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#EndSARS: Nothing wrong with social media bill – Ali Ndume

Ndume said there is nothing wrong with a social media bill as people should be held accountable for what they say online.

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#EndSARS: Nothing wrong with social media bill - Ali Ndume, Senate rejects VAT increase

Senator Ali Ndume, Chairman of Senate Army Committee, says he sees nothing wrong with the implementation of a Social Media Bill so that people would be held accountable for whatever they say.

The Senator disclosed this on Sunday in an interview with Channels TV. The bill has already passed Second Reading in the Senate.

What you should know 

Nairametrics reported on the 1st of November that the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the Federal Government has no plans of shutting down social media but must regulate it to prevent the spread of hate speech.

The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata, said the Federal Government’s plan to introduce regulation of social media after the #EndSARS protests are suspicious, as the social media space is already regulated.

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Amnesty International stated that the proposed social media regulation which has been supported by Ministers since the beginning of the #EndSARS protests would be used as a tool to punish critics of the government.

During his interview, Ndume stated that the 8th Senate had discussed the need to control social media, but insists freedom of speech should not be muzzled. He said he believes people should be held responsible for what they say or do.

He added that there is nothing wrong with a social media bill as people should be held accountable for what they say online.

“So, I feel that there is nothing wrong with having a social media bill, to define what you say or how you say it, and then what are the consequences of speaking out against somebody.

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“As a politician, I have had a bad experience before, people say all sorts of things about you on social media about you and there is no way to control it, I think there is a gap in that, but it must go through the normal process.”

Ndume said before such a law is introduced, there would be public hearings to know the opinions of the masses as repressing freedom of Information may backfire.

” There must be a public hearing, hear out what is the opinion of the people and how it is, there should be control in something, even in the media, the news media, I hear sometimes people are sanctioned for doing things that are not right.

“At the same time, any society without freedom of expression is not good for us, because it will lead to another thing, but don’t forget the freedom of information bill, for example, was elected by the Nigerian Senate.

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“There should be a law that guides or control the social media,” he said.

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ENDSARS

#EndSARS Aftermath: World Bank supports Cross River with relief materials

Cross Rivers State has announced that it has received relief materials from the World Bank.

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Cross River State eyes AFREXIM's $500 million funds

The World Bank has supported the Cross Rivers State with relief materials to cushion the effects on the destruction of properties in the state during the infamous #EndSARS protests which rocked the state and country simultaneously.

The disclosure was made by the State Commissioner for International Development Cooperation (MIDC), Dr Inyang Asibong as reported by the News Agency of Nigeria.

The support became necessary given the material destruction recorded in some parts of the state. Dr. Asibong stated that the state government through his Ministry had approached the World Bank to seek support, especially in the delivery units of the World Bank Assisted Programme COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (CARES).

According to Dr. Asibong, two parastatals were severely affected in the state during the protests, namely; FADAMA and Enterprise Development Funding (EDF), with most of the items in the aforementioned agencies looted and vandalized by hoodlums.

In lieu of this, the support from World Bank will be pivotal to re-engineering and preparing members of staff to return to work, in preparation of the Covid-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (CARES).

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What you should know

  • Some of the items donated include furniture, 20-seater conference chairs, air conditioners and inverters, laptop computers and printers, virtual meeting equipment, hybrid inverter with solar among others.
  • The platforms that will benefit from the equipment include; CSDA, the state coordinating unit, FADAMA, EDF, Smart City, Public Work Fare and the state Cash Transfer Unit.

What they are saying: Dr. Asibong said: “We know that the poverty index in Nigeria is 40.1 per cent and this is really high. Cross River is lower than the national average, 36.3 per cent, we want to further reduce that our percentage to at least a single digit.

“I want to thank the World Bank for coming to our aid at this point in time and we can assure them we will make the best use of these equipment.”

Commenting on the CARES initiative which the relief material is believed to facilitate, Dr. Asibong said, “The CARES is COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus of the government. It is going to be a state-owned project and Gov. Ben Ayade is so committed about improving the lives of residents in the state.”

On the other hand, the Acting General Manager of Community and Social Development Agency (CSDA), Mr Fidel Udie remarked that the donation confirmed the good working relationship between the state government and the World Bank.

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Mr Udie stated that the donation would put the state in a good position to participate in the CARES programme. He said: ‘’This programme is basically meant to target the poor and vulnerable in the society. Gov. Ayade was able to follow up with the World Bank and here we have these equipment to help the delivery units to be ready for this programme.’’

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Nigeria is committed to security, fulfilling demands of #EndSARS youths in 2021 – Buhari

FG is committed to fulfilling the five demands of #EndSARS youths.

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President Muhammadu Buhari has announced that his administration is committed to fulfilling the five demands of #EndSARS youths.

The President disclosed this in his New Year speech on Friday morning.

“Nigeria is a country on a difficult journey to nationhood and greatness. We are standing tall in the committee of nations as one country united under the will of God,” he said.

READ: We will pass PIB, Electoral Act before end of 2021- Senate President

He added that the past year had posed challenges, from security to economic issues, citing the #EndSARS protests which he said, “were mainly led by youths and served notice to the demand of police reforms and accountability.”

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Buhari added that the FG was committed to fulfilling the demands of the protesters with renewed determination in 2021.

“This government heard, listened and committed to fulfilling the 5 demands of our youths fully understanding that we all wish well for Nigeria.

READ: The “EndSARS” protests and the problem of police reform in Nigeria

“In the midst of all these challenges, I initially pledged, that as your elected President, I would ensure that these ongoing challenges would be faced head on with renewed determination.

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“Your voices have been heard, and we would continue to listen to you and all stakeholders who are committed to the unity of Nigeria to ensure that every region is safe for us all, while guaranteeing the future is also secure for the coming generations.”

Buhari said that Nigeria needed to secure the future of its youths, exhorting young Nigerians as global achievers.

READ: Unemployment rate: Worse days ahead if economic policies don’t improve – TUC

“I wish to also reaffirm my commitment to the people of Nigeria, especially the youth, who need our collective encouragement, and support, in securing this nation, we need to secure the future of our youth.

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“Our young people, are the most valuable natural resource; their ingenuity, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit is evident to all.

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“Many of our young people are excelling in various areas of life including sport, entertainment and ICT, commerce and are globally recognized as achievers.”

READ: Laliga clubs set for financial setback as government orders termination of betting sponsorships

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Buhari said that the FG’s engagement with young Nigerians would turn their passion into ideas, from tech to entertainment.

“As government, we are committed to actively engaging with the creative energies of our young people. We will partner with legislature to develop an enabling environment to turn their passion into ideas that can be supported, groomed, and scaled across regions.

READ: President Buhari directs NASENI to deploy refurbished tractors to farmers

“This will create vast opportunities in fintech, agriculture, business process, startups and the entertainment industry,” he added.

Buhari said his administration would focus on delivering key strategic priorities under the areas of security, economy, and the anti-corruption agenda.

READ: Nigeria’s forex devaluation timeline – 2020

On security

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The President said, “We would direct our attention and strength to reenergizing, reorganizing the security personnel of the armed forces and polices…to enhance capacity to engage, pushback and dismantle the operations of extremists and criminal groups.”

Buhari said insecurity was a challenge, with  direct repercussions on nation economic sustainability, growth and development. He revealed that in parts of Nigeria where chronic poverty, social exclusion were already problems, Boko Haram had thwarted efforts of the FG to undertake social policy that could make a huge difference in the quality of life of citizens.

READ: Senate passes N13.5 trillion 2021 budget

“We recognize that we have to move to a more proactive stance, to ensure that this sort of traumatic incident, does not become a norm.

“The administration is fully aware of the responsibility to protect the lives and properties of all Nigerians, and we will not relent in learning and adapting to threats to national security.”

On anti-corruption

President Buhari stated that the nation had recorded gains and would be looking at reviewing laws to ensure a smooth prosecution process.

“On anti-corruption, we have recorded gains so far, and are committed to continuing on eradicating corruption through collaboration with all the arms of government to effectively prosecute this fight. We will also be looking at reviewing laws to ensure the fight to be more effective.”

On Covid-19 Vaccines

The President said that the FG was finalizing plans to procure and distribute vaccines effectively, but urged Nigerians to maintain social distance protocols.

“I urge you all to observe strict Covid-19 prevention protocols. My pledge to you is same as it has always been. I will play my part without fear; I invite all of us to do same. It is what we owe to the founding generations and also to the coming generation.”

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#EndSARS: Kwara Govt awards N181 million grant to business owners whose assets were looted

Governor Abdulrazaq has bailed out business owners whose businesses were destroyed during the #EndSARS protest.

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#EndSARS: Kwara Govt awards N181 million grant to business owners whose assets were looted

The Governor of Kwara State, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, has awarded a total grant of N180,775,000 to business owners whose wares and assets were looted by hoodlums during the #EndSARS protest.

This was revealed by the Governor in a press statement issued after the presentation of the grant to the affected business owners yesterday.

READ: Six Nigerians convicted in UAE for funding Boko Haram in 2019

Governor Abdulrahman explained that the total N180,775,000 grant awarded to the business owners was based on the recommendations of the independent adjuster/committee that was set up to assess the damage and propose interventions.

The Governor said:

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  • “We do not have the capacity to give them everything they have lost but the grants given are our token of support to encourage them not to give up.”

READ: #EndSARS: Popular hacking group, Anonymous allegedly hacks Nigerian Govt. websites

He explained that the Government cannot do everything, but emphasized the fact that Business owners are key in the current administration’s goal of evolving Kwara from a civil service state to an enterprising one.

In this vein, he disclosed that the current administration in Kwara State is always willing to help businesses of all sizes to thrive and will continue to support petty traders with micro-loans (Yoruba: Owo Isowo), as well as SMEs to make sure they continue to grow and create more jobs.

READ: Nigerian Governors who have tested positive for Coronavirus 

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Why this matters

The grant, however, will enable affected business owners to come out of the disruption caused to their businesses by the disheartening attacks, vandalism and looting by hoodlums during the #EndSARS protest which spiked civil unrest across the country.

The fund will help to prevent the closure of key businesses in the state, and get them back on their feet towards the path of growth and sustainable expansion.

READ: #EndSARS: Presidency to ensure that a repeat of protests does not happen

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