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Northern leaders back control of social media

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  • Allege #EndSARS protest was hijacked to topple Buhari administration

Northern leaders made up of influential people such as state governors, Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, top traditional rulers and senior political officers, among others rose from a crucial meeting Monday on the state of the nation with a resolution backing the plan by the Federal Government to censor the social media use.

The Ministers of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has been championing the campaign for the control of the social media by the Federal Government, insisting that its platforms are being used to spread fake news and subversive information.

His counterpart at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, also said on Monday that the FG contemplated shutting down the social media space during the recent nationwide EndSARS protest, saying the protest brought home the dangers of fake news.

The northern leaders, who also reaffirmed their commitment to the indivisibility, indissolubility and oneness of Nigeria, alleged that those pushing for superlative agitations and other change-regime actions outside the ballot box hijacked the peaceful #EndSARS protests to further their separatist agenda.

Members of the Northern States Traditional Rulers Council led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, attended the meeting.

Their meeting presided over by the northern governors forum’s Chairman and Plateau State Governor, Mr Simon Lalong, was attended by governors of Kaduna, Kebbi, Kwara and Zamfara States.

The governors of Kogi and Kano states were represented by their deputies.

The leaders, in a communiqué issued after the meeting, decried “the devastating effect of the social media in spreading fake news,” and called for a “control mechanism and censorship of the social media practice in Nigeria.”

The communiqué read by Lalong frowned on “the subversive actions of the #EndSARS change protest” and declared support for a united and indivisible Nigeria.

“The meeting rejects and condemns the subversive actions of the #EndSARS change protest,” it said, adding, “The superlative agitations and other change-regime actions outside the ballot box soon take advantage of the peaceful protests to push for their separatist agenda.”

They applauded the major reforms going on in the police force even as they pledged to support President Muhammadu Buhari to succeed.

It also drew attention to the need to protect the FCT against unwarranted and destructive protests.

“The meeting raises attention on the need to keep a strict watch on the Federal Capital Territory to guide against unwarranted and destructive protests to safeguard critical assets of the nation,” it said.

The leaders said they had resolved to support the police to serve the country better and called for the building of trust between the people and the police.

They commended the National Assembly and the presidency for being proactive in addressing the issues raised by the #EndSARS protesters across the country.

They also expressed concern over the lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and called for an amicable resolution of the issues to enable students to resume their studies.

The northern leaders called for engagement with other critical stakeholders such as religious leaders, the business community, and youth leaders, resolving to set up two major engagement committees – namely Committee on Roles of Traditional Rulers Membership, headed by the Emir of Lafia, Alhaji Sidi Muhammad, and Committee on Youth and Civil Societies headed by the Emir of Zazzau (Zaria), Alhaji Nuhu Bamalli, which are to commence work immediately.

They commended the role of religious leaders, such as the Ulamas, the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), for their positive interventions in resolving the #EndSARS conflicts.

The leaders called for collective efforts in addressing the lingering challenges of the North, especially the Almajiri system, insecurity, illiteracy, poverty, and others.”

The Deputy Speaker House of Representatives, Hon. Idris Wase; and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, attended the meeting.

Others were the Minister of Information and Culture; Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari; and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Mallam Mohammad Bello.

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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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