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Forces against FG’s NIN policy behind attacks against me – Pantami

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Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has blamed forces against the Federal Government’s policy of compulsory National Identity Number (NIN) registration for all Nigerians and those residing in the country as behind the attacks against him.

Pantami in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES dismissed all the allegations against him, describing them as ‘untrue’.

He further denied links to extremist views, saying criminals and other ‘entrenched interests’ are behind the attacks on him.

He said, “I have no doubt about this. It has to do with the National Identification Number. Do you know one thing? This policy was started in 2011, it was not successful. Why? It was fought.

“In 2015, it came up, it was not successful. In 2018 there was a time that there were meetings between government and mobile network operators.

“And it was actually announced that by the agreement with government, the deadline was January 2018. It is there online, I will share it with you if you like. By January 2018, it was not implemented, because there are forces against it. There are forces!”

Pantami explained that the National Identification Number registration is not only meant for Nigerians and that it could be obtained by anybody in Nigeria.

He also said, “Now they have started coming with the news that people are coming from neighbouring countries to register. What they fail to understand is that the National Identification Number is not only for Nigerians; anybody in Nigeria can obtain it.

“Section 16 and 17 of the Act mention the registrable people in the country – citizens, legal residents, legal permanent residents, and legal residents for a minimum of two years. So, it is not only for citizens. And it is also important to know that this is not just an indication that they are citizens of Nigeria.

“It is rather an indication that you presented your biometric data, so the government has control over your data.

“And that data of NIMC (National Identity Management Commission), nobody has access to it in any way he likes. Getting access to it illegally is 10 years in prison. It is there in the law. But people will like to discredit it, because they don’t like it.

“As long as it is implemented by the government, it will go a long way in reducing crime and based on the statistics we have been seeing now, it’s really encouraging.

“As government, our priority is the protection of the lives and property of our citizens. Security is our priority as a government – whether in agric, digital economy, education or in health, in whatever. President Muhammadu Buahari is so passionate about security, and he directed me to do that because he knows I try to persevere despite challenges and do what is right in the interest of our citizens and humanity.”

 

“You know as a government appointee, and at this level, if you say you are going to be intimidated by everything, then you cannot do the work. You cannot do the work. I was with the Minister of Foreign Affairs this week, on April 12. I was with the minister. I was with the ambassadors of the UK, the US, South Korea, and many other countries.

“Even this issue that we are talking about, based on our findings, preliminary investigation, many people are not happy with what we have been doing – linking National Identification Number with SIM. Because a situation will come that all the people using SIM to commit crime will not be able to do that.

“If they do that, the government will be able to intercept them easily. This is what they don’t want to happen.”

 

And this is a mandate given to me by President Muhammadu Buhari. He personally signed the letter that ‘you are mandated to do that’.

“As his appointee, I should either do it or say I cannot. So, since I am willing to serve my country, I must continue to do it to the best of my ability.

“So, in my meeting with them, they even encouraged me to push it and make it very successful.”

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Inflow of foreign capital drops by 54% to $875.62m

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The total value of capital importation into Nigeria dropped to $875.62 million in the second quarter (Q2) of 2021, the National Bureau of Statistics has said.
According to the NBS, the figure represents a 54.06 per cent drop compared to the $1.91 billion in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021.

It stated this in its latest report titled, ‘Nigerian capital importation (Q1 & Q2 2021)’.
In 2020, Nigeria’s capital importation plunged by 59.65 per cent at $9.68 billion – the lowest level in four years.

“The largest amount of capital importation by type was received through portfolio investment, which accounted for 62.97% ($551.37m) of total capital importation,” the report stated.
“It is followed by other investments, which accounted for 28.13% ($246.27m) of total capital imported and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), which accounted for 8.90% ($77.97m) of total capital imported in Q2 2021.”
Capital importation into the banking industry dominated in Q2 reaching a total of $296.51 million, followed by financing with $205.88 million and shares with $194.59 million.
In both Q1 and Q2, brewing, fishing, hotels, tanning and weaving sectors had no record of capital imports, the report added.
Similarly, only Lagos, Ogun and the federal capital territory (FCT) recorded capital inflows across Nigeria in Q2.
Lagos emerged as the top destination of capital investment in the second quarter with $780.06 million, Abuja had $95.26 million, while Ogun had $0.3 million.
By banks, foreign firms emerged as the top capital investment in Nigeria in Q2. Stanbic IBTC recorded $310.21 million, Standard Chartered was second with $282.37 million, then Citibank ($94.15 million).
The report also stated that “the United Kingdom emerged as the top source of capital investment in Nigeria in Q2 2021 with $310.26m.”

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Nigerians experience another nationwide blackout as grid collapses

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Most parts of Nigeria experienced total blackout on Wednesday after a national grid collapse, which electricity distribution companies confirmed in separate notices to their customers.
In a public notice sent out to consumers, the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company said the collapse occurred at 12.26pm but did not say how long it would last.
The notice read, “Dear Esteemed Customers,
Following a grid system outage that occurred at about 12:26 pm today, we have been unable to service our customers in Niger, Kogi and Nasarawa State as well as a significant part of the Federal Capital Territory.
“At the moment, only 20MW has been allocated to AEDC as against the over 400MW that they have been receiving in recent times.
“We urge our customers to be patient and promise that the power supply will be restored to our franchise area as soon as there is a significant improvement in our
allocation.”
In a similar notice, Eko Disco said, “Dear valued customer, we regret to inform you of a system collapse on the National Grid that’s causing outages across our network.
“We are working with our TCN partners to restore supply as soon as possible. Please bear with us.”
Ikeja Electric also sent out a message that read in part, “The current power outage is due to a nationwide system collapse that occurred at about 12:26hrs.
“Power supply will be restored gradually to various parts of the network as soon as the grid is stabilised. Kindly bear with us.”

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Niger driver kills three students, injures eight in Suleja

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Three SS1 students of the Government Secondary School Field Base Suleja, Niger State, have been killed by a vehicle that rammed into them on their way from school.
The students were trekking home on the Suleja-Kaduna road on Monday afternoon when the incident occurred.
Three of the students were killed on the spot while eight others sustained injury.
Names of the students that died were given as Abdulhafeez Musa, Kawiyat Sharafadeen and Sunday Paul.
The driver was also said to have been injured and was receiving treatment under police watch in Suleja.
Niger State Commissioner for Education, Hajiya Hannatu Salihu, described the incident as painful and tragic.
She said the students were returning from school to their parents when they met with their death in a preventable accident.
To prevent future occurrences, the commissioner stated the state government would construct speed breakers (bumps) on the roads to schools across the state.

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