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Bandits Strike Another Katsina Community, Kidnap 16

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Armed bandits have targeted Kogo village in Faskari Local Government Area (LGA) of Katsina State, kidnapping 16 residents, including children, women, and men.

According to a local resident who confided in Vanguard, the attack which unfolded silently at about 8:20 PM yesterday, caught the villagers off guard as the assailants executed their plan with meticulous precision.

“The hoodlum quietly infiltrated the community, possibly parking their motorcycles at a distance to avoid detection.

“Without causing much uproar, the assailants targeted a residence and eventually took away 16 people comprising of children, women, and men,” revealed the local source.

The community is now grappling with fear and uncertainty, anxiously awaiting updates on the ongoing situation.

The residents are deeply concerned about the safety of their kidnapped fellow villagers and the overall security of the area, the source noted.

When contacted, ASP Abubakar Sadiq Aliyu, the spokesperson for the Katsina Police Command, stated that he would verify the report and provide a response. As of the time of filing this report, he was yet to confirm or communicate any updates.

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NIN: World Bank Disburses $45.5m For Nigeria’s ID4D Project

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

The World Bank said it has disbursed a total of $45.5m to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) under the Digital Identification for Development (ID4D) project.

According to the ‘Nigeria Digital Identification for Development Project’ report published by the bank on its website, the project is aimed at enrolling more Nigerians for the National Identification Number (NIN).

According to the apex bank, Nigeria was able to secure the funding with the passing into law of the Nigerian Protection Act in June last year.

The fund was disbursed in multiple tranches between December 2021 and April 2024 and disbursement is still ongoing.

The $45m so far released represents about 10.5 per cent of the total project’s cost, which is put at $430m.

While the June 1, 2024 deadline set for the enrollment of 148 million Nigerians for the NIN has passed and Nigeria is still lagging, the Bank described the progress of the project so far as ‘moderately satisfactory’. NIMC recently disclosed that 107.3 million NIN had been issued as of April this year.

The release of funds for the project which comprises a combination of loans and grants, was predicated on the institutionalisation of data protection.

The development comes on the hills of a recent warning by the NIMC to Nigerians, against the activities of some unauthorised websites harvesting people’s data

The websites are idfinder.com.ng, Verify.ng, championtech.com.ng, trustyonline.com, and anyverify.com.

On June 20, Paradigm Initiative, a pan-African social enterprise, raised alarm over its discovery of the sale of NINs, bank verification numbers (BVNs), and other personal data of Nigerians on a website for as low as N100.

According to the organisation, a website known as ‘AnyVerify.com.ng’ was discovered to be involved in the commercial distribution of personal and private data of Nigerians.

Paradigm Initiative added that several unauthorised websites are claiming to hold and provide access to sensitive personal and financial data of Nigerian citizens “for as little as 100 Naira”.

“This alarming development presents a major breach of the fundamental rights to privacy, a breach of data privacy rights, and poses significant risks to individuals and the national economy,” the firm said.

Reacting to the report, the commission said AnyVerify.com.ng and other aforementioned websites, are data harvesters and unauthorised to access or manage sensitive data.

The agency also denied the exposure of sensitive data of Nigerians “as alleged and reported”.

“The commission, at this moment, assures the public that the data of Nigerians has not been compromised, and the Commission have not authorised any website or entity to sell or misuse the National Identification Number (NIN) amongst all the identities stated in the report,” NIMC said.

“NIMC urges the public to disregard any claims or services these websites offer and should not give their data as they are potentially fraudulent and data provided by the public on such websites are gathered and stored to build the data services they illegally provide.

“Consequently, the public should know that the commission has taken robust measures to safeguard the nation’s database from cyber threats- a secure, world-class, full-proof database is in place.

“The commission’s infrastructure meets the stringent ISO 27001:2013 information security management system standard, with annual recertification and strict compliance with the Nigerian Data Protection Law.”

NIMC also advised Nigerians to avoid giving their data to unauthorised and phishing sites, stressing that licensed partners or vendors are not authorised to scan or store NIN slips but to verify them through approved channels.

“This poses the danger of data harvesting and comprises individual data,” the commission added.

“The Commission reaffirms its commitment to upholding ethical standards in data protection in line with federal government directives and data privacy regulations.

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CBN Issues IMTOs Naira Access To Boost Remittances

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Monday, issued new measures it is currently putting in place, to boost naira liquidity and raise diaspora remittances.

According to its latest circular, the apex bank said eligible International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs), will now have access to naira liquidity through the bank’s window. This initiative is designed to widen access to local currency liquidity, ensuring smoother and more efficient settlement processes for remittances, the CBN said.

Signed by W. J. Kanya, acting director of the trade and exchange department at the CBN, said transactions executed before noon on a trading date will be settled on the same day.

According to the circular, all participants are required to submit daily regulatory returns to the CBN. These returns must include all relevant information on the sources of funds.

The key participants in the segment include: IMTOs, authorised dealer banks, and the CBN.

Under the new guidelines, IMTO operators will be able to directly access the CBN window, or do so via their Authorised Dealer Banks (ADBs) to execute foreign exchange transactions in the market. The circular outlines specific compliance measures to ensure the effective operation of the initiative.

It also said pricing on the CBN portal will mirror the NAFEX traded rates, which are based on an acceptable market benchmark.

The operation of the segment will follow the existing arrangements in place for authorised dealers involved with foreign portfolio investment in primary market securities auctions.

The circular emphasised that these measures are effective immediately, highlighting the bank’s commitment to maintaining the smooth functioning of the foreign exchange market and improving formal remittance channels.

The decision is expected to significantly improve the liquidity of local currency for diaspora remittances, thereby enhancing the overall efficiency and reliability of the foreign exchange market in the country.

The CBN has focused on increasing remittances and naira liquidity.

This is as in May 2024, the bank granted 14 IMTOs an approval-in-principle (AIP) in an effort to double foreign-currency remittance inflows through formal channels.

“This will spur liquidity in Nigeria’s Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEX), augmenting price discovery to enable a market-driven fair value for the naira,” said Hakama Sidi Ali, CBN’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications, while announcing the new plan in a statement.

The CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, had recently disclosed the apex bank’s target to double remittance flows into Nigeria within a year, which he firmly believed was possible.

He said, “We are wasting no time driving progress to remove any bottlenecks hindering flows through formal channels permanently. We have a determined pathway and a sequenced approach to tackling all challenges ahead, working hand in hand with key stakeholders in the remittance industry.”

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FEC To Consider New Minimum Wage For Workers

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By Gloria Ikibah
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) is meeting today to address key issues affecting Nigeria, with a particular focus on the ongoing minimum wage dispute.
Naijablitznews.com reports that under the directive of President Bola Tinubu, FEC meetings now occur every Monday, replacing the previous Wednesday schedule established since the last meeting held on May 13th and 14th.
According to sources today’s agenda centers primarily on the contentious minimum wage standoff between the federal government and organized labour groups.
The government, following a report from a newly formed tripartite committee, has acknowledged the feasibility of increasing the minimum wage to ₦62,000. However, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) are advocating for a higher ₦250,000 minimum wage.
Today’s meeting holds critical importance as it seeks to bridge the gap between the government’s proposal and the demands of labour. The council is expected to thoroughly review labour’s position and assess the government’s capacity to accommodate these demands.
The outcome of this meeting is expected to lead to the drafting of an executive bill aimed at resolving the wage issue, which will subsequently be presented to the National Assembly for consideration. The resolution of the minimum wage debate holds significant implications, impacting millions of workers and influencing broader economic factors such as purchasing power and consumer spending.
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