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N5m FINE: Press Centre berates NBC, describes fine as assault on media independence

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The International Press Centre (IPC) has expressed dismay over the imposition of a fine of N5million on the Nigeria Info 99.3FM Lagos, by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

In announcing the penalty earlier today, NBC had cited the alleged unprofessional conduct of Nigeria Info 99.3FM, in the handling of the Programme, “Morning Cross Fire”, aired on August 10, 2020, between 8.30am and 9.00am.

The statement further detailed that “The station provided its platform for the guest, Dr. Mailafia Obadiah, to promote unverifiable and inciting views that could encourage or incite to crime and lead to public disorder”

Executive Director of IPC, Lanre Arogundade, said in a statement that NBC gave the impression that it was the Radio Station that put the words in the mouth of the guest and went on to impose a fine without any evidence whatsoever that the alleged statement had degraded any person or groups of persons, which would have amounted to hate speech.

“Even if a case of hate speech can be established, it is totally out of place in a democratic setting that NBC would be the one to accuse, prosecute and judge its own case against the station”, Mr. Arogundade said.

Mr. Arogundade therefore said that the hefty fine represented an assault on media independence, freedom of expression and the right of citizens to know about issues of public interest.

Mr. Arogundade demanded the immediate reversal of the decision saying that was the only path of honour left for the NBC to follow having embarrassed itself with the unreasonable fine against the radio station.

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METRO

Court shutdown: JUSUN storms Federal High Court, Lagos, evicts workers

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Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) members enforcing its indefinite nationwide strike which began today, have evicted court staff from the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos.

The unionists arrived on the court premises before 9am and directed their colleagues who were in courtrooms and in their offices to comply with the industrial action, pack up and leave.

They sealed some of the offices and pasted notices indicating the commencement of the court shutdown.

 

The JUSUN national leadership had in an April 1 circular, ordered the closure of courts across the country as from today, until the government complies with the Constitution, court judgments and other instruments which confer or re-emphasise the financial autonomy of the Judiucary.

The circular signed by its General Secretary, I. M. Adetola, directed all states and zonal heads of the union to comply with the strike.

The union stated that it had at its last National Executive Meeting on March 13, 2021 in Abuja, issued a 21-day ultimatum to the government to implement the financial autonomy of the judiciary with a threat that “failure of which JUSUN will have no other option but to resume the suspended national strike action.”

“Therefore, as a result of the public holiday on April 5, 2021, the strike action has been postponed to Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

Yesterday (Monday), Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President Olumide Akpata said it had opened talks with JUSUN on shelving the strike in the public interest.

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METRO

“There is no land available in South West for cattle rearing” -Yoruba leaders

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Aare-Ona kankanfo, Iba Gani Adams and other leaders in Yoruba nation have inistsed that no land in the region will be ceded for any ranching programme of the Federal Government saying they are fed up with criminal herders as a result of terror unleashed on their people.

The decision was taken at the end of a meeting to discuss security and economy of the region which held at the ancient Mapo Hall, Ibadan, yesterday. This is despite that five out of the six South-West governors failed to attend the meeting. Only Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo state attended in person.

Other decisions taken at the meeting was the adoption of Yoruba national anthem which has already been in use in Osun and Ondo state. The leaders called on the other states in the region to adopt the anthem.

Secretary-General of the Yoruba Council of Eleders (YCE), Dr. Kunle Olajide while reading the communique, said: “Our forests are sacred, untouchable, irreversibly a no-go area to terrorists and the Yoruba will not cede one inch of our forests to anyone under any guise.

“That the Yoruba nation notes with dismay general state of insecurity in the country and the ancestral space of Yoruba nation, especially, a situation that has compelled a rigorous interrogation of our situation.

“That the Yoruba nation is currently living in a time of bad metaphors due to the almost irreversible abyss due to cases of daily incessant insecurity.

“That this august gathering of leaders of the Yoruba nation notes almost daily proof of government helplessness in face of the ugly peace and security problem. A few ugly happenstances offered credibility to this sorry state of affairs.

“For instance, Defence Minister of the nation, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi, retd, in a jolting moment of helpless exasperation, advised Nigerians to begin to defend themselves.

“Where else does self-help become an option other than in a situation of total breakdown of law and order? Following closely on the heels of that, is the Federal Government’s ‘no fly zone’ ban on Zamfara airspace. What more character of the official declaration of war is there beyond this?

“That the Yoruba nation is deeply worried by the unfolding anarchy, particularly as it affects the South-West region, almost rendered comatose by daily occurrence of kidnappings, arson, maiming, destruction of economic facilities and killings.

“That the acts of criminality being conniving tagged: ‘farmers-herders clash’, is a case of terrorism. Those who unleash attack on farmers, who kidnap fellow Nigerians for huge ransom, those who kill and rape women are no bandits but terrorists.

“When injustice becomes law, resistance will be a duty. That it is in the light of the foregoing that this gathering of Yoruba leadership has noted with concern the challenges faced by security agencies and lately, Amotekun.

“The Aare-Ona-Kakanfo of Yorubaland is hereby mandated by Yoruba leaders worldwide to complement official government law enforcement units.

“That this special internal South-West security group made up of all stakeholders in the security realm, including OPC, Agbekoya, Vigilante Group, Hunters, etc have been charged by leaders of our nation here gathered to help ensure our portion of Nigeria is safe again.”

While speaking at the event, the Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, said: “Some people are clamouring for the presidency to return to the south in 2023, but the situation at hand does not demand such talks. We need to focus more on the issues confronting us. We have to be diplomatic in our approaches.

“The issue at hand is beyond rhetoric. I am not bothered about my position or about 2023. I am bold to say it; I am not encumbered in any way. I have no godfather, but God the Father. I am bothered about the development of Yorubaland and Oyo State.”

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METRO

Alleged ₦338.8m money laundering trial: Ikuforiji to open defence March 24

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Former speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji has been given March 24th 2021 to open defence in an alleged ₦338.8 million money laundering trial at a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

The former top lawmaker is standing trial on a 54-count charge bordering on the alleged offences. His aide, Oyebode Atoyebi is a co-defendant.

Although, they were granted bail in 2012 to the tune of ₦500 million when they pleaded not guilty, the duo through their counsel, Mr Dele Adesina, SAN will now start their defence of the 54-count charge on March 24.

The presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Liman set the date on Wednesday after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) closed its case after the testimony of its second and final witness, Adewale Taiwo Olatunji.

The defendants were first arraigned on March 1, 2012 before Justice Okechukwu Okeke on a 20-count charge bordering on misappropriation and money laundering.

They had each pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail.

Following a re-assignment of the case, the defendants were, subsequently re-arraigned before Justice Ibrahim Buba.

 

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