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Defence and Security

Lawsuit Looms for NAF Personnel Over Security Breach at EFCC Kaduna

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has revealed its intention to take legal action against Nigerian Air Force personnel who were released on administrative bail by its Kaduna Zonal Command once the ongoing investigation is concluded. This announcement was made in a release posted on the EFCC website on Monday, as communicated by the Head of Media and Publicity, Dele Oyewale.

Previously, certain members of the Nigerian Air Force had been granted administrative bail on Friday.

The officers were returned to their service following strict adherence to the bail procedures of the commission. The commission emphasizes that no one is above the law, and the due process will be observed in concluding the case,” stated Oyewale.

The EFCC had previously revealed that officers of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) were implicated in a security breach. The agency highlighted that the NAF officers were apprehended for attempting to release suspected fraudsters who had been arrested by the EFCC.

Oyewale said, “Operatives of the Kaduna Zonal Command of the EFCC, on Monday, November 13, 2023, arrested five suspects at a residential Inn and Disney Chicken Eatery, Barnawa, Kaduna following credible intelligence about their alleged internet- related fraud activities.

The suspected fraudsters: Favour Itung, Rachael Ande, Zuleiman Haruna, Abubakar Ismaila and Solomon Olobatoke were arrested without incident.

“However, after the sting operation, six military personnel who witnessed the operation at Disney Chicken Eatery, stormed the Kaduna Command and tried to forcefully release the arrested fraud suspects. They were subdued and detained over the security breach.

The intruders consist of four Air Force personnel: Lawal Abdullahi, Chukwuma Christian, Alfa Suleiman, and Emmanuel Ekwozor, along with two students from the Nigerian Air Force Institute of Technology, Chidera Anuba and Joseph Tokula. While in custody, there were inter-agency communications and discussions between the leadership of the EFCC and the Nigerian Air Force to resolve the issues.

“Regrettably, negotiations for the release of the apprehended Air Force personnel broke down on Friday, November 17, 2023, when some disruptive NAF Officers forcibly entered the Kaduna Command in a commando-style operation to release their detained colleagues.

“Despite the provocation and abuse of power, the EFCC exercised restraint. The Commission continued to engage with the leadership of the Nigeria Air Force and eventually released the officers to the NAF Provost after completing their proper profiling. The EFCC reassures the public that it will persist in fulfilling its statutory mandate to address all cases of economic and financial crimes, without obstruction.”

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Defence and Security

Ukraine Builds AI Drone Fleets to Combat Russian Forces

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By Emmanuel Ogbodo

Ukrainian tech startups like Vyriy and Swarmer are developing AI-powered drones to assist in the ongoing conflict with Russia. These drones can operate in synchronized fleets, completing strikes or surveillance missions autonomously, without continuous human intervention. Swarmer CEO Serhiy Kupriienko highlights the necessity of automation at scale, stating that managing a swarm of 10 to 20 drones manually is nearly impossible, whereas AI can handle “hundreds” simultaneously.

Ukraine has been using drones in its defense for over a year, but Russian signal jamming has been a significant issue, disrupting human-operated drones mid-flight. AI-powered drones, however, are immune to this problem since they don’t rely on continuous signals once a mission is assigned. This capability enhances their operational reliability and effectiveness.

The AI lead for a Ukraine-backed tech accelerator noted that the ultimate goal is to deploy drones with no human connection on the front lines, aiming for more effective AI-guided strikes. Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation, emphasized that maximum automation is crucial for Ukraine’s victory.

Some autonomous drones are already active on the battlefield, targeting Russian assets such as oil refineries using machine vision technology. Autonomous weaponized helicopters are also in development, potentially reducing the need for direct human involvement further.

Noah Sylvia, a research analyst at the UK think tank Royal United Services Institute, explained that the AI drones use machine vision, a form of AI trained to identify geographic and target-specific features.

While the use of autonomous drones raises ethical concerns, it could decrease the human cost of the war. As of August last year, Ukraine’s death toll exceeded 70,000 according to a report cited by Congress. However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reported a lower figure of 31,000 Ukrainian troop deaths as of February this year.

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Defence and Security

Navy Pledges to Combat Oil Theft in Niger Delta

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The Nigerian Navy has reaffirmed its commitment to eradicating oil theft in the Niger Delta region, aiming for a 100% reduction in crude oil theft. Commodore Desmond Igbo, Commander of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) PATHFINDER, made this declaration in Port Harcourt during a grueling 12-kilometer march with his team, marking the second quarter route march.

Igbo said, “The exercise aims to maintain the physical fitness of Navy personnel, ensuring they can perform their duties effectively and efficiently. Fitness is crucial in the Navy, and the quarterly route marches are essential for maintaining the readiness of Navy men and officers.”

He attributed the success recorded in the fight against oil theft to the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ikechukwu Ogalla’s mandate and pledged to build on this momentum to achieve total victory over oil thieves.

The commander noted that Nigeria’s oil production has surged from 1.1 million barrels per day to nearly 1.7 million barrels per day, a testament to the Navy’s collaborative efforts with other security agencies.

Igbo said, “The men behind me are our men, so we went for an almost 12-kilometre walk, and all of us came back completely. Nobody dropped on the way, so that shows you how fit we are to carry out our duties, especially the Anti-bunkering duties.

“We must prevent the enemies of Nigeria from stealing our crude oil and to God be the glory and in pursuance of the Chief of Naval Staff Mandate, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ikechukwu Ogalla, that we must reduce the incident of oil theft in the Niger Delta and to God be the glory, we have also reduced it to at least 90 percent.

“We are ready to reduce the oil theft incident in Niger Delta to 100 percent if not, God willing, we will do that; the oil production had increased, as you are aware when we came in, it was about 1.1 million, but now we are talking about close to 1.7 million barrels per day, so that is our work and what we have done in collaboration with other security agencies to achieve this feat,” he said.

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Defence and Security

Military Intercepts Terrorist Plan to Attack Strategic Installations

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The Defence Headquarters has announced that its intelligence agencies have discovered a plot by Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists to launch attacks on Nigeria’s critical infrastructure, revealing a sinister plan to destabilize the country.

Director Defence Media Operations, Major General Edward Buba who disclosed this while briefing Journalists on Thursday however said the military has emplaced measures to foil such attacks.

Maj.-Gen. Buba said, “We are aware of some of the plans to target some critical infrastructure in the country. Accordingly, we have emplaced measures to forestall such plans.

“Security agencies responsible for securing critical infrastructure and facilities have also been placed on alert. Accordingly, some of such plans have been frustrated”.

The Defence spokesman also called on citizens to support the military in their fight against terrorists by providing useful information to the troops to enable them fish our terrorists’ collaborators amongst the communities.

“These terrorists are the enemy that must be fought and defeated. They are responsible for keeping the nation in an almost constant state of counter terrorism and counter insurgency,” Buba said.

He emphasised that troops are confronted by a vicious enemy that is constantly trying to kill citizens or have killed citizens.

He reiterated that the terror groups are responsible for perpetrating insecurity across the country and “will not stop doing what they are doing, until they are stopped”.

He said “in this fight, citizens must understand that, we must never compromise on security, otherwise everyone’s security will be compromised. This is a situation that cannot be over emphasised for us to live in safety and security”.

The DHQ image maker stressed that the military is doing what is needed by forcing the terrorists to pay a price for every act of aggression against the citizens.

“We recognise and have included this as part of our strategy to win the war. Overall, we have no choice but to fight for the safety and security of our citizens. We also fight to safeguard our nation and preserve our way of life as a people. For us as a force, Defence is the essence of what we do as an armed forces.

“Accordingly, we would defeat the terrorists on the battlefield and help our nation flourish again,” General Buba said.

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