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Reps, minister disagree over plan to regulate social media

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The House of Representatives has frowned on the idea of regulating the social media being considered by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.

The Chairman, House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values, Odebunmi Olusegun and a member of the House, Emmanuel Oghene, said any clampdown on the social media could be counterproductive.

They gave the warning when the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, appeared before the committed for the 2021 budget defence.

The minister, while responding to questions from members of the committee, had said the next war to be fought in the country would be against the social media, in a veiled reference to the outcome of #EndSARS protests.

He stressed the need to have a policy to regulate the social media and check fake news and misinformation.

Odebunmi, however, warned against controlling the use of the social media and urged the Federal Government to rather search for the technology to work with what was currently being used in the social media world.

“Social media has come to stay. What the government should do is to look for technology that will work together with what is in the space.”

Oghene also said it was wrong to always look at the negative sides of social media at all times without mentioning the good side.

He said it was social media that called the attention of government to looting of COVID-19 items in some places, adding that there was a time some boys were digging the road but got caught because the social media captured it.

Oghene said, “I want to appeal that we should not overdo it because it will harm us. China is not a good example because it is a communist country. Nigeria has always been free, we are a democratic country.

“Let us look at other democracies and see what they have done with their social media. This technology is already here. It is not going to go away.

“We should have enough laws in our law books to deal with social media. If people post things that are not correct, they can be taken to court.

“If the laws are not enough, bring a bill and the National Assembly will pass it into law. If you shut down the social media, democracy will be greatly hampered.”

The minister had earlier said, “We are sitting on a time bomb on this issue of fake news. Unfortunately, we have no national policy on social media and we need one.

“When we went to China, we could not get Google, Facebook, and Instagram. You could not even use your email in China because they made sure it is censored and well regulated.”

He added that the nation would need a technology and resources through a media policy to dominate its social media.

The minister said, “The recent #EndSARS war was fought on social media. They mobilised using social media. The war today revolves around two things. Smartphones and data and these young men don’t even watch television or listen to the radio or read newspapers.

“You will be shocked that when you start arguing with your children, they will be quoting the social media. So, we need a social media policy in Nigeria and we need to empower the various agencies and we need the technology to be able to regulate the social media.”

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Ijaw group warns against tampering with 13 percent derivation formula

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A Niger-Delta group, Ijaw People Assembly (IPA) has condemned the proposal by 59 members of the House of Representatives seeking an amendment of Section 162(2) of the 1999 Constitution.

It said the real motive was targeted at deleting the Principle of Derivation which stipulated 13% of the revenue accruing to the Federation Account from natural resources, describing the move “as an inglorious attempt and a misadventure.”

The group’s scribe, Dortimi Tawari, who spoke in a statement, yesterday, said the plan was an “invitation to chaos and eventual collapse of the Nigerian economy.”

Tawari warned the proposal was “another form of internal colonization, an attempt to strangulate and subjugate the Ijaw nation and other Niger-Delta nationalities.”

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Part of the statement read: “The Ijaw nation being a host nation to oil and gas resources and assets, the IPA views this proposal as another form of internal colonization, an attempt to strangulate and subjugate the Ijaw nation in particular and the other Niger Delta nationalities.

“Need it be mentioned that it is an invitation to chaos and eventual collapse of the Nigerian economy. The ljaw People Assembly vehemently oppose a system that will drag the ljaw Nation and the other nationalities in the Niger Delta into undeserved subjugation and retrogression.”

Tawari reiterated the call for a restructured Nigeria that “guarantees resource ownership, control, management and freedom to appropriate a declared percentage of derived revenue to the central government or an arrangement of sovereign nations as the extreme option.”

He said a restructured Nigeria “will promote a productive economy and end the current monthly sharing (rentier) economy under some spurious formular which has encouraged laziness and unviability of states from which the said 59 members all hail from.”

The Nation

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Treat bandits as terrorists – Speakers tell President Buhari

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Chairman of the conference and Speaker, Bauchi House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Abubakar Suleiman

The Conference of Speakers in Nigeria has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare bandits terrorists and enemies of the state.

The Chairman of the conference and Speaker, Bauchi House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Abubakar Suleiman, made the pronouncement at the end of the third quarter general meeting of the Conference of Speakers in Katsina on Saturday.

He said the call was one of the outcomes of their 5-point communique reached at the end of their deliberations.

According to the Speakers’ Chairman, they have come to realise that the mode of operations employed by the bandits is not in anyway different from that of terrorists and as such should be treated as one.

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Other resolutions reached in the course of the deliberations included working out a legislative framework to complement federal government efforts in the fight against insecurity in the country.

Also, the conference resolved to come up with appropriate laws that will address the fundamental issues responsible for the insecurity experienced in the country.

The communique also harped on the need to create employment opportunities for the teeming youths as a means to curb the insecurity situation bedeviling the country.

Daily Post

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Everything is the opposite yet Nigeria not a complete disaster – Soyinka

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Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has said Nigerians are still managing to eke out a living despite the bleak realities confronting the country.

Soyinka spoke during an interview with the Cable News Network monitored by our correspondent.

Commenting on the ironic title for his first novel in 48 years, Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth, he said things happened around one as one grew up, witnessing the degrading of dream and environment in one’s society and on the continent.

He explained that for him, the issue had been an arduous journey, adding, “It has reached such a stage, I found intuitively, that only prose fiction can handle things that have been bubbling up inside me.”

He said the title came after some people some years ago conducted a poll which placed Nigeria among the top four happiest nations in the world.

The playwright noted, “That thing has been with me, in my head. I asked, ‘Who are these people? What do they know? What have they seen? What have they experienced in Nigeria that they make such an attribution?’ That title really has been waiting to answer that claim in many ways. When you look at the surroundings, everything is the opposite and yet, Nigeria is not a complete disaster.

“People still manage to eke out a living not only a living but to some extent a dignified and satisfied living. I think it’s not surface appearance of contentment or making the best of a really bad job, insisting that no matter what life must go on… It’s that which needed to be, quote and unquote, celebrated in addition to the bleak actualities.”

The elder statesman further said he took the decision to change his former relationship if Donald Trump was elected president of the United States despite “being literally an enemy of decency and humanity’’ and his blatantly discontent for non-white humanity.

He stated, “I never really totally turned my back on the United States. I mean how could one? We have many Nigerians there, to start with. When I stroll through the streets of the United States, I sometimes think the United States is an extension of Nigeria, that it’s part of our diaspora.” That’s not an easy decision but it was inevitable.”

Commenting on the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature awarded to Tanzanian novelist, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Soyinka said his immediate statement after the announcement was “let the African tribe expand wherever situated.”

Punch

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