Ethiopia Sends Two Journalists to Prison on Terror Charges
By Dipo Olowookere
Ethiopian authorities have sentenced two journalists in the country to prison over charges bordering on terrorism.
The two newsmen are from the Ethiopian faith-based station Radio Bilal; Khalid Mohamed and Darsema Sori.
They were sentenced on Tuesday to prison terms of five years and six months and four years and five months respectively.
Khalid, a news editor, and Darsema, a senior editor at Radio Bilal, were convicted at a December 21 hearing of inciting extremist ideology and planning to overthrow the government through their coverage of Muslim protests about government interference in religious affairs.
The two journalists, who have been in custody since their February 2015 arrest, were convicted under Ethiopia’s 2009 anti-terrorism law, alongside 18 other defendants, according to news reports that cited the charge sheet.
Their co-accused were also sentenced on Tuesday as part of the same mass trial.
But the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Wednesday condemned the prison sentences handed down to two journalists.
“These harsh sentences are the latest evidence of the Ethiopian government’s hostility to free expression and the right of journalists to do their jobs without fear of censorship or arrest,” said CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, Angela Quintal. “Khalid Mohamed and Darsema Sori are journalists, not terrorists. They should be freed immediately.”
Separately, an Ethiopian court denied bail to Getachew Shiferaw, the editor-in-chief of online newspaper Negere Ethiopia who has been in prison since December 2015, Ethiopian activists who are monitoring his case told CPJ. His trial has been postponed to February 14. Last month a court reduced his charge from terrorism to inciting subversion, according to local rights groups and activists.
The three journalists were among 16 imprisoned in Ethiopia for their work at the time of CPJ’s 2016 prison census, which found the country to be among the top five worst jailers of journalists worldwide.
Family Announces Death of General Dipo Diya
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A former Chief of General Staff, General Oladipo Diya (rtd), has been reported death by his family.
The late military officer was the second-in-command to the late Nigerian Head of State, General Sani Abacha, from 1993 to 1997, when he was arrested for an alleged treason.
In a statement, Mr Oyesinmilola Diya said the former Military Governor of Ogun State died in the early hours of Sunday, March 26, 2023.
However, he did not disclose if the 79-year-old Odogbolu, Ogun State-born army general suffered from any illness before his demise.
In the statement, he only stated that further announcements would be made public in due course.
We Will Fulfil Paris Agreement on Climate Change—FG
By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government of Nigeria has assured that it is ready to fulfil the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to ensure effective gender inclusion.
This was disclosed by Mr Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, during the inauguration and inception workshop of the project in Abuja tagged The Nigeria Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT), Just and Gender Inclusive Transition (JGIT) Project.
The project is aimed at helping countries to better assess the impacts of their climate policies and actions and fulfil their transparency commitments.
Mr Ngige said the objective of the inception meeting was to launch the ICAT Just Transition project and increase awareness among the national stakeholders for a better understanding of its implementation.
He said that ICAT, an International multi-stakeholder partnership of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), was supporting Nigeria in setting up Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) of a Just and Gender Inclusive Transition(JGIT).
The minister, represented by Ms Daju Kachollom, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, said Nigeria had signed a Project Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with the UNOPS, represented by the ICAT management.
According to him, the PCA is to firm up the process leading to the take-off and implementation of the project over a 12 months period.
“The objectives of the project, among others, include developing JGIT monitoring and MRV and ensuring it links with the sectoral MRV system.
“Another objective is to Enhance Transparency Framework (ETF) implemented by the Federal Ministry of Environment to achieve synergy, institutional memory, and stakeholder inclusion and cooperation.
“It will further enable a tripartite cooperation between government, labour, and employer associations to achieve a Just and Gender Inclusive Transition going forward with the implementation of the Paris agreement,” he said.
The minister said that the ICAT project would be implemented by a team of national experts and international ICAT consultants under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.
On his part, Dr Yerima Tarfa, ICAT, JGIT Project Team Lead, said the initiative would help to increase the overall transparency capacities of countries and assess the contribution of policies and development objectives.
According to him, this is by providing appropriate methodological information and tools to support evidence–based policymaking.
Dr Tarfa noted that Nigeria was the largest economy and leading oil producer, and most populous in Africa.
“It faces the unique challenge of having to diversify its economy away from fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas, and increasingly, coal) while responding to the unmet energy needs of its growing population.
“Nonetheless, Nigeria is turning this challenge into an opportunity by increasing the use of renewable energy, reducing its carbon footprints, and eliminating gas flaring.
“Nigeria’s National Determined Contributions (NDCs) is committed to a 20 per cent emission reduction by 2030 unconditionally and 45 per cent conditional, with focus on power and electricity, oil and gas,” he said.
The team lead said the highlights of the NDCs include ending gas flaring by 2030 and a 30 per cent energy efficiency level by 2030.
He said the inauguration of the inception workshop would provide the opportunity to create awareness and build a national cross-knowledge sharing that would provide a platform for key stakeholders to facilitate the implementation of the Nigeria ICAT JGIT Project.
He added that this would further set up an MRV of Just and Gender Inclusive Transition and its Roadmap for implementation in Nigeria.
Appeal Court Restores Adeleke as Osun Governor
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
An appeal court sitting in Abuja on Friday upturned the judgment of the Osun governorship election tribunal, which removed Mr Ademola Adeleke as Governor of Osun State.
In January, the tribunal declared the former Governor of the state, Mr Gboyega Oyetola, as the authentic winner of the 2022 governorship election in the state.
While Mr Adeleke contested for the position under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Oyetola flew the flag of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Mr Adeleke was declared winner of the poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), but Mr Oyetola, who contested as a sitting governor, approached the tribunal to dislodge the winner.
He argued that Mr Adeleke won through an electoral fraud, over-voting and his prayers were answered, as the tribunal upturned INEC’s decision and declared him the winner.
However, Governor Adeleke appealed the judgement and today, a three-member panel of justices held that the election tribunal erred when it ruled that Mr Oyetola and the APC proved their allegation of over-voting.
The appellate court held that Mr Adeleke was validly elected as the governor of Osun State and restored his mandate.
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