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Agonizing stories of Bakassi communities where rampaging militants shoot, maltreat kids

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Almost every day, children as young as five endure beatings, shootings, and various forms of abuse by armed militants at their makeshift, raffia-roofed homes. Over the past five months, there have been three reported incidents where children were shot, leading to the tragic death of two.

In one case, a daughter from the Ine Utang fishing settlement in the Dayspring community, Bakassi, was reportedly shot in the arm and is enduring excruciating pain due to the absence of medical facilities. In interviews, children revealed that the militants enforce compliance and do not tolerate hesitation in carrying out their orders.

One such child, Chris Akpan, who is barely ten years old, appeared worn-out with tattered clothes and sores on his body. Whether these injuries result from beatings by militants or infections remains uncertain. Chris, along with four others, came on holiday from Ikot Ekpene in Akwa Ibom State to visit their parents in the settlement, only to face constant harassment by armed militants.

These militants, armed with guns and knives, routinely seize the fish and crayfish caught by parents, along with extorting money and petrol for their boats. Children are forced to assist them in various tasks, and refusal can lead to physical harm or even death. Two children have already lost their lives due to such brutalities.

Ubong Etim, an eight-year-old, expressed the desire to attend school like other children but lamented the absence of educational facilities. The children of Ine Utang fishing settlement, totaling over 1500, lack access to health facilities, and in cases of serious ailments, they must use canoes or speed boats to travel nearly two hours to Calabar.

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The settlement, comprising about 200 small raffia houses, suffered the burning of some huts a month ago, leaving affected families homeless and squatting. The lack of security, schools, and healthcare facilities places the community at the mercy of militant groups operating from the Bakassi creeks.

While there are territorial disputes involving Cameroon and Akwa Ibom State, the settlement is currently administered by Cross River State. The absence of government presence leaves the community vulnerable to attacks, and the elders plead for increased naval presence and surveillance to ensure security.

In response to the dire situation, the Nigerian Navy conducted a free medical outreach for over 200 inhabitants, acknowledging the pressing issues of militancy, hunger, and disease in the area. The commander of the Nigerian Navy Ship in the region emphasized the need for continued intervention to alleviate the suffering of the community.

A militant group, the Dragon Fighter Marine, claims control over the territory, asserting it as Biafran territory and prohibiting navigation and oil explorations. Recent clashes between this group and the Rapid d’intervention Battalions resulted in casualties, further endangering the rural population, especially children, who bear the brunt of criminal activities in the area.

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Cofinity Group, Inc. Announces Strategic Channel Partnerships with Leading African Data Center Providers

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The pace of technology adoption and digitization is accelerating in Africa, driving the need for highly secure data center facilities with exceptional levels of power availability, redundancy, and connectivity
TAMPA, United States of America, July 23, 2024/ — Cofinity Group, Inc. (CGI) (www.CofinityGroup.com), a leader in the data center industry for over 15 years, is pleased to announce strategic Channel Partnership Agreements with leading data center providers in Africa including PAIX Data Centres, Rack Centre, Raxio, and Digital Realty which includes Digital Realty’s African entities; iColo, Teraco and Digital Realty Nigeria. Collectively, these data center providers operate in markets that represent over 75% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP across 11 countries.

The pace of technology adoption and digitization is accelerating in Africa, driving the need for highly secure data center facilities with exceptional levels of power availability, redundancy, and connectivity. “CGI is in a unique position to help enterprises secure and optimize their mission-critical applications in key African markets with experienced, trusted data center operators. We have had the privilege of working with the leading data center providers in Africa and we are confident that enterprises will benefit from our deep knowledge and streamlined commercial processes”, said Ray Lawless President of CGI.

“Cofinity Group’s initiative is further evidence of the surging demand in Africa for the services of data center companies. We welcome CGI’s role in bringing together key sectors, such as Fintech, with data center providers in Africa, continuing the transformation of Africa’s digital infrastructure and accelerating economic growth”, said Ayotunde Coker, Chairman of the Africa Data Centres Association.

Enterprises opting for a colocation solution can secure their mission-critical operations in a cost-effective manner, benefitting from the data center’s robust infrastructure and connectivity, while also allowing for future growth with access to expansion space and increased power capacity. CGI’s vast experience in various markets and close relationships with these data center operators provides a unique opportunity to assist enterprises looking to migrate to a quality colocation data center solution in Africa.

More information regarding our channel partner arrangements can be found on our website at www.CofinityGroup.com/partners
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Cofinity Group Inc..
About Cofinity Group, Inc.:
Cofinity Group has worked extensively with global data center operators since 2008, assisting these fast-growing businesses by arranging financing for organic growth and M&A transactions. We have extensive experience working with management teams to develop business cases and long-term plans for delivering profitable growth and establishing KPIs to track business performance. In addition, we have worked with client management teams to prepare investment analyses for over 100 data center builds and expansions across many continents. To learn more about Cofinity Group, please visit www.CofinityGroup.com or follow us on LinkedIn (http://apo-opa.co/46dxJwF).

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Abuja Set To Commence Smart City Project

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In an unprecedented move that promises to revolutionise Nigeria’s capital, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is set to commence the transformative Abuja Smart City Project.

The convener of the Abuja Smart City Project, Dr Ahmed Badanga, who made this known yesterday at a roadshow event, underscored the project’s aim which is to harness data and technology to elevate Abuja to the ranks of the world’s most advanced cities.

The event marks the beginning of an ambitious vision that aims to transform Abuja into a smart city by 2040, positioning it alongside global metropolises like Dubai and Hong Kong.
Badanga, who is also the chief executive officer of ioSafe Nigeria, said the city’s existing infrastructure, provides a solid foundation for this transformation, and that Abuja currently has the infrastructure that they can key into to become smart like any other country.

“We are going to be unveiling the strategic roadmap for the smart city, as well as the logo for the smart city. Our vision is between now, 2024 to 2040, we should be able to be like Dubai, Hong Kong, and others,” he said.

Moreover, the Abuja Smart City Project enjoys the support of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Dr Badanga praised the efforts of the minister of FCT, who has laid down significant infrastructure.

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“We believe that the Honorable Minister of FCT has been doing very much, and we know that he’s going to do more. But what we are saying is that it goes beyond just infrastructure; we also need to take technology to drive the city,” he said.

Robb Moore, the founder of ioSafe said, ‘I am excited to be here in Nigeria for my very first trip to Abuja, to speak at the Smart City Smart Data conference.”

“We are going to be talking a lot about smart city and smart data and how to hopefully make Nigeria grow and Abuja grow. We will talk about what I have learned in Silicon Valley and how we can help Nigeria grow stronger,” he said.

CREDIT: LEADERSHIP NEWS

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Nigeria, UK Collaborate To Counter Terrorists’ Use Of Drones In Nigeria

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The National Counter Terrorism Centre, Office of the National Security Adviser (NCTC-ONSA) and the UK Government have taken steps to mitigate aviation threats associated with counter-terrorism operations in Nigeria.

The national coordinator, NCTC, Maj.-Gen. Adamu Laka, speaking at the opening of the Counter Man-Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS) Workshop in Abuja yesterday, said the workshop was one of the aviation security aspects covered during the Nigeria-UK Strategic Defence Partnership Conference in February 2024.

He said the use of unmanned aerial vehicles by terrorists and other criminal elements to disrupt the country’s socio-economic activities was of serious concern.

He added that the development must be adequately tackled through continuous collaboration by aviation security stakeholders.

According to him, the workshop is a welcome development and could not have come at a better time as no agency can solely achieve laudable success in the fight against terrorism.

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“It once again emphasises the need for us to work together, identifying our crucial roles and collaborating to record great progress in the country’s aviation security.

“It therefore stresses the need for inter-agency collaboration and cross-border relationships to stem this tide because terrorism recognizes no borders.

In view of this, the NCTC-ONSA in collaboration with the UK Department for Transport Aviation Security seeks to address this aspect of aviation security management in Nigeria with this workshop.

“This workshop should be seen as a call to re-awakening for collaborative effort which we all must embrace, as victory by one is victory by all of us and a greater victory for our entire nation, the African continent and the world at large,’’ he said.

On his part the Aviation Security Assistance officer for the UK Department for Transport, at the British High Commission, Mr Jonathan Kendall said the workshop was looking to mitigate what he called a ‘standoff threat’.

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Kendall said that while a nation could secure the terminal building as much as it could, the workshop looks at countering the wider threat beyond the perimeter fence.

According to him, on takeoff and landing, aircraft are vulnerable to shoulder launched missiles which can impact an aircraft up to 30,000ft.

“So we have brought a team from the Royal Air Force regiment who are experienced in countering these threats and they are looking to further develop the Nigerian capability in this area, particularly in the area of vulnerability mapping.

“So I would expect the Nigerian agencies to further develop their MANPADS capability, the counter MANPADS capability, particularly when it comes to patrolling and mapping vulnerable areas of the airport,’’ he said.

CREDIT: DAILY POST

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