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Marwa Explains Why Assets of Barons, Traffickers Are Targeted in Ongoing Drug War

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Marwa Explains Why Assets of Barons, Traffickers Are Targeted in Ongoing Drug War

By: Michael Mike

Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Rtd) has justified the decision of the anti-narcotics body to go after the assets of drug barons and traffickers as part of ongoing offensive action against illicit drugs.

Marwa, explained the reason the action to go after assets of drug barons was taken at a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday to kick off a week-long activities to celebrate the 2024 International Day Against Drugs and Illicit Trafficking, which NDLEA organized in conjunction with other stakeholders like the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Marwa said: “Permit me to share with you that our offensive action against drug cartels and traffickers, launched in January 2021, has to date continued to yield the desired result with the arrests and prosecutions of several barons. As you are all aware, two serial traffickers got life imprisonment in court in April. Our prosecution efforts have continued to achieve successes in courts given the painstaking investigations and diligence in the prosecution of cases. Our water tight case preparations are unassailable. This has been further strengthened with our forfeiture regime with the passage of Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA 2022).

“Apart from conviction, the assets of the convicts used as instrumentality of the crime or the proceeds derived from the crime would be forfeited to the federal government. Indeed, a civil action in rem could be maintained against assets reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime in which case the burden of proving the licit origin of the asset would be on the defendant who claims ownership of the asset. This diligent and painstaking preparation of investigations and prosecutions explains the success of the high conviction rate.”

Marwa who was represented by the agency secretary, Mr. Shadrach Haruna on the drug demand reduction efforts of the NDLEA, said the flagship programme, war against drug abuse (WADA) built on ‘the whole of society approach’ to preventive action against drug abuse has been a tremendous success as an effective tool of advocacy for social action and an awareness-driven vehicle for public engagement and collaboration against illicit trafficking and abuse, which he said aligns with the theme for the 2024 world drug day, WDD.

He explained that the world drug day, observed on June 26 every year, “is an important day for the global community, and an occasion during which current efforts against illicit drug problems are given policy direction for the next 12 months.”

He added that the theme for this year: “The Evidence is Clear: Invest in Prevention”, emphasises the importance of preventing people from falling into the danger of experimenting with illicit drugs and subsequently falling into the trap of dependence on psychoactive substances.

He noted that: “Prevention is an important aspect of the effort to curb the menace of abuse of illicit drugs in society. At NDLEA, prevention, as ably anchored in our War Against Drug Abuse (WADA), social advocacy programme is a priority area for us. Within our modest means and with the support of the Federal Government and our various stakeholders, we have invested in prevention by various means over the past three years as part of the reforms being undertaken in the agency.”

He gave the breakdown of the weeklong activities to include: Juma’at Service at the National Mosque in Abuja on Friday, Walk Against Drugs in collaboration with MTN and other stakeholders on Saturday, Thanksgiving Church Service at the National Christian Centre on Sunday, among others.

He expressed gratitude to the federal and state governments for the support given to the agency in various ways in the onslaught against drug traffickers.

He said: “The UNODC has been a strong support for us as well as our foreign partners, including the US-Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), the British Border Force, National Crime Agency (NCA) of United Kingdom, as well as our stakeholders like Nigerian Armed Forces, the Customs, Police, Immigration, NAFDAC, NFIU, NACA, FRSC and Civil Defence, among others. And importantly, our media friends. That you are here today is a testament to the support you have given to us these past three years. I cannot help but thank you and the media you represent.”

In his remarks, UNODC Country Deputy Representative, Mr. Danilo Campisi on his part, called on government at all levels and other stakeholders in Nigeria to invest in drug use preventive measures to avoid a 40% rise in the population of drug users in the country especially the youth population.
According to him, “projections show that by 2030, there will be a 40% increase in the use of drugs in Africa, based on the population of young people. This is extremely concerning, if we consider that 2030 is only six years away.

He said: “We are all familiar with the saying: “prevention is better than cure” and considering the data and projections, it has become even more critical for Nigeria to invest heavily in drug use preventive measures. I do not think it would be an exaggeration to describe this as a national emergency. If the country is to take on the challenge of this projected increase in drug use, it is imperative that it adopts scientific evidence-based approaches that prioritise prevention and treatment.”

He said UNODC has worked with the “Government of Nigeria to adapt and implement evidence-based prevention measures which include the highly successful UNPLUGGED, a school-based Drug Prevention Programme implemented together with the Federal Ministry of Education, in 110 Unity Schools and in a few states in the country, notably Kebbi, Bayelsa and recently, Kaduna, on the initiative of the State Governments in these States.”

Marwa Explains Why Assets of Barons, Traffickers Are Targeted in Ongoing Drug War

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NAPTIP Promises Improved Strategies to Tackle Evolving Trend of Human Trafficking

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NAPTIP Promises Improved Strategies to Tackle Evolving Trend of Human Trafficking

By: Michael Mike

The Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi has pledged that the Agency will continue to develop new strategies, expand cooperation, and foster more collaboration to keep pace with the evolving trends in human trafficking.

She gave the commitment in Abuja while unveiling the activities planned for the 2024 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, themed “Leave No Child Behind in the Fight Against Trafficking in Persons”.

The World Day Against Trafficking in Persons was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2013 to be observed annually on July 30th to promote comprehensive, coordinated, and consistent responses at national, regional, and international levels to counter trafficking in persons. It aims to promote a human rights-based, gender- and age-sensitive approach in addressing all factors that make people vulnerable to trafficking, and in strengthening the criminal justice response necessary to prevent trafficking, protect victims, and prosecute perpetrators.

According to the United Nations, the 2024 World Day Against Trafficking urges accelerated action to end child trafficking, recognizing that children represent a significant proportion of trafficking victims worldwide, with girls being disproportionately affected.

On the activities lined up for the 2024 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons in Nigeria, Waziri-Azi disclosed that it is in collaboration with UNODC, IOM, ICMPD, and OHCHR and would be commencing from Saturday, July 28 to Sunday, August 4, 2024. She noted that the programmes have been carefully selected to reflect the theme of the celebration, insisting that: “These activities aim to create the needed awareness and impactful sensitization to address the concerns of all and reduce the vulnerability of potential trafficking victims.”

Wazir-Azi said: “I am pleased to state that our activities and interventions in the fight against human trafficking in Nigeria are inclusive, involving various categories of stakeholders. For the first time, NAPTIP will commemorate the World Day together with the National Agency Against Trafficking in Persons (NAATIP), our counterpart agency that would be visiting from The Gambia.”

She disclosed that the celebration will kick off on Saturday, July 27, 2024, with a female novelty match to “Kick Against Human Trafficking” involving NAPTIP officers and partners at the Wakanda Games Arena, Accra Street, Wuse Zone 5, starting at 8:00 am. On Monday, July 29, 2024, a Community Town Hall Dialogue will provide a platform for community stakeholders to voice their opinions and concerns, fostering engagement, transparency, problem-solving, inclusivity, and community cohesion. The Dialogue would be aired live on Radio Nigeria from 10.30am.

“On Tuesday, July 30, 2024, at 7:30 am, there will be an Awareness Walk from the Old Parade Ground through major routes in the Central Business District of Abuja, ending at the Unity Fountain. State Task Forces on Human Trafficking from 23 states across Nigeria will participate. From Wednesday, July 31 to Friday, August 2, 2024, we have planned a Bootcamp for all State Task Force members,” Prof. Waziri-Azi added.

Other planned activities include the Survivor’s Got Talent Grand Finale, sensitization and awareness creation in places of worship and public spaces, and a robust online awareness campaign.

Waziri-Azi urged everyone to join hands with the Agency to ensure a successful 2024 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons celebration .“Let us amplify our efforts, fortify our resolve, and work tirelessly to create a world where every child can thrive in safety and dignity. Together, we can and must leave no child behind in this crucial fight” the Director-General stated.

NAPTIP Promises Improved Strategies to Tackle Evolving Trend of Human Trafficking

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UNESCO’s Readiness Assessment Methodology Launched to Promote Ethical Use of Artificial Intelligence in Nigeria

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UNESCO’s Readiness Assessment Methodology Launched to Promote Ethical Use of Artificial Intelligence in Nigeria

By: Michael Mike

Nigeria’s plan to embrace Artificial Intelligence (AI) took a great leap with the official launch of UNESCO’s Readiness Assessment Methodology (RAM) in the country.

Speaking at the launch in Abuja, the Head of Abuja Office and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Representative to Nigeria, Mr. Abdourahamane Diallo said the event signifies a pivotal moment in Nigeria’s journey towards embracing ethical artificial intelligence practices.

Diallo said: “As we gather here at the UN House, we are reminded of the transformative potential of AI in driving innovation and sustainable development across our nation. UNESCO’s Readiness Assessment Methodology (RAM) stands as a beacon of guidance, ensuring that our advancements in AI are not only groundbreaking but also aligned with global standards of ethics and responsibility.

“We are particularly proud that Nigeria is joining us as part of UNESCO’s custodial role in promoting the ethics of AI worldwide. UNESCO’s Recommendations on the Ethics of AI, adopted by 193 countries, provide a robust framework for the responsible and ethical development and deployment of AI technologies. These recommendations emphasize human rights, fairness, transparency, and accountability, and it is heartening to see Nigeria committing to these principles as we work together to build an inclusive and ethical AI ecosystem.”

He added that: “As we gather here today, we are reminded of the profound impact that artificial intelligence has on our society. AI permeates many aspects of our daily lives, and its ethical implications have become a focal point for all actors within the ecosystem. Recognizing this, in 2023, UNESCO launched the Readiness Assessment Methodology (RAM) as a pivotal tool for implementing its Recommendation on the Ethics of AI, which was adopted by 193 countries in 2021.

“The RAM, with its comprehensive framework consisting of five dimensions, serves as a vital instrument for assessing a country’s readiness to implement AI ethically and responsibly. It highlights strengths and identifies infrastructural, institutional, and regulatory gaps, enabling nations to address these challenges effectively and create an ethical AI ecosystem.”

On his part, the Secretary General, National Commission for UNESCO (NATCOM-UNESCO), Dr. Idowu Olagunju said: “I firmly believe that today’s discussions will pave the way for significant advancements in our national AI strategy, aligning with UNESCO’s global mission of promoting ethical AI.”

He asked: “Let us embark on this journey together, as we work towards a future where AI is harnessed for the greater good, in alignment with our shared values and ethical principles.”

Speaking to journalists after inaugurating the Steering and Technical Working Committees and Launching the Project, the Minister of Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy: Dr Bosun Tijani expressed the country’s readiness to take advantage of the value addition of AI, noting that the youths have already been sensitized and mobilized to evolve the use of AI

He appreciated the support from UNESCO to ensure that AI is ethically embraced, noting that the government is working on making the country one of the top countries in Artificial Intelligence.

He noted that with the diversity of the committees constituted for the AI project, Nigeria is on an interesting ride to the very top.

UNESCO’s Readiness Assessment Methodology Launched to Promote Ethical Use of Artificial Intelligence in Nigeria

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Dangote vs. NNPC: A Tale of Sabotage and Misrepresentation

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Dangote vs. NNPC: A Tale of Sabotage and Misrepresentation

By: Shina Adewoye

During major football events, every Nigerian acts like a football coach. Around the elections period, everyone becomes a lawyer analyzing both pre elections and post elections matters.

Throughout various discussions, Nigerians take on roles as journalists and economists. This active participation is the beauty of democracy. However, problems arise when uninformed individuals try to present their opinions as facts.

On the Dangote issue, it’s striking that Nigeria, a member of OPEC and the world’s 7th largest oil producer, lacks a functional refinery. The NNPC doesn’t even have a laboratory, yet it questions the quality of products from Dangote’s world-class refinery.

Elon Musk, a vocal critic of Joe Biden and a supporter of Donald Trump, faces no personal attacks from Biden. This makes it puzzling why Dangote, Africa’s richest man, faces sabotage in Nigeria. The U.S. embraces diverse talents like Elon Musk ( a South African) and late Steve Jobs ( a Syrian) emphasizing its reputation as a land of great opportunities.

President Tinubu, also serving as the Minister of Petroleum, oversees an NNPC that falsely claims a 20% stake in Dangote’s refinery, while Dangote maintains they only paid for 7%. No action has been taken against those responsible for this irresponsible misrepresentation and embarrassment.

Moreover, Dangote’s $100 million claim for land in Lagos raises questions about the use of US $ in Nigeria as a legal tender.

Nevertheless, as an entrepreneur, Dangote is prepared for challenges. He built his refinery in a free trade zone, constructed his own port, and he can thrive without the Nigerian market by focusing on exports.

Nigerians should identify their real adversaries. Dangote can source crude oil globally and export the by-products.

Time will reveal the truth, and history will vindicate the just.

Shina Adewoye
Public Policy Analyst

Dangote vs. NNPC: A Tale of Sabotage and Misrepresentation

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