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BREAKING: MTN, Airtel, Glo, Others Block Access To Twitter In Nigeria

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Twitter

Telecommunications companies in Nigeria including MTN, Airtel, Glo and 9Mobile have started blocking access to the microblogging site, Twitter, PUNCH has learnt.

 

 

The telcos said they received a directive from the Nigerian Communications Commission to block access to Twitter in the country following the suspension by the Federal Government on Friday.

 

 

The Nigerian Twitterati woke up on Saturday encountering difficulty in accessing their Twitter handles while some navigated the hurdle using virtual private networks.

 

 

Mobile network operators in the country under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, however, made it clear that they have started blocking access to Twitter in a statement issued on Saturday.

 

 

The statement which was obtained by PUNCH was titled, ‘Order to Suspend access to Twitter’. It was jointly signed by ALTON Chairman, Gbenga Adebayo; and ALTON Executive Secretary, Gbolahan Awonuga.

 

 

It read, “We, The Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria wish to confirm that our members have received formal instructions from the Nigerian Communications Commission, the industry regulator to suspend access to Twitter.

 

 

“ALTON has conducted a robust assessment of the directive in accordance with internationally accepted principles.

 

“Based on national interest provisions in the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003, and within the licence terms under which the industry operates; our members have acted in compliance with the directives of the Nigerian Communications Commission, the industry regulator.

 

 

“We will continue to engage all the relevant authorities and stakeholders and will act as may be further directed by the NCC. We remain committed to supporting the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and upholding the rights of citizens.

 

 

“As an industry, we endorse the position of the United Nations that the rights held by people offline must also be protected online. This includes respecting and protecting the rights of all people to communicate, to share information freely and responsibly, and to enjoy privacy and security regarding their data and their use of digital communications.”

 

 

Aside from MTN, Airtel, Glo and 9Mobile, some of the Internet Service Providers in Nigeria include Spectranet, ipNX Nigeria Limited, Swift Networks Ltd., Vezeti Service LTD, Cyberspace Network Limited, Mobitel Limited, Smile Nigeria, ITClick Solutions Limited, and Netcom Africa.

 

 PUNCH had earlier reported that Twitter deleted a post by the Nigerian President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Tuesday.

 

 

Consequently, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who had accused Twitter of double standards, announced the suspension of the microblogging site on Friday, citing the “persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.

 

 

Nigeria had about 33 million active social media users as of January 2021. WhatsApp is the most popular platform used in the country, with over 90 million users according to Statista. According to Statista, about 61.4 per cent of Nigerian social media users use Twitter, 86.2 per cent use Facebook, 81.6 per cent use YouTube, 73.1 per cent use Instagram, and 67.2 per cent use Facebook Messenger.

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 Na’Abba Accuses Governors Of Killing Democracy In Nigeria

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Democracy

A former speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Ghali Umar Na’Abba, has lampooned governors in the country saying they have ruined democracy.

 

Na’Abba, while speaking in an interview with BBC Hausa Service yesterday, said state governors have hijacked democracy, manipulating primaries of their political parties for their cronies to emerge.

 

“The governors have drawn a line in politics in which if you are not their boy you won’t become anybody or get elected at all levels. This is happening in both the PDP and APC.

 

“Democracy should always give room for interaction among people and they should be allowed to vote the right person they want. But the governors have since changed that, there i…

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Appeal Court Rekindles Jegede’s Hope Of Sacking Aketi With Inconclusive Judgment

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Jegede

The Court of Appeal sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital, yesterday partially upheld the appeal by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), in the October 10, 2020 governorship election in the state.

 

 

Jegede, who is challenging Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s victory, had approached the appellate court after the tribunal dismissed his petition for lacking in merit.

 

His counsel, Onyeachi Ikpeazu, had asked the court to sack Akeredolu and his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, because they were allegedly not properly nominated by the All Progressives Congress (APC).

 

 

But the respondents’ counsel, Akin Olujimi (SAN), for Akeredolu and Aiyedatiwa, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) for the APC and Charles Edosanmwon (SAN) for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), faulted all the arguments of Jegede’s counsel.

 

 

They contended that the case was a pre-election matter.

 

 

In the lead judgment by Justice Theresa Ngolika Orji-Abadua, the court partly allowed Jegede’s appeal on issues one, two, four and five.

 

She dismissed the appeal on issues three, six and seven.

 

In their judgments, Justice H. A. Barka, Justice J. G. Abundaga and Justice Andenyangtso Alli dismissed the appeal for lacking in merit.

 

 

Justice Orji-Abadua said the Electoral Act cannot override provisions of the Constitution on qualification or disqualification of a candidate in an election.

 

 

“The appeal is partly allowed and partly dismissed,” she said.

 

The PDP and Jegede vowed to challenge the decision.

 

 

The party’s spokesman Kennedy Peretei said in a statement: “In concluding her lead judgment, Justice Orji-Abadua said the appeal was partially dismissed and partially allowed. To the ordinary man in the street, the judgment was ‘inconclusive’.

 

 

“The kernel of the Eyitayo Jegede/PDP petition was whether or not a gross violation of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) should be allowed to stay; whether or not Mai Mala Buni, as a sitting Governor of Yobe State, can double as National Chairman of the APC, to sign the nomination of Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) for the governorship election.

 

 

“While the Court of Appeal acknowledged that it was a violation of the Constitution, it still went ahead to dismiss the appeal.

 

“We are still studying the details of the judgment, by virtue of the fact that it was delivered via Zoom. But we have sufficient grounds to appeal the decision of the court. We are confident the Supreme Court, which is the highest court in the land, will do justice.”

 

 

Akeredolu has extended an olive branch to Jegede, urging him to join hands with him in building the state.

 

 

Addressing reporters, Akeredolu said: “I have said this over and over: this case itself is so flimsy for me as a person. And it is clear because where you believe that you can go through the back door and upturn the will of the people, it is not going to work.

 

“We had an election in which the party won 15 out of the local governments; you won three. You are not contesting the result of the election, but you are hinging your petition on the Chairman of the party who signed the nomination that was forwarded to INEC.

 

“For me, it is clear. With God on our side, no matter where they go about this case, it will be the same result.

 

 

“It is just like when Yoruba say that if you throw the cutlass up 50 times by the time it’s landing, it will land on its side.

 

 

“Tayo, for one reason or the other, I said to him, we don’t need to pursue this case. I had called him once or twice. I don’t see why we are going about this action; that both of us can come together to work for the benefit of the state. That is my own belief.

 

 

“I respect him, but he must have a reason behind him pursuing this case the way he’s pursuing it. It is either the party is the one pushing him or he’s the one pushing himself. Whichever one it is, I know there must be something behind what he’s doing.

 

 

“But I can assure him, like a man who is building with straw, I can assure him nothing will come out of this case.

 

 

“I will call on him again for the umpteenth time: let him come, let us work together to build that state and let us work together for the Southwest and let us work together for Nigeria.

 

 

“Importantly, he is one person that I have a lot of respect for; he has respect for me. I see him as a brother. But in election matters, you cannot avoid this kind of contestation.”

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Agbakoba Rubbishes Restructuring, Wants Regional Autonomy In Constitution Review Package

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Agbakoba

A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has asked the National Assembly to consider regional autonomy in the review of the 1999 Constitution.

Following calls for restructuring, among other issues, the National Assembly had recently held public hearings across the country on the proposed review of the 1999 Constitution.

 

Speaking on the review process in a statement yesterday, Agbakoba said regional autonomy is the best solution to some of the challenges facing the country.

 

“Calls for restructuring have, in my personal view, become a catch-all phrase that has introduced more confusion than solution. I believe the simple way to go is by regional autonomy,” he said.

 

“Regional autonomy refers to the governance and administration of a federating unit in the interest of the local people, according to their aspirations. Nigeria is made up of multi-ethnic nations managed by a central authority. This model has proved unsuccessful.

 

“Europe understood that diversity is best managed by regional autonomy. Switzerland has four ethnic groups. Each of them shares the presidency through four cantons that make up their federating units.

 

“According to Prof. George Obiozor, even though Quebec is the only fully French-speaking province, yet Canada is bilingual for the sake of Quebec. On the other hand, Yugoslavia mismanaged its diversity and the result was the emergence of six distinct countries. The same fate befell Czechoslovakia, now the nations of Czechs and Slovaks.”

 

He said devolution of powers is a related concept to regional autonomy, as this means the transfer of powers from one level of government to another and vice versa.

 

The senior lawyer also suggested that legitimacy can be conferred on the constitutional review process by full involvement and incorporation of the leaders of traditional and ethnic nationalities.

 

“Prof. Ben Nwabueze has indicated that ethnic nationalities are the true representatives of Nigeria. To quote him, ‘Nigeria has no territory other than the traditional territories inhabited by its constituent nationalities from time immemorial – Yorubaland, Igboland, Hausaland, Tivland, Kanuri, Ijaw, etc. It is the ethnic nationalities that ceded or granted sovereign powers of government over their territories to Britain which makes them (i.e. the ethnic nationalities) the original and primary stakeholders in the Nigerian state,’” Agbakoba said.

 

He also expressed optimism that more would be achieved by giving prominent seats to the leaders of traditional and ethnic nationalities.

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