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We won’t gag press but media should be regulated – Gbajabiamila

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that he will not be part of any bill that seeks to gag the press.
He, however, said that the media should be regulated, stressing that no institution including the press would be allowed to operate unchecked.
He stated this on Monday during the annual dinner and award of excellence held under the theme ‘Reorganising Good Governance and Legislative Excellence in the Face of Adversity’.
The move by the lower chamber to amend the laws establishing the Nigeria Press Council (NPC) and Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has attracted a lot of criticisms from opinion leaders, journalists and other members of the public.
Gbajabiamila said, “I will not be part of any bill that will seek to gag the press. No bill will come to the floor of the House that seeks to gag the press, because the press as it is supposed to be, is supposed to be the voice of the people.”
According to the speaker, there is press freedom and freedom of expression and there will always be, adding however that nowhere in the world where freedom of expression is absolute.
He said freedom of expression is limited to the extent that it does not affect another person’s freedom.
He pointed out that freedom of expression is not absolute, adding it was made absolutely clear in the constitution.
The Speaker said Section 45 of the Nigerian Constitution guarantees freedom of expression but added that the government could limit that freedom for the sake of health and security, which he said was written in black and white.
He said, “Once, I will never allow the gagging of the press. I worry where at every turn when the National Assembly tries to promulgate the law with the best of intentions and everybody descends on the National Assembly.
“Using this as a sample, this Press Council Bill. I called the proponent of the bill, what is going on, what have you done and he tried to break it down. I haven’t read the bill personally myself but I will read it in the next couple of days in detail. I just have a general idea of the context.
“He told me he had a meeting with all the stakeholders. I wasn’t present at the meeting. Because I said to him, I hope you are meeting with these guys, whatever provision they have problem with, whatever provision that is inimical to the development of the press or the growth of the press, remove it or tweak it in such a way that everybody will be happy.”
Gbajabiamila said the fact that no institution wanted to be regulated gave him concern.
“We are getting to a point in this country, nobody wants to be regulated; the NGOs don’t want to be regulated; the religious bodies don’t want to be regulated; social media doesn’t want to be regulated; professors of universities go on strike because they don’t want to be on the same payment platform as everybody else,” he said.
The speaker wondered what the function of government would be if not to regulate for good government.
He added: “Regulations are a key component or essential component of good governance. We cannot just let people or any institution run amok. The executive is regulated, the judiciary to a large extent is regulated, the legislature is regulated. Just name it. Institutions are meant to be regulated.
“There is no one institution that can be above the law, especially an institution that is meant to be the fourth estate of the realm whose utterances or writings can make it break even a government.”
The speaker said as long the provisions in the bill would guarantee the independence of the press, it was non-negotiable.

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JOHESU, AHPA issue fresh 15 days nationwide strike notice

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The Joint Health Sector Unions and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations have issued a fresh 15 days strike notice.

This followed an unanimously resolution adopted by the two groups to step down the notice of strike due to expire midnight September 17 and issue a fresh notice of 15 days.

It would be recalled that the union had on September 2 issued the Federal Government a 15 days ultimatum to meet its demands or embark on nationwide strike at the expiry date.

The JOHESU Acting General Secretary, Chief Matthew Ajorutu, said this in a communique issued at the end of an Expanded National Executive Council emergency meeting of the union via Zoom and physical attendance on Friday in Abuja.

The expanded NEC had the Presidents and General Secretaries of affiliate unions and professional associations, NEC members of affiliate unions and JOHESU Chairmen and Secretaries at the state and branch levels.

Ajorutu said that NEC-in-session had critically appraised the reports of JOHESU negotiation and conciliation meetings with the Federal Government since the declaration of the trade dispute through the 15 days strike notice issued on September 2.

He said that NEC also noted the appeal from President Muhammadu Buhari on the need to show understanding with his administration and the President’s pledge to pay any debt owed health workers.

He said that NEC also received and examined reports of congresses held at various health facilities across the country on the mobilisation for the strike action due to commence at midnight on September 18.

According to Ajorutu, NEC, after long hours of exhaustive deliberations on issues surrounding the planned industrial action, resolved that the Federal Ministry of Health should ensure speedy circularisation of all establishment and welfare matters as agreed during negotiation meetings.

He said: “The Federal Government should ensure that the new data for the computation of the adjusted Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) for JOHESU members be completed and submitted to the ‘High Level Body (HLB)’ of the FG not later than Wednesday, September 22, as agreed.

“NEC-in-session urges the Federal Government to ensure that the High Level Body (HLB) complete and submit the computation of the adjusted CONHESS for inclusion in the 2022 budget within the September 30th, submission window.

“NEC urges the Federal Government to reciprocate the patriotic humanitarian gesture of JOHESU in the interest of the larger Nigerian masses to expeditiously resolve all the demands within the fifteen days window.

“Finally, NEC-in-Session unanimously adopts a resolution to step down the notice of strike action due to expire mid-night September 17, and issue a fresh notice of fifteen days.”

The communique further said that NEC commended all members for their commitment and understanding towards the struggle for better working conditions, improved healthcare services and social justice for all.

Eagle Online

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Defection: Gumi knocks Fani-Kayode, calls him ‘Judas of Oduduwa’

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Popular Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has described Femi Fani-Kayode as the ‘Judas of Oduduwa’ following his defection from the opposition party (PDP) to the All Progressive Congress (APC).

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Gumi wrote:

“I have for long, neglected the rantings of the Judas of Oduduwa attacking me knowing fully well that he is fake and a traitor.

“Time has now caught up with him and thanks to Allah, all his vituperations are cast in the dustbin of merciless history.

“It is him now, one wonders which of the seven circles of hell this duper will settle if he doesn’t repent.”

Recall that the Fani-Kayode, a former minister of aviation under President Olusegun Obasanjo, berated those fronting for bandits and terrorists in the country. Though he never mentioned names but his rhetorics suggested he was referring to Sheikh Gumi.

On joining the APC, Fani-Kayode, however, said that he was moved by the Spirit to defect from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC, pointing out that he was a founding member of the ruling party.

Arogbonlo Israel,Vanguard News Nigeria

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BDCs funding Boko Haram, kidnappings, says CBN governor

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has accused operators of Bureaux de Change (BDC) of funding terrorism and kidnapping in the country.

Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, stated this in Abuja on Friday after the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting.

He also vowed that CBN would not rescind its decision to ban the sale of foreign exchange to the BDCs.

Emefiele said the CBN had resolved to stop funding the BDCs in the name of stabilising the forex market.

He said, “We have decided that this will stop and it has stopped for good. It beats my imagination that Nigeria carried on with this kind of practice that tended to support illegal activities of people who are involved in graft and involved in corrupt practices.”

He also said, “We have unwittingly supported activities of those who illegally buy foreign exchange from this illegal market, carry them in aircraft out of the country and go to buy arms and ammunition and bring them back into the country and conduct crime whether it is Boko Haram, kidnapping or all sorts of nefarious activities.

“We the CBN take our country’s dollar and sell to people to go and buy arms ammunition to come and hurt us. That is what we are saying that people want us to continue to do. We cannot do that any longer.”

He told bank customers with legitimate requests for forex exceeding the official limit that “your bank will speak to us and we will give you what is even more than the limit. We will continue to monitor the banks.

“We conducted a study, one of the banks sold in one day forex to 52 people who wanted to travel. After two weeks, they went to check, 40 out of the 52 had cancelled their tickets. They will have to return the forex or we will pursue you if you are involved in this nefarious activity. We are not going to go back there again.”

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