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Media Bill: Buhari Re-Introducing Decree 4 Under Different Guise —- NUJ



The President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Christopher Isiguzo, on Monday, reiterated the position of stakeholders in the media towards the National Press Council (Amendment) Bill currently before the National Assembly.

He said a stakeholders’ meeting was important to settle the grey areas.

He added that any regulation that tended towards the control of the media by the government would be resisted.

Isiguzo spoke while featuring on Sunrise Daily, a programme on Channels Television, monitored by one of our correspondents.

He said, “From the NUJ’s perspective, we did not really object to that public hearing; but from the Nigeria Press Organisation’s perspectives, made up of the Newspapers Proprietors of Nigeria, the Nigeria Guild of Editors and the Nigeria Union of Journalists, we are opposed to the planned amendment. We told the National Assembly that the matter was of contention in court and it would be sub-judice to discuss.

“I do not think anybody is allergic here if you look at the issue in court, we said ‘allow the practitioners and stakeholders to regulate themselves.’

“In Ghana, the person heading the press council is a journalist. So, when you allow us to regulate ourselves, it is a lot easier. If you look at the proposed amendment bill, you will see that they want to criminalize a journalist.

“For instance, if a journalist breaches the ethical code, you want him to go to prison; we said no. There are ways that we can sanction the persons as practitioners.

“We can suspend the person and we can also get the NUJ to strike out the membership of such an individual instead of sending the journalist to jail. These are the grey areas we feel should be struck out in the amendment.”

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of Media Career Development Service, Lekan Otufodunrin, said the amendment bill and the Decree 4, enacted by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), in 1984 during his regime as military Head of State, are the same.

During an interview on Monday with one of our correspondents, Otufodunrin said the two pieces of legislation were meant to stifle the press in Nigeria.

Otufodunrin said, “Decree 4 was during the military regime and even then, it was heavily criticized by journalists and this led to the imprisonment of some prominent journalists.

“The interesting thing then was that when Buhari came in, he said he was going to tamper with press freedom and he did. This Press Bill, as well as the NBC Bill, are just indications that this government seems determined to stifle the press freedom we have.

“It is quite unfortunate that this is coming under a democratic system of government. They can amend the law because the laws have been in place for years and it is believed that events must have overtaken them, but what they are proposing is totally different.

“This is an attempt to stifle press freedom and it is a deliberate act to control and monitor the activities of the media.

“Most people would not have been aware because they planned to do it in a quiet way. They came for Twitter when nobody expected it but we are hopeful that members of the House of Representatives will listen to the voices of reason from the media stakeholders.”

Otufodunrin also said it was shocking that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who is a lawyer, could support the move.

“The Minister of Information used to be the Publicity Secretary for the All Progressives Congress and we saw how he used the media and social media to counter the Peoples Democratic Party and bring his principal to power.

“For someone who is also a lawyer and knows about the importance of the press, it is quite shocking even in his office as the Minister of Information,” he said.

Also, the Editor, Premium times, Idris Akinbajo, said media practitioners should not be deterred.

He said, “Nigeria is slipping down the ladder when it comes to the freedom of the press.

“With this direction, it is same with the Decree 4. The media should not allow themselves to be cowed into submission and they should ensure they report objectively and courageously.”

The Editor of The Cable, Kolapo Olapoju, said the bill should not be allowed to scale through because it was against the democratic system of government.

He said, “The law will gag the media. It is not in the best interest of democracy and that of the media to have such a law in place. It is going to suppress freedom of speech to a large extent. Such law would put the media at the mercy of the government.”

Also, a media practitioner, Amb. Yemi Farounmbi said, “The NPC amendment bill would definitely stifle the dissemination of information in the country which is guaranteed in Section 22 of the 1999 constitution.

“The Ministry of Information and Culture has not comported itself well and it should have a rethink.

“Decree 2 and 4 stifled information. Decree 4 particularly stifled information that was factual. What mattered was that it must not be brought to the notice of the public. Decree 4 dealt only with the print media at that time because of its role but with technology, it would be extended to other outlets.”


It’s Idiocy To Claim Buhari Is Dead and Replaced With Jubril From Sudan —- Femi Adesina



The Presidency has rubbished claims by Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), that President Muhammadu Buhari is Jubril of Sudan.

Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity said it is “idiocy” to claim that the president is dead and was replaced with Jubril from Sudan.

Adesina disclosed this in his latest article titled, ‘The Essential Buhari: VP Osinbajo got it!.’

He recalls how Buhari, upon return from his medical trip abroad in 2017, recognized him.

The article reads partly: “I remember that day in August 2017, when the President returned to the country finally from his medical vacation. From January of that year, he had been in and out a couple of times, but spending weeks and months outside, attending to his health. And finally, on August 19, he returned home, triumphantly.

“We were at the airport to receive him. I have told the story a number of times, to dispel the idiocy that it was a certain Jibril of Sudan that came back and not Buhari. The daughter of the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Gabriel Olonisakin, was getting married. And I had attended both the church service and reception, decked in full Yoruba traditional attire of Agbada and a cap to match. Straight from the ceremony, I went to the airport to join the welcome party for the President.

“We the principal aides were on a line to receive the President as he descended from the aircraft. And he shook hands with each person, having one wisecrack or the other to say, as is typical of him. When he got to me, he said, “Adesina, this is the best I’ve seen you dressed.” And we both laughed.

“Jibril of Sudan? How did he know I was Adesina? How would he know how I normally dressed? Idiocy, I say again. But that is just a digression, not the story I really want to tell to support the topic at hand.”

Kanu had rumoured Buhari’s death in 2017, following the president’s medical trip to London.

He had claimed that Buhari was cloned and replaced with Jubril Al-Sudan after his death.

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Take Vaccine or Present Negative COVID-19 Result, FG Tells Civil Servants



The Federal Government has informed federal civil servants that they either get the COVID-19 vaccine or present a negative test result.

Recall that the FG had mandated all civil servants to get the vaccine or else they would not be allowed to enter offices.

The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, at a press conference, on Thursday, in Abuja, made clear that federal civil servants were not under obligation to take the vaccine, however, they must show negative COVID-19 PCR test.

He said, “The Presidential Steering Committee (PSC), on Wednesday, announced interventions to, not only protect the most vulnerable people in our society but to also ensure that the workplace is safe for all citizens. Clearly, there is a loss of productivity and its impact on socio-economic development when workers are unable to come to work on a regular, and consistent basis due to outbreaks of an infectious disease such as COVID-19.

“Following advice by public health experts, the PSC announced that all Federal Government employees should make a choice as to how they can contribute towards making the work environment COVID-19-free. The logical choice is between taking the vaccine and showing the evidence or presenting proof that one is COVID-19-free by showing a negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior.

“This provision is applicable to all Federal Government institutions. The decision to release the advisory was not taken lightly. It is part of the PSC and Federal Ministry of Health’s mantra to always use scientific evidence to make decisions for the benefit of all Nigerians.”

Shuaib also confirmed that there are enough vaccines to cover the population of employees of the Federal Government and more, stating that the PSC had already done a comprehensive analysis and forecast on the availability of COVID-19 vaccines.

“Based on delivery forecasts from the COVAX facility and African Union, Nigeria will have adequate vaccines to cover more than 50 percent of eligible populations by the end of the first quarter of 2022. In order words, please do not worry about the availability of vaccines because we have the supply chain figured out already,” he added.

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N4.9bn Fraud: Judge Angry, Slams N200K Fine On Fani-Kayode For Shunning Trial For Fifth Time



Justice Daniel Osaigor of a Federal High Court in Lagos, on Wednesday, ordered a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, to pay N200,000 for not making himself available for re-arraignment for alleged money laundering.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Osaigor said he had gone through the court’s file and noted five different letters by Fani-Kayode, seeking adjournment on the same medical grounds.

The court, consequently ordered that he should pay the sum or risk revocation of his bail.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had charged Fani-Kayode alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenandi Usman.

Also charged was Yusuf Danjuma, a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, and a company, Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Limited.

The EFCC preferred 17 counts bordering on N4.6bn money laundering against them before Justice Mohammed Aikawa.

They had all pleaded not guilty and were granted bail.

The trial had begun before Aikawa and witnesses being led in evidence before the judge was transferred out of the Lagos jurisdiction of the court.

The case was consequently assigned to Justice Osaigor and the defendants scheduled for re-arraignment on Wednesday.

When the case was called on Wednesday, Mrs Bilikisu Buhari, announced an appearance for prosecution.

Mr I. J. Ogechukwu appeared for the first defendant (Usman), Mr B. F. Ajudua appeared for the second defendant (Fani-Kayode) and Y. Olabode appeared for the third and fourth defendants.

Buhari then informed the court that on July 15, the prosecution asked the court to adjourn the matter for re-arraignment of the defendants.

She told the court that on October 11, the prosecution received a letter from the second defendant informing them that he had been given bed rest.

“Whenever he doesn’t want to attend court, this is the type of letter we get,” Buhari said.

However, Ajudua told the court that although his Fani-Kayode’s illness was recurring, he had attended court regularly.

After the judge went through the court’s file, he asked his counsel to take one of two options: revocation of Fani-Kayode’s bail or imposition of N200,000 fine to be paid before the next adjourned date.

The counsel chose the fine option.

Justice Osaigor adjourned the case till November 30.

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