Culled from SaharaReporters, New York Oct 01, 2018
The following day a letter from Adenuga Adijat on behalf of the Registrar, addressed to the CP and titled ‘Re: Authentication of Certificate: Lawal Mohammed Idris’, disowned the said certificated. “Your request on above refers,” Adijat wrote. “Please be informed that Lawal Mohammed Idris was not a registered student of the college and the attached certificate which was said to have been issued to him did not emanate from Yaba college of Technology. Kindly discountenance his claim. Thank you.”
When Lawal Idris, the lawmaker representing Ajaokuta Federal Constituency of Kogi State, goes to the All Progressives Congress (APC) House of representatives primary as he formally begins his quest for another stint at the lower chamber, it will be with a forged certificate from Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech).
That certificate was already investigated by the Police and dismissed by the institution itself.
In early 2017, the Commissioner of Police, General Investigation Section, Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department of the Police at Alagbaon, Lagos, had received a complaint of forgery of institutional certificate/documents, attempted murder and threat to life against Idris. Acting on this, it wrote the Registrar of Yabatech for advice.
A letter on behalf of the Commissioner of Police by Abutu Yaro, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, to the Yabatech Registrar, exclusively obtained by SaharaReporters, read: “This Office is investigating the above mentioned case reported through petition by Mr. Aloysius .A. Okino.
“You are kindly requested to furnish this office with the following:
“I. Confirm if Lawal Mohammed Idris was actually a registered student of your institution and his Matriculation No. before being awarded a National Diploma Certificate in Business Administration with Lower Credit on the 26th day of June 1987.
“II. Confirm the authenticity /genuinety or otherwise of the attached certificate awarded and duly signed on 20th of October 1990 to the aforementioned candidate, and
“III. Any other relevant information that could enhance our investigation in this case.
“Your prompt response will be appreciated, please.”
Attached to that letter was a document purportedly from Yabatech, which read: “This is to certify that Lawal Muhammed Idris, having passed the prescribed examinations, has on the 26th day of June 1987 been awarded the National Diploma In Business Administration Lower Credit.”
The certificate was supposedly signed by the registrar and the Rector. It was dated October 20, 1990.
On April 10, 2017, the Police followed that up with an invitation the Yaba Tech Registrar. This second letter, also written by Yaro, read: “This office is investigating the above mentioned case reported through petition by Mr. Aloysius .A. Okino, in which your office features prominently.
“In view of this, you are therefore requested to report for an interview with the Commissioner of Police, General Investigation Section, Force Criminal Investigation Department Annex, Alagbon Close Ikoyi, Lagos on Wednesday 12th April, 2017 at 1000hrs in connection with a case under investigation.
“You are to report to the Officer-in –Charge ‘LEGAL. SEC GI’ who will take you before the Commissioner of Police.
“This request is compelled by urgent law enforcement requirement and you are kindly further requested to treat with utmost urgency.
“Accept the esteemed regards of the commissioner of police please.”
The following day a letter from Adenuga Adijat on behalf of the Registrar, addressed to the CP and titled ‘Re: Authentication of Certificate: Lawal Mohammed Idris’, disowned the said certificated.
“Your request on above refers,” Adijat wrote.
“Please be informed that Lawal Mohammed Idris was not a registered student of the college and the attached certificate which was said to have been issued to him did not emanate from Yaba college of Technology.
“Kindly discountenance his claim. Thank you.”
Arrest And Dismissal of The Accomplice
Yabatech then embarked on its own internal investigations, and fished out its member of staff who helped Idris forge the certificate.
In September 2017, Charles Oni, its Director of Public Relations and Media, disclosed the name of the dismissed staff member as Seun Adekoya.
He said Adekoya, a registry staff member who was involved in sale of certificate to the serving federal lawmaker, was arrested by the State Crime Investigation Division (SCID) and detained but later granted bail.
When operatives of the SCID searched Adekoya’s house, blank Yabatech certificates, statement of results, stamp pad and other college items were found.
After his release on bail, Adekoya, who was queried by Yabatech management and later dismissed from the institution, also jumped bail.
“After he was released on bail, he resigned his appointment but the college rejected it and dismissed him,” Oni had said back then.
“If he is on bail, the Police should look for him. We don’t know anything about his whereabouts. When his house was searched, all manner of college materials were found.”
In his statements to the Police, Adekoya, 35, confessed to forging a 1987 National Diploma certificate for Idris.
He stated that he got to know Idris through a friend called Kunle Owoseni in September 2015; and that after Kunle had introduced Idris to him in the school premises as his direct boss, Idris later approached him in confidence that he presented fake 1987 National Diploma Certificate of Yaba College of Technology to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) when he was to contest for a seat in the House of Representatives in 2015, and that he needed a perfection of the forged certificate.
He stated further that having collected photocopy of the fake result, he did a fake perfection for him in consideration for payment of N10million, which he shared with Kunle Owoseni and some other staff of the college.
He also confessed it wasn’t his first time faking results of Yabatech for interested persons and politicians during the period when he worked with Ologunore Jasper Abiodun and Peter Oyebanji of Exams & Academic Record in Year 2016.
He said since he had direct access to the Department of Exam and Records, which made it easier for him to be in possession of original school results, he always advised his candidates to originate letter of confirmation of such fake results from their respective offices, which he normally intercepted and treated personally by replying such organisations that the fake results were genuine.
He revealed that he had done fake results for notable Nigerians, such as Wilson Sandra, attached to Edo State Government in the Department of Internal Revenue, Ejoubo Petera, Abayomi Ojo Ajayi, Flora Bassey Oke, Deru Olayinka Folashade and Olubunmi Olufunke, attached to the Department of State Security (DSS) in Ikeja, Lagos.
He added that he usually compensated the office of the registrar through his boss, Jasper Abiodun. He listed some of those he had settled as Mrs. Adewale Iziogba, Ogunore Jasper Abiodun, Aluko Olugbenga , Arejiogbe Bayo, Funke Madamidola, Mrs Helen Ibitayo, Olagunju Nasiru and Amapakabo Charity.
With the aid of the forged certificate, Idris passed INEC’s screening and earned a seat at the House of Representatives, and even went on to chair the House Committee on Steel.
He is currently seeking a second term in office on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Watch out for follow-up of in-depth investigations in our subsequent editions.
Pegasus Spyware Used to Target Journalists, Civil Society – CPJ
In a report published on September 18, Citizen Lab said it had detected Pegasus, a spyware created for mobile devices, in over 45 countries. Pegasus, which transforms a cellphone into a mobile surveillance station, could have been deployed against a range of journalists and civil society actors in Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Morocco, Togo, Israel, the U.S., and the United Arab Emirates, the report found.
Researchers have previously identified a number of major Pegasus campaigns, including one against investigative journalists in Mexico, and another against human rights workers in Saudi Arabia. The spyware’s presence in 45 countries raises significant implications for journalists, both in terms of their own security as well as the safety of their sources.
The spyware gives the attacker the ability to monitor, record, and collect existing and future data from the phone. This includes calls and information from messaging applications and real-time location data. The spyware is able to remotely activate the camera and microphone to surveil the target and their surroundings.
Pegasus is designed to be installed on phones running Android, BlackBerry OS, and iOS without alerting the target to its presence. Journalists will likely only know if their phone has been infected if the device is inspected by a tech expert.
Pegasus can be installed in a number of ways. Journalists should be aware of these methods and take appropriate steps to protect them and their sources.
Attackers create tailor-made messages that are sent to a specific journalist. These messages convey a sense of urgency and contain a link or a document which the journalist is encouraged to click on. The messages come in a variety of forms, including SMS, email, through messaging apps such as WhatsApp or via messages on social media platforms. Once the journalist has clicked on the link, then the spyware is installed on their phone.
Research by Citizen Lab and Amnesty International found that messages tend to take the following forms: Messages purporting to be from a known organization such as an embassy or a local news organization.
Messages that warn the target may be facing an immediate security threat. Messages that raise any work-related issue, such as covering an event that the target usually reports on.
Messages that make appeals to personal matters, such as those relating to compromising photos of partners. Financial messages that reference purchases, credit cards, or banking details. The suspect messages may also arrive from unknown numbers.
Attackers can target personal and work phones. To better protect themselves and their sources, journalists should:
Verify the link with the sender through a different channel of communication. This should preferably be through video or voice.
If the sender is not previously known to you, secondary channels may not provide successful verification of the links, as secondary channels may be set up by the adversary as part of an elaborate cover identity.
If the link utilizes a URL shortener service like TinyURL or Bitly, input the link into a URL expander service such as Link Expander or URLEX. If the expanded link looks suspicious, for instance mimicking a local news website but not being quite the same, do not click the link and forward it to email@example.com.
If you feel you need to open the link, do not use your primary device. Open the link on a separate, secondary device that does not have any sensitive information or contact details, and is used solely for viewing links. Carry out a factory reset on the device regularly (keeping in mind that this might not remove the spyware). Keep the secondary device turned off, with the battery removed, when not in use.
Use a non-default browser for the phone. Pegasus is believed to target default browsers. The default browser for Android is Chrome and the default browser for iOS is Safari. Use an alternative browser such as Firefox Focus and open the link in that. However, there is no guarantee that Pegasus will not, or has not, already targeted other browsers.
Physically installed by an adversary
Pegasus can also be installed on your phone if an adversary gains physical access to the device. To reduce risk:
Do not leave your device unattended and avoid handing over your phone to others.
When crossing a border or checkpoint ensure that you can see your phone at all times Turn off the phone before arriving at the checkpoint, and have a complex passphrase consisting of both letters and numbers. Be aware that if your phone is taken then the device may be compromised.
If you believe your phone is infected by Pegasus immediately stop using that phone and purchase another one. You should leave the suspected device in a place that does not compromise you or your surroundings. If you have access to tech support through a media organization, contact them immediately for assistance. If you are a freelance journalist or a journalist that does not have access to tech support, contact the Access Now Helpline.
CPJ is working alongside our partners to understand the full scope of the threat Pegasus poses to journalists. If you have received a suspicious message and believe you may have been targeted by Pegasus, please forward the message to firstname.lastname@example.org. This information will be handled confidentially.
For more information on technology security we encourage journalists to review the CPJ’s Security Guide’s Chapter on Technology Security and see the digital safety information included in our Resource Center.
With thanks to Citizen Lab for valuable insight.
CISLAC Demands Independent Probe into $5 Million Bribery Allegation
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), the National Contact for Transparency International (TI), has expressed concern over the committee set up by the Kano State House of Assembly to investigate the recent $5million bribery allegation attributed to the State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, as displayed in a widely shared video clip. This was contained in a statement signed by the Executive Director, CISLAC Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
While CISLAC commended the effort and ability of the Kano State House of Assembly at setting up an ad hoc committee to investigate the alleged bribery, Rafasanjani said “we are worried that the outcome of such investigation would not command public trust and credibility respect except if handled by independent and competent ICT professionals with track record of integrity.
“We are confident an independent inquiry outside the instrumentality of Kano State governance structure will to a large extent assure Nigerians of fearless fact-findings on the true nature of the video clip in fulfilment of the Federal Government’s readiness to combat corruption within and outside the ruling party.We must, therefore, reiterate that anything short of an independent investigation would seem stage-managed before the public” Rafasanjani said.
Rafsanjani said that we are also not unaware of the infringement of human rights, intimidation and harassment of the whistle-blowers and citizens who stepped out to peacefully protest this allegation against the Governor. We find this disheartening and reiterates our persistent demand for the adoption of a Whistle-blower Protection Law Citizens’ right to freedom of association and expression should in no way be muzzled in this issue.
And called on the President and the Inspector General of Police to guarantee the rights of the people for a peaceful protest and ensure lives are secured.
We call for the Governor to immediately step aside to allow high level transparency, accountability and rule of law in the process of the investigation and prevent possible influence of the “fact-findings”. This will guarantee fairness and discourage undue interference in the investigation.
Rafsanjani also call on the National Assembly and anti-corruption agencies to live up to the expectations and trust placed in them by Nigerians in ensuring perpetrators of corrupt practice are brought to book, while guaranteeing adequate protection for whistle-blowing effort through enabling policies implementation and transition into legislation.
“We also call on the Ruling Party to stay silent on the issue if the party is really going to be believed that it is fighting corruption” he said.
Rafsanjani assured that CISLAC remains committed to monitoring the government at all levels to ensure that she fulfils her promises to the citizens of our great country.
Fayose must not die in your custody, Frank warns EFCC
…Accuses Buhari of persecution
The immediate past Deputy National Publicity Secretary of All Progressives Congress (APC) Comrade Timi Frank, has strongly condemned the continued detention of immediate past Governor of Ekiti state, Ayodele Fayose, by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), warning that no harm must happen to the former governor.
Frank said the alarm is necessary because of the information available to him that the agency has been instructed ‘by the powers that be’ to either poison or render the outspoken politician (Fayose) incapacitated ahead of the 2019 general elections.
In a statement released on Wednesday in Abuja, Frank wondered why somebody who voluntary released himself to the agency should be kept in custody more than 24 hours.
The former APC spokesman said that in as much as he will never support corruption, justice must be done to all and sundry.
Frank revealed that Fayose is being held by the EFCC not because of any currupt act but because of his outspokenness against the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC.
He wondered “why former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Engr. Babachir Lawal was not detain over allegation of grasscutting scandal, why EFCC refuse to invite the wife of the President Aisha Buhari over recent allegation involving his ADC, why MTN scandal involving Chief of Staff to the President is not investigated, why NNPC scandal involving the GMD Kanti Baru and why allegation of corruption against the National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomohle does not interest the agency, among so many others in the ruling party.
“The truth is that once you are not a member of APC, you are corrupt but once you join the evil party, your sins are forgiven,” he state.
On the plan to render Fayose incapacitated, Frank said: “A Senior staff of the agency last night had to call attention of some opposition leaders to the instruction given to the agency by the presidency to ensure that Fayose does not leave EFCC custody a healthy person.
“Another operative early this morning also informed us that a healthy Fayose who walked into headquarters of EFCC yesterday was seen vomiting this morning. I called on Nigerians to pray for Fayose because the evil plan of APC government against the PDP leader is not known yet.”
Frank, who urge the former governor not to eat or drink anything coming from the operative of EFCC, also called the attention of the international community to what he described as a selective manner in which President Buhari is fighting corruption in Nigeria.
Mining Union faults FG on planned sale of ASCO, wants CBN Gov sacked
The umbrella body responsible for the affairs of mines workers in Nigeria, the Nigerian Union of Mines Workers (NUMW) has called for the resignation or outright sack of the Governor of the Central Bank (CBN) of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele over what it described as the inability of the apex financial institution to articulate policy measure that will lead to the rejuvenation of the moribund Federal-Government owned Ajaokuta Steel Company (ASCO), adding that government’s disposition to selling ASCO, a decision supported by the CBN, reflects the intellectual poverty of the country’s apex financial institution.
It could be recall that while briefing the Nigerian delegation at the end of the International Monetary Fund/World Bank Group meetings in Bali, Indonesia, recently, Emefiele said Ajaokuta Steel Company and other national assets will be sold to service the 2018 deficit budget.
While describing ASCO as the bedrock of Nigeria’s industrialization which must be nurtured and prioritized as an emblem of National Pride, the National President of the Mining Union, Comr. Hamza Mohammed called on government to ensure that ASCO remains under domestic ownership and control, adding that countries which developed their indigenous steel sectors have become better for it.
He tasked Emefiele and the Minister of Finance to articulate a policy direction for the funds needed to resuscitate ASCO, he called on the Senate to intervene by ensuring that the nations institutions in the finance sector work toward articulating a poly measure to address the problem.
“The Nigerian Union of Miens Workers entirely kicks against any form of sale or transfer of ownership of ASCO to foreign bodies or organizations as it is not the best for the development of Nigeria’s industrial sector,” he said.
Hamza who commended the Nigeria Metallurgical Society (NMS) and other professional bodies in the sector for condemning the idea of selling ASCO, called on the federal government to urgent articulate policy measures for the utilization of ASCO in the industrialization of Nigeria, adding that unless Nigeria develops her industrial sectors, it will not be able to play big in the committee of nations.
Hamza noted that it is not a good policy proposal to say that ASCO should be sold for the purpose of financing the 2018 budget, adding that only a mindless government will sell such a highly strategic institution to finance a year’s budget.
While stating that “the industrialization of ASCO, National Iron Ore mining Company (NIOMCO), Delta Steel Company (DSC) and the development of Nigeria’s iron and steel sector have never been negotiable and is still not negotiable, and will never be negotiable,” Hamza warned that the National Executive Council of the Mining Union will soon convene to deliberate on the necessity of embarking on a nationwide strike action if government does not heed the clarion call to shelve plans of selling the steel complex.
Hamza said: “It is socially, industrially and economically injurious to Nigeria to transfer in any way the ownership and control of ASCO to any individual or corporate entity,” adding that the federal government must ensure that it retains one hundred percent ownership and control of the systems.
Hamza who explained that Nigeria’s current economic challenges are the result of the failure of various governments to utilize the country’s human and natural resources, adding that government must act beyond the rhetoric of saying that ASCO can create huge number of jobs. “We know that ASCO can create huge number of jobs and we know that government also knows that, what we want government to do is to resuscitate ASCO so that it will deliver the beautiful promises of the sector to Nigerians.”
“No country can join the rank of super powers unless it develops its steel sector. I expect that government knows that the development of a country’s steel sector is will ignite the development of all industrial sectors of the country’s economy,” he said, and explained that it is only when ASCO begins the production of liquid steel that Nigeria can become a manufacturer of steel products like motor vehicles, airplanes and various steel instruments that symbolize national power and glory.
Discussing the strategic nature of ASCO to the industrial development of Nigeria and the African continent, Hamza said: “The Mining union laments that government handles with levity the importance of ASCO,” saying that ASCO is reputed as the largest steel plant in Africa.
Discussing other advantages of resuscitating ASCO, Hamza noted that apart from being able to generate more than five hundred thousand direct and indirect jobs, ASCO has the ability to become a major revenue earner for the government while also improving the Nigerian economy, if resuscitated.
Recalling one of the campaign promises that thrilled the union during the electioneering campaign of General Muhammadu Buhari, Hamza said Gen Buhari has assured that the steel sector will be developed as a major revenue earner for the country. He therefore tasked the federal government to live up to expectation of Nigerians in the steel sector saying that if ASCO is sold, it will augur well for the industrial development of Nigeria.
While calling on government to stop the exportation of unprocessed solid minerals, Hamza stressed the need to ensure value addition to solid minerals before they are exported to other countries, adding that a lot of jobs will be created for Nigerians if government effectively outlaws the export of processed solid minerals.
While he lamented that Nigeria suffers huge revenue losses when businessmen foreigners mine and export undeveloped solid minerals, he said government must exercise the strong will requisite for the resuscitation of ASCO, stating that if ASCO was resuscitated, steel raw materials will be mines and used to feed the production needs of the integrated steel complex.
“It is only when Ajaokuta Steel Company is resuscitated, the iron ore is mined in Itakpe would be easy moved to ASCO for onward use in the production of steel,” he said.
While he specifically noted that the potentials of the Nigerian steel industry have dastardly abused by foreign nationals, notably Indians, who were entrusted with the task of managing it, he tasked the Buhari administration to activate its institutions to develop a framework for the urgent activation of Ajaokuta Steel Company, Delta Steel Company and the National iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO), Itakpe, stating that apart from these, government should stair up the interest of the organized private sector to participate in the development of the country’s steel sector.
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