All Social Media Platforms, Others Must Be Registered In Nigeria – Lai Mohammed

Photo collage of Lai Mohammed and Twitter Logo

 

The Federal Government has said all social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook, and others must register in the country.

This according to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed is part of the move to regulate the social media platforms.

Mr Mohammed said this on Wednesday in Abuja while briefing journalists after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.

“What we are saying is that all platforms, you must register in Nigeria. You must be a corporate entity before you can do business in Nigeria.

“Whether it is Netflix, Iroko, or Facebook…they are all doing business in Nigeria, making money and they are not paying taxes. This is in addition to being able to regulate them. They are making billions of naira out of this country and they are not paying tax. That can’t be allowed to go on,” the Minister said.

He also listed the conditions for the platforms to be registered.

“Our conditions are layout – To do business in Nigeria they must register as Nigerian companies.

“They must be licensed and they will have to refrain from using the platform for activities that are inimical to the growth of Nigeria.”

 

– Twitter Ban And Public Outcry – 

The Federal Government’s announcement banning Twitter operations in the country has been met with various reactions and fear that the country is slipping into repression.

The decision on Friday, days after Twitter deleted a remark from President Muhammadu Buhari, has already provoked an international outcry over freedom of expression and calls for protests online and on the street.

More than 120 million Nigerians have access to the internet, and nearly 40 million of them have a Twitter account — 20 percent of the population, according to Lagos-based researcher NOI Polls.

Studies also show that more than other social media platforms, Nigerians “use Twitter to give voice to the voiceless and engage government on issues that they feel are going wrong in the country in real-time”, according to NOI Polls.

 

– ‘#KeepitOn’-

Nigeria’s government said the Twitter suspension was needed because the platform had been used for activities that could destabilise the country.

With its suspension, Nigeria joins countries like China, Turkey, and Myanmar that have all moved to restrict access at some time to Twitter and other Western social media.

Nigeria’s government has said it is in talks with Twitter over the suspension.

The decision got a nod of support on Tuesday from former US President Donald Trump, who himself is banned from Twitter and Facebook.

“More COUNTRIES should ban Twitter and Facebook for not allowing free and open speech,” his statement said.

Twitter Has Reached Out To Us For Negotiation, Says FG

PHOTO USED TO ILLUSTRATE THE STORY: Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed and Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed discussing after the FEC meeting held on June 9, 2021, at the State House, Abuja.

 

The Federal Government says the management of tech giant, Twitter, has reached out for dialogue.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed said this on Wednesday while addressing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council.

He said Twitter reached out to the Federal Government on Wednesday morning for ‘high-level discussion.’

He declared that the ban has so far been very effective following reports of Twitter’s huge financial losses running into billions.

READ ALSO: Buhari Receives Made In Nigeria Mobile Phones

The Information Minister maintains that Twitter has been a platform of choice for separatists to thrive and would be disallowed from operating until it is duely registered, licensed, and operates within regulations.

Lai Mohammed addressing journalists at the State House on Wednesday, June 9, 2021.

 

When the Minister was asked about the law under which Nigerians who violate the Twitter ban would be prosecuted, Lai refrained from answering and asked that the Attorney General of the Federation provide answers.

Speaking concerning the discussion at the FEC meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, Mohammed insisted on the ban and asked politicians to rise beyond various divisions and queue behind the country’s decision to ban the microblogging site.

 

– Tax Payment and Registration –

Minister Lai Mohammed also spoke concerning the payment of tax by tech giants in the country.

He explained that most of the OTT and social media platforms operating in Nigeria do not have offices either do they pay taxes for the billions earned.

Henceforth, the Federal government has resolved to ensure other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram be registered in the country and adverts have been published to this effect.

The information minister, despite criticism by Human Rights groups, insists that freedom of speech has not been stifled as a result of the ban.

He maintained that other social media platforms are still available for use.

Reps To Invite Lai Mohammed, Investigate Legality Of Twitter Ban

 

Members of the House Representatives have resolved to invite the Minister of Culture and Information, Lai Mohammed in a bid to investigate the legality of the Twitter ban by the Federal Government.

The decision was reached on Tuesday during plenary.

The Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, in his speech directed the House Committees on Justice, Commerce, and Information to investigate the process that led to the suspension of the microblogging site.

The Speaker said the House recognises that Twitter is a very important means of communication.

READ ALSO: Buhari Writes Reps, Seeks Increase Of Retirement Age For Teachers

According to him, the social networking service has been used for both good and bad and the legislature must make sure that the policies of government are in accordance with the law and do not have adverse consequences on the people.

He directed relevant committees of the House to constitute a single committee and commence investigation into the circumstances surrounding the ban, and its legality.

The committee, however, agreed to invite the Minister of Information on the matter.

While the deliberation was ongoing, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers walked out after its caucus leader, Kingsley Chinda was ruled out of order by the Speaker amid the rowdy session.

Mr. Chinda had prayed the House to urge the Federal Government to suspend the ban while the House investigation is ongoing as directed by the Speaker.

This comes after the Federal Government of Nigeria had last week announced the indefinite suspension of Twitter in the country.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed while announcing the suspension cited the persistent use of the platform for activities that are “capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”

Following the announcement, telecom operators in Nigeria blocked the microblogging site Twitter, making users unable to have access to the website.

To this effect, some navigated the hurdle using Virtual Private Networks (VPN).

The decision of the Federal Government has led to various reactions from the envoys of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union in Nigeria among others insisting that the suspension of Twitter, is a violation of the fundamental human right of freedom of expression.

Destruction Of Infrastructure Is Not Just Vandalism, It Is A Form Of Terrorism – Lai Mohammed

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.

 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed on Monday said the destruction of public infrastructure and facilities is not just vandalism, it is a form of terrorism.

Lai Mohammed said this during the town hall meeting on the protection of public infrastructure organised by the Ministry of Information and Culture in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The Minister lamented that laudable efforts of the Federal government are being thwarted “by some unpatriotic citizens through wanton destruction of critical infrastructure.”

He said further that, “On another level is the incessant attacks on critical public facilities such as police stations and INEC offices. As a matter of fact, the destruction of public infrastructure and facilities is not just vandalism, it is a form of terrorism.

READ ALSO: FG Meets Envoys Of Top Diplomatic Missions Over Twitter Ban

“Removal of rail tracks can cause train derailment, with deadly consequences. Tampering with aviation infrastructure endangers the lives of air passengers. Attacks on police stations have left many police personnel dead. These are all acts of terror.”

Mr Mohammed explained that railway tracks are being subjected to wanton destruction, bridge railings are being removed, manhole covers are being pilfered, street lights and other power infrastructure, oil pipelines, telecoms facilities, and critical aviation infrastructure are being damaged or stolen – thereby endangering the lives of innocent citizens.

 

See The Full Statement Below…

SPEECH BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE,  LAI MOHAMMED, AT THE TOWN HALL MEETING ON PROTECTION OF PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE IN ABUJA ON MONDAY, 7 JUNE 2021

PROTOCOL

I welcome all our distinguished invitees to this town hall meeting on the protection of public infrastructure. I thank you all for accepting our invitation, and I look forward to a robust interaction on this topical issue.

  1. Let me remind this gathering that the Ministry of Information and Culture launched the town hall meeting series in Lagos on April 25th, 2016 to provide a platform for the Federal Government to regularly give an account of its stewardship to the people and get their feedback, thus enhancing citizens’ participation in governance. This is the 19th edition.
  2. Today’s town hall meeting is both urgent and important because it touches on an issue that is at the very core of economic growth and national development, which is public infrastructure. When public infrastructure is being targeted for destruction by some unpatriotic Nigerians, it calls for great concern and immediate action, hence our decision to organize this town hall meeting.
  3. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, Nigeria has long suffered a massive infrastructure deficit due to decades of neglect, population explosion, and the absence of maintenance culture. But since coming into office in 2015, the Muhammadu Buhari Administration has embarked on rapid economic growth with equity, i.e. people-centered economic management as well as prioritizing human capital development through enhanced social services and infrastructure development.
  4. This explains why the Federal Government deliberately adopted an inclusive development framework that spreads infrastructure to all sections of the country. Despite a drastic drop in revenues and competing priorities, especially that of tackling insecurity, the Administration has invested heavily in providing new infrastructure, in addition to reconstructing and rehabilitating existing ones.
  5. However, in recent times, such laudable efforts of the government are being thwarted by some unpatriotic citizens through wanton destruction of critical infrastructure, thereby depriving the greater citizenry – for whose benefits these projects and services are provided – from enjoying them.
  6. Railway tracks are being subjected to wanton destruction, bridge railings are being removed, manhole covers are being pilfered, street lights and other power infrastructure, oil pipelines, telecoms facilities, and critical aviation infrastructure are being damaged or stolen. Apart from endangering the lives of fellow innocent citizens, such unpatriotic acts take a toll on the government’s limited revenue, as it seeks to replace, rehabilitate or totally reconstruct such destroyed infrastructure.
  7. On another level is the incessant attacks on critical public facilities such as police stations and INEC offices. As a matter of fact, the destruction of public infrastructure and facilities is not just vandalism, it is a form of terrorism. Removal of rail tracks can cause train derailment, with deadly consequences. Tampering with aviation infrastructure endangers the lives of air passengers. Attacks on police stations have left many police personnel dead. These are all acts of terror.
  8. And this is why we have decided to organize a series of town hall meetings to address this incessant and worsening destruction of public infrastructure and facilities. In organizing these town hall meetings, our main objectives are to:

*  Create in the public mind that government property are indeed citizens’ property and so must be protected for the benefit of all.

*  Sensitize communities, especially those where infrastructure are located, to be conscious of the import of such and protect them

*   Expose, arrest and prosecute all those who engage in buying pilfered infrastructure items along with those who bring such to them to sell.

*   And sensitize the larger citizenry to support the widespread campaign on the protection and ownership of public infrastructure/assets, especially in the Railways, Roads, and Aviation sectors.

  1. Today’s town hall meeting will be the first of a 3-part series that will address the vandalism of public infrastructure across the country. A similar town hall meeting will hold in Calabar, Cross River State, to address pipeline vandalism while another one will be held in Maiduguri, Borno State, to address vandalism of power and telecommunication infrastructure.
  2. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, let me end by saying we should never forget this Administration’s massive investment in infrastructure since coming into office, despite the paucity of funds. It’s easy to forget now, but when this Administration came into office in 2015, the price of crude oil, which provides 80 per cent of Nigeria’s budgetary revenues and 95 percent of foreign exchange earnings, had dropped drastically and, along with it, the fund available to the government.
  3. It is therefore a monumental achievement that this Administration has, to a large extent, managed to bridge the deficit in infrastructure. As I always say, no government in the history of this country has done so much with so little! It is incumbent on us, therefore, to do everything within our power to stop the wanton destruction of public infrastructure and facilities.
  4. On this note, I want to once again thank all our invitees. This is wishing all of us a successful town hall meeting.

Twitter’s Mission In Nigeria Is Suspicious, Says Lai Mohammed

 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has taken a swipe at the US media giant, Twitter, saying its mission in Nigeria is suspicious.

Mohammed’s comments came after Twitter deleted President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet where he issued a threat to trouble makers in the country while making reference to Nigeria’s civil war.

While defending its action, the tech company said the President’s tweet violated its rules.

But briefing State House reporters at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday in Abuja, the Minister accused Twitter of ignoring inciting tweets by the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, and others, adding that Nigeria would not be fooled.

“We have a country to rule and we will do so to the best of our ability. Twitter’s mission in Nigeria is very suspect, they have an agenda,” he said.

“The mission of Twitter in Nigeria is very suspicious. Has Twitter deleted the violent tweets that Nnamdi Kanu has been sending? Has it? The same Twitter during the ENDSARS protests that were funding ENDSARS protesters, it was the first to close the account of the former president of the US, Trump.

“And you see when people were burning police stations and killing policemen in Nigeria during ENDSARS, for Twitter, it was about the right to protest. But when a similar thing happened on the Capitol, it became insurrection.”

READ ALSO: Twitter Deletes Buhari’s ‘In The Language They Understand’ Tweet

He recalled the #EndSARS protest during which government and private property were either looted or destroyed in October last year, noting that the company also displayed the same bias during the period.

A file photo of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed

 

The minister also asked what rule of Twitter President Buhari violated to warrant his tweet to be deleted, wondering why previous tweets on #EndSARS protests were taken out.

Mohammed added, “Twitter may have its own rules, it’s not the universal rule. If Mr. President, anywhere in the world feels very bad and concern about a situation, he is free to express such views. Now, we should stop comparing apples with oranges.

“If an organisation is proscribed, it is different from any other which is not proscribed. Two,  any organisation that gives directives to its members, to attack police stations, to kill policemen, to attack correctional centers, to kill warders, and you are now saying that Mr. President does not have the right to express his dismay and anger about that?

“We are the ones guilty of double standards. I don’t see anywhere in the world where an organisation, a person will stay somewhere outside Nigeria and will direct his members to attack the symbols of authority, the police, the military, especially when that organisation has been proscribed.  By whatever name, you can’t justify giving orders to kill policemen or to kill anybody you do not agree with.”

President Buhari had during a meeting with the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, issued a stern warning to those plotting to destroy Nigeria, saying they will soon receive the shock of their lives.

He also condemned the series of attacks on INEC facilities, stressing that the Federal Government has given the perpetrators enough time.

“I receive daily security reports on the attacks, and it is very clear that those behind them want this administration to fail,” President Buhari said.

Nigeria In Safe Hands Despite Security Challenges – Lai Mohammed

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, presenting a souvenir to the Oluyin of Iyin-Ekiti, Oba Adeola Adeniyi Ajakaiye, during a courtesy visit to the Minister by the Royal Father in Abuja on Thursday.

 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has assured Nigerians that in spite of the current security challenges,
the country is in safe hands.

The Minister, who gave the assurance while receiving the Oluyin of Iyin-Ekiti, Oba Adeola Adeniyi Ajakaiye, on a courtesy visit to his office in Abuja on Thursday, urged Nigerians not to succumb to the apocalyptic or doomsday predictions about the country because such predictions won’t come to pass.

He appealed to leaders at all levels to give the people a message of hope instead of making comments that can only aggravate tension.

Alhaji Mohammed stressed the critical role of traditional rulers in the maintenance of peace and security, saying they cannot and must not be ignored, as the nation seeks to restore peace and security across the country.

READ ALSO: Buhari Appoints New Chief Of Army Staff, Major-General Yahaya

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and the Oluyin of Iyin-Ekiti, Oba Adeola Adeniyi Ajakaiye, during a courtesy visit to the Minister by the Royal Father in Abuja on Thursday.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and the Oluyin of Iyin-Ekiti, Oba Adeola Adeniyi Ajakaiye, during a courtesy visit to the Minister by the Royal Father in Abuja on Thursday.

 

He appealed to Oba Ajakaiye to work with his fellow traditional rulers, as well as the Government of Ekiti State, to ensure peace and security in the state.

Responding to a request by the traditional ruler to help put the tourist sites in the town on the national and global map, the Minister pledged his readiness to leverage the media and technology to showcase and popularize the historic ‘Esa Cave’ as well as the ‘Okuta Abanijorin’ (the rock that accompanies you on your trip), both foremost tourism sites in Iyin-Ekiti, in the Irepodun/Ifelodun local
government area of Ekiti State.

”Putting the tourist sites on the national and global map will attract tourists, which will, in turn, boost the economy of not just Iyin town but indeed the entire Ekiti State,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammed, therefore, directed the Directors-General of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), and the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR) to undertake a working visit to the two tourist sites and report back to him.

In his remarks, Oba Adeola Adeniyi Ajakaiye said Iyin-Ekiti is blessed with numerous tourist attractions that have the potentials to bring the community to the national and global limelight and create jobs for its youths. He highlighted the need for the Federal Government to leverage on the tourism industry in its drive to diversify the economy away from oil.

Strike: FG Not Folding Arms Over NLC, Kaduna Govt Rift – Lai Mohammed

A file photo of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed

 

The Federal Government is not folding its arms over the ongoing face-off between the Kaduna State Government and the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC).

This is according to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who briefed journalists after the Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja on Wednesday, adding that the said the Federal Government was working to resolve the issue.

NLC and other labour leaders had on Monday embarked on a five-day warning strike in Kaduna in protest against the disengagement of workers by the state government.

However, the striking workers made a U-turn on Wednesday and shelved their strike to honour efforts initiated by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige in brokering peace.

But the Minister said: “The Federal Government is not folding its arms and already the Minister of Labour and Employment has waded in and is in touch with both the government of Kaduna State and also the Labour”

READ ALSO: NLC Suspends Strike In Kaduna

“In addition, the security apparatus all over the country have also taken pre-emptive measures to ensure that hoodlums don’t take advantage of this situation.

“In particular, I know that the police have reinforced its patrol between Kaduna and Abuja so that we do not witness kidnappers taking advantage of the situation.”

He said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration “is quite concerned and is doing its best to see how the two parties can resolve their misunderstandings amicably, with little loss to productivity, little loss to properties.”

According to the government’s spokesman, all the parties have to come back to the drawing table to agree and hammer out concessions and agreements.

FG Doing Everything Possible To Return Peace, Security In Nigeria – Lai Mohammed

A file photo of Information Minister, Lai Mohammed.
A file photo of Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.

 

The Federal Government is concerned about Nigeria’s security challenges and doing all it can to restore peace in every part of the country.

Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, stated this on Monday when received the President of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations NIPR, Muktar Sirajo, and other members of the Governing Council of the body in Abuja.

He called on the institute, as a stakeholder on national issues, to speak out against those fanning the embers of disunity and discord in Nigeria.

“Each of us in our respective positions has a role to play to tone down the rhetoric and reduce the tension (in the polity), and I am glad that NIPR is lending its platform to work with the government to ensure that we have a country, which is peaceful and which is secured,” the minister was quoted as saying in a statement by his aide, Segun Adeyemi.

He added, “Without security, there can be no development and that’s why this administration is doing everything possible to return peace and security across the country.

“This is where I think you can come in as a body of NIPR that we must put the nation first.”

Mohammed welcomed the NIPR’s offer to make available its platform for a national engagement on national unity, peace and security, saying it falls into the template of the town hall meetings on topical issues which have been institutionalised by the Federal Government.

He also urged the institution to join the government in the fight against fake news, saying the NIPR needed to rein in members fond of throwing professional ethics to the wind for pecuniary gains.

“You have a powerful platform to actually ensure that the menace of fake news is confronted squarely.

“Regrettably, however, members of the Institute have been found waiting. They most times place pecuniary interests and motives above professional ethics and patriotism,” the minister said.

In his remarks, Sirajo decried the politicisation of the security situation in the country by politicians, saying the issue of security was beyond politics.

He said the NIPR was ready to provide a platform for a national dialogue on peace and security in order to secure a consensus on the unity of the country.

Insecurity: FG Has Capacity To Crush Terrorists, Bandits – Lai Mohammed

New Salary Scale Has Not Been Approved For Armed Forces – DHQ
A file photo of soldiers.

 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed on Tuesday said the Federal Government has the capacity to crush Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists in the northeast and bandits in the north western parts of the country.

This comes as security forces grapple with the activities of terrorists and bandits who have killed thousands, displaces hundreds of thousands and abducted several people for ransom.

Mohammed who spoke during a press conference in Lagos said contrary to the beliefs that the Federal Government is overwhelmed and lacks capacity to tackle the security threats, President Muhammadu Buhari administration is committed to restoring law and order, peace and security in the country.

“I have read comments saying the Federal Government is overwhelmed and doesn’t have a clue as to how to tackle the challenges. Some have even gone as far as suggesting a truncation of the democratic order, a clearly treasonable stance,” he said.

While noting that the Federal Government “acknowledges the security challenges we face at this time, from terrorism to kidnaping, banditry and farmer-herder conflict, it is definitely not overwhelmed and indeed it has the wherewithal, as you will see in the days ahead, to confront the challenges headlong and restore law and order, peace and security.

READ ALSO: FG To Prosecute 400 Suspects For Funding Terrorism – Lai Mohammed

“One of the most difficult things to do, for a democratically elected government, is to use the instruments of coercion against its own people. For example, while the nation’s military have superior firepower over the rag tag band of Boko Haram and ISWA, the terrorists most often than not operate among the populace, either in our villages or towns, hence the military, in tackling them, is usually careful to avoid collateral damage.

“The same applies to the kidnappers who abduct our school children. Usually, the location of the kidnappers is not unknown to the security forces, but they still must exercise caution in order not to hurt the same children they are trying to rescue. Despite these inhibitions, the security forces have the wherewithal to decisively tackle the challenges.”

The Minister also reacted to attacks on security attacks in the country, describing assault on security operatives as a declaration of war against the country.

While condemning the attacks, the government’s spokesperson warned that such attacks will be countered with overwhelming force.

He added, “There is a growing dangerous trend which I will like to comment on. It is the practice of launching deadly attacks against the nation’s security personnel. Soldiers as well as police, customs, and other security agents have been killed and maimed in some parts of the country in this growing trend of targeting security forces.

“I want to say, unequivocally, that any attack on our security men and women is an attack on the state and a declaration of war against the nation. It follows, therefore, that this will be countered with overwhelming force.”

FG To Prosecute 400 Suspects For Funding Terrorism – Lai Mohammed

A file photo of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed

 

The Federal Government is set to prosecute 400 suspects arrested for allegedly funding terrorism in the country.

This is according to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who stated this on Tuesday during a press conference in Lagos.

He also reiterated the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in tackling the menace of insurgency, banditry and other security threats across the country.

“The Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has announced that the Federal Government is set to prosecute 400 suspects arrested for allegedly funding terrorism,” he said.

“This is unprecedented and its a testament to the government’s determination to decisively tackle terrorism and other violent crimes.”

The Minister also appealed to Nigerians to support security agencies, who face the added task of having to watch their backs while working to protect others.

Mohammed also described attacks on security formations as a declaration of war against the country, condemning the assault on security operatives.

He added, “While the government continues with these efforts to restore peace and security continues, I want to appeal to all of us to play our part in lowering the palpable tension in the polity as a result of the security challenges. The first step is to tone down the rhetoric.

READ ALSO: Security Intervention: Southern Governors Meet In Asaba

“Now, there is a growing dangerous trend which I will like to comment on. It is the practice of launching deadly attacks against the nation’s security personnel. Soldiers as well as police, customs, and other security agents have been killed and maimed in some parts of the country in this growing trend of targeting security forces.

“I want to say, unequivocally, that any attack on our security men and women is an attack on the state and a declaration of war against the nation. It follows, therefore, that this will be countered with overwhelming force.”

Nigeria has been experiencing a series of security threats ranging from terrorism, banditry, militancy, cultism among others in several parts of the country.

The country has been battling terrorism for more than a decade which has killed 36,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands in the northeast.

The Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) split from the jihadist group Boko Haram in 2016 and has since become a dominant threat in Nigeria, attacking troops and bases while killing and kidnapping passengers at bogus checkpoints.

On March 1, jihadist fighters burnt down a United Nations humanitarian compound in the town of Dikwa after dislodging troops, killing six civilians.

Nigeria’s jihadist violence has spread to neighbouring Chad, Cameroon and Niger, prompting a regional military coalition to fight the insurgents.

Prosecuting Kidnapping, Banditry Not FG’s Responsibility – Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed has asked the People’s Democratic Party to hold state governments, including those headed by members of the party, accountable for the prosecution of banditry and kidnapping cases.

According to him, banditry and kidnapping are not federal offenses.

The Minister made the remark at a press conference on Tuesday.

He was responding to statements credited to the PDP blaming the Federal Government for the rising insecurity in the country.

The PDP leadership had held a press conference on Monday, decrying the level of insecurity in the country and demanding that the federal government tackle the issues headlong.

READ ALSO: PDP Demands State Police, Border Protection Squad

Mr. Mohammed, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, said it was unfortunate that the opposition party has not recognised the efforts by the current administration on the matter including the town hall meeting held in Kaduna where a ten-point action plan was drawn.

He said the PDP press conference was just a play to the gallery and further accused the party of trying to play politics with issues of national security.

FG Launches ‘Free TV’ Digital Decoders In Lagos

The Federal Government launched free digital set-top boxes in Lagos on April 29, 2021.
The Federal Government launched free digital set-top boxes in Lagos on April 29, 2021.

 

The Federal Government on Thursday launched set-top boxes in Lagos as part of its long-anticipated digital switchover (DSO) program.

DSO will see the country move from analogue to digital broadcasting, which has the capacity to facilitate video-on-demand, audience measurement and a better viewing experience.

It also means a departure from poor signal and an end to the struggle with antennas.

READ ALSO: FG Announces Dates To Roll Out Digital Switchover In Lagos, Kano, Others

More than one million set-up boxes are said to be available for the initial roll-out.

Speaking at the launch event in Lagos, Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, said the set-top box does not require monthly subscriptions, except for an annual access fee of N1,500.

The set-top box will provide access to about 60 channels.

“The switch-on of Lagos is unique and epochal, because it marks the first time that the DSO project would be beaming 60 choice channels to television households,” the Minister said.

“This is not by accident. Lagos is Nigeria’s creative hub, hence it is important to harness the creative talents that abound in the state through this project.”

He added that the government is hopeful analogue broadcasting will be completely switched-off in the country by December 2022.