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Nigeria Faces Fourth Coronavirus Wave

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As COVID cases continue to rise across the globe, Nigeria has now officially entered the fourth wave of the fast-spreading virus. Countries in Europe have been recently fighting huge rises in the number of coronavirus cases, especially the new Omicron variant of the virus.

The fourth wave of the virus in Nigeria was confirmed after it was revealed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control that the country has seen a 500 percent increase in cases within the past two weeks alone. This discovery has led to a warning addressed to Nigerians to exercise great caution during this festive season, as families and friends gather to celebrate together.

Even though the Omicron variant is taking most of the headlines in recent days, it is not the only variant of the virus still rampaging the world. The Delta variant – predecessor to the Omicron variant – is still active in most countries, even co-habiting with the Omicron variant.

Although both variants are existing at the same time, World Health Organisation officials are predicting that the Omicron variant will overtake the Delta variant as the dominant variant of the coronavirus by February 2022.

According to the Director-General of the NCDC, Nigeria is among those countries currently battling both variants at the same time. As at December 19th 2021, a total of 223,887 cases have been confirmed in the country. Nigeria has also recorded 2,985 deaths directly from all the confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

In the wake of this, the Federal Government of Nigeria is now intensifying its efforts to communicate the risks of the virus and also placing continuous emphasis on the prevention measures.

As it stands, the country is not considering a lockdown as we approach the festive period, unlike some countries like the Netherlands who have introduced new lockdowns going into the festive period.

The NCDC has urged all Nigerians going for outdoor events to ensure physical distancing and to use their face masks. Vaccinations are also highly encouraged.

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Fresh N6bn Fraud: Popular Instagram Influencer Mompha Arraigned Again

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Popular social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha, popularly known as Mompha is currently in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, pending the hearing of his bail application in the N6 billion fraud charge filed against him.

The agency re-arraigned Mompha and his firm, Ismalob Global Investment Limited before Justice Mojisola Dada of an Ikeja Special Offences Court on eight counts bordering on the alleged offences.

The EFCC made this disclosure at Lagos Special Offences Court in Ikeja, on Wednesday.

The defendants were accused of conspiracy to launder funds obtained through unlawful activity, retention of such funds, transfer of funds for a suspect Olayinka Jimoh a.k.a Nappy Boy, and unlawful transfer of funds for a record label, among others.

The sums named in the charge are N5.9 billion, N32m, N120m and N15.9 totalling over 6 billion. The agency alleged that Mompha hid his wealth in wristwatches and other movable assets valued at over N70m.

However, the Instagram celebrity pleaded ‘Not guilty’ to the eight counts while Islamob Limited (represented also by Mompha) pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the first six counts.

Earlier on Monday, the anti-graft agency had arrested the internet celebrity and his firm, Ismalob Global Investment Limited for alleged money laundering. The agency, in a statement, had revealed that a fraudulent transfer slip of $92, 412, 75 was found in his iPhone 8 device.

“It will be recalled that Mompha had earlier been arrested on October 18, 2019 at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport while boarding an Emirates Airline Flight to Dubai by the staff of the Nigeria Immigration Service, following a watch list by the EFCC.

“Mompha is alleged to have used his registered companies to receive illicit funds on behalf of “yahoo yahoo” boys from across the world in return for commission.

“The account of one of his companies, Ismalob Global Investment Limited Bank, a Bureau de Change Company, domiciled in Zenith Bank Plc, was allegedly used to launder funds derived from unlawful activities”, the statement had read.

Meanwhile, this is not the first time the anti-graft agency would arraign Mompha.

Recall that sometime in 2019, Investors king had reported that Mompha was arraigned on 14 counts bordering on fraud, money laundering and running a foreign exchange business without the authorisation of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The EFCC, in the charges against Mompha, said the suspect used his company’s bank account with the name Ismalob Global Investment to facilitate a combined N33 billion transfer between 2015 and 2018.

There are however reports that this fresh arrest is unconnected to the existing charges in court.

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NPower Gives Reasons For Delayed Payments, Warns Public Against Fake Cash Investment Scheme

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Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq has disclosed the reasons behind the delay in payment of October stipends to N-power beneficiaries.

According to the Minister, the payment was delayed to the Npower beneficiaries in order to sort out challenges which have resulted in some Npower beneficiaries Bank Accounts not being credited.

She added that the delay is also caused by instability in the network.

“In our quest to ensure Beneficiaries are paid at once, we adopted Bulk payment approach which was PARTIALLY SUCCESSFUL resulting to some accounts getting credited and some not, due to network instability.

“As a result, October payments were paused to get the challenge sorted out. Payment for the said month to all concerned shall RECOMMENCE at the shortest possible time. Please bear with us”, she stated.

She also restated her ministry’s resolve to clear the outstanding Stipends of October, November, and December owed to the 510,000 Stream 1 beneficiaries of the Batch C Npower Programme.

“We sincerely appreciate your patience throughout the moment payment has been processing. Be rest assured all outstanding will be cleared as November and December payment will soon commence”, she assured.

Furthermore, the minister warned N-Power beneficiaries not to participate in any unverified investment scheme.

She noted, in a statement, that the ministry is aware of the current fraudulent investment scheme trending on social media and therefore, urged N-power beneficiaries not to fall victim.

According to her, the ministry does not run an investment scheme and hence, the public should disregard such programme.

“The attention of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq has been drawn to a fraudulent Cash Wealth Investment Programme asking the public to pay certain amounts of cash and get bumper Returns on Investment.

“This is to inform the public that the Ministry does not run such fraudulent programs and should be disregarded.

“The public is advised to always verify similar post from official channels. The public should please take note”, the statement reads.

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Binance Deepens Crypto Adoption in Africa, Sponsors 2021 Africa Cup of Nations

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Binance the largest cryptocurrency exchange platform has further deepened its nest into the African community by becoming an official sponsor of the continent’s biggest football competition, the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Binance made this announcement on the company’s official website on Monday. This sponsorship deal makes Binance the exclusive cryptocurrency and blockchain platform for the 2021 AFCON tournament.

The company said, “this sponsorship deal will make Binance the exclusive cryptocurrency and blockchain platform for the AFCON 2021 tournaments as we take our global brand and technology to African football.”

The TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations tournament starts the sports calendar of the year for Africa. The 2021 AFCON tournament commenced on the 9th of January to end 6th of February 2022. The host country, Cameroon led the first match of the game and also won against their counterpart Burkina Faso at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon.

Speaking on Binance sponsorship, Veron Mosengo-Omba, CAF’s General Secretary said, “I am delighted to welcome Binance as an official sponsor of the AFCON tournament this year. Through this partnership with CAF, Binance will connect further with its users and the African community through football. CAF is ready to embrace blockchain-based technology and its impact on the future of African football development. I am certain that together with Binance, we can take African football to a new level.”

Emmanuel Babalola, Binance Director for Africa said; “Football is the most popular sport in Africa, one that unites the entire continent and as the leading blockchain ecosystem, we are proud to be an official sponsor of the AFCON tournament. This corroborates our mission to take crypto mainstream across the continent.”

Binance explained that its mission as a company is to drive blockchain adoption and enable greater access to financial services for the world’s unbanked”. The company also affirmed that it has provided free crypto education classes to over 541,000 Africans since 2020.

Yi He, co-founder, and CMO of Binance said; “With a population of 1.2 billion Africans and the prevalence of blockchain technology & its use cases, we believe the African continent could lead the future of the blockchain industry. We will continue to put in our efforts in pushing the mainstream adoption of crypto so that more people can understand crypto, and understand Binance.”

Binance announced that the company “will also be the official partner of the Assist of the Day / Binance Assist of the Week / Binance Assist of the Tournament, which will be promoted across CAF’s social media channels and across all six venues in five cities in Cameroon.”

Last week, the fintech Unicorn Flutterwave announced its partnership with Afrospot TV to sponsor AFCON 2021 on Free-to-air TVs across Africa, to ensure that millions of Africans have unrestricted access to watch the tournament.

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