By Adedapo Adesanya
President Muhammadu Buhari has been asked by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) to enforce a judgment by the ECOWAS Court of Justice compelling his administration to delete the perceived offence of “insulting or stalking public officials online’ from the Cybercrime Act.”
SERAP said Mr Buhari should “urgently send an executive bill to the National Assembly to repeal the unlawful provisions, and reform all laws, which are inconsistent and incompatible with freedom of expression and media freedom.”
The judgment, delivered by the court last week in Accra, Ghana followed the suit number ECW/CCJ/APP/09/19 brought by SERAP.
In a letter to the President, SERAP wants him to “direct Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to withdraw all pending charges of ‘insulting or stalking public officials online’ against activists, critics and journalists, and immediately ensure their release from unlawful detention,” noting that “those who have faced unfair prosecutions under the unlawful provisions receive adequate compensation.”
In the open letter dated April 2, 2022, and signed by SERAP deputy director, Mr Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said, “This judgment is a victory for many Nigerians who continue to face harassment, intimidation and unfair prosecutions solely for peacefully exercising their human rights online.”
The provisions of section 24 of the Cybercrime Act among others criminalise sending or causing to be sent an “offensive, insulting or annoying” message via a computer system or network.” The offence is punishable by a fine of up to N7 million or imprisonment of up to 3 years or both.
SERAP had argued before the ECOWAS Court that, “The Federal Government and several state governments have used the vaguely worded provisions of the Cybercrime Act to trample on the rights to freedom of expression and information of bloggers, journalists, activists, and social media users.”
In its judgment, the court agreed and ruled that “section 24 of Cybercrime Act is inconsistent and incompatible with Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Nigeria is a state party.”
The court then ordered the federal government to “amend section 24 of the Cybercrime Prohibition Act in accordance with Nigerian obligations under Article 1 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.”
In the letter to President Buhari, the group said, “The immediate enforcement and implementation of the judgment by your government will be a victory for the rule of law, the right to freedom of expression and media freedom online. This will improve citizens’ participation in their own government, and provide an impetus for the anti-corruption fight.
“By implementing the judgment, your government will be demonstrating Nigeria’s leadership within the ECOWAS sub-region, and sending a powerful message to other countries to embrace the rule of law and human rights.
“With the ECOWAS Court judgment, all federal and state authorities must now stop using the provisions of section 24 of the Cybercrime Act to target, harass, intimidate, arbitrarily arrest and detain and unfairly prosecute social media users, activists, and journalists who express views perceived to be critical of governments.”
It reminded the Nigerian government that “Article 15(4) of the ECOWAS Treaty makes the Judgment of the Court binding on Member States, including Nigeria. Also, Article 19(2) of the 1991 Protocol provides that the decisions of the Court shall be final and immediately enforceable.”
It warned that, “Non-compliance with the judgment of the Court can be sanctioned under Article 24 of the Supplementary Protocol of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, and Article 77 of the ECOWAS Treaty.”
Market Gains 0.12% on Interests in Guinness, FBNH, Cadbury Nigeria
By Dipo Olowookere
Interests in the shares of Guinness Nigeria, Cadbury Nigeria, FBN Holdings and others lifted the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited by 0.12 per cent on Friday.
From analysis of the trading data, the consumer goods, banking and energy sectors saw significant bargain hunting activities during the session, leaving their respective index closing higher by 0.57 per cent, 0.41 per cent, and 0.03 per cent.
However, the insurance counter witnessed a pocket of profit-taking as its index went down by 0.09 per cent, while the industrial goods sector closed the way it opened for the session.
When the bourse finish for the day, the All-Share Index (ASI) was up by 59.33 points to settle at 49,024.16 points compared with the previous day’s 48,964.83 points as the market capitalisation finished N32 billion higher to N26.452 trillion from N26.420 trillion.
The market breadth was positive yesterday, with 17 price gainers and 10 price losers, indicating a strong investor sentiment.
RT Briscoe appreciated by 9.68 per cent to trade at 34 Kobo, May and Baker rose by 9.63 per cent to N4.10, Guinness Nigeria improved by 9.29 per cent to N82.90, Jaiz Bank climbed higher by 8.43 per cent to 90 Kobo, and UPDC expanded by 8.42 per cent to N1.03.
At the other side of the table, Ikeja Hotel was on top after its value crashed by 9.68 per cent to N1.12, Sovereign Trust Insurance fell by 6.90 per cent to 27 Kobo, NAHCO dropped 3.51 per cent to sell for N5.50, UPDC REIT went down by 3.13 per cent to N3.10, and Neimeth depreciated by 2.10 per cent to N1.40.
Business Post reports that the level of activity improved on the last trading session of the week as the trading volume, value and number of deals increased by 61.58 per cent, 65.96 per cent and 3.67 per cent, respectively.
This was because investors transacted 356.7 million shares worth N3.7 billion in 3,219 deals as against the 220.8 million shares worth N2.3 billion transacted on Thursday in 3,105 deals.
Nigeria at 62: Buhari Says Borrowing Necessary for Growth
By Adedapo Adesanya
In what would be his last Independence Day address, President Muhammadu Buhari, on Saturday, defended his government’s borrowing policy, describing it as a necessary step to provide the infrastructure that would expand opportunities for the growth of the Nigerian economy.
Mr Buhari stated in the address to the country on October 1, 2022, that, “The federal government is already expanding port operations to ensure that they provide opportunities for the growth of the Nigerian economy.
“We have also continued to accelerate our infrastructure development through serviceable and transparent borrowing, improved capital inflow & increased revenue generation by expanding the tax bases and prudent management of investment proceeds in the Sovereign Wealth Fund.
“To further open up our communities to economic activities, we have continued to boost our railway infrastructure with the completion of a good number of critical railways and at the same time rehabilitating as well as upgrading obsolete equipment.”
The President also noted that no village in the country was left behind in the regime’s Social Investment Programmes such as N-Power, trader-moni, market moni, etc.
“I am pleased to inform my fellow citizens that besides our emphasis on infrastructural development with its attendant opportunities for job creation, employment generation and subsequent poverty reduction, our focused intervention directly to Nigerians through the National Social Investment Programme is also yielding benefits.
“There is hardly any ward, village or local government in Nigeria today that has not benefited from one of the following: N-Power, trader-moni, market moni, subsidized loans, business grants or Conditional Cash Transfers.
“All the programmes mentioned above along with various interventions by the National Social Investment Programme, direct support to victims of flooding and other forms of disasters have provided succour to the affected Nigerians,” Mr Buhari said.
He also promised Nigerians that he would ensure free and fair elections come 2023 and called for more youth and women participation in the electoral cycle.
He said, “Having witnessed at close quarters the pains, anguish and disappointment of being a victim of an unfair electoral process, the pursuit of an electoral system and processes that guarantee the election of leaders by citizens remains the guiding light as I prepare to wind down our administration.
“You would all agree that the recent elections in the past two years in some states, notably Anambra, Ekiti and Osun and a few federal constituencies, have shown a high degree of credibility, transparency and freedom of choice with the people’s votes actually counting. This I promise would be improved upon as we move towards the 2023 general elections,” he said.
CSCS, NASD Lifts Unlisted Stock Market by 0.61%
By Adedapo Adesanya
The final trading session on the NASD over-the-counter (OTC) Securities Exchange in September 2022 ended on a positive note on Friday, with the bourse closing 0.61 per cent lower.
Business Post reports that the bullish performance was buoyed by the rise in the share prices of Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc and NASD Plc.
Consequently, the market capitalisation of the unlisted stock market increased by N5.83 billion to close at N968.60 billion versus Thursday’s N962.77 billion as the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) expanded by 4.44 basis points to end the day at 735.79 points as against the 731.35 points it recorded in the previous session.
Yesterday, CSCS Plc improved by N1.07 to sell at N14.17 per share compared to the N13.10 per share of the preceding session, while NASD Plc gained N1 to close at N13.00 per unit in contrast to the preceding day’s N14.00 per unit.
But the bullish trend did not extend to the activity chart as the volume of securities traded by investors decreased by 55.1 per cent to 105,440 units from the 725,984 units transacted a day earlier.
In the same pattern, the value of transactions went down by 96.1 per cent to N1.6 million from N41.5 million, while the number of deals increased by 50 per cent to six deals from the four deals recorded on Thursday.
At the end of the session, AG Mortgage Bank Plc remained the most traded stock by volume (year-to-date) with 2.3 billion units valued at N1.2 billion, CSCS Plc stood in second place with 687.6 million units valued at N14.3 billion as Mixta Real Estate Plc was in third place with 178.1 million units valued at N313.4 million.
CSCS Plc was also the most traded stock by value (year-to-date) with 687.6 million units worth N14.3 billion, VFD Group Plc was in second place with 27.7 million units valued at N7.4 billion, and FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc was in third place with 14.3 million units worth N1.7 billion.
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