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MRA, IPC To Lodge Complaints Before AU, UN Against FG Over Twitter Ban

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Two non-governmental organizations, Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and the International Press Centre (IPC) on monday condemned the Federal Government’s indefinite suspension of Twitter in Nigeria and threatened to lodge a formal complaint before the appropriate agencies of the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) if the Government does not immediately rescind the ban.

In a statement issued in Lagos, the organizations condemned the Government’s action as a violation of international norms and standards, citing the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights’ Resolution 362 on the Right to Freedom of Information and Expression on the Internet in Africa, adopted on November 4, 2016 at its 59th Ordinary Session;

The Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, adopted by the Commission in November 2019, at its 65th Ordinary Session; and recent UN Human Rights Council resolutions touching on the matter.

They argued that the action is an unjustifiable violation of the rights of all Nigerians to freedom of expression and access to information, while also contravening the relevant instruments of both bodies.

The statement signed by MRA’s Executive Director, Mr. Edetaen Ojo; and the Executive Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, the organizations also noted that in its Resolution 362 of 2016, the African Commission has expressed concern at the practice by African States of “interrupting or limiting access to telecommunication services such as the Internet, social media and messaging services.”

“The Declaration of Principles also provides in Principle 38 (1) and (2) that “States shall not interfere with the right of individuals to seek, receive and impart information through any means of communication and digital technologies, through measures such as the removal, blocking or filtering of content, unless such interference is justifiable and compatible with international human rights law and standards” and that “States shall not engage in or condone any disruption of access to the internet and other digital technologies for segments of the public or an entire population.

“The organizations also cited the UN Human Rights Council resolution on the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet, adopted at its 38th Session in July 2018, in it asked “all States to address security concerns on the Internet in accordance with their international human rights obligations to ensure the protection of all human rights online, in particular freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of association, and privacy, including through democratic and transparent national institutions, based on the rule of law, in a way that ensures freedom and security on the Internet so that it can continue to be a vibrant force that generates economic, social and cultural development.

“In addition, they noted that in its latest resolution related to the matter, which was adopted at its 45th Session in October 2020, the Council has also unequivocally condemned “measures in violation of international human rights law aiming to or that intentionally prevent or disrupt access to or dissemination of information online and offline, which undermine the work of journalists in informing the public, including through practices such as:

” Internet shutdowns or measures to unlawfully or arbitrarily block or take down media websites, such as denial of service attacks” and called on “all States to cease and refrain from these measures, which cause irreparable harm to efforts at building inclusive and peaceful knowledge societies and democracies.

“The organizations called on the Federal Government to urgently take steps to comply with these internationally agreed norms and standards and retrace its steps from its current path, which puts Nigeria in danger of becoming a rogue nation that is constantly violating international human rights law as well as the principles of international law.

“Mr. Ojo, said: “The Government’s claim on the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence is not only unsubstantiated, but is clearly bogus and illogical. The pertinent questions here are: who is the government accusing of using the platform for activities capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence? Is it the owners of Twitter that are posting such tweets? Is it foreigners using the platform for such activities? Or is it all Nigerians who are on Twitter or some of those Nigerians who use Twitter? The Government needs to be specific on this.”

According to him, “If some Nigerians on Twitter are using it in a manner that displeases the Government, how is banning Twitter for all Nigerians, in contravention of international norms an appropriate response? And if the government is convinced that people should not be allowed to post whatever they like on Twitter, no matter how divisive, hateful or inciting, why was the Government itself so angry when Twitter deleted a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari, which it adjudged to be in violation of this same principle?

Why did the Government opt to embark on this highhanded response which violates the rights of all Nigerians to freedom of expression and access to information instead of appealing Twitter’s decision on President’s Buhari’s post or challenging it in a judicial forum?”

“Similarly, Mr. Arogundade said: “On the surface the government claims it is fighting Twitter but in reality what it is doing is waging war against its own citizens by infringing on their fundamental and socio-economic rights despite their being constitutionally guaranteed. If anything, the threat by the Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), to prosecute anyone that disobeys the ban is indicative of the fact that if this government has its way all social media platforms would be shut down because they have become veritable avenues for citizens to express their disaffection with its acts of mis-governance.

“Mr. Arogundade added that, “the ban does not show that the government is serious about the welfare or economic well-being of the citizens otherwise it would have given due consideration to how the decision would disrupt businesses that are transacted by many individuals and corporate bodies on Twitter and affect investor confidence in the Nigerian economy before rushing to make the announcement”. The statement reiterated.

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Former Perm Sec Commissions 4.6km Damare Road, Lauds Fintiri’s Achievements

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A retired federal permanent secretary and elder statesman Alhaji Ahidjo Bamanga has lauded Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri for his outstanding achievements in 3 years which have uplifted the status of the state

He was speaking during the commissioning of 4.6km ATV Damare road in Girei local government area.

Speaking shortly before the commissioning Alhaji Bamanga applauded the Governor for his commitment towards changing the fortunes of the state.

The elder statesman described Governor Fintiri as a committed, result oriented and great achiever who has salvaged the state from the shackles of underdevelopment urging all Adamawa people to support him for continuity.

Earlier Governor Fintiri said the 4.6km road is part of the landmark achievements in the deliveries of the urban renewal campaign of his administration.

The Governor said government has developed a two way approach to infrastructural strides which is urban renewal and rural infrastructure and community development and it will not rest on its oars till it achieves that.

He proudly noted that Adamawa is wearing a beautiful look and has fast become an investment hub for investors.

While pledging to continue to flag off and commission projects till the end of his tenure he reiterated his resolve to ensure that no one is left behind and nothing is left untouched.

Commissioner of works and energy development, Adamu Atiku
said the 4.6km ATV Damare road is strategic and important as it has ameliorated the plight of commuters and opened up the area for development.

There were goodwill messages from the District Head of Girei, Dr Ibrahim Ahmed Mustapha, and chairman Girei Local Government Council Judah Amisa and Baba Salam.

High points of the event was a display of three hearty cheers from corp members who are major beneficiaries of the road which leads to the NYSC orientation camp Damare.

The Governor while inspecting the road had a stopover at the NYSC camp and was cheerfully welcomed by the corp members.

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Accountability: Nat’l Lottery Trust Fund Emerges 2nd Best Compliant Agency In Nigeria

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Dr Bello Maigari, the Executive Secretary , National Lottery Trust Fund, has said that the Agency emerged the second best accountability compliant in Federal Government Agency’s Anti Corruption and Transparency Units ( ACTU) in 2021.

Dr Bello Maigari made the agency’s stand clear in a statement issued on Monday and signed by Muhammad Auwal Adam, Media and Puɓlications unit of the Trust Fund.

Dr. Maigari equally stated that the agency was the fourth best compliant among the government MDA in efficiency and transparency in the workplace.

“In less than Three years of the constitution of the Unit, the agency scored 84.45% to emerge the second best compliant in agency category in Nigeria and the fourth best compliant MDA with systems and processes put in place to promote efficiency and transparency in the workplace”. Maigari said.

According to Dr. Maigari, the success is attributed to the efforts put by the agency’s Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU).

The Executive Secretary stated that the development equally followed the high standards of transparency and accountability collectively exhibited by the management and staff of the agency.

Similarly, Federal Government has lauded the National Lottery Trust Fund for gigantic intervention in National Sports Development and urged other government MDAs to emulate.

According to Dr Bello Maigari, the commendation followed the giant intervention so far made by the agency in promoting nation’s sport.

He said that over N574m worth of sports equipment procured by the National Lottery Trust Fund and distributed to over 2000 selected public primary schools across the country.

He noted that the significance of the intervention would go along way in promoting good causes and sport Development among Nigerian Youths.//

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Ishaka Dedan Reelected As Adamawa NUJ Chair

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The Adamawa state Council of the Nigeria union of Journalists, NUJ Saturday held its election which saw the emergence of Ishaka Donald Dedan as the Chairman for the second term.

This was announced by the Chairman, Electoral Committee of the twenty twenty two election, Comrade Bashir Liman at the N UJ’s Secretariat, Press Centre Yola.

The returned Chairman, Comrade Ishaka Donald Dedan polled one hundred and ten votes to defeat his rival Comrade Kate Aliyuda who polled seventy two votes.

Meanwhile, Comrade Fidelis Jockthan polled one hundred and twenty votes to clinch the position of Secretary defeating his closest rival Jonathan Filibus who polled seventy three votes.

The office of the treasurer was won by Joy Diamond Leka with one hundred and sixteen votes beating her rival Felicia Amos who polled thirty seven.

Other positions of Auditor and Assistant Secretary were unopposed.

The newly elected leaders were administered oath of office by Barrister Sunday Wugira.

In an inaugural speech, the Vice Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalist, North East zone, Comrade Zare Baba charged the new executive to carry every body along and eschew bigotry and favoritism.

In an acceptance and victory speech, the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Comrade Ishaka Donald Dedan who thanked God for the victory pledged to play an open door policy.

Comrade Dedan who solicited prayers and support of the members urged them to advise them where necessary.

Speaking, the Permanent Secretary ministry of information, Barrister Isuwa Misali who congratulated the new executives to work together towards forging the union forward.

Other speakers at the event who presented their good will messages include NUT state Chairman, Comrade Rodney Nathan, representative of the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN Adamawa state Chapter and Radio Television Theatre and Art Workers Union, RATTAWU.

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