FG Sets Up Committee To Tackle Fake News

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File: Mr Lai Mohammed addresses a press conference in Abuja on December 10, 2018.


The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said that a committee has been set up to implement the recommendations approved by President Muhammadu Buhari on tackling hate speech and fake news.

Mr. Mohammed who disclosed this during a meeting with online publishers in Lagos on Sunday said that hate speech and fake news are the ‘Siamese twins
of evil’, and no responsible government will sit by and allow such to rule the airwaves.

He called on online publishers to support the national campaign and fight the menace which he claimed, is getting worse.

“Let me be clear: we didn’t think the issue will suddenly disappear, but we also didn’t think it will get worse, which is what it is now. In fact, it remains a clear and imminent danger to the polity.

“No responsible government will sit by and allow fake news and hate speech to rule the airwaves, because of the capacity of this menace to exploit our national fault lines to set us against each other and trigger a national conflagration. That is why we will continue to evolve ways to tackle fake news and hate speech until we banish both.”

READ ALSO: SERAP Asks EFCC, ICPC To Investigate MDAs Over Recruitment Sandals

Mr. Mohammed gave the highlights of the approved recommendations which includes; Independence of the NBC from political interference in the
exercise of its regulatory powers, Upward review of fines from N500,000 to N5,000,000 for breaches relating to hate speeches.

He added that the committee has been tasked to end the issue of monopoly in the broadcast industry, and no amount of coordinated attack will whittle down the implementation of the recommendations.

“Let me be straight: No amount of attacks sponsored or otherwise will stop the implementation of the approved recommendations. And only non-patriots and anarchists will kick against measures aimed at putting an end to fake news and hate speech, especially in our broadcast industry.

“Only those who are guilty should be afraid of the efforts to sanitize the broadcast industry. Responsible broadcasters have nothing to fear. This is not a move to stifle free speech or gag anyone. But purveyors of fake news and hate speech should not expect to sleep easy.”

SERAP Asks EFCC, ICPC To Investigate MDAs Over Recruitment Sandals

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) have been asked to “jointly carry out a prompt, thorough, transparent and effective investigation into allegations that principal officers and members of the Nigerian Senate are using their official positions to get job slots from government agencies.”

The call was made by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) in a petition dated 18 October 2019 and signed by its deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare.

SERAP also urged the anti-corruption agencies to: “probe allegations that some ministries, departments, and agencies are selling the employment slots at their disposal, with a single slot being allegedly sold for as much as N1.5 million.

“We urge you to prosecute anyone suspected to be involved should you consider there is relevant and sufficient admissible evidence, and to make public the outcome of any investigation.

“These allegations show the face of public recruitment in Nigeria in recent decades, which has typically been that of political influence, cronyism, patronage, and corruption. The allegations amount to a fundamental breach of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended), the country’s anti-corruption legislation and international obligations, particularly article 7 of the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.”

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The letter copied to the chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Itse Sagay, read in part: “SERAP urges you to invite the principal officers and members of the Senate and government agencies allegedly involved for interrogation and questioning, and to prosecute them if your investigation indicates relevant and sufficient admissible evidence. This would show your agencies’ willingness to proactively exert your mandates and act as a deterrent against breaches of Nigeria’s constitution, anti-corruption legislation, and international standards.”

SERAP also alleged that “The leadership of the Senate allegedly received 100 employment slots from FIRS to share among themselves. The Senate President Ahmad Lawan (Yobe North) allegedly secured 26 job slots from the FIRS.”

Meanwhile, the statement also quoted the Chairman, Senate Committee on Federal Character, Danjuma La’ah, reportedly saying that: We are aware that some of the agencies are selling the employment slots at their disposal. They are commercialising employment, selling a single slot for as much as N1.5m when we have children who have graduated from tertiary institutions who could not get any job for many years. Some people are just taking Nigerians for granted. Our children are suffering, running from one end to another, looking for jobs.”

Seven Killed As Governor Obaseki’s Advance Convoy Crashes With Car


An automobile crash has claimed the lives of at least seven people as the advance Protocol Team of the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, was involved in a head-on collision with an Audi car.

The accident happened at Ehor Village on the outskirt of Benin City the Edo State capital.

Confirming the tragic incident in a statement, Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, said the Audi vehicle lost its tyre and ran into a pothole, before colliding with the Hilux vehicle.

READ ALSO: Five Dead, Two Injured In Road Accident Along Ondo/Ore Highway

Several other persons including one of the governor’s drivers were
injured in the incident.

The governor’s spokesman conveyed the state government’s condolences to the victims and their families.

“We have confirmed from the Police and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) details of the accident involving the advance team of the Governor’s Protocol team.

“The development is extremely sad. We commiserate with the families of the victims and pray that God grants them the fortitude to bear the painful loss.

“From our findings, the Audi vehicle lost its tyre and ran into a pothole, before colliding with the Hilux vehicle, which was conveying protocol officers from Edo State Government House.”

He said the state government would ensure that the affected families get the necessary support to lessen the impact of the sad incident, noting that more information on the development will be released to the press soon.

Five Dead, Two Injured In Road Accident Along Ondo/Ore Highway


Five persons have lost their lives while two others were injured in an early morning road accident that occurred along the Ondo/Ore expressway.

The fatal accident which took place at Awoyaya junction on Sunday involved a private Sharon Volkswagen car with registration number KTU 706 BW said to be travelling from Onitsha to Ile-Ife; and a trailer which ran away.

According to the sector commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps in Ondo State, Rotimi Adeleye, who disclosed to Channels Television that out of the eight occupants in the vehicle, five died. He added that two others sustained injuries, while a little boy escaped unhurt.

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Adeleye revealed that the accident must have been caused by over-speeding and poor visibility.

The FRSC boss appealed to drivers to always exercise caution and avoid over-speeding, adding that people should avoid the night journey.

He informed that the remains of the dead have been deposited at the morgue, while those who sustained injuries have been taken to the general hospital, also in Ondo for treatment.

Meanwhile, the vehicle has been recovered by the police and taken to the Enuwa division in Ondo.

Volleyball League: COAS Spikers, Kada Kings Win On Matchday Two


Kada Kings and COAS Spikers have recorded their first wins at the ongoing National Volleyball League Division One in Bauchi.

On the opening day, Kada Kings lost to ABM of Katsina 3-2 (25-17, 19-25, 25-23, 22-25, 15-12) while COAS Spikers lost scandalously to Nigeria Correction boys 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-14) on Day one of the division one league.

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But on matchday 2, Kada Kings bounced back from a set down to beat Niger Brass 3-1(27-29, 25-20, 25-14, 25-20) while Nigeria Army managed to pull off a win over Offa Volleyball Club 3-2 (25-22, 20-25, 23-25, 25-21,15-11) in a highly competitive match.

Speaking after the game, head coach of Kada Kings, Sani Mohammed said the coaching crew had to re-strategise against Niger Brass to get the desired result.

Mohammed confirmed that losing to Nigeria Correction Boys was disastrous but had positive lessons.

“Our first match was unfortunate because the team that defeated us is not up to the standard of Niger Brass but we lost.

“The team drew a new strategy and came out fully to face Niger Brass. During the training session in the morning, the coaching crew motivated the boys and you can see the result against Niger Brass; we also noticed the weak points of our opponent and capitalised on it”.

Day 3 fixtures will see Niger Brass go against Sunshine Spikers, ABM of Katsina will take on Nigeria Correction Boys (Prisons) while Kada Kings will clash with Offa VC.

20 Dead In DR Congo Bus Accident


20 people were killed early Sunday when a packed bus came off the road on a highway west of the DR Congo capital Kinshasa and burst into flames, a local official said.

“The provisional toll is 20 dead,” Didier Nsimba, deputy administrator of Mbanza-Ngungu territory told AFP.

The bus, laden with people and goods, was traveling from Lufu to Kinshasa when the brakes failed, he said.

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An injured passenger who gave her name as Nacha said more than 100 people had been in the vehicle at the time, and many bodies were burned beyond recognition.

Mbanza-Ngungu is located about 150 kilometres (90 miles) west of Kinshasa on Highway 1, a road with a notorious reputation for deadly accidents.


Kebbi Beach Soccer Team Ready For Turkey Tournament

Photo: Kebbi Beach Soccer


Coach of the Kebbi Beach Soccer club, Abdullahi Isa, has expressed confidence in the team’s preparedness for the maiden edition of the World Winners Cup.

According to coach Isa, the team who are expected in Alanya, Turkey today to compete at the competition, are not be bothered about the quality of their opponents.

Isa, who has been preparing the team for the championship, is confident the Kebbi Fishers will impress and understand current trends that will aid in developing the sport in the country.

“We know the quality of our opponents but it doesn’t bother us. We have prepared well and focused on giving Africa a good representation.”

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The Kebbi Fishers have been drawn in group d with Levante UD of Spain, Germany’s Real Munster and Napoli Patron of Greece.

Group A has Alanya BS of Turkey, Hungary’s Goldwin Pluss, Moghavemat Yadz of Iran and China’s Meizhou Hakka.

Flamengo of Brazil, Boca Gdanks of Poland, Shahin Khazar of Iran and Kuwait’s Al-Arabi were drawn in group b while BSC Kristall of Russia, Copenhagen BS of Denmark, AT Licata of Italy and Iraq’s Masafi Al Wasat complete group c.

Chairman of Kebbi Beach Soccer Club, Mahmud Hadejia is pleased with the level of preparation, thanked all those who have supported the project and asked for more support during and after the tournament.

“We are the only team from Africa, so we have a huge responsibility to do well at the championship. We have good players, some have even joined the national team. We hope to have a good tournament.”

Twenty teams will participate at the tournament organized by beach soccer worldwide from the 21st till the 27th of this month.

Banking Services: FG Directs MTN, Others To Suspend N4 Charge On USSD Access

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The Federal Government has asked MTN Nigeria and other mobile operators to suspend the four naira (N4:00) charge per 20 seconds on USSD access to banking services.

The directive was issued by the Minister of Communications, Dr. Isa Pantami, on Sunday after a twitter user, Mustapha Hadi, tweeted at Pantami, requesting he acts on the claim.

MTN had sent a message to its mobile customers that with effect from October 21, 2019, N4 will be charged on every 20 seconds spent while using USSD access to banking services.

“Yello, Please note that from Oct 21, we will charge N4 per 20 seconds for USSD access to banking services. Thank you.”

READ ALSO: Improvised Explosives Kill Seven Insurgents, Injure Eight Others

Dr. Pantami, in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Mrs. Uwa Suleiman, asked the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to ensure that the operator suspends such plans until he is fully briefed.

“The attention of the Federal Ministry of Communications has been drawn to the viral text message allegedly sent by the Mobile Network Operator MTN Nigeria and other Mobile Operators notifying subscribers of a four naira (N4:00) charge per 20 seconds on USSD access to banking services from the 21st of October 2019.

“The office of the Honourable Minister of Communications Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FNCS, FBCS, FIIM is unaware of this development and has hereby directed the sector regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) ensures the operator suspends such plans until the Honourable Minister is fully and properly briefed.”


Fake Rehabilitation Centre: I Will Not Support Criminality Under Any Guise, Says Buhari


President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he will not support criminality under any guise, including the abduction of children and selling them off illegally.

He commended the police for its recent discoveries of fake correctional centres in Kaduna and Katsina, and a child-theft racket in Kano states.

In a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu, President Buhari noted that such arrests are in line with his commitment to human rights and dignity of the citizens regardless of their age, religion and ethnicity.

READ ALSO: BUSTED! 147 Victims Rescued From Another Centre In Kaduna

President Buhari was quoted saying that “no responsible democratic government would tolerate the existence of the torture chambers, and physical abuses of inmates in the name of rehabilitation of the victims.”

He called for more vigilance from the general public and assist security agencies in crime prevention and control by reporting the existence of criminal activities around their communities.

The police in Kaduna state raided another illegal rehabilitation centre in the Rigasa area of Kaduna State, rescuing about 147 victims with some of them in chains.

The raid which was carried out in the presence of the state governor, Mr Nasir El-Rufai, is the second within the space of one month in the state.

The first had 300 victims, including children and adults, rescued and are from Burkina Faso, Mali and other African countries.

There were also claims that some of the children had been sexually abused.

Meanwhile, in the Sabon Garin Daura area of Katsina state, another centre, owned by a famous and respected Islamic scholar, Bello Mai Almajirai. The place was also shutdown.

Improvised Explosives Kill Seven Insurgents, Injure Eight Others


Seven Boko Haram insurgents have been killed by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) laid by them against Nigerian Army troops at Lamba’a Forest along Jakana – Mainok Road in Borno State.

Also, eight others sustained severe injuries when their vehicle rode on the IED as they attempted to escape ground assaults by troops.

READ ALSO: Seven Killed As Governor Obaseki’s Advance Convoy Crashes With Car

A statement by the Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, troops mobilised to carry out the mop-up operation.

“In a clear case that can be best described as a tactical boomerang, on Friday, 18 October 2019, some marauding Boko Haram criminals elements who were escaping the unbearable battle heat turned on them by NA troops met their waterloo as one of their vehicles, a Toyota Sam Sahara Model, stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) laid by them against NA troops at Lamba’a Forest along Jakana – Mainok Road in Borno State.

“The self-inflicted destruction consumed 7 Boko Haram criminals while 8 others suffered severe injuries. Consequently, troops have mobilised to the general area for route clearance and mop-up operation.”

The statement added that troops deployed at a Check Point along Baga Road in Borno State while on ‘Operation Positive Identification’, arrested one Musa Ishaku while in possession of a fake Nigeria Customs ID card which he had been using to deceive security agencies.

Kidnappers Abduct Police ACP In Kaduna

Bandits Kill Two Air Force Personnel In Kaduna


The Police Area Commander of Suleja area command of Niger state police command, ACP Musa Rambo has been kidnapped by gunmen in Kaduna state.

He was said to be traveling to Jos the Plateau state capital with his car when the incident happened.

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A statement by the Kaduna police command spokesman, DSP Yakubu Sabo, said the Area Commander was abducted on Saturday around Kanock Bridge, a border area between Kaduna and Nasarawa States.

He explained that contact has been established with the kidnappers who are requesting for ransom, while efforts are on top gear towards rescuing the police officer and arresting the culprits.

He also enjoined the public to continue to support the Police with relevant information that will help the Command to overcome the recent security challenges.

Murray Reaches First Semi-Final Since 2017 After Copil Win

British Andy Murray returns a shot during the Men’s singles first-round match against Kimmer Coppejans of Belgium, at the European Open ATP Antwerp tennis tournament, on October 15, 2019 in Antwerp.


Former world number one Andy Murray reached his first semi-final since the 2017 French Open with a battling three-set win over Romania’s Marius Copil in Antwerp on Friday.

The 32-year-old British star, steadily rebuilding his career after major hip surgery earlier this year, defeated qualifier Copil 6-3, 6-7 (7/9), 6-4.

“I feel OK, it’s more how you pull up the following day,” said Murray, who is two wins away from a first title since Dubai in March 2017.

“The good thing about the indoor matches is that the points are fairly short so it doesn’t take as much out of you as on some of the slower courts outside.”

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Murray, now ranked a lowly 243 in the world, had the chance to wrap up the quarter-final when he had a match point in the second set tiebreak.

He eventually sealed victory after more than two and a half hours on court with an ace for his third win in three meetings against the 92nd-ranked Copil.

Murray goes on to face France’s world number 70 Ugo Humbert who put out Argentine fifth seed Guido Pella 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.

Italian teenager Jannik Sinner became the youngest ATP semi-finalist in five years when he defeated Frances Tiafoe of the United States 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

Sinner, 18, is the youngest to make the last four on tour since 17-year-old Borna Coric at Basel in 2014.

“I think I played good today once more. It was not easy in the end. I was shaking a little bit,” said Sinner, the world number 119.

The teenager fired 10 aces past the 53rd-ranked Tiafoe, saving four of five break points as he backed up his defeat of French top seed Gael Monfils in the second round.

Sinner, who was ranked 778 this time last year, can make the world top 100 next week.

However, he faces a daunting semi-final against three-time major winner Stan Wawrinka after the former world number three got past fellow 34-year-old Gilles Simon of France 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-2 in his quarter-final.

Sinner, who lost to Wawrinka at the US Open this year, will become the youngest ATP finalist since Kei Nishikori at Delray Beach in 2008 if he downs the experienced Swiss on Saturday.