NPAN Flays Proposed Media Bill
The Newspaper proprietors association of Nigeria (NPAN), at the weekend deliberated on the controversial bill, described as unfortunate a situation in which the federal government is seeking to nail the press at a time the information space is being opened up for public engagement .
In a seven – paragraphed statement issued by the association’s President Chief Ajibola Ogunshola, his deputy, Mallam kabiru Yusuf and the publicity secretary Frank Aigbogun and made available to newsmen in Lagos, said the introduction of the “stone age” bill by the chairman, house committee on Nigerians in the Diaspora, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erawa came as a schock to media practitioners.
The press statement reminded the promoter and prime mover of the retrogressive bill that it would be an injustice on the part of the Federal Government to gag a vibrant press.
The statement further revealed that “NPAN” cannot see the logic in this bill, which in its design seeks to replace the existing Nigeria Press Council Decree with the Nigerian Press and Practice of Journalism Council”.
As efforts before it, this bill begins on the faulty and diabolic premise that the federal government should know and seek to abridge the right of the people to information and to hold their leaders accountable to those who elected them.
“In 1999, the association instituted a case at the Federal High Court, Lagos, seeking to abrogate the Nigerian Press Council Decree because it was our view that its provisions are inimical to the smooth functioning of a free press”.
“That suit NO: FHC/L/1324/99 is still pending before the court and if would now seem that the promoters of their vexatious bill seek to make the final outcome of the suit a nullity”.
The body noted that the process to establish an ombudsman in collaboration with other stakeholders was on calling on Nigerians to rise in support of the process and the crusade against the passage of the “evil bill” and any other measures that seek to curtail their freedom of information.
It would appear that history is lost on the promoters of this bill because the press in Nigerian has always stood against any attempt to emasculate it, the statement posited.
It could be recalled that ever since the introduction of “the Nigerian Press and Practice of Journalism Council Bill” by the chairman of the House Committee on Nigerians in the Diaspora, the controversial bill has attracts a high level of criticism by Nigerians, home and Abroad calling on the House of Representative to step aside the evil bill and pass into law the right of the people to information.
Bayelsa Inaugurates 7th Assembly …Speaker, Deputy Retain Positions
The Bayelsa State House of Assembly midweek inaugurated the 7th Assembly of the State at its complex in Amarata, Yenagoa, the State capital.
Presiding over the elections of principal officers, Clerk of the House, Mr Kent Adogu, in line with extant laws and procedures for election of principal officers of the Legislative Houses in Nigeria, called for nominations and secondments of nominations for the elections of Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
Following this, the outgoing Speaker of the 6th Assembly, Rt. Hon.Abraham Ingobere, and his Deputy, Rt. Hon. Michael Ogbere, were returned as Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively.
The Tide gathered that Ingobere, a fourth termer, representing Brass Constituency Three, had in the 5th and 6th Assemblies of the state previously served as Deputy Speaker to three former Speakers, making him the first Assembly member in the state to have been elected successively to this positions in consecutive tenures.
The Tide further learnt that the newly elected Deputy Speaker, Michael Ogbere, represents Ekeremor Constituency Three, and was Deputy Speaker too in the outgone 6th Assembly of the state.
In his inaugural address at the first plenary of the 7th Assembly, the Speaker commended new and returning members on their victories in the 2023 state Assembly polls.
He stated that while the 6th Assembly members executed their onerous tasks of representation, law-making and oversight with integrity and dedication, he believed members of the 7th Assembly would also want to surpass the 6th Assembly in executing the functions of their offices.
He noted also that under his leadership, the State Assembly would continue to synergize with the Executive and Judicial Arms of Government towards the development of the state.
In the same vein, the House also appointed one time Speaker and Leader of the outgone 6th Assembly, Rt. Hon. Monday Bobou-Obolo as Leader of the 7th Assembly.
Others appointed to leadership portfolios were Honourables Amakoromo Waikuma, Deputy Minority Leader; Gabriel Michael Ogbara, Chief Whip; Irigha Brigidi was chosen as Minority Leader in place of the former Minority Leader in the 6th Assembly, Awudulu Douglas who was also re-elected as member of the 7th Assembly; while Timi Omubo-Agala retained his position as Minority Whip.
Also appointed as members of the House’s leadership were, Honourables Teddy Elemeforo (Deputy Whip), Sunday Bernard Kenebai (Deputy Leader), and George Braah, Deputy Minority Whip.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells,
Govt Sets Up Reconciliation Committee On Odioma Communal Crisis
The Bayelsa State Government has constituted a 7-member Committee to look into issues causing hostility in Odioma Community in Brass Local Government Area of the state with a view to bringing lasting peace to the embattled coastal community.
The Committee is chaired by the Secretary to the State Government, Alaowei Gideon Ekeuwei, while the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Biriyai Dambo (SAN), is to serve as Secretary.
The Tide reports that members of the Committee include the state’s Commissioner for Local Government, Community Development and Chieftaincy Affairs, Chief Thompson Amule; Commissioner for Special Duties (East), Hon. Preye Broderick; and the Technical Adviser to the Governor on Conflict Resolution, Chief Boma Spero-Jack.
Other members are the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, Mr Akpoebi Agberebi, and the Technical Adviser on Special Duties, Mr Richard Perekeme.
Constituting the Committee during a meeting with the leadership and some stakeholders of Odioma in Government House, Yenagoa, during the week, the Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, charged them to be diligent in carrying out their assignment.
He also mandated the Committee to separately meet with the two factions led by the Commissioner for Lands and Survey, Mr Andrew Esau, as well as the Chairman, Odioma Council of Chiefs, Chief Munafa Marlin.
To leverage the Committee’s assignment, the Deputy Governor, specifically directed the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice to work for the withdrawal of all cases directly linked to the current intra-community conflict in Odioma from the judiciary.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo also urged the State Commissioner of Police, Mr Romokere Ibani, who was represented at the meeting by his Deputy in charge of Administration, DCP Ofem Arikpo, to suspend the interrogation and prosecution of all those arrested recently until further notice.
Addressing the Odioma delegation, he called on the people to sink their differences and cooperate with Government in the interest of peace and development of their community.
The State Number Two Man, who advised the Odioma people to resist forthwith the temptation of arresting and counter-arresting themselves, however, warned that government would not hesitate to deal decisively with any individual or group that goes against the current peace move.
“Odioma Community is very dear to us as a government. You must forgive one another and cooperate with your Government to attract development to your community.
“If you continue to fight, who are we going to talk to and work with to execute the projects you came here to request for the other day? We are not going to recognize any faction and that is how development will elude you.
“We don’t want that. And that is why we are encouraging you people to complement each other instead of engaging in unhealthy competitions that only cause conflict.
“I’ve already told the Commissioner of Police that nobody should be charged to court based on the current arrests until we finish what we are doing. So, on your part too, there should be no more arrest.
‘Anybody who arrests again, the government will be left with no alternative than to declare you as a persona non grata and an enemy of the state”, he said.
In their separate remarks, the two factional leaders, Mr Andrew Esau and Chief Munafa Marlin, appreciated the State Government for the peace initiative and promised to cooperate with the Committee to resolve all the thorny issues affecting the peace and stability of Odioma Community.
Others who made contributions at the meeting included the Coordinator, Bayelsa State Community Safety Corps, Brigadier Gen. Eric Angaye (Retired), a former Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Chief Ambrose Akerite, High Chief Obed Waribugo and Mr Philemon Kelly Dickson.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells,
Subsidy Removal: Calabar Bolt Drivers Threaten Nationwide Strike
Bolts drivers in Calabar, Cross River State, have announced a three-day nationwide withdrawal of their services to demand an upward adjustment in both their bonus and fare.
The drivers, operating under the aegis of the Amalgamated Union of App-Based Transport Workers of Nigeria, announced the planned protest at a news briefing on Wednesday in Calabar.
Treasurer of the group and Chairman of the task force, set up to enforce the downtool, Mr Mike Neji, described the alleged treatment being metted to the union members by the management of the App-Based company as “unfair”.
Neji said the demand for an increase in the fare and their bonus was necessitated by the recent increase in the pump price of petrol and consequential rise in the price of spare parts.
He described the terms and conditions given to bolt drivers in Calabar as the “most unfavourable in the country.
“Calabar remained the most adversely affected locations as it concerns terms and conditions of driving and earnings compared to other places where the company is operating.
“Due to the increase in the price of fuel, we can no longer meet up, we want the management to increase the fare to at least N1,000 as baseline.
“They should also reduce the commission they collect from us drivers.
“Currently, they are collecting about 35 per cent when you add other components of the charges they deduct.
“We are being charged for a lot of things at a time the prices of fuel, engine oil and car maintenance generally have gone up.
“In spite of the situation, the management is only adding N1000 or thereabout to the fare, which is not in any way commensurate with the reality on ground”, Nneji said.
He said that the group might be compelled to look for an alternative, if the company did not meet its demand.
Attempts made to get the reaction of the company’s officials in Calabar on the development were unsuccessful.
A member of staff of the company told The Tide’s source that only the head office was permitted to react to such issues.
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