Npower News: Beneficiaries Ask EFCC to Probe Minister
Batch A & B of Npower beneficiaries have called on the anti-graft agencies to probe the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar Faruk.
The concerned beneficiaries stated that the minister needed to be accountable for the unpaid five months allowances of more than 14,000 N-Power members.
According to the petition signed by Comrade Bashir Usman Gobirp, the National Chairman of Association of Exited N-Power Beneficiaries of Nigeria, the minister was alleged to have mismanaged billions of Naira belonging to the affected beneficiaries.
Investors King understands that this is not the first time Npower beneficiaries will call for the probe of the minister. Last year, some Npower beneficiaries called for the sacking of the Minister after a popular musician, D’banj was accused to be involved in the diversion of billions of Naira meant for Npower beneficiaries.
Reading from a prepared speech on behalf of the group, Comrade Bashir Usman Gobirp listed the Unpaid five months’ arrears of allowances for 14,000 beneficiaries of batches A and B and Non-payment of exit package for the exited 500,000 beneficiaries for both batches as part of the allegations against the minister.
The group, therefore urged both the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Crimes (ICPC) to commence a holistic investigation into the matter which has caused hardship and even death to some members.
“I therefore, in line with your statutory mandate, urge the Commission to take appropriate legal measures against any person who may be found wanting in the mismanagement of the N-Power funds, which has caused 500,000 persons untold hardships, deprivations and even deaths,” the petition read.
It would be recalled that the Npower scheme was created in 2016 as part of the social intervention programmes of the Federal government to engage and train youth on economic skills. Beneficiaries are paid a stipend of 30,000 for the duration of their training or service. However, ever since the establishment of the scheme, issues of unpaid allowances have always characterized the programme, sometimes leading to protests.
Nigerians to Enjoy France Scholarship Grants For Masters Degree Without Proficiency in French
The Embassy of France in Nigeria has announced the launch of a new scholarship programme to bag a Masters degree in Computer science and related fields.
The scholarship opportunity is meant for Nigerians willing to study in a university in France for its 2023/2024 academic session, Investors King reports.
Proficiency in French language is not required to qualify for the scholarship grants.
According to the French Embassy’s public notice, the five grants will be awarded to qualified graduates to further their studies in courses related to Computer science.
The application is currently open and the deadline for the submission of application is April 16th, 2023.
The approved fields of study as specified on the application portal are: Computer Science, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Computer Interaction and Optics, Image, Vision & Multimedia.
The French Embassy gave the eligibility requirements as follows:
- Have Nigerian nationality and reside in Nigeria
- Be up to 35 years old
- Hold a Bachelor’s degree or Higher National Diploma in science/engineering/technology
- Have completed National Service
- Be fully committed to take up a course of study in France for the academic year from September/October 2023/2024
- French proficiency is not a requirement for application
The following are the required documents:
- Copy of your international passport data page (valid for a minimum of two (2) years)
- Detailed CV
- Personal statement
- Bachelor’s diploma or equivalent
- Undergraduate transcript
- Recommendation letter from your university (not mandatory but strongly recommended)
The scholarship programme is funded by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, in partnership with the French Ministry for Higher Education and Research, while the implementation is carried out by the French Embassy and Campus France Nigeria.
Here is the link to Campus France Nigeria’s website for the application process–
IATA Urges Quick Intervention as Foreign Airlines Trapped Funds Rises to $743m
The International Air Transport Association, IATA has decried the continuous and drastic increase in the trapped funds of international airlines operating in Nigeria.
Investors King reports that in January 2023, the data had grown to $743,721,097 which is a 12.4 percent increment from the $662 million recorded in the corresponding period last year.
This was contained in a letter signed by the Area Manager of West and Central Africa, Dr. Samson Fatokun, on Tuesday which was addressed to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika.
In the letter, the association appealed to the Minister to urgently intervene and resolve the recurring matter of airlines’ blocked funds in the country.
Dr. Fatokun lamented that Nigeria has been marked as the country with the highest airline-blocked funds in the world amongst other countries for more than a year now.
According to him, foreign airlines trapped funds in the nation were $662m and $549m in January 2022 and December 2022 respectively but suddenly rose to $743m.
Enumerating the effects of the situation on the nation’s economy, Fatokun noted that foreign direct investment will be affected due to the massive backlog of funds.
He explained that the overlapping trapped funds contradict the Bilateral Air Service Agreement which should be looked into.
On arresting the unpleasant situation, Fatokun disclosed that the airlines have taken some actions like cutting down the number of seats put out for sale in the market in order to reduce the number of passengers and cargoes’ access to the country.
“Going by the law of demand and supply, the reduction of airline inventories in the Nigerian market will lead to the ticket fare increase, which will further burden average Nigerians,” he said.
However, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika held a meeting with the IATA team, foreign airlines and travel agents on Tuesday to address the matter.
He promised the international airlines of prompt action as the issue will be tabled before the presidency and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN for a solution.
Losses Incurred by Americans to Various Online Scams in 2022, Estimated at $10.3 Billion
The most reported scams were phishing expeditions and large-scale spam operations aimed at getting unsuspecting individuals’ passwords to their online banking apps, PayPal accounts, and the likes.
A report issued by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) revealed that losses incurred by Americans to various online scams stood at an estimated $10.3 billion in 2022.
This represents an increase of $4.4bn increase when compared to the $5.9 billion reported in 2021.
According to the internet crimes 2022 report, IC3 received an average of 2,175 complaints daily and 651,800 plus average daily complaints from 2016 to 2021. Reports disclosed that the IC3 has recorded more than 7.3 million complaints since its inception in 2000.
The most reported scams were phishing expeditions and large-scale spam operations aimed at getting unsuspecting individuals’ passwords to their online banking apps, PayPal accounts, and the like.
This accounted for 300,497 victims’ complaints that resulted in over $52 million in losses while data breaches and non-payment scams were the next most common interest scale in 2022, responsible for 58,859 and 51,679 complaints, respectively.
Call center scams, which were reported to primarily emanate from India, saw over $1 billion lost by victims. Call Centers mainly targeted the elderly, almost half of the victims report to be over 60 (46%) and experience 69% of the losses of over $724 million.
Also, Ransomware, a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid, saw several Americans impacted, which the FBI disclosed to have received 2,385 complaints with incurred losses of more than $34.3 million.
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) disclosed that it has seen an increase in an additional extortion tactic used to facilitate ransomware. The threat actors pressure victims to pay by threatening to publish the stolen data if they do not pay the ransom.
By far, the most heavily targeted industry by ransomware attacks was the healthcare industry, followed by critical manufacturing and government. The FBI, therefore, warned individuals to desist from paying a ransom to scammers, as paying them may embolden adversaries to target additional organizations, and encourage other criminal actors to engage in the distribution of ransomware.
Talking about states in the U.S., California recorded the highest number of individuals who fell prey to internet scams. Next was Florida where 42,792 people lost more than a million, and Texas which comes third on the list where over 38,000 people lost $763 million. Arizona recorded the least amount of people who lost money to online scams with only $241 million recorded.
In the 2022 online scams report, victims under the age of 20 collectively lost $210 million, while the most money lost by victims over the age of 60 was $3.1 million. Reports disclosed that the FBI had a 73% success rate in retrieving stolen funds back to victims, Investors King understands.
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