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We Cater for Over 17.5 Million Nigerian Orphans—SOS Children’s Villages

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SOS Children's Villages

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

Over 17.5 million orphans in Nigeria are being catered for under the watch of the SOS Children’s Villages in Nigeria.

The independent, non-governmental, non-profit international development organization, in addition, runs family strengthening programs, where children and families in need benefit from vocational training, care, medical and food assistance.

The National Director of the SOS Children’s Villages in Nigeria, Mr Eghosa Erhumwunse, recently disclosed this in Isolo, Lagos, while receiving food items donated by Crown Flour Mill (CFM) Limited, producers of the popular Mama Gold flour and semolina brands and Crown Pasta food products.

Thanking the firm for the humanitarian gesture, he said, “By making this food donation to bring relief to the children at the Villages, Crown Flour Mill Limited has demonstrated that it is a business that values the wellbeing of its host communities.

“We cater for over 17.5 million orphans in Nigeria. Our in-country strategic partners have been instrumental in ensuring the vulnerable segments are able to survive the various shocks of the ongoing global crises and local challenges.”

Some of the food items donated included Crown Premium Spaghetti bags of Mama Gold Semolina and Crown Supreme Semolina and a range of sanitary products and toiletries.

In addition to these, a cookout for over 480 students of Biyamusu Primary School, Ajingi, Kano was also organized by the firm along with the donation of food products and toiletries to the wards of Nasarawa Children’s Home an orphanage also in Kano state.

These contributions supported by the flour milling firm were in line with its series of activities lined up to commemorate the 2021 World Food Day (WFD) tagged: Our actions are our future – Better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life.

Speaking during the visit, the Managing Director of Crown Flour Mill Limited, Mr Ashish Pande, lamented the gap that exists between many children and their access to a healthy future.

He reiterated the firm’s determination in providing consumers, the underprivileged, and people affected by food shortage with access to affordable and nutritious food options.

On her part, the Corporate Affairs Manager at Olam Nigeria, Ms Damilola Adeniyi, said, “No one, most of all children, deserves to suffer hunger or lack access to good food.

“Therefore, we are taking actions that align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of achieving zero hunger in the world in our business operations, which lay emphasis on food safety, fortification, security, and Corporate Social Investments (CSI) such as this.”

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SERAP Sues FG for Shutting Down Telecommunications

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Nigeria's Telecom Industry

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit asking the court to restrain the federal government and its ministries and agencies from shutting down telecommunication networks in any part of the country.

In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1323/2021 filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP is asking the court to “determine whether the shutdown of telecommunication networks in any part of Nigeria by the Buhari administration is unlawful, and a violation of the rights of access to correspondence, freedom of expression, information, and the press.”

SERAP is also asking the court to “determine whether the shutdown of telecommunication networks in any part of the country is inconsistent with the principles of legality, proportionality and necessity, and the rights of access to correspondence, freedom of expression, information, and the press.”

The suit, which has been assigned to Honourable Justice Ahmed Mohammed at Court 4, is fixed for hearing on January 11, 2022.

President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Pantami are joined in the suit as Defendant by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

SERAP is arguing that, “Large-scale shutdowns of communication networks are a form of collective punishment. Shutdowns exert significant chilling effects, with direct implications on participatory democracy, whose existence depends upon an active and informed citizenry capable of engaging with a range of ideas.”

According to SERAP, “The Buhari administration has constitutional and international legal obligations to enable access to the Internet for all, as access to the Internet is inextricably linked to the exercise of freedom of expression and information.”

SERAP is also arguing that, “Access to information, the ability to exercise the right to freedom of expression and the participation that internet and telecommunication networks provide to all sectors of society is essential for a truly democratic society.”

“The rights to freedom of expression and information may be restricted only in specific circumstances. Restrictions on these rights must be provided by law, proportionate, and necessary for respect of the rights or reputations of others or for the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health and morals,” SERAP said.

The organisation is also arguing that, “While the authorities have a legal responsibility to protect, ensure and secure the rights to life and property, any such responsibility ought to be discharged in conformity with constitutional and international human rights standards.”

“The suspension of internet and telecommunication networks in Zamfara and Katsina states is particularly egregious, and suggests a disturbing trend, especially given the escalating repression and restriction of civic space in Nigeria. Shutdowns should never become an entrenched practice in the country,” SERAP further stated.

The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare and Kehinde Oyewumi, read in part: “Internet and telecommunication shutdowns amount to an inherently disproportionate interference with the rights to freedom of expression and information. Necessity requires a showing that shutdowns would achieve their stated purpose, which in fact they often jeopardize.

“In their 2011 Joint Declaration on Freedom of Expression and the Internet, four special mandates on freedom of expression emphasised that ‘Cutting off access to the Internet, or parts of the Internet, for whole populations or segments of the public can never be justified, including on public order or national security grounds.’

“The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has affirmed the principle of non-interference with access to internet and telecommunication networks and stressed that States including Nigeria ‘shall not engage in or condone any disruption of access to the internet and other digital technologies for segments of the public or an entire population.’

“In June 2016, the UN Human Rights Council condemned ‘measures to intentionally prevent or disrupt access to or dissemination of information online in violation of international human rights law.’ The Council called on all States, including Nigeria, to refrain from and cease such measures.

“The rights to freedom of expression and access to information are protected by Section 39 of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999 [as amended], Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights both of which Nigeria has ratified.

“These rights must be protected online as they are protected offline. Access to the Internet is a fundamental right. Access to the internet is also a necessary precondition for the exercise and enjoyment of other human rights online and offline.

“Shutdowns generate a wide variety of harms to human rights, economic activity, public safety, and emergency services that outweigh the purported benefits. Any shutdown has the potential to affect millions of internet and telecommunication users, and those on the margins of society are most impacted by it.

“The suspension of the internet and telecommunication networks in Zamfara and Katsina states, without any legal justification, is inconsistent with the principles of necessity and proportionality. The suspension is a form of collective punishment of Nigerians resident in these states.

“The imposition of any restrictions should be guided by the objective of facilitating the right, rather than seeking unnecessary and disproportionate limitations on it. Restrictions must not be discriminatory, impair the essence of the right, or be aimed at causing a chilling effect. Internet and telecommunication shutdowns fail to meet all of these conditions.”

It would be recalled that the NCC recently ordered service operators to suspend all telecommunications networks in some states, including Zamfara State, and at least 13 local government areas of Katsina State purportedly to check criminal activities including terrorism.

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Enugu Disco Launches App for Seamless Services

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Enugu Disco

By Adedapo Adesanya

In furtherance of its quest to consistently enhance customer experience and deliver seamless services, the Enugu Electricity Distribution PLC (EEDC) has launched a new mobile app known as EEDC Connect to better serve its franchise states.

The multi-functional application is designed to enable customers to interface and access the company’s services with ease.

Some of the services the new app will offer include payment of bills, prompt request for support, viewing of payment history, registering complaints and viewing your logged complaint to ascertain its current status.

According to the Head of Corporate Communications, EEDC, Mr Emeka Ezeh, the company has embraced information technology as a tool to make its operations efficient and transparent, both for the company and its customers.

To get started, customers are expected to download EEDC Connect on their mobile phones from the Google Play Store, register and obtain a One-Time Password (OTP) which should be keyed in to complete the process.

The launch of EEDC Connect is coming barely two weeks after the company introduced its Online Bill Download Portal, a service that allows its customers to conveniently view/download their energy bills right from the EEDC website and make payments without necessarily waiting to receive the physical copy of their bills.

Mr Ezeh reiterated that the introduction of these initiatives is part of the company’s ongoing automation processes aimed at achieving efficiency and improving customer experience.

The Enugu Disco is responsible for the electricity distribution activities of the five south-eastern states including Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo, Abia and Anambra.

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We’re Yet to Receive Formal Report of Sylvester Oromoni’s Death—Police

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Sylvester Oromoni

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Lagos State Police Command on Saturday night said it was yet to receive a formal report of the death of one Sylvester Oromoni, a 12-year-old student of Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos.

The death of Master Oromoni has been trending online for the past few days and the video of his painful death sparked reactions after it was reported that he was bullied in school and allegedly forced to swallow substances believed to have eventually killed.

The incident forced the Lagos State government to shut down the school indefinitely for investigation.

On Saturday night, the spokesman for the Lagos Police Command, Mr Adekunle Ajisebutu, a chief superintendent police (CSP), said though none of the parents or the school has formally filed a report on the matter, the command has swung into action to get to the root of the matter.

According to him, “the Commissioner of Police, upon hearing about it instantly, directed the Divisional Police Officer, Maroko Division under whose jurisdiction the place of incident is to immediately visit the school to carry out an initial investigation into the incident.”

“This directive has been carried out as an investigation into the case has since commenced. However, in view of the seriousness of the case, the Homicide Section of the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, has also been directed to take over the investigation of the case immediately,” he added.

“Members of the public, particularly the deceased’s bereaved parents, friends and relatives, are assured that the Lagos State Police Command has deployed all available human and material resources at its disposal to unravel the circumstances surrounding the sad and unfortunate incident,” the police image-maker for the command stated.

“While a diligent investigation is ongoing, members of the public are advised against taking the law into their own hands. They are also enjoined to refrain from comments that could jeopardize the investigation,” he appealed.

Concluding, Mr Ajisebutu said, “The Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu, while commiserating with the bereaved family, has equally assured that the outcome of police investigation would be made public in due course.”

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