Tag Archives: Babangida

Why It Is Called ‘Aso Rock’ – By Olamide Noble | Historic

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History•

It is one of the city’s most noticeable features. The Nigerian Presidential Complex, Nigerian National Assembly, and Nigerian Supreme Court are located around it. Much of the city extends to the south of the rock. “Aso” means victorious in the native language of the Asokoro (“the people of victory”) ethnic group.

Who Built Aso Rock?

President Ibrahim Babangida, who took office in 1985, commenced construction of a new Presidential residence and in 1991 the Aso Rock Presidential Villa was completed and President Babangida became the first Head of State to occupy it, in on December 12, 1991.

How Long Is Aso Rock?

~ 1,000 M

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Which Rock Is The Biggest In Nigeria?

Zuma Rock is a large monolith, an igneous intrusion composed of gabbro and granodiorite, that is located in Niger State, Nigeria. It rises spectacularly immediately west of Nigeria’s capital Abuja, along the main road from Abuja to Kaduna off Madala, and is sometimes referred to as the “Gateway to Abuja from Suleja”.

How Many Rocks Are In Nigeria?

Rocks in Nigeria

The country has a pretty big list of tourist attractions to observe, from mysterious caves and quick rivers to huge mountains. People who love mountains will absolutely like visiting rocks in Nigeria because some of these sightseeing locations are way higher than the famous Egypt pyramids!

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The list of five major rocks in Nigeria includes:

Olumo Rock
Zuma Rock
Aso Rock
Riyom Rock
Wase Rock


We can continue this list because there are more than just five well-known rocks in Nigeria. But these five places are most visited, so every citizen and tourist who travels across the country should spend some time visiting some beautiful and high rocks.

Where is Olumo Rock located?
This rock is extremely popular in Nigeria. Many local people and tourists come here to enjoy spectacular views.

Olumo Rock is located near Ogun River, in Ogun State. If you take the A5 highway, head to Abeokuta and you will see this attraction from far away because its highest peak reaches 137 meters above the sea level. While it is not as high as Aso Rock, you will still be stunned.

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Where is Zuma Rock located?
If you are a citizen of Nigeria, you can see this place every day or even more often. If you are a tourist, you can also look at Zuma Rock even without visiting this beautiful place. Why are we so sure about this? Take any 100 Naira banknote and look at it. What do you see? Exactly!

Of course, the real Zuma Rock location is not on the notes. It can be visited in Niger State, and you can take the A234 highway from Abuja (capital) towards Kaduna and near Madala. The mountain’s height impresses. It is nearly 725 meters (over 3.6 thousand feet)!

Aso Rock location
If you live in Abuja or visit the capital of Nigeria, you should travel closer to Aso Rock. Its tremendous size reminds of pyramids, but we have to note one important fact. This ‘capital’ rock is 10 times higher than the most famous pyramid. Of course, it doesn’t have the shape or color of Giza pyramid (it’s a well-known Egypt tourist attraction), but Aso Rock is exceptionally high reaching 400 meters (1,300 feet) high above the sea level.

You have already guessed that this major rock in Nigeria is located in Abuja. If you have plans to see the Complex of the President of the country or happen to go to the Supreme Court or travel the A234 highway, you will not miss the fantastic rock.

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Riyom Rock location
This tourist attraction in Nigeria is pretty unusual. Many citizens call it ‘Three Rocks’ formation because of its unique shape. The huge rocks lay on top of each other.

This fantastic site is located in Plateau State, close to Riyom town.

Wase Rock location
While this rock is not visited by locals and tourists as often as other major rocks in Nigeria, it is worth being added to our list because of its unique shape. Firstly, it has a shape of a dome. Secondly, it originates from a volcano. Thirdly, pelicans love it and choose it as their breeding ground. Finally, yet importantly, Wase Rock is one of the five isolated dome-shaped rock hills on our planet.

Reaching approximately 350 meters (over 1.1 thousand feet) above the sea level, this rock is located in Wase town (in Plateau State).

as written by: Adigun Michael Olamide – ‘Olamide Noble’

source(s): google and legit.ng


#Newsworthy…

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Continuous efforts to reconcile Nigerians unsuccessful – IBB


General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), Nigeria’s former Military Head of State has disclosed that limited impact has been recorded in the effort to reconcile Nigerians after the civil war.

Babangida who lauded some initiatives like the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the unity schools in the interview with Channels Television, blamed the limited impact recorded on authorities not consistently pushing for actualization of the reconciliation of Nigerians.


He said;

“For example, the NYSC, unity schools.. I think we didn’t push it hard.

“We should have pushed all those hard so that people from different parts of the country can say that we met at unity schools together”.


#Newsworthy…

Babangida speaks on getting married 10 years after his wife’s death.


As long as she was alive, their marriage was like the wedlock of the gods that the late Professor Zulu Sofola portrayed in her classic novel. For the 40 years the marriage lasted, they were inseparable. Wherever you saw one, there would the other be also. They shattered all obstacles together; and beautified as they impressed.

But on Sunday, December 27, 2009, time stopped forever for the personable former First Lady and founder of the Better Life for Rural Women project, Dr. Maryam Babangida. She died. On that black Sunday, the Asaba, Delta State-born ex-First Lady succumbed to ovarian cancer at the University of California’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, aged 61.

The late Maryam Babangida was born on November 1, 1948, to Hajiya Asabe Halima Mohammed, a Hausa woman from Niger State, and Mr. Leonard Nwanonye Okogwu, an Igbo from Asaba, Delta State. Sultry Maryam got married to the then Major Ibrahim Babangida on September 6, 1969, shortly before her 21st birthday. The marriage was blessed with two boys and two girls––Mohammed, Aminu, Aisha and Halima.


On the day Maryam went to meet her Maker, the world stood still for her husband, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Nigeria’s former military president. The cancer had sliced off his better half and his world momentarily became a huge dark void. Every glittering thing became gloomy. Ten years on, the General is still struggling to fill the vacuum.

In this exclusive interview, General Babangida, who was at his wife’s bed side when her life ebbed, went down memory lane and revealed that though the passage of time had reduced the pain, the tragic loss has not totally healed. He recalled some of the high and low points in his union with his late wife, disclosing, perhaps for the first time, why he stuck to the highly fashionable former First Lady till death separated them that fateful Sunday in December of 2009.


Babangida didn’t stop there. He also spoke on life without his better half, her immortality and legacies. Then, he dropped this bombshell: despite his advancing age, and regardless of his present state of health, he wants to marry again. And he didn’t say that for the sake of headlines. He meant every word of it.

Well, as they say, the taste of the pudding is in the eating. Please, sit back, relax and enjoy the interview. Excerpts:


It would be 10 years on December 27, this year, since your wife, the former First Lady, passed on. How has life been with you without Dr. Maryam Babangida?

It hasn’t been easy, I must say. But thanks be to God. Her children and my friends try to take away that burden off me and they have been very successful so far.


What have been the pains?

That you lose somebody very close to you; somebody very dedicated to the family, you, the children and so on. Another one is not having a companion to talk to when you are in a distressed situation. Those are the pains.

Those are what you miss most about her?

Yes.

What is the greatest problem you face as a widower?


Somebody who would instantly correct me when I make a mistake. Somebody who would say without mincing words that: ‘this is right’ or ‘this is wrong’. This is important, especially for those of us in the limelight. That is what I miss most.

There was an interview we had with you in this same room when I asked if you were going to remarry, and you answered me in the affirmative. Years down the line, nothing has happened. I don’t know whether you really meant it or you were just joking. What is your final answer?


It will still be in the affirmative. The answer is yes. This is because I am still thinking.

Are you sure sir?

Yes, I am quite sure. I’m searching and I’m hoping. But the longer I wait, maybe, the more problematic it becomes. If it drags, I would be too old and the whole idea of having a partner would seem to diminish. But I will make sure I do it before reaching that stage.


You will make sure you do what?

Have a partner.

That presupposes that there is somebody at the corner?

So far, no.

If it is going to happen, when and how are you going to start the process if it hasn’t started by now?


If somebody is in the corner, you could organize that in three or six months. And because it must be somebody you have known for a long time, or somebody you have been in contact with for a long time, you don’t just tell them look this is for marriage. But as time passes, and relationship building continues, it could end up in marriage.

However, I have to be fair in my search. I really want to be fair. For instance, you don’t expect me to take a wife much younger than I am because that will be a problem for her and for me. I have to be fair. Secondly, I do wonder if she (the chosen one) would be able to live the way Maryam and I did, which is not easy these days. So, I keep on praying; and I think it will happen.


Do you think the children will be receptive to that idea, having waited these 10 long years?

They will be happy that their father got what he wanted. His happiness is their priority.

Especially the ladies, Aisha and Halima?

Yes. After all, this is what daddy wants and if it makes him happy, so be it. We want him to be happy.


As Africans, we believe that when we lose loved ones, we could still communicate with them in our dreams. In the past 10 years, how many times has Dr. Maryam Babangida appeared to you in your dream?

Very few times; and I think that is fine. As far as I am concerned, that takes a lot of burden off me. But if I see her every day, I wouldn’t wake up to this idea (of wanting to marry again) because seeing her regularly brings back all the memories. But since I don’t see her, it strengthens my resolve.


How would you celebrate her at 10?

I am working on a programme dedicated to her. I hope it will be ready by the tenth anniversary.

What kind of programme sir? Could you let us an insight into it?


We are trying to work on some of the things she did, especially around women and in the society, here in Niger State.

There has been very little effort towards what she was doing while she was alive. Are you not pained that nobody has taken up the Better Life for Rural Women Programme from where she signed off?


It is not easy. Her daughter is trying fairly well. She is trying to get into educating the local people in the villages so that they can make life better for themselves in terms of economic development. The daughter is doing that. She seems to be doing fine.

If despite all you have been through, you still look this way, handsome, soft-spoken and all that, one could imagine how you were at 17 or 19. How did you deal with the girls?


I knew you would come with that conclusion. But let me give you a story to answer your question. When I told my wife to let’s get married, she looked at me and said: ‘You can’t be serious’. I said: why? She said that the impression she had was that we (soldiers) were playboys. I said I had decided to stop being a playboy and I wanted to settle down. I think I convinced her that I really meant I was going to settle down.

How did your love life start, especially at a time when inter-tribal marriages were not common, especially in your part of the country? How did your parents and hers take it?


Fortunately, the two parents knew each other. They were more or less friends and I also became friends with her cousins, aunties and uncles. They didn’t have difficulties accepting me.

You really played before you eventually made your mind to settle down…


Yes, I did…

I asked that question because I interacted with a couple of your friends who told me about the way you people used to rock at Bobby Benson’s Caban Bamboo night club in those days…

He (Bobby Benson) was a good friend of mine. I knew him very well.


What was your relationship with the late Brigadier Benjamin Adekunle? He frequented the night club too…

He and I were from different divisions. I got to know him closely when the war broke out. He was in Third Marine Commando while I was in 1 Division of the Nigerian Army. But, later in retirement, I got closer to him because he visited me here in Minna. He also visited me when I was in office and when I was out of office.


Still talking about relationships, how did it eventually happen after you told your wife and she said you weren’t serious? How long did it take you to convince her?

To be honest, less than a year.

How did you deal with the other girls?

Well, they had to accept the reality that there would be a time they would have to leave me and I had to leave them.

Did you actually leave them completely?

I tried to…


How do you react to this notion that when Delta State was created by your government, you chose Asaba as the capital because your wife was from there? Critics said geographically speaking, Asaba was not at the centre of the new state. (Delta State was carved out of the former Bendel State on August 27, 1991. The state was born out of agitations by the Urhobos and Anioma for the creation of separate and distinct states from the region.)

It was not because of her. Before we created a state or local government, we studied everything-the history and the politics of that area; then, settled on one. I made a lot of consultations. I was fortunate to have people like Sir Dennis Osadebe, who, I think, was a Premier of the Mid-West. I went to him and he told me the whole history of that area. Historically, during the British era, the town was seen as an important town in terms of location, commerce and the rest of them. So, from all the consultations, we made up our minds that we will make Asaba the capital. It just happened that my wife was from there.


It was said that on the eve of your announcement, the military administrator went to Warri and was looking for a place…

(Cuts in…) It was a Nigerian thing. For instance, before the announcement (for the creation of new states), somebody in Niger (State) had also gone to another town and started saying that that will be the capital. But we knew it was going to be Minna. Then, we were accused. Like I said, it is a typical Nigerian thing.


For a man of great accomplishments like you, and as a Muslim, your religion permits you to marry as many as four wives, if you like. But you stuck to Mrs. Maryam Babangida till her death on December 27, 2009. Before the marriage eventually happened, what were the traumas you went through?

(Laughs) That is the advantage of being a playboy. It gives you an opportunity to explore and learn, such that by the time you make up your mind to settle down, you have learnt all the good and bad things in a relationship. When you now decide to settle down, you try as much as possible to avoid all those pitfalls. Maryam and I had a very short courtship because she had everything I was looking for in a woman. She possessed them.


Like what?

Accepting me for what I am.

And what are you?

Just a human being. I had my faults. I made mistakes. Like every human being, I am not perfect. And if you are prepared to accept me for what I am, then, we have no problem. She exhibited that a lot and that kept us together. I can tell you that in 40 years, we quarrelled only twice. She was a very tolerant person and the parents were very understanding. They supported me on most issues.


Would it not have been otherwise if you were not General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida-very high up there, highly visible, known all over the world? Would she have been that tolerant?

I think she would still have been. During the war, for example, I was away most of the time. We were in the war front, and there was a lot of anxiety. Anxieties like: would he come back? Would he be killed at the frontline? You know that sort of thing. But she was a very strong-willed person and she was always firm in her hope that I would return to her alive, and not in a body bag. Her optimism enlivened the spirit in the home and helped the children, and so on.


Was there a time in your 40 years of marriage that she got angry and said: ‘what the heck, I’m leaving!’?

No, we never had that. That is why I said we quarrelled only twice and they were ordinary things we could sort out.


How did you handle your problems anytime confusion came?

We allowed tempers to cool down. That is rule number one. We also applied that thing called common sense. Then, we initiated a discussion, involving just the two of us, on the subject that brought about the quarrel. That way, the problem was easily resolved. Again, I never felt too proud to say ‘I am sorry, I was wrong.’ I always said that. She, too, always said: ‘I’m sorry, I was wrong’. That was the end of the problem.


Does ‘the other room’ play any role in resolving such problems?

(Laughs) We always solved our problems in the dining room.

I’m talking about the ‘other room’.

Which is the other room? Please, enlighten me.

The bedroom.

(General laughter).

What is the highest point of your life? At 78, what are the highs and the lows?

Babangida & Maryam


The first is when I was commissioned into the Nigerian Army, as a young officer from the Indian Military Academy. Fresh from the Academy, I was full of life, coming to provide service to the country. The second is: while rendering services to the country, you meet people who operate either in defence of the country or in aiding people to provide for safety of lives and properties in the country. The third is when I was given a command during the war. The high point (in that) is that here was a young Major Babangida, and I had over 500 soldiers under me. Their lives, their welfare, depended on me. That was a huge responsibility.

You have to be concerned about how you make them have the confidence that you would not lead them into any disastrous situation; you have to be concerned that they would follow you to war. I’m glad they developed that confidence because I mingled with them. I trained and ate with them. We played together. And if they knew that we were going to war, fear was no longer in them because, as an officer, I was capable of doing what they could do. As an officer, I could do what a corporal could do. So, they just followed. That is a good point in leadership; and it has been very successful.


#Newsworthy…

He is healthy – IBB spokesperson.

…may Allah forgive those wishing him dead.

Former Nigeria’s military president, General Ibrahim Babangida is not dead.

Rumors were rife earlier today that the ex-military leader had passed on. However, a statement released by his spokesperson, Kasim Afegbua, said contrary to the rumour, Babangida is alive and bubbling and is in his Minna residence attending to visitors.

Read the full statement below:

IBB IS ALIVE AND BUBBLING.

It has become consistent fake news for quite some time now wishing our own IBB, the one we easily refer to as “the last don” of Nigeria politics, dead. The “fake news bill” would be a suitable response to this category of fake news carrier. IBB is very much alive and bubbling. He just started attending to friends and associates who came to see him today, Sunday, 15th December, 2019 right here at his Minna Hilltop mansion. He is full of life and in his characteristic bubbling mood.

May Allah forgive those who wish IBB dead. God is the giver and taker of life, not humans. Death, as the irrevocable end of all creation, will surely come to everyone some day and at the appointed time and hour, but to deliberately spread fake news and wish someone dead, is to take humanity to another bizarre level. May Allah forgive them. IBB, by the special grace of Allah, the omniscient and omnipotent One, shall live to fulfill his journey and destiny in life, to the consternation of those who are always wishing him dead. This is about the third time this year.

We wish to thank those who took time to reach out to us, home and abroad, to find out the truth. We thank you all for your love, care and concern. May Allah grant us all good health, sound mind and long life. Amin.

SIGNED…
PRINCE KASSIM AFEGBUA
MEDIA SPOKESMAN TO GENERAL IBB.

#Newsworthy…

Babangida’s death rumour, fake – Spokesman

Kasim Afegbua, spokesman for former military president, Gen Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida has debunked the rumour that his boss is dead.

In a release he issued to douse the tension he said: “It has become consistent fake news for quite some time now wishing our own IBB, the one we easily refer to as “the last don” of Nigeria politics, dead.

The “fake news bill” would be a suitable response to this category of fake news carrier. IBB is very much alive and bubbling. He just started attending to friends and associates who came to see him today, Sunday, 15th December, 2019 right here at his Minna Hilltop mansion.

He is full of life and in his characteristic bubbling mood.

“May Allah forgive those who wish IBB dead. God is the giver and taker of life, not humans. Death, as the irrevocable end of all creation, will surely come to everyone some day and at the appointed time and hour, but to deliberately spread fake news and wish someone dead, is to take humanity to another bizarre level.

May Allah forgive them. IBB, by the special grace of Allah, the omniscient and omnipotent One, shall live to fulfill his journey and destiny in life, to the consternation of those who are always wishing him dead. This is about the third time this year.

“We wish to thank those who took time to reach out to us, home and abroad, to find out the truth. We thank you all for your love, care and concern. May Allah grant us all good health, sound mind and long life. Amin.”.

#Newsworthy…

NANPF, Ajide tasks Babangida

…over unifying disgruntled members

Patron of the National Association of Nigerian Professional Footballers, Hon. Tajudeen Ajide has called on the leadership of Players Union to unify all disgruntled members under one umbrella.

The ex-footballer and incumbent chairman of Surulere Local Government, made this known when NANPF president Tijani Babangida and general secretary, Austin Popo paid him a solidarity visit at his Surulere home.

Ajide said: “We discussed a lot on how to make the union more beneficial to ex and serving footballers. My advice is for the executives to find ways to unite all players as well as disgruntled members into one fold. They have to do that for us to get what we want.”

Speaking, NANPF boss, Babangida said: “The main reason of my coming to see our patron is to discuss with him on several things concerning the union. With this discussion I have learn a lot and he has advised me on what I can do to be successful as chairman of Nigeria Players Union.”

The ex-international noted that the union has met with several players since emerging helmsman. “We have gone round the country to meet the players one on one. We have been to Katsina, Gombe, Kano, Bauchi, Jos, Kogi, Akure, Ibadan and Lagos and we are moving to the east and the west very soon. All the players we have met with we have told them of the need to begin to think about life after football and the importance of pension scheme. Our meetings have also yielded positive result and bring the players closer.

“As for ex-players, we have set up a foundation and registered it. We have been meeting our members to ensure that they partner us so that whenever we have a case of an ex-player facing health challenge we would just go back to the foundation and get resources to help them and get them back on their feet.”

#Newsworthy…

Gov. Tambuwal – Nigeria can’t be run like a military dictatorate.

Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto on Thursday expressed concerns over the proposed fake news and hate speech bills saying Nigeria’s democracy cannot be operated like a military dictatorship.

He said the bill sets fear and scary impact adding that” the bill on the social media and hate speech is quite scary.”

Tambuwal made the remark in Sokoto at the ongoing of 15th Conference of All Nigeria Editors on the platform of the Nigerian Guild of Editors(NGE).

According to the governor” Draconian legislation has no place in our democracy. Nigeria must be returned on the path of constitutionality and development.”

While noting that the media occupied a special and top most position in the fight for the country’s independence as well the return of the nation to democracy as well in fighting the excesses in power positions it has an impeccable role of putting leadership at all levels on their toes and be account able to the governed.

Though, Tambuwal noted that the country was fast demonstrating commitment to finding solutions to the irking socioeconomic challenges .

He further noted that the emerging security challenges occasioned by conflict, banditry and kidnappings were continually holding communities in parts of the country hostage, adding that” there should be in place an urgent mechanism to holistically overhaul the security architecture which will further provide avenue for the economy to regain its grounds amidst dwindling resources”, he pointed out.

Tambuwal also noted that the media like other organs of development was feeling the heat of the harsh economic, assuring that sooner or later the difficult times would pave way for a prosperous and vibrant economy.

According riding to the one time House of Representatives Speaker” the media especially the radio and television will have to be repositioned to favourably and aggressively compete in the best manner of practices as a search light of our polity to renew the hope of citizens against the gradual erosion of our democracy tenets and gains as dividend of good governance.

In his brief but inspiring remarks at the conference hall of the Sokoto International Conference Centre, former Ogun state Governor, Chief Olusegun Aremu Osoba stressed the need to fight against all media abuses by non professionals just as he frowned at attempts to punish conventional media for the wrongs of non professionals on the social media platform.

” They are not part of us by professional practice hence , such laws should not be used to deny us our constitutional rights to practice”, the veteran journalist pointed out.

He therefore urged media practitioners at all levels not to allow the bill on fake news and hate speech see the light of the day, adding that” even if it will take lobbying to resist the move, I offer myself for he struggle against its passage. We are the members of APC and I belong to this noble profession constituency and will have to make it survive”, he vowed further.

#Newsworthy…

Ibrahim Babangida: No one can deny Nigerians of the fundamental rights… #SayNoToHateSpeechBill.

Former military president, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, has weighed in on the controversial Hate Speech Bill, saying nobody can Muzzle Nigerians and deny them freedom of speech.

General Babangida pointed out that there was even no basis for the bill which has passed the second reading in the Senate insisting that no one can deny Nigerians their fundamental rights.

Babangida spoke in his Minna Uphill residence when he received visiting National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chief Christopher Isiguzo.

The Protection from Internet Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill and the National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches Bill were recently introduced in the Senate.

Babangida recalled that a similar bill was presented before the eighth National Assembly and he advised against.

“I am surprised that this bill has resurfaced. There is no basis for this now. We are developing; we should be allowed to develop. If we make mistakes people can be cautioned. If somebody goes off you have the right to call him to say, ‘no, we don’t want this.’

“Unless people are able to express themselves, those in government or in authority will not know what is happening in the country.”

The former military president said the Bill was an “eye service” by the sponsor, describing the death penalty prescribed in the bill as “crude and wicked

“If somebody makes hate speech, put him in the gallows and not shoot him. It is crude and out of tune with the 21st century reality. It could have happened, may be some 300 years ago, but not now.”

Babangida vowed to team up with the NUJ and other stakeholders in protesting against the passage of the bill saying, “I am with you on this. I will also talk to those of us who could be in position to bring sanity to bare on some of these things.”

The former military president said he had been following media publications on the forthcoming American election, adding, “if we had their type of media, I think they should be jailing you all by now.”

He credited himself with opening up the media space even when some of his colleagues opposed his policy.

“But today, the country is better for it,” he said.

He challenged the media to remain strong and focussed on what Nigerians wants, maintaining that the nation can only succeed if we allow unfettered freedom without death threat or N10 million fine, which he said sounded silly.

Earlier, the NUJ president had solicited the support of the former military president to bring down the bill before the National Assembly.

He described Hate Speech Bill as anti-democracy and anti-people and, therefore, must be killed.

Reacting, legal icon, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), described the bill as a slide to dictatorship and that there was no need for extra laws in Nigeria.

Babalola, founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), said it was needless and unwarranted for anyone to contemplate another law to deal with false publications when there were laws already promulgated to take care of such situation.

Babalola spoke at ABUAD in Ado Ekiti on Wednesday, when the leadership of NUJ, Ekiti chapter, led by its Chairman, Com Rotimi Ojomoyela presented an award of excellence to the Legal Icon to appreciate his contributions to humanity and national development.

The legal icon noted that the provisions of the proposed bill in its entirety clearly contravene section 39 of the 1999 constitutions, which guarantee freedom of speech.

Lampooning the champions of the bill, Babalola said: “This is the beginning of dictatorship. There are enough laws like defamation, libel, and slander to deal with anybody who publishes falsehood against someone and it comes by way of taking the person to court.

“So, it is of no need to making new laws to deal with somebody who publishes falsehood. There was no need whatsoever for additional laws to deal with that. Though, people are complaining, because the police are not doing well by delaying prosecution of offenders.”

Meanwhile, scores of placard-wielding protesters comprising individuals and civil society organisations, marched on the National Assembly Complex, yesterday, demanding that the Senate drop the bill it is considering to regulate social media in Nigeria.

The protesters started the march at a section of the National Assembly gate when another set moved in through the left flank of the gate. Two groups, Take It Back Movement and Concerned Nigerians, championed the protest.

Aside the primary demand of the Senate stepping down the social media and the hate speech bills, the protesters also asked the Federal Government to obey court orders by releasing Omoyele Sowore and other journalists who are held for critiquing state authorities.

They hoisted placards which among other inscriptions read: “If you can’t stand the smoke. Get out of the kitchen”, “Only a repressive regime muscles the media”, “#SayNoToSocialMediaBill, we are not in tyranny century”, “If we can’t say what we think, in a democratic society, then it is not democracy”, “Do not gag me”, “Free Sowore”, “It is slavery not to speak one’s thought”, “social media bill another draconian decree”, and “do not gag me.”

The protesters sang songs of solidarity and called out names of each of the 109 senators, chorusing “Shut it down” — referring to the two bills, the social media bill and the hate speech bill.

While addressing journalists, Deji Adeyanju, one of the conveners of the protest, said the action would, henceforth, be frequent.

He said apart from the protests, there would be online actions which would involve sending text messages, calling and sending mails to every senator.

He added that this would be followed by “individual name shaming and picketing. We will assign tasks to different members (of our group) to go to their (the senators) homes. Let their children see what their parents are doing.”

He faulted the decision to adopt Singapore’s version of the same bill. He said the Asian country is not a democratic state.

Another leader of the protest, Henry Shield, also chided the legislators for not adopting “progressive bills” like the healthcare bill of the United States and other bills of note that would address the challenges facing Nigerians.

“We insist that the monstrous social media bill and its evil hate speech counterpart have no place in any democratic society, let alone a fledgling democracy like ours. We believe that the bills are satanic and must be totally withdrawn by the ninth Senate with immediate effect.

“As constituents and citizens alike, we believe that the proposed bills suggest that you lawmakers are anti-people and unwilling to either understand the sufferings of Nigerians or even take any meaningful step to mitigate them.

“We, therefore, hope that you will listen to the unanimous voice of Nigerians that these bills have no place in our democracy and must be forever banished to the trash can.”

But Uba Sani (APC, Kaduna Central) and Yakubu Oseni (APC, Kogi Central) spoke on behalf of the Senate said lawmakers would do the bidding of Nigerians.

#Newsworthy…