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Daily Archives: November 6, 2019

Social media bill proposes three-month jail for offensive users

The Senator representing Niger East Senatorial District, Sani Musa, has said that his bill on social media was aimed at guiding the users and not to gag media practitioners in Nigeria.

The bill titled, “Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill 2019, passed first reading on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday.

Justifying his reasons for reintroducing the bill in an interview with journalists, Musa said it was aimed at ensuring sanity on social media.

He said individuals who post false information on the internet, when found guilty would be asked to pay a fine of N150, 000 or they are sentenced to three months imprisonment.

The Senator added that any corporate organisation that refused to block false information after the regulating agency had alerted it would be asked to pay a fine ranging from N5m to N10m.

He also said telecommunications firms that allow their network to be used to disseminate false information, could risk yet-to-determined sanctions.

He said, “Nigeria is not only for government but for every Nigerian and we must all work towards moving this country to where it needs to be.

“You can see America and other advanced countries today, they have been for hundreds of years. They have their period of turmoil and challenges like ours but they have been able to pass through.

“How did they do it? There were legislations, and the rule of law because people adhere to laws.

“For a country like Nigeria today and with the advent of social media, there is every reason for a country to as much as possible focus it’s attention to see how this new media can be tolerated.”

He said it was possible for individuals to stay in a room and post a piece of false information just to attack someone.

The Senator said, “I have a passion for IT and I know what it takes to disseminate your information, it is at the speed of light.

“Some journalists will look at this legislation as if we are trying to bring a law that will gag the social media or the right to free press.

“It is a legislation that will guide how we can tolerate our activities on social media.

“False information has been disseminated so many times and they have caused so much chaos in different parts of the world.

“There are so many things that are positive within social media. For instance, a young lady that is getting married and wants the world to know could do so through social media.

“I felt we need it in this country. If countries like Philippines, Singapore, Italy, Malaysia, Australia, France, Indonesia, Egypt are attempting to control social media to prevent the spread of false information, what stops us from doing it?

“There has never been a time when Nigeria has been very fragile in terms of its unity than this period.

“It (social media bill) is not to stop people from going online to do whatever they feel is legitimate. What is wrong is for you to use the medium to document information that you know is false, just because you want to achieve your desirable interest.

“If you commit an offence of this nature, and by virtue of what you have committed, the law enforcement agencies will take you to the court.

“There will be a court process that will prove that you have done something wrong.

“You can appeal. It will serve as deterrence to others, we should fix certain penalties that when you know you will cough out something, you won’t do it.

Report: Buhari fires 35 aides in Osinbajo’s office

President Muhammadu Buhari has sacked 35 aides working in the office of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, according to Daily Nigerian.

Buhari, who is in the UK, approved the sack of the aides on Tuesday.

“Osinbajo is hoping that President Buhari will rescind the decision,” a senior presidency official said, maintaining that the sackings were done by a presidential aide, not the president himself.

Among those affected are senior special assistants, special assistants, personal assistants, technical assistants, and some whose appointments were approved in August.

The affected aides were said to have been posted out to some line ministries relevant to their designation in October, and that they are expected to be issued with disengagement letters on Wednesday.

The development comes amid speculations of a frosty relationship between the number one and two citizens since the president’s second tenure.

Buhari’s decision to assent to the bill to amend the deep offshore and inland basin production sharing contract act from London where he is on a “private visit” fuelled the speculation of their deteriorating relationship.

The president had previously asked Osinbajo to seek presidential approvals for agencies under his supervision and also moved the National Social Investment Programme (N-SIP) from the vice-president’s office to a new ministry.

Sowore has met bail conditions, says Falana

Femi Falana, senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and social rights activist, says Omoyele Sowore, convener of #RevolutionNow Movement, has met his bail conditions and that he will be released on Wednesday.

Falana said this at a federal high court in Abuja while asking for an adjournment of the case — between Sowore and the Department of State Services (DSS).

“I have already explained to the learned prosecuting counsel that we are encumbered by the refusal of the State Security Service to allow us to prepare for the defence of the defendants,” he said.

“I had already asked my learned counsel for the prosecution, that we are confident that the defendants will be freed today (Wednesday) from the custody of the SSS having met the bail conditions imposed on them by this honourable court.

“Once they are liberated from the custody of the SSS, we will be in position to take full instruction from them.”

Hassan Liman, the prosecuting counsel, however, opposed the application for adjournment on the grounds that the charges were filed and served on the defendants in September.

He said the defendants had “ample time and opportunity to prepare for their defence”.

Sowore has been in the DSS custody since August 3 when he was arrested in Lagos for planning a nationwide protest.

The court granted him bail on stringent conditions, which were later reviewed.

Appeal Court sacks Senate spokesman, Adeyeye

The Court of Appeal sitting in Kaduna has sacked Dayo Adeyeye, senator representing Ekiti south.

In a unanimous judgement on Wednesday, Uzor Anyanwu, the presiding judge, upheld the judgment of the Ekiti state national assembly election petition tribunal and asked INEC to issue a certificate of return to Biodun Olujimi, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the winner of the senatorial poll in the zone.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Adeyeye, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and spokesman of the senate, winner of the election, but Olujimi challenged the outcome.

In her petition to the tribunal, Olujimi said she scored the highest number of lawful votes cast during the election and asked the court to declare her the winner.

She also asked that the election of Adeyeye be declared a nullity.

The tribunal led by DD Adeck nullified elections in some polling units to declare Olujimi winner of the exercise.

But Adeyeye filed an appeal against the judgement of the tribunal.

In his appeal, the senate spokesman asked the appellate court to set aside the decision of the tribunal declaring Olujimi as the winner of the senatorial election and affirm the declaration of INEC.

But the court ruled against him, upholding the judgement of the tribunal.

Adeyeye’s loss is coming a few days after an appeal court sacked Alhassan Doguwa, house majority leader, and Jibrin Abdulmumin – both members of the APC — from the house of representatives.

Makinde orders demolition of alleged Ibadan torture centre

The Oyo State Government has marked the alleged torture centre in Ibadan where 259 inmates were rescued by the police on Monday for demolition.

Governor Seyi Makinde made the disclosure on Tuesday when he visited the alleged detention facility at Olore Bus Stop, Ojoo end of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

The state police command had in an operation led by CP Shina Olukolu on Monday, busted the alleged detention facility where the inmates were rescued.

The operation had led to the arrest of five persons, including one of the operators of the centre identified as Ismail Olore.

More than 20 persons among the rescued inmates have been hospitalised because they were critically ill as a result of alleged inhuman treatment and infections at the centre.

“We have marked the facility for demolition. We have here Ministry of Lands and Urban Planning, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Health.

“The government will do everything that is humanly possible to ensure that this kind of thing is stopped in our environment.

“We want to encourage our people, the parents, even family members, if you need to rehabilitate members of your family that are not behaving well, we have government institutions that can do that.

“And we are trying to rehabilitate those places. They are for the people of Oyo State.

“So, whatever is necessary, looking at the laws of our land, regarding this kind of thing, we will ensure we get this place away from those people doing this type of thing within the ambit of the law,” the governor said.

Makinde explained that the 22 hospitalised inmates were presently receiving treatment at Adeoyo State Hospital in Ibadan, promising they would be released to their parents once the doctors discharge them.

The governor said that the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare had been mobilised to take care of those rescued from the facility.

According to him, “first, we need to have immediate palliatives for them. Then, we have to look at deeper issues on how to resettle them, how to re-unite them with their families. We are not going to leave them alone at this point”.

Makinde, while addressing parents of the rescued inmates at the temporary rehabilitation centre provided by the state government, said the rescued inmates would be released to their parents once they were given clean bill of health.

He said that law enforcement agencies would ensure those involved in the act were prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

The governor enjoined parents and guardians to join hands with the government in correcting societal ills.

“If you have children that are misbehaving, the government is there to correct and we have correctional facilities where the rehabilitation can be done,” he said.

Parents of many of the rescued inmates had stormed the government temporary rehabilitation centre for the release of their children to them.

Some of them confessed to the governor that they willingly took their children to the centre for their misbehaviours.

They, however, said that they did not know the condition of the children on how they were fed and accommodated.

Also, some of the inmates alleged that their parents usually paid N150,000 for them to be admitted into the place on the grounds of rehabilitating them against drugs addiction, mental issues and other misbehaviours.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Physical Planning and Development Control in the state has sealed the alleged torture centre and served demolition notice on owners of the facility.

Court orders bank to pay N500,000 for refusing customer loan

A Chief Magistrate Court in Zuba, FCT, on Tuesday, ordered a micro finance bank to pay N500,000 as exemplary damages, over its failure to grant a loan facility to Ceco CC Investment after it met all requirements.

Magistrates Abdullahi Illelah entered the judgement in the case filed by Ceco CC Investment against Atlas Micro Finance Bank Limited.

The court ordered the bank to return the document belonging to Ceco CC Investment in its possession which was used to process the loan application and a further N200,000 as special damages and N20,000 as a cost were awarded.
Ceco CC Investment approached the court seeking recovery of title document used as collateral for obtaining a loan from the bank.

The company also claimed N3 million as damages and N500, 000 as cost of prosecuting the case.

The company approached the bank sometimes in September 2016 to obtain a loan to enable it clear its goods which arrived from China.

Part of the requirements for the loan was that the company must open account with the Bank, provides collateral and guarantors. After the company met the entire requirements, the Bank couldn’t provide the loan after several promises.

However, the company through its Managing Director Mr Charles Orji, disclosed that the Bank had returned the title document to the company in the course of the court proceedings.
Similarly, the Managing Director of the Bank told the court he did not know the Plaintiff (the Company).

He said that in one of the Bank’s management meetings, it realised that it had businesses around Suleja, Zuba and Dei-Dei which led to opening the Dei-Dei branch of the Bank.

He said shortly after opening the branch in Dei-Dei, many people went to the Bank’s headquarters with claims that they had applied for loans and their accounts were not credited with the loan facility.

He added that after checks on their systems, such applications were not in the banks’ system and subsequently the branch was closed.

The court in its judgment finds out that there was no contention to the fact that the bank was in possession of the title document and other documents presented to process the loan application.

It also held that the refusal or negligence of the bank to return the document to the company was wrong.

Kogi election: PDP accuses Bello, Adeyemi of plotting Melaye’s arrest

The Peoples Democratic Party has accused the Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, and his campaign’s Director-General, Smart Adeyemi, of allegedly plotting the arrest and detention of Dino Melaye before the November 16 elections.

The party said the plot was allegedly hatched on Monday during a meeting at the Government House.

A statement by Melaye’s media aide, Gideon Ayodele, on Tuesday said the governor and Adeyemi with some other All Progressives Congress’ stakeholders in the state had concluded arrangement to ensure that he (Melaye) was arrested and detained before the elections.

The statement read, “The Peoples Democratic Party has called on the people of Kogi West Senatorial District and Kogi electorates to resist any attempt to rob them of their right in choosing candidates of their choice in the elections.”

The governor’s Director-General, Media and Publicity, Kingsley Fanwo, said it was not the governor’s responsibility to arrest offenders.

He said, “The governor is not interested in arresting anyone, not even Dino because there is no need for that. He has lost the election because he is not campaigning since he has nothing to tell the people.”

Buhari can sign laws anywhere — Oshiomhole

Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says President Muhammadu Buhari is presiding over Nigeria from wherever he is, maintaining that Nigeria has passed the “Mungo Park era”.

The president is currently on a private visit to the UK.

Oshiomhole was speaking on the signing amended deep offshore and inland basin production sharing contract (DOIBPSC) act by the president.

Buhari signed the bill at the Abuja House in London on Monday, a development that has elicited criticism with many saying Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo could have performed the function in his stead.

During a visit to Senate President Ahmad Lawan at the national assembly on Tuesday, the APC chairman said wherever the national interest is involved, the president is on duty.

“I think by signing into law at the Nigerian House in London, it shows that wherever the president is, he is presiding over Nigeria and with the benefit of modern technology we have passed the Mungo Park era,” he said.

Park, a Scottish explorer who lived between 1771 and 1806, is credited with discovering River Niger for the British adventurers in 1706.

“So signing it in London for me has also made several statements – namely, that wherever national interest is involved, the president is on duty and wherever he is he is presiding.

“I also salute his assenting to the bill as fast as he did and even at the Nigerian House in London.”

The APC chairman also commended to the opposition parties in the upper legislative chamber for the role they played in passing the bill.

On his part, Lawan said the current senate is working hard to ensure that Nigerians have good governance.

“It may interest you to know that Nigeria receives $268million only before this amendment. After the amendment when the bill will start to operate, at $55 to a barrel, Nigeria will receive about $1.5billion,” he said.

“Going up to $60 (per barrel) it be close to $2billion. That is a monumental quantum leap actually.”

 

I’ve been treated like a plague since my name appeared on looter’s list – Dokpesi

Raymond Dokpesi, the chairman of Daar Communications Plc, says he has suffered defamation and neglect since his name appeared on the looters’ list released by the ministry of information.

Speaking on Tuesday during cross-examination at the FCT high court in Apo, he said the ministry of information portrayed him as “a corrupt and crooked person, a dishonest man and a thief” at a press conference that held on March 30, 2018.

The media entrepreneur is seeking N5 billion compensation for damages from Lai Mohammed and Abubakar Malami, the ministers of information and justice respectively.

“The minister (Lai Mohammed) said I was a looter. The minister clearly in his statement stated that he is releasing the list of looters,” he said while answering questions from Damian Agbe, counsel for the defendants.

“The word ‘alleged’ was never used in his statement. I am in the media; I am a media proprietor.

“What is in the public domain is the fact that N2.1 billion was paid to an institution called Daar Investment and Holding Company Limited, operators of Africa Independent Television and Ray Power National Network FM. But not that I, Raymond Dokpesi looted the treasury.”

According to him, as a result of his being listed among treasury looters, he no longer enjoyed the goodwill of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He informed that the party recently released the lists of members of campaign councils for the forthcoming governorship elections in both Bayelsa and Kogi but he was rejected by the party.

“The list of members of campaign councils for Bayelsa and Kogi where I was rejected was released.

“Everybody is treating me like a plague. I was rejected. There are members of national campaign council of leaders nationwide and Raymond Dokpesi is conspicuously absent.”

He told the court that though he held no position in the opposition party, he was a stakeholder in the PDP.

Dokpesi also demanded a full retraction and apology to him in all major electronic and print media outlets in the country.

Olukayode Adeniyi, a justice of the FCT high court, adjourned the case till January 16, 2020, for defence.

Grieving husband dies 24 hours after wife’s demise

Residents of Ajao Estate in the Isolo area of Lagos State are in mourning following the death of a mother of four, Mrs Chibuzor Balogun.

Chibuzor, whose 14-year-old son, Uche, said was a little above 30 years, died at their residence, No. 2 Raji Aliu Street, off the Airport Road, Ajao Estate, last Wednesday.

According to Uche, his mother had been complaining of general weakness of the body for some days and the family thought that it was a minor thing.

He added that Chibuzor started excreting loose stool and vomiting and it was at this point that they realised it could be something serious.

Uche stated that his father, Isiaka Balogun, aka Gaddafi, rushed his mother to a clinic, where she was placed on certain medication and she was discharged later.

He said when they got back home, her condition worsened, noting that before they could get a vehicle to convey her to hospital, she died.

The teenager stated, “She told me that she was vomiting in the morning after I left for school. When I returned from school in the afternoon, I met her in bed; she looked pale. She told me that she had been excreting loose stool and vomiting. I asked my dad to take her to hospital. And when he took her to hospital, they gave her an injection and he brought her back home.

“She was still experiencing pains as was excreting and vomiting after returning from the hospital. I had to get her 7Up and added some salt to it and gave her to drink to see if it could give her strength since the doctor said it was cholera.

“My dad had to take her to the same hospital but they rejected her. We had to rush her to the General Hospital, Isolo, and when we got there, the doctor examined her and told us that she couldn’t make it. One of our family friends and I had to return home, leaving my father behind.”

Uche added that in the afternoon, he received a call concerning his father’s health and he and some of relatives and friends quickly went to the hospital.

He said they tried to ensure that Isiaka was admitted to the general hospital, but he was rejected by doctors and nurses there.

As a result, they moved him to the Jericho Hospital in Mafoluku, where he was admitted.

Uche added, “He was on the second drip when I noticed that the drip had stopped and he began to breathe heavily.

“Out of apprehension, I called the doctor, who pushed me out of the room and asked me to stay outside.

“Due to their delay in coming out, I went inside to check what had happened. When I asked the doctor again if my dad was breathing, he told me that he couldn’t make it.

“Now we don’t have a mother and a father. We are four boys – the youngest is two, while I am 14. How am I going to take care of these ones?

“This house, which was my grandfather’s house, had been sold. I learnt that my father used part of the money he realised from the sale of this place to build a house at the tollgate area. I don’t know the area. I only know that he did not complete the house; only one part of it has been roofed as I was told.”

However, some residents of the estate are worried by the cholera outbreak.

One of the residents, who identified himself simply as Ajala, appealed to the government to come to the aid of the people urgently before death from cholera would spread and become an emergency matter.

Our correspondent, who went round the area, observed the poor sanitation in the compound, where the deceased lived. The house with 14 rooms and shops has only two pit toilets.

One of the tenants, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told our correspondent that they had between now and December to remain in the house as it had been sold.

The Commissioner for Health, Lagos State, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said Chibuzor died of malaria and typhoid, while the diabetic husband died of shock following his wife’s death.

The Punch

Policeman killed as burning building collapses in Lagos

The front section of the six-storey building gutted by fire on Tuesday in The popular Balogun market on Lagos Island has collapsed, killing a policeman.

According to NAN, a part of the six-storey building located at 43 Martins street, Lagos Island, collapsed around 8:30pm on Tuesday.

The incident happened as firemen were battling to contain the inferno.

A part of the burning building collapsed on the policeman while he was trying to control the surging crowd.

NAN quoted Olanrewaju Elegushi, special adviser to Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos central business district, as saying the policeman died in hospital following injuries sustained in the building collapse.

The fire outbreak started at 9am.

Speaking at the scene, Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, director general, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), emergency officials were able to stop the fire from spreading to other buildings.

“We received call earlier this morning that there is a fire incident that involves two multistorey buildings at Martins Street and Dosumu Street in Lagos,” he said.

“Immediately we activated our emergency response plan and other stakeholders in managing emergency moved to the scene.

“We are able to locate and localise the fire but the major challenge we are having is access to major source of the fire; secondly, we discovered that they stored highly inflammable materials in the building.

“The way the building is positioned is adjacent and interlocked to the centre area, but we make use of combined team method to localise the fire which spread from one shop to the other but we are trying to put it off now.”

He appealed to Lagos citizens, especially the traders at Lagos Island markets, not to panic as there was no casualty involved in the incident.

He, however, pleaded with traders to stop putting generators and petrol inside their shops to avoid similar accidents in the area.

Folashade Ojo, Iyaloja of Lagos, who also visited the scene, called for regular public power supply to prevent indiscriminate use of generators causing fire outbreaks.

Lanre Mojola, director general, Lagos State Safety Commission, attributed crowd control as a major challenge at scenes of fire and other accidents.

Mojola said Lagos State emergency team and other stakeholders were working hard in ensuring that the fire did not affect any other building in the area.

 

NDDC suspends monthly payment of N1bn to a consultant

Gbene Nunieh, acting managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), says the commission has suspended the monthly payment of N1 billion to a consultant that collects money from international oil companies (IOCs), on its behalf.

She disclosed this while speaking with reporters at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, on Wednesday.

She said the commission did not need middlemen to collect statutory funds due to it.

“We have a consulting firm engaged as a collection agent. We have another company that also collects three percent whenever money is paid by the International Oil Companies, IOCs,” she said.

“We don’t need a middle man to collect three percent for gas. The money should just be paid into NDDC accounts with the CBN.

“That is why I have suspended the contract of a collection agent. We are no longer going to pay anyone N1 billion every month. That is wicked.

“That money can put mono pumps in rural communities in the Niger Delta. It can buy books and set up primary health centres. The three percent for a consulting firm is over. That is why we are under pressure. But I laugh because those who live in glass houses should never throw stones.”

Nunieh said political interference is setting the commission back, vowing not to bow to pressure.

She added that her desk was overflowing with files waiting for payments, even from companies belonging to an individual.

“How can someone have 87 companies waiting for payment?” she asked.

“What is happening is very embarrassing. We must all get up and know that these people have taken our commonwealth.”

The acting MD said things were beginning to look up as many contractors have gone back to site since she mounted the saddle.

“We have about 57 contractors that have gone back to site. I am encouraging everyone to go back to site so that things will be done properly. Those that actually execute their contracts will be paid,” she said.

“No big contractors. Get the locals who are plumbers to get the mono-pumps to work. We are going to take development to the people and that is why you no longer see the young men hanging around our gates. We have asked them to go back to their communities and we will meet them there.”

On Monday, Cairo Ojougboh, NDDC’s acting executive director of projects, said a sitting senator is handling 300 of the commission’s project.

Ojougboh, who did not name the senator, said 120 of the contracts have been fully paid for, saying that the contracts were being investigated.

He also said the commission is owing N3 trillion in contract sum.

Last month, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a forensic audit of the commission since 1999.

 

Air Peace plane makes air return after engine failure

 

A Boeing 737-500 aircraft, operated by Air Peace, with registration marks; 5N-BUJ, Monday, experienced engine snag, forcing the pilot-in-command to make an air return.

The flight departed the Murtala Muhammad Airport at  about 7:35am, heading to Owerri in Imo State, when the

The AIB official statement 9 explained that the incident occurred at 07:47 local time while the aircraft had departed Lagos at 07:35 local time.

Barely a week after Bristow Helicopters experienced engine failure mid-air, another Nigerian carrier, Air Peace, on Tuesday had an engine failure few minutes after departing Lagos.

It was gathered that the Air Peace aircraft, a Boeing B737-500 with the registration number 5N-BUJ, which departed the Murtala Muhammed Airport Lagos for Owerri, Imo State, made an air return to base following the incident that led to the collapse of one of its two engines.

It was learnt that the aircraft had 90 passengers and six crew members onboard as at the time of the incident.

A statement by the General Manager, Public Affairs, Accident Investigation Bureau confirmed the incident, saying that its investigators had commenced investigation into the incident.

The AIB explained that the incident occurred at 07:47 local time while the aircraft had departed Lagos at 07:35 local time.

According to him, information provided by the Air Traffic Control revealed that the incident made the crew to immediately make an air return back to base.

He, however, stated that the aircraft landed safely at 08:06 local time, adding that all occupants disembarked with no injury.

The statement reads, “The AIB team of safety investigators has commenced investigation.

“As the sole agency mandated to undertake the investigation of aircraft accidents and serious incidents, the bureau wants the public to know that it would be open to receiving any video clip, relevant evidence or information that may assist in this investigation.”