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MDAs, Journalists, Others Reject Social Media Bill

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Key federal government agencies, civil society organisations (CSOs) non-governmental Organisations (NGOs), student groups, the media and other stakeholders have roundly rejected the Protection from Internet Falsehoods, Manipulations and Other Related Matters Bill, 2019 (SB 132), tagged Social Media Bill.

Amongst the groups that made presentation rejecting the bill at the Senate public hearing yesterday were the Nigeria Law Reform, Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), YIAGA Africa, Centre For Democracy Development (CDD), African Independent Television  (AIT), Sahara Reporters, Amnesty International, Nigeria Communication Commission(NCC), and the Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

Others were Space for Change, International Press Centre (IPC), Enough Is Enough, Social Media Community, Socio-Economic Right and Accountability Project (SERAP) amongst others.

The only three organisations that supported of the bill were the Nigerian Army, Civil Voices Coalition for Protection of Right And Privileges (CVCPRP) and Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA).

However, senators are presently facing dilemma over the anti-social media bill, with some of them complaining that their constituents have been calling, abusing them over the bill.

At the public hearing on the bill titled, “Protection from Internet Falsehoods, Manipulations and other related matters Bill,” sponsored by Senator Mohammed Sani Musa,  series of drama emerged as 77 per cent of groups and individuals that spoke, kicked against it.

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Shortly after the public hearing was declared open by the Senate president, Ahmad Lawan, speakers took turns to kick against the bill on the ground that it did not represent the interest of Nigerians.

Speaking on behalf of the CSOs, the head, Civil Society Organisations Situation Room, Clement Nwankwo, appreciated the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, which organised the public hearing, but pointed out that “this Bill is completely unnecessary.”

During his presentation, Nwankwo noted that police had been going beyond its brief, adding that, “the Bill if passed will force the Police to do more harm than what they are doing now. There will be too much impunity, this Bill should be completely discountenanced.”

The Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) also opposed the bill, insisting that it should be withdrawn.

National president of NUJ, Christopher Isiguzo, said that the bill sought to pigeon-hole Nigerians from freely expressing themselves.

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While kicking against the bill, the executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Dambata ,said that the bill gave too much power to the police and other security agencies.

Dambata, noted that certain provisions of the bill were difficult to implement, adding that the provisions have already been covered by other laws.

But supporting the bill, the Nigeria Army said that it welcomed its provisions, adding that even advanced democracies have a way of regulating the media.

Representative of  the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Tukur Buratai, Major General Solomon Udoma, said false information undermines leadership, destroy peace and threatens unity.

He noted that not only does it distort information, but sometime led to clash between security agencies. He further stated that the bill should be considered in the interest of the society.

The chairman, Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), Saad Ibrahim, in his contribution said the bill was unnecessary. He added that the bill appeared to be undefined and some parts should be deleted if it must be passed.

The executive director, YIAGA Africa, Samson Itodo, said they completely reject the bill and align with other civil society that supports its rejection.

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He added that the bill will duplicate laws that are already in existence, adding that any attempt to regulate social media, will infringe on the right of the people.

Speaking on behalf of CDD, Shamsudeen Yusuf, said the bill should not passed.

He said blockage of social media is not good adding that countries that have done that conceal digital operations.

The country director, Amnesty International, Ossai Ojigo, said the social media bill would not meet the minimum standard of freedom if passed.

The ICPC, represented by Dr Esa Onoja, said that they are neither for nor against, but noted that the bill gave more power to the police instead of the office of the attorney general of the federation.

He said ICPC was only duty bound to enforce any law passed.

Earlier, chairman of the Committee, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, said that the National Assembly, which is the bedrock of constitutional democracy would not shy from its mandate of making laws that will stand the test of time.

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Lai Mohammed unhappy media is underreporting military success against bandits

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Lai Mohammed unhappy media is underreporting military success against bandits
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Lai Mohammed unhappy media is underreporting military success against bandits

Lai Mohammed says the military has already drastically reduced banditry.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has called on the media to give more attention to the military’s offensive against bandits in the northwest region.

Military operations against them have been stepped up in recent weeks, with the government shutting down telecommunications services in many parts of Zamfara, Katsina, and Sokoto to cut off the bandits’ information flow.

Mohammed said during a meeting with the Katsina State government on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 that the strategy is working, and has already drastically reduced banditry.

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Lai Mohammed unhappy media is underreporting military success against bandits

The minister however lamented that the government’s positive efforts have not received the kind of media attention given to the bandits.

“There is no doubt that the table is turning against the bandits, since Katsina and other affected states came up with a number of novel measures that got the bandits boxed in, and the military stepped up its kinetic approach,” he said.

The 69-year-old said the government’s success ‘should be trumpeted’ so as to encourage more states to adopt similar measures, and boost the morale of security agencies.

He said the government is very worried about the wave of violence in the northwest region, and expressed confidence the military will soon put an end to it.

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Reps to investigate exclusion of Rivers from World Bank loan benefits

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Reps to investigate exclusion of Rivers from World Bank loan benefits
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Reps to investigate exclusion of Rivers from World Bank loan benefits

House of Representatives on Wednesday called for investigation into the alleged exclusion of Rivers from projects to be financed by a fresh World Bank loan.

Solomon Bob (PDP-Rivers) had alleged in the house that Rivers is the only state that would not benefit from the loans.

He stated that the report, if true, rendered the Federal Government’s action as contrary to the spirit and letters of the 1999 Constitution.

He added that it would be discriminatory against the people of Rivers and capable of creating a sense of alienation, exclusion and discontent.

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Bob added that the house had a responsibility to ensure that the affairs of the federation were conducted in accordance with the Constitution and the law of equity and fairness.

This, he said, should be followed with an overriding responsibility to deploy its Constitutional powers to ensure compliance on the part of the Executive.

He added that Nigeria is a federation that professes equity, fairness and social justice and that there were several constitutional provisions prohibiting all forms of discrimination on the basis of partisan leaning, religion, place of origin or tribe.

Reps to investigate exclusion of Rivers from World Bank loan benefits

He said that some sections of the Constitution imposed a duty on the Federal Government to ensure equitable distribution of resources and projects across the federation.

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The consequently mandated its Committee on Aids, Loans and Debt Management to liaise with the office of the Adviser on National Assembly Matters to the President to ascertain the veracity of the allegation.

It also mandated the committee to revert in 14 days for further legislative action.

The house noted that if other states were listed, Rivers should be included to benefit from the projects to be executed with the fresh loan.

(NAN)

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Nemesis Is Coming On Those Attacking Me, Benue People – Gov Ortom

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Nemesis Is Coming On Those Attacking Me, Benue People - Gov Ortom
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Nemesis Is Coming On Those Attacking Me, Benue People – Gov Ortom

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has expressed optimism that those attacking him for voicing out the criminal activities of suspected Fulani herdsmen would one day face the nemesis of their actions.

In an interview with DAILY POST, the governor expressed hope that the Supreme God would vindicate him following the attacks he had suffered while defending his people, stressing that the day of reckoning is coming.

The Governor accused some political actors in the state of sabotaging the interest of the people just to remain as Minister or gain the position of a party’s national chairman.

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Nemesis Is Coming On Those Attacking Me, Benue People – Gov Ortom

He said, “I will say it’s well. God will help us. All these things they are doing; the day of reckoning is coming. I can assure you. All these injustices; all the things that I have suffered on behalf of my people; the day of reckoning will come for all these blackmailers who have come out now to cause confusion in Benue State.

“The same people had benefited immensely from our people who voted them, but they are now turning our state into IDPs camps.

“God will judge us. And because they want to be National Chairman, they want to remain as Ministers, they do press conferences, they insult the people and walk on their graves and across their dead bodies. The day of reckoning is coming. Watch my words! I serve the living God”.

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DAILY POST recalls that the governor had recently been in war of words with the presidency and the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume over his calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to tackle the security situation in Benue and other parts of the country.

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