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CNPP Blames National Assembly for Twitter Ban in Nigeria

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Twitter Ban in Nigeria

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The decision of the federal government to ban the operations of a social media platform, Twitter, in Nigeria last Friday has continued to generate reactions.

The latest to comment on the issue is the conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), which heaped the blame on the National Assembly.

In a statement, the opposition political parties said if the parliament had played its constitutional role, the executive would not have been taking actions similar to the last Friday’s.

It, however, warned the federal government to “tread carefully on its clandestine effort gag the social media voices in Nigeria.”

The group, in the statement signed by the Secretary-General, Mr Willy Ezugwu, emphasised that the second arm of the government should not have allowed “the President and members of the federal executive to continue to take actions that are detrimental to the wellbeing of the ordinary citizens and the young people in the country.”

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“The National Assembly has not only continued to be a rubber-stamp legislative chamber but also an arm of the executive, and has willingly surrendered its oversight functions. Unfortunately, they have slept on its constitutional powers to check the excesses of the executive.

“Today, rather than help the intermittently recessing economy and reduce unemployment in the country, which is the root cause of youth restiveness in Nigeria, the federal government claims that national interest supersedes economic interest. Is economic interest not part of our national interest?

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“The deleted President’s tweet that ignited the suspension of Twitter was part of the reasons we have severally called for the sack of key President’s information handlers, particularly Lai Mohammed and Garba Shehu who have continued to cause more harm to the President’s image than making it.

“The reasons adduced for the suspension or ban of Twitter have remained laughable as the federal government failed to exhaust other channels of communication. The action of the federal government amounts to killing an ant with the slag harmer.

“We are shocked that the action of the federal government has now worsened the employment deficiency in the country, according to media reports, yet the government is shopping for more unjustifiable reasons for her poorly thought out action.

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“The CNPP calls on the federal government of Nigeria to exercise restraints in dealing with issues that affect the youths and those actions that could directly or indirectly widen the unemployment gaps in the country as the idle mind, they say, is the devil’s workshop,” the statement read.

The Twitter ban in Nigeria started after the platform deleted a post of President Muhammadu Buhari for violating one of its rules and the federal government found this offensive. The ban became effective last Saturday.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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ECOWAS Court Restrains Nigeria From Imposing Sanctions On Twitter

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ECOWAS Court

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice in Abuja has restrained the federal government from imposing sanctions or harassing, intimidating, arresting or prosecuting Twitter.

It also restricted the government from carrying out such actions against any other social media service provider, as well as media houses, pending the hearing and determination of a suit challenging the government’s suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria.

The court gave the restraining order following the suit filed by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 176 concerned Nigerians.

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In the suit, the applicants argued that the suspension of Twitter by the Nigerian government was illegal

The federal government on June 4 said it has suspended, indefinitely, the operations of the microblogging and social networking service in Nigeria as its operation threatened national security.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, announced the suspension in a statement issued by his office in Abuja.

The statement cited the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.

According to the statement, the Minister said the federal government has also directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria.

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The suspension came a few days after Twitter deleted a tweet from President Muhammadu Buhari’s official account.

The tweet had referenced the Nigerian civil war as the President threatened to treat Nigerians “misbehaving” in “the language they understand”.

It sparked reactions from many Nigerians who interpreted the statement as a threat to commit human rights violations.

On Tuesday, the federal government set up a team to engage with Twitter over the recent suspension of the operations of the microblogging and social networking service in Nigeria.

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The approval was announced in a statement in Abuja today by Mr Mohammed, who will chair the team.

The committee comprises the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Works and Housing, Minister of State for Labour and Employment as well as other relevant government agencies.

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Buhari Constitutes Team to Engage Twitter Over Ban

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Twitter Fake news

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A team has been put together by President Muhammadu Buhari to engage Twitter, popular social media platform, over the suspension of its operations in Nigeria.

Twitter was banned in Nigeria by the federal government in early June after it deleted a tweet of President Buhari for violating one of its rules.

The President had posted a series of tweets and in one of them, he threatened to treat those fomenting trouble in the South-East in a language they understand.

He had earlier said those agitating to leave the country were too young to know about the losses the region suffered in the Nigerian Civil War that last 30 months between. Millions of Igbos were said to have died during the war.

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A few days before Mr Buhari’s tweet, the heroes of the war were honoured on May 30 across the region and there was a stay-at-home order given by the Indigenous People of Briafra (IPOB), which was strictly adhered to.

So, when the President posted about dealing with people from the region in a language they understand, it was taken to be a genocide threat, which Twitter frowns at.

The federal government, which was angered by the action of the microblogging website, retaliated by suspending operations of the company in Nigeria, making it impossible for residents of the country to have access to the platform.

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, who announced the ban, has been going around to explain the reason for the action.

He had said the indefinite suspension was because the platform to undermine the “corporate existence” of Nigeria. He later said Twitter has approached the government for talks.

On Tuesday, his media aide, Mr Segun Adeyemi, disclosed in a statement that Mr Buhari has “approved the composition” of a team to have discussions with Twitter over the issue.

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He said the team is to be led by Mr Mohammed with the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami; the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Pantami; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama; the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola; the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo; as well as other relevant government agencies as members.

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Second Niger Bridge to be Ready 2022—FG Assures

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Second Niger Bridge

By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government has reaffirmed its determination to complete the construction of the Second Niger Bridge next year.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, gave this assurance at a forum of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday, June 20, to mark the sixth year anniversary of the present administration.

According to Mr Fashola, the bridge, which will serve as a major link between South-East and South-West Nigeria, will be delivered between the second and third quarter of 2022.

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Records show that construction of the bridge commenced on September 1, 2018, with construction cost put at N336 billion when the contract deal was signed.

The minister, however, made no mention if the construction cost of the facility had changed since the commencement of work.

He said that the project would facilitate the influx of investments to the South East when completed, noting that the construction work had gone beyond the water level, explaining that most bridge works were done underwater.

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“So, what you see currently is the final work. The sub-structure which entailed building cement structures underwater often costs a lot of money.

“We should finish the bridge next year between the second quarter and third quarter,” he affirmed, saying that construction time was lost because of COVID-19.

The bridge is 1.6 kilometres long and furnished with other ancillary infrastructure, including a 10.3 kilometres highway and an inter-change expected to be completed next year.

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The bridge spans from Asaba in Delta State to Ozubulu, Ogbaru, and other communities in Anambra State.

The existing Niger Bridge linking Onitsha and Asaba was completed in December 1965. It was built by the French construction giant, Dumez.

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