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NIGERIA

PDP Reps sue Mohammed, Malami, NBC over broadcast code

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The PDP caucus in the House of Representatives has dragged the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) before the Federal High Court in Abuja seeking to invalidate the controversial 6th Broadcasting Code.

A copy of the originating summons shows that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, is joined as a defendant in the suit.

Plaintiffs in the suit are caucus leader,  Kingsley Chinda, his Deputy, Chukwuma Onyema, Caucus Deputy Whip,  Ajibola Muraina, Mark Gbillah,  Tyough Robert,  Bulus Solomon, Rimamnde Shawulu Kwewum,  Yusuf Ayo Tajudeen, and Onyeman Chukwuma.

They claimed to have instituted the case on behalf of “themselves, individually and as representatives of the PDP caucus in the House of Representatives”.

In the suit filed on their behalf by Barrister Segun Fiki and Barrister Johnmary Chukwuasi Jideobi, the lawmakers want the court to determine whether by the provisions of Section 36 (12) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the Amended 6th Nigerian Broadcasting Code enacted/issued by the 1st Defendant which created the purported offenses of “hate speech” and “fake news” and correspondingly purported to have imposed penalties is not unconstitutional, null and void”.

They are also asking the court to determine whether or not, having regard to the extant provisions of Sections 6 and 23 of the National Broadcasting Commission Act Cap.  N11 LFN 2004, the 1st Defendant has the statutory power to issue Broadcasting Code and whether the 6th Nigerian Broadcasting Code purportedly issued is not a nullity and therefore void?

They are also asking the court to determine “whether, having regard to the extant provisions of Sections 4 (1), (2), (3) & (4), 47 & 58(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and Order 14 of the Standing Rules of the House of Representatives (Procedure on Subsidiary Legislation), the 1st and 2nd Defendants have the power or vires to enact, issue and give effect to or enforce the Amended 6th Nigerian Broadcasting Code without prior ratification by the House of Representatives of the National Assembly, and if not, whether the 1st Defendant’s enactment/issuance and application of the said Amended 6th Nigerian Broadcasting Code is not a usurpation of the legislative powers expressly conferred on the legislature by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended)?

They prayed the court to declare that the Amended 6th Nigerian Broadcasting Code unconstitutional, null, and void especially since the said offenses and penalties set out in the code have not been defined and/or prescribed in any written law by the National Assembly of Nigeria?

They are also asking the court to declare that the 2nd Defendant (NBC) is the sole authority statutorily empowered in Nigeria to enact and/or issue Broadcasting Codes throughout the Federation, to the exclusion of the 1st Defendant and that the 1st Defendant’s enactment of the 6th Amended Nigerian Broadcasting Code is ultra vires, unlawful, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.

They also seek the court’s declaration that having regard to the extant provisions of Sections 6 and 23 of the National Broadcasting Commission Act Cap.  N11 LFN 2004, the 1st Defendant is bereft of any statutory power to issue Broadcasting Code and that the Amended 6th Nigerian Broadcasting Code purportedly issued by the 1st Defendant on or around the 13th August 2020 is lacking in statutory foundation and therefore void.

The lawmakers are also asking the court to make an order nullifying, invalidating, and quashing the 6th Amended Nigerian Broadcasting Code enacted/issued by the 1st Defendant on or around the 4th August 2020 in its entirety, same being arbitrary, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void.

They are seeking an order of the court restraining the 1st and 2nd Defendants, whether by themselves or through their officers, agents, assigns, privies or servants howsoever described from further relying on, applying or enforcing or otherwise acting howsoever and in any manner on the said 6th Amended Nigerian Broadcasting Code enacted by the 1st Defendant on or around the 13th August 2020 and compel the third defendant (Attorney General) to enforce the judgment of this court in this suit forthwith and unconditionally.

They also want an order of the court perpetually restraining the 1st Defendant from further enacting, issuing, or enforcing any National Broadcasting Code.

The suit which has not been assigned to any court is supported by a 15-paragraph affidavit deposed to by one Francis U. Obalim and a written address dated 9th September 2020

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NIGERIA

Ize-Iyamu: I didn’t ask Obaseki to return to APC

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Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu has stated he has not addressed media professionals after last Saturday’s poll won by Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Ize-Iyamu, through his campaign organization, in a statement by the Director of Communication and Media, Prince John Mayaki, called on the traditional media to always perform due diligence in reporting events arising from Edo, stressing that unprofessionalism would render them as tools for the PDP.

He declared that it was not true that he pleaded with Obaseki to return to the APC at a news conference on Wednesday in Abuja, while insisting that nothing of such happened.

The former Secretary to the Edo State Government (SSG) said: “Many media houses have once again lent themselves to the fabrications of Obaseki and the PDP, as they did throughout the campaigns and the election.

“We warned many times the media should beware of fabrications from Obaseki and the PDP’s camp, but they did not listen.

“That is why they have reported that the election was free and fair, and that is why they have said our candidate pleaded with Obaseki to come back to APC.

‘’The video in reference is from three months ago, not after the election but doctored by Obaseki’s media handlers to seek undue legitimacy.

“We wonder if the media were being sponsored by Obaseki and the PDP, as it seems implausible that they actually believed the story.

“This is even more so, when reporters in Benin City would report Pastor Ize-Iyamu, who is currently in Abuja, where the various media organizations are also domiciled, this is to tell you the suspicion inherent in the viral video.

“Pastor Ize-Iyamu was reported in the stories as speaking from Abuja but it was the Benin reporters that covered the story. Were the reporters transported to Abuja?

“Do these media agencies actually believe the stories they carry? Obaseki and the PDP have a way of leaking false news to the media. The media have to be sensitive and professional in receiving these news.”

The governorship candidate of APC also warned of a fake twitter account purportedly belonging to him, which had been disseminating false information, while admonishing the media to avoid it like a plague and verify all their information before passing it on.

He said: “I only wish most of the media had been more professional during the election in Edo State but they were not. What is done is done.

“They (the media) pretended not to know how violent and anti-democratic the election was in many parts of Edo State, including Egor Local Government Area in Benin City.

“So, they (the media) reported that the election was free and fair. Going forward, let them (the media) verify all news before passing it on. It is the basic ethic of the profession.”

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NIGERIA

Police dismiss IPOB Oct. 1 sit-at-home call

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The police on Wednesday dismissed the call by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) for a sit-at-home on October 1.

Ebonyi State government urged residents to ignore the order and go about their normal business.

The Ohanaeze Ndigbo said it had nothing to do with the call.

IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu said the directive was to protest “bad governance and economic annihilation”.

In a statement by IPOB Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, Kanu urged the Igbo everywhere to boycott all activities organized to mark the Independence Day.

The statement said: “We, the global movement of IPOB, wish to announce to all Biafrans, friends of Biafra and lovers of freedom all over the world that Biafrans across the globe shall observe a sit-at-home in Biafra land  in public protests to mark October 1, 2020.

“We, therefore, enjoin all Biafrans and every conscious Nigerian, especially those ethnic nationalities reeling from the triple blow of terrorism, bad governance and economic annihilation, to boycott every government organized ceremony designed to eulogize the failure that Nigeria has become.

“This is the time to let the world know how disastrously intolerable human existence is in Nigeria.

“If you want to see an end to terrorism and organized mediocrity, now is the time to register your anger by ensuring that you and your household sit-at-home on October 1, 2020.

“Do not risk the life and well-being of your children by allowing them to gather in groups in the open where terrorists may find it easier to blow them up or kidnap them.

“This order is to highlight our position and resolve as Biafrans that we are no longer interested in propping up a crumbling state.

“The leadership of this great movement in conjunction with supporters of Biafra freedom across the globe has concluded every arrangement to let the whole world know and understand that we are no longer part of this shambolic monument to terrorism and failure.”

The group said it remained committed to “the full and irreversible restoration of Biafra sovereignty and independence for all oppressed ethnic groups in Nigeria”.

Ebonyi State government urged the people to go about their normal activities on October 1 as IPOB has no legal basis to compel anyone to stay home.

Commissioner for Internal Security and Border Peace, Stanley Emegha, said: “Who is IPOB to tell people to sit at home? That is the height of craziness on their side.

“How can you tell people who have a family to sit at home? To do what? Will you come and put food on their table?

“In the first place, we don’t even know if there is anything like IPOB existing in the state.

“People should disregard the said statement and go about their normal business on that day.”

Commissioner of Police in Ebonyi, Philip Maku, warned IPOB to steer clear of the state.

He said the proscribed group does not have the right to tell people to sit at home.

“People have the fundamental right to movement. If you try to restrict their right to move about and transact their lawful business activities, you are crossing the red line.

“If anyone tries to force people to sit at home, the Police will not fail to deal decisively with such persons,” he said.

The Anambra State Police Command also urged residents to ignore the call.

The spokesman, Mohammed Haruna, told our correspondent that IPOB remained banned and had no right to make the call.

The Anambra State President of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Damian Okeke-Ogene, said the socio-cultural organisation has nothing to do with the directive.

Besides, he said Ohaneze had no control over IPOB.

He said: “They have their Modus Operandi and we have ours. That means, we have no control over them and they also don’t have over us.”

Activist-lawyer Emperor Ogbonna said IPOB lacked the right to compel non-members to stay at home.

He told our correspondent that the banned group would be infringing on others rights by stopping anyone from exercising their right to movement.

Ogbonna said: “IPOB members and their sympathizers have the right to stay-at-home and to go out.

“IPOB doesn’t have the powers to tell everybody in the Southeast not to go out because not everybody belongs to IPOB.

“They cannot compel non-members to comply with their order. If they do so, they will be infringing on the rights of those who are not members.”

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NIGERIA

Kogi declares two-day mourning over tanker explosion

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Kogi has declared a two-day mourning period in memory of those that died in the tanker explosion in Felele, along the Lokoja-Abuja highway on Wednesday.

No fewer than 25 persons, including five students of the state-owned polytechnic, three nursery school pupils and passersby were burnt beyond recognition in the resulting explosion from an auto crash.

The crash, which was said to have been caused by brake failure in the fuel- laden tanker involved five cars, two motorcycles and three tricycles, all of which went up in flames in the ensuing inferno.

Kogi government in a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo, said full investigations will be carried out to determine the “causes of the painful incident.”

It called on the relevant Federal Government agencies to provide relief materials to support what the State Government shall be providing to the relatives of the victims.

Governor Yahaya Bello had also called on Federal Government to quickly repair failed portions of its roads strewn across the state, to curb incessant accidents.

The Governor made the request when he paid a visit to the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, in Abuja on Wednesday.

Bello was quoted to have said that the deplorable state of federal roads in the state has led to many accidents.

The statement reads: “The government of Kogi State has declared a two-day state mourning in honor of the victims of the Felele tanker accident on Wednesday 23rd September, 2020.

“The governor and the government of Kogi State are saddened by the unfortunate incident that claimed many lives in the early hours (of Wednesday).

“The primary responsibility of government is to ensure the safety and well-being of the Kogi people. As a result of the importance placed on the lives of our people, government has declared a two-day state mourning to honor the departed souls.

“In this time of grief, we urge the people to be deep in sober reflection and stand together for one another to pull out of the agonizing loss.

“Government wishes to reiterate her call on road users to act responsibly in order to avert unfortunate situations that simple care and caution could have averted.

“Full investigations will also be carried out to determine the causes of the painful incident.

“The Kogi State government wishes to assure families that lost loved ones and those whose houses were affected of support at this trying moment. We also call on relevant Federal Government agencies to provide relief materials to support what the state government shall be providing.

“Our hearts are with the affected families. May the souls of the departed rest in peace.”

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