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NGE Condemns Attempts To Muzzle Media, Seeks Release Of Journalists In Detention

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In commemoration of this year’s World Press Freedom Day, the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), has condemned, in strong terms, what it described as attempts muzzling the media, urging governments at all levels in Nigeria to value information as a public good and treat the conveyors of information as partners, instead of seeing them as enemies.
NGE, in a statement signed by its President, Mustapha Isah; and General Secretary, Mary Atolagbe; stated that “the media is a partner and critical stakeholder in the national project, having played a major role in the struggle for independence and enthronement of democracy, and cannot, therefore, suddenly transform to agents of destruction of the institutions it helped to build”.
NGE stated that information as a public good was the wheel that drives democracy and its attendant virtues, including openness, free speech and other forms of civil liberties, warning that the harassment of the media by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the police, DSS and other state actors should stop.
“The Guild calls for a review of the National Broadcasting Code and all other media statutes, to bring them in tune with democracy and the promotion of free speech. The Body of Editors urges the Nigerian government to, at all times, strive to protect the media. It is only then that ‘Information as a Public Good’ would become relevant. Stop the detention, impunity, harassment and killing of journalists. Our product (Information) is a public good,” NGE said.
The Guild further aligns with the UN and other world bodies in calling for the release of all journalists in detention on the ground that Nigeria, and indeed the world, needs a free press to promote democracy, effectively report the pandemic and other issues threatening human existence, including insecurity while it commended the federal and state governments as well as all relevant health institutions and personnel for their spirited efforts at containing the Covid-19 pandemic.
NGE further celebrated journalists across the world for keeping faith with the tenets of the profession despite numerous challenges, especially journalists in the frontline of Covid-19 pandemic coverage as well as those charged with the responsibility of reporting crime and security, at a time when the nation is struggling to contain the scourge of insecurity.
Further, the Guild urged media owners, the private sector and the government, to provide special protection for journalists, as most of them are often neglected and exposed to sundry challenge, that not only impair their ability to discharge their duties, but also imperil their lives, culminating, in some cases, to untimely deaths.
The World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December, 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference and it was inaugurated to act as a reminder to governments, of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom while it also places a responsibility on media professionals to reflect on and adhere to the principles of best practices that promote professionalism, ethical reporting and public-spirited advocacy.
The theme for this year’s World Press Freedom Day is “Information as a Public Good,” and it highlights the necessity of governments, state actors and the private sector to recognize the value of information as a critical element in leadership and service delivery.
It specifically places a great deal of responsibility on governments across the world to accord respect to journalists, the conveyors and disseminators of information, as partners in development, and not as enemies of the state.
According to NGE, journalists across the world face grave challenges and dangers in the discharge of their duties.
“Some have paid the supreme price while others have been harassed and jailed for doing their lawful duty. This is because most governments still perceive journalists as intruders into the public space. The International Federation of Journalists, the largest global body of journalists from over 140 countries says 66 journalists were murdered in 2020. More than 1,000 journalists have died from Covid-19 in 73 countries since the start of the pandemic.
“The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), reports that 274 journalists were jailed in 2020 for doing their job of treating information as a public good. In Nigeria, several journalists have suffered harassment, some detained arbitrarily while some were murdered in cold blood by unknown assailants. In 2020, alone, no fewer than 60 journalists in Nigeria faced life and career-threatening challenges in the form of intimidation, arrest and detention.
“Three journalists were killed within the same period, one by security forces during a protest in Abuja and two by unknown gunmen in Adamawa and Nasarawa states. Aside from attacks on journalists, their offices were not spared. Several media outlets were attacked and torched by an irate mob during the #EndSARS protests, with four media outlets fined for their coverage of the protests while others were fined for airing dissenting opinions,” NGE reiterated.

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We Get Petrol At N200 Per Litre From Depots, IPMAN Cries Out

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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has decried the ‘unsustainable’ price that the private depot owners sell the premium motor spirit, otherwise known as petrol in the country.
Speaking, yesterday, on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, the Deputy National President of IPMAN, Zarama Mustapha, revealed that the private depots get petrol at the approved price of N148/litre from the sole importer of the commodity, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, however, sell it for as high as N195 to N210 to independent marketers, which is not sustainable.
“Though marketers get petrol at the approved price of N148/litre from NNPC depots, the company does not have enough storage facilities to cater to the needs of marketers, hence, the latter resorts to private depot owners. It is more of the issue of private depots collecting the products at the approved price and not selling to the independent marketers at a price approved by the mainstream, downstream regulatory authority.
“You cannot get a product at N195 to N200 and expect to sell it at N175,” he noted.
The IPMAN official said depot owners give excuses such as the cost of transporting the product from the mother vessel to their depots and escalation of the dollar as reasons for the price hike.
Mustapha lamented that most Lagos depots are in a chaotic situation and marketers spend three days to load refined petrol that they are not supposed to spend more than three hours to lift.
He urged the NNPC to engage depot owners to sell the product to marketers at the recommended price, saying the common man is at the receiving end.
For weeks, vehicle owners have had a tough time getting petrol from filling stations, especially in Lagos and Abuja.
Whilst many outlets are closed, the few open ones sell the indispensable commodity for as high as N250 per litre from the uniform price of N169/litre.
The supply shortage has led to long, gruelling snake-like queues at the few open filling stations as motorists and business owners jostle to buy fuel while others resort to the black market.
The situation has also worsened traffic on major roads as vehicle owners block at least one lane to join queues to filling stations.

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Make Nigerian Youths Innovative, Buhari Tells Corporate Leaders

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President Muhammadu Buhari has tasked leaders of corporate organisations to build the capacity of Nigerian youths to be innovative and embrace technology to make positive contributions to their organisations and the nation.
The president, represented by the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, said this at the Institute of Directors (IoD) 2022 Annual Director’s Conference (ADC), yesterday, in Lagos.
The ADC had as its theme: “Corporate Governance and Digital Transformation: Leading Purposefully for Growth and Sustainability.”
Buhari, noting that the challenges associated with corporate governance were multifaceted, stressed the need for heads of organisations to harness technology to achieve effective governance.
He reiterated the commitment of his administration to providing the necessary legal support and framework to support the entrenchment of good corporate governance practices across various sectors of the economy.
Buhari also pledged his commitment to supporting the IoD by giving the institute’s chartered bill the necessary consideration to enable it to achieve its mandate.
Deputy Secretary General, United Nations, Ms Amina Mohammed, said the world was hit by a series of global crises which have affected the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Mohammed said technology and digitalisation would set the era of digital transformation in areas of health, education, agriculture and finance.

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Nigeria Does Not Belong To North, Arewa Youths Tell Northern Elders

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The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) has said that Nigeria does not belong to the North ahead of the 2023 general election.
Apparently reacting to the recent interview granted by a member of the Northern Elders Forum, Alh Sani Zango Daura, in which he called on the North to support a Northern candidate.
The AYCF, in a statement issued by its National President, Yerima Shettima, noted that supporting a southerner was clearly a demonstration of justice.
He noted that this was because Nigeria does not belong to the North alone, or Muslims and Christians of the North, insisting that “even on moral grounds, the most responsible political action by the North was the decision on powershift in 2023, because the Presidency cannot be hereditary and Nigeria is not a Banana Republic”.
Shettima further said, however, that the elder was expressing his personal opinion and not the stand of the North in general, saying that a “ little balancing was needed in position of our father Zangon Daura, more so when he admitted that the elders are mere escorts for the younger generation today”.
The AYCF noted that when 13 Northern governors led by Kaduna State Governor, Mal Nasirel-Rufai endorsed a Southern candidate for the 2023 presidency, they repeatedly cited political justice.
“Though we are not card-carrying members of the APC, we shared the view that the decision was in line with being fair to the South in 2023.
“We are aware, as well as our father ZangonDaura, that the North is respected for honouring its promises to the South and this one absolutely undeniable character of all Northerners.
“We are not known to break promises and that explains why our son, President MuhammaduBuhari never objected to the idea of a Southern presidential candidate in the ruling party. In the North, like our father ZangonDaura knows, promises are sacred and in fact a culture”.
It would be recalled that in a viral audio of AlhajiZangonDaura while addressing a group of youths, suggested that they should throw their weight behind a fellow Northerner for the presidency in 2023, citing historic and religious instances, something the AYCF said it believed was “overtaken by events, current realities, and the spirit of justice and fairness in the Nigerian project”.

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