrs the next day.

The airline said travellers coming from Nigeria must hold a negative COVID-19 PCR certificate for a test taken no more than 72 hours before departure.

It added that passengers departing Nigeria must obtain the certificates from one of the designated centres provided by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

“Travellers coming from Nigeria will also need to take another Covid-19 PCR test on arrival at Dubai International Airport,” the statement adds.

“Ensuring the safety of travellers, visitors, and the community, Covid-19 PCR tests are mandatory for all inbound passengers arriving to Dubai, including UAE citizens, residents and tourists, irrespective of the country they are coming from.”

Last Friday, the federal government lifted restrictions on Emirates flights almost ten months after the diplomatic discussions around COVID-19 travel requirements for Nigerian passengers.

Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, said the airline had removed some of its travelling conditions for Nigerian passengers.

In February, the airline had instructed Nigerian travellers at the Lagos and Abuja airports to take another PCR test on arrival at Dubai — the directive led to a ban on Emirates flights in Nigeria.

The decision was later reversed when the airline agreed to stop the rapid antigen tests.

In a twist in March, the federal government reintroduced the ban, explaining that Emirates had continued to conduct tests for passengers before departure and at arrival in Dubai.

 

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Omicron: Don’t Panic, COVID-19 Vaccines Still Effective, NCDC Tells Nigerians

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The director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Ifedayo Adetifa, has advised Nigerians to dismiss what he described as speculations that vaccines have no effect on the new SARS-CoV2 variant which has been named Omicron.

He said vaccination remains “a very powerful tool to prevent transmission of the disease and death caused by this virus.”

Mr Adetifa, who spoke on Channel’s “Sunrise Daily” programme on Wednesday, said NCDC believes that even if the Omicron variant has any impact on vaccination, “it cannot be equal to full abrogation”.

“So theoretically speaking, if the vaccine was 90 per cent protective against severe disease and deaths from the Delta variant, it may become 80 per cent protective from the Omicron variant. So while we work out what kind of impact it will have on vaccine protective effect, the point remains that vaccines are effective, safe and they confer protection,” Mr Adetifa said.

According to the director-general, the centre, like other scientists across the world, does not know how dangerous the variant is, noting that investigations are still ongoing.

He said; “There are mutations that have been seen in the spike proteins that theoretically may confirm the risk of increased transmissibility, may cause more severe disease or reduced protections from existing vaccines but the reality is that we don’t know.

“What we know is that the cases currently affected by this variant have been mostly asymptomatic, they have been mostly young, and there have been no deaths. So we are still watching, we need more time to see what happens when it affects slightly different pockets of the population like the susceptible or the elderly. But for now, we don’t know much.

“What we know is that current public health safety measures and vaccination confer protection. It might not be 100 per cent but the protection they offer is useful and beneficial and people should adhere to those measures and make use of every opportunity that is currently provided especially in Nigeria to receive their vaccines..”

Mr Adetifa warned Nigerians of the possible emergence of a more dangerous variant and advised them to remain cautious by observing all non-pharmaceutical measures to ward off the danger.

He said the consequences may be bad if they throw caution to the wind.

He said the emergence of the Omicron variant is a reminder that the battle is not over, that there is still a risk.

Mr Adetifa added; “The fact that we thankfully have not seen many severe cases and deaths does not mean that we are not getting infections and does not mean that the virus has not been transmitted. What happens is that if we have unmitigated transmission of the virus within the population, you will always have a chance that a variant that may be more dangerous than the predecessor or even change the pattern of disease for us, may emerge.

“This is why we are calling on people to return and adhere to safety measures that are in place. And of course, vaccination, which is very important.”

The NCDC boss also explained that there is nothing strange about the mutation of the Omicron variant, saying all viruses mutate.

“Viruses mutate at different frequencies depending on what type of virus it is. What is new is the pathogen SARS-CoV2 which we call RNA virus. Most RNA viruses have frequent mutations. It means that in the cause of multiplying, their errors are made in every circle in their genetic code.

“While humans and some other viruses have corrective mechanisms, a lot of viruses especially the RNA virus do not have corrective mechanisms. So errors are carried on to the next generation but just a few are able to survive and go ahead to cause diseases,” Mr Adetifa said.

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