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Nigeria petitions CNN over #EndSARS report, threatens legal action

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The Federal Government has petitioned the Cable News Network (CNN),  demanding an immediate investigation into its report on the recent Lekki tollgate incident.
The FG threatened to take a legal action if it failed to act on the petition.
In the petition addressed to Mr Jonathan Hawkins VP, Communications, CNN Centre Atlanta, Georgia US, the government said if the international media organisation failed to carry out its demand, it will “take any action within its laws’’ to prevent the CNN from aggravating the #EndSARS crisis.
The petition dated November 23, 2020 and signed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, was made available to newsmen in Abuja.
It urged the network to determine the authenticity and conformity of the report to basic standards of journalism.
CNN in its report had alleged that it ”uncovered that Nigerian security forces opened fire on unarmed protesters” at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos, during the #EndSARS protest.
The report entitled ‘How a Bloody Night of Bullets Quashed a Young Protest Movement’ was aired on November 18 by the international news organisation.
The petition read in part,
“We write to put on record that the report did not just fall short of journalistic standards; it reinforces the disinformation that is going around on the issue.
“It is blatantly irresponsible and it is a poor piece of journalistic work by a reputable international news
organization.
“In the first instance, the report did not live up to the most basic of the core principles of journalism – balance and fairness.’’
It said the CNN failed to exhibit the journalism ethic of balance and fairness in the report but slanted the story to favour the reporter’s desired conclusion.
It stated, “Rushing to air such a momentous story without presenting the government’s side is inexcusable and indefensible.
“CNN said it contacted over 100 protesters and family members, but did not speak to one official of Nigeria’s federal government.
“While CNN said there was no response from the army and that officials of Lagos State would not speak in view of the Judicial Panel that is investigating the matter, it did not say what effort it made to speak with any official of the federal government.
“The truth is that CNN did not even attempt to reach the federal government.
“Nima Elbagir, who presented the report and most probably led the investigation, is conversant with the Minister of Information and Culture, who is also the spokesman for the Federal Government of Nigeria, yet did not say that she even tried to reach the minister.
“It is therefore strange, to say the least, that she would rush to air such an important ‘investigation’ report without getting the government’s side.’’
The minister claimed the CNN was not present at the Lekki tollgate on the night of the incident but relied heavily on unverified footages it harvested from social media.
He said the government was baffled by the CNN position that it stood by its story and ”our reporting was carefully and meticulously researched” despite all evidence to the contrary.
Mohammed said DJ Switch; one of CNN’s star eyewitnesses in its ‘investigative’ reporting, is not credible because her story on the Lekki tollgate shooting has changed several times.

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Buckingham Palace aide resigns over racist comments

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A Buckingham Palace aide has resigned and tendered an apology over racist comments reportedly made to a black British guest at a reception hosted by the Queen Consort.

Ngozi Fulani, the founder of a charity supporting victims of domestic abuse, alleged that she was repeatedly asked by a royal aide at a Palace function where she was “really from” in Africa.

The palace said it was taking the incident “extremely seriously”.

An eyewitness to the conversation, Mandu Reid, confirmed the account and told the BBC the questions put to Ms Fulani were “offensive, racist and unwelcoming”.

Reid said she had a “sense of incredulity” about the exchange with a member of the Royal Household, in which Ms Fulani was “interrogated” about where she was from – even though she had explained she was born and lived in the UK.

Ms Fulani is the founder of the London-based charity Sistah Space, which supports black women who have faced domestic and sexual abuse.

Along with 300 guests, she had been invited to a high-profile reception at the Palace on Tuesday, where the Queen Consort, Camilla, had warned of a “global pandemic of violence against women”.

But after the event, Ms Fulani described her conversation on Twitter, where she was challenged by a royal aide to explain where she was from.

She recounted how she said: “We’re based in Hackney,” and the aide replied: “No, what part of Africa are you from?”

She said, “I don’t know, they didn’t leave any records”, and the Palace member responded, “Well you must know where you’re from, I spent time in France. Where are you from? Here, UK.”

“No, but what nationality are you?”

“I am born here and am British.”

“No, but where do you really come from, where do your people come from?”

She said that members of the Royal Household were circulating at the reception and making “chit chat” – but she said it became a “really unpleasant interaction”, when despite Ms Fulani’s replies there was an insistent questioning about her background.

Ms Reid said they were “stunned into silence” afterwards and says that Ms Fulani should receive an apology and those working for the palace should receive training.

Both Ms Reid and Sistah Space have decided not to name the royal aide believed to be involved.

Palace reacts

In response, Buckingham Palace said, “We take this incident extremely seriously and have investigated immediately to establish the full details.

“In this instance, unacceptable and deeply regrettable comments have been made.

“We have reached out to Ngozi Fulani on this matter, and are inviting her to discuss all elements of her experience in person if she wishes.

“In the meantime, the individual concerned would like to express her profound apologies for the hurt caused and has stepped aside from her honorary role with immediate effect.

“All members of the household are being reminded of the diversity and inclusivity policies which they are required to uphold at all times.”

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Adeleke denies sacking workers, monarchs

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Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke

Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, has denied making executive orders to sack traditional rulers and workers in the state.

He said he only set up a review panel and nobody has been sacked.

His Chief Press Secretary, Olawale Rasheed, who in spoke Rave FM in Osogbo, said executive order one to five shows the intentions of the administration to review, nullify, and set aside while the instrumentality to effect the orders was order six which is the composition of the panel.

He said: “There was never sack of any worker or traditional ruler. We only set up a review panel. It is impossible to sack and put a review panel in place.

“The review panel is to look at the numbers of the people that were employed, due processes of the employment, and qualification among other things.

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“Before our taking over, there were issues of backdating of employment, even till last year. So, order 1-5 will be operationalised by order 6 which are the panels.

“Those that were employed from July 17 till our takeover are still at work presently, they have not been sacked. The staff audit will review the employment.”

However, a statement by Rasheed said the governor has approved the dissolution of all non-statutory boards in the state with immediate effect.

“As a follow-up to the pronouncement of Governor Adeleke, on Sunday, November 27, 2022, all non-statutory boards, commissions and parastatals, including those of tertiary institutions (with exception of UNIOSUN) are hereby dissolved in the state, forthwith.

“Consequently, all accounting officers of such boards, parastatals and commissions are to take charge with immediate effect.”

Sun

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NANS apologises to Aisha Buhari, demands explanation from police over student’s arrest

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Aisha Buhari

National Association of Nigerian Students has apologised to Aisha Buhari, wife of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), over the arrest of a student of the Federal University, Dutse Jigawa, Aminu Mohammed, by the police.

Condemnations had trailed the reported arrest of Mohammed over a tweet on the First Lady. Notable Nigerians including social activist, Aisha Yesufu, knocked Aisha for allegedly using her power against the student.

While initial reports were that Mohammed was arrested by the Department of State Services, NANS revealed that he was rather arrested by the Federal Capital Territory Police Command, who traced Mohammed to Jigawa where he was picked up.

NANS in a statement on Tuesday by its President, Usman Barambu, apologised on behalf of the Nigerian students to the First Lady, while also calling for Mohammed’s release.

“The leadership of NANS received with concern the news of the unlawful arrest of Mohammed by the Nigeria Police on the instruction of Aisha Buhari. Upon receiving the news, I, Mohammed’s family and friends swung into action to trace the whereabouts of Mohammed. After some days of searching, we got the information that he was at the police unit in Wuse Zone 2. I met with Mohammed at the police custody.

“It was alleged that Mohammed some weeks back posted Aisha Buhari’s picture on Twitter with the caption “Su mama anchi kudin talakawa an koshi” (translated from Hausa to ‘the mother has gotten fatter by eating masses’ money’).

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“Just like the normal way angry citizens have different ways of expression on the social media. On November 18, 2022, the police from Abuja tracked Mohammed to the Federal University Dutse and picked him without any written/verbal invitation or informing the school management or his family,” Barambu narrated.

The NANS President said Mohammed was taken straight to the Presidential Villa where he was allegedly brutalised, beaten, maltreated and humiliated by the police “on the orders of Aisha Buhari, after which he was unlawfully detained at a police facility at Wuse Zone II till date. I, alongside our team of lawyers, met with Mohammed at the police facility where he confirmed the incident to me. Until now, Mohammed has not been arraigned by any competent court of law or granted bail by the police.”

“We want to, on behalf of all the Nigerian students, tender our unreserved apology to the First Lady Aisha Buhari, for the action of Mohammed which might have caused her and her family pains. However, as leaders and public office holders, we must overlook some criticisms if we want to really forge ahead and do the right thing,” Barambu said.

“We demand a detailed explanation by the Nigeria Police on why they will go to the school premises and ‘kidnap’ a student without due process and took him straight to the Presidential Villa where he was brutalised which violates his fundamental human rights,” the statement said.

NANS said Mohammed had sustained various injuries and had not accessed any proper medical attention. “We call on the police as a matter of national interest and urgency to release Mohammed unconditionally or be prepared to face the Nigerian students.

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“However, we are calling on our teeming students to be careful and apply decorum in dealing with people especially our leaders. They should be mindful of what they post on social media.

“We want to inform the general public to be patient as we await response and actions from the Inspector General of Police on a letter earlier sent to his office,” the president added.

Disagreeing with the national body, the South-West zone of NANS, in another statement by its Public Relations Officer, Giwa Temitope, condemned the alleged action of the First Lady, saying Mohammed’s rights were grossly violated.

“The conduct of Aisha and the security officers involved in the brutality meted out to Mohammed is highly condemnable and shows that Aisha does not tolerate dissent. In a democratic dispensation, one would have expected the wife of the President to have instituted a case against the student (if at all there is any) rather than resort to violence.

“In so far it has been established that the student was ‘abducted’ by the police and then ferried to the Presidential Villa where he was tortured on the order of Aisha and then locked up at a police facility at Wuse II, the wife of the President and everyone involved have erred and violated his (Mohammed’s) right to dignity of human persons as guaranteed under Section 34 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

“Our position as an association is that the wife of the President has exhibited conduct against the provisions of the Nigerian law which has therefore invalidated whatever case they might have against him,”  Temitope said.

Punch

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