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20 Killed As Fulani Herdsmen Attack Ukpabi Nimbo Community In Enugu |RN

RN file photo: Armed Fulani herdsmen

About 20 persons in Ukpabi Nimbo, an agrarian community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State, were feared dead during an attack by Fulani herdsmen on Monday.
It was learnt that scores of armed cattle herdsmen, reportedly numbering more than a hundred, swooped on the sleepy community in the early hours of Monday.
Sources in the community disclosed that continuous gunshots were heard as the rampaging herdsmen moved to sack villagers from their homes.
Apart from guns, bows and arrows and machetes, or swords, were also wielded by the herdsmen, it was learnt.


Many of the villagers escaped to neighbouring communities in the Uzo-Uwani area, but it was gathered that people in the nearby towns are also worried about possible attacks from the herdsmen.
A police source told our correspondent that, as of the time of filing this report, the corpses of five persons who died in the attack had been recovered.


Our correspondent learnt that the corpses, which were deposited at the morgue in Bishop Shanahan Hospital, Nsukka, were recovered from farmlands.


There were indications that more bodies would be recovered, as our correspondent learnt that the combined team of police and military personnel, who moved into the community to repel the attack, were yet to get to all the affected areas.


Also, sources in the Ukpabi Nimbo community insist more than 20 of their kith and kin were killed before a rescue could come.
However, Police Public Relations Officer, Enugu State Police Command, Mr. Ebere Amaraizu, who informed to our correspondent that the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Nwodibo Ekechukwu, led other officers and men to the area, said the total number of casualties could not be ascertained as of the time of filing this report.


Amaraizu, who spoke with our correspondent on the telephone, said the situation in the community had been brought under control.
“We moved in to ensure that the situation did not degenerate beyond control and right now everything is under control.
“The Commissioner of Police is there with other officers and men and the area is being secured.

“We can’t give the total number of casualties yet, it is when the operation is concluded that we will collate figures and give a definite number,” Amaraizu said.
Many members of the Ukpabi Nimbo community, who are mostly farmers, have their homes around their farmlands.
It was gathered that several houses, as well as farms and crops, were also destroyed by the herdsmen.

Our correspondent learnt that the herdsmen had previously fallen out with the villagers over their grazing activities in the community.
Sources in the community disclosed that the villagers had been resisting the use of their farmlands as grazing fields by the herdsmen.
It was equally learnt that the situation further degenerated after some herdsmen who operate in Ukpani Nimbo and other communities in the Uzo-Uwani area claimed that their cows were missing.
There were also claims by the herdsmen that some of their colleagues were killed in the area.


The villagers alleged that most of the herdsmen that were involved in Monday’s attack were ‘imported’ from Nasarawa State by other Fulani herdsmen who were already operating in Enugu.
Our correspondent gathered that, before the herdsmen struck on Monday, there was tension in Ukpabi Nimo and other communities in the Uzo-Uwani area over a widespread rumour that about 500 herdsmen were mobilising to attack them.


It was learnt that the villagers, in anticipation of an imminent attack by herdsmen, had alerted the Enugu State Government, and the leadership of the Enugu State Police Command.


According to sources, the Chairman, Transition Committee, Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area, Cornell Onwubuya, who was said to have informed the state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and the police commissioner, Nwodibo Ekechukwu, of the fears nursed by villagers, also met the leadership of the Hausa-Fulani community in the area over the matter.


Interestingly, the rumoured planned attack by 500 herdsmen was the subject of an emergency stakeholders meeting in the Uzo-Uwani area council during the weekend, hours before the herdsmen struck.
The meeting, reportedly, also deliberated on incessant herdsmen-related problems in the area, including several cases of murder, kidnappings and rape recorded in the recent past.


At the meeting, Onwubuya, chairman of the Uzo-Uwani local council, reportedly disclosed that some leaders of the Hausa-Fulani community had confirmed the rumoured plan by the herdsmen to launch an attack in the area.

Also at the said emergency stakeholders meeting, leaders of the Hausa-Fulani community in Enugu reportedly assured that they would take urgent steps to avert the planned attack.


However, the attack still went ahead, as planned, despite the prior notice given to the authorities, and the assurances given at the stakeholders meeting. (Punch)

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Atiku Abubakar Demands Apology And N5000m From Lauretta Onochie For Defamation

PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and Buhari’s Special Aide on Socal media, Lauretta Onochie


by Oluchisim Fred

Atiku Abubakar, the PDP Presidential candidate in the 2019 election has demanded an apology and N500m from Lauretta Onochie over alleged defamation. Atiku through his lawyer Mike Ozekhome, threatened to begin a N2 billion suit against her if she refused to meet his demands, following her claims that he was placed on a watch list in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).


However, in a letter which countered the claim, Atiku Abubakar demanded an apology and N500m from Lauretta Onochie over the alleged defamation. He further asked her to publish a retraction in six national newspapers and one international daily, as well as on social media.


The letter reads: “Your odious publication is clearly also aimed at rubbishing our client’s image and reputation,” the letter read.“It has caused him national and international backlash and embarrassment and done incalculable damage to him. Your publication has also caused our client, in the eyes of reasonable members of the public, unspeakable odium, obloquy, hatred, ridicule and psychological trauma.“He has thereby been subjected to the shame and infamy of being viewed by members of the public as not only corrupt but as a terrorist and sponsor of terrorism. Numerous telephone calls, emails, visits, letters and private social media chats by his family members, friends, political and business associates, and international statesmen and women in the last few days attest to the alarm and serious concerns generated by your false publication.” (unclesuru)

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North Plans On Last-minute Political Stunt Against Gbajabiamila For Speakership |RN

by Lanre Adewole

Some Northern elements are planning to pull the rug off the feet of Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila in his speakership bid, when it will be impossible to save his candidacy, Sunday Tribune has reliably learnt. A source close to Aso Rock Presidential Villa disclosed that the plot might not be unconnected with a political storm gathering against the national leader of the ruling party and Gbajabiamila’s main sponsor, Senator Bola Tinubu.

The source said the parliamentary leadership politics appeared to have become so overwhelming for the Lagos strongman that he wasn’t even showing expected interest in the much-discussed ministerial politics regarding the South-West.

Gbajabiamila, the current House Leader, is the front-runner for the speakership seat, but the combination of zoning and godfather apron attachment is reportedly threatening his chances in the North, where two governors on the platform of the ruling party are said to be coordinating the last-minute surprise package, to again, thwart Femi’s ambition.

Both governors are very close to President Muhammadu Buhari, whose support for Gbajabiamila,  is perceived by the other camp as being passive.

While one of the governors is allegedly using subterfuge to relate with the Tinubu camp, the other doesn’t plainly care.

They are carrying a candidate who they plan to carry through the contest. Expectedly, their candidate isn’t from the South.

An ally of one of the governors told Sunday Tribune that “the battle is just beginning. You will see what they (Tinubu’s camp) will see in days ahead. We know Femi (Gbajabiamila) is just another instrument in his (Tinubu) hands.

“But we will ensure that he (Tinubu) loses all steam even before 2023. They (Tinubu’s camp) have no strategists. They don’t always know the battle to fight. You will see the real battle soon.”

The Villa-connected source had earlier revealed that Lagos technically producing Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and trying to grab the speaker seat would not sail through both at home and elsewhere.

“Are we the only one in the South-West trying to corner everything. VP is from you, your wife is bidding for something in the Senate. Your boy wants to be Speaker. Is it only Lagos that is doing APC and is it only oga that is playing politics,” the source sarcastically queried.

Another source introduced a different dimension into the alleged one-man power-grabbing agenda when he went rhetorically: “How much did he (Tinubu) even contribute to the election?

“There was even no account rendered for the money we contributed. The time is almost here for the whole truth to be told the world. What was their (Tinubu’s camp) contribution that they want to corner everything?”

It was learnt that Gbajabiamila is attracting more enemies because his aspiration is being seen as just a stepping stone for his godfather to build a nationwide network for his rumoured presidential ambition in 2023, when political power is expected to return to the Southern part of the country.

Though Tinubu is yet to declare such an ambition, his close allies have confirmed they talked him into giving the presidency a shot when Buhari’s constitutionally allowed two terms are done.

Tinubu is allegedly supporting Gbajabiamila and by extension, Ahmed Lawan for Senate presidency seat to deploy supporters of the duo in the National Assembly as coordinators for his presidential project, in their constituency and senatorial domains.

Those from the lower chamber, allegedly to be known as constituency coordinators, are said to be of greater factor to the success of the project, hence the utmost importance of ramming Gbajabiamila into the speakership seat.

Meanwhile, more facts are emerging on why loyalists of Tinubu and his erstwhile honcho, former National Legal adviser of APC, Muiz Banire are side-stepping the armistice entered into, in the course of the last general election to resume hostilities.

Following the perceived attack on Tinubu by the Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai recently in Lagos, Sunday Tribune learnt that Tinubu’s camp has since been unloading on Banire over his perceived support for the rumoured presidential project of the governor.

A source close to Banire, however, dispelled such a notion, saying that those who want to make more enemies for Tinubu are behind the conjecture, adding that “they (Tinubu’s camp) are now saying Muiz (Banire) is coordinating for el-Rufai in the South-West.

“You can see the way these our people think. Instead of seeking one house ahead of their oga’s 2023 campaign, they are busy scattering everywhere. The Arisekola fellow writing against Muiz is not even a factor. They were the ones who sought cooperation before the election, see what they are doing now.”

Banire, in a post on Thursday, promised to come after his traducers soon, threatening an exposé, complete with documents on hitherto yet-to-be-made-public secrets.

Quoting him, “For now, my admonition to them if they love their sponsor, is to note that he who lives in glass house must not throw stone. Our maturity seems to be challenged these days and hopefully we won’t lose it. In my subsequent interviews, I shall address all their lies appropriately. For now, let me remind the latter-day workers of The Nation and TVC that some of us are custodians of the origin of these establishments and at the right time, they will learn more with documentation”.

Aside Banire, another personality being reportedly caught in the 2023 presidential drama, is the embattled chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Services, Babatunde Fowler.

His current travails at the hands of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged official corruption are being linked to his perceived sway in lending support to a particular camp.

Fowler, seen by many as a nominee of Tinubu, is actually a long-standing friend of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who was said to be instrumental in his emergence as the chairman of Lagos Inland Revenue Service (LIRS), the job he was holding before his “promotion” to Abuja.

A deep source in Lagos APC politics disclosed that Fowler was “helpful” in the 2019 election and the fears that his support in 2023 may be crucial in favour of a perceived presidential aspirant, reportedly ramped up the move against him.

The public official who is being tipped to enjoy crucial help from Fowler, if the latter retained his money-spinning job till 2023, is yet to make any move to show he is interested in succeeding Buhari.

But there is a widespread notion that Buhari may prefer him to others, if the North is conceding to the Southern part of the country in the next four years.

While the intendment is said not to oust Fowler using the current EFCC probe, Sunday Tribune learnt those behind his travails would shake him so much, to show where the real power lies in the current political equation.

A party chieftain who works closely with the public official being rumoured of having Buhari’s back for the top-job in 2023, told Sunday Tribune that when enquiries were made at the appropriate quarters on Fowler’s case, a top-dog of the intel community, told them that it was an inside job and both sides in the Fowler saga, should please not drag him, into it.

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Islamisation, Fulanisation Agenda Ongoing In Nigeria – Obasanjo

• Warns against excessive borrowing

by Ebenezer Adurokiya

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has revealed a grand plot by some elements to foist a Fulani and Islamic agenda on Nigeria and other West African countries, just as he called for global action against terrorism and other organised crimes.

Obasanjo, a one-time military Head of State and two-term civilian president expected to be privy to local and global intelligence on terrorism, said lack of education and employment for the youths could no longer be advanced as the reason Boko Haram insurgency still festered.

“It is no longer an issue of lack of education and lack of employment for our youths in Nigeria which it began as.

“It is now West African Fulanisation, African Islamisation and global organised crimes of human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, gun trafficking, illegal mining and regime change,” he said.

The former president made the revelation on Saturday while speaking on the topic Mobilising Nigeria’s Human and Natural Resources for National Development and Stability, at the second session of the Synod of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, held at the Cathedral of Saint Paul’s Anglican Church, Oleh in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State.

He knocked the Federal Government for allowing the Boko Haram and herdsmen’s attacks to fester by treating the matter with kid gloves, urging President Muhamamdu Buhari to rally local and global stakeholders in seeking solution to the fight against terrorism.

The former president tasked Buhari to take the issue of insecurity seriously at all levels and address it at once “without favouritism or cuddling.”

“Both Boko Haram and herdsmen’s acts of violence were not treated as they should at the beginning. They have both incubated and developed beyond what Nigeria can handle alone. They are now combined and internationalised with ISIS in control.

“Yet, we could have dealt with both earlier and nip them in the bud, but Boko Haram boys were seen as rascals not requiring serious attention in administering holistic measures of stick and carrot.

“And when we woke up to the reality, it was turned to industry for all and sundry to supply materials and equipment that were already outdated and that were not fit for active military purpose.

“Soldiers were poorly trained for the unusual mission, poorly equipped, poorly motivated, poorly led and made to engage in propaganda rather than achieving results.

“Intelligence was poor and governments embarked on games of denials while paying ransoms which strengthened the insurgents and yet governments denied payments of ransoms.

“Today, the insecurity issue has gone beyond the wit and capacity of Nigerian government or even West African governments.

“Government must appreciate where we are, summon each group that should make contributions one by one and subsequently collectively seek the way forward for all hands on deck and with the holistic approach of stick and carrot.

Read also: https://therepublicannews.net/2019/05/18/buharis-government-strengthened-boko-haram-via-ransom-payments-obasanjo/

“There should be no sacred cow. Some of the groups that I will suggest to be contacted are: Traditional rulers, past heads of Service Chiefs (no matter how competent or incompetent they have been and how much they have contributed to the mess we are in), past heads of paramilitary or organisations, private sector and civil society.

“Others are community leaders particularly in the most affected areas, present and past governors, present and past local government leaders, religious leaders, past Heads of States, past Intelligence Chiefs, past heads of Civil Service and relevant current and retired diplomats, members of the opposition and nay groups that may be deemed relevant,” he said.

On the poor state of the economy, Obasanjo advised the Buhari-led government to wriggle itself out of the temptation of excessive borrowing and the attendant devaluation trap.

“What have we gained from moving Nigerian currency value from one naira to almost two dollar to N360 to one dollar in one generation’s impoverishment?” he asked.

Meanwhile, speaking on the theme for the Synod Work, Night Comes taken from John chapter 9 verses 4 and 5, the Bishop of Ughelli Diocese, Right Reverend John Aruakpo, urged the congregation to serve God while they’re still alive, stressing that, “no one knows where, how and when death will meet him/her.”

The cleric, who acknowledged the presence of dignitaries, commended former President Obasanjo for honouring the church’s invitation to attend the 2019 synod. (Tribune)

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Buhari’s Government Strengthened Boko Haram Via Ransom Payments – Obasanjo

President Buhari with former President Obasanjo

Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria’s former President who spoke at the 2nd session of the Synod held at the Cathedral Church of St.Paul’s Anglican Church, Oleh in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State, stated that Buhari’s government strengthened Boko Haram by paying ransoms.The former President who warned that every insecurity situation in Nigeria must be taken seriously and be addressed at once without favouritism or cuddling, spoke on the topic, “Mobilizing Nigeria’s human& natural resources for national development and stability”.


Admitting that Boko Haram and herdsmen acts of violence were not treated as they should at the beginning, Obasanjo stated that Buhari’s government strengthened Boko Haram by paying ransoms which they have continuously denied. He said;


“They have both incubated and developed beyond what Nigeria can handle alone. They are now combined and internationalized with ISIS in control. It is no longer an issue of lack of education and lack of employment for our youths in Nigeria which it began as, it is now West African fulanization, African Islamization and global organized crimes of human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, gun trafficking, illegal mining and regime change.


“Yet, we could have dealt with both earlier, and nip them in the bud, but Boko Haram boys were seen as rascals not requiring serious attention in administering holistic measures of stick and carrot. And when we woke up to the reality, it was turned to industry for all and sundry to supply materials and equipment that were already outdated and that were not fit for active military purpose.


“Soldiers were poorly trained for the unusual mission, poorly equipped, poorly motivated, poorly led and made to engage in propaganda rather than achieving results. Intelligence was poor and governments embarked on games of denials while paying ransoms which strengthened the insurgents and yet governments denied payments of ransoms. Today, the insecurity issue has gone beyond the wit and capacity of Nigerian Government or even West African Governments”.

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Unease As Nigeria May Lose $9bn In Foreign Assets As London Court Sits On Tuesday |RN

Her Majesty Court

Anxiety continues to mount in government circles in Nigeria as a London court sits next Tuesday in a case that may see Nigeria forfeiting up to $9billion in foreign assets.
The expected loss is in respect of an enforcement application to the United States of America and the United Kingdom courts by Process and Industrial Development, a British firm tied up in a legal dispute with the Federal Government.


The court case arose out of the failure of a contract awarded the company in 2010 to process wet gas to power Nigeria’s generating plants.
On 16 March 2018, a BVI-based engineering and project management company sought to enforce in the US a USD6.6 billion award it obtained in January 2017 against Nigeria. This is one of the highest arbitral awards known to date. It shows the importance of the Respondent challenging facts, assumptions and calculations provided by the Claimant and of providing alternative evidence to the Tribunal.
That figure has since been attracting interest at the rate of $1.2 million per day and currently stands at over $9 billion.
The next hearing on the case will come up in a London court on May 21, 2019.
A former Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Bayo Ojo is representing Nigeria in the case.
Brendan Cahill, Founder, P&ID, said the company looks forward to the UK and US courts granting enforcement rights that will allow it to collect what is rightfully its.
Cahill said: “If history is any guide – just look at how creditors seized Argentina’s naval frigate, while docked in Ghana.
“Efforts by Nigeria to evade this judgment will inevitably fall flat.

The ball is in Nigeria’s court.
“If the government is prepared to find a good-faith solution.”
Cahill, however, indicated that the company was open to negotiations with the Nigerian Government to settle the dispute out of court.
He said: “P&ID remains open to a settlement on a reasonable basis, but we need a willing partner in government to help resolve this matter.

“The onus is on the Nigerian Government to act in good faith to find a solution.”
After the P&ID’s Gas Supply and Processing Agreement with the Federal Government failed, the company initiated arbitration proceedings in London, in line with the original contractual agreement between the parties.
Cahill said the company decided to go to court after several attempts at salvaging the deal were botched.
He said: “P&ID’s Gas Supply and Processing Agreement failed when the government did not uphold its commitments.

“In August 2012, after several attempts over two and half years by P&ID to salvage the agreement, including offers to renegotiate the deal, the company initiated arbitration proceedings.”
Cahill is saddened by the failure of such a promising project and government’s lack of interest in trying to resolve the dispute amicably, adding that the original project would have brought power and economic growth to Nigeria by supplying free natural gas for electricity generation, as well as building a highly successful commercial venture with a share of profits going to the Nigerian Government.
He said: “The P&ID project would have supplied 2,000 megawatts of electricity in a country where tens of millions do not have access to electricity.
“The award judgment was handed down by the independent arbitration panel because it represented the loss of profits for P&ID over the 20 years of the project.”
In late February this year, the Office of the Attorney-General of Nigeria issued a statement contesting the huge amount the court awarded P&ID as damages, largely on the grounds that the project did not actually kick off the ground.
But Cahill reacted to the statement, explaining that the company had already put in years of planning, field work, design and on-the-ground preparation.
He stated: “We spent two and a half years offering solutions, while the government consistently failed to deliver its side of the contract.
“This is a tragic ending to a venture that would have delivered low-cost electrical energy to hundreds of thousands of households throughout Nigeria, and would have brought vital revenue to the Nigerian treasury.”
Cahill and his late partner, Michael Quinn, had over 30 years’ prior experience of executing successful engineering projects in Nigeria before the failed P&ID project that is now in dispute.

Background
In January 2010, Process and Development Limited (P&ID or the Claimant) and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Nigeria or the Respondent) entered into a 20-year Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA). Under this agreement Nigeria would supply Wet Gas to P&ID, who would process it in a newly-built facility and return it in the form of Lean Gas. P&ID could then sell the by-products of the refinement process (natural gas liquids (NGLs) for their own profit.
Nigeria did not make arrangements for the agreed supply of Wet Gas, including building the necessary pipelines. In March 2013, P&ID treated this failure as a repudiation of the GSPA. By that date PI&grin estimated that it had invested USD40 million in the project, although it had not yet acquired the land or built the facilities.
In July 2015, an ad hoc tribunal seated in London decided that Nigeria was liable to damages to P&ID. In a majority decision in January 2017, the tribunal awarded USD6.6 billion in damages to P&ID. The dissenting opinion estimated the loss at USD250 million over three years.

Claimant’s position
The Claimant estimated that the project would produce a net profit of USD5 to USD6 billion over a 20-year period.
Income projections were based on several assumptions relating to the expected yield of NGLs and the price of NGL. The Claimant estimated capital expenditure at USD580 million and operational expenditure at cUSD60 million per year.
The Claimant used a discount rate of 2.65% based on US Treasury bonds to represent only the time value for money.

Respondent’s position
The Respondent objected that P&ID should only be entitled to nominal damages as it had not fully performed its obligations under the GSPA at the date of the repudiation.
It argued that production would be disrupted by militancy in the Niger Delta so that utilisation should be reduced to 40-50%. The Respondent’s expert challenged the Capex calculation as being based on inadequate material.
The Respondent also insisted that damages could only be awarded for a period of three years as the Claimant had a duty to mitigate its loss and it should have pursued other investment opportunities.
The Respondent adopted a discount rate of 7% to reflect the risk of investing in Nigeria.

Approach taken by the tribunal
The Tribunal considered that there was no evidence that the Claimant was unable or did not intend to perform its obligations under the GSPA. Consequently, the Tribunal rejected the Respondent’s argument on nominal damages.
In addition, the Tribunal determined that there was no actual evidence that militancy in the Niger Delta had any impact on gas production or transport around the site earmarked by P&ID, or that other NGL prices than the ones forecast by the Claimant should be used.

In the absence of a meaningful challenge from the Respondent, the Tribunal agreed with the Claimant on key aspects of the measure and calculation of damages, including the 20-year period, the other underlying assumptions to project net income, and the discount rate. It awarded USD6.6 billion in damages together with pre and post-award interest of 7%. This interest rate reflects what PI&grin would have had to pay to borrow the money or could have earned by investing in Nigeria.

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Facebook Busts, Close Pages Of Israeli Firm Used To Sway, Public Opinions, Elections In Nigeria, Africa, Others

Deletes 265 fake accounts targeting Nigeria, others

Senator Iroegbu and Godsgift Onyedinefu with Agency 

Facebook has busted an Isreali-led campaign to sway elections in Nigeria as well as targeted countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The social  media giant on Thursday said it had removed 265 Facebook and Instagram accounts, pages, groups and events linked to an Israel-based firm due to what it called “inauthentic behaviour” targeting users in Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa.

The move is part of wider efforts by Facebook to address concerns over privacy lapses and hate speech in social media.

Facebook said the “inauthentic” activity originated in Israel and focused on Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Angola, Niger and Tunisia as well as in Latin America and Southeast Asia.

“The people behind this network used fake accounts to run pages, disseminate their content and artificially increase engagement,” Nathaniel , head of cyber security policy at Facebook said in a statement.

He identified Israel’s Archimedes Group as the source of some of the activity.

“This organisation and all its subsidiaries are now banned from Facebook, and it has been issued a cease and desist letter,” said Gleicher.

Archimedes was not immediately available for comment

Gleicher said Archimedes had 65 Facebook accounts, 161 pages, 12 events and four Instagram accounts. Some 2.8 million accounts followed one or more of these pages.

Read also: https://therepublicannews.net/2019/05/18/frank-timi-commends-facebook-us-firm-for-exposing-buharis-fake-news-israeli-political-consultant-firm/

He said that the individuals involved also represented themselves as locals, including local news organisations, and published allegedly leaked information about politicians.

“The page administrators and account owners frequently posted about political news, including topics like elections in various countries, candidate views and criticism of political opponents,” Gleicher said.

“We’re taking down these pages and accounts based on their behaviour, not the content they posted.”

He added that around 812,000 dollars was spent for advertisements on Facebook paid for in Brazilian reals, Israeli shekels and US dollars with the first ad running in 2013 2012 and the most recent last month, Gleicher said.

“We have shared information about our analysis with industry partners and policymakers,” he said.

Similarly, Amnesty International on Thursday called for Israel’s government to ensure that an Israeli company, whose spyware has been linked to a WhatsApp breach that may have targeted human rights groups, be held accountable for the way its software is used.

Amnesty on Tuesday filed a petition in Israel seeking the revocation of NSO Group’s export licence and said that it was up to the government to take a firmer stance against export licenses that have “resulted in human rights abuses.”

Israel’s Ministry of Defence declined to comment.

WhatsApp, a unit of Facebook, said on Tuesday that a security breach on its messaging app may have targeted human rights groups.

According to Eva Galperin, Director of cybersecurity at San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, WhatsApp told human rights groups it believed the spyware used was developed by Israel’s NSO.

A second person familiar with the matter also identified spyware from NSO.

Amnesty said in an emailed statement that NSO has “again and again demonstrated their intent to avoid responsibility for the way their software is used,” and that only government intervention would change that.

NSO has not commented on any specific attacks, but following the WhatsApp breach it said it would investigate any “credible allegations of misuse” of its technology which “is solely operated by intelligence and law enforcement agencies”.

NSO’s biggest shareholder, Novalpina Capital, said in a statement that it intends to bring NSO’s governance into alignment with UN principles and will seek insights from Amnesty and other groups “into how best to achieve this important goal.”

WhatsApp, one of the world’s most popular messaging tools which are used by 1.5 billion people monthly, said it had notified the U.S. Department of Justice to help with an investigation into the breach.

And it encouraged its users to update to the latest version of the app, where the breach had been fixed.

One target of the new WhatsApp exploit was a United Kingdom-based human rights lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

The United Kingdom-based human rights lawyer is helping a Saudi dissident and several Mexican journalists mount civil cases against NSO for its alleged role in selling hacking tools to the Saudi and Mexican governments, which they alleged were used to hack into their phones.

NSO says it sells only to law enforcement and intelligence agencies pursuing legitimate targets, such as terrorists and criminals.

Novalpina, in a May 15 letter to Amnesty signed by founding partner Stephen Peel, said Novalpina was “determined to do whatever is necessary to ensure that NSO technology is used for the purpose for which it is intended.

“The prevention of harm to fundamental human rights arising from terrorism and serious crime – and not abused in a manner that undermines other equally fundamental human rights.”

Credits| Reuters, NAN

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