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The Nigerian air force said Tuesday it will acquire 50 new aircraft to strengthen its capabilities against armed gangs and terrorists in northwest Nigeria.

Nigerian Chief of Air Staff Hassan Bala Abubakar made the announcement at the opening of new military facilities, including two aircraft hangars in northwest Katsina state.

Abubakar said the aircraft would include 12 AH-1 attack helicopters, 24 M-346 combat planes, 12 AW109 multipurpose helicopters and a pair of Casa 295 transport aircraft. He did not disclose the cost, nor did he say who would provide the aircraft.

He said Nigeria is expected to receive them by next year.

The aircraft will be used to bolster offensives against jihadist groups and armed gangs that have terrorized northwest and central states in recent years, Abubakar said.

But security analyst Mike Ejiofor says acquiring 50 aircraft is overambitious and possibly misdirected.

"I know it will bolster the fight against terrorism, but I believe that we should concentrate more on land than air. We're not at war,” Ejiofor said.

The money, he said, should “have been channeled to training and provision of welfare for the ground troops. I think we would've achieved more results."

Abubakar’s announcement came as Kaduna state authorities announced Tuesday a partnership with the military to set up three new operational fronts within the state.

Kaduna state Governor Uba Sani said, "We concluded with the military to set up forward-operating bases in southern Kaduna, and another one in the Giwa and Birnin-Gwari axis. All the arrangements are being concluded."

The Nigerian air force came under heavy criticism in December after more than 80 people were killed and dozens wounded during an airstrike in Kaduna state that was intended to target gangs.

Nigerian authorities have promised to operate with more precision to avoid future accidents.

Nigerian Chief of Defense Staff General Christopher Musa told journalists in Abuja, "The armed forces of Nigeria are highly professional. We're here to protect innocent citizens, not to harm them. Whatever it was that happened there was a mistake, but we're addressing such issues."

Ejiofor said authorities should focus more on boosting the ability of the air force to gather and process accurate information about the activities of armed groups.

"These strikes are intelligence-driven, so we must get the intelligence before they're guided to the areas,” he said. “I think what we should've done is to deploy more drones that will be sending this data."

 

VOA

Israel's pledge to guard an aid route into Gaza falls flat as lawlessness blocks distribution

The Israeli military said Sunday that it was establishing a new safe corridor to deliver aid into southern Gaza. But days later, this self-declared “tactical pause” has brought little relief to desperate Palestinians.

The United Nations and international aid organizations say a breakdown in law and order has made the aid route unusable.

With thousands of truckloads of aid piled up, groups of armed men are regularly blocking convoys, holding drivers at gunpoint and rifling through their cargo, according to a U.N. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media on the issue.

The lawlessness is a major obstacle to aid distribution to southern and central Gaza — where an estimated 1.3 million Palestinians displaced from Rafah, or more than half of Gaza’s entire population, are now sheltering in tent camps and cramped apartments without adequate food, water, or medical supplies.

Here is a closer look at the security challenges facing the U.N. and aid organizations.

Israel’s ‘tactical pause’ stymied

Israel said Sunday it would observe daily pauses in combat along a route stretching from Kerem Shalom — the strip’s only operational aid crossing in the south — to the nearby city of Khan Younis. Before the pause, aid organizations had reported that the need to coordinate trucks’ movement with the Israelis in an active combat zone was slowing aid distribution.

The head of the U.N.’s World Food Program said Thursday that the pause has made “no difference at all” in aid distribution efforts. “We haven’t been able to get in,” said Cindy McCain in an interview with Al-Monitor. “We’ve had to reroute some of our trucks. They’ve been looted. As you know, we’ve been shot at and we’ve been rocketed.”

The U.N. official familiar with the aid effort said that there has been no sign of Israeli activity along the route. The U.N. tried to send a convoy of 60 trucks down the road Tuesday to pick up aid at Kerem Shalom. But 35 of the trucks were intercepted by armed men, the official said.

In recent days, the groups have moved closer to the crossing and set up roadblocks to halt trucks loaded with supplies, the U.N. official said. They have searched the pallets for smuggled cigarettes, a rare luxury in a territory where a single smoke can go for $25.

The surge in lawlessness is a result of growing desperation in Gaza and the power vacuum left by Hamas’s waning power over the territory, said Mkhaimar Abusada, an associate professor of political science at Al-Azhar University in Gaza who is now in Cairo.

With the enclave’s police force targeted by Israel, he said, crime has reemerged as an untreated issue in Gaza.

“After Hamas came to power, one of the things that they brought under their control was the lawlessness of the so-called big clans,” said Abusada. “Now, that’s left for the Palestinians on their own to deal with it. So once again, we are seeing shootings between families, there are thefts, all the bad things are happening.”

UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, used to deploy local Palestinian police to escort aid convoys, but many refused to continue serving after airstrikes killed at least eight police officers in Rafah, the agency said.

Israel says the police are legitimate targets because they are controlled by Hamas.

Is any aid still getting into Gaza?

The situation has largely paralyzed aid distribution to the south — particularly since Gaza’s nearby Rafah crossing with Egypt was closed when Israel invaded the city early last month.

The U.N. official said that 25 trucks of flour used the route Tuesday. Some private commercial trucks also got through — many of which used armed security to deter groups seeking to seize their cargo. An AP reporter stationed along the road Monday saw at least eight trucks pass by, armed security guards riding on top.

Before Israel’s offensive into the city of Rafah, hundreds of fuel trucks routinely entered the area.

The U.N. has now begun rerouting some fuel trucks through northern Gaza. Farhan Haq, a U.N. spokesman, said five fuel trucks entered Gaza Wednesday. The U.N. humanitarian office reported that these were the first fuel deliveries since early June and supplies remain scarce.

Aid groups say only a ceasefire and a reopening of the Rafah crossing could significantly increase aid flow to the area.

The military body in charge of coordinating humanitarian aid efforts, COGAT, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Security concerns also afflict aid from U.S. pier project

The U.S. installed a pier off Gaza’s coast last month, aiming to provide an additional route for aid to enter Gaza. But the ambitious project has suffered repeated logistical and security setbacks.

Cyprus and US officials said the pier was up and running again Thursday after being detached for a second time last week because of rough seas. COGAT said Thursday there were “hundreds of aid pallets awaiting collection and distribution by the U.N. aid agencies.”

But there, too, security concerns are hindering distribution of aid.

The U.N. suspended its cooperation with the pier on June 9 – a day after rumors swirled that the Israeli military had used the area in a hostage rescue operation that left over 270 Palestinians dead. Photos of the operation showed an Israeli military helicopter in what appeared to be the vicinity of the pier.

Both Israel and the US deny the pier was used in the operation. But the perception that the pier was used for military purposes could endanger humanitarian workers, and threaten humanitarian groups’ principles of of neutrality, the U.N. says.

Aid workers said they are working with the Israelis to find a solution, but that the security burden falls squarely on Israel’s shoulders.

Officials from the U.N. and other humanitarian organizations, including Samantha Power, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, met with Israel’s military chief and COGAT officials this week to seek solutions.

USAID said afterward that the meeting ended with promises of specific actions, but gave no details.

 

AP

RUSSIAN PERSPECTIVE

‘Strategic defeat’ means end of Russia – Putin

The West must realize that defeating Russia is not only unlikely, but impossible due to the unity of its people who understand that it would spell the end of the country’s thousand-year history, President Vladimir Putin has argued.

Speaking at a press conference in Hanoi following his meetings with the leadership of Vietnam on Thursday, Putin addressed the issue of Western powers “raising the temperature” of the Ukraine conflict through gradual escalation.

“Apparently, they expect us to get scared at some point. But at the same time, they also say that they want to achieve a strategic defeat of Russia on the battlefield. What does this mean for Russia? For Russia, this means the end of its statehood. This means the end of the thousand-year history of the Russian state. I think this is understandable for everyone,” Putin noted.

And then the question arises: Why should we be afraid? Wouldn’t it be better to go all the way then? This is elementary logic.

Even though Putin repeatedly admitted that any conflict involving the use of nuclear weapons would have dire consequences for humanity, he has maintained that Moscow would be forced to defend itself using all available means if the country’s very existence was at stake.

Back in 2018, he famously said that “as a citizen of Russia and the head of the Russian state I must ask myself: Why would we want a world without Russia?”

The US and its allies have funneled weapons, ammunition, and equipment to Ukraine over the past two years, while insisting they are not a party to the conflict but want to inflict “a strategic defeat” on Moscow. In recent months, Washington, London, and other NATO members announced they were lifting restrictions on Kiev’s use of their weapons against Russia.

Citing the need to send the West a message, last month the Kremlin ordered the military to carry out drills in deploying non-strategic nuclear weapons. Asked on Thursday whether Russia could change its nuclear doctrine to include a clause on the possibility of launching a pre-emptive nuclear strike, Putin emphasized there was no need for that.

“We do not need a preventive strike yet, because the enemy is guaranteed to be destroyed in a retaliatory strike,” he said.

 

WESTERN PERSPECTIVE

Ukraine's use of US-supplied weapons in Russia not limited to near Kharkiv, Pentagon says

Ukraine can use U.S.-supplied weapons to hit Russian forces that are firing on Ukrainian troops anywhere across the border into Russia and not just in Russian territory near Ukraine's Kharkiv region, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

Last month, President Joe Biden quietly authorized Kyiv to launch U.S.-supplied weapons at military targets inside Russia.

But officials said at the time that Biden's decision applied only to targets inside Russia near the border with Ukraine's eastern Kharkiv region.

Pentagon spokesperson Air Force Major General Patrick Ryder told reporters that while there had been no change in policy, Ukraine's use of weapons against Russian troops was not limited to near Kharkiv on the Russian side.

"The ability to be able to fire back when fired upon is really what this policy is focused on... as we see Russian forces firing across the border, the ability for Ukraine to fire back at those ground forces using U.S.-provided munitions," Ryder said.

"It's self-defense and so it makes sense for them to be able to do that," he added.

Ryder's remarks echo comments made by Biden's national security adviser earlier this week.

"This is not about geography. It's about common sense," White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told PBS. "If Russia is attacking or about to attack from its territory into Ukraine, it only makes sense to allow Ukraine to hit back against the forces that are hitting it from across the border."

Sullivan added that Ukraine could also use air-defense systems to fire at Russian planes flying in Russian airspace, if they are about to fire into Ukrainian airspace.

The front lines in Ukraine have barely moved since the end of 2022, despite tens of thousands of dead on both sides in relentless trench warfare, the bloodiest fighting in Europe since World War Two.

After initial Ukrainian successes that saw Kyiv repel an assault on the capital and recapture territory in the war's first year, a major Ukrainian counter-offensive using donated Western tanks fizzled last year. Russian forces still hold a fifth of Ukraine and are again advancing, albeit slowly. No peace talks have been held for more than two years.

 

RT/Reuters

Some years ago, while Nigeria had abundant money from oil revenue, the prosperity gospel and motivational speaking also reigned. The prosperity gospel is a theology that promises divine blessings of material wealth and good health to the one who sows seeds of financial contribution to the church, a sacrifice that must be worthwhile enough to move divine transcendent power on one’s behalf. Motivational speaking was a similar message, except that the transformation it promised was connected to more secular tactics.

In that era, charismatic preachers made good. Their lavish lifestyle made their message self-affirming. A lot has since changed. The validity of the prosperity gospel has been contested in various ways; prosperity preachers and motivational speakers are now treated with the same derision. We have seen instances of people demanding a return of their seeds from pastors when they did not get the expected miracle and in one instance, someone even reported their pastor to the law enforcement agents. Even before Daddy Freeze (Ifedayo Olarinde) began to publicly spar with renowned pastors on the issues of tithe as a route to prosperity, the public had begun to raise questions. Even worse, social media platforms commissioned an army of sceptics who have become the nemesis of the media-savvy pastors.

Like the oil boom of the 1970s when Nigeria could afford to spend lavishly without concomitant productivity, the boom cycles (up till 2014) that coincided with the reign of prosperity gospel lacked similar structural strength. There was still no remarkable productivity at the base of the money flowing, and becoming rich was mostly a matter of scoring the right odds. Someone once said Nigeria is a place where you can sleep poor and wake up rich, and that is very true, especially if you get in bed with the right person.

While we are mostly wiser for the message of supernatural prosperity, our society has not ceased looking for magical wealth. There was a time when the fad was the so-called “money rituals.” We were told some people—from babalawos to pastors to alfas, many of them living in dingy houses and barely getting by themselves—were privileged possessors of the occult alchemy that would make instant wealth. Similar to prosperity pastors who ask you to sacrifice your life savings to move the heavens to open on your behalf, these ones too asked for money before they could make such a charm for you. Even more, they also requested human sacrifices too.

Then there is cybercrime, also called Yahoo Yahoo. Not only did young people acquire the set of technological skills that would enable them defraud unsuspecting victims in a transnational ecosystem where people from different countries of the world are now joined by electrical wires, but they also purported to enhance their skills through supernatural means. The upgraded version, called Yahoo Plus, gave birth to youths at the most productive stages of their lives chasing the illusion of super-logical wealth with the same dedication their parents put into the prosperity gospel. The craze got to a point that parents even actively connived with their Yahoo children.

Some of those whose religious and moral values did not allow them to go into Yahoo Yahoo or money rituals bought into Ponzi schemes when those too reigned in the social space. Again, similar to prosperity gospellers and motivational speakers, a generation of smooth talkers also arose to promise people an impossible return on investment if they invested in some dubious agro-industrial or real estate projects. The reasonable ones among those investors promised returns of 20 to 30 per cent, a rather high margin under even the best circumstances. To outbid this set in the market of illogicality, other Ponzi schemers went as far as promising a 200 per cent ROI! People invested with the same faith with which they put money in prosperity preachers’ pockets.

Even though the Ponzi market has largely receded when too many unfortunate investors finally got wiser, the kalokalo economy has continued. People continue their quest for magical wealth through betting schemes. One can argue that betting, unlike Ponzi schemes, at least does not deceive anyone into believing the activity is supported by some legitimate investment. Betting is transparent enough—putting in money is hedging an uncertain future on the chances of instant transformation if the odds favoured one. Still, it is not unlike the gospel that asks you to sow your seeds and expect a miracle of multiplication that will transform your ordinary life overnight. Stories are replete of young men staking money they made from daily hustles like their school fees, Okada riding, and even stolen money into the game of betting.

Then came the era of crypto. On the surface, it was a new thing. In reality, it was a replay of the era of “Forex,” another hazy investment enterprise that cleaned out millions of people who thought it was their route to prosperity. Like Ponzi schemes, most of those who invest in crypto (or even Forex) barely understood its mechanisms but they traded in faith all the same. It is the latest fad, the bandwagon on which millions of youths currently hitch their hope of social mobility and economic maturation. As it is, Nigeria has the second-highest adoption of crypto in the world after India, another country with the same unenviable mix of poverty, a mass of youths, and a demographic of wild dreams that will probably not be realised in this lifetime. One can hardly blame them. With few opportunities and fewer prospects of economic empowerment, people will follow any merchant of dreams that wheels their wares into the marketplace.

So popular is crypto in Nigeria that even the Afrobeat singer Davido (David Adeleke) floated one, $DAVIDO. You might wonder what a singer knows about the crypto economy, but that is how the magical economy works. Anyone can claim expertise over any domain as long as they can razzle dazzle with celebrity power. Remember, at the height of the prosperity gospel, pastors too invested heavily in appearance—flashy cars, clothes, jewellery, and private jets. Every Yahoo boy rushes to buy the finest commodity to accessorise and mimic the respectability of a made man.

All these routes to magical prosperity are concurrent in Nigeria, just at varying levels. On the surface, these means look different but internally they are connected. Not only do they promise wealth without commensurate productivity, but they also promise social transformation outside the purview of politics and the government for salvation. By government, I mean the domains of national politics where the policies that can actually change our lives come from. The wealth that will supposedly transform is either going to come from a transcendental being (God, spirits, and similar forces) or outside the nation space (which is also why there also is a lot of japa), especially the magical spaces where technology connects us to some other humans (that we do not see/know) or some other foreign sources whose operations cannot be readily explained but is believed to hold the key to instant transformation.

By looking away from the government for life enhancement, it also seems that many of us have given up on the faith that Nigeria’s politics—as currently constituted—is capable of ever coming up with a political arrangement that will end our poverty. Maybe that cynicism also explains why our political actions are self-sabotaging. We abjure every good sense to vote for the very people who have paralysed us with their moral corruption and will keep doing so. Our lack of conviction in the rationality of our politics to transform keeps us looking for illogical means as a source of salvation. The faith that magical alternatives—instead of politics—are what will save us, is a big reason we have given up on the government.

 

Punch

Last December, on my last day of work before Christmas, I sat alone in my office in Abuja, reflecting on my life's journey. I thought about my years in the media, especially the few years since I ventured into entrepreneurship. 

I remembered my post on Facebook in June 2015 announcing my resignation as Managing Editor at LEADERSHIP Newspaper and the planned unveiling of Sundiata Post as an online newspaper the following month. I thought about the people whose paths I had crossed in the media. 

I remembered the statement made by Abubakar Dangiwa Umar, a retired army colonel, when, as military Governor of Kaduna State in the late 1980s, he said he could follow the then military President Ibrahim Babangida to war blindfolded. That was a profound statement of loyalty. Never mind that Umar recanted after the 12 June 1993 election annulment in which the late MKO Abiola won. 

I thought about the people who have impacted my life and wondered if there were any of them I could follow to war blindfolded. Azubuike Ishiekwene, known as “Azu” to many of us, his admirers, came to my mind. He is a man who has had a profound impact on the careers of many media practitioners who have crossed his path, and I have been a significant beneficiary of his generosity. 

In Lagos, where I was Features Editor for several years at ThisDay, Azu set the pace at PUNCH, where he became an editor and, later, Executive Director of publications.

Our paths crossed again in 2013 in Abuja when he signed me as Managing Editor at 

LEADERSHIP, where he was Group Managing Director. No one wanted to miss the Management meetings on Mondays, not necessarily because of strict protocols but because of Azu's leadership style. 

I left the meetings enriched with deep insights into newspaper management, and they paid off for me when Sundiata Post was set up. When Sundiata Post was unveiled on 7 July 2015 in Abuja, Azu, ever supportive, was the moderator at the panel discussion on “New Media and the Future of Newspaper in Nigeria.” 

The panel discussed the paper delivered by Mohammed Haruna, then a syndicated columnist. Haruna is a national commissioner at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).  

However, Azu is better known for his writing. A hugely respected syndicated columnist, week after week, he writes about Nigeria, its history, the state of the union, and its place under the sun. 

His commitment to excellence is well-known to anyone who has worked with him. However, his concern about how journalists and content producers can earn money and live well would appear to be a revelation. This concern has kept many media practitioners awake at night, especially in the Internet age, when content is available almost free of charge or even stolen.

Getting paid for content is an issue that media practitioners have been grappling with. This has hit online publishers as they have no physical copies to sell. In the craze for traffic, they publish content without getting rewarded. 

In this regard, Azu’s new book, Writing for Media and Monetising It, is an idea whose time has come. No other person is more suited to write this book than Azu, a media management guru, content producer and columnist who has made his mark nationally and internationally.

True, Azu didn't set out to write a book for entrepreneurs. He is clear about the purpose of the book. He could no longer ignore suggestions from admirers to share his experience in a permanent form, having been writing for more than 35 years. 

His words: "I thought perhaps it might be useful to combine my speaking experiences with decades of reporting, editing and writing a weekly column now enriched in both audio and visual formats, to serve the needs of a younger generation of content providers, especially students and those in the earlier stages of their career, trying to find their way and also trying to make an honest living while doing so."

He has, however, written a handbook for media entrepreneurs, especially online publishers. The Nigerian media landscape is inundated with several online newspapers, most of them in the general news category, financially challenged and struggling to carve a niche in a way that can guarantee their continued operations. 

The critical issue in online publishing is content. Other issues like search engine optimisation, digital marketing, website friendliness, and social media presence are also vital to the success and sustainability of an online media business. However, the factor that binds all these and makes a platform stand out is content. That is why Bill Gates said content is king. 

An online publisher would find chapters 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 13 and 14 helpful. In these chapters, the author offers prescriptions that, if followed religiously, could lead to tremendous success. Apart from content, the author discusses the choice of subject, style, audience, staying out of trouble, etc.

His reference to an article by his former lecturer, Olatunji Dare, on stalactites and stalagmites, for example, makes the point that evergreens do far better than ephemeral content, even on social media. 

In Writing for the Media and Monetising It, Azu delves into the distinction between style and substance. He takes the reader through the efforts he made to create his style from a long list of writers he admired, from acclaimed journalists like Dele Giwa, Ray Ekpu and Yakubu Mohammed to literary writers like Chinua Achebe and Mark Twain before he settled on his unique style.

Azu deals with the subject of knowing one's audience in Chapter 4. He writes: “Not everyone is interested in what you say. For those who follow you, however, you must find valuable ways of connecting with them in a world of many, often noisy and confusing voices.” 

The author gives tips on how a writer can build their audience and earn money from content provided for that audience. In online publishing, a platform can adapt the tips given by the author, carve a niche, focus on that niche and earn money from that niche.

The author discusses content creation in detail, using the examples of Linda Ikeji, the blogger; Abdulsalam Idris, who has recorded tremendous success sharing content on X (now Twitter); Adeola Fayehun, producer of ‘Keeping It Real with Adeola', and Tunde Olaoluwa Adekunle, blogger, comedian, entertainer and musician.

And hey, Azu’s book promotional videos in the last few weeks, ahead of the public presentation of his book in Abuja on June 26, is a master class in content creation!

His book is easy to read. I hardly put it down when I started reading it. The book's strength lies in the practical examples the author uses to explain the issues discussed. He tells the reader about his own experiences, the challenges he encountered along the way, and the steps he took to overcome those challenges.

The sentences and paragraphs are short, and the design and layout are compelling. A reader can do exercises to engage or explore each subject further. In addition, each chapter has boxes, tips and reading lists for easy reading. 

Whether one is a mass communication student, a journalist, a journalism teacher, a media entrepreneur or a New Media enthusiast, there is something in the book for everyone. 

•Amuchie, Founder/CEO of Sundiata Post Media Ltd, is a member of the Nigerian Guild of Editors and the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers. He is also the immediate past president of the Rotary Club of Abuja CBD and the outgoing vice president of public relations at the Unity Toastmasters Club in Abuja.

It’s easy to grasp why Apple, Microsoft and Google are multitrillion-dollar companies: Just think about how many people around the world interact with the companies’ products and rely on them to go about their daily lives. But these multigenerational brand names are now trailing behind Nvidia, suddenly the most valuable public company in the world.

The tech behemoth, whose launch into AI chipmaking sent its stock into the stratosphere is hardly a household name. Many people can’t even pronounce it (it’s en-VID-eeyah, the company says on its website). It’s derived from the Latin word “invidia,” meaning envy, something many companies are undoubtedly feeling these days.

“I just read that it is now the world’s most valuable company, surpassing Microsoft. Why is that, because what does it do?” one user posted on Reddit on Tuesday. Many Nvidia investors who hopped on the train likely can’t explain what it does either.

With a market value of over $3 trillion, Nvidia is worth more than most countries’ entire economies. How did Nvidia get there?

Video games were just the start

Artificial intelligence wasn’t on the minds of Nvidia’s founders when they launched the company 31 years ago over a meal at Denny’s, where its CEO Jensen Huang worked at one point as a dishwasher. Their discussion revolved around finding a way to boost the processing capabilities of computers, especially graphics-intensive applications, Huang said in a recent interview that aired on CBS News’ “60 Minutes.” That was the impetus for Nvidia entering the graphics processing unit, or GPU, space in 1999. (While Nvidia popularized the term, it didn’t invent it, though it is often mistakenly credited with having done so.)

Nvidia’s GPUs revolutionized the gaming industry, bringing to market new games with movie-like visuals, whereas prior games were 2-D.

Eventually, the company took things one step further, creating a programming language that enabled developers to create applications to run on its hardware. By 2012, it discovered that its chips could be used to power much, much more than video games. Chief among those: artificial intelligence applications.

Still, the company remained relatively obscure to most investors and consumers — except for hardcore PC gamers.

That all changed in November 2022, when OpenAI announced ChatGPT, permanently altering people’s understanding of AI’s capabilities. The app’s stunning ability to mimic human speech and perform complex tasks shook Silicon Valley and Wall Street.

The winning ingredient (for now)

Suppose everyone collectively at the same time decided they don’t want to commute to work by driving or using mass transit. Instead, everyone is going to bike to work from here on out. Well, naturally demand for bikes is going to explode overnight. Want to get in on the action and start making bikes? You’re going to need a lot of steel. Nvidia is the steel of AI.

Now that just about every company, tech or not, is trying to find some way to use AI after OpenAI’s success made them look silly in comparison, everyone needs a lot of Nvidia.

It’s no wonder why it was the best-performing stock in the S&P 500 in 2023, gaining a whopping 239%. Up an additional 181% so far this year, it’s been the best-performing again.

All that demand for Nvidia chips surely must’ve increased competition, right?

Slowly but surely it has, with heavyweights like Meta, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft starting to play catchup. However, no company is close to Nvidia’s capabilities in the AI space, which is why it controls upwards of 70% of the market in AI chips.

Wall Street’s love affair with AI doesn’t seem like it’ll ever end. Could it all be one big bubble that’s bound to burst like the dot-com era? Maybe, but it seems less likely given the intrinsic value AI carries. All that means is demand for Nvidia chips isn’t going away any time soon — but competition will continue to grow more fierce.

And before we know it, another company with a name most people can’t pronounce will be referred to as the next Nvidia.

 

CNN

The federal account allocation committee (FAAC) says some revenue-generating agencies (RGAs) owe the federal government over N2.9 trillion.

According to FAAC, the total unresolved amount due to the federation account was N2,977,561,881,021.29 and $36,329,376.24.

This was made known in the minutes of the FAAC reconciliation meeting with the revenue-generating agencies on April 19.

FAAC disburses allocations from the revenues generated into the federation accounts every month — comprising of multiple accounts specific to the revenue-generating agency.

The bulk of the revenue shared at FAAC meetings by the federal, state, and local governments are earnings from oil exports, taxes, and other statutory allocations.

Under the current revenue-sharing formula, the federal government gets 52.68 percent, states receive 26.72 percent, and local governments get 20.60 percent from the revenue.

Speaking at the meeting, Kabir Mashi, vice-president of the post-mortem sub-committee (PMSC), who represented the committee chairman, said the outstanding amounts were still being reconciled with the relevant agencies at the monthly reconciliation meeting.

“Outstanding federation account revenue arising from inter-agencies reconciliation meeting held in April 2024: The Vice Chairman, PMSC reported that the total unresolved amount due to the Federation Account from the reconciliation meeting held with the revenue generating agencies in April 2024 was $36,329,376.24 and N2,977,561,881,021.29,” the minute read in part.

Mashi said all other outstanding amounts from the RGAs before June 2023 were referred to the stakeholders alignment committee and PMSC was awaiting the outcome of the reconciliation.

Also, Akintunde Oyebode, chairman of the commissioners’ forum and finance commissioner, Ekiti state, commended the PMSC for the effort in the recovery of outstanding funds belonging to the federation account.

Oyebode said the sub-nationals were feeling the impact of the recovery.

 

The Cable

Senate President Godswill Akpabio asserted that reinstating the old national anthem would foster patriotism and help tackle insecurity in Nigeria. Addressing the Senate plenary in Abuja on Wednesday, Akpabio highlighted the potential benefits of the new anthem.

He remarked, “The student loan and scholarship program bill, submitted by President Bola Tinubu, aims to help underprivileged Nigerian students access higher education. Over 30,000 students have already been selected to benefit from this initiative, which I find particularly compelling.”

Akpabio further explained the historical context of the national anthem, stating, “In 1959, a panel of Nigerians collected global input to create the anthem ‘Nigeria, we hail thee.’ Critics should understand this history before calling it a colonial anthem. Had we retained this anthem, banditry might have been avoided because it encourages seeing neighbours as brothers, thus preventing violence.”

Recently, the Federal Government unveiled the approved version of Nigeria’s reintroduced national anthem. Lanre Issa-Onilu, Director-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), presented the standardized version in Abuja, urging citizens to focus on specific lines of the anthem.

On May 29, 2024, marking the one-year anniversary of his administration, President Bola Tinubu signed the National Anthem Bill 2024. This legislation reinstates the old anthem, "Nigeria, we hail thee," replacing "Arise, O Compatriots." Tinubu emphasized that the anthem symbolizes the nation's diversity and unity.

Senate President Godswill Akpabio's statement that Nigeria would not have experienced banditry if the old national anthem had been retained is a perplexing and disheartening reflection of the disconnect between Nigeria's political leadership and the harsh realities faced by its citizens. Akpabio's assertion that a national anthem can influence such profound societal issues as insecurity and banditry raises serious questions about the intellectual rigour and priorities of those in power.

The notion that an anthem could prevent banditry is fundamentally flawed. Banditry, terrorism, and other forms of insecurity in Nigeria are deeply rooted in governance failures, economic disparity, and systemic corruption. Changing the national anthem does nothing to address these underlying issues. It neither puts food on the table of the impoverished nor provides the means for a better life. It does not stop the terrorists who exploit the nation's weaknesses or the bandits who prey on vulnerable communities.

The primary drivers of insecurity in Nigeria are multifaceted and complex. They include poverty, unemployment, inadequate education, and the government's failure to provide basic services. Moreover, the rampant corruption within political and administrative structures exacerbates these issues. Public funds meant for development and security often end up in the pockets of a few, leaving the majority to fend for themselves in increasingly dire conditions.

The Senate President's comments highlight a troubling trend among Nigeria’s political elite: a propensity to offer symbolic gestures instead of substantive solutions. The reinstatement of the old national anthem is a prime example of this, a symbolic act that does little to tackle the real issues at hand. Patriotism cannot be mandated through an anthem; it is cultivated through good governance, accountability, and genuine efforts to improve citizens' lives.

Furthermore, suggesting that an anthem could prevent violence by promoting brotherhood ignores the reality of Nigeria’s socio-political landscape. Patriotism and unity are fostered through equitable policies, justice, and inclusive governance. When citizens feel respected, valued, and fairly treated, they are more likely to develop a sense of national pride and unity. Conversely, when they are denied basic rights and opportunities, no anthem—no matter how nostalgic or well-intentioned—can inspire genuine patriotism.

The government's unwillingness and inability to tackle corruption is perhaps the most significant barrier to Nigeria's progress. Until there is a concerted effort to root out corruption at all levels, initiatives like changing the national anthem will remain superficial and ineffective. Real change requires transparency, accountability, and a commitment to upholding the rule of law.

In conclusion, the statement by Akpabio reflects a worrying lack of understanding of the true causes of Nigeria's challenges. It underscores the need for political leaders to engage with the reality of their citizens' lives and to focus on tangible solutions. Instead of relying on symbolic changes, the government must address the fundamental issues of corruption, poverty, and poor governance. Only then can Nigeria hope to achieve the security and prosperity its people deserve.

The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, on Wednesday, denounced the killings in the South-East over the group’s agitation for secession.

He also appealed for an out-of-court settlement of his ongoing treason trial by the Federal Government.

The IPOB leader, who has been in detention since 2021 following his re-arrest in Kenya and repatriation to Nigeria, made the appeal on Wednesday when he appeared for the continuation of his trial at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

A viral video clip on Wednesday captured him denouncing killings in the South-East fuelled by IPOB’s agitation for separation of the Igbo from Nigeria.

In a conversation with his lawyers, who pointed out to him that he needed to speak up to stop the killings, Kanu said, “I condemn any manner of killing. Every manner of killing, I condemn in its entirety.

“I want people to understand that IPOB was founded on a non-violent principle and we maintain that up till this very day. Some of these soldiers, we’re told, are also our people. And the families are now in mourning. All the making of young widows is condemned in its entirety. I don’t want it, I don’t want anybody to die.

“We are fighting for freedom, then how can we fight death at the same time? It’s not possible; we want people to be free. That’s all we’re fighting for, nothing more.

“We’ve suffered a lot in Africa, I don’t know if you know that. Africans have suffered – from slavery in (Saudi) Arabia, to slavery in Europe, to slavery in America. So, I think we should focus our time and devote it towards making sure that this continent stands up to what God promised is going to be.”

At the proper court proceedings, Kanu, through his lawyer, Aloy Ejimakor, informed the judge, Binta Nyako and the prosecuting counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo, that “the defence wants the case settled out of court”.

Ejimakor complained to the court that the Department of State Services, which is keeping Kanu in custody, had not fully complied with the orders of the court to allow the legal team unfettered and free access to the defendant in order to prepare him for his trial.

The lawyer complained that Kanu’s cell was bugged by the DSS, making the lawyers conscious during their meetings.

He added that this has led the legal team to resolve to initiate contempt proceedings against the Director General of the DSS for refusing to obey the court’s order which had directed the DSS to grant Kanu an unbugged “safe room” space for meeting with his lawyers.

Ejimakor asked the court to on its own, invoke Section 17 of the Federal High Court Act, which he stated, provides for “reconciliation” and facilitation of amicable settlement in criminal or civil matters.

He said he had previously discussed the proposition with the prosecution counsel and who had told him the proper time for such an issue had not come.

The Federal Government’s lawyer, Awomolo, however, told the court that it was not in his place to seek an out-of-court settlement of the matter.

Awomolo told Kanu’s team to “approach the Attorney General of the Federation, on such issues as the power to grant such resides with him.”

He noted that the AGF was the one with the power to approach the court for an out-of-court settlement.

The prosecutor stressed that he did not have the order of the Federal Government to embark on such negotiation with the defendant.

 “I told him to go to the Attorney-General of the Federation, who has the power. If he is interested in negotiating he should go there, his office is just here,” Awomolo said.

In response, Justice Nyako said the court had no proper with Kanu’s proposition for an out-of-court settlement and advised him to approach the AGF for the possibility.

She, however, ordered the DSS to provide an “unbugged space” for Kanu to meet with his lawyers each time they were at the facility to prepare him for trial.

She explained that what she meant by unbugged space is someplace outside the DSS building like a garden within the DSS premises where Kanu and his lawyers could discuss outside the hearing of the DSS operatives.

On the issue of Forms 48 and 49, seeking the imprisonment of the DSS Director General for alleged contempt, the trial judge said the two applications were not before her.

She assured the parties that the matter would be looked into when the file came before her.

Meanwhile, Kanu, in a fresh application before the court, prayed for the dismissal of the charges against him for being unconstitutional.

He contended that the prosecution failed to indicate the exact location where he made an alleged offensive broadcast.

Ejimakor argued that the court lacked jurisdiction since the prosecution failed to show in the charge whether the alleged offensive broadcast was a punishable offence in Kenya or Britain, the two places where Kanu had been outside Nigeria before his rearrest.

The judge, however, dismissed Kanu’s fresh application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear and determine the charges preferred against him.

The court held that it could not overrule itself on issues it had already resolved.

Nyako held that the only option left for the applicant was to proceed on appeal.

She ordered the prosecution to file and serve its proof of evidence on the defendant while the defendant files his defence pending the next adjourned date.

She adjourned the matter till September 24 for hearing.

Ohanaeze backs amicable settlement

Meanwhile, the apex Igbo sociopolitical group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, on Wednesday, welcomed Kanu’s proposal for out-of-court settlement.

The group also commended the pro-Biafran leader over his call for violence and insecurity to end in the South-East geopolitical zone of the country.

Speaking on the development in an interview with our correspondent in Anambra, on Wednesday, the Deputy Vice-President (South-East), Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Vincent Aham, expressed optimism that the IPOB leader would be released if negotiation begins, adding that dialogue with the FG over the issue was long overdue.

Afam said, “It is a welcome development the call by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to seek negotiation with the FG. Elder statesmen like the late ex-Aviation Minister, Mbazuluike Amechi, and several others, had sought political solution and negotiation over the release of Kanu, during the last administration of Muhammadu Buhari.

“But despite all the efforts, Buhari refused to release him till he left office, even despite the fact that the law court of the land had set him free. We are still watching and expect that the Federal Government release him so that insecurity will end in the region.

“It is our belief that his release will go a long way to douse the tension in the South-East triggered by insecurity and killings. Kanu himself has consistently maintained that the killings and insecurity in the region should stop, maintaining that IPOB was created based on a ‘non-violence’ platform.

“President Bola Tinubu should heed the call by the people and do the needful by releasing the young man.”

 

Punch

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