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BIG STORY

Falana Seeks Death Penalty For Corrupt Politicians

Peter Okunoren

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Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, has asked the National Assembly to make laws that will pronounce the death penalty for corruption perpetrated by politically exposed persons.

Mr. Falana while reacting in a statement to the hate speech bill currently debated by lawmakers described it as an encroachment on the legislative autonomy of the state governments.

A bill to establish a National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech, sponsored by Senator Abdullahi Sabi, was introduced on the floor of the Senate on November 12 and has generated reactions across the country.

The bill proposes that any person, who commits an offense deemed as hate speech, shall be liable to life imprisonment and where the act causes any loss of life, the person shall be punished with death by hanging.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), explained that the National Assembly has no power to exercise such power because Hate Speech is not covered in the Exclusive Legislative and Concurrent Legislative Lists.

“Since we are operating a federal system of government the supreme court of Nigeria had declared in a number of cases that the national assembly lacks the constitutional powers to make laws outside its legislative competence, which are by implication residual matters meant for the houses of assembly of the states. Certainly, the hate speech bill is an attempt to encroach on the legislative autonomy of the state governments.

“However, it is pertinent to point out that the Penal Code and Criminal Code applicable in the northern and southern states respectively, have made provisions for hate speech because it is a state offence.

“Hence, the house of assembly of each of the state has enacted laws against incitement, false accusation, sedition and criminal defamation.”

Mr Falana decried the move, urging the sponsors of the bill to uphold the decision of Nigeria’s founding fathers who created a constitution that guarantees freedom of speech.

“The decision of the founding fathers of this present constitution which guarantees freedom of speech which must include freedom to criticize should be praised and any attempt to derogate from it except as provided in the Constitution must be resisted. Those in public office should not be intolerant of criticism. Where a writer exceeds the bounds there should be a resort to the law of libel where the plaintiff must of necessity put his character and reputation in issue.

“Finally, while the leaders of the national assembly may want to advise the legislature in each of the states of the federation to review the applicable penal statutes to review the provisions on hate speech we are compelled to urge the few bloodthirsty legislators in the national assembly to amend the anti-graft laws to provide death penalty for grand corruption perpetrated by politically exposed persons to the detriment of development in the country.”

He added that even though the bill is sponsored by a member of the House of Representatives, it has been adopted by the Buhari-led Federal Government.

He maintained that the constitutional validity of the Bill will be challenged in the Federal High Court if it is passed by the national assembly and assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.

BIG STORY

Nigerian Govt To Reciprocate Any Visa Ban, Travel Restrictions By US, Other Countries — Immigration CG

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Muhammad Babandede, comptroller-general of the Nigeria Immigration Service ( NIS), says the government will reciprocate travel bans and restrictions on Nigeria by any country.

Babandede was reacting to the inclusion of Nigeria by the US to its list of countries with visa restrictions.

In February, President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled a new visa policy for the country which provides for three categories of visas: short visit, temporary, and permanent residence and 79 visa types.

Babandede told TheSignature50 magazine that the new visa policy is reciprocal in nature, adding that like the US, Nigeria has the right to dictate who it allows in or restricts entry from.

“I can tell you that US is a country, it is a nation like Nigeria. They have the right to restrict who will enter their territory or not just like we can restrict US citizen or whomsoever from entering Nigeria,” Babandede said.

“So they have the right, but I want people to know that Visa restriction is not a Visa ban, it is a ban for people who want to take residency not people who want to go for short visits.

“You are aware that President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR just launched a new visa policy for Nigeria, the visa policy has 79 classes of visa. So, we will be in a position to say to countries, if you allow us for short visits we will allow you for short visits and if you stop us from other visits, we do the same, because the new visa policy is based on reciprocity.

“So, we will test this for a year and see those who reciprocate and we take actions for those who do otherwise.”

Speaking on his management of the agency, Babandede said he has been able to execute projects with transparency.

He said when he assumed office, he made it a duty to inaugurate two new command buildings so that the agency could act independently without any interference.

“When I came on board, I was really ashamed to find Immigration office, especially commands been kept in federal secretariat, we are law enforcement agency, we ought not to be in a Federal Secretariat. So i made a commitment to myself that every year, I want to commission two new buildings – commands,” he said.

“And we have developed a model for each command. I am glad to say that 2017, we did two – Kano and Jigawa, 2018 we did two – Plateau and Abia, and 2019 we did three – we commissioned Adamawa, Zamfara and Uyo.

“This year 2020, God’s willing we will commission around five or eight, depending on the availability of fund.”

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BIG STORY

Air Peace To Recall Some Pilots As FG Intervenes

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The federal government says Air Peace will recall some of the pilots it sacked.

Air Peace had announced the sack of the pilots earlier in August as part of the company’s efforts to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on its operations.

After the action, the National Association of Airline Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) had given the airline a two-week ultimatum to recall the sacked workers or face industrial action.

But James Odaudu, director, public affairs, ministry of aviation, said at a meeting on Tuesday, the management of Air Peace agreed to recall some of the pilots who lost their jobs.

According to Odadu, Allen Onyema, chairman of Air Peace, agreed to recall the maximum number of pilots that his company could accommodate in the light of the current situation as a result of the pandemic.

“In the verbal agreement reached after a dialogue that was held in a very friendly environment, Chairman of Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyema, acceded to the Minister’s appeal for the recall of the maximum number of pilots that the airline can accommodate without going under,” Odadu said in a statement.

“In their presentation, NAAPE, led by its chairman, Galadima Abednego, said that some missteps could have been made in the course of the standoff between the airline and the union and appealed to the Minister to intervene in order to resolve the impasse.

“He said that as a union it was a painful thing to see a large number of their members thrown into the labour market, and further appealed to employers of labour to see the union members as partners, and not adversaries.

“On his own, the Chairman of Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyema expressed his sadness and disappointment over what he called the ingratitude of some of the airline’s pilots after everything is done to make them comfortable on their jobs.

“He recalled how Air Peace had trained over 80 pilots and an equal number of aircraft engineers, giving its staff the best remuneration package within the sector only for them to disappoint at a time their understanding was needed.

“He, however, commended Senator Hadi Sirika for providing the required leadership to the industry and promised his full cooperation in ensuring the growth of the aviation sector in Nigeria.

“The Aviation Minister in his remarks called for the understanding of everyone, especially the Labour unions, of the prevailing situation in the aviation industry, saying it was not the time for unnecessary upheavals.

“He commended Chief Onyema for his enormous contributions in developing the industry but appealed to him to recall the maximum number of the sacked pilots that the airline can comfortably accommodate in the prevailing circumstances to which airline operator agreed.”

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BIG STORY

JUST IN: Lagos Council Boss Babatunde Oke Dies Of #COVID-19

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The Chairman of Onigbongbo Local Council Development Area of Lagos State, Mr Babatunde Oke, is dead, The Gazelle News is reporting.

Babatunde Oke died early Wednesday, 12 August, 2020 from complications arising from Coronavirus Infection.

This medium learnt that the former council boss has been sick for sometime but seemed to have recovered, only for the sickness to relapsed late last week due to the stress he went through during the last Sallah break where he was reported to have exposed himself again.

He was rushed to the an unnamed hospital on Friday where he eventually died this morning.

Babatunde Oke was a second term council chairman and was a strong member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

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