As EFCC forces bankers to declare assets…

EFCC chairman Bawa

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, has ordered bankers to declare their assets. He said the order is in accordance with the provisions of the Bank Employees Declaration of Asset Act.

Speaking in Abuja, recently, the EFCC chairman said: “Going forward, we are going on to do our best to ensure that this country is free of financial crimes, adding: “Let me just put this, we understood that at the tail end of every financial crime is for the criminal to have access to the funds that he or she has illegitimately gotten, and we’re worried about the roles of financial institutions.”

He said from the June 1, 2021, assets declaration forms will be filled by bankers.

Talking about the ills of cybercrime, the EFCC chairman said that cyber criminals are chasing away investors and giving the country a bad name and image.

“The issue of cybercrime is a huge problem for this country,” he said. “In the last one month, we have arrested about 300 cyber criminals across the country….It is something that I am particularly worried about.”

And, indeed, cyberattacks have increased in Nigeria in the wake of COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns while the country’s 2015 cybercrimes law may not be adequate to reduce the vulnerability of financial institutions, especially the banking sector, to these offences.

Nigeria’s Consumer Awareness and Financial Enlightenment Initiative has projected a US$6 trillion loss by 2030 to cybercrime within and outside Nigeria. These crimes are committed mostly through phishing and identity theft.

The outbreak of COVID-19 and government’s response measures have enabled more cyber attacks. Deloitte Nigeria reported a spike in phishing attacks, malicious spams and ransomware attacks. Cybercriminals are using the coronavirus as bait to impersonate brands, thereby misleading customers and employees.

Cyber attackers use COVID-19 as bait to impersonate brands and mislead employees and customers. Financial institutions, corporates, state agencies and individuals are increasingly being exposed to cyber attacks and fraud through disinformation, impersonation and phishing, which enables criminals to access computers, mobile devices and the intranet unnoticed to launch cyber attacks.
Not only are businesses being targeted, end-users who download COVID-19-related applications are being tricked into downloading ransomware disguised as legitimate applications.

Google claims to block more than 100 million phishing emails daily across the globe, about 18 million of which are related to COVID-19.

In Nigeria, cybercrimes are perpetrated by individuals, hackers or connected networks of criminals motivated by financial interests.

For instance, a gang of seven hackers stole N900 million (US$24,000) from a single bank via malware in Lagos on 10 March 2018, according to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

On September 2, 2020, EFCC operatives arrested 13 suspects believed to be members of an organised cyber criminal syndicate who defraud unsuspecting victims of millions of Naira. How the groups work, remains largely unknown and is still being probed by security operatives.

Until that is known, cyber security must be addressed seriously as it is, as Bawa observed, affecting the image of the country.
A combination of sound technical measures tailored to the origin of Spam (the sending ends) in conjunction with legal deterrents will be a good start in the war against cyber criminals.

Information attacks can be launched by anyone, from anywhere. The attackers can operate without detection for years and can remain hidden from any counter measures.
This, indeed, emphasises the need for the security agencies to keep up with technological and security advancements. It will always be a losing battle if security professionals are miles behind the cyber criminals.
Fighting cybercrime requires a holistic approach to combat this menace in all ramifications.

The true meaning of Burna Boy, Wizkid 2021 Grammy Awards
The 49th Annual Grammy Awards held Sunday in Los Angeles, United States of America. It’s one of the biggest events in the music industry. Awards, at the event, were handed by big names, big names received the awards and big names performed while the event lasted. In other words, the event was big.
Though the big event was held in faraway USA, among the winners were Nigerians and, expectedly, President Muhammadu Buhari congratulated the Nigerian music stars, Damini Ogulu, better known as Burna Boy, Wizkid.

Burna Boy’s entry won the “Best Global Music Album” category in the 2021 Grammy awards, with the president saying that he has made notable contributions in the field of music which the world has now recognised.
“Congratulations to Burna Boy on being conferred the 2021 Grammy, the world’s most prestigious musical awards,” the president said. “He has made notable contributions in the field of music which have brought glory to Nigerians at home and abroad. We are proud of his path-breaking achievements.”
The president also congratulated Wizkid who emerged as a joint winner of the Grammy Awards in a different category.

Grammy Award, is any of a series of awards presented annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), commonly called the Recording Academy, or the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (LARAS), commonly called the Latin Recording Academy, to recognise achievements in the music industry.
Winners are selected from more than 25 fields, which cover genres such as pop, rock, rap, R&B, country, reggae, classical, gospel, and jazz, as well as production and postproduction work, including packaging and album notes.

Four general awards are also given for record, album, song of the year, and best new artist. In total, more than 75 awards are presented. Successful artists and Grammy Awards winners receive a golden statuette of a gramophone.

To be eligible for a Grammy from NARAS, the recording or music video must be released in the United States between October 1 of the previous year and midnight September 30 of the given Grammy year.
Entries are submitted by record companies and members of the academy, and are reviewed to determine eligibility and category placement.
The voting members of NARAS, through a series of ballots, select five nominees for each award and ultimately the winner. The voters cast ballots only in their areas of expertise. The winners are announced during a televised ceremony.
The Grammy Awards were first presented by NARAS in Los Angeles in 1959, when 28 prizes were given. Winners included Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and the Kingston Trio. The number of awards has increased as musical genres have emerged.

Rock was first recognised as a genre by the academy at the 1980 ceremony and rap at the 1989 presentation. An award for best music video was first handed out in 1982 to acknowledge the growing influence of the medium. In 2011 NARAS radically restructured the Grammy category system and reduced the total number of awards from 109 to 78.
Gender-based categories were eliminated, as were those that distinguished between solo and group efforts. Awards recognising genres such as Hawaiian music, Native American music, and zydeco were folded into a single category dubbed “regional roots music,” and instrumental categories were drastically scaled back.

Further adjustments were made in subsequent years and, by 2017, the number of awards stabilised at 84.
However, much as the Grammy Awards represent highest honours for artists and, without doubt, Nigerians feel honoured to have two winners from their country, the efforts of several other local artists, whose contributions to the music industry and the socio-economic and political development should not be underappreciated.

It is, therefore, on this note that President Buhari acknowledged the efforts of the likes of King Sunny Ade and Fela Kuti whose creative contributions significantly helped to make Nigerian music to be known globally.
Thus, in essence, like the president believes, the record breaking musical achievements of Burna Boy and Wizkid are a recognition of the Nigerian creative talents.

But, even more than just musical achievements, entertainment is now a source of income for many countries, including Nigeria, and expressions of soft power. It is an avenue of country’s persuasive approach to international relations through its economic and cultural influence in order to gain positive attention and attraction.

With Nigeria often being the subject of negative news headlines, through music and entertainment industry, the true picture of the country can be painted and its international reputation can be maintained and even get promoted.
Thankfully, as it has now been shown with the Grammy Awards, from Lagos to Los Angeles, people are increasingly hungry for the Nigerian music thereby showing that the entertainment sector’s potential to change the country’s image and play a key role in the socio-economic development of the country process can no longer be neglected.

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