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How Pakistan Floods Washed Away Family’s Marriage Hopes

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A truck driver and father-of-seven, Mureed Hussain, was planning for his daughter’s October wedding when floodwater inundated his home, taking away the entire back wall and, with it, her hard-earned dowry.

“I had been collecting her dowry for almost three years,” Hussain told newsmen from the courtyard of his four-room house, which he shares with his brother’s family.

“I would provide for the house and also spend a little on her dowry.”

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Record monsoon rains have caused devastating floods across Pakistan since June, killing more than 1,200 people and leaving almost a third of the country under water, affecting the lives of 33 million.

The hardest hit were the poor in rural parts of the country, who had seen their homes, belongings, life savings, and crops washed away.

READ ALSO: Two Bodies Recovered From Lekki Building Collapse

Hussain’s village in Punjab province was badly affected, with floodwater destroying or damaging scores of buildings.

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Also washed away were marriage plans for Hussain’s daughter, Nousheen.

Each month Hussain would put away a couple of thousand rupees for her dowry from the 17,000 rupee salary ($80) he made driving trucks.

It is customary for families in patriarchal Pakistan to provide extravagant dowries when a daughter is married.

In many areas, parents are expected to start saving up for their daughters’ dowries from the day they are born.

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While demanding a large dowry is officially banned by law, it is still a practice observed by many.

The families of grooms frequently present the parents of their future daughter-in-law with an extensive list of demands – including furniture, household goods and clothing.

In the case of wealthy families, it can even include cars and homes.

Failing to come up with the goods is considered shameful, and the bride-to-be often faces ill-treatment by her in-laws if a decent dowry is not provided.

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– Shock and tears –
“I wanted to marry off my other two daughters after her and one remaining son,” Hussain said.

“I had thought I would be able to do it gradually.”

When the floods reached his home, Hussain fled with his wife and family to a nearby railway station on elevated land.

When the waters receded, Hussain trudged through mud two days ago and returned to his home with his wife and daughters.

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“They started crying when they saw the damage,” he said.

His wife, Sughra Bibi, teared up again as she recalled her shock at the condition of the home — and her daughter’s dowry.

Over the years, Sughra had bought a custom-made bed set and dressing table, as well as a juicer, washing machine, iron, bedsheets, and quilts.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Second Most Terrorized Country- Jihad Analytics

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Everything was badly damaged by the floodwater.

“It’s blackened, so whoever sees it will say we have given her old things,” Sughra said.

With the wedding called off, Nousheen is putting on a brave face.

“It was supposed to be a happy time for my family, and I was very excited,” the 25-year-old told AFP.

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“I have seen how difficult it was for my parents to put this dowry together for me. Now they have to do it all over again.”

“It’s such a big problem for us now,” father Hussain said.

Should we rebuild our house, sow wheat or get our children married? All three things are so important for us.”

AFP

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Meta Deletes 63,000 Accounts In ‘Yahoo Boys’ Crackdown

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Meta Platforms Inc., the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, has removed 63,000 accounts associated with the notorious “Yahoo Boys” scam group, the company announced in its Q1 2024 Adversarial Threat Report on Wednesday.

The accounts, deleted over the past few weeks, were used for financial sextortion scams and distributing blackmail scripts. Meta reported that a smaller network of 2,500 accounts, linked to around 20 individuals, primarily targeted adult men in the United States using fake identities.

Meta said it identified and disabled these accounts through a combination of advanced technical signals and comprehensive investigations, enhancing its automated detection systems.

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“Financial sextortion is a borderless crime, fueled in recent years by the increased activity of Yahoo Boys, loosely organised cybercriminals operating largely out of Nigeria that specialize in different types of scams,” the social media giant stated.

READ ALSO: Apple Challenges Meta In Virtual Reality, Unveils N1.6m Headset

It added, “We’ve removed around 63,000 accounts in Nigeria attempting to target people with financial sextortion scams, including a coordinated network of around 2,500 accounts.”

“We’ve also removed a set of Facebook accounts, Pages, and groups run by Yahoo Boys—banned under our Dangerous Organizations and Individuals policy—that were attempting to organize, recruit and train new scammers,” the company explained.

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During the investigation, Meta said it found that most scammers’ attempts were unsuccessful, though some had targeted minors. These cases were reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Meta revealed that it also shared information with other tech companies via the Tech Coalition’s Lantern program to help curb these scams across platforms.

READ ALSO: FG Slashes Allowances Of Stranded Nigerians On Scholarship In Russia The Federal Gov

Further, the parent company of Facebook said it removed around 7,200 assets in Nigeria, including 1,300 Facebook accounts, 200 pages, and 5,700 groups that were providing scam-related resources.

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These assets were found offering scripts and guides for scams and sharing links to collections of photos for creating fake accounts, it expounded.

Since this disruption, Meta’s systems have been actively blocking attempts from these groups to return, continually improving their detection capabilities.

The company noted that it has also been working closely with law enforcement, supporting investigations and prosecutions by responding to legal requests and alerting authorities to imminent threats.

READ ALSO: Top 10 Richest People In The World

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The social media giant stated that its efforts extend beyond account removal.

“We also fund and support NCMEC and the International Justice Mission to run Project Boost, a program that trains law enforcement agencies around the world in processing and acting on NCMEC reports.

“We’ve conducted several training sessions so far, including in Nigeria and the Cote d’Ivoire, with our most recent session taking place just last month,” the firm revealed.

To protect users, especially teens, Meta disclosed that it has implemented stricter messaging settings for users under 16 (under 18 in certain countries) and displays safety notices to encourage cautious behaviour online.

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READ ALSO: FG Slashes Allowances Of Stranded Nigerians On Scholarship In Russia The Federal Gov

Last week, Meta was fined $220m by Nigeria’s Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission for multiple violations of data protection laws linked to WhatsApp.

The investigation, initiated in May 2021, found that Meta’s privacy policies infringed on users’ rights, including unauthorized data sharing and discriminatory practices.

Meta plans to appeal the decision, arguing that it disagrees with the findings and the imposed penalty. The FCCPC aims to ensure fair treatment of Nigerian users and compliance with local regulations.

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FG Slashes Allowances Of Stranded Nigerians On Scholarship In Russia The Federal Gov

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The Federal Government has announced a slash in allowances of foreign scholars who are currently studying in Moscow, Russia.

This is contained in a letter dated July 23, 2024, issued to the scholars’ association in country by the Federal Scholarship Board under the Federal Ministry of Education.

The students are studying under the Federal Government’s Bilateral Educational Agreement Scholarship, which is for the purpose of education exchange between Nigeria and the other countries.

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READ ALSO: Plane Crashes On Takeoff In Nepal With 19 Aboard

The letter, which was signed by the Director of the Federal Scholarship Board, Ndajiwo H.A., on behalf of the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman reads, “A: FG slashes allowances of Nigerian foreign scholars over hardship”

According to the letter, the monthly allowances were slashed from $500 to $220; the graduation allowance from $2500 to $2000; and the PG research allowance was slashed from $1,000 to $500.

The total for the payments initially paid was $5,650 per student but will now be $4,370 but allowance for health insurance, pilot allowance and Medical allowance remains $200, $700 and $500 as before.

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READ ALSO: Plane Crashes On Takeoff In Nepal With 19 Aboard

The letter reads: “The Scholars’ Association is hereby notified that due to the prevailing economic situation, the payment mandate for the BEA scholars’ allowances will be as per the new adjustment.”

“The balances for the years 2023 and 2024 owed to scholars will be paid as soon as the funds are made available,” the letter reads.

Meanwhile, reports has it that the scholars have not been paid for close to eight months and have endured financial strain due to the delay in receiving their stipends.

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BREAKING: SGF, NSA, Ministers In Emergency Meeting Over Planned Nationwide Protest

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The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, George Akume, is currently meeting with ministers over the planned nationwide protest against economic hardship.

READ ALSO::Four Suspected Cultists Arrested With Arms In Edo

The meeting, which is taking place behind closed doors, has all the over 40 ministers in President Bola Tinubu’s cabinet in attendance.

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Some of the Ministers spotted are Nyesom Wike (FCT), Yusuf Tuggar (Foreign Affairs), Zephaniah Jisalo (Special Duties), Tahir Mamman (Education), and Abubakar Bagudu (Budget and Planning).

Others are Wale Edun (Finance), Mohammed Idris (Information), Bello Matawalle (Defence), David Umahi (Works), and the National Security Adviser (NSA) Nuhu Ribadu, amongst others.

Recall that the President had earlier on Tuesday pleaded with Nigerians to shelve the #EndBadGovernance protest slated to commence on August 1.

The protest against economic hardship, organized by faceless persons, has gained traction on social media and is scheduled to hold across the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

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Details shorly…

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