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2023 General Elections: Cyber attacks on INEC technology hit 16.8m



As the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) concluded its review of the results of the gubernatorial election conducted last Saturday, March 18, the Federal Government (FG)  has disclosed that no less than 3,834,244 cyber attacks were targeted at the technology architecture deployed for the management of the election.

The said figure of 3,834,244 was aside the 12,988,978 figure recorded during the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections (NASS), bringing the total figure to over 16.8 million  (16,823,222) attacks.

Following the introduction of technology in the management of election, particularly with the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) Portal, political actors seeking to manoeuvre the electoral process have also shifted focus to lauch attacks against the system.

On Wednesday, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Pantami disclosed that a total of 3,834,244 attacks were recorded during the just concluded governorship and State Houses of Assembly (HoA) elections, originating from both within and outside Nigeria.

Recall NewsDirect had reported that during the presidential and the NASS elections, no less than 12.9 million cyberattacks targeted at the system were recorded from within and outside the Country.

The attacks had posed some constraints on the INEC particularly in uploading results electronically, a development that erupted reactions from stakeholders who argued it was a breach of promise on the part of INEC.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Pantami, had  in a statement by his media aide, Uwa Suleiman, disclosed that over 6.9 million attacks were recorded on election day alone.

According to Pantami, the attacks were successfully blocked due to the sophisticated infrastructure on the ground by different agencies of government charged with the responsibility of protecting the nation’s cyberspace.

“A total of 12,988,978 attacks were recorded, originating from both within and outside Nigeria. It is worth noting that the Centrr =ØOÞs successfully blocked these attacks and/or escalated them to the relevant institutions for appropriate action.

“During this period, a series of hacking attempts were recorded, including Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), email and IPS attacks, SSH Login Attempts, Brute force Injection attempts, Path Traversal, Detection Evasion, and Forceful Browsing.

“The parastatals, under the supervision of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, have played a crucial role in providing the enabling environment for the successful conduct of a credible, free, fair, and transparent election,” he had said.

Meanwhile, on the Saturday March 18, gubernatorial and HoA polls, the Minister in a statement on Wednesday by his Senior Technical Assistant (Research and Development), Dr Femi Adeluyi,  noted that the activities of cyber threat actors on the Nigerian cyberspace during the gubernatorial and HoA elections were much lower than those of the Feb. 25 Presidential and NASS elections.

According to him, a daily breakdown of the attacks from the attacks shows that: on Friday 17th March, 2023, 1,046,896 attacks were recorded, on Saturday 18th March, 2023: 1,481,847; Sunday 19th March, 2023: 327,718 and on Monday 20th March, 2023: 977,783.

The Minister pointed out that, “the attacks were not surprising nor unexpected as, Nigeria being Africa’s largest democracy, the Presidential and National Assembly elections are bound to attract much attention of everyone, including cyberthreat actors, than during the Gubernatorial and State Assembly elections.”

He expressed confidence that “the implementation of some recommendations as well as measures taken to fortify our cyber defence mechanisms might have helped in this regard.”

The Minister reiterated that these attainments would not have been possible without the continued support of the administration towards ensuring Nigeria’s successful transition into the digital economy.

“The digital economy sector has enjoyed Mr President’s unprecedented support and it is highly appreciated,” he said.

Nigerian NewsDirect had before the March 18 polls, reported that INEC and other relevant Federal Government Agencies were under pressure to resist the preponderance of cyber attacks targeted to mar the electronic management of the election.

Stakeholders have commended the use of technology, pointing out it helped curbed pervasive electoral malpractices. Although some have knocked INEC on glitches experienced during the Feb. 25 presidential and NASS elections, yet observers have commended improvements recorded during the second phase of the General Elections of the March 18 gubernatorial and HoA polls.

Meanwhile, INEC, on Wednesday said it had concluded a review of the results of last Saturday’s governorship election, which held in 28 States.

The Commission, also said it had completed the review of the results for the Abia and the Enugu States, where it had earlier suspended further collation following a series of electoral malfeasance and violence.

In a statement on Wednesday, the National Commissioner in charge of the Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, INEC recalled that it had met on Monday, March 20 and reviewed the conduct of the governorship and HoA elections held nationwide on Saturday, March 18.

“Arising from the meeting, the Commission took the decision to suspend further collation of the governorship election results in some parts of Abia and Enugu states, to carry out a review of the collation processes in both states.

“The Commission has concluded the review. Consequently, the collation of results for the governorship election in both Abia and Enugu states will continue today (Wednesday), March 22.

“The Commission appreciates the patience and understanding of the people of both states as we conclude the collation processes,” the statement read partly.

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35,496 suspects arrested, 1,907 rescued from kidnappers in one year — IGP



The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Kayode Adeolu Egbetokun, Ph.D., NPM, says the Nigeria Police Force in the past one year has arrested  35,496 suspects and rescued 1,907 people from kidnappers.

He disclosed this on Thursday during the monthly Conference with Senior Police Officers, which coincided with a significant milestone in the current administration, its 365 days in office.

The IGP, while addressing senior officers and members of the press, highlighted the progress made and the challenges faced over the past year since he assumed office as the 22nd Indigenous Inspector-General of Police taking time to reflect, evaluate, and plan for the future.

The IGP noted that during the past twelve months, the Force has faced considerable challenges, including terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, and armed robbery.

In a statement made available by Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, he said, “Despite these threats, the Nigeria Police Force has remained resilient and dedicated to its mandate.” The IGP commended officers for their hard work and dedication, emphasising the positive results achieved through capacity building, service improvements, and strengthened relationships with sister services and the public.

Reflecting on the year’s accomplishments, the IGP acknowledged the vital achievements of his administration in one year including “the presentation of a total of N9.85 billion to families of deceased officers under the Group Life Assurance Scheme and the IGP Family Welfare Scheme, the declaration of April 7 as National Police Day by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the promotion of inaugural Police Commendation and Awards Ceremony, the promotion of 33,867 officers based on merit, competence, and available vacancies.”

“Also is the advancement of infrastructural development which will culminate in the commissioning of some projects such as the Nigeria Police Resource Centre, the International Conference Centre, the Nigeria Police Force National Cybercrime Centre (NPF-NCCC), the Force Intelligence Building, the Force Public Relations School, the Police Intelligence School located in Share, Kwara State, Evidence/Exhibits Storage facilities, and newly acquired operational assets including vehicles, APCs, Drones, Gun trucks etc.

“In the past one year, the Nigeria Police Force has arrested 35,496 suspects for their participation in various crimes, rescued 1,907 kidnapped victims, and recovered 2,750 firearms, 22,569 ammunition, and 1,540 vehicles nationwide, while the Legal/Prosecutions Section has successfully prosecuted 29,052 criminal cases, securing 16,200 convictions.”

The conference also focused on the upcoming gubernatorial elections in Edo and Ondo States, with the IGP outlining security plans to support the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in ensuring smooth elections.

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OML58: NNPC Ltd, TotalEnergies announce $550m investment deal on Ubeta project



By Esther Agbo and Opeyemi Abdulsalam

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited signed an agreement with TotalEnergies for the final investment decision (FID) on the Ubeta Field Development Project.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed on Thursday in Abuja.

This project is expected to have a significant impact on Nigeria’s energy sector and contribute to the country’s efforts to develop its oil and gas resources.

Speaking at the event, Mele Kyari, group chief executive officer (GCEO) of NNPC, said on stream, the Ubeta project will produce about 350 million standard cubic feet (MMScf) per day of gas and 10,000 barrels per day of associated liquids.

This, Kyari said, is an opportunity to tap into the vast gas reserves and contribute towards securing gas supply to Nigeria’s liquified natural gas (LNG).

Kyari said, “I’m very convinced that many more projects will come alongside this as we progress.”

“And maybe not the right moment to make those announcements, but I know that a number of projects have been enabled by the executive order of Mr. President.

“No doubt, this project will create opportunities, jobs, and everything that you can imagine, including making our energy investment much more productive.

“I know for sure that the engagements with our other partners will ensure delivery of gas sufficient to keep our train 1 to 7 active and at full capacity, and also realise our ambitions for train 7.”

While appreciating the support from stakeholders, Kyari highlighted the continuous support of President Bola Tinubu’s administration in facilitating a conducive operational environment, which he said is a major driver of the deal.

He also said the presidential executive order was instrumental to achieving the milestone and the impact of the policy is being seen.

Also speaking at the event the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), Rt. Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo, delivered a keynote address at the Final Investment Decision (FID) Ceremony for the OML58 Ubeta Field Development Project.

The Ubeta Project is projected to produce 350 million standard cubic feet per day (MMScf/d) of gas at its peak. This initiative is a testament to TotalEnergies’ commitment to Nigeria and plays a crucial role in ensuring a stable gas supply for Nigeria LNG.

Minister Ekpo emphasised the project’s alignment with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s strategic objectives and the Presidential Executive Orders of March 2024. These directives aim to transform Nigeria into a major gas hub, providing cleaner energy, creating jobs, and fostering economic growth.

The Decade of Gas Initiative has laid the groundwork for ambitious projects like Ubeta, focusing on leveraging Nigeria’s abundant gas resources to drive industrialisation, reduce environmental impact, and offer affordable energy to millions of Nigerians.

The Ubeta Field Development Project is a prime example of investments that bring technological advancements, foster local content, and generate sustainable economic benefits.

Minister Ekpo commended TotalEnergies for their continued partnership and investment in Nigeria, acknowledging their role in boosting gas production capabilities.

He said, “I want to take this opportunity to commend TotalEnergies for their continued partnership and investment in Nigeria. Your efforts not only boost our gas production capabilities but also contribute to our shared goals of energy security and economic prosperity.

“We value your commitment to employing innovative technologies and practices that ensure the efficiency and safety of your operations.”

He also highlighted the effectiveness of Nigeria’s policies in creating a conducive environment for investment in the gas sector, attributing the project’s fruition to supportive government policies and regulatory frameworks.

Looking ahead, Minister Ekpo urged for continued collaboration to harness Nigeria’s vast gas potential.

He stressed that the success of the Ubeta Project would be measured not only by gas production volumes but also by its positive impact on the economy, communities, and environment.

In conclusion, Minister Ekpo congratulated all contributors to the project, praising their dedication and hard work.

He called for ongoing cooperation to ensure the successful implementation and operation of the Ubeta Field Development Project, setting a benchmark for future projects in Nigeria’s gas sector.

The event concluded with a call for continued efforts to leverage Nigeria’s gas resources for the nation’s economic and environmental benefit.

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Federal High Court affirms Bayero’s deposition as Emir of Kano



…Upholds validity of Kano Emirate Repeal Law 2024

The ruling of the Federal High Court sitting in Kano presided over by Justice A.M. Liman today has brought to an end, the argument on the deposition of former Emir Aminu Ado Bayero as the court ruled that the new Kano Emirate Repeal Law 2024 remains valid.

According to the ruling, all five Emirates of Gaya, Rano, Karaye, Kano and Bichi remained abolished.

While delivering the ruling, Justice A.M. Liman held that the Kano Emirate Repeal Law 2024 remains the law and its validity is intact but actions taken after assenting the law when an order from the court was issued are voided.

Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf has assented to the new law and reinstated the 14th Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi as the 16th Emir of one united Kan at the same time (23rd May, 2024 by 5.10pm).

“Law is still the law, but actions carried out in the execution of the law are set aside.”

Justice Liman also granted a stay of proceeding and transferred the case to his learned brother of court three, Justice Amobeda. This bars all parties from taking any step to enforce the ruling till after determination of the appeal.

By this decision of the Federal High Court, the five former Emirs including that of Kano with 8 Local Government areas remained deposed and the defunct Emirates remained abolished.

It is therefore ascertained that the 16th Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II remains on throne and Aminu Ado Bayero remains deposed while the legal tussle continues.

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