The Department of State Services (DSS) has raised the alarm that National Assembly members would be targets of kidnappers and bandits during the Yuletide.
The security service also confirmed plots by elements it described as desperate power seekers to cause a breakdown of law and order in the country.
At a news briefing in Abuja on Tuesday, DSS disclosed that intelligence at its disposal showed that National Assembly members were primary targets of kidnappings and assassinations during the Yuletide.
It also warned that students would be targets for recruitment into banditry and other crimes during their vacation
DSS Public Relations Officer Peter Afunanya said some desperate power-seekers were using wrong and skewed narratives to mislead citizens and heat up the polity.
He said the unscrupulous elements are exploiting and politicising insecurity in many parts of the country for pecuniary reasons.
Afunanya said: “The Service, therefore, warns that those who are involved in these (plots) should desist from such destabilising acts. It also enjoins politicians to play by the rule and avoid statements or activities capable of inflaming the fires of division and violence, prior to the 2023 elections.
“Opinion molders like the clergy, religious and traditional rulers are also to guard their utterances and avoid inciting pronouncements.
“In a related development, it is common knowledge that criminal elements will heighten their inglorious activities before, during, and after the festive periods.
“Therefore, religious and community leaders, hoteliers and operators of markets, parks, recreational and relaxation centres are to be on the alert and watch strange movements and activities around their facilities.
“As schools vacate and students return home for holidays, there is the likelihood that subversive gangs will target them for recruitment for undesirable intents. These may include, but not limited to financial crimes, armed robbery, civil disobedience and violent protests, substance abuse, banditry, and kidnapping.
He added: “Aside from students, members of National Assembly/ Houses of Assembly and other public/private sector workers on vacation may be predisposed to threats of various degrees.
“This also applies to Nigerians who may travel from within and outside the country to join their loved ones for the celebrations.
“These individuals are susceptible to kidnapping, hijack, assassinations, armed robbery, and political manipulations. They are advised to be security conscious in order not to fall victims of these attacks and destructive political maneuvers.”
Afunanya accused the legal team of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, of misleading the public with fake news on how their client is being treated in custody.
He said contrary to the rumour being peddled, Kanu is not being starved or ill-treated in any way.
Afunanya added: “We deny all the inciting allegations by IPOB and states that Nnamdi Kanu is not, in any way, maltreated in custody. Accusations of maltreatment negate the service standard operating procedure on the implementation of rights of a suspect.”
Google set to invest $9.5bn in US
Google has announced plans to invest $9.5bn in its US offices and data centers around the country in 2022, up from more than the $7bn it spent in 2021.
According to CNN, the big bet on office space was coming at a point Google was embracing a hybrid work model. The Alphabet-owned company has called for many of its employees to work in an office three days a week after two years of being fully remote.
The Chief Executive Officer of Alphabet and Google, Sundar Pichai, said, “It might seem counterintuitive to step up our investment in physical offices even as we embrace more flexibility in how we work.
“Yet we believe it’s more important than ever to invest in our campuses and that doing so will make for better products, a greater quality of life for our employees, and stronger communities.”
Google said it would open an office in Atlanta this year and continue to develop and expand office space in Austin and New York. It added that it planned to continue investing in data centers in Iowa, Nebraska, and Tennessee, among other states.
As part of the announcement, Google said it expected to create at least 12,000 new full-time jobs at the company this year.
Google and other tech companies were among the first businesses to shift to remote work when the pandemic hit in early 2020. But that shift always appeared to be temporary. Like others in Silicon Valley, Google had previously invested billions in expansive campuses and lavish office benefits for workers.
European markets pull back amid doubts over latest Russian pledges over Ukraine
European stocks retreated on Wednesday following the latest round of talks between Russia and Ukraine, aimed at finding a solution to the conflict.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 0.8% in early trade, with autos shedding 1.9% to lead losses, while oil and gas stocks gained 1.7%.
In terms of individual share price movement, Finland’s Nokian Tyres fell 6.6%, while Sweden’s Lundin Energy added 4.7%.
Investor sentiment was boosted on Tuesday following negotiations between Russian and Ukrainian officials in Turkey, at which Russia’s deputy defense minister claimed Moscow had decided to “drastically” cut back its military activity near Ukraine’s capital.
Alexander Fomin, who spoke following the talks in Istanbul, said Russia would slow its military operations near Kyiv and Chernihiv in order for peace talks to progress. Russia previously claimed that it would reduce military operations in other parts of Ukraine but then continued its advance.
Growing hope for a cease-fire appeared to boost investor sentiment Tuesday, as Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 200 points, or 0.6%. S&P 500 futures also climbed 0.6%, while Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 0.7%. Meanwhile, the price of U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil, which spiked on the heels of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, fell more than 4% to $100 per barrel.
Doubts have set in over the pledge, however, and while the Russian military has begun moving some of its troops in Ukraine away from areas around Kyiv to positions elsewhere in Ukraine, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby warned the troop movements do not amount to a retreat.
Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Wednesday trade as investors watch for developments surrounding the war in Ukraine. Stateside, traders are keeping tabs on a slew of key economic reports, while also monitoring the Federal Reserve’s planned interest rate hikes.
The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey on Tuesday showed 11.3 million job openings, higher than the 11.1 million expected. The ADP will also release its private payrolls data ahead of the closely watched monthly jobs report, on Friday.
Lagos Assembly kicks against harassment of residents by police
Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, yesterday, cautioned police in the state against harassment, intimidation and extortion of residents.
Obasa said this on the floor of the House when lawmakers honoured outgoing Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu, who has been promoted to Assistant Inspector-General, and is due to retire in January 2022.
Obasa said Odumosu was honoured as the first Commissioner of Police in the state to stand before the lawmakers and address Lagosians on his experience policing the state.
The Speaker thanked Odumosu for his openness and responsiveness to issues affecting the peace of the state.
“It is important to call on those behind you to know that the relationship between the police and the people need to be constantly improved upon,” Obasa said, adding that men of the Nigeria Police Force need to build more trust among the people.
“Everybody must be treated with respect, dignity and honour. And that is how we can earn respect. Policing should not be about harassment and extortion but building trust among the people and making them comfortable,” Obasa said.
The Commissioner of Police, who led a team of officers to the House, thanked the lawmakers for their support. According to him, nothing could have been achieved in terms of security and peace in the state without assistance of the House.
He said he would remain grateful to Lagosians for making it possible for him and his team to effectively manage the security of the state.
Odumosu, who described Lagos as ‘mini-Nigeria’, said proactivity of the Assembly led to the creation of laws that helped the police remain successful in the state.
He said the Cultism Prohibition Law also helped to reduce illegal associations in tertiary institutions in the state and enlightened property owners and residents.
“We promise to continue to excel in providing watertight security for people of the state,” he told the lawmakers. He also promised he would encourage his successor to sustain the relationship between the police and the House, while urging the lawmakers to extend their support to his successor.
“Policing Lagos is not a tea party. Without the laws in Lagos, it would have been difficult to police the state. Don’t get tired, don’t relent in making laws that would make Lagos maintain its place as the most peaceful state in Nigeria,” he said.
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