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Internet At Risk Of Being Shutdown In Nigeria If #EndSWAT Protests Continue

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With Nigerians not backing down on protests for the reform of the police force and total disbandment of the Special Anti- Robbery Squad(SARS), there are speculations that the government might shut down the internet.
Six days ago, a video of a fatal police shooting of a Nigerian man, sparked outrage and reignited a public call for the total dissolution of the controversial police unit in the country.
The video caused large numbers of Nigerians including celebrities, politicians, and activists calling for justice using hashtags such as #WarOnSars, #EndSars, and #SarsAlert #SARSMUSTEND.
With celebrities adding their voice to the #EndSARS campaign, it jumped to the top of global trend on Twitter and drew international support from celebrities and soccer stars like Kanye West, Trey Songs, Mesut Ozil and Marcus Rashford.
Nigeria’s superstars, Wizkid and Falz who are also part of this generation of protesters, have been physically present in London and Abuja protests.
The protests against the police have largely been organized on social media, fuelled by citizens sharing their experiences of police abuses and videos of brutal incidents, including the beating of civilians and the firing of live ammunition at protesters.
The campaign moved from social media to the streets of Nigeria, with protesters demanding an end to the rogue police unit and a wholesome police reform.
However, the protesters are not relenting despite the dissolution of the notorious police squad but have continued to protest noting the government’s ineffectual promises of police reforms and investigations in the past.
The campaigners have also been able to organise funds to cater to their welfares during protest using digital payment platforms.
But there are now speculations that the Nigerian government may to shut the protesters up by shutting down the internet since surreptitious move to divide the protesters have failed.
Active protesters on and off social media have said unknown numbers have been calling to threaten them to back off.
Moreover, Feminist Coalition, a pro-#EndSARS women group, said its bank account has been deactivated.
“For demanding an end to police brutality we are now under attack,” the group said on Twitter on Tuesday.
Nigerians are however speculating that the government in order to mute the campaign may clampdown on social media like its counterparts in other African countries have done in the past.
For instance, Chad shut down the internet in early 2018 despite the international media campaigns against the deliberate clamp down on free speech in the landlocked African country.
“Chad is among the worst states in the world regarding respect of digital rights,” Internet Without Borders said in December 2018.
But Chad is not the only African country where the government’s censorship of digital rights was used to stifle freedom of speech.
Between 2016 and 2018, the authorities in South Sudan, Cameroon, Ethiopia, and Somalia also shut down the internet in their respective countries.
While Zimbabwe, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo have forced internet shutdown in 2019, Tanzania, Uganda, and a host of North African countries have stringent subsisting rules for the use of social media and digital publishing.
Nigeria almost moved in that direction in 2019 as law that sought to punish individuals behind certain social media posts which was proposed to the Nigerian Senate in 2017 passed first reading.
Massive media backlash prevented lawmakers from passing the bill into law.
Campaigners also argued that the #EndSARS was missing on trend table on Twitter despite thousands of people tweeting the hashtag.
Some of them said the government may have tampered with the hashtag. That belief led to the birth of #SARSMustEnd.
Paradigm Initiatives media and program manager Adegoke Adeboye said it is not “impossible” for the Nigerian Government to shut down the internet but hoped it will not get to that point.
“The government’s response to the protest has been double-faced, “ Adegoke said.
“While saying all the nice things openly, it is secretly attacking private businesses that has lent their platforms to support the protest.”
He said the clampdown on Flutterwave might be the first step to mute the active participation of citizens in the protest.
“We all know the role that the Internet is playing in the protest and we can already imagine that someone has proposed this to the government,” Adegoke said.
Adegoke further stated that it is better Nigerians are prepared than to be caught unawares.
“In April last year, PIN developed some guidelines to help citizens stay online should the government shut down the internet.”
“The guides are still relevant and we are also working with some of our partners to specifically help Nigerians stay online should the government shut down the internet. The digital rights community are therefore envisaging this already.”
Guardian.ng
Internet At Risk Of Being Shutdown If #EndSWAT Protests Continue

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Ganduje Says He Will Be Active In Politics Beyond 2023

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Ganduje Says He Will Be Active In Politics Beyond 2023
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Ganduje Says He Will Be Active In Politics Beyond 2023

Despite having spent over 43 years in active politics, Kano Governor Abdullahi Ganduje on Monday hinted he would remain active after expiration of his second term in 2023.

Though he did not open up whether he is nursing ambition to contest the Kano North Senatorial seat, Ganduje said his eyes will still be widely opened for opportunities as a politician.

Ganduje spoke in Government House Kano while fielding questions from newsmen on Democracy Day celebrations.

Answering a question on whether he would be retiring in 2023 like his Katsina counterpart Aminu Bello Masari, Ganduje said: “Maybe he (Masari) is tired. I am not.”

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“I am not tired anyway; neither will I resign nor retire from politics; time will tell. You know I have been in politics since 1978. In 2023, my eyes will still be opened,” he said.

He also spoke on those jostling to succeed him.

“The party delegates will chose my successor when the time comes,” he said.

“You asked of qualities; if I tell you the qualities I want from my successor, you will be able to make computation, matching the qualities on the aspirants, then you will say that is the anointed one. Delegates will do that,” he said.

Ganduje Says He Will Be Active In Politics Beyond 2023

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On who is his choice for the 2023 presidency, Ganduje also said the APC delegates will pick the presidential candidate for the ruling party.

On completion of projects before the end of his tenure, Ganduje said: “We inherited many capital projects. Some are being completed and some are still ongoing. We are not neglecting any.

“We are determined to complete all the projects we started. We shall complete all the projects, except those that cannot be completed because of their nature, and government is a continuum.”

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Why our Generation is shunning the stock market for Ponzi schemes, cryptocurrencies, betting

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Why our Generation is shunning the stock market for Ponzi schemes, cryptocurrencies, betting
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Why our Generation is shunning the stock market for Ponzi schemes, cryptocurrencies, betting

• Operators worry about losing market patronage on the exit of the older generation

• Stakeholders want decisive regulatory actions to prevent exposure to harmful schemes

Despite years of stability of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, many Nigerian youths are diversifying and hedging their investment portfolios from the country’s high inflation and devaluation, through virtual currencies, online bets and international stocks.

Already, yields from many invested entities in the last 10 years are of little value to many holders of such stocks today, especially if the dividends of below N1 per share are anything to go by.

The present inflationary trend and currency devaluation compound the woes of many investors in traded equities on the Nigerian stock market, as many shares are currently selling at the lowest possible value.

With the gradual shift from the financial markets, stakeholders express worry about the future of the N20 trillion stock market and its fund-raising capacity if youths maintain the current pattern and interest in short-term investments. Operators have expressed fear of likely losing the participation of this group in stock market activities by the time the older generation leaves the stage.

According to them, the Nigerian stock market will continue to lose relevance and, in a decade, might just become extinct going by this dangerous trend.

Indeed, the number of young people who buy stocks has plummeted in the last decade. Figures have shown that only a significant percentage of this group participates in stock market activities.

The exact definition of a millennial does not exist but vaguely, it refers to a person born between 1980 and 1990s. Yet, regardless of the precise definition, these are people who are now in their mid-lives.

Based on the foregoing, Vice President of Highcap Securities, Imafidon Adonri, said it has become imperative for traditional investment opportunities to be made more attractive for young investors. He pointed out that if the interests accruable to investments were increased, it would definitely encourage millennials to consider buying shares, treasury bills and other investment instruments in the nation’s capital market.

He, therefore, urged the authorities to work towards ensuring that investor confidence is guaranteed by addressing current macroeconomic concerns, promoting issues of national development, tackling prevailing stock market volatility and restoring the market to sustainable rebound.

According to him, young investors who have once seen their parents incur losses in the market may never invest their money in the same loss-making venture.

During the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, millennials were young but mature enough to experience what the stock market crash could mean for their future. Just over a decade ago, countless people lost their jobs, houses, savings and were left homeless.
Millennials remember the entire crisis, as well as its aftermath and the blame that stocks had in it. Erasing these from memory is not easy and millennials who are already struggling to find decent employment and competitive salaries cannot be asked to risk their savings. After the crash, millennials have become focused on their immediate needs.

Adonri said due to the high level of financial illiteracy in Nigeria and the penchant of youths for internet addiction, it was not difficult for cryptocurrency ventures to penetrate in Nigeria. He pointed out that Nigerians also have an unusually high appetite for taking risks with their ‘get rich quick attitude.’

Why our Generation is shunning the stock market for Ponzi schemes, cryptocurrencies, betting

He said Nigerians have repeatedly fallen victim to several fraudulent and pyramidal schemes in the past 30 years, including Forum, Umana Umana, Planwell Watershed, Nospecto and MMM with cryptocurrency as the reigning defrauding scheme.

He called for a conscious effort to attract the ‘displaced millennials’ to the capital market where their fortunes are better assured, secured and preserved, adding that strong and decisive regulatory actions from the government are necessary to prevent the exposure of youths to harmful financial schemes.

In the area of awareness, Adonri urged the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) to visit schools to ‘catch’ young investors. He said CIS should also engage the Federal Ministry of Education for the inclusion of capital market studies in school curricula.

Adonri noted that the exchange has a yearly essay programme, which is designed to stimulate students’ interest in capital market investment. “The stock exchange has many outreach programs to enlighten the public on investments. With the migration of capital market transactions to the internet, young people who are addicted to the Internet can easily switch to the capital market.”

However, he argued that these laudable efforts would be meaningless if fraudulent schemes are allowed to proliferate. He also expressed optimism that the youths will be attracted naturally to the capital market if their investment will be profitable, liquid and safe.

An independent investor, Amaechi Egbo, maintained that the market might fall out of relevance and become extinct if urgent steps are not taken to reverse the trend. He blamed youth apathy in stock market activities to various crisis bedeviling the nation’s capital market, ranging from the 2007/2008 global financial crisis, the over N700 billion trapped in private placement scams during the era of stock market boom and the sale of the three nationalised banks as some of the factors that have eroded investors’ confidence in the market.

Why our Generation is shunning the stock market for Ponzi schemes, cryptocurrencies, betting

Available figures showed that millennials prefer other assets such as microfinance banks, FinTech products, Ponzi schemes and cryptocurrencies to stocks. This is in spite of warnings by regulatory authorities that some of these assets do not meet minimum regulatory requirements to qualify as tradable financial assets.

For microfinance banks, they claim interest from this segment is as high as 18 per cent yearly if the deposits are significantly higher and have a long retention rate. The allure for FinTech is also of financial interest to young Nigerians.
In Nigeria, most FinTech-related products are sold to millennials as AgriTech funds or pure peer-to-peer lending. The more esoteric AgriTech funds involve playing in a market that allows one to lend money to farmers in parts of the country one may never visit. They promise significantly higher returns than traditional investment and offer low rates of investment loss.

For risk-loving millennials, ponzi schemes are the preferred form of investing. Ponzi scheme is an investment that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors. The organisers often solicit new investors by promising to invest funds in opportunities claimed to generate high returns with little or no risk.

According to the yearly report of the Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum, which was unveiled in 2017, the Nigerian investing public lost N11.9 billion to the Mavrodi Mundial Moneybox (MMM) ponzi.

The apex stock market regulator, in collaboration with officials the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had visited major newspapers and radio stations, warning innocent Nigerians of the dangers of investing in Ponzi schemes.

Why our Generation is shunning the stock market for Ponzi schemes, cryptocurrencies, betting

Former Ag Director-General of SEC, Ms Mary Uduk, said the commission was committed to sensitising investors and protecting them from the antics of fraudsters, especially promoters of Ponzi schemes.

On cryptocurrency, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had also warned that transactions in these digital assets are largely speculative, volatile and should be discouraged, thus prohibiting cryptocurrencies transactions by Deposit Money Banks (DMBs).
Acting Director of Communications of the CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, said: “Evidence now suggests that some cryptocurrencies have become more widely used as speculative assets rather than as means of payment, thus, explaining the significant volatility and variability in their prices.

“Because the total number of Bitcoins that would ever be issued is fixed (only 21 million will ever be created), new issuances are predetermined at a gradually decelerating pace. This limited supply has created a perverse incentive that encourages users to stockpile them in the hope that their prices rise.

“Unfortunately, with a conglomeration of desperate, disparate, and unregulated actors comes unprecedented price volatility that has threatened many sophisticated financial systems.”

A professor in the Department of Business Law, College of Law, Igbinedion University, Okada, Nat Ofo, said the focus should be on how to adapt to emerging technology to make systems and practices in Nigeria 21st century compatible. He pointed out that investment in digital assets offers convenience and opportunities to disillusioned youths who seem uncared for by the authorities.

“Cryptocurrency presents a golden opportunity, which decision-makers in both the private and public sectors must embrace and begin to explore to add real value to their operations. Indisputably, it is the future, but that future is before us. It is here. We are in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). It is an age that is technology-driven. Little wonder, therefore, that youths are naturally being attracted to it, since they are more tech-savvy.”
He argued that it is a misconception to conclude that contemporary Nigerian youths are attracted to cryptocurrency because of their desire to get rich quickly.

Stockbroker and Chief Executive Officer of Sofunix Investment Limited, Sola Oni, said the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) Investor Education Policy (IEP) captured the need to bring millennials to the capital market ecosystem, as the future class of savvy investors.

He said the exchange is aware that any business that fails to factor millennials into its target customers is on a gradual slope to extinction.

“Capital market appreciates the fact that the future of the market belongs to the youths, especially millennials and generation Y. A lot of programmes have been designed to attract these groups of future investors. They are called digital natives and all they need is for the market to be accessible digitally,” he said.

With decentralised digital currencies like bitcoin becoming increasingly popular, already, plans are afloat for the CBN to launch its digital currency before 2022. Rakiyat Mohammed, a Central Bank Director in charge of the Information Technology Department, revealed this last Thursday.

A Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) represents a country’s official currency in digital form. As against printing money, the apex bank issues electronic coins and notes that are backed by the government, unlike existing cryptocurrencies. The CBN has made “tremendous progress” exploring the technology for a digital currency for over two years now, Mohammed revealed at a press briefing after a meeting of the Bankers’ Committee.

The announcement comes on the back of efforts by Nigerian authorities to regulate the use of decentralised cryptocurrencies in the country. The apex bank in February directed all local banks to close accounts linked to crypto platforms.

Despite the clampdown, Nigerians continue to use digital currencies as a store of value and remittance tool.

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South East Women Seek Security Summit To End Killings In Igbo Land

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South East Women Seek Security Summit To End Killings In Igbo Land
Spokesperson of Credible Igbo Women Initiative (CIWI), Onyeka Onwenu.
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South East Women Seek Security Summit To End Killings In Igbo Land

South Eastern mothers, under the auspices of Credible Igbo Women Initiative, have urged the Federal Government to convene a security conference to stop killings in Igboland.
The group also urged the government to systematically and transparently embrace diversity and inclusion to enable every citizen to achieve their potential whether in the public or private sector, irrespective of tribe, creed or association.

In a statement, the group said the Federal Government has the duty to protect its citizens, especially in Igboland, which is currently under heavily armed attack daily.

The statement signed by its Chief Spokesperson, Onyeka Onwenu and 12 others, vehemently condemned the activities of unknown gunmen, arsonists and brigands whose actions are clearly calculated to create an atmosphere of civil unrest in Igboland.

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“For the avoidance of doubt, these are not our children and they are not acting under the authority of Ndigbo (Igbo people),” they declared.

According to them, the sustained instability in Igboland has resulted in the children being dragged out of their houses, cars and even pedestrian walks, captured, arbitrarily branded Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) members and often summarily executed with impunity and without a trial.

Those captives that survive the ordeal, they said, are subsequently displayed to the media as proof of the security forces’ success.

“Our children are daily being dehumanised to the extent that concerned citizens, such as Archbishop Anthony Obinna of Owerri Archdiocese, have raised the alarm on unidentified corpses in the morgues.

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“Such concerns have been reiterated by corporate bodies, including the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), which has decried the grossly over-crowded detention centres in Alaigbo.

“We state that, having lost our means of livelihood because of the invasion and destruction of our farms by ruthless herdsmen, our hope lies in the government to ameliorate our heart-breaking circumstances, including providing security generally and compensation for the death and destruction of our children and property,” they lamented.

South East Women Seek Security Summit To End Killings In Igbo Land

The group noted that the systematic neglect of their youths over the years, through lack of social and financial incentives, scholarships and skills acquisition support, had resulted in mass unemployment and distortion of the social fabric.

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They also observed with deep concern that the market men and women continue to suffer greatly in the hands of security forces in Igboland with the result that markets and shops are often under lock and key and are constantly looted with impunity.

The group, therefore, urged the Federal Government to take urgent action to restore their confidence in the security forces.

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