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Emefiele insists, Cryptocuerrency is inimical to the economy



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Emefiele insists Cryptocuerrency is inimical to the economy

***Cryptocurrency Used To Fund EndSARS Protest- ICPC

***It failed critical tests of vulnerability -NFIU

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Governor Godwin Emefiele has maintained his stance that Cryptocurrency is highly inimical to the Nigerian economy and could further weaken an already weak currency, the Naira.

According to Emefiele, Cryptocurrency is “money created out of thin air”, with the players untraceable and unknown.

In the same vein, Chairman of ICPC Professor Bolaji and the Nigerian Financial Intelligent Unit (NFIU) unanimously agreed that cryptocurrency is being used as channel for funding violence and terrorism in Nigeria.

They all spoke before the Senate joint committee on Banking and insurance, Capital market and Cybercrime.
The central Bank Governor Godwin Emeifele had been formerly invited to meet with the senate’s joint committee on Banking and insurance, Capital market and Cybercrime to give further explanation of the threats posed by cryptocurrency in Nigeria.
It would be recalled that the Senate last week directed the joint committee to schedule a meeting with the CBN Governor for further briefing on the controversy generated by the ban on cryptocurrency transactions in Nigeria.
In the letter to the CBN Governor, the chairman of the joint committee, senator Uba Sani directed that Emeifele bring not less than 40 hard copies of his deference to the joint committee.
Worried that the ban on use of Cryptocurrencies in Nigeria might hurt the economy, the Senate had summoned Emefiele to defend the Apex bank’s  action.
According to the CBN Governor, “We know enough at this stage to decide that the opaque nature significantly threatens our transaction and as you know the CBN has the primary responsibility to protect the investment of every player in the space”, Emefiele said.

He said Cryptocurrency is used to describe the activities of players in the dark world where the transactions are opaque.

Explaining further he said, Cryptocurrency is used to facilitate scam and money laundering; adding that Nigeria has become the second in the use of Cryptocurrencies used in financing terrorism in the world.

“Our business is not a popularity contest but to protect uninformed players. The decision we have taken is in the best interest of every Nigerian who has nothing to hide.

“Transactions are extremely opaque, they are dark, they are not visible and they are not transparent.
“In another parlance, this are people who do not want a trail but indeed by its nature cannot be trailed.

“These definition alone are scary enough to create anxiety on any regulator or SEC or Central Banking any part of the world.
“That is the reason virtually all regulators in the World are weary to recognize it. Since Nigerians delved into it’s usage, we have been studying it’s development and paying close attention to currencies n that space.

“Now, we know enough at this stage to decide that the continuation of these opaque activities significantly threatens the safety and soundness of our financial independence and like you know.
“The CBN has as it’s nature all responsibility as the primary regulator to protect the activities all actors and stakeholders and particularly the uninformed actors in that space.

“For the financial system, all actors who may want to take advantage of their knowledge otherwise to reap where others of the uninformed loss.

“That is the reason we have asked all banks to resist, desist, and, indeed desist from operating account of cryptocurrency dealers in Nigeria.

“For avoidance of  doubt we have asked our banking supervision, our payment system and our IT department to carryout a thorough investigation through the activities of current exchanges and their major players.

“The result of their investigation will lead to better understanding of their activities and maybe unveiled to all in due course.

However, he said they know that Cryptocurrency has been used to facilitate scams which are popularly called 419 transactions that have been known to facilitate money laundering.
“It has been known to facilitate an avenue through which kidnappers receive ransoms and they have been known to be instruments that have been used to finance terrorism, not just in Nigeria but in different parts of the world where these have thrived.

“That is why sometimes we wonder from Data available that Nigeria comes second in the world.
“Most of us are prodding the fact that Nigeria comes second in the world with the use of a tools that facilitates scam and 419: We come second in the world with the use of tool that are used to finance terrorism.
“Let me state that this decision is in the best interest of every well meaning Nigeria who have nothing to hide and is happy to have traceable and transparent dealings in our financial system

“I do not know how many of you may have heard that the international monetary Funds, the US the United Kingdom, Europe agree with us and highlighted that a vast majority of Central Bank around the World have taken the same position as we have done in Nigeria
The Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Commission (ICPC), Bolaji Owasanoye said EndSARS protest was largely financed by cryptocurrency; and an  indication that it could be used to fund Insurgency.

This was as the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit(NFIU), said his agency averted a $3million fraud linked to twenty bank accounts.

The ICPC boss backed the position of the Central Bank; stressing that Cryptocurrency lends itself to money laundering and terrorism financing.

He further disclosed that the anti-graft agency currently has a number of cases linked to Cryptocurrency but is unable to track the suspects.

In kicking against Cryptocurrency, he reminded the Senate how in 2018 a number of globally rated financial institutions had their financial statements hacked with the perpetrators asking to be paid in Cryptocurrencies.

The ICPC Chairman said while the CBN as regulator has responsibility to ensure sound financial stability; it will be difficult to achieve in the case of Cryptocurrencies where the role players are unknown.

To drive home his point, he left the lawmakers with a warning to urgently take decisive action against Cryptocurrencies sharing with them the experience of the Indian Supreme Court and how it ruled and admitted that it “does not know what it is”.

In his own presentation, the Director/CEO, NFIU, Tukur Moddido kicked strongly against Cryptocurrencies; pointing out that it failed the critical tests of vulnerability and attendant risks.

According to Modibbo, the NFIU  through its Cyber Intelligence stopped a scam of roughly $3 million.

Earlier, the Director-General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Lamido Yuguda seems to have a more liberal stance toward the use of Cryptocurrencies when he said it should and can be regulated.

Without dismissing the fears expressed by the CBN, NFIU and ICPC, the SEC boss said his agency can develop an appropriate regulatory framework to protect investments in Cryptocurrencies and ensure the operators are duly registered.

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Zigma Oil & Gas, Petroleum ministry advocate use of LPG, sensitize women on benefits, business opportunities




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Zigma oil& Gas, Petroleum ministry advocate use of LPG, sensitize women on benefits, business opportunities

From Aminci Audu

The Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, National Center for women Development and the Zigma Gas limited have sensitized the Nigerian women on the importance of liquifued Petroleum Gas, benefits and business opportunities therein.

This was coming just as the United Nations raised concerns that though the oil, gas and energy remains the key contributor to the growth of the Nigerian economy the sector is yet to create opportunity for shared growth, create decent jobs and reduce poverty on a large scale especially for women.

The event which was the official launch of the Nigerian Women for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) project in Abuja over the weekend was aimed at among other things to discourage Nigerian women from using firewood in the near future. 

It also aims to bring economic prosperity to the womenfolk who are the greatest users of the product by involving them in the business chain of distribution of LPG.In a presentation, by Adesina Olaitan on the LPG framework by the ministry of petroleum the first objective he said is for environmental preservation.

He painted a gloomy picture indicating how out of about five cities in Africa, that are heavily polluted, Nigeria has four. 

“That is to tell you why this is very important and you can see Onitsha, Umahia, Abeokuta, Kaduna. This is why it is important to us, there is desertification which is about 3.5% on an annual bases.’Green House emission which is about 200million turns per annum.

This is part of the program to see how we can curb it, since 87% of the population rely on Kerosene.

The ministry projected that it would encourage over 40million households in Nigeria to have access to cooking gas in the next 24 months. 

It indicated that the launch is very important to the health of everybody as it will help to eliminate over 95000 deaths annually which is attributed to firewood. 

“This gas LPG will be all over Nigeria it would be a wonderful revolution. Our women can now be part of oil and gas business.On it’s part the managing director of Zigma Gas, Funmi Ogbue said rural women in Nigeria often cook with infants strapped on their back, exposing both to toxic fumes.

“The risk of developing emphysema is even higher than for people who smoke. Half of those who die are children younger than five.

“She said, Kerosene Stoves are the cause of the loss of many urban homes and deaths as the purchase of contaminated kerosene lead to explosion of the stove and in many instances the release of poisonous fumes.

According to her, the use of LPG will bring benefit to the economy Making LPG accessible to Nigerians, Creation of more jobs for Nigerians and addition of value to the Nations GDP.

Other benefits according to her is in Technical Capacity Building for Artisans and Industry Stakeholders, Contributing to the saving of over $1bn per annum in kerosene Subsidy and Saving of the country’s forest resources.

She described LPG as being versatile, clean and low on greenhouse gas emissions.”LPG is an ideal fuel for cooking and heating.

It is odorless and burns cleanly, producing no smoke or fumes beyond ordinary combustion gases (water, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide).

“LPG is your green choice With LPG, you have the comfort of knowing it has low greenhouse gas emissions and is an environmentally positive fuel choice.

“By using LPG, we can help ensure Nigeria meets its commitments to the Kyoto climate change agreement.”

The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Edward Kallon said available statistics suggest that there are fewer women working in the oil and gas value chain than almost any other major industry and accounting for less than one quarter of employees in the sector world wide.

“This figure grows smaller the higher you go up the business ladder. “I am pleased to join you at this event today and to speak on behalf of the United Nations family in Nigeria. 

“At the center of the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 is Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. “Goal 5 is that fine thread that weave together the 17 SDGs and includes measures relevant to the oil and gas sector to Contribute in ending all discrimination against women and girls; Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of infrastructure;  Ensure women’s effective participation and equal Opportunities, and enhance the use of enabling technologies. 
He observed that in Nigeria, many women are still heavily dependent on wood fuel to perform their traditional roles, including cooking and income generating activities, which are highly fuel intensive. 

“Modem fuel sources; such as LPG can therefore save time and improve productivity in many of these fuel and labor intensive enterprises and protect women from the health hazards associated with the use of wood fuel. 

“The distribution of LPG represents an important employment sector with growth potential to support the development and expansion of women entrepreneurship in the the sector. 

“The establishment of a dedicated and inclusive programmes such as the one we are launching here today is crucial in enhancing women’s participation in the LPG space. “I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the National Centre for Women Development, and Zigma Gas Limited for this initiative. 

“I am also calling on the Government and other relevant actors to drive non~ discriminatory employment practices, increase access to capacity building and financing initiatives, and engage women in community consultations and decision~making positions and equip them to actively participate in and benefit from the economic potential within the various LPG value chains.”

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NAQS decries inter agency rivalry leading to sabotage of its mandate




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NAQS decries inter agency rivalry leading to sabotage of its mandate

The Nigeria Agriculture and Quarantine Service (NAQS) has frowned at the tendency of some sister agencies to sabotage its activities.
This is coming against the backdrop that
recent events in the activities and operation of the agency had indicated that for NAQS to continue to deliver on its statutory mandate and contribute to the growth of the nation’s economy, steps must be taken to tackle some bottlenecks that vitiate the operations of the agency.
This was contained in a statement that was signed by its national coordinator Comrade Ben Iguabor and national secretary Silas Modaccai respectively.

The statement said, a situation where the agency’s activities are being sabotaged by another sister agency like the Nigerian Customs Service or the Nigerian Police is most regrettable.

It indicated that NAQS as a leading agency in ensuring standards and compliance in the export of agricultural products out of the country, insisted on full compliance by exporters, however, the personnel of the customs would be at the backend sabotaging such efforts.

“If properly coordinated, Nigeria has very huge potential of raking in stupendous income through agricultural exports.”

The statement reads in part,”For us as a body, the National Ecosystem Advocates of Nigeria (NEAN), the solution is to get all the sister agencies that work with NAQS to function more collaboratively and patriotically, putting the interest of the nation first before self.                
The statement harped  on the need for inter agency cooperation, adding that it is also imperative to get the full buy-in of the personnel of the Nigeria Immigration Service to the operations of NAQS. “For instance, while some foreigners are officially documented by the Nigerian Immigrant personnel for particular job descriptions, such foreigners often resort to activities different from which they were officially listed.
“Chinese nationals are the most criminal culprits of this act. There are several instances where many Chinese nationals come into Nigeria, get documented by the Nigeria Immigration Service as construction workers, only to turn into marauders of our bushes and forests the next day”
It sated that the chinese have the perchance for engaging in criminal hunting and export of illegal crops and animals, including illegal plundering of our timbers with the active cooperation of some unpatriotic Nigerians. “There is need for routine monitoring of these foreigners to ensure that they do not violate their official status of the country.
“Where such foreigners are reported to the Nigeria Immigration, the service must take steps to ensure that the affected foreigners are promptly deported to their countries of origin.”

On the part of the National Assembly, the statement there is the need for the review of the current NAQS act, 2017, with a view to identifying and strengthening the law to ensure that the main objectives of the legislation is fully attained.
The statement explained that NAQS is a regulatory agency under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. “It is tasked with the responsibility of the harmonization of Plants, Veterinary and Aquatic resources (fisheries).
“The agency is to promote and regulate sanitary (animal and fisheries health) and plant health measures in connection with the import and export of agricultural products with a view to minimizing the risk to agricultural economy, food safety and the environment.”

Earlier, NEAN had deplored the criminal activities of some Chinese nationals in the illegal poaching and export of donkeys in the country.

It however, commended the efforts of the current Director General of NAQS Dr. Vincent Isegbe and the staff of the agency in ensuring that the country derives the full benefits for the establishment of the agency by their insistence in the discharge of the agency’s core mandates. 
Amongst others, the main objective of NAQS is to prevent the introduction, establishment and spread of animal and zoonotic diseases as well as pests of plants and fisheries including their products.
NAQS also undertakes emergency protocol to control or manage new pest incursion or disease outbreak in collaboration with key stakeholders. NAQS ensures that our agricultural exports meet with international standards in line with International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Office International des Epizootics (OIE) representing the World Organization for Animal Health, WTO/Sanitary and International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) and SPS conditions of the importing countries

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To overcome food insecurity Nigeria needs sixty thousand tractors says FG




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To tackle food insecurity Nigeria needs sixty thousand tractors says FG

The Federal Government on Tuesday indicated that country needs not less than sixty thousand tractors to tackle food insecurity

As part of effort to promote food production, it also reiterated its committement towards tackling food insecurity through mechanization.

This is just as the government said it has establised ties with the Brazilian Government to establish tractor assembly and manufacturing factories in some parts of the country.

The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Sabo Nanono stated this when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts to explain in details the purpose for supplementary budget of €995,000,000 million to finance agric project.

The Minister noted that the contract between Nigerian and the Brazilian Government was signed five years ago but worried that it was not implemented.

He expressed worries that Nigeria is currently cultivating less than 30% of its ninety two million arable land mass, which is far bellow what is needed to feed its two hundred million population.

“Obviously, how do we go about feeding this nation. It is very clear that the current method of farming will not do it. So we have to go into mechanization.

“You must know as at today, we have only about seven tractors per 100 square kilometers. A standard is one hundred and twenty tractors per 100 square kilometers He said Nigeria needs an average of “sixty thousand tractors” for the purpose of food security.

According to him, a new programme, the Green Imperative Project which is intended to promote industrialization “would provide ten thousand tractors in the next three years and another ten thousand tractors in another tree years.

He said service centers would be established in all local governments across the country with presence of tractors, hired skills and stores to support local productivity and job creation, to be private sector driven with the government playing a crucial role in key areas.

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