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NIGERIA

Ekiti screens 2,593 Amotekun applicants

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The Corps Commander, Ekiti State Security Network Agency (Amotekun Corps), Brig. Gen. Joe Komolafe (retd.), said on Thursday that the agency’s governing board had completed screening for 2,593 applicants.

Komolafe said the shortlisting exercise for the successful ones among them would “be transparent, non-partisan and merit-based to ensure that only people of unquestionable character and integrity are recruited”.

The corps commander, who spoke in Ado Ekiti on completion of the screening, said the governing board would meet next week to deliberate on the report.

Komolafe said the merit-based appointment would help the security outfit achieve its goals and objectives targeted at keeping armed robbery, kidnapping, killing, and other crimes in the state at bay.

He said, “All successful applicants will be invited for medical tests and training before they will be deployed in their respective domains for the smooth take-off of Amotekun operations in the state.

“The screening was tedious because we know its importance. We can’t afford to engage those that are not capable for the job.

“We will meet at the governing board level next week to deliberate on the reports submitted by the screening committee and without further delay invite those that meet our criteria from the 2,593 screened for medical examination and training before deployment.”

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NIGERIA

MACARTHUR FOUNDATION RAISES A STRONG VOICE FOR WHISTLEBLOWERS PROTECTION

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•As Stakeholders call for Urgent Legislative Action  

A major stakeholder in the fight against corruption in Nigeria, the MacArthur Foundation says Nigeria must now move beyond policy to legislation to institutionalize and protect whistleblowers in the country.
Speaking at a Radio Town Hall Meeting in Abuja, the African Director of Macarthur Foundation, Dr Kole Shettima said that the next step for Nigeria is going beyond the whistle blower policy.
His said “The next step is to have a law that will support the whistle blower. Although this has been an issue in the National Assembly for sometimes now.”
Shettima assured that MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with civil society organizations in Nigeria is working hard to ensure more public education on the issue and a law to protect whistleblowers  passed by the legislature.

Stakeholders have attributed the growing persecution of whistle blowers to the Federal Government’s lack of political will to create strong institutions and legislation for a whistle blower policy.

Participants during a radio town hall meeting against corruption with the theme “Whistleblowers and The Challenge of Absence of Legal Protection: Cases of Dismissal of Whistleblowers”, held Friday by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development (PRIMORG) in Abuja.

The town hall meeting is coming at a time of growing cases of victimization of some Nigerians who exposed corruption in their places of work.

A case in point was one Fidelia Onoghaife who was sacked by the Netherlands Embassy in Abuja for exposing the OPL 245 fraud.

Ameh Joseph,  another victim of whistle blowing who spoke from Delta State on phone during the meeting shared his touching ordeal at the Federal College of Education (Technical), Asaba, Delta State after exposing corrupt activities.

“I speak in great dismay of the ordeal of corruption in our great country. I saw corruption that has been institutionalized with impunity and carried out in routine, a multibillion naira one conferring monstrous financial, unmerited favours to the numerous participants.

“Although I was faced with the alternative of being part of the corruption against this country, I was treated as an enemy and outcast for 10 years.

“The plot to dismiss me as the obstacle to the success of their evil activities was now actualized by the termination of my service May 13, 2020, to permanently silent my voice.”

Ameh Joseph added that his “challenges are the fears impacted on my children when I was trailed by a tinted car, the cost of maintaining two homes and most traumatizing is the kids missing fatherly supervision, love and care from me”.

Reacting earlier on the lack of legislation for whistle blowing, a Senior Team Manager, Open Society Justice Initiative, Prof Chidi Odinkalu said the public service is configured in such a way that whistle blowing is discouraged, stressing that the system made it known towto blowers that they have no hiding place.

“The underlying attitude and configuration about public service space is quite fundamentally opposed to transparency, whistle blowing to any effort to ensure accountability. Our accountability system in the court is not configured to accommodate that either so how do we create an incentive system that accommodates whistle blowers to get some protection,” Odinkalu queried.

According to Godwin Onyeacholem, Senior Program Officer, African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (Africmil), the whistle blower policy remains a policy with no legal backing yet within the policy there is provision for protection.

His said “The problem we have is that of enforcement, government is not complying with provision of protection, there is a provision for protection of the whistle blowers within their own policy which was made in December 2016, but they don’t comply with that.

“There is no way you can encourage whistle blowers if you don’t protect them. There is no guarantee for zero reprisal. If you want to blow the whistle, make up your mind that there would be a retaliation or retribution.”

Onyeacholem faulted the government on the persecution of the whistleblowers. “Government all over are making legislation to ensure that organizations are putting whistleblowers procedures all over but we don’t see that happening here.

“It’s not about the whistleblower, it’s about the willingness within the state itself to ensure that this happens,” Onyeacholem stated.

At the end of the meeting, stakeholders recommended “that Nigeria needs to create its own mechanism of protection by establishing whistle blower fund which could be administered by concession of interested action; Civil society organization must continue campaign for legislation of whistle blower policy; In the absence of the enactment of comprehensive whistle blower law, the executive and legislative arm of the government should be held responsible using the media; and there should be mechanism to support the victims of whistle blowing and victims should be compensated.

Other participants during the town hall meeting were Suraju Olanrewaju, Chairman, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (Heda Resources Centre); and Tunde Salman, Convener, Good Governance Team.

PRIMORG’s Radio Town Hall Meeting Against corruption series is supported by MacArthur Foundation.

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NIGERIA

Soldier shoots man for not wearing a face mask

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A soldier allegedly shot a 27-year-old man in South Africa during an argument over why he was not wearing a face mask in line with Covid-19 regulations.

Police spokesperson Brig Motlafela Mojapelo, who confirmed the report on Friday, said the incident happened at a shopping complex in Mogwadi, Limpopo, on Thursday, September 17.

“Members of the national defense force were reportedly on duty monitoring Covid-19 compliance in the area when they approached a group of people who were not wearing face masks,” Mojapelo said on Friday.

“When asked why they were not wearing masks, an argument allegedly ensued and one of the soldiers shot the victim. The injured 27-year-old man was rushed to the hospital.

“The soldier, aged 29, was arrested and charged with attempted murder,” said Mojapelo. The soldier is due to appear in the Morebeng magistrate’s court on Friday.

 

Soldier shoots man for not wearing a face maskSoldier shoots man for not wearing a face maskSoldier shoots man for not wearing a face maskSoldier shoots man for not wearing a face mask

 

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NIGERIA

FG apologises for asking all bank, other account holders to re-register

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The Federal Government has apologized for asking all account holders in the country’s financial institutions to register their details again.

It was reported already that the FG earlier asked all account holders in banks, including insurance companies, to fill and submit a Self-Confirmation form.

The order was given despite the possession of the Bank Verification Number and the National Identification Number by account holders on Thursday.

Failure to do so, the Nigerian government threatened to block access to defaulters’ accounts or impose a monetary penalty.

The order to fill another Self-Confirmation form, despite the existing BVN and NIN, had attracted condemnations on social media.

However, in a tweet on Friday, the government apologized for misinformation.

It tweeted, “We apologize for the misleading tweets (now deleted) that went up yesterday, regarding the completion of self-certification forms by Reportable Persons. The message contained in the @firsNigeria Notice does not apply to everybody. FIRS will issue appropriate clarification shortly.”

In a press statement, the Federal Inland Revenue Service explained that only “reportable persons” are expected to submit the form.

The statement read, “This is to clarify the publication for financial institutions account holders in Nigeria to complete the self-certification form, pursuant to the Income Tax (Common Reporting Standard) Regulations 2019 which is for the fulfillment of Automatic Exchange of Information Requirements.

“The Self Certification form is basically to be administered on Reportable persons holding accounts in Financial institutions that are regarded as “Reportable Financial Institutions” under the CRS.

“Reportable persons are often non-residents. And other persons who have a residence for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction or Country.

“Financial Institutions are expected to administer the Self Certification form on such account holders when the information at its disposal indicates that the Account holder is a person resident for tax purpose in more than one jurisdiction.

“The information that indicates an account holder is a resident for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction, is expected to be available to Financial Institutions during the account opening processes for the KYC and AML purpose.”

Earlier, the Nigerian government said all persons holding accounts in different financial institutions are required to complete and submit the form to each one of their institutions.

It had tweeted, “This is to notify the general public that all account holders in Financial Institutions (Banks, Insurance Companies, etc) are required to obtain, complete, and submit Self – Certification Forms to their respective Financial Institutions.

“Failure to comply with the requirement to administer or execute this form attracts sanctions which may include monetary penalty or inability to operate the account.”

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