Occupy Nigeria Members Protest Against ‘Electoral Anomalies’

Members of Occupy Nigeria protesting at Unity Fountain in Abuja on March 4, 2019. Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Members of a coalition of civil society groups, Occupy Nigeria, have protested against what they describe as the anomalies in the just concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections.

The group held a sit-in on Monday at Unity Fountain in Abuja, where they condemned the incidents in Lagos, Imo, Kogi, Kano, and other states.

“We are set to demand the correction of the electoral anomalies carried out in the just-concluded presidential election, which were visibly marred by outright rigging and extreme violence that reduced the process to an affair of a balance of terror rather than an election,” a co-convener of the group, Okpanachi Jacob, said in a statement.

He decried that the situation has left Nigerians in the affected areas short-changed, in the quest for electing their leaders.

Jacob alleged that there were many odd sides in the exercise, stressing that they do not reflect the true wishes of the Nigerian voting populace.

According to him, the journey towards conducting credible elections in the country is in jeopardy as the whole system is retrogressing into resignation.

The co-convener said, “It is imperative to note that 2019 elections have made a detour from the ongoing process of restoring integrity to the electoral process and thus, requires immediate redress so as to earn the confidence of Nigerians.”

He, however, demanded that voting must be conducted for the disenfranchised electorate in the exercise while INEC should open its back end servers to stakeholders, in the spirit of transparency.

Jacob asked the Federal Government to withdraw all military personnel in areas where there was no visible crisis and order them to stay out of elections.

He also called for fresh elections in areas where card readers were not used on February 23, as earlier asserted by the INEC as void.

See some photos from the protest below;

Fuel Scarcity: Petroleum Minister Links Hardship To Product Diversion

Petroleum MinisterThe petroleum ministry has said it is set to crack down on all major marketers involved in diversion of petroleum products, causing artificial scarcity across the country.

Minister of petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke said in Lagos on Sunday that some major marketers involved in fuel diversion have been identified and will soon be sanctioned.

“The number of trucks coming into Lagos, the volumes coming in, where they’re supposed to be getting to in terms of the mapping and an approximate idea of what is being diverted (is being investigated), because clearly there is diversion.

“In terms of our critical reserves, we have more than 2 week’s sufficiency on hand right now and we have been pushing the sufficiency out. The issue is where is some of the fuel being diverted to?

“A lot of hard work would need to be done in the next 24 hours or so; there would really be sanctions this time. In fact I am ready to start publishing the names where we find that people have been diverting products, because there’s no reason for that at this time”, she said.

In what appears to be a demonstration of government’s seriousness at enforcing effective distribution of petrol across the country, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs  Diezani Allison-Madueke, had on Saturday paid an unscheduled visit to some fuel stations in Lagos.

While on the tour, the minister insisted that the Federal Government has no intention of increasing the pump price and warned that a list of those suspected to have hoarded the product is already being compiled.

Kerosene Subsidy: Lawmakers Argue Over DG Budget Office’s Presentation

vlcsnap-2014-03-06-11h05m07s244The investigative hearing into the controversial kerosene subsidy of Government almost came to an abrupt end, as a rowdy session erupted between lawmakers in the House of Representatives Committee investigating the matter.

These confrontations came up while the Director General of the Budget Office, Bright Okogu, appeared before the House Committee on Petroleum Resources Downstream and stated that the Ministry of Finance “doesn’t provide provision for subsidy payment on kerosene”

A lawmaker took exception to the line of questioning and this led to a shouting match that stalled the hearing for some time.

Some lawmakers told the Chairman of the committee “If your ruling is biased we will challenge you” this was in reaction to an attempt by the Chairman to calm the rowdy session.

Order was eventually restored and the hearing continued till the end of the day. The committee says the hearing would continue into next week.

 

Subsidy Protest Murder Trial Resumes

The Lagos High Court Sitting in Igbosere, Lagos Island on Tuesday continued trial in the case against the former Divisional Police Officer of Pen Cinema, Agege, DSP Segun Fabunmi.

DSP Fabunmi is charged with the attempted murder of some fuel subsidy protesters, and the murder of one Adedamola Daramola, an incident which occurred during the fuel subsidy removal of January 2012.

A prosecuting witness, Mr Chizoba Udoh, who took the witness stand in court, told Presiding Justice, Olabisi Akinlade, that the defendant shot at the crowd while the people ran.

The witness also said that he was reading a newspaper at Maternity Junction, Yaya Abatan, in the Ogba area of Lagos on January 9, when the Police van arrived.

“Suddenly a policeman got down from the van and started shooting in the air and I immediately crossed the road.

“Another policeman who was not in uniform then collected the gun from him and shot at the crowd gathered at the junction while we ran”, he said.

He added that it was while they were running that one Adedamola Daramola was killed, while four others sustained bullet wounds.

Another witness, Mr Moses Daramola, who claimed that the deceased was like a brother to him, told the court that he was in his house at Ogba when he heard gunshots coming from the Yaya Abatan end.

“When I got to the scene, people started telling me that my brother had been shot and taken to the General Hospital, Ifako Ijaye. I got to the hospital and found out that my brother was dead, I cried and was taken back home while his corpse was taken to the mortuary.”

During cross-examination, the defence counsel contended that the hospital was not operating on the said day, owing to the strike.

The case has however been adjourned to March 19 for continuation of trial.

Absence Of Witness Stalls Subsidy Protest Murder Trial

A Lagos High Court has threatened to close the case of the prosecution over its failure to produce its witnesses in the murder trial which arose from the protests against fuel subsidy removal in January 2012.

A Divisional Police Officer with Pen Cinema Police Division, Lagos, Segun Fabunmi, who has now been dismissed from the Police, is standing trial before the court for allegedly shooting Adedamola Daramola to death at the Yaya-Abatan, Agege area during the protest.

Trial Judge, Justice Olabisi Akinlade frowned at the inability of the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, to produce its witnesses in court on Monday, even though the defendant, who was on bail, was present in court with his lawyer, Mr. George Oguntade.

The DPP, Mrs. Olabisi Ogungbesan who appeared for the prosecution had told the court that the investigative police officer in the case, who was the witness, scheduled to testify today was appearing before a magistrate’s court in Ikeja.

She urged the court to stand down the matter till 12pm to enable the IPO to appear in court. This angered Justice Akinlade who described the request as an insult to the court.

After turning down the prosecution’s request to stand down the matter, the court threatened to close the prosecution’s case if it failed to produce more than one witness in court at the next hearing date.

Justice Akinlade has adjourned further proceedings till February 18.

Former Head of State, Gowon Leads Prayers For Nigeria

Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, is tackling the numerous challenges facing Nigeria, on the spiritual front.

While efforts are being made on the political front to find solutions to these issues, General Gowon on Monday, November 4, led other members of ‘Nigeria Prays’ in a prayer session in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.

The Former Head of State noted that the problems confronting the country require divine intervention, and prayed God to forgive the country of its sins.

The prayer session was also attended by the Kwara State Deputy Governor, Peter Kishira.

General Yakubu Gowon was the Head of the Federal Military Government of Nigeria from 1966 to 1975. He took power after a military coup d’état and was overthrown in another. During his rule, the Nigerian Government successfully prevented Biafran separation during the 1967 to 1970 Nigeria Civil War.

OPINION: Impact Of Social Media On Nigerian Journalism

Journalism is the activity or profession of writing for newspapers or magazines or of broadcasting news on radio or television while Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, exchange and comment on contents among themselves in virtual communities and networks.

The impact of social media in the communication system cannot be overemphasized as traditional media has undoubtedly taken an onward progressive turn in achieving its core assignments of educating, informing and entertaining its audience; the Nigerian populace.

The consistent and goal-driven use of social media has filled the interactive and investigative vacuum found in the traditional media in Nigeria and the entire world. Hitherto this new age of journalism, reporters were only able to practice the time-sensitive profession within a certain constrained environment which permitted the Nigerian journalist to find facts from physically available sources.

Today, the Nigerian journalist can boast of new skills in news gathering and better accuracy in reporting the opinion of the people. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Google + have been used to monitor trends and gather intelligence in regards to the opinion of the masses.

Take for instance events which have garnered much attention as a result of activities on social media. Thousands of Nigerians joined Twitter during and after the subsidy protest (OccupyNigeria) of 2012,  the death of four UNIPORT students (ALUU4) caused a nationwide outcry against ‘jungle justice,’ the video of a policeman caught extorting a motorist went viral online and has now found its way into TV and radio.

These events were either instigated or projected online as a result of the use of social media platforms by those who witnessed and shared the details.

The ability of the social media to breed interactivity has caused the audience to exit its passive shell and enter into a new sphere of activity. This has helped in a number of other sectors in the economy; most especially politics and education. Worthy of note is the fact that social media has helped traditional media to gain its lost audience (youths).

With the rise in social media usage, Nigerian youths, who scarcely subscribed to the print media, have now cultivated a healthy habit of keeping abreast of events in the country.

Social media has impacted Nigerian journalism in the area of reporting as new features i-reports which allows individuals report events in real time in any case where an official correspondent is not on ground.

The integration of social media in news gathering and delivery has also enabled the Nigerian journalist to work in a capacity that totally erases the restrictions of distance. Today, interviews are conducted via email correspondence, Twitter conversations, Skype video chats etc.

Breaking News! This feature has been redefined since the advent of social media in Nigerian journalism. Journalists can now break news as they happen with supporting files such as pictures taken and posted alongside headlines.

Live broadcasts have been made possible online via web streaming. In most cases, the audience is able to participate and give feedback via the comments section which allows the reporter access to instant feedback.

The World Wide Web evolves daily; so does the social media. This means traditional media will yet experience even more changes and growth in times to come.

Written by Mayowa Ogundele, an online journalist with Channels Television, creative writer and aspiring broadcaster. Follow her via Twitter @Ohluwamayowa and Google+, Mayowa Ogundele.