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FG Insists Twitter Must Register With CAC, NBC, Pay Taxes To Lift Suspension

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Twitter

The Federal government has given conditions that could get the suspension of the micro-blogging platform, Twitter lifted.

 

 

It said the firm must be registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC); it should obtain the licence to operate in the country from the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and it must pay taxes to the Nigerian government.

 

 

Besides, it must not lend its platform for use to persons trying to destabilise the country, the government added.

 

 

Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed announced these conditions yesterday at Aso Villa after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.

 

 

Mohammed, who explained that Twitter had made contact with the government for “senior-level talks”, said what is important to the government “is the sovereignty of Nigeria”.

 

 

The minister said all other Over-The-Top (OTT) service providers must run as real businesses in Nigeria by paying their taxes.

 

 

Speaking on the ‘sins’ of Twitter that led to its suspension, he said the platform provided an avenue for people that are threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria.

 

 

According to him, the owner of Twitter helped to fund last year’s #EndSARS protest while allowing the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, to use the platform to call for the killing of policemen.

 

 

He said Twitter failed to take down Kanu’s tweets despite repeated requests to do so.

 

 

The government spokesman said freedom of speech had not been stifled by the suspension of Twitter, because Nigerians could still use other platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

He also denied that the suspension was not effective, arguing that Twitter is losing money as a result of the action.

 

 

On Twitter’s overtures for talks, he said “yes, it is true. Only this morning (yesterday), I got communicated that yes, they are now ready to hold senior level discussions with us. Just now. I can confirm that, I just confirmed with my colleague now. We just got the information.

 

 

“We will. Our conditions are already laid out: one, to do business in Nigeria, they must register as Nigerian companies; two, you must be licensed. Three, they will have to refrain from using the platform for activities that are inimical to the growth of Nigeria, to the corporate existence of Nigeria.

 

From there, any other issue will come in. We already talked to them.

 

 

He also took time to explain what led to the ban on the operations of Twitter, by debunking claims of it being in reaction to the removal of some of President Buhari’s tweets, relating to the Nigerian Civil War.

 

 

“As you are aware, last Friday the federal government suspended Twitter operations in Nigeria indefinitely, and the reason we gave was because of the persistent use of the Twitter platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.

 

 

”On Friday, also the government directed the regulatory body, the National Broadcasting commission, to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT, Over The Top social media operations in Nigeria.

 

 

”And I believe that we’ve done that I think by today, that advert is out asking that all OTT, and social media coverage operating in Nigeria should apply for registration and licensing.

 

 

”I want to repeat that it is because Twitter has consistently made its platform available to those who are threatening Nigeria’s corporate existence. That is the reason for suspending their operations in Nigeria.

 

 

”We have found out that Twitter is the platform of choice for a particular separatist leader who resides outside the country and issues directives to its members to attack symbols of government authority, such as the police, the military, the Electoral Commission offices, correctional centres, etc. And this is being done willfully and consistently without any consequences from Twitter.

 

 

”You know, no country worth its name will not tolerate that. And no company, no matter its self importance, will force any nation to accept this.

 

 

”It may interest you to know that most of the OTT and social media platforms operating in Nigeria do not have any office in Nigeria and do not pay taxes to the Nigerian government for the billions they earn here.

 

That is not the best practice globally, and that is why we are insisting that for you to operate in Nigeria you must first be a Nigerian company and be licensed by the broadcasting commission”, he said.

 

“And in any case, like I have said in several fora, it is because we have a country called Nigeria that we can start talking about free speech. And of course, there has to be a country before people can able to transact their businesses using social media platforms.

 

”When I addressed you on Wednesday, I said, among other things that Twitter’s mission in Nigeria is suspect. And I went further to say yes, that Twitter funded the EndSARS protests in Nigeria last year and people have challenged it.”

 

Citing the fact-check done by an online newspaper, he accused the founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, of funding the #EndSARS protest.

 

He added: “So, whether he donated money himself or helped to raise money, the Twitter owner is one of those who helped to fund the #EndSARS protests that was later hijacked leading to loss of lives and massive destruction of property.”the Minister said.

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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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