The Federal Government has again assured Nigerians that all issues that led to the suspension of activities of the popular microblogging platform, Twitter, will be sorted out soon.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, gave the assurance while fielding questions from State House correspondents after the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Mohammed, who declined to give a specific timeline on when the suspension would be lifted, said the ongoing discussions between government and Twitter had been “productive” and “respective”.
Asked on the latest on the Twitter ban in the country as he had promised on August 11 that the ban would be lifted very soon, the minister said: “I think even Twitter itself two days ago gave what I will call a progress report on our talks with them, and I think if I want to quote them rightly, it has been productive and quite respectful.
“And as to the qualifying, when, how soon is soon, right? I want to assure you that the time that Twitter operation has been suspended, between the time it has been suspended, and when it will be restored is by far, much, much shorter.
“In other words, if the operation has been suspended for about 100 days now, I can tell that we’re just actually talking about a few, just a few more days now.
“What we’re trying to do is the changes that have been going on, but we need to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, but I can assure us that we’re not mindful of the anxiety of Nigerians and both parties are working very hard to put a closure on the matter.
“And like Twitter itself said the changes have been very, very productive on both parties. It has not been advisory at all. And it’s quite respectful. Thank you very much.”
When asked further to be specific on when the matter would be resolved, Mohammed said: “Honestly, we have gone very far, I won’t be specific, but we have gone very far, and honestly, it’s just going to be very, very soon, just take my word for that.
“Honestly, I can’t be more specific than what I’ve told you that it is going to be very soon.”
The federal government had said the microblogging platform was suspended because it provided an avenue for people threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria.
Mohammed had Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, helped to fund the recent #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.
Mohammed had on June 9 listed conditions that must be met by Twitter, including that it must now be registered in Nigeria as a business concern.
There are reports that Nigeria has lost at least $360 million over the Twitter ban.
FG declares public holiday to mark Eid-ul-Mawlud
The Federal Government has declared October 19 as a public holiday in commemoration of the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Shuaib Belgore, on Friday.
The statement stated that the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, made the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government.
Aregbesola congratulated all Nigerian Muslim faithful, both at home and in the diaspora, on the occasion of Eid-ul-Mawlud.
He admonished Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of love, patience and perseverance which were the virtues of the Holy Prophet, as doing so would guarantee peace and security in the country.
The minister enjoined Nigerians, particularly Muslims, to refrain from violence, lawlessness and other acts of criminality.
“As the indisputable leader of our race, we (Nigerians) must show responsible leadership in Africa,” he said.
Aregbesola called on Nigerians to refrain from all divisive tendencies capable of causing crisis in the country.
He also urged Nigerians and the youth in particular, to embrace the virtues of hard work and peaceful disposition to fellow humans.
“Irrespective of faith, ideology, social class and ethnicity I urge you to cooperate with President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in its effort to build a progressive and enviable nation that all citizens would be proud of,” he said.
FG establishing oxygen plants in 36 states – NEC
The National Economic Council (NEC) says the Ministry of Health is establishing oxygen plants across the 36 states of the federation.
Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi made this known to State House correspondents after a virtual NEC meeting on Friday presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Umahi said that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, who chaired the NEC Ad hoc committee interfacing with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to ease the lockdown of the economy, presented a report to the council.
“The Federal Ministry of Health is establishing oxygen plants across the 36 states in the country, but currently six states have been provided with oxygen cylinders so far.
“The Federal Government has paid for 40 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines coming in batches and therefore a considerable amount of the vaccines will come into the country between now and January 2022. Nigeria is now classified among the 50 countries in the green zones.”
Umahi said that NEC also received states’ performance report on COVID-19 from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
He said that the council was also updated on the global situation of COVID-19.
He said, “Over 237 million confirmed cases and over 4.8 million deaths due to COVID-19. There are now over 6.3 billion vaccine doses administered. Nigeria is still in the first wave of vaccination and vaccination tools will improve as the country receives additional vaccines. COVID-19 cases have declined by 7.5 per cent over the last week.”
Umahi said that states were urged to continue to push testing activities in order to detect new cases before the situation worsened.
According to him, an update on travel restrictions on certain countries expected to be announced soon by the Federal Government.
The governor said that the council also received an update on the situation regarding Cholera outbreak.
“Current Cholera situation in the country; suspected number of cases is 88,704. Number of states is 31 and the FCT. Number of deaths is 3,208.
“Multi-sectoral emergency operation centres activated at level 2 continues to coordinate the national response,” he said.
He listed the challenges to include difficulty in accessing some communities due to insecurity, open defecation and lack of potable drinking water.
Umahi said other challenges were lack of basic health primary healthcare infrastructure, inadequate health facility and cholera commodities for case management.
Umahi said that NEC commended the insightful presentations and congratulated the outgoing Director-General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, on his new appointment at the WHO and also welcomed the incoming Director-General, Dr Ifedayo Morayo Adetifa.
Bakare meets with Buhari, opposes clamour for power rotation
Founder of Citadel Global Community Church, Tunde Bakare, says the region to produce the president of Nigeria should not be an issue.
He stated this in Abuja on Friday during an interaction with reporters at the presidential villa after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that Nigerians are only bothered about a leader that would ensure the prosperity of the country.
The pastor said the “immaturity” of the citizens is responsible for “making us say power must either be in the North or be in the South, instead of looking for the best.
“Listen to me, if where the President comes from will make the place he has come from to be better, the northern part of Nigeria should be richest and the most progressive and the most developed because out of 61 years, the North has produced either the President or heads of state for 40 to 41 years and yet, see the retrogression in the North.
“If it’s from the South, why should a person like President Obasanjo freeze and seize the account of Lagos State in his own tenure? If it’s from South-South or South-East, why couldn’t President Jonathan use all his powers to develop South-South/South-East?
“If there are agreements between politicians on rotation, a bargain is a bargain. That is between them. But as far as this country is concerned, what we need at this stage is a man who can drive us to the Eldorado.”
The pastor commended the national assembly for empowering the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to determine the mode of transmitting election results.
“Perhaps one of the best things the present national assembly has done, especially the senate, because, with that, Nigerians can vote and then results can be transmitted so easily,” he said.
“Not only that, part of the state of the nation address that I did on October 10, I emphasised how Nigeria youth, especially undergraduates, are disenfranchised in our country.”
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