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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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Wike: APC Chieftain Lampoons Northern Politicians In Tinubu’s Cabinet

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…says they’re gullible politicians who failed to represent the region well

A Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mallam Sai’du Bobboi lampooned Northern politicians who have formed the cabinet of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as a bunch of failures in representing the entire region.

He said the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Barrister Nyesome Wike is an intruder and the Party’s interloper who came from the opposition ruling party and displaced them in silenced any issues concerning the northern region.

He accused Wike of attacking some well-meaning Nigerians, especially those from the Northern extraction at will without any of the politicians in the current government fighting for the injustice being meted out by the current FCT minister to many sons and Daughters of the party.

Sai’du from Adamawa Central Senatorial District gave the example of Messrs Integrated Facility Management Services Ltd managing the affairs of the International Conference Center (ICC) Abuja abruptly revoked its contract with the federal government by Wike without following due process.

According to him, Wike did that because the company is owned by a Northerner and revoked the contractual agreement with the sole aim of empowering his political cronies who will be loyal to him in 2027.

The Adamawa State-born politician said the crop of ministers from the Northern region in the current cabinets are Wike stooges who do not have the capability and capacity to stand against injustice and defend anyone in the North.

Worried that if they cannot defend the interest of the North and any politician who has served the party well and wholeheartedly worked for the success of the party they have become failures and all Nigerians should boo them because they are a disgrace.

Sai’du further said that Mallam Ahmad Abubakar Moallayidi, a non-serving Senator who has represented Adamawa Southern Senatorial District in recent times became a victim of Wike’s “rascality” of attacking Northerners.

Sai’du who was the former National Chairman of the KOWA Party said Moallayidi was one of the few individuals who sacrificed a lot in delivering President Tinubu and all he could get in return was Wike’s sheer wickedness in attacking Northerners.

He called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to as a matter of urgency replace Wike with a more decent politician from Rivers State who is a true member of APC otherwise, the excesses of his leadership are becoming more unbecoming and will consume everyone in the party, including the president.

“Wike from PDP is getting on the nerves of everyone in APC, the Man is having his field day and his atrocities are going unhindered being aided by the so-called Ministers who are afraid to call him to order.

“All I’m saying is he should stand up for Justice and stop fighting those who worked for the party that’s today a beneficiary of their hard work and labor through all sorts of pains to bring Tinubu on board,” Sai’du said

Sai’du a one-time Vice Presidential Candidate of the KOWA PARTY in the 2015 Presidential Election With Professor Oluremi Sonayya as the only woman Presidential candidate continued to say that the APC party is becoming evil with the glaring tendencies of killing her own bonafide Sons and Daughters.

“Many people sacrificed a lot, who against all odds served the party and spent their time, energy and resources in bringing into power the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu are today crying for marginalization because the likes of Wike are the Alpha and Omega of all that’s happening in the party.” He said

He said Northern politicians in Tinubu’s regime are dosing off, they should wake up and fight for the collective interest of the entire region.

“Your silence is too much for our liking, you are becoming stooges to a Man that ought to be under your tutelage. He has silenced you and is making you irrelevant in this administration for his personal interest. Under your nose is fighting one of our own for no just course, under your watch is meting out injustice to some northern politicians and none of you can address him. You are failing us, you are not representing us well and you all will regret it later. Remember the consequences of your actions or inactions will bore down to the electorates to decide.” Sai’du further stated

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ADSUBEB Acting Chair, Shehu Felicitates With Gov Fintiri, Muslim Faithful On Eid-el-Fitr

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The Acting Chairman Adamawa State Universal Basic Education Board, (ADSUBEB) Malam Shehu Umar Shehu has congratulated Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri and Muslim faithful in the state on the occasion of the 2024 Eid-el-Fitr, marking the end of the Ramadan fast.

Shehu, in his Sallah message made available to this platform, urged Adamawa people, especially Muslim faithful, to continue devoting themselves to prayers for unity, peaceful coexistence, and the progress of the state.

He called on people to keeping faith with the leadership of Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, assuring that the state would continue to witness the type of greatness desired by citizens.

Malam Shehu acknowledged that the efforts of the Governor Umaru Fintiri led administration to improving the education are yielding results, and advised people to continue to support the present administration. 

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How Gov Fintiri, Atiku, Others Celebrate Eid-El-Fitir In Yola

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By Muhammad B. Muhammad

Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State Wednesday joined hundreds of Muslims at the Yola Eid ground to observe 2-raka’at supererogatory prayer in commemoration of this years Eid-el-fitir celebration.

Other dignitaries at the Eid ground include Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Waziri Adamawa, Alhaji Mustafa Aminu, the Galadima Adamawa among other senior government officials, traditional title holders, district heads among others.

In his sermon shortly after he led the 2 raka’at prayer, the Chief Imam of Modibbo Adama Central mosque, Yola, Khadi Ahmadu Bobboi admonished Muslims to fear Allah, shun away from all sinful activities even after the Ramadan period.

Bobboi urged the faithful to be thankful to Allah at all times, supplicate and pray fervently with their families for God guidance so that peace and tranquillity will continue to reign in the state and the country in general.

Governor Umaru Fintiri in an interview with newsmen shortly after the prayer, expressed gratitude to Almighty Allah for the successful completion of Ramadan fasting and celebration of the Eid-el-fitir.

He said: “We are grateful to Almighty Allah for allowing us to observe one of the five Pillars of Islam. With this, I congratulate all Muslims across the world particularly Adamawa and Nigeria.

“And to urge us to live a life of modesty as enjoyed by Islam, help the needy, coexist peacefully and respect one another. This is my message today for the good people of my state and the country.”

Contributing, the Waziri Adamawa, Alh Atiku Abubakar while congratulating Muslims on the celebration of Eid-El-Fitir, describes the hardships Nigerians are going through as most unfortunate but expressed optimism that the country will overcome it.

“We should work hard and support government policies that are designed actually to alleviate the sufferings of the poor people. Basically, I’m not satisfied with the federal government policies, ” he said.

Meanwhile, 4 years down the line, the palace of the Lamido Adamawa HRH Dr. Muhammadu Barkindo Aliyu Mustafa, was back to life as Muslim faithful from various district and ethnic groups joined in the famous durba celebration and paid sallah homage at the palace of the Lamido in Yola.

The colorful event which was suspended in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic was revived, to enable the faithful mark the end Eid-El-Fitr celebration in grand style.

In attendance at the Lamido’s palace for the epoch celebration was Governor Umaru Fintiri, former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Awwal Tukur, Security Chiefs and other top Government officials among others.

In his speech, the former VP who is the Waziri Adamawa, congratulated the Muslim faithful for successfully completing the 2024 Ramadan fasting and urged the faithful to be steadfast in their commitment to humanity and respect for authorities.

He lamented the current economic situation of the country, and called on people to turn to God in prayers and support leaders to address the situation.

He commended Governor Fintiri for coming through in the face of the current hardships by distributing palliatives ro the citizens and urged the people not be tempted to sale the food items freely giving to them.

He further urged the government to assist farmers with farm inputs and called people to embrace farming as a means of survival to overcome the current hardships.

The Waziri Adamawa also urged farmers to plant early maturing crops in order to have a bumper harvest.

He also called on the people to work closely with security operatives and support them with relevant information that will aid in addressing insecurity in their communities.

Regarding the 2024 Hajj operation, he appealed to the government to look into the situation that is fast becoming affair for the rich and assist the pilgrims to enable them tap into the blessings of one of the important pillars in islam.

The Waziri Adamawa who stood in for Lamido Adamawa, Dr. Muhammadu Barkindo Aliyu Mustafa throughout the celebration has received a Sallah gift from Governor Umaru Fintiri at the event.

SAHEL REPORTERS.

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