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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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Abba Kyari’s Arrest, Extradition: FBI Agents Meet Nigeria’s Police IGP

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Officials of the Federal Bureau of Investigation have met with the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba to demand the arrest and extradition of Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari to the United States, SaharaReporters learnt.

 

According to a top source, four FBI agents met with the IGP on Thursday asking that Nigeria’s celebrated cop, Kyari be taken to the United States for interrogation over his role in the activities of suspected serial internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas, more commonly known as Hushpuppi.

 

The source stated that the agents have returned on Friday (today) to ensure their demands are met, citing the urgency of the case.

 

He said, “FBI agents met with the IGP yesterday (Thursday) to demand Abba Kyari’s arrest and extradition to the United States citing the urgency of the case. Four FBI agents returned to the IG’s office this morning, they are there asking the IGP to release Kyari for interrogation.”

 

Meanwhile, as of Thursday night, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, had ordered an internal review of the receipt of allegations and indictment processes from the Federal Bureau of Investigation against Kyari.

 

This was contained in a statement issued by the force’s spokesperson, Frank Mba, on its Facebook page on Thursday night.

 

The force also stated that it is committed to the pursuit of justice and the strengthening of its professional relationship with the FBI and other international partners.

 

It assured Nigerians to further communicate developments on the case to members of the public.

 

The statement read, “Sequel to the receipt of allegations and indictment processes from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) against one of the personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, DCP Abba Kyari, the Inspector General of Police IGP Usman Alkali Baba psc (+), NPM, fdc has ordered an internal review of the allegations.

 

“The Nigeria Police Force reaffirms its commitment to the pursuit of justice and the strengthening of its professional relationship with the FBI and other international partners.

 

“Further developments on this case will be communicated to members of the public accordingly.”

 

Otis Wright of the United States District Court for the Central District of California ordered the Federal Bureau of Investigation to track down Kyari and produce him in the United States for his role in a multi-million dollar fraud.

 

Abbas was arrested in Dubai last June and he pleaded guilty to fraud in the U.S. this week.

 

The FBI said Abbas and Kyari have been friends and were both involved in a conspiracy to launder money.

 

American prosecutors first sought a court warrant to arrest Kyari on February 12, 2021.

 

Another warrant was requested on April 29, 2021.

 

Judge Wright’s permission for the FBI to arrest Mr Kyari and hold him in U.S. custody was unsealed on July 26.

 

Hushpuppi had narrated how he bribed Kyari to have one of his rivals arrested and jailed in Nigeria following a dispute over a $1.1 million dupe of a Qatari businessperson.

 

Abbas had asked Kyari to arrest and jail a fellow fraudster Kelly Chibuzor Vincent after both were locked in a dispute presumably over how to share the $1.1 million loot received from the Qatari businessperson.

 

Abbas had pleaded guilty to a multi-million fraud earlier this month and faces up to 20 years in jail.

 

He will be sentenced in the coming weeks and will forfeit some of his assets and his rights to appeal while also paying restitution to victims of his years-long fraud.

 

Kyari in a statement on Facebook has, however, dismissed the allegations of bribe.

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Buhari Meet British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, Discuss Insecurity In Nigeria

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Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari and the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday, appraised the war against different forms of terrorism in Nigeria, and agreed that the judicial process be allowed to run its course.

 

 

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, made this known in a statement on Thursday evening.

 

Adesina said the two leaders held a bilateral talks at the sidelines of the Global Education Summit in London where they agreed that it was important that the judicial process runs without interference, no matter who was involved.

 

According to Buhari’s spokesman, the president briefed the Prime Minister on Nigeria’s power needs and efforts being made, as well as initiatives geared at achieving food security in Nigeria.

 

President Buhari also reviewed the security situation in the different regions of the country, as PM Johnson pledged Britain’s preparedness to help Nigeria curb the deteriorating security situations.

 

PM Johnson said, “We are available to help.”

 

The two leaders equally discussed how to increase trade between the two countries, develop solar and wind power, leadership of the Commonwealth going forward and other matters of mutual interest.

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Tokyo2020: Okagbare, Nwokocha Qualify For 100m Semi Final

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For the very first time in nine years, two Nigerian athletes will be running in the semifinals of the women’s 100m after Blessing Okagbare and Nzubechi Grace Nwokocha qualified from their respective heats Friday in Tokyo, Japan, Newspremises reports.

 

Nwokocha had to run a new personal best of 11.00 seconds to secure her qualification to the semifinals in her debut at the Games.

 

The 20 year old has also moved into fifth in the Nigeria all-time list behind Okagbare (10.79), Glory Alozie (10.90) Mary Onyali (10.97) and Damola Osayomi (10.99).

 

The home-based athlete who ran 11.09 seconds to secure her qualification for the Olympics in March at the MOC Grand Prix in Lagos will however need to make further history by breaking the 11 seconds barrier as the fifth Nigerian woman to do so to stand a chance of joining Onyali and Okagbare as debutants who ran all the way to the final of the event.

 

She has been drawn to run from lane nine in the third semifinal heat with the fastest woman alive, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica, Daryl Neita of Great Britain, Teahna Daniels of the USA and fellow African, Muriel Ahoure of Ivory Coast.

 

While Nwokocha qualified for her first semifinal, Okagbare will be running in her third since she made her debut in the event at the 2012 Olympics in London. The 32 year old ran 11.05 seconds to win her first round heat.

 

She has been drawn in the first semifinal heat alongside two heavyweights of the event, defending champion Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica who ran 10.82 seconds to win her first round heat and Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith, the 200m world champion two years ago in Doha, Qatar who ran 11.07 seconds to come second in her first round heat.

 

The 2008 Beijing Olympics Long Jump silver medallist will be in action at exactly 11.15 am Nigerian time on Saturday.

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