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Terrorism: SERAP Carpets FG Over Threat To Sanction BBC, Daily Trust

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently instruct the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, to withdraw the threat to sanction the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Daily Trust over their documentaries on terrorism in the country.
Mohammed had last Thursday stated that the Federal Government would sanction the BBC and Trust TV for airing documentaries that allegedly “glorify”, “promote”, and “fuel” terrorism and banditry in Nigeria.
In a letter dated July 30, 2022, and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said, “The media has the duty to impart information and ideas on issues of public importance. If carried out, the threat to sanction the BBC and Daily Trust would inhibit the media from reporting on issues of public interest”.
According to SERAP, “Media houses and journalists ought to be given the room to determine how best to present information of public interest, especially information about the growing violence and killings across the country”.
The organisation said, “Rather than punishing the media for promoting access to diverse opinions and information on issues of public importance, your government should focus on delivering your promises to ensure the security of Nigerians”.
The organisation also said, “Carrying out the threat to sanction the BBC and Daily Trust would lessen the flow of diverse viewpoints and information to the public.
The letter read in part, “We would be grateful if the requested action is taken within 48 hours of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions in the public interest.
“A free, uncensored, and unhindered press or other media is essential in any society to ensure freedom of opinion and expression and the enjoyment of other rights. It constitutes one of the cornerstones of a democratic society.
“Sanctioning the BBC and Daily Trust would be entirely inconsistent and incompatible with Nigeria’s obligations under article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
“The threat, if carried out, would impermissibly restrict the constitutional and international rights to freedom of expression, access to information, and victims’ right to justice and effective remedies that are central to public debate and accountability in a democratic society.
“Access to information is essential for the enjoyment of other human rights and freedoms and constitutes a fundamental pillar for building a democratic society and strengthening democracy.
“Allowing the media to freely carry out their duties is essential to building secure society and leaving no one behind. Conversely, imposing impermissible restrictions on media houses, journalists and other Nigerians undermines the security that builds a healthy and vibrant society.
“The grounds for sanctioning the BBC and Daily Trust as stated by Mr Mohammed fail to meet the requirements of legality, necessity, and proportionality.
“The requirement of necessity also implies an assessment of the proportionality of the grounds, with the aim of ensuring that the excuse of ‘glorifying, promoting, and fuelling terrorism and banditry’ are not used as a pretext to unduly intrude upon the rights to freedom of expression and access to information.
“Any interference with the constitutional and legal duties of the BBC and Daily Trust would not be justified in the context of the right to information.
“The Federal Government has not shown that the documentaries by the media houses would impose a specific risk of harm to a legitimate State interest that outweighs the public’s interest in the information provided by the documentaries.
“The documentaries by the BBC and Daily Trust pose no risk to any definite interest in national security or public order.
“It is inconsistent and compatible with the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended] to invoke the grounds of ‘glorifying, promoting, and fuelling terrorism and banditry’ as justifications for suppressing freedom of expression or withholding from the public information of legitimate public interest that does not harm national security.
“It is contrary to both the Nigerian Constitution and international standards to threaten or punish journalists and media houses such as the BBC and Daily Trust for disseminating such information.
“The vague and overbroad definitions of ‘glorifying’, ‘promoting’, and ‘fuelling’ raise concerns that the threat by the Federal Government if carried out would unduly interfere with the rights to access to information, and disproportionate to any purported legitimate governmental aim. Ill-defined and/or overly broad grounds are open to arbitrary application and abuse.
“The broad definitions of what may constitute ‘glorifying’, ‘promoting’, and ‘fuelling’ also heighten concerns of overreach, confer far-reaching discretion on the government, and suggest that the grounds cited by the Federal Government are more intrusive than necessary.
“These words do not indicate precisely what kind of individual conduct would fall within their ambit.
“The use of these words by the Federal Government, given their opaque and ambiguous meaning, leaves open the possibility for application beyond unequivocal incitement to hatred, hostility, or violence. Such words may function to interpret legitimate reporting by media houses, journalists, and other Nigerians as unlawful.
“The grounds cited by the Federal Government for sanctioning the BBC and Daily Trust also fail to establish a direct and immediate connection between the reporting by the media houses and any risks to national security and peace.
“The threat if carried out would also create an environment that unduly deters and penalizes media houses and journalists, and the reporting of government wrongdoing more generally.
“The cumulative effect of any attempt to sanction the BBC and Daily Trust would be the gagging of the media from reporting on cases of violence and killings by terrorists and kidnappers, the reporting and information that is clearly in the public interest.
“SERAP recalls that in your 2022 new year message, you raised concerns about persistent insecurity in certain parts of the country and promised to remain resolute in giving utmost attention to the problem.
“While your government has the obligation to maintain national security, this obligation is not set apart from the obligation to protect and ensure human rights. National security is a necessary and integral part of the right to security guaranteed to each person individually”.

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NDLEA Seizes 442 Meth In Smoked Fish At Lagos Airport …Another Suspect Excretes 77 Pellets Of Cocaine

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The operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have intercepted no fewer than 442 parcels of Crystal Methamphetamine concealed in heads of fishes packed in cartons for export to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates through the SAHCO shed of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos State.
The 11.90kg consignment was brought to the SAHCO export shed of the airport on Friday, August 5 by a 32-year-old freight agent, Adekunle Oluwapelumi Paul, from Yagba West Local Government Area of Kogi State.
This was disclosed via a statement issued and made available to The Tide source yesterday by the NDLEA Director, Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi.
Babafemi stated that the suspect was arrested upon the discovery that the seven cartons he presented for export contained parcels of the dangerous drug wrapped with foil paper and concealed in the heads of hundreds of smoked catfish.
The NDLEA spokesman added that another consignment containing 1.45kg cannabis concealed inside granulated melon and crayfish and packed among other food condiments going to Dubai, UAE was also intercepted by the operatives of the anti-drug agency on Saturday, August 6.
He noted that the NDLEA officers arrested the freight agent, Ajisefini Lateef, who presented the consignment for export at the SAHCO shed.
Babafemi said the 39-year-old agent hails from Abeokuta West Local Government Area of Ogun State.
He further stated that the anti-narcotic officers arrested a 50-year-old Mgbeobuna Victor Eberechukwu for ingesting 77 pellets of cocaine at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
The NDLEA spokesperson said Eberechukwu was arrested on Saturday, August 6 following his arrival from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia onboard an Ethiopian airline flight.
According to Babafemi, the suspect who hails from Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State passed out the 77 wraps of the illicit drug in eight excretions spanning four days.
“The suspect, who hails from Idemili South LGA, Anambra State passed out the 77 wraps of the illicit drug in eight excretions spanning four days,” he said.
Babafemi added that in Kaduna, three suspects: Saifullahi Sani, Salisu Nafi’u and Abdulrazaq Mamman, were arrested in Zaria on Thursday, on 11 August with 1,112,350 tablets of Tramadol (225mg and 100mg) weighing 38.3kg.
He said in Kano, a female drug dealer, Saratu Abdullahi, 28, from Wurno council area of the state was nabbed at Hotoro with 541 blocks of cannabis weighing 245kg.
“In Lagos, NDLEA operatives recovered a total of 1,773.25kg cannabis sativa at Ebutte-Meta and Akala in Mushin areas of the state in separate raid operations between 9th and 10th August.
“At the Tin Can seaport in Lagos, 86 parcels of cannabis indica (Colorado) weighing 43kg were recovered from a 40ft container during a joint examination with Customs and other security agencies.
“The illegal consignment seized on Friday 12th Aug came from Toronto via Montreal, Canada and concealed in two drums inside a Mercedes Benz SUV in the container,” Babafemi stated.
The Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd), commended the anti-narcotic officers for the arrests and seizures.
Marwa also charged them and their compatriots across the country to always remain steps ahead of the drug cartels.

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NLNG Train 7: TUC Affiliates Mull Strike Over Imposition Of Union On Workers

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A setback appears to be unfolding in the on-going Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Train 7 gas plant construction in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State, following the threat by one of the affiliates of Trade Union Congress (TUC), National Association of Plant Operators (NAPO), to proceed on industrial action to press home their displeasure over the imposition of union on workers in the facility.
This is because members of NAPO, the major construction workers in NLNG Train 7 have threatened to organise and mobilise for a total industrial action that would jeopardise and shut down the project over the decision by the management of Deawoo Engineering and Construction Nigeria Limited, a key contracting firm handling the project, to force workers to join a particular union against their own preferred choice.
The National President of NAPO, Comrade Harold Bestowe, gave this indication while addressing journalists in Port Harcourt over the weekend.
Bestowe, an indigene of Bonny, averred that the action of Deawoo management was an aberration to Section 40 of 1999 Constitution, and Article 1, 2, 3, nos 83, 1948 of International Labour Organisation (ILO) Charter, which according to him, allow workers to freely belong to any industrial union of their choice without any form of interference by anybody.
The NAPO boss, therefore, urged the management of Deawoo E and C to respect the views and rights of their workers, and allow them to freely choose the labour unions of their choice, which they feel can represent them very well.
“What we are saying in this regard is that the management cannot determine to workers the union they should be belonging. By so doing, the management has violated Section 40 of 1999 Constitution as well as Article 1, 2, 3, nos 83 of ILO Charter, and that we will resist it”, he stated.
Harold opined that the workers have written to the management that they want to be unionised by NAPO through several letters, and appealed to the management of the lead constructing company in the project to respect the views and rights of the workers.
The Bonny-born unionist used the opportunity to call on various stakeholders in the ongoing NLNG Train 7 project to call to order the management of the giant construction company to respect the laws of the country in other to avoid industrial unrest in the oceanic city.

By: Akujobi Amadi

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We Can’t Feed Everybody, Nwanosike Tells Empowerment Projects’ Beneficiaries

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The Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government Area in Rivers State, Engr Samuel Nwanosike, has urged the people of the area to use what the council has given them to provide food, pay their children’s school fees, change their clothes, and live happily as all their needs cannot be provided for by the government.
Nwanosike made this appeal when he defiled heavy down pour to continue his Back-to-Farm, Back-to-School, and Business Support Empowerment Programme of 80 people at Ward 2, Isiokpo.
According to him, “Today, we are in Ward 2, Isiokpo, in continuation of our Back-to-Farm Programme, Business Support Empowerment, and Back-to-School Programme.
“What we have come to say here today is that this is the farming season, we are peasant farmers, the council has made provision for you to go and support your farming system.
“We can’t feed everybody in Ikwerre Local Government, but if you use what the council has given to you to do the actual farming, few weeks from now, the result will show. We will have enough food in our market, we will have opportunity to pay our children’s school fees, we will have opportunity to change our clothes and live happily”.
Nwanosike pleaded with those who were not empowered to wait for another turn, saying that Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, was the leader of South-South people and believed in a South-South presidential pursuit.
He said, “Government cannot do everything for everybody at the same time. There are those who did not get yesterday, but got today. There are those who did not get yesterday, and today but will get tomorrow. What is important is that you should remain consistent with your party, and know that Chief Nyesom Wike is the leader of the South-South people.
“He is not a betrayer. He agreed with the other governors of the South-South states to say power should go to the South, and he has remained consistent in that pursuit.
“And what we are saying clearly is: if you take Chief Nyesom Wike for granted, Rivers people will take you for granted at the polling units”.
While speaking, the Supervisor for Education, Ikwerre LGA, Hon. Victor Wagor, assured Nwanosike that the people of Ward 2 were 100perrcent loyal to him for always carrying them along.
In their separate speeches, the Councillor representing Ward 2 and Leader of Ikwerre Legislative Assembly, Hon Nwobuisi Chikwe-Tasie; Ward 2 Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Darosha Kinika; Personal Assistant to the Chairman of Ikwerre LGA, Mrs Ethel Kinika; amongst others, thanked Nwanosike for building a 1,000-capacity hall, appointment of over 18 Ward 2 people into his government, and yearly empowerment of the people, while assuring that Ward 2 would always vote for PDP.
On their parts, the member representing Ikwerre/Emuoha Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, Barrister Boniface Emerengwa; and the PDP candidate for Ikwerre Constituency at the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Prince Lemchi Nyeche; commended Nwanosike for always making the people feel the impact of his administration through his human capital development programmes.
Highlight of the event was the defection of an All Progressive Congress (APC) social media influencer in Ward 2, Mr Kelvin Amadi Chinwe, who dumped his party for the PDP.
Speaking at the event, Chinwe begged the leadership of PDP, especially Nwanosike, to forgive and accept him into PDP because he has found light in PDP.
Chinwe was received by the Acting Chairman of PDP in Ikwerre LGA, Hon. Charles Wobodo, and was handed over to the Ward 2 PDP chairman for proper documentation.

By: Nelson Chukwudi

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