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774,000 jobs: Buhari backs Keyamo on planned recruitment

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From all indications, it seems that President Muhammadu Buhari has given the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, the Presidential backing, to go-ahead with the plan to recruit 774,000 under the special public works programme.

Keyamo confirmed the development to The Nation in a telephone interview on Wednesday in Abuja.

The minister said he has the instructions of President Buhari to proceed unhindered, thereby ignoring the leadership of the National Assembly which asked the minister to stop the programme.

“I have the instructions of my boss, Mr. President, to proceed unhindered,” Keyamo said in a text.

The minister and lawmakers have been at loggerheads over the implementation of the Special Public Works Programme.

The lawmakers had said the minister did not seek their input before putting together members of the 20-man states selection committees who were inaugurated in June this year.

They accused the minister of trying to hijack the scheme from the National Directorate of Employment, NDE, the implementing agency of the project.

But Keyamo, who appeared before members of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Labour, on Tuesday, 30 June, accused the lawmakers of seeking to control the implementation of the programme.

After engaging in a shouting match with members of the National Assembly Joint Committee, Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, called for the suspension of the programme.

However, Keyamo said on Wednesday that the states selection committees are proceeding already with the programme as planned, following the new directive from Buhari.

He said: “I have instructions from Mr. President to proceed. The states selection committees are proceeding already with the programme. Nothing stopped them before.

“National Directorate of Employment, NDE, is part of the programme. The state coordinators of the NDE throughout the country are the secretaries of those committees.

“We will work hard to meet the timeline but if there is any need for a change we will inform Mr. President.”

The Special Public Works Programme is designed to employ 1,000 persons from each of the 774 Local Government Areas of the country.

The programme is expected to gulp N52billion meant for the payment of the participants at N20, 000 per month for three months.

The exercise is expected to commence in October.

The 20-man selection Committee for the programme is being chaired by the Director General of the National Directorate of Employment, NDE, Nasir Ladan Argungu and supervised by Kayamo.

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NIGERIA

FCT High Court judge, Okeke, is dead

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The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory on Tuesday lost one of its judges, Justice Jude Okeke.

Justice Okeke, aged 64, died at the National Hospital in Abuja.

Some court officials, who asked not to be named because they had no authorization to speak on it, said the deceased had complained of chest pain some days ago after which his condition deteriorated.

The spokesperson for the National Hospital, Dr. Tayo Haastrup, confirmed to our correspondent that Justice Okeke died on Tuesday.

Justice Okeke, who until his demise occupied the ninth position in the hierarchy of the FCT High Court judges, handled the corruption case instituted against a retired judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, along with his wife, Olubolade, and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Joe Agi.

Justice Okeke, in a ruling on April 5, 2017, upheld the defendants’ no-case submissions and dismissed the charges.

On February 28, 2018, the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal affirmed the dismissal of the case which was instituted by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, as speculative.

Justice Okeke hails from Idemili North Local Government Area of Onitsha, Anambra State.

He was called to Bar in 1985 and completed his National Youth Service the following year.

He was in active private practice of Law until he was appointed as a Judge in the FCT High Court in 2007.

He is married with children.

His death reduces the number of FCT High Court judges from 34 to 33.

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NIGERIA

FG raises hate speech fine from N500,000 to N5m

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The Federal Government on Tuesday raised the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to 5 million naira.

The government also mandated broadcast stations to devote airtime for public education on emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, made this known in Lagos on Tuesday while unveiling the Reviewed Broadcasting Code.

This was contained in a statement by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, titled, ‘Remarks By The Hon. Minister Of Information And Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, At The Unveiling Of The Reviewed Broadcasting Code In Lagos On Tuesday, Aug. 4th, 2020’.

According to the statement made available on the verified social media platforms of the ministry, Mohammed said the amendments were necessitated by a Presidential directive in the wake of the 2019 general elections for an inquiry into the regulatory role of the National Broadcasting Commission as well as the conduct of the various broadcast stations before, during and after elections.

The minister noted that the recommendations were approved by the President, Major General Mohammed Buhari (retd.), to reposition the NBC to better perform its regulatory role in the areas of political broadcasting, local content, coverage of emergencies, advertising, and anti-competitive behaviour.

Mohammed, who explained that section 2h of the NBC Act empowers the commission to establish and disseminate a National Broadcasting Code, said, “There are many desirable provisions in the new Broadcasting Code:

“The provisions on Exclusivity and Monopoly will boost local content and local industry due to laws prohibiting exclusive use of rights by broadcasters who intend to create monopolies and hold the entire market to themselves. It will encourage Open Access to premium content.

“The law prohibiting backlog of advertising debts will definitely promote sustainability for the station owners and producers of content.

“The law on the registration of Web Broadcasting grants the country the opportunity to regulate negative foreign broadcasts that can harm us as a nation. Such harms could be in the area of security, protection for minors, protection of human dignity, economic fraud, privacy etc.

“The provision on the responsibility of broadcast stations to devote airtime to national emergencies mandates terrestrial and Pay TV channels to make their services available to Nigerians at times of national emergencies – like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – for their education and enlightenment.

“The provision raising the fine for hate speech from 500,000 Naira to 5 million Naira.”

He added, “The Broadcasting Code is not a static document. As we often say, broadcasting is dynamic. Therefore, even the 6th Edition of the Code shall be reviewed at the appropriate time. But, as it currently stands, the 6th edition and the amendments, which we are unveiling today, remain the regulations for broadcasting in Nigeria.

“For those who still have misgivings about the amendment to the 6th Edition of the Code, we expect you to meet with the regulator and present your views. As I said, there are opportunities for constant review of the Code, but please note that this latest amendment is signed, sealed, and delivered, and we are committed to making it work for the good of the country.”

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NIGERIA

Buhari orders rejig of security operational strategies

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President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the rejig of operational strategies of the nation’s security network to effectively counter the security situation across the country.

The National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (Rtd.), disclosed this to State House Correspondents on Tuesday after the National Security Council meeting held at the State House.

He also revealed that the administration was working on a solution to the security crisis in some parts of the country, saying that the Minister of Defense, Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi (Rtd), was “working on something” to give effect to President Buhari’s earlier marching orders to service chiefs.

The NSA also disclosed that the council noted that the proliferation of drugs is driving insecurity in the country.

Monguno said the manner of killings of their victims can only mean one thing and that is, the bandits, kidnappers, and terrorists are out of their minds.

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