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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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Police Interrogate Fani-Kayode Over Anti-Fulani Herdsmen Article |The Republican News

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                                                         Femi Fani-Kayode

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

 

The Nigeria Police Force on Tuesday grilled a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, over a three-part essay titled, ‘Five Useful Idiots and the Spirit of the Accursed Slave’.

Fani-Kayode, it was learnt, was grilled for about an hour and then asked to return on another day for more interrogation.

Confirming his interrogation to our correspondent on the telephone, the former minister said the quizzing was cordial.

Fani-Kayode, however, said he would continue to write more of such articles.

He said, “I had a cordial interview with the policemen. The police were courteous and professional.

“I was invited because of my essay titled “Five Useful Idiots and the Spirit Of the Accursed Slave” which was about Fulani hegemony and terrorism together with other write-ups.  No regrets. I will hit harder and write more.”

In the essay which was published in March, the former minister lambasted the Governor of Plateau State, Solomon Lalong, for blaming the herdsmen attacks on Governor Samuel Ortom’s refusal to scrap the anti-grazing law.

Fani-Kayode also lambasted the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, for describing the herdsmen attacks in Kogi State as a family affair among Kogi indigenes.

He also knocked a former Minister of Information and current chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Prince Tony Momoh, for saying the Fulani herdsmen were victims of tribal politics.

The former minister said in the article that the herdsmen attacks were part of a larger scheme to dominate and recolonise Nigeria.  (Punch)

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Biafra War Remark: Ajibola Is No Longer Our Staff, Does Not Represent Us – Babcock University

Alaba-Ajibola

Alaba Ajibola

By Ike A. Offor

Following the outrage generated in the social media by a hateful remark by one Mr Alaba Ajibola, who claims to be a staff of the prestigious private university,  Babcock University has distanced itself from the said fellow.

The remark on his Facebook wall that ” the Igbo should have been wiped out during the Biafra-Nigeria civil war” caused outrage that went viral on the social media and attracted the attention of the university and they had to make a disclaimer.

The only serious issue still pondering many readers is that the young man in question still has on his social media accounts profile that he is still the staff of  Babcock University.

Related: The Igbo Should Have Been Wiped Out During Biafra War – Babcock University Staff, Ajibola

The University’s disclaimer is as follow below:

The attention of Babcock University has been drawn to a story titled”Babcock University staff goes on a rant; Says Igbos Should Have Been Wiped Out During the Biafran War”.
The story is credited to one Alaba Ajibola.

This is to inform the public that the said Ajibola is neither a staff of Babcock University nor does he represent the University in any way whatsoever. The said Ajibola was once a staff of the Institution but his engagement with the University in that capacity ceased long ago. There is no longer any relationship, whether imagined or real, between the said Ajibola and Babcock University. Therefore, the University dissociates itself from him and his comments.

Babcock University’s pride is in its diversity of people and cultures. It is a global institution, and accommodates people, without bias, from every continent of the world. This confers upon the University its mark of uniqueness and identity as a global brand. The Institution celebrates the diversity of humanity because it gives a sense of beauty, and an acknowledgement of the power of God, the creator of all.

Babcock University values every and all persons irrespective of creed, culture, race, religion, and political persuasions.

The noble achievements of the University have been made possible by the contributions of the exceptionally gifted and immensely great individuals from the different parts of this country, and those from other nations of the world, who have found joy working in the University.

Whereas Babcock University believes in freedom of expression, and places premium on autonomy and responsibility, it is never supportive and does not wish to accede to any divisive tendencies intentionally or unintentionally couched, and are capable of inflaming the embers of discord or potentially devised to dismember the nation.

The University wishes to thank members of the public for their continued faith in the Institution, and for believing in it as socially responsible.

The University will continue to promote love, unity, excellence, integrity and accountability in all it does.

Yours sincerely,
Joshua Suleiman,
Director, Communication and Marketing, Babcock University, Ogun State, Nigeria.

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Buhari Must Order Arrest Of Ango Abdullahi Over His Fulani Herdsmen Comment – Adeyanju

Deji-Adeyanju

Concerned Nigerians Convener, Deji Adeyanju

 

A pro-democracy and good governance group, Concerned Nigerians, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to order the immediate arrest of Professor Ango Abdullahi, a former vice-chancellor, over his recent comment on herdsmen that sparked outrage and drew condemnation, especially from the Southern leaders.

In an exclusive interview with Sunday Vanguard last week, Prof. Abdullahi had said that the kidnap of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Chief Olu Falae, was nothing extraordinary, even as he accused Southern leaders of a covert plot to split the unity of the north.

Adeyanju However, in a statement issued by its Convener, Deji Adeyanju on Tuesday, the group said it was surprised and disappointed in what it described as Professor Abdullahi’s brazen justification of the wanton killings of innocent Nigerians by herdsmen.

It said the Department of states Services, DSS, should invite the professor for questioning, maintaining that Abdullahi’s statement was hate speech capable of shattering the unity of the country.

According to the statement, “We have read Prof Ango Abdullahi’s alarming interview with the Vanguard Newspaper and are appalled that someone of his age, stature, education and professional qualification would provide brazen justification for the wanton and senseless murders of thousands of Nigerians by herdsmen.

“In his interview, Prof Abdullahi likened the killings of Nigerians by Fulani Herdsmen to a politically motivated ruse by “… the South…” to destroy the political unity of the North. He also made several other comments that are too incendiary to repeat here. “It is distressing that there are people who continue to politicise these senseless killings and who continually provide justification, and nuance, for them.

“It is also distressing that the political elite in the parts of the country continue to refer to colonial era grazing routes that involved the forceful acquisition and ceding of the ancestral homes and lands of the Nigerians in parts of the country, to cattle herders for use as grazing routes and continue to use such colonial-era machinations as justification for the disregard and disrespect for the constitution and laws of an independent Federal Republic of Nigeria and the human rights of her citizens.

“Shielding this brazen disregard for the property rights of whole peoples in intellectual garb is dangerous and provides a distressing setting for continued killings.

“In fact, Prof Abdullahi’s condemnable comments indicate more than just a passing knowledge of the killings, its organizers and what their objectives are. They indeed indicate a deep-rooted knowledge of these unfortunate events.

“We call on the Directorate of State Security (DSS) to invite Prof Abdullahi to reveal the extent of his knowledge behind the rationale for the killings. This is in keeping with similar invitations extended to others by the DSS to explain comments perceived by the DSS to be hate speech. “You will recall that the DSS even invited the spokesperson to a former military ruler, Ibrahim Babangida, for issuing a statement on behalf of his boss. “

Anything less will prove the fear expressed by many people across the country that there is institutional support for herdsmen to be true,” the statement concluded.                    (New Telegraph)

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Hate Speech: Offenders Risk 10 Years Jail, N25m Fine – IGP |The Republican News

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Inspector General of Police, Idris K. Ibrahim

From Magnus Eze, Abuja

Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, yesterday, explained why the military cannot dabble into enforcement of Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention ETC) Act, 2015, which the executive has categorised as “hate speech” in social media.

The IGP said enforcement of the law is not within the military’s purview.

He also disclosed that offenders risk 10 years jail time and N25 million fine, on conviction.

Idris reiterated that it is the responsibility of the police to maintain law and order in a democratic society, hence, the Armed Forces should not be allowed to arrest alleged purveyors of hate speeches.

Speaking at a roundtable organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA), in Abuja  for bloggers, online publishers, social media influencers and the traditional media, on the dangers of the current spate of hate speeches in the country, the police boss urged Nigerians to be mindful of Sections 24 and 26 of the Act.

Idris, who was represented by Mr London Joseph, reminded social media operators that an offender, on conviction risk imprisonment for 10 years and/or a minimum fine of 25m.

“For the avoidance of doubt, section 4 of the Police Act has empowered the Nigeria Police Force to arrest and prosecute criminal suspects in the country.

“However, section 47 (1) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention ETC) Act provides that law enforcement agencies shall have the power to prosecute offences under this Act while section 58 thereof defines law enforcement agencies to include “any agency for the time being responsible for implementation and enforcement of the provisions of this Act.”  Continuing, he added that, “as the Nigerian Army is not one of the law enforcement agencies envisaged by the Act and other penal laws, it should not be permitted to enforce any of the laws against hate speeches.”

Director of Defence Information, Major General John Enenche had recently explained that the military’s monitoring of the media was only to get information for threat analysis, which had nothing to do with monitoring hate speech on social media.

In his remarks, NOA Director General, Dr Garba Abari, noted that the vibrancy of every democracy was measured by the freedom the media enjoyed.

Abari said the emergence and activities of new news media have thrown up great concerns within the social space, hence the imperative of reasoning together, to “appreciate the dangers of conflict insensitive communication and possibly stimulate bloggers and social media enthusiasts to evolve a Code of Ethics, in order to self-regulate their practice.”

He also disclosed that the NOA had, in a bid to stem the dangerous tide, commenced a process of engaging bloggers and social med The programme has taken place in four geo-political zones of the country. They are North-Central, North West, South West and South South.     (The Sun)

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UN Alerts ECOWAS, AU On Human Rights, Condemn Northern Leaders For Endorsing Genocide Against The Igbo

 

 

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Following the UN experts’ report, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination held its 93rd session between July 31 and August 25, 2017. Acting under its “Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedure,” the Committee said it was deeply concerned “by the rise of racist hate speech and incitement to violence against the Igbo people, including through the recording and wide distribution of a song and audio message in Hausa language which describe the Igbos in hateful and derogatory terms.” It added that the Committee was “Alarmed by the public ultimatum issued by a number of northern youth groups, forums, and coalitions on 6 June 2017 calling all Igbos in northern Nigeria to leave their homes by 1 October 2017,” noting that the ultimatum “may have been recently withdrawn.”
The Committee decried “reports that other local elders and leaders have endorsed the ultimatum and expressed their support for such racist hate speech targeting and threatening the Igbos,” adding that it was “deeply worried by the information that some Igbo families have already started moving out from their villages and homes in northern Nigeria to avoid any possible harm to their personal integrity.”

The UN body drew attention to Nigeria’s membership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and of the African Union as well as a State party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. It stated that Nigeria must “increase its efforts in systematically rejecting and condemning, including by high-level and local public officials and leaders, any form of racist hate speech, incitement to hatred and violence, and the dissemination of ideas of ethnic superiority.”
The UN body recommended that Nigeria “take immediate action to stop and prevent the continued circulation and dissemination of the hateful song and audio message mentioned above,” and “to exercise due diligence to halt, prevent and investigate acts of racist hate speech and incitement to hatred and violence against the Igbo people, in accordance with international human rights standards, with a view to bringing perpetrators to justice, punishing them adequately if convicted, and compensating victims.”
The UN Committee urged Nigeria to “ensure the protection of all its citizens from ethnic hatred, and take effective measures to ensure that Igbo people can fully exercise their rights stipulated in the Convention, including the right to security of person and protection against violence or bodily harm, the right to freedom of movement and residence, and the right to own property.”
It finally called on “all local and national authorities in Nigeria to promptly and firmly address the underlying causes of the ethnic tensions in Nigeria, with a view to avoiding repeated ethnic-based violence, and to promote intercultural dialogue between different ethnic groups based on diversity, respect, and inclusiveness.”
According to the Committee, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights had been mandated “to draw the attention of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union to the human rights situation of the Igbo in northern Nigeria.”

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Buhari Advises Nigerians Against Use Of Harsh Words, Hate Speeches |RN

 

BuharisickinAsoRock

President Muhammadu Buhari

 

The Presidency on Wednesday advised opinion leaders in the country to exercise restraint in their choice of words as they criticise Buhari based on his position on restructuring.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, gave the advice in a statement.

Shehu said the restraint was necessary to avoid heating up the polity and causing acrimony across the country.

He noted that while Nigerians are free to express themselves, they should “exercise such liberty with restraint and a sense of responsibility.”

The presidential spokesman said calling Buhari an enemy of Nigeria was in “extremely bad taste.”

He added that nothing in the President’s service record would justify “such scurrilous language.”

Shehu said he was satisfied that majority of Nigerians welcomed Buhari’s broadcast.

He, however, said it was off the mark to criticise him for not responding to calls for restructuring.

“To criticise the President for not imposing a restructuring on the country – whatever that means – is completely off the mark,” he said.

Shehu said Buhari had no power to impose a restructuring on the country by military fiat.

He said National Assembly members were the elected representatives of the people who can handle agitations for restructuring and other constitutional changes.

He explained that the President is constitutionally bound to work with the National Assembly to deal with such issues, reminding critics that the President would not exercise arbitrary powers or bypass the legislature in taking fundamental decisions.

He added, “Changes don’t happen on a whim in a democracy. The ‘immediate effect’ military mentality cannot work under a democratic order.

“Since the President has sworn to defend the Constitution, he would remain faithful to that oath by working with the legislature in taking major decisions on the future of Nigeria’s federal system.

“The country’s parliament is ready and willing to discuss all issues but the pundits are more interested in TV and newspaper headlines.

“Threats don’t work in a democracy. Democracy requires planning and proper process. Issues are resolved through established processes, not by abuses, insults or irresponsible statements.”

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