On Tuesday, the Federal Government insisted that all those violating the suspension order is placed on the operations of the micro-blogging and social media platform, Twitter would be prosecuted.
The Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Umar Gwandu, stated this in an interview with one of Punch Newspaper correspondents.
But the Christian Association of Nigeria warned the government against arresting and prosecuting Twitter ban violators, particularly clerics whose tweets were meant for their church members worldwide.
Recall that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had in a statement on Friday by his spokesman, Segun Adeyemi, announced the suspension.
Amidst the public outcry and criticism that followed the government’s decision, the AGF, Abubakar Malami, on Saturday directed the Director of Public Prosecution in his office to begin the process of prosecuting violators of the government’s suspension order.
Many senior lawyers have faulted Malami’s position, saying Nigerians cannot be prosecuted for an offense that is not known to the nation’s law.
Despite the prosecution order, many prominent Nigerians have continued using Twitter openly, daring the police to arrest them and the Office of the AGF to prosecute them.
Among those who have been using the platform despite the suspension order are the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye; the General Superintendent of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Pastor William Kumuyi; the Senior Pastor of the Daystar Christian Centre, Lagos, Nigeria, Pastor Sam Adeyemi; the General Overseer of Omega Fire Ministries International, Apostle Johnson Suleiman; Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde; former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose; former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili; and the representative of Kogi West Senatorial District in the Eighth National Assembly, Senator Dino Melaye, among others.
The PUNCH correspondent specifically told the AGF spokesman, Gwandu, “Despite the Twitter ban, some prominent Nigerians have been tweeting, thereby violating the ban. They include Pastor E.A. Adeboye and Governor El Rufai. Is the FG still going to prosecute them?,” the correspondent asked.
Gwandu, in his response, said efforts were ongoing to ensure that all those violating the order were prosecuted.
He, however, said it was not automatic because the process of arresting and prosecuting them would take time.
He said, “The process of arresting and prosecuting offenders takes a while. It is not automatic.
“We are definitely on it to ensure the prosecution of all violators. The hands of all stakeholders are on deck to ensure that all those violating the Twitter ban are prosecuted.”
Reacting to the AGF spokesman’s insistence, Adebayo Oladeji, the Special Assistant on Media to the President of CAN warned the Federal Government.
He said, “We caution the Federal Government against carrying out its threats against those highly respected leaders. What they did was justified after all they run churches with a global outlook and they made it clear in their position. If they (the government) carry out the threat, it will only compound problems in the country.
“Any government policy that suspends the fundamental rights of the citizens is not acceptable to us. The government should rise up to the menace of insecurity facing the country without harassing the innocent and elder statesmen.”
‘Two COVID Tests In 72 Hours’, New Protocol For Nigeria As UAE Lifts Flight Ban
The Dubai Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management has released a new protocol directing travellers from Nigeria to undergo COVID-19 tests upon arrival at the airport in the United Arab Emirates.
Flights between both countries have been suspended since March over issues relating to the COVID-19 protocol.
In a press release on Saturday, the middle east country said the new measure is part of its efforts to ease inbound travel restrictions.
Passengers are also expected to have taken a COVID test 48 hours before departure, and have negative results to show for it.
According to the Dubai media office, the protocol will become effective from June 23, 2021.
“Passengers must have received a negative test result for a PCR test taken within 48 hours before departure; UAE citizens exempted,” the new guideline reads.
“Passengers should present a negative PCR test certificate with a 0R Code from labs approved by the Nigerian Government.
“All passengers must undergo a PCR test on arrival at Dubai Airport.
“Transit passengers should comply with entry protocols of final destinations.”
Headed by @sheikhmansoor, the Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management in #Dubai announces updates to Dubai’s travel protocols for inbound passengers from South Africa, Nigeria and India, effective from Wednesday 23 June 2021.https://t.co/Zfma4YWugQ pic.twitter.com/NkhIzaQwzI
— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) June 19, 2021
The federal government had been in talks with the authorities of the UAE over the travel protocol put in place against Nigeria in the wake of the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In February, Emirates Airline had directed that travellers taking off from Nigeria must conduct rapid COVID-19 tests before departure, but the federal government had banned outbound Emirates flights for violating the directive of the presidential task force (PTF) on rapid antigen tests.
The ban was lifted after the airline agreed to stop the rapid antigen tests. It was later reintroduced on March 15, with the federal government explaining that the airline had continued to conduct rapid antigen tests for passengers before departure from Nigeria.
Thereafter, in March, the UAE embassy in Abuja announced a new COVID-19 travel protocol for Nigeria as part of measures to curtail the spread of the virus in the country.
Passengers who had been in or transited through South Africa or Nigeria in the last 14 days before travelling to Dubai were barred from entering the middle east country.
Obasanjo Contributed To Nigeria’s Crisis, He Should Mind His Utterances —– Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, says former President Olusegun Obasanjo contributed to the current chaos in the country, adding that the ex-military general should mind his utterances.
He stated this on Friday in a piece titled, ‘Nigeria’s Unity And All The Iberiberism’.
Adesina wrote, “The saber-rattling about Nigeria’s unity and the possibility of disintegration has got to the point of Iberiberism (an Igbo word which could mean stupidity). Some people have no other business than doomsday predictions of a crumbled, collapsed Nigeria, as if they actually fast and pray for that eventuality.
“When Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was President between 1999 and 2007, they predicted that he was going to be the last President of a united Nigeria. It didn’t happen. When Umaru Yar’Adua came, they said he was too sick to hold Nigeria together. The country stood.
“Under Goodluck Jonathan, they said the man was too weak, and different components of the country would soon say, ‘to your tents oh Israel.’ Nigeria survived. And for six years under Muhammadu Buhari, they have not changed their songs. The Somaliasation of Nigeria was on the way. The Fulanisation of the country would be the final death knell. But Nigeria lives. It trudges on from day to day, month to month, and will surely survive.”
Adesina said though some people dwell on negativity, “some fathers of the land will not fold their hands and see Nigeria go down”.
“Fortunately, we have one of them as President now. The young Muhammadu Buhari spent 30 months in the frontlines as a young army officer, fighting the war of unity. And he has said it: we will not be around and watch Nigeria go down. Never. We will rather speak to insurrectionists in the language they understand.
“And what of Olusegun Obasanjo, a civil war hero. Despite all that he has contributed to the current upheavals by his actions and inactions, words, and bile, he says it is idiotic to wish Nigeria disintegration now. Good. But let us put our money where our mouth is. Let Baba mind his thoughts, and his language,” the presidential spokesman added.
“Nigeria will survive. The polity will endure. And the component parts will live together in amity and brotherhood. Any other option is Iberiberism,” he concluded.
Obasanjo, a military head of state from February 1976 to September 1979, was Nigeria’s democratically elected president between May 1999 and May 2007.
Three Die, 13 Injured, 25 Vehicles Razed As Gas Tanker Explodes In Lagos
At least three persons have been confirmed dead and 13 others injured when a diesel tanker suddenly exploded along Mobolaji Bank Anthony way in Ikeja, forcing residents and several motorists to abandon their vehicles for safety in Lagos State.
It was gathered that the three persons were staff of a Chinese restaurant sited few meters away from Sheraton Hotels and Towers and that over 25 vehicles including the tanker, were razed after the fire spread to buildings and other facilities within the axis.
One of the three bodies recovered was identified as Mr. Balogun, manager of the restaurant while four women and nine men were rescued from the scene with different degrees of burns by a joint team of emergency officials including the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), the state fire service and others.
Confirming the number of casualties, the Public Relations Officer of NEMA, Ibrahim Farinloye, in an interview with newsmen on Friday, disclosed that the deceased were recovered within the premises by emergency officials during a search and rescue operations.
Farinloye hinted that the emergency officials were yet to ascertain claims by residents and staff of firms in Ogun State Property Investment Corporation (OPIC), one of the buildings that were severely affected by the inferno, that a boy, believed to be within the axis before the explosion occurred, was trapped in the building.
He noted that the claim was made during a headcount carried out by representatives of the offices and supervised by emergency officials to ascertain the number of casualties that could have been trapped in the buildings.
According to him, during a headcount, all we got from the restaurant and representatives of other offices were that a boy is missing. But we were surprised when we intensified search and rescue operations and discovered three bodies. One of the bodies was identified as Mr. Balogun, who was the manager of the restaurant.
More details later.