US Looking At Banning TikTok, Other Chinese Apps – Pompeo

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a briefing at the State Department on February 5, 2020 in Washington, DC. Secretary Pompeo spoke on several topics including the coronavirus and the recent truce with the Taliban. Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the US is “looking at” banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok, over allegations Beijing is using them to spy on users.

India has already barred the wildly popular TikTok app over national security and privacy concerns while other countries are reportedly mulling similar measures.

Asked on Monday by Fox News’s Laura Ingraham if the US should consider blocking the apps — “especially Tik Tok” — the country’s top diplomat said the Trump administration was “taking this very seriously; we are certainly looking at it.”

Pompeo said the US had been working for a “long time” on the “problems” of Chinese technology in infrastructure and was “making real progress.”

“With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too,” he said.

“I don’t want to get out in front of the president, but it’s something we are looking at.”

Pompeo earlier lashed out at what he called China’s “Orwellian” moves to censor activists, schools and libraries in Hong Kong under a sweeping new security law.

Authorities in the financial hub have ordered schools to remove books for review under the law, which has criminalized certain opinions such as calls for independence or more autonomy.

Libraries in Hong Kong said they were pulling titles written by a handful of pro-democracy activists.

“The Chinese Communist Party’s destruction of free Hong Kong continues,” Pompeo said in a sharply worded statement.

“With the ink barely dry on the repressive National Security Law, local authorities — in an Orwellian move — have now established a central government national security office, started removing books critical of the CCP from library shelves, banned political slogans, and are now requiring schools to enforce censorship,” he said.

Pompeo condemned what he called the “latest assaults on the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong.”

“Until now, Hong Kong flourished because it allowed free thinking and free speech, under an independent rule of law. No more,” he said.

Beijing has faced a groundswell of criticism from primarily Western nations over its decision to impose the security law, which outlaws acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces.

US Vice President Mike Pence told CNBC last week that the law was a “betrayal” and “unacceptable to freedom-loving people around the world.”

Last week the US Congress passed tough new sanctions targeting banks involved in violating Hong Kong’s autonomy.

The act would punish banks — including by blocking loans from US institutions — if they conduct “significant transactions” with officials who violate the city’s autonomy.

President Donald Trump must sign the legislation for it to take effect.


Ogun PDP Suspends Senator Buruji Kashamu

buruji kashamuThe Peoples Democratic (PDP) in Ogun state has suspended the Senator representing Ogun East senatorial district in the Senate, Buruji Kashamu and seven others, by a faction-led by Sikirulai Ogundele.

Also suspended were the factional state chairman, Bayo Dayo; Secretary, Semiu Shodipo, Mr. Pegba Otemolu, Mr Fatai Adeyanju, Mr. Segun Seriki, Daisi Akitan and Bowale Solaja.

In the notice of suspension signed by Sikirulai and the secretary, Olabode Bankole, dated November 24, 2016, the party alleged that the affected persons were suspended sequel to the report of a panel which was constituted in June, 2016 to investigate allegations of financial improprieties and anti-party activities.

However, in a swift reaction, Buruji Kashamu, asides denying the allegation of any financial impropriety leveled against him, also said that no one could suspend him.

Describing Sikirulai as an “interloper”, he said he spent his financial resources on the party, arguing that he was taken aback by the allegation of financial impropriety made against him.

In a press statement signed by his media aide, Austin Oniyokor, Kashamu said, “The alleged diversion of party funds is most laughable because it is common knowledge that I use my personal funds to keep the party float even when people like ex-Governor Gbenga Daniel and Ladi Adebutu left the PDP for Peoples Party of Nigeria and then for the Labour Party, until they returned to PDP in the build up to the 2015 general elections because of campaign funds.

“It is on record that Daniel superintended over the 2015 campaign funds in Ogun State. So, which other funds could a party in opposition possibly have?”

Saraki’s Trial: Groups Condemn Statements Allegedly Made By APC Chairman, Oyegun

John-Oyegun-APC-LeaderThe Coalition of Civil Society and the All Progressives Congress Democratic Vanguard have condemned statements credited to the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Chairman, Dr John Oyegun, on the Senate Presidency.

The group alleged that Dr. Oyegun had said that the APC would not hesitate to sacrifice the position of the Senate President for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the case of an eventual conviction of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, by the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Senator Sarki is facing trial for alleged false declaration of assets.

In a statement by the Coalitions’ convener, Olugbenga Olumegbon and Secretary, Olufemi Akindele, the groups said: “We categorically State that as Politically conscious Nigerians, we are not unmindful of the fact that the entire scenario of the trial of the Senate President is politically motivated judging by the fact that despite being Governor of Kwara State for eight years and Senator from the same state, the Code of Conduct, never deemed it necessary to invite nor investigate facts surrounding the asset declarations by Dr. Saraki until he eventually became the President of the Nigerian Senate against the wishes of some demi-gods and Political Lords in June 2015”.

The statement said that it was disturbing that persons like Dr. Oyegun and some of his co-travellers were in the pull-him-down campaign against Dr. Bukola Saraki, and “going the extra mile to undermine the sacrificial effort of Dr. Saraki and many of his likemind supporters, in dethroning the monsterous PDP, from government at that crucial moment of our National History”.

“May we remind Nigerians, that in as much that we are committed to the anti-corruption effort of the incumbent APC administration in our country, we remained opposed to every attempt to use such as a tool of intimidating perceived political opponents just for the purpose of hijacking political positions,” the statement further read.

The coalitions reminded the APC Chairman of the courage displayed by Senator Saraki in leading the revolution which later became known as the new PDP, and how it eventually aided the victory of the APC at the Presidential election in 2015.

They also reminded “those who have placed their inordinate ambitions above the collective interest of the revolutionary team of the APC and the mass of Nigerian people to remember that we may not have been where we are today, without the zeal, fearlessness and determination of the men and women of noble intention, led by Dr. Bukola Saraki to wrestle power from the then ruling party, PDP”.

They therefore demanded “for a stoppage to the use of institutional authorities for the pursuit of individual political ambitions or primordial interest”.

Rivers Athletes Protest 8 Months Unpaid Wages

athletesAngry athletes under the Rivers State Sports Council have stormed the entrance of the State House to demand that their eight months wages be paid by the government.

This demonstration caused a heavy vehicular traffic along the road.

The protesters, who accused the government of neglect, also decried the lack of reward for their feats at various competitions, including the recent national festivals.

The Secretary to the State Government, Mr George Feyii, who spoke on behalf of the state government, told the aggrieved athletes that the attention of the State Governor has been drawn to their plight.

The Secretary assured them that action would be taken in the next two weeks to address their grievances.

Group Slams Kwankwaso For Endorsing Immutability Of 1999 Constitution

kwankwaso_bbcThe Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) has condemned Governor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso’s comment, endorsing the immutability of the 1999 Constitution and called on all Nigerians to condemn the comment as “it is selfish and unpatriotic”.

In a media interview recently, the Kano State Governor was quoted as saying that “any Constitution other than the 1999 Constitution should be rejected because anything less than that is an instrument by those who think it will help them”.

ARG, in a statement signed by its publicity secretary, Kunle Famoriyo, blamed Kwankwaso, and other self-seeking Nigerian politicians, for endorsing 1999 Constitution when it suits him and calling for its amendment when it does not.

“Kwankwanso, one of those who believe the 1999 Constitution is perfect for Nigeria, has had two reasons to call for its amendment recently. He changed his stance on the agitation for state police when his security aides were withdrawn by ‘order from above’ during the Kano Emirship commotion. He also called for amendment of the impeachment laws when a raft of impeachment wave threatened governors of his party, All Progressives Congress, claiming Nyako governorship in the process,” the statement said.

“These two calls for constitutional amendment, coming at a time that Kwankwanso was at the receiving end of the imperial and despotic powers of the 1999 Constitution, seem to suggest that the Constitution must exist only to serve his personal good and that of others with similar stance. It does not bother them if and when others are the victim of the Constitution’s despotic powers.

“This selective philosophy from a man who wants to become Nigeria’s president is no less selfish and denigrating as the politics that currently dominates Aso Rock.”

The group said Nigerian politicians had not proved that democracy was indeed a better alternative to military rule. It said: “All Nigerian presidents since 1999 have found the 1999 Constitution handy in justifying dictatorial tendencies, with the current president claiming he is yet to even use 10 percent of the (despotic) powers of the constitution. This is a dangerous pointer to the fact that Nigerian politicians are still not faring better than military dictators who churn out decrees and amend them to suit their dictatorship ego”.

“Neither Kwankwaso, nor any Nigerian politician, need be at the whipping end of the Constitution before patriotic sense prevails on all of us to fight to entrench true federalism in Nigeria. For Nigeria to survive, it must provide an equitable basis of existence for all federating units. The 1999 is evidently inequitable and needs, not piecemeal amendments, but a total reworking.

“ARG has no grouse against any politician but it believes that no politician’s ambition should choke national interest. ARG therefore calls on all politicians to learn to sacrifice personal interests for the promotion of an egalitarian Nigeria anchored on true federalism principles.”

“Nigerians are not made for the law. Neither should law, meant to promote equality, promote class divide. We must ask ourselves: can we truly have democracy when some parts of the country feel less privileged than others?”

ARG also said that the national conference’s report must not be tainted by political ambition and that “Nigerians should be allowed through referendum to decide what happens to the report because they should have the primal right to determine how they wish to be governed”.

“Though, the report does not represent everything we want in the Southwest and we are still consulting on what position to take, it is unarguable that the resolutions represent a consensus of both political and apolitical Nigerians.”

Ekiti Road Transport Employers’ Crisis Nears Resolution

The crisis between the leadership of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) Ekiti State Chapter, over the extension of the tenure of the chairman is gradually coming to an end as the state EXCO has been directed by the national body to step aside. 

The State Chairman of the union, Rotimi Olabiwonu, Secretary, Sesan Ogunlade and the former chairman, have been locked in disagreement over the extension of the tenure of the current chairman.

Against this background, a 5-man committee was set up for the period of 10 days to investigate the cause of the matter, with the factions advised to give peace a chance.

The National Executive President of the union, Musa Shehu, paid a courtesy visit to the Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, where he appealed to the members to maintain peace and unity as the problems would be resolved soon. There he revealed the latest development on the crisis.

Shehu also debunked the rumour making the round that the crisis was fuelled by the N100 million purportedly given to the Union by the State Government; stressing that the rumour was untrue and baseless.

“I have read in the newspapers that the crisis was caused by some money, but in the last two days that I have been here, I have investigated this both from the side of government which they accused of giving out the money and I found that there is nothing like that.

“It is the leaders of the union that are causing the fight. We will take care of that and as soon as I leave this place, I will see the Commissioner of Police and I will decide the matter before I leave this State”, he said.

Governor Fayemi, in his short remarks said that his interest was peace in the state. While appealling to the members to maintain peace and unity, he said: “The association has been peaceful here and it has been very supportive of the developmental agenda of the government particularly in the transport sector. All the warring factions are people that have been supportive. We don’t read any political undertone to whatever has happened within the union.

“All we are interested in is peace and progress for the betterment of our society. I have every confidence that you will resolve this matter amicably and in the best interest of the association and Ekiti state.”

Taraba Crisis: Lawmakers Insist Garba Continues As Acting Governor

The acting governor of Taraba state Mr. Garba Umar has been given a nod by members of the state house of assembly to continue his role, pending the time Governor Danbaba Suntai is fit to perform his official functions.

Nine out of the 24 members led by the deputy speaker, Tanko Maikarfi, said it had become necessary to adopt the resolution of the executive session of the House which gave recognition to Umar as the acting governor and not as the deputy governor.

In the meantime, the acting governor has called on the people of the state to disregard recent announcement on the purported dissolution of the executive council and the appointment of a new chief of staff and secretary to the state government.

In a statement signed by his chief press secretary, Kefas Sule, Umar explained that the announcement is an attempt by a group to hijack the machinery of governance in the state and not a directive that was given by Governor Danbaba Suntai.

INEC Registers ID, PDM As New Political Parties

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has registered two new political parties in accordance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Amended) and the Electoral Act 2010 (as Amended).

This is according to a statement released by the Secretary to the Commission, Mrs. A.C. Ogakwu which further mentioned the two new parties registered as the Independent Democrats (ID) and the Peoples’ Democratic Movement (PDM).

She stated also that the commission approved, apart from the  names, the Constitution, Manifesto, Logo/Flag and list of National Executive Officers.

The commission yesterday in a press statement signed by Mr Kayode Idowu, the Chief Press Secretary to Professor Attahiru Jega on behalf of the commission ‘vehemently’ refuted claims that it registered the Peoples’ Democratic Movement (PDM), purportedly floated by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, a claim that the former Vice-President has distanced himself from when he declared his loyalty to the ruling party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday.

He said, in his words that ‘‘INEC by law receives applications for party registration… no party identity or their promoters have been approved’’.

It was noted by political analysts that the choice of Atiku Abubakar as running mate to Obasanjo in 1999 was a recognition of the active role of the PDM platform in his victory.

The PDM also played active roles of in the country’s democratic transition from the Babangida, Abacha and Abdulsalami administrations, a platform founded by late General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, which provided the impetus for his impressive performance across the country during the September 1992 presidential primaries, which were later cancelled by the military regime.

The late General Yar’Adua came close to becoming President, with the help of the formidable PDM structure. In 1999, the PDM was also part of the force behind the emergence of former President Obasanjo as PDP presidential candidate.