Russian investigative authorities have arrested the director of a major arms manufacturing company on suspicion of fraud, according to a media report.
“Yuri Shumsky, General-Director of the state enterprise ‘Sverdlov Plant, one of the country’s largest companies for the production of explosives, was arrested,’’ the daily Kommersant posted online on Monday evening.
The case was said to concern export transactions with NATO countries, which were carried out through intermediaries in Switzerland and Austria, among other countries.
Shumsky was only appointed director of the factory shortly before the war began.
Officially, it was a case of pure fraud: 7-10 per cent of the contract sum was siphoned off via letterbox companies, they said.
Duma deputy Dmitry Kuznetsov, who had called for the investigation, spoke of a self-cleaning of the industry after the arrest.
However, political motivation cannot be ruled out.
Kuznetsov had called for investigations into the export of explosives to Bulgaria, Britain, Serbia and Cyprus.
The explosives could have been used for military purposes in hostile NATO countries, he complained.
Shumsky had only been appointed director of Sverdlov Plant at the beginning of the year, after a series of explosions and fires in the manufacturing halls, among other things, had occurred under his predecessor.
Even after the start of the Russian war against Ukraine, there were a number of accidents in Russian defence companies, which led to speculation about sabotage.
The Cypriot coastguard picked up 137 migrants on board a boat east of the island on Tuesday, the second such operation in as many days.
The coastguard also said that some 300 migrants in distress were rescued 110 nautical miles (204 kilometres) south-east of the Mediterranean island on Monday.
The people had set out from Lebanon and were to be sent back there soon, state radio RIK reported, citing the coastguard.
There was a repatriation agreement between Lebanon and Cyprus.
They were in a major joint operation with a freighter travelling in the area.
According to the coastguard, all of the passengers were brought to the freighter by helicopters and boats from the coastguard and taken in.
They were also said to have started their journey from Lebanon.
Which nationalities they belonged to was initially unclear, as was where the rescued people were to be taken.
Smuggling gangs are increasingly trying to bring migrants from states in the east of the Mediterranean such as Lebanon or Syria to southern Italy.
The route is long and dangerous, running south from Cyprus past Crete and southern Greece.
On long journeys, the eldest and worn-out boats often suffer engine failures or other accidents.
According to migrants, the smugglers charge between 3,000 euros and 5,000 euros (3,000 to 5,000 dollars) per head per trip.
According to EU statistics, Cyprus has received by far the most asylum applications per year in recent years, measured against the size of its population.
The former President of the Cypriot parliament, Demetris Syllouris, with former politician, two lawyers, were on Monday charged with corruption and conspiring against the state of Cyprus over the “golden passports” scandal.
The scheme came to light two years ago after a video secretly filmed by broadcaster, Al Jazeera implicated Syllouris in plan to help a Chinese man facing prison due to money laundering attain Cypriot citizenship.
The video prompted the resignation of Syllouris and another parliamentarian.
The Cypriot passport programme, which had also been used by a large number of Russian citizens, was subsequently closed, partly due to pressure from the EU.
Cyprus had offered applicants a so-called golden passport for people who had invested at least €2.5 million ($2.5 million) in Cyprus.
Cyprus has been an EU member country since 2004, and its passports therefore offer freedom of movement and labour within the whole of the EU.
In August, an investigation in Cyprus found that the scandal runs even deeper.
Between 2007 and 2020, 3,517 people and 3,810 of their close relations received Cypriot citizenship.
However, a large number of these passports were given illegally.
The Cypriot press further reported that people were expected to be charged.
The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) says a 28-year-old Nigerian student has been reported missing in Northern Cyprus since Aug. 2. The commission said this in a statement issued in Abuja by Mr Abdur-Rahman Balogun, Head of Media, Public Relations and Protocol.
Balogun said that the disappearance of the student was reported to the commission by his mother, Mrs Dije Ibraheem.
The report of the missing student came barely 24 hours after NiDCOM repeated advisory to Nigerians against seeking educational succour in Türkiye Republic of Northern Cyprus.
He said that the missing student, AbdulSamad Abubakar, had called the mother on Aug. 2, through another person’s phone number, crying “they have come to pick me up to a detention camp”.
“Mrs Ibraheem said AbdulSamad is a 300-Level International Relations student of Cyprus Science University and was living off campus.
“She said since that call on Aug. 2, 2022 from an unknown number, with her son wailing and asking for help, she has not known his whereabout or heard any news from him or the school authorities.
“Confused on what to do, she reached out to the agent who secured the admission and travelling documents for her son but he was not forthcoming too.
” The woman also said she had written a petition to the Consular and Legal Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, before coming to seek for NiDCOM’s intervention, Balogun added.
According to him, the woman’s prayer is to get her only son back to Nigeria alive.
“I am here today at NiDCOM to beg you in the name of God to help me bring back my son alive, as I am scared of hearing any bad news about my only child.
Please help me, I am a single mother,” she was quoted as saying.
The Secretary of the Commission, Sule Bassi, received the petition on behalf of the Chairman of NiDCOM, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa.
He assured Ibraheem that everything possible would be done to locate her son and bring him back to Nigeria.
Bassi, however, reminded her that diplomatic services would be difficult, because Nigeria and the United Nations had no diplomatic relations with Northern Cyprus.
He, however, assured her that further investigation would be carried out by the Commission in conjuction with the Nigeria Embassy in Ankara, Turkey.
“Here at NiDCOM, we are concerned about the welfare of Nigerians abroad as well as encouraging them to invest back home for national development,” he said.
The secretary advised Ibraheem to take care of her health, as the commission investigates the matter.
He reiterated the earlier advisory given by the Commission against sending students to Northern Cyprus due to negative reports from there, especially from students.
NAN reports that Turkey’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Hidayet Bayraktar on Thursday issued an open letter describing the advisory by the Commission as exaggerated.
NiDCOM however responded by releasing the list of Nigerians murdered in Northern Cyprus within three years.
The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) says its primary role is to advise Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora.
The commission made the clarification on Thursday in a statement by Abdur-Rahman Balogun, its Head of Media, Public Relations, and Protocol.
The commission was reacting to a letter purportedly written to the commission by Mr Hidayet Bayraktar, the Ambassador of the Republic of Türkiye on the welfare of Nigerians living in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
It stated that firstly, no official letter was received till date “in our office except the unsigned one being circulated in the media.
” “However, we thank the Ambassador and are glad that our recent media briefing has elicited his response pertaining to the unfortunate incidents in TRNC.
“It will be recalled that Hon. Dabiri-Erewa and a team from NiDCOM had been to the Turkish Embassy twice to discuss issues related to Nigerians’ welfare in TRNC, but got no response from the Ambassador.
“It is on record that we received petitions on regular basis from Nigerians, especially parents whose children had been victims in one way or the other in TRNC.
Some of the deaths recorded in TRNC without any resolution from 2016 till date include: “Mr Ibrahim Khaleel Bello (25), son of Justice Amina Ahmad Bello of Kaduna State High Court (2020); Kennedy Taomwabwa Dede, 28, student of Eastern Mediterranean University who was killed on Feb. 1, 2018. “Walshak Augustine Ngok, a student of Marine Engineering at Near East University, murdered on April 19, 2019. Gabriel Soriwei, a first year student of Electrical Electronics of Cyprus International University, Nicosia.
“Others are, Osabanjo Adeola Owoyale, 33, who went missing and was found dead on July 1, 2019; Augustine Wallies killed on April 19, 2019; Stanley Eteimo, ( 28); Hassan Babatunde, (28); Temitayo Adigun; Kubiat Abasi Abraham Okon; Oziegbe Gospower Airekugose; and Olasubomi Ope,” the commission indicated.
It appealed to the Turkish embassy to do all it could to protect Nigerians in TRNC, particularly students, and “we are optimistic that the reaction to our recent statement would elicit a positive and pro- active reaction from the Embassy.
“While we pray for the repose of the souls of many students who have died in mysterious circumstances in TRNC, we also pray and hope that only good stories would henceforth emanate from Northern Cyprus.
“Above all, what we have given is advisory in line with our citizens diplomacy.
One has option to either key into it or ignore .
“It should not be misconstrued as exaggeration or an attempt to scare away potential travellers to TRNC.
“Whether it is Nigerians killing Nigerians or drug-related crimes, there is some form of danger emanating from Northern Cyprus as alluded to in the ambassador’s letter.
“I do not dispute that some unfortunate criminal incidents took place in the TRNC, as it happens in any part of the world.
“However, the occurrence of such incidents is certainly not a daily routine and all these cases are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly by the TRNC authorities.
“Moreover, since in many cases, Nigerian citizens are not only victims, but also perpetrators of crimes committed in the TRNC, necessary measures will be taken by the relevant agencies in order to prevent young Nigerians and every other student from falling victim.
“This is our concern as responsible Commission whose mandate is to oversee the welfare and well being of Nigerians even if it is only one person, it is enough to exaggerate about on their protection, and we are glad that the Ambassador has promised to take necessary measures.
“In as much as we do advise our citizens to always be law abiding wherever they find themselves and be good ambassadors of the country, Nigeria will not fold its arms and allow her citizens to be molested or killed in any unjustifiable manner while seeking for knowledge in a foreign land.
“May we continue to witness peace, love, and mutual respect across the land,” the statement quoted Mrs A bike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman of the commission as saying.
However, the Turkish Ambassador in an open letter to the NiDCOM chief, said he had read the recent statement of the commission’s chairman warning Nigerian citizens against travelling to the TRNC.
He said he was compelled to express “our reservations about the manner in which the allegations are framed, as they are offhandedly publicised without any official lines of communication.
“There are currently 50,561 international students from 145 countries and various teaching staff from 65 different countries, in the TRNC.
“Until now, I have come across no other official statement, aside from Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa’s, criticising the TRNC on such grounds,” he said.
He added that though he would not dispute that some unfortunate criminal incidents took place in the TRNC, as it happens in any part of the world.
He said that his home government had taken necessary precautions recently making a new cooperation proposal to the United Nations (UN) to address the illegal migration issue, by establishing a joint committee between the authorities of the two sides on the Island, with the inclusion of the UN.
The Mediterranean Sea is being invaded by hundreds of fish, jellyfish, shrimp and other marine species from outside the region.More than 1,000 non-native species have been identified in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. More than half have established permanent populations and are spreading, raising concerns about the threat they pose to marine ecosystems and local fishing communities."Climate change and human activities have had a profound impact on the Mediterranean and the Black Sea," says Stefano Lelli, an eastern Mediterranean fisheries expert who works for the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM).This regional fisheries management body, established by the FAO, is leading efforts to promote sustainable fisheries and aquaculture in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. It works with fishermen, conservationists, scientists and government authorities to better understand the increase in non-native species and help countries improve their mitigation and management measures.“We have witnessed a rapid and significant alteration of marine ecosystems, and this has caused various impacts on the livelihoods of local communities.In the coming years, we hope that the number of non-native species will continue to increase”, adds Lelli.The Mediterranean Sea is undergoing a process of "tropicalization" as water temperatures rise, largely due to climate change.In addition, many species have migrated through busy shipping routes, such as the Strait of Gibraltar or the Suez Canal, often attached to the hull of ships or inside them in ballast water.Other species, such as the Pacific cup oyster and the Japanese carpet shell, were introduced for aquaculture during the 1960s and 1970s and have since escaped and colonized Mediterranean ecosystems.Once established, non-native species can outcompete native ones and disrupt surrounding ecosystems, with potential economic implications for fisheries and tourism or even human health.For example, six species of poisonous and venomous non-indigenous fish, such as puffer fish, lion fish, and various species of jellyfish, are now present in the eastern Mediterranean and can be toxic to humans if touched or ingested.The FAO GFCM is supporting Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Lebanon, Israel, Syria and Turkey in the complex task of mapping, monitoring and managing these invasive species.This Commission also serves as a forum for affected countries to share information and strategies.“The results and lessons learned from this process should generate knowledge about non-native species so that they can be managed effectively,” says Elisabetta Morello, GFCM fisheries officer.Turning a threat into an opportunity Fishermen throughout the region have been affected by this trend.However, with the support of the CGPM, they are finding new ways to turn these invasions into opportunities.In southwestern Turkey, where invasive species can account for 80 percent of the catch in some areas, fishermen are gradually creating new consumer and export markets for species such as lionfish, sea urchins and Randall's bream.Lebanon is also training fishermen to catch non-indigenous species, encouraging consumers to try them."Rabbitfish, Red Sea goatfish and lionfish are some examples of non-native species that are becoming a source of income in Lebanon," says Manal Nader, Associate Professor and Director of the Environment Institute of Lebanon.Balamand University in Lebanon.In Tunisia, two non-indigenous species of blue crabs, which threatened traditional fisheries, became a lucrative business when FAO and the Tunisian government helped connect fishermen to new markets.The same is happening in Spain and other parts of the Mediterranean, which has triggered a specific GFCM research program to manage these species.“Monitoring and mitigating the impacts of non-native species on marine ecosystems is costly and, in most cases, eradication is impossible,” says Miguel Bernal, GFCM Senior Fisheries Officer."Where commercialization and harvesting are possible, whether as a source of food, pharmaceuticals or otherwise, commercial fishing has proven to be the most effective tool to address this problem."Protection of native species To safeguard native species, the GFCM supports the creation of restricted fishing zones.Well-preserved areas have been shown to be more resistant to the impact of non-native species.“International and regional cooperation, as well as concerted action, is needed to address non-native species in the Mediterranean and Black Sea,” says Bayram Öztürk, author of the GFCM study on non-native species in the Mediterranean.“It goes without saying that the impacts of non-native species must be monitored by all countries in the region.Once a species is introduced, it may be too late to eradicate it."With the GFCM study, Non-native Species in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, as a first step, the Commission is now working with countries in the region to adapt fishing techniques, connect with new markets and help fishermen to create new livelihoods from these catches, while also maintaining their crucial work of preserving marine ecosystems through protected areas.
Manchester United was placed in the same section as Real Sociedad in Friday’s draw for this season’s UEFA Europa League in Istanbul, while Arsenal will come up against PSV Eindhoven.
United, who won the Europa League in 2017, will also meet Moldovan champions Sheriff Tiraspol and Omonia Nicosia of Cyprus in Group E.
Real Sociedad qualified for Europe by finishing sixth in La Liga last season — they faced United in the Champions League group stage in 2013/14.
Arsenal’s draw appears slightly tougher on paper, as they will also take on Norwegian champions Bodo/Glimt and Swiss title holders FC Zurich in Group A.
All three of the Gunners’ rivals dropped out of the Champions League qualifying phase.
PSV, coached by Ruud van Nistelrooy, beat Monaco in the Champions League third qualifying round before losing to Rangers in the playoffs and moving into the Europa League.
Some financial experts have advised the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to leverage technologies and innovations by the BRICS countries to strengthen the naira.
The experts gave the advice at the maiden edition of the Annual Banking and Technology Forum, organised by the Centre for Financial Studies of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) on Thursday in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the hybrid meeting had, “Leveraging on Technology to Gain a Competitive Edge” as its theme.
Mr Adjiedj Bakas, an economist, specifically urged the CBN to base the naira on gold to allow it compete with the US dollar in value.
According to him, if the CBN wants the naira to be fairly strong and stable, it should fund it on gold, oil and gas and other commodities.
“The BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – these five powerful nations, strong, big economies, are coming with a lot of initiatives, which might be beneficial to Nigeria.
“They are coming up with a new global reserve currency based on gold, oil and gas and other commodities, and that is going to compete with the US dollar,” said Bakas.
He said the BRICS had also developed an alternative to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) payment system, also in use in Holland and Nigeria.
“So, they come up with an alternative to SWIFT, a competent alternative to the dollar.
“And this new global reserve currency is founded on gold, and commodities.
“So, my advice would be for the Nigerian Central Bank to base the naira upon gold; you have to buy lots of gold, and we have tonnes of gold.
“But also have to base it on all the oil and gas reserves of Nigeria, and then the naira will be worth much more,” Bakas said.
The expert also urged the banks to utilise both SWIFT and the new payment platform introduced by the BRICS, which is based on Alipay and WeChat. “It is connected with facial recognition, artificial intelligence and security; you can follow the money and the traces everywhere,” he said.
He urged banks to offer young people a good future by moving along with these technological trends that have boosted the the world’s Gross Domestic Product.
“Step in, dive into in this technological revolution because technology is going to change blue collar workers and devices are going to take over a lot of our financial administration.
“So, as a bank, you should be fast, provide fast services, especially to the millennials; and also leverage the digital naira because they all love the Central Bank’s digital currency,” he said.
The Director, Information Technology Department, CBN, Mrs Rakiya Mohammed, said the apex bank had been proactive by creating enabling environments for the banking industry to thrive.
She said the monetary authority came up with guidelines, frameworks, and innovative products to stimulate creativity in the banking sector without stifling the healthy competition among participants in the industry.
“If we have learnt anything in the CBN, it is the fact that technology will not wait for regulation, so we decided to be as agile as possible.
“We have tried to be proactive by creating an enabling environment via guidelines, frameworks, and innovative products to stimulate creativity in the banking sector without stifling the healthy competition among participants in the industry.
“In 2021, when the CBN announced its intention to roll out the first central bank digital currency in Africa and one of the first in the world, some people were skeptical as to our capacity to accomplish what other central banks were still reluctant to do.
“But we were convinced it was the way to go because the technology trends were clear to us.
It is either you embrace disruption, or you become obsolete.
“Despite the naysayers, the eNaira was successfully launched and has been gaining momentum in adoption both locally and internationally with close to a million wallet downloads across individuals and merchants,” she said.
She narrated how the monetary authority recently stumbled on a twitter post where someone said the large population of unbanked Nigerian international students in the North Cyprus city of Lefkosa were using the eNaira to facilitate payments for goods and services.
Mohammed, who was represented by Mr Afolabi Adeleye, said, “These digital natives are not waiting.
“At the CBN we are beginning to have conversations around monetary policy in the metaverse, open banking, digital identities, among others.
“Leveraging the gains in adoption of the eNaira, we recently concluded our first hackathon focused on expanding its use in driving financial inclusion and cross border remittances.
“Embracing technology as a business enabler to drive competitive advantage is no longer optional.
It is a matter of corporate survival going into the future.
” Dr Ken Opara, of CIBN, represented by the first council Vice-President, Prof. Pius Olarenwaju, said, “This event provides another opportunity for us to offer value to our stakeholders as they try to navigate the financial technology and digital finance world.
“Indeed, this event could not have come at a better time as the ways in which we conduct banking has changed dramatically since technology entered the fray.
“Banks are now focused on elevated levels of personalisation and tailoring solutions to meet customers’ needs which have been enabled by the fast-tracking of digital transformation.
The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) has cautioned Nigerian students against going to Northern Cyprus.
Its chairperson, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, handed down the warning on Thursday in Abuja at a ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team. She said Northern Cyprus was not recognised by the UN, adding that a lot of students had been killed there.
“There have been a lot of problems in Northern Cyprus; we have youths come to tell us, please tell everybody to stop going to Northern Cyprus.
“We did that sometime ago and we were challenged at what rights we had to tell people not to go Northern Cyprus.
“I say it again; if you have to go Northern Cyprus, think twice about it; no fewer than 20 students have been killed over the years and nothing has happened to the assailants.
“Students who had gone there earlier came to tell us that they had to embark on awareness campaign; don’t go to these places; Northern Cyprus is recognised only by Turkey,’’ she said.
Dabiri-Erewa added that NiDCOM would continue to appeal that Nigeria took a strong decision about places like Northern Cyprus.
Gov. Bello Matawalle of Zamfara on Tuesday approved the release of EUR 232,000.00 into the account of Cyprus International University to settle the school fees for 91 students from the state studying at the institution.
This is contained in a statement issued by the state Commissioner of Information, Ibrahim Dosara and made available to newsmen on Tuesday in Gusau.
Dosara said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would disburse the amount into the various accounts of the students.
He said that the amount included: “EUR 200,000 as tuition, accommodation and meal fees to be paid out of EUR 297,509.11 initially owed for the 2021-2022 academic year.
” According the commissioner, EUR 23,157.00 would be disbursed as Residence Permit; and EUR 8,843.00 to be disbursed to the 91 students.
“The government, therefore, appealed to the students, parents and the university to exercise more patience, as the matter will soon be resolved and the students will continue their studies with minimum delay.
“The government also called on the media to cross check issues before going to press, to allow this country to progress,” he said.
Dosara said the state government had offered the students scholarships to study Medicine, Engineering, Information Technology and other sciences in various institutions in Cyprus, US, UK, Netherlands, India and Sudan.