Category Archives: Science and Technology

The police still ranks number one in corruption in Nigeria – Activist Eholor

Democracy Observer-General and social crusader, Comrade Patrick Eholor has decried the continued rot of corruption eating up the Nigerian Police Force.

Eholor, who made exhaustive but damning reference to a report by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), expressed that it has become expedient that a total reform be carried out in the Police Force, if the government considers its corruption war serious at all.

“As we begin to enter into a New Year, it saddens me that the road to a new Nigeria is still far away, since despite the efforts we made during #EndSARS, no effort has been made to clean up the Police Force.

“What they are doing is window dressing, while the real puke is still right there in the police. Take for instance this report by SERAP. It says that the police is number one in bribery and corruption, out of all the public institutions they surveyed.

“Looking at the survey, it says that “a bribe is paid in 54 per cent of interactions with the police. In fact, there is a 63 per cent probability that an average Nigerian would be asked to pay a bribe each time he or she interacted with the police. That is almost two out of three.”

The survey, which was presented to our reporter by Eholor, quoted the chair of the report launch, Akin Oyebode, as saying: “Nigeria is looked upon as a giant of Africa. Yet Nigeria could not conduct free, fair and credible elections. It is a smear on the image of Nigeria. If we do away with selective enforcement and condonation of corruption, we will build and live in a better society. Corruption is a refined form of stealing. The politicians are stealing our common patrimony. Development of the people is almost inversely proportional to the level of corruption.”

Part of the survey report stated: “Corruption remains a significant impediment to law enforcement, access to justice and basic public services such as affordable healthcare, education, and electricity supply. Several Nigerians have to pay a bribe to access police, judiciary, power, education and health services.

“Corruption is still a key concern in the country with 70% of Nigerians describing the level of corruption as high and in the same measure, stating that corruption levels either increased or remained the same in the last five years.”

“The national survey carried out between September and December 2018, covered the police, judiciary, power, education and health sectors to assess the state of corruption in law enforcement and public service provision.”

“From the analysis of the anti-corruption legal and institutional framework in Nigeria, the following cross-cutting issues emerged: there is lack of political goodwill to consistently enforce the different anti-corruption laws; inadequate funding for the various anti-corruption agencies; weak public support and/or ownership of anti-corruption initiatives; poor clarity of roles between various anti-corruption agencies; and public perceptions of politicisation of corruption arrests and prosecutions.”

“Bribery experiences were interrogated and recorded in the key sectors of education, health, the police, judiciary and power. Data analysis was conducted under five different and interrelated variables. There was a 63 per cent probability that an average Nigerian would be asked to pay a bribe each time he/she interacted with the police. The likelihood of bribery in the power sector stood at 49 per cent. With the chances of encountering bribery at the judiciary, education and health services standing at 27 per cent, 25 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.”

“The police were the most adversely ranked on this indicator. For every 100 police interactions reported by the respondents, there was a bribe paid in 54 interactions. The prevalence levels stood at 37 per cent in the power sector and 18 per cent in education,17.7 per cent in the judiciary and 14 per cent in the health sector.”

“51 per cent of the individuals that paid bribes to the police and 35 per cent to the power sector believed this was the only way to access the services sought from the institutions. The ranking of the education sector and the judiciary was less adverse with 16 per cent perceiving bribery as the main avenue of accessing services in the institutions, and health services recording 13 per cent.”

“The police and judiciary had the largest proportion of total bribes paid at 33 per cent and 31 per cent respectively. Bribes paid for education, power and health services accounted for 19 per cent, 10.9 and 5 per cent respectively of all bribes reported. The average amount of bribe paid by the respondents was highest among those who paid to the judiciary at about Naira 108,000 (US$ 298). All the other institutions ranked lower on this variable with Naira 12,253 and 11,566 reportedly paid to the police and education sectors, and Naira 6,462 and 5,143 paid for health and power services respectively.”

“Perceptions on corruption trends in Nigeria show almost 70 per cent of the respondents perceived the current level of corruption as high compared to 15.5 per cent that felt it was low. 70 per cent of the respondents said corruption levels either increased or remained the same in the last five years. Only a quarter of the respondents felt corruption reduced in this period.”

“About 41 per cent of the respondents projected that corruption will either increase or remain the same in the next year. About a third of the respondents (31.5 per cent) believed the ruling elite are pursuing their selfish interests only, therefore, corruption levels will increase into the future. Additionally, about a quarter of the respondents (24.9 per cent) believed the current anti-corruption efforts are not comprehensive enough. The poor state of the economy was also seen as a driving factor to increased corruption at 17.2 per cent.”

“Respondents identified poor coordination among the different state players as a key obstacle at 18.4 per cent. Lack of political will from the government and weak public support were ranked second at 12 per cent. Civic action against poor governance:

54.8 per cent of the respondents reported that they had not taken any action against poor governance. That more than half of the respondents were unwilling to initiate action is alarming and points to low confidence levels that appropriate measures would be taken even if the respondents took action.”

“This assumption is buttressed by the finding that 82 per cent of the actions taken were either not responded to or deemed sufficiently appropriate. Low civic action may also indicate low levels of public awareness on what redress mechanisms exist or how to access them.”

“The federal government should establish an independent commission of inquiry to conduct a transparent, comprehensive, and impartial investigation into systemic corruption within the Nigeria Police Force, judiciary, and the ministries of power, education and health.”

“The Inspector General of Police should receive and investigate complaints of bribery and corruption against police officers filed by members of the public. The police should liaise with community leaders and civil society organisations in regard to incidents of police bribery and corruption within the community.”

“The Chief Justice of Nigeria and the National Judicial Council should identify and review all outstanding cases of judicial corruption and refer such cases to appropriate anti-corruption agencies. They should apply the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers in a consistent and transparent manner, with full respect for the fundamental guarantees of fair trial and due process.”

“The Chief Justice of Nigeria and the NJC should publish annual reports of all activities involving the judiciary, including expenditure, and provide the public with reliable information about its governance and organisation, including the number of judges found to be corrupt, as well as ensure that the Chief Justice of Nigeria and all other judges make periodic asset disclosures.”

“The National Assembly should move swiftly to amend the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act to ensure public access to asset declarations made by public officials, and urgently pass the Proceeds of Crime Bill, the Whistleblowers Bill, and the Witness Protection Bill among other relevant pieces of legislation.”

“The National Assembly should immediately publish all reports of investigations on corruption and corruption-related matters in the judiciary, education, power and health sectors among others that have been conducted by the National Assembly since the return of democracy in 1999.”

“A positive legacy by the in-coming administration on 29 May 2019 and the recently appointed Inspector General of Police will mean improving accountability of the police, and proactively working to end all forms of corruption within the rank and file of the police. The Inspector General of Police should streamline and prioritise internal control mechanisms by establishing an Ethics and Integrity Unit at each police station. The unit should include a human rights officer, an anti-corruption officer, and an officer responsible for service delivery complaints.”

“The survey targeted a total of 2,655 respondents selected from seven states spread across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria and the capital city of Abuja. The sample was proportionate to population size across these zones. The survey covered the police, judiciary, power, education and health sectors to assess the state of corruption in public law enforcement and service provision.”

“Data for the survey was collected through a survey among ordinary citizens picked through simple random sampling of Nigerians above 18 years; in-depth interviews with key governance experts including representatives of national anti-corruption bodies, trade unions, the business community, media, lawyers, academia, people living with disability and university student leaders; and a review of the legal and institutional frameworks guiding anti-corruption efforts in Nigeria to assess their effectiveness.”

Zucked: United States government wants to break up Facebook

Less than 2 months ago, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) smacked Google with an antitrust case.

In perhaps the greatest “hold my beer” ever, another government agency — the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) — just launched an antitrust case of its own against Facebook.

And, unlike the Google case, this case is aiming for a breakup of its Big Tech target, according to the New York Times.
More than 40 states will join in on the lawsuit.

The meat of the case concerns Facebook’s history of buying on-the-rise social apps and snuffing out future competition.

Of particular note are Facebook’s acquisitions of:
Instagram for $1B in 2012
WhatsApp for $19B 2014
Today, Facebook is a $790B+ behemoth with annual revenue of $80B+ and 4 products that boast 1B+ users: Facebook (2.7B), WhatsApp (2B), Messenger (1.3B), Instagram (1.1B).

Few major antitrust cases have tried to unwind previous mergers.

One of Facebook’s defenses is the very fact that the FTC approved these mergers years ago.

Facebook further contends that without its infrastructure and social expertise, the likes of Instagram and WhatsApp would not have seen the same growth.

In more recent years, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has latched onto TikTok as an argument against a breakup of Facebook:

First, the video app’s hockey stick rise proves that social media remains competitive.
Second, Facebook is a defense against the rise of social apps from China, a country which has a “dangerous” approach to internet regulation, according to Zuckerberg.

Prosecutors want to break up Facebook and block future deals.

These are “some of the most severe penalties regulators can demand” according to the New York Times.

The case — which took 18 months to put together — will likely take years to resolve.

Somewhat ironically, Facebook announced a $1B acquisition of chatbot startup Kustomer last week.

If the FTC wins this deal, the period of freewheeling Big Tech M&A may come to an end.

The Hustle

Chairman of Samsung Group, Lee Kun-hee dies at 78

SEOUL, South Korea –

Samsung Electronics Co. said in a statement that its chairman, Lee Kun-hee, died Sunday. He was 78.

No cause of death was given by the company, but Lee had been incapacitated since suffering a heart attack in 2014, according to The New York Times.

“All of us at Samsung will cherish his memory and are grateful for the journey we shared with him,” the company said in a statement.

Lee Kun-hee, who built Samsung into a global technology giant and was convicted — and pardoned — twice for white-collar crimes, has died at 78.

https://t.co/btOzkyVwUB
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 25, 2020

Lee was born in Daegu, in Japanese-occupied Korea, on Jan. 9, 1942, He built Samsung into a global giant of smartphones, televisions and computer chips, the newspaper reported. He was convicted twice — but pardoned twice — for white-collar crimes.

Lee took over the company in 1987 after the death of his father and Samsung’s founder, Lee Byung-chul. He steered Samsung past American and Japanese rivals to become the market leader in memory chips, according to the Times. The company also dominated flat-panel screens and established itself in the mobile market as cellphones became more of a computer device during the 2000s.

Samsung sells Galaxy phones and makes the screens and microchips that power Apple’s iPhones and Google Android phones, according to The Associated Press.

Forbes estimated in January 2017 that Lee’s fortune was worth $16 billion, according to the AP.

In 1996, Lee was convicted of bribing South Korea’s president, but was then pardoned, the Times reported.

Years later, Lee was convicted of tax evasion but was pardoned again so he could help South Korea lobby to bring the Winter Olympics to the mountain town of Pyeongchang in 2018.

Chinese Tecno phones with built-in malware that steals users’ data on sale in Africa

Malware which signed users up to subscription services without their permission has been found on thousands of mobiles sold in Africa.

Anti-fraud firm Upstream found the malicious code on 53,000 Tecno handsets, sold in Ethiopia, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana and South Africa.

Manufacturer Transsion told Buzzfeed it was installed in the supply chain without its knowledge.

Upstream said it was taking advantage of the “most vulnerable”.

“The fact that the malware arrives pre-installed on handsets that are bought in their millions by typically low-income households tells you everything you need to know about what the industry is currently up against,” said Geoffrey Cleaves, head of Upstream’s Secure-D platform.

The Triada malware found by the firm on the Android smartphones installs malicious code known as xHelper which then finds subscription services and submits fraudulent requests on behalf of users, doing so invisibly and without the user’s knowledge.

If the request is successful, it consumes pre-paid airtime, the only way to pay for digital services in many developing countries.

In total, Upstream found what it described as “suspicious activity” on more than 200,000 Tecno smartphones.

According to research firm IDC, Transsion Holdings is one of China’s leading phone manufacturers and in Africa it is the top-selling mobile manufacturer.

In response Tecno Mobile said that the issue was “an old and solved mobile security issue globally” to which it issued a fix in March 2018.

“For current W2 consumers that are potentially facing Triada issues now, they are highly recommended to download the over-the-air fix through their phone for installation or contact Tecno’s after-sales service support for assistance in any questions,” the firm told the BBC in a statement.

It added that it is attached “great importance to consumers’ data security and product safety”.

“Every single software installed on each device runs through a series of rigorous security checks, such as our own security scan platform,” it added.

At the beginning of the year, security firm Malwarebytes warned that similar pre-installed apps were found on another Chinese Android phone – the UMX U686CL. This handset was offered to low-income families in the US via a government scheme.

And in 2016, researcher Ryan Johnson found that more than 700 million Android smartphones had malware installed.

Google, which developed the Android operating system, is aware of the issue.

In a blog written last year it blamed third-party vendors, used by manufacturers to install features such as face unlock, for pre-installing Triada malware.

It said it had worked with manufacturers to remove the threat from devices.

BBC

Aba Automated Shoe Factory, Best In Nigeria – Technical Partner

The Technical Partner of the Aba Automated Shoe Factory, Mr Osaro Ekonweren, has described the Aba Automated Shoe Factory as currently having the most updated shoe producing machines in the country.Mr. Ekonweren said this yesterday in an exclusive interview immediately after the inauguration of the Board of the Company by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.According to the Technical Partner, “we were amazed and impressed by what we saw on ground. Our group has been into shoe production in Nigeria for over a decade now and I must confess that the machines we saw there when we went on inspection cannot be found anywhere in the country. We use machines in our own company but we have is no where near what is at the Aba Shoe Factory”.Mr. Ekonweren said that at present, the factory has an installed capacity for the production of 5000 pairs of shoes every day which translates to about 2 million pairs of shoes annually, with facilities for expansion and assured that they plan to actually expand this capacity within the next one year.He saluted the foresight of Governor Ikpeazu and confirmed that the factory will change the face of shoe production in Nigeria.He said that his organization was selected as Technical Partners for the factory based on a proven and verifiable track record of quality automated shoe production spanning over 10 years. He stated that they make shoes for companies like PEP of South Africa and several others, assuring that the products from the Aba factory will be well received by the markets. According to him, products from this factory will not just be for the local market here but will be sold across West Africa and beyond.He assured that the factory will be run as a professional and commercial outfit with clear opportunities for value addition and job creation.On when actual production will commence at the factory, he assured that they will start test runs in the next two weeks while they will start production by the second week of September. He made it clear that by December this year, shoes from the factory would have gained ground in the local and international markets. He also stated that the factory will also produce other leather works like bags, belts, wallets, etc.Also speaking, the Executive Director, Operations of the Factory, Mr Chinenye Nwaogu said that with the new management structure in place, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has sent a clear message that the factory will be run solely on a basis of professionalism inspired by commercial expediency. He said that the 30 shoe makers who were sent to China by the Governor for training on the use of machines in shoe production will form the initial technical staff of the factory while there will be huge emphasis on training for more operators.Mr Nwaogu said that the apparent delay in the start of production at the factory was because the Governor insisted that a professional organization must be found to run the place and the process took some time, coupled with the pandemic of COVID-19 which shut down the country for about three months.The Governor inaugurated the Board of the Factory yesterday and gave them a clear mandate to raise the bar and cement the place of Abia State as the powerhouse of leather works in Nigeria and West Africa. The Board has Mr. Mark Atasie, a Management Consultant as Chairman.More photos: