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Parents of the Abducted Ekiti students still need N8m for the ransom.

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Parents of the abducted Ekiti students still need N8m for the ransom.

Parents of the abducted Ekiti students still need N8m for the ransom.

 

Parents and relatives of the kidnapped pupils and staff of Apostolic Faith Group of School, Emure-Ekiti, have appealed to Ekiti State Governments to come to their aid to rescue the victims.

The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, rained the fire of God on the assassins of Ekiti traditional rulers on Friday night.

The gunmen had on Monday ambushed a bus conveying the schoolchildren and staff of the school back to their homes at Eporo on the road and whisked nine of the occupants away, leaving the bus on the road.

The kidnappers were said to have reached out to the families of the abducted pupils and demanded a N100 million ransom for each of the nine people held captive in their den.

The abductors, however, on Thursday reduced the ransom to N15 million for all the abductees, with a threat to kill the victims if the money was not paid on time.

But the embattled parents expressed fears on Saturday, while receiving representatives of the Ekiti State government, over the threat by the kidnappers that if they failed to pay the ransom on time, they would kill their children.

Mr. Adebisi Jegede, whose wife and 12-year-old son are in the kidnappers’ den, said that the kidnappers had promised not to accept anything less than N15 million as ransom.

Jegede, who said that the parents could see the efforts of individuals and communities, said, “With help here and there, we have realized N7m. We begged the kidnappers to accept N7m, but they refused. We are still looking for a sum of N8 million for it to be completed so that we can rescue these people.

“Whenever the kidnappers contact us on the phone, they will be hitting the people with them so that we can hear their cries and feel their pains and take the money to them on time. We need help because the kidnappers told us that they would not release our people if the money was less than N15 million.

“We want the government to please remedy this situation for the safety of our children and wives.”

Mr. Oluwadare Oniya, father of the abducted nine-year-old girl, said,We plead with the government to help us today so that these people can rejoin us today. There is a problem. Let us focus first on how the children can be released; after that, the government knows what can be done to arrest the perpetrators.

“My child there is nine years old; with that age, you can imagine the situation she will be in because when we talk with the abducted persons, they tell us that the kidnappers don’t give them food or water. It is going to be a week now. We have tried, but our best appeared not up to what the kidnappers want”.

Also, Pastor Clement Adebisi, who was anxious over his wife, said, “We are appealing to the government to come to our aid so that we can rescue the kidnapped persons today (Saturday). We are getting worried about the condition of the children.

“We plead with the government to come to our aid. We have offered all that we could raise, but they said it was not enough and insisted on N15 million. That is why we want the government to come to our aid so that they can be released today,” he said.

‘I heard my son being beaten and crying when abductors called me’
Addressing the embattled parents and families, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Interest Groups, Princess Toyin Agbaje-Malomo, assured the parents that their loved ones would soon be rescued to rejoin them.

Agbaje-Malomo said, “You are not alone; we are together in it. The governor is assiduously working on it so that our people in captivity will be rescued to rejoin their families and loved ones.

“The governor is with you; he feels your pains. He has asked me to assure you that, based on ongoing efforts, all of them will be returned to you safely in no time. That is the assurance I am here to relay to you today,” she added.

Adeboye: Fire of God will consume those attacking traditional rulers

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Wigwe: Family releases burial rights, excludes RCCG City of David

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Wigwe: Family releases burial rights, excludes RCCG City of David

Wigwe: Family releases burial rights, excludes RCCG City of David

The City of David Parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Lagos will not play any official role in the funeral service of the late Herbert Wigwe, former Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of Access Holdings Plc.

Wigwe, who died on board a chopper in the US some weeks ago, was a member of the parish.

The late banker died alongside his wife, Chizoba; son, Chizi; and a former Group Chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc (NGX Group), Abimbola Ogunbanjo.

After his death, the wife of the parish pastor, Dr. Siju Iluyomade, held a lavish birthday that left tongues wagging.

Distinguished personalities rejoiced with the pastor’s wife at the party, which took place at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Some people expressed displeasure that Iluyomade held such a party weeks after the tragic deaths of a prominent member of the church.

According to the programme, a funeral for the Wigwes will commence with a tribute to Herbert Wigwe’s professional legacy at the Eko Hotel in Lagos on March 4.

Separate ceremonies to honor Chizi and Chizoba are scheduled for March 5 at the Eko Hotel in Lagos, followed by a night of tributes on March 6 at the same venue.

On March 7, a combined service of songs will take place at the RCCG, Resurrection Parish, Lekki, followed by a Christian wake-keeping at Wigwe University, Isiokpo, Ikwerre LGA, Rivers.

On March 9, the funeral and private interment service for the family will be held.

The final service will be an outing ceremony at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Lion of Judah Parish, Isiokpo, Ikwerre LGA, Rivers, on March 10.

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Uncovering the $26 Billion Cryptocurrency Mystery: Central Bank of Nigeria’s Stance on Binance

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Uncovering the $26 Billion Cryptocurrency Mystery: Central Bank of Nigeria's Stance on Binance

Uncovering the $26 Billion Cryptocurrency Mystery: Central Bank of Nigeria’s Stance on Binance

In a recent revelation that has sent shockwaves through the financial landscape of Nigeria, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Olayemi Cardoso, disclosed that an astonishing $26 billion had been funneled through Binance Nigeria by unidentified sources over the course of one year. This bombshell revelation sheds light on the shadowy world of cryptocurrency exchanges and raises serious concerns about illicit financial activities taking place within the country.

Binance, a popular online platform for trading cryptocurrencies, has come under scrutiny in multiple jurisdictions around the globe for its alleged violations of regulatory guidelines and its disruptive impact on traditional currency markets. Countries such as the UK, Japan, Canada, and Singapore have raised red flags over Binance’s operations, with the United States imposing a hefty $4.3 billion fine on the platform for breaching anti-money laundering and sanctions laws, prompting the resignation of its CEO, Changpeng Zhao.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Nigeria declared the operations of Binance Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Binance, as illegal in June 2023, adding fuel to the fire of regulatory concerns surrounding the cryptocurrency exchange.

During a press briefing following the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting at the CBN headquarters in Abuja, Cardoso emphasized the central bank’s commitment to implementing stringent regulations to fortify the economy, including cracking down on crypto exchanges like Binance. He underscored the collaborative efforts between the CBN and the SEC to prevent market manipulation and safeguard the integrity of the foreign exchange (FX) market.

Cardoso expressed apprehension over suspicious financial flows passing through entities like Binance, hinting at potential illicit activities that could jeopardize the stability of Nigeria’s financial ecosystem. The staggering figure of $26 billion moving through Binance from unidentifiable sources and users within Nigeria has raised alarm bells and prompted a coordinated investigation involving law enforcement agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the police, and the National Security Adviser’s office.

The governor reiterated the CBN’s unwavering resolve to combat financial infractions and prevent market distortions that could adversely impact Nigerian citizens. He affirmed the central bank’s determination to assert control over the financial markets and thwart any attempts at market manipulation that could undermine the country’s economic well-being.

As the investigation unfolds and more information surfaces, the collaborative efforts of regulatory bodies and law enforcement agencies are poised to shed light on the opaque practices within the cryptocurrency industry and ensure accountability for any wrongdoing. The CBN’s proactive stance signals a strong commitment to upholding financial integrity and safeguarding the interests of all Nigerians in the face of the evolving challenges posed by the digital economy.

In conclusion, the $26 billion cryptocurrency mystery surrounding Binance Nigeria serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for robust regulatory oversight and vigilance in the fast-paced world of digital finance. The CBN’s vigilance and determination to root out illicit financial activities underscore the critical importance of transparency, accountability, and regulatory compliance in safeguarding the stability and prosperity of Nigeria’s financial system.

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NCC reaffirms February 28 deadline for SIM-NIN linkage

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NCC reaffirms February 28 deadline for SIM-NIN linkage

NCC reaffirms February 28 deadline for SIM-NIN linkage

The deadline for blocking telephone lines without National Identity Numbers (NINs) remains February 28, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has affirmed.

This was disclosed by Reuben Mouka, director of public affairs at NCC, on Monday. This is a follow-up to its April 2022 directive, when the commission directed telcos to restrict outgoing calls on SIMs that have not submitted their NINs.

Reaffirming the NCC’s stance, Mouka said, “I am unaware of any extension and certain there won’t be. I don’t know what to say, but the fact is that there is no change in that deadline. The deadline, which is February 28, stands.”

Meanwhile, the Federal High Court in Lagos has restrained telecom operators from deactivating or barring any line or SIM not linked to their NINs.

According to Channels TV, Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa restrained the telcos while ruling on an application filed by a Lagos-based lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje.

In April 2022, Ogungbeje filed a suit against MTN when his SIMs were barred, and the court, at the time, dismissed his suit for lack of merit. He filed an appeal, which is currently pending at the court of appeal.

Ogungbeje had sued the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Attorney General of the Federation, the Minister of Justice, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc and Airtel Networks Nigeria Limited.

Ogungbeje has now asked the court for an injunction pending appeal, restraining all the respondents (the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Attorney General of the Federation, and the Minister of Justice; MTN Nigeria Communications Plc; and Airtel Networks Nigeria Limited) from further outright barring, deactivating, or restricting any SIM cards or phone lines on Feb. 28, 2024, or any other scheduled date, pending the hearing and determination of his appeal at the Court of Appeal of Nigeria.

Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa granted the lawyer’s request and restrained the telcos. The Justice also ruled that his order subsists until the hearing and determination of the appeal filed by the lawyer.

In a December 2023 notice, the NCC asked telcos to bar SIMs that have not submitted their NINs by February 28, 2024; bar those whose NINs have been submitted but not verified by March 29, 2024; and bar those who have less than five lines linked to an unverified NIN by April 15, 2024.

It was noted that all affected subscribers must be verified (biometrics and biodata) before their lines get unbarred. As these deadlines loom, telecom subscribers have asked the Federal Government for an extension, especially for the first one.

Adeolu Ogunbanjo, the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, disclosed to BusinessDay on Monday that a one-month extension will ensure more people can get their NINs and link their SIMs before the deadline.

“We want them to extend the deadline to March 31. There are still queues at NIMC centres. These centres are trying, but they can’t attend to everyone,” he said.

The NCC’s directive to restrict outgoing calls in April 2022 affected over 72.77 million active mobile subscriptions. About 125 million lines had been linked to a NIN at that time. Since then, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has not updated the number of SIMs linked to a NIN.

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