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We at the Akin Fadeyi Foundation [AFF], conveners of the inter-sectoral campaign against corruption in Nigeria – CORRUPTION NOT IN MY COUNTRY are alarmed and outraged over the arrest and detention of Mr Samuel Ogundipe on the orders of the Nigeria Police. This was after the Editor in Chief, Musikilu Mojeed and the Education reporter, Azeezat Adedigba who turned themselves in voluntarily on invitation were reportedly harassed and manhandled. 
 
This rising attack is not just appalling, it signals a disturbing and gory descent back into the abyss of the better forgotten and horrifying days of Decree 4, where the muzzling of press freedom characterized the regime of former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari. It is a sad irony indeed that the same General Buhari, a beneficiary of freedom of expression under democracy through which he became a civilian President has returned to running a repressive government through a security apparatus that is becoming increasingly rascally.

The detention of Mr Samuel Ogundipe now is regrettable, reckless, unlawful and makes a huge mockery of a government that has just announced a planned policy reform of the same Police institution. It is equally laughable that a supposed law enforcement institution which is expected to be informed and versed in the doctrinal tenets of the media profession regarding confidentiality is demanding and pressurizing Samuel Ogundipe, a reporter to divulge the source of information over a story published by the newspaper, and several newspapers on a correspondence between the Inspector General of Police and the Vice President. We expected the police to know better, pick a learning from Samuel’s bold exposure and therefore, fine-tune its internal processes for better outputs in subsequent outings.

Also, this bare-fang attack on Premium Times is a clear demonstration of ignorance of every letter in the Nigerian Freedom of Information Act signed into Law on May 28, 2011. This is the Law which binds the Nigerian government, this is the Law which showcases our nation as positioning for global best practices, it is not a Law for the proponents of the Hobbesian theory of anarchy and lawlessness who thrive on attacking the fourth estate of the realm. It is on the premise of this Law that we demand the immediate and unconditional release of Samuel Ogundipe, arguably, one of the finest and most decent investigative reporters to come out of this nation. Section 16, Subsection C grants Samuel the Privilege of Journalism Confidentiality. To demand the contrary is brutal, uncivilized and cannot find a space in the society we seek to build.

May we nudge the ears of this government that the continued detention of Samuel Ogundipe and other uncompromising pen-pushers indicate that the planned reform of SARS is a sheer political campaign gimmick to hoodwink the Nigerian electorates into returning this government to power in 2019.

Signed

 
Akin Fadeyi
ExecutiveDirector,
Akin Fadeyi Foundation/CORRUPTION NOT IN MY COUNTRY

BIG STORY

US Lists Conditions To Lift Nigeria Visa Ban

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The United States has listed conditions for it to lift the visa ban slammed on Nigeria and four other countries by President Donald Trump.

On Tuesday, US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard, said the issue could be resolved if the conditions that necessitated the ban are met by the Federal Government.

She listed information sharing goals as one of the terms that must be fulfilled before the US government can reverse the ban.

Speaking during a visit to Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige in Abuja, the envoy said the ban was based on her country’s concerns over the need for information sharing and not about character definition.

She, however, reiterated that students visa were not included in the ban and that the people who are resident in the US were excluded from the immigrant visa ban.

The ambassador said: “I need to clarify something for you here, the immigrant visa ban does not affect people who are currently resident in the United States. It does not cancel the status of anyone who currently is in the United States.

“What Secretary Pompey said was something that was meant to be temporary. And it is about problems with information sharing, which are investigable, achievable and resolvable, and we look forward to Nigeria in a very short time being able to meet those information-sharing goals so that the decision can be reviewed.”

Noting the industrious endowment of Nigerians at home and abroad, she said the country has the ingenuity to diversify the economy.

Noting these as ingredients to be employed to tackle unemployment, she said: “I think for Nigeria, you have an interesting story about diversification of your economy and prosperity of your economy and it is people. You know Nigerians are so well known at home and abroad for their industriousness.

“You hear about how much of the activity in the informal sector. So, I wonder how you think about capturing that entrepreneurial spirit and to bring it into the formal sector in service and to enhance employment.”

The minister described as shocking the inclusion of Nigeria in the list of countries under the US travel ban. According to Ngige, the ban was unwarranted because of the contribution of Nigerian professionals to the US economy.

He said: “Some of these Nigerians are medical doctors, engineers and people with a high level of proficiency in oil and gas fields.

“They were all part of the Nigerian residents in the U.S. and it came to us as a rude shock when the US government banned Nigerians and put us in the list of those countries whose residency status been canceled.”

Ngige urged the US ambassador to discuss the visa ban issue with her home government in order to reach an understanding and have it reversed.

The minister told the US ambassador that more than 70 percent of Nigerians living in the US were highly skilled professionals who contributed billions of dollars yearly to the US economy while sending an equally impressive amount to Nigeria.

He used the opportunity of the visit to seek for collaboration and assistance of the US in the area of poverty eradication and child labour, stating Nigeria will rather seek other forms of assistance that demand for money from the US.

Ngige said: “We have called on the US Department of Labour to assist and we have given them a list of what we need. We are not asking for monetary assistance and we are not asking for American cash, but we need technical assistance and logistics like vehicles for those in the inspectorate division to be able to carry out their functions.

“We call on the US to help us build schools in those areas where child labour is endemic. You also help in setting up clinics and executing its own empowerment programmes in those localities.”

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Brand War! Pepsi Manufacturers, Makers Of Bigi Drink Meet Senate Committee In Abuja Over Cola Battle

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The Senate on Tuesday began the process of resolving the competition crisis between two soft drinks manufacturers, Messrs 7-Up Bottling Company, makers of Pepsi; and Rites Foods Limited, makers of Bigi brands.

The Senate took the decision when representatives of the two soft drinks’ firms appeared before the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.

They were invited by the panel led by Senator Ayo Akinyelure following a petition by the lawyers to the Rites Foods Limited against the 7-Up Bottling Company.

Rather than allowing the parties to defend their cases at a public hearing, the Senate panel decided to attend to them behind closed doors.

The meeting lasted two hours, and the two parties were asked to hold a meeting to resolve the conflict among them.

Akinyelure told journalists after the closed session that both parties have been asked to return in two weeks after their peace meeting.

He said, “We have been able to sit the two management together because we believe that the issue is a matter that can be resolved amicably through the instrument of alternative conflict resolution that will bring more results to the country.

“I decided to hold a closed-door meeting in my office with both parties and at the end of the meeting attended by senior members of the Senate.

“For a company that engages 2000 Nigerians with the other having 5,000 in her employment, it is our wish to see them progress and add more value to the country.

“We resolved in the committee and gave them two weeks to resolve the matter together, let them be friends.”

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BIG STORY

I Am Not A Boxing King, I’m Only Fighting Corruption In A Traditional Way — Oluwo Denies Punching Oba Akinropo

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The Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, has denied the allegation that he assaulted the Agbowu of Ogbaagba, Oba Sikrulahi Akinropo, during a peace meeting in the state.

Oba Akanbi, at a press conference on Tuesday in Osogbo, said the allegation was a gang up against him.

The monarch, who denied the trending report of physically assaulting Oba Akinropo, said what happened was a ‘mere altercation and not physical combat’.

Oba Akanbi said what transpired between him and the Ogbaagba monarch was a fallout of a courageous move on his part to put a stop to economic oppression against the downtrodden by kings in his domain.

“I did not punch Agbowu of Ogbaagba, although there was an altercation that almost resulted to exchange of blows, that didn’t happen at all.

“I brought him and other Obas to the police to talk to them on the need to stop selling land that did not belong to them.

“I am fighting corruption in a traditional way.

“They are selling a hectare of land at the rate of N60,000, which I’m kicking against.

“I did not touch Agbowu of Ogbaagba, although he was aggressive and we almost had altercation but I did not punch him,” the Iwo monarch said.

The Iwo monarch added he is a peace-loving personality.

“If I am that boxing king you people are calling me, I should have done that in Iwo and not in Osogbo.

“I personally initiated the peace meeting in which I involved the AIG when those kings refused to desist from land grabbing despite my several warnings and advice,” Oba Akanbi said.

Akanbi was alleged to have assaulted Akinropo during a peace meeting at the office of the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone 11, Bashir Makama, in Osogbo on Friday.

The state government, however, condemned the incident, describing it as unfortunate and avoidable.

The government in a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mrs Funke Egbemode, said a situation where monarchs engaged in a public display of temperament did not edify the revered stools of “our forebears.”

(NAN)

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