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TikTok, WeChat to be banned from U.S. app stores this Sunday

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The Department of Commerce has announced that TikTok and WeChat will be banned from app stores in the U.S. from Sunday, September 20, amid national security concerns.

In a press release on Friday September 18, the department stated: ‘In response to President Trump’s Executive Orders signed August 6, 2020, the Department of Commerce (Commerce) today announced prohibitions on transactions relating to mobile applications (apps) WeChat and TikTok to safeguard the national security of the United States. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the U.S. Today’s announced prohibitions, when combined, protect users in the U.S. by eliminating access to these applications and significantly reducing their functionality.

The following transactions will be prohibited:

  1. Any provision of service to distribute or maintain the WeChat or TikTok mobile applications, constituent code, or application updates through an online mobile application store in the U.S.
  2. Any provision of services through the WeChat mobile application for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments within the U.S.

The statement further says that as of September 20 for WeChat and November 12 for TikTok, the following transactions will be prohibited:

  1. Any provision of internet hosting services enabling the functioning or optimization of the mobile application in the U.S.;
  2. Any provision of content delivery network services enabling the functioning or optimization of the mobile application in the U.S.;
  3. Any provision directly contracted or arranged internet transit or peering services enabling the function or optimization of the mobile application within the U.S.;
  4. Any utilization of the mobile application’s constituent code, functions, or services in the functioning of software or services developed and/or accessible within the U.S.

These measures ensure TikTok and WeChat will be removed from iOS and Google Play starting Sunday, preventing users from downloading the apps or updating them in the future.

It was also stated that TikTok has until November 12 to resolve the national security concerns it poses. If this is done, the ban may be lifted.

President Trump has repeatedly said that TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese internet company ByteDance, poses a national security threat because of its Chinese ties. He advised that TikTok’s US operations be sold to an American company.

The new development comes days after American computer technology giant, Oracle Corporation reportedly won the bidding for TikTok’s US operations after the Chinese app rejected Microsoft.

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Court vacates order against Jimoh Ibrahim’s assets over alleged N69.4 billion debt

An Abuja court has set aside the interim order gotten by AMCON to seize property belonging to Jimoh Ibrahim over debts owed.

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The Federal High Court in Abuja has set aside the interim order used by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to seize property belonging to businessman and Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Global Fleet Group, Jimoh Ibrahim, over an alleged N69.4 billion debts.

This follows an earlier application by Jimoh Ibrahim, seeking a reversal of the interim order obtained by AMCON as he claimed that it was erroneously issued, considering that AMCON hid material facts in its ex-parte application

While delivering the judgment, Justice Okon Abang, in the ruling, also vacated all consequential orders made earlier by the court on January 4, but differently constituted by Justice Rilwan Aikawa of a Federal High Court, Lagos.

A Federal High Court in Lagos had on February 17, 2021, refused to vacate an interim order used by AMCON to seize property belonging to Jimoh Ibrahim.

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that in November 2020, Justice Rilwan Aikawa of Federal High Court Lagos, had granted an interim order, allowing AMCON to seize properties and freeze bank accounts belonging to Jimoh Ibrahim, over a N69.4 billion debts.
  • Some of these properties include; the building housing NICON Investment Limited at Plot 242, Muhammadu Buhari Way, Central Business District, Abuja; NICON Hotels Limited building at Plot 557, Port-Harcourt Crescent, off Gimbiya Street, Abuja, the building of NICON Lekki Limited also at No. 5, Customs Street, Lagos, the building of Abuja International Hotels Limited located at No. 3, Hospital Road, Lagos, Energy House located on No. 94, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, NICON Hotels Building at Plot 3, Road 3, Victoria Garden City, Lagos as well as the NICON Luxury Hotel’s Building, Garki I, FCT, Abuja and so on.
  • However, Jimoh Ibrahim urged the Federal High Court in Lagos to discharge an interim order obtained by AMCON taking over his assets. He said that AMCON is aware that they have a deposit of N86bilion or 172million pounds with Union Bank and AMCON is aware that an application to collect the money from Union Bank is pending before an Ikeja High Court. All of these facts, Ibrahim said, have not disclosed to an innocent Federal High Court.
  • Ibrahim, NICON Investment Ltd and Global Fleet Oil and Gas Ltd, had prayed the court to set aside the order for non-disclosure and misrepresentation of material facts and also prayed the court to order AMCON to pay N50 billion indemnity for alleged failure to conduct due diligence before obtaining the said order and for misrepresentation and concealment of fact.
  • But Aikawa, in a nearly 2-hour ruling, upheld the argument of AMCON’s counsel, Kemi Pinheiro, SAN, which insisted that AMCON made full and substantial disclosure of all material facts at the time of obtaining the orders on November 4, 2020.
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Sachet water sellers make brisk business due to dry weather

Pure water hawkers are enjoying increased sales as a result of the sudden dry weather.

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Hawkers of sachet water, otherwise known as pure water, are presently enjoying quick and increased sales in the Enugu metropolis with the rising demand for the product due to increasing dry weather.

According to a report from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), most of the hawkers have as a result, raised their daily purchases to meet the increased demand.

While some of the hawkers, who were interviewed, admitted there was a boost in daily sales of the commodity, they attributed the high patronage to customers’ urge to quench their thirst following the severe and harsh weather conditions.

What the sachet water hawkers are saying

During the interview, Mrs Uju Okoye, a dealer in sachet water, said that the dryness of the weather had made many people to demand for sachet water, thereby, increasing her daily sales.

Okoye said, “I hardly finished three bags of water in a day some weeks back, but now l sell between 10 and 15 bags daily.

“The sudden dry and harsh weather we are experiencing now necessitated the increase in sachet water patronage.’’

On her part, another sachet water hawker, Miss Amanda Onyia, said that the harsh weather provided her an opportunity to make some money to assist her aged parents.

She said, “l sell between seven and 10 bags of sachet water before 6 p.m. daily due to its high demand. Buying books that I use in school is not a problem at the moment for me and my aged parents.’’

What you should know

  • Nigerians woke up to unusual harmattan weather in the third week of February across the country.
  • The harmattan season, which usually occurs in Nigeria between the end of November and January is characterized by dry weather and dusty wind which blows from the Sahara Desert over West Africa into the Gulf of Guinea.
  • Climate and health experts have expressed concerns on the negative effects of low harmattan observed in the country, which they regard as an unfolding long-term consequence of global climate change which Nigeria has to deal with in the future.
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Consumer complaints: Electricity, Banking, Telecommunication top in 2020

Electricity, Banking, Telecommunication top sectors with the most consumer complaints in 2020.

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The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has announced that the sectors which received the most complaints by consumers in 2020 were the electricity and banking sectors.

This was disclosed by The Executive Vice Chairman of FCCPC, Mr Babatunde Irukera in an interview with NAN in Abuja on Saturday.

The Chairman added that the telecoms sector followed in 3rd place after Electricity and Banking.

He added that the nature of the complaints has overwhelmed the complaints team and the commission plans to expand the complaints division.

“Our complaints resolution team is still a very small team of people and they are dealing with thousands of complaints.

“We are looking at expanding capacity to have more hands handling the complaints but the real game-changer in handling complaints better and faster is for companies to start doing it.

“The person who has the least open complaint in our resolution team has about 800 complaints across sectors and that is one person. If you multiply it by 12 to 15 persons, you will imagine the number of complaints,’’Irukera said.

He also disclosed that the complaints division aims to expand for better efficient operations through training and leveraging on technology.

What you should know: The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) also announced that it will launch a billing capping order enforcement of the NERC to protect Nigerian consumers.

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