Category Archives: In the news

Dubai leader sends Food, Medical supplies to Nigeria, Sudan

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The Ruler of Dubai has ordered 14 tonnes of medical supplies and 20 tonnes of food supplies to Nigeria and Sudan, the Dubai Media Office said on Saturday.

“@HHShkMohd orders humanitarian aid flight to Sudan and Nigeria carrying 14 tonnes of medical supplies, 20 tonnes of food supplies,” the press office said in a tweet.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, recently paid for the medical bills of a Nigerian mother, Suliyat Tijani, who was delivered of a set of quadruplets in the United Arab Emirates.

This picture, released by the Dubai Media Office on August 15, 2020, shows cargo being loaded into a plane apparently headed for Nigeria and Sudan. (Noble Reporters Media //)

The latest gesture is likely connected with the coronavirus pandemic.

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On August 11, the United States Government handed over 200 modern ventilators to the Nigerian government to aid the latter’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.’

Meanwhile, 170 Nigerians returned from the United Arab Emirates to Nigeria on Saturday, taking the number of evacuees from the Arab nation to over 3,000 amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM).


#Newsworthy…

Storyline: 170 Nigerians arrives Lagos airport from UAE.

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One hundred and seventy Nigerians have returned from Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, taking the number of evacuees from the Arab nation to over 3,000.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) disclosed this in a tweet via its official handle on Friday.

It explained that the evacuees arrived at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos on board the Fly Dubai airlines.

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According to the agency, the returnees who arrived on Friday night came on board one of three free flights offered by the UAE government.

The UAE government offered the gesture to Nigerians whose documentation expired since March 1 and were given till August 17 to leave the country.

All evacuees tested negative to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and are now on a mandatory 14-day self-isolation as part of the guidelines stipulated by the Presidential Task Force.

This development comes three days after 292 more Nigerians were evacuated from the UAE.

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On Thursday, NIDCOM said 175 Nigerians returned from Uganda.

As at June 2020, the Federal Government said it had spent N169 million on the evacuation of Nigerians from overseas.

During a briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on April, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, had directed all Nigerians interested in returning to the country to work with Nigeria’s embassies and high commissions where they are.

“What is important to get out to all Nigerians is that their engagement and communication should be with the embassies, high commissions and not with any other parallel agency, department of government or anything like that.”

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The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted regular daily activities in several countries across the world, leaving millions of people stranded in foreign nations.

Against the backdrop of the outbreak, many countries initiated the process of evacuating their citizens back home.

Nigeria is not left out as the Federal Government has facilitated the repatriation of thousands of its citizens stranded abroad.

Among the nations where Nigerians have been brought back home include the United States, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Sudan, France, Ethiopia, and several others.


#Newsworthy…

Donald Trump visits brother in Hospital after being treated for undisclosed illness

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United States President Donald Trump on Friday visited his younger brother Robert at a hospital in New York, where he is being treated for an undisclosed illness.

The US leader, who was wearing a face mask upon arriving at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, entered through a back door and stayed about 45 minutes, according to a reporter covering the trip.

US media reports say the president’s brother is seriously ill, although there were no details.

Trump, who was stopping in New York on the way to his golf club in nearby Bedminster, New Jersey for the weekend, told reporters only that “he’s having a hard time.”

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While far less famous than his older brother, Robert Trump has long been an integral part of the family real estate empire and is fiercely loyal to the president.

FIle photo: US President Donald Trump wears a mask as he visits Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland’ on July 11, 2020. (Photo by ALEX EDELMAN / AFP)

Robert Trump unsuccessfully went to court to try and get an injunction preventing publication of a book by his niece Mary Trump, called “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.”

The book, which paints Donald Trump as the product of a “toxic” family was a “disgrace,” Robert Trump said. Although a temporary restraining order was applied, a judge lifted this in July, allowing publication.

At a press conference, President Trump called his brother “wonderful” and said they have “had a great relationship for a long time, from day one.”


#Newsworthy…

United States bid to extend Iran arms embargo rejected.

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Crisis looms as UNSC overwhelmingly rejects US resolution to indefinitely extend an arms embargo on Iran.


The United Nations Security Council has resoundingly rejected a bid by the United States to extend a global arms embargo on Iran.

In the Security Council vote on Friday, Washington got support only from the Dominican Republic for its resolution to indefinitely extend the embargo, leaving it far short of the minimum nine “yes” votes required for adoption.

Palestinians slam ‘traitor’ UAE for normalising
Eleven members on the 15-member body, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom, abstained.

Russia and China strongly opposed extending the 13-year ban, which was due to expire on October 18 under a 2015 nuclear deal signed between Iran and six world powers.

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Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, announced the defeat of the resolution ahead of a very brief virtual council meeting to reveal the vote.

“The Security Council’s failure to act decisively in defense of international peace and security is inexcusable,” he said in a statement.

Israel and the six Arab Gulf nations who supported the extension “know Iran will spread even greater chaos and destruction if the embargo expires”, Pompeo said, “but the Security Council chose to ignore them”.

Zhang Jun, China’s ambassador to the UN, said in a statement that the result “once again shows that unilateralism receives no support and bullying will fail”.

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Washington could now follow through on a threat to trigger a return of all UN sanctions on Iran using a provision in the nuclear deal, known as snapback, even though US President Donald Trump had unilaterally abandoned the accord in 2018. On Thursday, the US had circulated to council members a six-page memo outlining why Washington remains a participant in the nuclear accord and still has the right to use the snapback provision.

In a statement after the vote, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft said Washington has “every right to initiate” the snapback mechanism, and added: “In the coming days, the United States will follow through on that promise to stop at nothing to extend the arms embargo.”

The 13-year embargo is due to expire on October 18, under a 2015 deal curbing Iran’s nuclear programme [Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP]

‘Diplomatic catastrophe’
Reporting from New York, NRM learnt the US’s defeat on Friday was not a surprise.

“But it’s a surprise that the US bid failed so miserably,” she said.

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“Any party to the nuclear accord could trigger the ‘snapback’ provision if Iran is seen to be in violation of the accord. But Russia and China say the US’s withdrawal from the deal two years ago means it has forfeited its right to do that. Other members of the council would seem to agree,” she said.

“The Europeans have expressed some misgivings about conventional weapons going into Iran. But at the end of the day, they say their concern about a nuclear weapon is paramount.”

Under the deal, Iran agreed to limits on its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief and other benefits. Following the US withdrawal and imposition of unilateral sanctions, Tehran has already scaled back compliance with parts of the accord. Diplomats have said triggering the “snapback” provision would put the fragile agreement further at risk because Iran would lose a major incentive for limiting its nuclear activities.

Iran’s UN Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi warned Washington against trying to trigger a return of sanctions.

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“Imposition of any sanctions or restrictions on Iran by the Security Council will be met severely by Iran and our options are not limited. And the United States and any entity which may assist it or acquiesce in its illegal behavior will bear the full responsibility,” he said in a statement.

Jarret Blanc, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) the US’s failed bid amounted to a “diplomatic catastrophe”.

“It demonstrates that President Donald Trump and his team are not only bad at the strategy of approaching Iran, they are bad at the day to day tactics of diplomacy. It is unconscionable that the US couldn’t round up more than one vote for a resolution like this.”

But some analysts said they suspect that Washington put forward a hardline draft purposefully, knowing that council members would not be able to accept it.

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“The fact is that everybody at the UN believes this [resolution] is just a prelude to a US effort to trigger snapback and sink the Iranian nuclear deal,” Richard Gowan, a UN expert at the International Crisis Group, told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media)

While voting on the US draft resolution was under way, Russia said its President Vladimir Putin called for a meeting of leaders of the five permanent members of the Security Council along with Germany and Iran to avoid escalation over US attempts to extend the Iranian arms embargo.

In statement released by the Kremlin, Putin said “the question is urgent”, adding that the goal of the videoconference would be “to outline steps to avoid confrontation and exacerbation of the situation in the UN Security Council”.

“If the leaders are fundamentally ready for a conversation, we propose to promptly coordinate the agenda,” Putin said. “The alternative is to further build up tension, to increase the risk of conflict. This development must be avoided.”

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Asked if he would take part, Trump told reporters: “I hear there’s something, but I haven’t been told of it yet.”

French President Emmanuel Macron’s office confirmed France’s “availability in principle” to Putin’s proposal. “We have in the past deployed initiatives in the same spirit,” it said.

Jarret Blanc, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, called the US’s failed bid a “diplomatic catastrophe”.

“It demonstrates that President Donald Trump and his team are not only bad at the strategy of approaching Iran, they are bad at the day to day tactics of diplomacy. It is unconscionable that it couldn’t round up more than one vote for a resolution like this.”


#Newsworthy…

US president, Trump targets Tik Tok again with new rule.

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United States President Donald Trump late Friday lashed out anew at ByteDance, issuing a fresh executive order stating the Chinese internet giant must sell its interest in the Musical.ly app it bought and merged with TikTok.

The order builds on sweeping restrictions issued last week by Trump that TikTok and WeChat end all operations in the US, his latest explosive moves aimed at countering China’s rising global power.

ByteDance bought karaoke video app Musical.y from a Chinese rival about three years ago in a deal valued at nearly a billion dollars. It was incorporated into TikTok, which became a global sensation.

Trump’s order contends there is “credible evidence” leading him to believe that ByteDance’s take-over of Musical.ly “threatens to impair the national security of the United States.”

“As we’ve said previously, TikTok is loved by 100 million Americans because it is a home for entertainment, self-expression, and connection,” ByteDance said in response to an AFP inquiry.

“We’re committed to continuing to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform for many years to come.”

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The order set to take effect in 90 days retroactively prohibits the acquisition and bars ByteDance from having any interest in Musical.ly.

Trump ordered that any sale of interest in Musical.ly in the US had to be signed off on by the Committee on Foreign Investment, which is to be given access to ByteDance books.

It also ordered that any saved user data be destroyed.

Trump last week made good on threats against WeChat and TikTok — two Chinese-owned apps with major audiences that US officials say pose a national security threat.

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Through an earlier executive order, he gave Americans 45 days to stop doing business with the platforms, effectively setting a deadline for a potential, under-pressure sale of TikTok to Microsoft.

Trump has also called for the US government to be cut in on the deal, a stance slammed by critics who said it appears unconstitutional and akin to extortion.

Last week’s move also threw into doubt the US operations of WeChat’s parent firm, Tencent, a powerful player in the video game industry and one of the world’s richest companies.

China condemned the move as “arbitrary political manipulation”.

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Trump has claimed TikTok could be used by China to track the locations of federal employees, build dossiers on people for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.

TikTok — used by as many as a billion people worldwide to make quirky, short-form videos on their cellphones — has repeatedly denied sharing data with Beijing.

WeChat is a messaging, social media, and electronic payment platform and is reported to have more than a billion users, with many preferring it to email.

The latest US actions follow a protracted battle over Huawei, the Chinese network and smartphone giant accused by the Trump administration of being a tool for espionage.


#Newsworthy…

News+: Bodies of Aid workers killed in Niger returns to Paris.

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The bodies of six French aid workers killed by suspected jihadists in Niger arrived in Paris Friday, with Prime Minister Jean Castex due to lead a national tribute later in the day.

The four women and two men were killed on Sunday along with their Nigerien guide and driver in a wildlife haven about an hour’s drive southeast from the capital Niamey.

The victims worked for French NGO Acted and were aged between 25 and 30.

The national tribute in the VIP section of Paris’s Orly airport will be closed to the media. Castex will be joined by several senior ministers.

“It’s important that the nation pays homage to them,” said Jerome Bertin, the head of France Victimes federation.

“Their families want their commitment to be really cited… they were not tourists killed in Niger but young people engaged in helping the people of this country.”

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The country, one of the poorest in the world, is struggling with incursions by Islamists from both Nigeria to the south and Mali to the west.

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a Defense Council video-conference on Niger at the Fort de Bregancon, southern France on August 11, 2020. Daniel Cole / POOL / AFP

In Paris, French anti-terror prosecutors said they would investigate charges of “murders with links to a terrorist enterprise” and “criminal terrorist association”.

There have been no claims of responsibility so far.

A judicial source in Paris told AFP the attack was “premeditated” and “targeting Westerners”.

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French President Emmanuel Macron described it as “manifestly a terrorist attack” and said there would be repercussions.

“We’re pursuing action to eradicate the terrorist groups, with the strengthened support of our partners,” Macron said.

The president did not elaborate on the exact nature of the measures envisaged but Castex said the “odious crime” would not go unpunished.

Acted has decided temporarily to suspend work in Niger but has stressed it will not pull out of the country.


#Newsworthy…

Mailafia: NBC N5M fine, illegal – Falana kicks

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A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana has described the N5m fine on Lagos-based radio station, Nigeria Info 99.3 FM by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) as illegal.

The Human Rights Lawyer said this in a statement he personally signed and wondered why the NBC will be in a hurry to penalise the radio station.

While noting that the State Security Service (SSS) has not concluded an investigation into the radio station’s guest, Dr Mailafia Obadiah, Falana asked why the Commission was in a hurry to violate the broadcast firm’s fundamental right.

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According to him, it is only a competent court of law that has the right to impose fines on a criminal suspect after conducting a trial.

“Only a competent court of law is empowered to try, convict and impose a fine on a criminal suspect after a trial has been conducted before a competent court.

“In view of the fact that the imposition of the N5 million fine was anchored on a purported amendment of the Code and since the NBC lacks the legal competence to impose a fine on any broadcasting station without a finding of guilt by a properly constituted criminal court the NBC should suo mutu quash the illegal fine,” Falana said.

The senior lawyer added that: “Section 33 (4) of the Constitution provides that anyone charged with a criminal offence shall be tried before a competent court or tribunal.”

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He noted that in the case between the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited at the Federal High Court, Honourable Justice Ojukwu held that the imposition of fines by regulatory agencies was unlawful.

The NBC had said the fine was imposed on the media outfit due to its unprofessional broadcast.

It explained that Nigeria Info was not professional in the handling of its morning show aired between 8.30 am and 9.00 am on Monday.

NBC stated that the station provided its platform for its guest and a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Mailafia Obadiah, to promote “unverifiable and inciting views,” saying such could lead to public disorder.


#Newsworthy..

Nigeria needs to impose deep cuts in cost of governance – Reps, Gbajabiamila.

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila says Nigeria needs to impose “deep cuts” in the cost of governance in the country.

Gbajabiamila said this on Thursday at the beginning of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) revenue considerations with revenue-generating agencies.

It was organized by the House of Representatives Committee on Finance.

According to him, with the country facing a fiscal crisis coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a need to reduce the cost of governance to free up revenue for infrastructure development.

“We have a responsibility to act with urgent determination to build the infrastructure of opportunity that is required to lift millions of our fellow citizens out of poverty,” the lawmaker said.

“We recognise that we cannot accomplish these objectives using loans and outside financing alone.

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“Therefore, we need to impose deep cuts in the cost of governance and improve internal revenue generation and collection so that we can free up resources that can then be deployed to fund policy initiatives that will enhance the lives of our people.”

While restating that revenue-generating agencies have a role to place in helping the country increase its revenue base, he lamented that there is a “consistent failure to adhere to the revenue remittance agreements to which many of these agencies have committed.”

The Speaker added: “We have credible reports that these desperately needed funds have in many cases, been diverted to finance unnecessary trivialities. At the same time, the Government is left scrambling for alternative sources to fund priority projects.”

He said as a critical part of the government, the legislature is backed by law to ensure the country’s resources are used judiciously for the betterment of the masses.


#Newsworthy…

Breaking: 175 stranded Nigerians in Uganda returns – NIDCOM

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One hundred and seventy-five Nigerians stranded in Uganda have returned home on Thursday.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) disclosed this in a tweet on its official handle.

According to the agency, the returnees arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja around 1 pm, Nigerian time.

“They all tested negative to COVID-19 and will proceed on a 14-day SELF-ISOLATION as mandated by NCDC and PTF on COVID-19,” NIDCOM said.

NIDCOM had earlier announced the arrival of ninety-four Nigerian ladies stranded in Lebanon after the video of the girls recently went viral on social media.

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The agency said the ladies who arrived at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos will undergo a 14-day self-isolation in line with the guidelines of the Federal Government on COVID-19.

Quest For Greener Pastures
On August 1, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) said about 5,000 Nigerians are stranded in Lebanon.

The agency’s Director-General, Julie Okah-Donli confirmed the figure, saying many Nigerians are being trafficked into the country with the promise of good, well-paid jobs.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic halted travels across the world, several nations have been evacuating their nationals stranded in other countries.

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Nigeria had also joined the long list of countries evacuating its citizens stranded in other nations.

On Wednesday, two hundred and ninety-two Nigerians returned from the United Arab Emirates, taking the number of evacuees from the Arab nation to 2,933.

This came a few days after 327 Nigerians returned to the West African country from the United Kingdom.

As at June 2020, the Federal Government said it had spent N169 million on the evacuation of Nigerians from overseas.


#Newsworthy…

Israel, UAE deal marks “New Era” – PM, Netanyahu

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed “a new era” between Israel and the Arab world on Thursday following a historic US-brokered deal to normalise ties with the United Arab Emirates.

The pact first announced by President Donald Trump includes an agreement from Israel to “suspend” its plans to annex Jewish settlements and territory in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas called an “urgent meeting” of his leadership team before announcing the Palestinian Authority’s reaction to the deal.

Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, rejected the Israel-UAE pact as “a reward for the Israeli occupation and crimes” and said it “does not serve the Palestinian people”.

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Speaking after Trump’s announcement, Netanyahu said he had agreed to delayed annexation plans, but that the project remained “on the table”.

“I will never give up our rights to our land,” the right-wing premier said.

Netanyahu told a televised news conference: “Today a new era began in the relations between Israel and the Arab world.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a press conference in Jerusalem on August 13, 2020. – Israel and the UAE agreed to normalise relations in a landmark US-brokered deal, only the third such accord the Jewish state has struck with an Arab nation. Abir SULTAN / POOL / AFP.

Netanyahu, like many in the Jewish state, refers to the occupied West Bank as Judea and Samaria and claims the territory as part of the historic homeland of the Jewish people.

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Israeli plans to annex roughly 30 percent of the West Bank, as outlined in a Trump Middle East peace proposal unveiled in January which triggered global outcry and threats of retaliation against the Jewish state, including from the European Union.

Israel’s alternate prime minister and Defence Minister, Benny Gantz, called the agreement “important and significant”.

“I call upon other Arab nations to advance diplomatic relations in additional peace agreements,” he said.

Once the deal is signed, the UAE will become the third Arab nation to have full diplomatic ties with Israel, following Israeli peace deals with Egypt and Jordan.


#Newsworthy…

Board reject’s Lai Mohammed’s amended NBC code.

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The Board of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has kicked against the amendments to the sixth edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.

The Chairman of the Board, Ikra Bilbis, stated the position of the board on Thursday while addressing a news conference in Abuja.

“As a board, we have received and taken our time to compile the responses of numerous stakeholders which include our Nobel Laureate, activists, legal practitioners, broadcasters, investors, Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), content creators, copyright experts, and professional organisations.

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“Most of them have adduced reasonable reasons against the proposed amendment,” said Bilbis who is a former Minister of State for Information.

He explained that the management of the commission did not undertake a proper consultation before making the amendments to the code.

NBC Board Chairman, Ikra Bilbis, addressing a news conference in Abuja on August 13, 2020. (Noble Reporters Media / Adigun Michael Olamide)

The former minister decried that the amendments to the code were capable of destroying investments in the nation’s broadcast sector.

He stressed that the board was not in support of the reviewed code unveiled by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Tuesday last week.

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Bilbis noted that some members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had made observations to the minister at a meeting about the divisive broadcasts engaged in by some broadcast media before, during, and after the elections.

He recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had also called for the need to strengthen the operations of the NBC to avert a reoccurrence.

The NBC board chairman, however, stressed that the noble observation of the President was misunderstood by the minister.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, briefs reporters at the unveiling of the reviewed 6th Broadcasting Code in Lagos on August 4, 2020. (Noble Reporters Media / Adigun Michael Olamide)

“The board of the NBC wishes to make it quite clear that as long as it is in place, the only NB Code that we recognise and which we shall work within the setting of operating policies and standards for the NBC is the 6th edition of the NB Code which was launched in 2019 in Kano.

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”Another purported review has no board endorsement,” he stated.

Read the full text of Bilbis’ remarks at the briefing below:

THE POSITION OF THE BOARD OF THE NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMMISSION (NBC) ON THE PURPORTED AMENDMENT TO THE 6TH EDITION OF THE NIGERIA BROADCASTING CODE (NB CODE).

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, I welcome you all to this important press briefing on a very touchy issue related to broadcasting in Nigeria.

You may all be aware of the recent negative developments concerning the purported amendment of the NB Code. The wellbeing of the broadcast media has direct relevance to the stability of our democracy. I, therefore, have the pleasure of presenting to you the position of the NBC Board on the issues.

The National Broadcasting Commission is established by law and section 2(h) of the NBC Act empowers the Commission to establish and disseminate a Nigeria Broadcasting Code (NB Code) which sets standards for the quality and content of broadcast materials.

Code review is undertaken every four years and involves the staff of the NBC, Former DG’s, retired Directors of the Commission and all other relevant stakeholders in broadcasting. These include Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), Independent Broadcast Association of Nigeria (IBAN), Private Media outfits, Broadcasters, Notable media Intellectuals, Communication experts, Digiteam and the Academia.

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The current edition (6th Edition) was presented to the public in 2019 at an elaborate ceremony in Kano which attracted a broad section of various stakeholders.

Following the 2019 national elections, some members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) made observations to the Honourable Minister of Information at a FEC meeting about the divisive broadcasts engaged in by some broadcast media before, during and after the elections and the need to strengthen the operations of the NBC to avert such future occurrence.

This noble observation of Mr President was unfortunately misunderstood by the Hon. Minister of Information. Instead of studying and following the Law, relevant rules and regulations, and direct the appropriate authorities as stipulated by the Law to act on, he erroneously embarked on the review alone.

From the history, traditions and the convention of the NBC, no Honourable Minister of Information has ever interfered in any NB Code review. After the 2019 presentation of the 6th code (which is the present one), the Hon. Minister has acted alone with just a handful of his loyalists who have written a new NB Code that has created an uproar in the industry, threatening to destroy investments and lead to job losses.

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The Honourable Minister has constantly dropped the name of President Muhammadu Buhari as having approved his own version of the code review. The NB Code is a regulatory framework put together jointly by stakeholders to guide their operations in the industry. It is therefore not a unilateral government instrument and is already covered by Law hence, not requiring any further Presidential approval. This might be the reason why till date the Hon. Minister cannot show us a copy of the Presidential approval.

President Buhari is a stickler for due process and he always insists on organisations doing the right thing. The Honourable Minister’s version of the revised NB Code does not meet any known criteria of due process and inclusiveness of stakeholders.

The Director overseeing the office of the DG of the NBC has equally made insinuations that the Board endorsed the amendments culminating in its ‘public presentation’ on 26th March 2020 at the L’eola Hotel in Lagos. Nothing can be farther from the truth. The “public presentation” was actually attended by serving directors in the NBC, one former DG of the NBC, a member representing the Ministry of Information and only four (4) selected stakeholders.

When compared with over sixty (60) stakeholders that attended the 2019 presentation in Kano, there is a wide gap in industry representation. We have the list of the four hand-picked stakeholders at the Lagos “presentation”. The Board of the NBC was neither informed nor represented.

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Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, you may all recall that by 26th march 2020, (the day of the “Public Presentation” in Lagos), the Federal Government had already announced a COVID-19 lockdown of Lagos, Ogun states and the FCT. It was therefore not a sincere effort to present such an important ‘review document’ which affects people’s investments and livelihoods under such situation.

The attendant public outcry over the purported review of some sensitive sections of the NB Code compelled the Board of the NBC to institute a process through which stakeholders could express their opinions and harmonise their feelings with what the Honourable Minister had unilaterally created.

The Board convened a meeting which included the Director overseeing the office of the DG in attendance. The unanimous decision was to issue a press release inviting inputs from various stakeholders. It became clear to the Board that even though the Director overseeing the DG’s office subscribed to the unanimous decision of the Board, he was inclined to sabotaging the press release for obvious reasons.

The Board, on its own, chose to be proactive by taking Five (5) National Newspaper announcements seeking inputs from relevant stakeholders in furtherance of the principle of equity, fairness and creating a level playground for all stakeholders.

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Most surprising was the rejoinder issued by the Director overseeing the office of the DG stating that the notice published by the Board seeking stakeholders input does not have the ‘official endorsement of the Commission’. Sections 5(4), 5(2) 1(d), (g) and (h) and sections 3 of the NBC Act state categorically the powers and composition of the Commission and under whose purview the management of Commission falls.

There are very serious and disturbing amendments which have been unilaterally carried out by the Hon. Minister. This has attracted very critical comments with threats of litigation from concerned organisations and individuals.

As a Board, we have received and taken our time to compile the responses of numerous stakeholders which include our Nobel Laurette, Activists, Legal Practitioners, Broadcasters, Investors, BON, Content Creators, Copyright experts and professional organisations. Most of them have adduced reasonable reasons against the proposed amendment.

As a Board that supervises the affairs of the NBC, it is important that we state that we cannot fold our arms and watch the activities of the Honourable Minister which is directed at destroying the modest gains the Broadcast Industry has achieved since the setting up of the Commission and the deregulation of Broadcasting in Nigeria.

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While not disputing the fact that there are many challenges in the sector, the quest to find solutions cannot be totally assumed by one man. Approaches to solutions must be through wide consultations, discussions, persuasion and concession. Dictatorship tends to ruin businesses and prompt divestment. The Hon. Minister seems to have taken the option of working from an answer to the question instead of vice versa. We are in an era of democracy.

The NBC was set up by law and there is an Act that guides its operations. The Honourable Minister, therefore, cannot usurp the powers of the Board as clearly stated in the Act. Any such action by the Honourable Minister is illegal.

The Board of the NBC wishes to make it quite clear that as long as it is in place, the only NB Code that we recognise and which we shall work within the setting of operating policies and standards for the NBC is the 6th edition of the NB Code which was launched in 2019 in Kano. Any other purported review has no Board endorsement and therefore cannot be utilised in regulating broadcasting in Nigeria.

The danger of allowing the unilateral amendment of the NBC Code to stand is that investors in the industry will loose confidence in the stability the broadcast ecosystem has enjoyed till date before the advent of the current Minister of Information.

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Our President and his team have worked so hard to galvanise local and foreign investment in Nigeria. Allowing obnoxious policies to take root in our Investment Culture will spell doom for creativity, enterprise, diversity and the general development of broadcasting in Nigeria.

I leave you with the words of the famous American President Abraham Lincoln who said:

‘’You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.

You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling the wage payer down.

You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

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You cannot build character and courage by taking away people’s initiative and independence.

You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, which they could and should do for themselves’’.

The very controversial portions of the purported amended code certainly aim at destroying hard work and enterprise. It aims at taking people’s freedom and intellectual property. It aims at depriving hard-working entrepreneurs to empower new entrants who have not cut their teeth and it aims at stifling investment. That is the main reason why stakeholder inputs are been avoided.

I shall take a few questions and allow some of my colleagues and Industry experts to handle details in some areas.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Thank you.

Ikra Aliyu Bilbis

Chairman, NBC Board

13/08/2020


#Newsworthy….

Atiku tackles N5M NBC fine to radio station over Mailafia.

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Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has condemned the fined of N5 million imposed on a Lagos-based radio state – 99.3 FM Nigeria Info by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

In a statement he personally signed on Thursday, he asked the NBC to drop the penalty against the station, describing the reason given for its action as an attempt to gag the media in the country.

The former vice president disagreed with the nation’s broadcasting regulatory agency with its argument that the interview that the station had with a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Obadiah Mailafia, constituted any infringement and exposed the media outfit to trading in hate speech.

He argued that whether or not, what Mailafia during the programme aired on the radio station was a false claim, it was not the responsibility of the NBC to impose a sanction for a comment made by an individual.

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Atiku stressed that the former CBN deputy governor had been quizzed and released by law enforcement agents, adding that they were at liberty to prosecute him in court if they were not satisfied with his explanations.

He insisted that it was wrong to make a scapegoat of the media platform which provides opportunities for citizens to ventilate their views.

The former vice president also called on the NBC to review the hate speech prohibition code, saying the interpretation of same was offensive to the notion of free speech

Read the full statement by the former vice president below:

We are compelled to react to the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission code concerning infringement on hate speech and the operational style that media houses should employ to conform with the new regulation.

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While there is no disputation over the fact that hate speech portends an existential threat to the enterprise of journalistic reporting and, in fact, inhibits the workings for a free society, it is absolutely repugnant that powers that be would instrumentalise the prevention of hate speech as a means of constricting free speech.

It is globally acknowledged that one of the core functions of the mass media is to inform the society on all ranges of issues, not even to the exclusion of national security issues.

The mass media has a role to play in ensuring that all possible shades of opinions are given access to the media platform.

In many advanced democracies the world over, criminals on even wanted lists of law enforcement agencies have reached out to the media to express their opinions about the crimes that they had perpetrated and the media space was not denied to them.

As a matter of fact, it seems somewhat contradictory that a country like ours, which is in the throes of national security skirmishes, would choose to shrink media access to critical information.

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It is not known if any society had won the war against terrorism by placing a restriction to access to information, in the way the NBC had done.

In a particular reference to the penalty handed down to the operators of 99.3 FM Nigeria Info, we disagree wholeheartedly with the argument of the NBC that the interview that the station had with Dr Obadiah Mailafia constitutes any infringement or if at all it exposes the station to trading in hate speech.

Whether or not what Dr Mailafia said on the radio station was a false claim, it is outside of the objectives of a responsible regulatory framework to sanction a radio station for a comment an individual made, more so that the personality in question, Dr Obadiah, had been quizzed and released by law enforcement agents.

If for any reason the authorities are not satisfied with his explanations, they are at liberty to prosecute him in court, but not to make a scapegoat of the media platform that provides opportunities for citizens to ventilate their views.

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The claim by the management of NBC that “this (the penalty) is expected to serve as a deterrent to all other broadcast stations in Nigeria who are quick to provide platform for subversive rhetorics and expositions of spurious and unverifiable claims, to desist from such”, is a naked attempt to gag the media in Nigeria.

We, therefore, call on the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to cause a review of the hate speech prohibition code because the very interpretation of same is offensive to the notion of free speech which is an essential ingredient of participatory democracy that Nigeria operates.

We also demand of the NBC to drop the penalty against the operators of 99.3 Nigeria Info FM on account of the fact that the penalty is at best ill-thought out.

Lastly, we want to refresh the memories of the generality of Nigerians that the Nigerian media has been in the frontline of the vanguard in the fight against military rule and restoration of a democratic order. In other words, it is very disappointing that under the watch of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the media is, yet again, being targeted for extermination.

Atiku Media Office

Abuja

13th August 2020


#Newsworthy…

Mailafia: NBC fines Lagos based Radio station, N5M.

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The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has fined a Lagos-based radio station – Nigeria Info 99.3 FM N5 million.

In a statement obtained by Channels Television on Thursday, the commission said the fine was imposed as a result of unprofessional broadcast by the media outfit.

It explained that Nigeria Info was not professional in the handling of its morning show aired between 8.30am and 9.00am on Monday.

NBC stated that the station provided its platform for its guest and a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Mailafia Obadiah, to promote “unverifiable and inciting views,” saying such could lead to public disorder.

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It added that the action of the radio station was in violation of some sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code

According to the commission, the fine imposed on Nigeria Info will serve as a deterrent to all other broadcast stations are quick to provide platforms for “subversive rhetoric and the expositions of spurious and unverifiable claims”, to desist from such.

A file photo of the acting Director-General of NBC, Professor Armstrong Idachaba. (Noble Reporters Media / Adigun Michael Olamide)

This comes a week after the Federal Government launched the reviewed sixth Broadcasting Code of the NBC.

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the government had raised the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5 million.

Read the full statement signed by the management of NBC below:

PRESS RELEASE

THE NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMMISSION FINES Nigeria Info 99.3FM FOR UNPROFESSIONAL BROADCAST

The National Broadcasting Commission has noted with grave concern, the unprofessional conduct of Nigeria Info 99.3FM, Lagos, in the handling of the Programme, “Morning Cross Fire”, aired on August 10, 2020, between 8.30am and 9.00am.

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The station provided its platform for the guest, Dr Mailafia Obadiah, to promote unverifiable and inciting views that could encourage or incite to crime and lead to public disorder.

The Commission, again, wishes to reiterate that Broadcasters hold Licenses in trust for the people. Therefore, no Broadcast Station should be used, to promote personal or sectional interests at the expense of the people.

Dr Mailafia Obadia’s comments on the “Southern Kaduna Crisis”, were devoid of facts and by broadcasting same to the public, Nigeria Info 99.3FM, is in violation of the following sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code:

3.1.1 No broadcast shall encourage or incite to crime, lead to public disorder or hate, be repugnant to public feelings or contain offensive reference to any person or organization, alive or dead or generally be disrespectful to human dignity;

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3.1.2 Broadcasting shall promote human dignity, therefore, hate speech is prohibited;

3.3.1 (a) The broadcaster shall ensure that any information given in a programme, in whatever form, is accurate;

3.3.3.1(b) The Broadcaster shall ensure that all sides to any issue of public interest are equitably presented for fairness and balance;

3.11.1(a) The broadcaster shall ensure that language or scene likely to encourage or incite to crime, or lead to disorder, is not broadcast;

3.11.1(b) No programme contains anything which amounts to subversion of constituted authority or compromises the unity or corporate existence of Nigeria as a sovereign state;

5.4.1(f) The Broadcaster shall not transmit divisive materials that may threaten or compromise the indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as a sovereign state.

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Consequent on these provisions and in line with the amendment of the 6thedition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, Nigeria Info 99.3FM Lagos, has been fined the sum of N5,000,000.00 (Five Million Naira), only.

This is expected to serve as a deterrent to all other broadcast stations in Nigeria who are quick to provide a platform for subversive rhetoric and the expositions of spurious and unverifiable claims, to desist from such.

The Commission wishes to put it on record that it will not hesitate to suspend the Broadcast Licence of broadcast stations that continue to breach the Code.

Stations are, by this statement, admonished to desist forthwith, from airing unwholesome content or be ready to face appropriate sanctions.

Signed:

MANAGEMENT


#Newsworthy…

US president, Trump makes surprise ‘peace agreement’ announcement between UAE & Israel.

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United States President Donald Trump on Thursday made the surprise announcement of a peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

The normalization of relations between the UAE and Israel is a “HUGE breakthrough” Trump tweeted, calling it a “Historic Peace Agreement between our two GREAT friends.”

Speaking to reporters later, Trump suggested more diplomatic breakthroughs between Israel and its Muslim neighbors in the region were expected.

File photo: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with US President Donald Trump, speaks during an announcement of Trump’s Middle East peace plan in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on January 28, 2020.  MANDEL NGAN / AFP

“Things are happening that I can’t talk about,” he said.


#Newsworthy…

NJC refer 22 officers for judiciaries appointment.

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The National Judicial Commission (NJC), has recommended the appointment of 22 officers for Federal and State judiciaries.

The recommendation was considered during a virtual meeting held on Wednesday and Thursday in Abuja.

A statement by the Director of Information of the Council, Soji Oye, (Esq) says that council considered the Report of its Interview Committee and recommended twenty-two (22) Judicial Officers as Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Heads of Court, Judges of High Court of States, Kadis of States Sharia Courts of Appeal and Judges of Customary Courts of Appeal.

“The NJC received the final report of the Judicial Ethics Committee and other Ad-Hoc Committees set up.

“The council also received the notification of the retirement of thirteen (13) Judges and notification of the death of six (6) Judges of States High Courts and Sharia Court of Appeal”, the statement read.

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Similarly, the NJC under the Chairmanship of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Dr Justice I. T. Muhammad CFR, considered the Report of its Investigation Committee on allegation of misconduct made against Hon. Justice K. N. Ogbonnaya of High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

At the end of the deliberation, the Plenary resolved to issue a warning letter to Hon. Justice K. N. Ogbonnaya of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory following its findings on the petition written against him by Dr. Uchechukwu Samson Ogah, OON, that His Lordship refused to release a copy of the judgment delivered to the petitioner within the constitutionally prescribed period of seven (7) days.

During the meeting, the petition written by Mrs. Ademujimi Adenike Nancy against Hon. Justice Sunday Olorundahunsi was dismissed for want of merit.

The Council also considered the Report of Preliminary Complaints Assessment Committee on petitions written against the following sixteen (16) Judicial Officers and dismissed the allegations levelled against Hon. Justice Ayodele Daramola, Chief Judge, Ekiti State, Sulyman Kawu, Chief Judge, Kwara State, Hon. Justices I. N. Oweibo, Hadiza R. Shagari, Ijeoma L. Ojukwu, Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa all of the Federal High Court, Hon. Justices B. A. Oke-Lawal, O. A. Ogala of the Lagos State High Court, Hon. Justice Augusta Uche Kingsley-Chukwu, High Court of Rivers State, Hon. Justice Mustapha A. Ramat, High Court, Nasarawa State, Hon. Justices M. M. Ladan, Muhammed Lawal Bello both of the High Court of Kaduna State, Hon. Justice Adamu M. Kafin Madaki, High Court of Bauchi State, Hon. Justice L. M. Boufini, High Court, Bayelsa State and Hon. Kadi Goni Kur, Sharia Court of Appeal, Borno State for either lacking in merit or being subjudice.


#Newsworthy..

Update: Mauritius escapes second catastrophic oil spill.

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Mauritius avoided a second catastrophic oil spill Wednesday after salvage crews pumped the remaining fuel from the tanks of a cargo ship that ran aground off its coast, imperilling world-famous wildlife sanctuaries.

The stricken vessel threatens to break apart after more than two weeks stranded on a reef, where it leaked more than 1,000 tonnes of fuel into pristine seas.

Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said “all the fuel” had been pumped from reservoirs beneath the MV Wakashio bulk carrier, dodging what experts warned would been a crippling blow to an island nation popular with honeymooners and ecotourists.

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“It was a race against the clock, and I salute the excellent work to prevent another oil spill,” said Jugnauth, who added that another 100 tonnes still remained elsewhere aboard the Japanese-owned ship.

“The weather was calm and it helped the pumping exercise, it also prevented the breakup of the boat, which is inevitable.”

This August 12, 2020, handout satellite image obtained courtesy of Maxar Technologies shows the MV Wahashio shipwreck off the southeast coast of Mauritius. Handout / Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies / AFP

Mauritius declared an unprecedented environmental emergency last week as the Wakashio, which ran aground on July 25, began seeping oil into a protected marine park boasting unspoiled coral reefs, mangrove forests and endangered species.

Jugnauth said the “ecological crisis” was beyond the scope of the tiny Indian Ocean nation, and appealed for urgent international help.

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France and Japan were among those to answer the call, along with thousands of ordinary Mauritians who volunteered day and night to clean sludge from the picturesque tropical coastline to which their economy is deeply tied.

Jugnauth acknowledged there was “still a lot of work to do” assessing and cleaning up the damage, but refused to take responsibility for the disaster.

“How did I do wrong?” he said, adding bad weather hindered efforts to pump oil from the ship earlier.

“We did everything right from the start. We were told that the risks of an oil spill were very low. The experts convinced us otherwise.”

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Police have launched an investigation into the accident and have seized the black box, log book and other items of interest from the vessel as part of their inquiries.

This August 12, 2020, handout satellite image obtained courtesy of Maxar Technologies shows an overview of the MV Wahashio shipwreck off the coast of Mauritius. Handout / Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies / AFP

Wildlife jewel
Fresh cracks appeared in the hull this week near the fuel reservoirs, spurring fears that the Wakashio could soon split up and inflict irreversible damage on the archipelago’s fragile marine ecosystem.

The ship struck a reef at Pointe d’Esny, an ecological treasure fringed by idyllic beaches, colourful reefs, sanctuaries for rare and endemic wildlife, and protected wetlands.

Aerial images showed huge stretches of crystal-clear seas around the marooned cargo ship stained an inky black.

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Pressure has mounted on the government to explain why it did not act earlier, with calls for the fisheries and environment ministers to resign, and volunteers angrily defying official orders to stay away from the clean-up site.

Mauritius and its 1.3 million inhabitants depend crucially on the sea for food and ecotourism, having fostered a reputation as a conservation success story and a world-class destination for nature lovers.

The spill is a double blow for tourist operators who had hoped foreign tourists could soon return.

The country has no active cases of coronavirus and had declared a wary victory after a long stretch without any new infections, but its borders remain closed.


#Newsworthy…

Ondo gov, Akeredolu defends inauguration of Amotekun corps

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Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, says the Nigeria Police Force is being overstretched as the nation confronts the numerous security challenges.

Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Governor Akeredolu called for the decentralising of the police.

“There are a lot of problems we have with our security architecture in this country. It is important for us to understand the way everybody’s mind is watching.

“We cannot run away from it. What we have said and what we know is that the police is overstretched,” he said.

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According to him, the policing system in the United States, Britain and other countries of the world is decentralised.

He, therefore, called for the creation of state police; calling on the National Assembly to create the right framework for the nation’s policing structure.

The governor, who noted that policing involved carrying the local along, stressed that a situation whereby key decisions are taken from Abuja does not tackle the several security challenges.

File photo of Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu. (Noble Reporters Media / Adigun Michael Olamide)

When asked for an approach to tackling the threats in the country, he said “the time has come. We cannot continue in the manner at which we are doing and expect to have effective policing of lives and properties.

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“You have said I am the Chief Security Officer. But Chief Security Officer that I am subjected to what the Inspector General of Police will direct?” he asked.

Akeredolu’s remarks come hours after he inaugurated the pioneer officers of Ondo State Security network Agency, Amotekun Corps.

The governor who officially set up the corps in Akure, the state capital expressed delight with the performance of the pioneer Amotekun Corps officers who just completed their training.

He, however, asked for more funding from the Federal Government to equip the police, adding that the Amotekun Corps is designed to support the existing security framework in the state.


#Newsworthy…

2020 postings for Judge members released by Lagos Judiciary.

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The Lagos State Judiciary has released its 2020 posting for judges of the State High Court.

The postings take immediate effect.

The judges of the court will, however, proceed on their annual vacation from Monday, the 17th of August to Friday the 11th of Sept, 2020.

The list and circular of the new postings which was signed by the Chief Judge of the State, Hon. Justice Kazeem Alogba contains the present posting of judges, their new postings as well as the divisions the judges are assigned to.

It also contains the postings for the 8 new judges of the court who were sworn-in on May 12, 2020.

The High Court of Lagos has a total of 61 judges.

According to the Circular, all judges are to move to their new postings, with all their part-heard matters, that is, trials, rulings & judgments which have commenced but are yet to be concluded.


#Newsworthy….

Storyline: Nigerian President, Buhari mourns Walter C. Carrington

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President Muhammadu Buhari mourns former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington

President Muhammadu Buhari has mourned the former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington.

The President in a tribute on Thursday evening described the late diplomat as Nigeria’s ‘Long Time Friend’ who was courageous.

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He said the late Carrington “openly supported the people of this country when they fought for the return of democracy following the annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential elections won by the late Moshood Abiola.”

President Buhari said the story of the Nigerian democracy under the Fourth Republic will not complete without a mention of the heroic roles of the likes of Ambassador Carrington.

“On behalf of my family, the government and people of Nigeria, I commiserate with the family of the deceased, his friends and admirers as well as the government and people of the United States,” the President added.

Late Walter C. Carrington

Biography
The late Walter Carrington was an American diplomat who served as the United States Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Senegal and Nigeria.

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He served as the US Ambassador to Senegal from 1980 to 1981 and was appointed by U.S President Bill Clinton in 1993 as the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, where he remained until 1997.

His ties to Nigeria were deep; he had married into a Nigerian family and had lived in three Nigerian cities since the late 1960s.

In 1981, he was named Director of the Department of International Affairs of Howard University. He published several articles on Africa. He served as US Ambassador to Nigeria from 1993 to 1997. On 1 September 2004, Carrington was named the Warburg Professor of International Relations at Simmons College in Boston.

Carrington is a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. In 1997, he received an honorary doctorate (Doctor of Humane Letters) from Livingstone College, North Carolina.

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In 1991, he published Africa in the Minds and Deeds of Black American Leaders (with Edwin Dorn).

File photo of Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari

In 2010, he published A Duty to Speak: Refusing to Remain Silent in a Time of Tyranny, a compilation of his speeches supporting democracy and human rights in Nigeria during the Abacha military dictatorship.

He has written many Africa-related articles for national magazines.

The late US ambassador to Nigeria died on Tuesday at the age of 90.


#Newsworthy…

Breaking: 292 Nigerians arrives Abuja from UAE

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Two hundred and ninety-two Nigerians have returned from the United Arab Emirates, taking the number of evacuees from the Arab nation to 2,933.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) disclosed this in a tweet via its official handle on Wednesday.

It explained that the evacuees arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at 02:30 pm on board an Emirates flight.

Although the agency said the evacuees had tested negative to COVID-19, they would be undergoing a mandatory 14-day self-isolation, in line with the guidelines issued by the Federal Government.

Today’s evacuation from the UAE comes two days after 288 more Nigerians returned from the country.

On Sunday, NIDCOM said 327 Nigerians returned from the United Kingdom.

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As at June 2020, the Federal Government said it had spent N169 million on the evacuation of Nigerians from overseas.

During a briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on April, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, had directed all Nigerians interested in returning to the country to work with Nigeria’s embassies and high commissions where they are.

“What is important to get out to all Nigerians is that their engagement and communication should be with the embassies, high commissions and not with any other parallel agency, department of government or anything like that.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted regular daily activities in several countries across the world, leaving millions of people stranded in foreign nations.

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Against the backdrop of the outbreak, many countries initiated the process of evacuating their citizens back home.

Nigeria is not left out as the Federal Government has facilitated the repatriation of thousands of its citizens stranded abroad.

Among the nations where Nigerians have been brought back home include the United States, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Sudan, France, Ethiopia, and several others.


#Newsworthy….

DSS freed former CBN deputy governor, Mailafia

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The Department of State Services has released a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, after questioning him for more than six hours.

Dr. Malaria was on Tuesday questioned by officials of the agencies in Jos, the Plateau State Capital in connection with comments he reportedly made on Monday about the leadership of Boko Haram.

It is not clear if the DSS is through with their questioning but the former CBN chief was released after Reverend Gideon Para Mallam presented himself as his surety.

Following his release from custody, the former CBN Deputy Governor thanked his family members, the media for their support while in detention, adding that he didn’t regret the comments he made.

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“Since yesterday there has been a lot of support voluntarily from the media, I want to thank them for their courage.

Former Central Bank Deputy Governor, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, briefing newsmen after his release from the DSS custody on August 12, 2020 (Noble Reporters Media / Adigun Michael Olamide)

“If I had retracted anything, I don’t think I would have been able to leave this place because the youths of this country are fed up, all these killings have made people fed up.

“Those who tolerate it are committing great evil, we must remain steadfast, I love Nigeria, we must love our country”.

The former CBN Deputy Governor buttressed that he does not support or promote violence and will never support evil.

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“We must seek the progress of our country, we must work for peace, my name means peace, I am a servant of the people, I don’t use violence and do not promote the use of violence”, he added.

While Dr Mailafia was being questioned, a protest was held demanding his release and calling for an end to the killings in Southern Kaduna, the same issue he was commenting about that led to his invitation.

During a radio programme on Monday, Dr. Mailafia reportedly said repentant Boko Haram members had revealed that a serving northern governor was a leader of the terrorist group.

Dr Mailafia, who was the presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress, was also reported to have linked bandits terrorising Southern Kaduna and elsewhere to the terrorists, adding that they moved weapons across the country even during the COVID-19- lockdown.


#Newsworthy…