Zamfara Govt Apologises, Withdraws Order Shutting Down Media Houses


 

The Zamfara State Government has apologised for shutting down five broadcast stations in the state.

Channels Television had reported how the government ordered the closure of some media houses in Gusau, the state capital, for providing coverage for a political rally organised by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The affected media stations are the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Pride FM, Gamji TV, and FM, Al Umma TV.

Matawalle also ordered the suspension of political meetings and activities in the affected communities.

Speaking on the issue, Abdullahi Shinkafi, Chairman of the State Committee on Prosecution of banditry and related offences, apologised to the media during a press conference on Monday.

He said that based on the controversies generated by the government’s decision and the power given to NBC, the government cannot shut down any broadcasting organisations.

According to him, the five media houses are free to operate but they must abide by the Executive order of the governor, pending the vacation of the order.

“Based on the press releases by NBC and NUJ, the power given to them by the constitution, nobody has the power to shut down the media from the operation,” Shinkafi said.

“On behalf of the government, ad and Honorary adviser to the government, I apologise to the media houses they can start operating and they must abide by the government Executive Order 10 signed by the governor, pending the vacation of the order. Once it is vacated, they can cover whoever they want to cover.”

Shinkafi also raised an alarm that Boko Haram terrorists are infiltrating the State, occupying Mutu village in the Mada Community which informed the state government’s decision to shut down Mada and other Towns to tackle the activities of the Terrorists and to restore peace in the troubled communities.

He claimed that his life is in danger as the Terrorists are seeking to eliminate him and this, he said is according to intelligence reports made available to the state government.

Shinkafi, however, called on citizens of the State to come together irrespective of their Political affiliation to fight and flush out the Terrorists in Zamfara State and bring about peace and stability for the people to go about carrying out their lawful businesses without fear of terror.

Abdullahi Shinkafi insisted the Zamfara State Government under the leadership of Governor Bello Matawalle did not contravene the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, stressing that it is the primary responsibility of the Government to protect citizens against terror groups, hence the signing of the executive order 10 shutting down three LGAs, roads, some markets, villages and banning of Political activities.

Shinkafi noted that no democracy can thrive without the role of the media and he appealed to media practitioners to assist the Government in the fight against insecurity bedevilling Zamfara State in particular and Nigeria in general.

‘Consider The Multiplier Effects’, FG Appeals To Airline Operators Over Monday Shutdown

A file photo of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport.
A file photo of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport.

 

The Ministry of Aviation has appealed to local airline operators in Nigeria to reconsider their decision to shutdown operations over the rising cost of aviation fuel.

This was contained in a statement issued by the Special Assistant to the Honourable Minister on Public Affairs, James Odaudu, on Saturday. The ministry, which asked the airlines to consider the implications of the planned action, said it is concerned about the rising cost of aviation fuel.

READ ALSO: Airlines Threaten To Shutdown Services On Monday Over Price Of Jet Fuel

“Unfortunately,  the issue of fuel supply is not within the purview of the Ministry and so the much it can do in the present situation is to engage with agencies, institutions and individuals in positions to provide succour to the airlines. This is already being done by the relevant team led by the Honourable Minister,” it said.

“While the efforts to assuage the situation are on, we wish to appeal to the airline operators, even in the difficult situation, to consider the multiplier effect of shutting down operations, on Nigerians and global travellers, in taking their business-informed decisions and actions.”

It also acknowledged the importance of the sector and that the “airline operators are in the business to make profits”,  and reiterated the government’s resolve to creating a conducive environment for businesses.

“We also assure Nigerians, especially stakeholders in the sector, that the Buhari administration remains stoic in its commitment to the creation and sustenance of an environment that promotes the growth of the aviation industry where major players like the airlines can operate in a profitable and competitive market,” the statement read.

Banditry: No Plan To Shutdown Telecoms In Kaduna – Govt

A file photo of Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai.
A file photo of Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai.

 

The Kaduna State Government has said that it has no plans to shutdown telecommunication services in the state, passing it off as fake news.

This comes as a result of the numerous attacks by bandits in the northern parts of the country.

In a statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communications, Muyiwa Adekeye, says that the government “has not made such a decision, neither has it announced any such plans.

“The Kaduna State Government did not reach out to any federal agency to request a telecoms shutdown, and it has not in any way ordered or effected a communications shutdown”.

Mr. Adekeye asked residents of the state to ignore the rumours.

He said, “It is fake news which some people are trying to pass off as genuine by placing the KDSG logo on their false statements. It is simply not true.

“Citizens should ignore the fake news. There is no shutdown of telecoms services in Kaduna State”.

READ ALSO: NCC Shuts Down All Telecom Sites In Zamfara

He added that the state government is transparent about security matters.

“Where a telecoms shutdown deemed to be necessary, that decision would have been formally announced in a properly signed statement posted on official information handles”, Mr. Adekeye added.

Recently, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) directed telecommunications providers to shut down services in Zamfara State.

The shutdown is to last for two weeks.

This was disclosed in a memo signed on Friday by the vice-chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, and addressed to one of the telecoms providers.

According to the memo, the shutdown of the telecoms sites had become necessary due to the lingering insecurity in the state.

“The pervading security situation in Zamfara has necessitated an immediate shutdown of all telecommunications services in the state from today, September 3, 2021.

“This is to enable relevant security agencies to carry out the required activities towards addressing the security challenge in the state”.

 

Germany To Enter Strict Easter Shutdown Amid ‘New Pandemic’

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C), Bavaria’s State Premier Markus Soeder (R) and Berlin’s Mayor Michael Mueller (L) participate in a press conference following talks via video conference with Germany’s state premiers on the extension of the current lockdown, at the Chancellery in Berlin on March 23, 2021. (Photo by Michael Kappeler / POOL / AFP)

 

Germany will enter a strict shutdown for five days over Easter as it fights soaring infection rates fuelled by variants in a “new pandemic”, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday after marathon talks with regional leaders.

As well as extending existing measures including keeping cultural, leisure and sporting facilities shut through to April 18, Merkel and Germany’s 16 state premiers agreed to a tougher shutdown between April 1 and 5.

Almost all shops will be closed during the five days, and religious services will be moved online over Easter. Only grocers will be allowed to open on Saturday April 3.

“The situation is serious. Case numbers are rising exponentially and intensive care beds are filling up again,” said Merkel.

READ ALSO: Confusion As Brazil Faces COVID-19 Surge With Two Health Ministers

The British variant has become the dominant strain circulating in Germany, she said, noting that “we are in a new pandemic.”

“Essentially, we have a new virus…it is much deadlier, much more infectious and infectious for much longer,” the veteran leader said.

– Gridlocked talks –

Europe’s biggest economy had begun easing restrictions, first reopening schools in late February, before allowing hairdressers and some shops to resume business in March.

But Berlin and the federal states were forced to row back on relaxations this week as new infection numbers rose exponentially.

On Monday, the national incidence rate reached 107.3 cases per 100,000 people, with more than 7,700 new cases and 50 deaths reported.

Merkel and regional leaders agreed at the last round of talks that authorities would tighten the screws again if that rate struck 100 over three days.

“It is absolutely right that we are hitting the emergency brake,” said Merkel.

But the tougher curbs did not come easily.

Negotiations between the regional leaders of Germany’s 16 states and Merkel were gridlocked for several hours over the thorny issue of whether to allow domestic holidays to take place over the Easter school holidays.

Some regional leaders had argued it made little sense to allow people to fly out to the Spanish island of Mallorca for their holidays while banning residents from taking overnight stays in their own state.

But finally, the leaders agreed to “appeal urgently to all citizens to refrain from non-essential travel within the country and also abroad — also with regard to the upcoming Easter holidays.”

Berlin had also struck a deal with air carriers to ensure that all travellers returning to Germany would be tested, Merkel said.

– Export ban –

The chancellor added that Germany was “in a race to vaccinate” as the country struggles to accelerate its inoculation campaign.

Dogged by supply issues and mistrust over AstraZeneca’s jab, Germany’s vaccination campaign has been sluggish compared to the British or US programmes.

On Tuesday, Merkel said she would support her former defence minister and current EU commission president Ursula von der Leyen’s threat to block AstraZeneca vaccines produced in the bloc from being exported.

“I support Commission President Ursula von der Leyen,” said Merkel.

“We have a problem with AstraZeneca,” she added.

European officials are furious that AstraZeneca has been able to deliver its UK contract in full while falling short on its supplies to the EU.

In her tough warning to the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical giant last Saturday, von der Leyen said: “That’s the message to AstraZeneca: you fulfil your contract with Europe first before you start delivering to other countries.”

AFP

Trump Ready To Sign Border Deal, Averting Shutdown – Reports

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting to “discuss fighting human trafficking on the southern border”/ Reuters

 

President Donald Trump is ready to sign a border security funding deal, despite failing to get anywhere close to the money he sought for a US-Mexico border wall, US media reported Wednesday.

CNN and NBC television quoted sources close to the president saying that Trump has resigned himself to the deal crafted by his Republican Party and the Democrats in Congress.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders would not confirm or deny the reports but said Wednesday that “there are positive pieces” in the deal.

“We want to see the final piece of legislation,” she told reporters.

READ ALSO: Trump Undergoes Annual Medical Exam

Trump had demanded $5.7 billion for a dramatic extension of fences and walls along the Mexican border, claiming that the United States faces an “invasion” of criminals and illegal immigrants.

Democrats refused, accusing him of exaggerating the situation for political gain.

Trump retaliated in December by cutting funding to swaths of government in a five-week shutdown. He had threatened to trigger a new shutdown this Friday if his demands were not met.

The deal worked out in Congress this week will provide less than $1.4 billion for wall construction.

On Tuesday, Trump said he was not happy with the deal but “I don’t think you’re going to see a shutdown.”

Trump says he can still add to that from other sources not requiring congressional approval, although he has been vague about how this would work.

AFP

US Job Growth Surges In January Despite Government Shutdown

The sign of jobs is seen on the front of the US Chamber of Commerce building in Washington, DC. AFP

 

US job creation had another blockbuster month in January, blowing past the government shutdown, but that disruption helped to push the unemployment rate higher, the Labor Department reported Friday.

Employers added 304,000 net new positions last month — the highest in nearly a year and almost double what economists had predicted — while growth in worker pay held steady just above inflation, according to the report.

The new numbers were welcome news for President Donald Trump, whose already-low public approval rating suffered in the wake of the longest government shutdown in US history.

“Those numbers were very impressive,” he said at the White House. “Other countries in other areas are not doing well and we are doing fantastically well.”

The construction, health care, hospitality and retail sectors added tens of thousands of workers, another sign that the robust labour market remains a fundamental source of strength with the US economy expected to slow in 2019.

READ ALSO: Dangote Hails FG Over New Executive Order Allowing Companies To Build Roads

However, the five-week government shutdown — the result of an impasse between the president and Congress over his plans for a wall on the US-Mexico border — was at least partly responsible for an uptick in the jobless rate to 4.0 per cent, the highest in seven months.

And hiring in December was revised sharply downward to a still-strong 222,000, but far lower than the 312,000 positions initially reported.

While the partial shutdown of the federal government between December and January idled 800,000 government workers, the Labor Department still counted furloughed employees — who would receive back pay — as employed, leaving the monthly job creation numbers unaffected.

 Shutdown boosts unemployment 

But the shutdown was also a driver of the rise in the unemployment rate since the separate survey of households used to determine the joblessness counted furloughed workers as well as contractors as unemployed.

Meanwhile, the increase in unemployment also was the result of more workers coming off the sidelines to join the job hunt.

That increased the size of the labour force, driving the closely watched labour force participation rate up to 63.2 per cent, its highest level in more than five years.

The shutdown also drove about a half million people into part-time work, swelling this group to 5.1 million, its highest level in 16 months.

Hourly pay grew a token 0.1 per cent over December but was up 3.2 per cent over January of last year, well above consumer inflation of 1.9 per cent in the same period, leaving American workers with greater purchasing power.

Employment in leisure and hospitality grew by 74,000 jobs for the month, with restaurants and bars adding 32,000, while construction added 52,000 workers and hospitals and ambulatory care centres together added about 41,000 net new positions.

Economists said the robust job growth was likely more than strong enough to keep the unemployment rate heading downward.

This could put pressure on the Federal Reserve to resume raising interest rates later this year, even though markets now expect no more Fed hikes this year.

Wall Street breathed a sigh of relief this month as policymakers sent strong signals they intended to pause, meaning investors could be in for an unwelcome surprise.

“We expect the labour market to gradually cool in 2019 but the combination of solid payroll gains, rising wages and the falling unemployment rate will continue,” Oxford Economics said in a client note.

“Barring further tightening in financial conditions that would negatively impact economic activity, the very strong labour market picture supports our expectations that the Fed will keep a tightening bias this year.”

Wall Street rose following the report, with stocks boosted by the jobs numbers and a rosy report on activity in the US manufacturing sector.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.4 per cent shortly before 1800 GMT.

AFP

Democrats Declare Victory In Shutdown Battle With Trump

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a news conference with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) following an announced end to the partial government shutdown at the U.S. Capitol January 25, 2019, in Washington, DC. Zach Gibson/Getty Images/AFP

 

Democratic leaders in United States Congress declared victory on Friday in a successful negotiation to reopen the US government after a record five-week closure — and took the opportunity to chide President Donald Trump for taking so long to reach a deal.

“Hopefully now the president has learned his lesson,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters shortly after Trump announced a deal that would temporarily reopen shuttered federal agencies, but does not include funds for the president’s long-requested border wall.

The partial government shutdown, the longest in American history, “will finally end today,” Schumer said, after the Senate and House quickly pass the legislation and send it to the president’s desk for his signature.

In the end, it was Trump who backed down in the 35-day battle of wills with his Democratic opponents in Congress, notably including Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives.

Pelosi joined Schumer in commending the deal but stopped short of reveling in seeing Trump drop his previous insistence on border wall funding.

“It’s sad, though, that it’s taken this long to come to an obvious conclusion,” she said.

“Disagreement in policy should never be a reason to shut down government.”

Democrats stood firm — and, importantly, largely united — in their opposition to funding for the wall on the US-Mexico border, which Trump insists is needed to tackle illegal immigration.

Border reinforcement will be a pivotal issue as both sides negotiate a deal in the coming weeks that will address border security and fund government through the remainder of the fiscal year.

Pelosi said she remained “optimistic” that a long-term deal will be reached.

Trump’s retreat clearly reinforces Pelosi’s reputation as a master political tactician, but she did not gloat.

“I don’t see this as any power play,” she said, declining to speculate on whether the president held out over wall funding to show who was in charge.

“Our unity is our power, and that is what, maybe, the president underestimated.”

AFP

Trump Announces Deal To Reopen US Government

US President Donald Trump speaks about the government shutdown on January 25, 2019, from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC. Trump says will sign bill to reopen the government until February 15. Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP

 

President Donald Trump Friday announced a deal with opposition Democrats to temporarily reopen the US federal government, shut down for a record five weeks by a bitter row over funding for a US-Mexico border wall.

“We have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government,” Trump said. “In a short while, I will sign a bill to open our government for three weeks, until February 15.”

READ ALSO:  Ex-Trump Adviser Stone Indicted In Mueller Probe

While defending his wall project, Trump made no firm announcement regarding his demand for $5.7 billion to fund the border wall — a key campaign promise to his right-wing base.

AFP

 

Zimbabwe Court Rules Against Internet Shutdown

 

Zimbabwe’s High Court on Monday ruled that State Security Minister Owen Ncube had no power to order the internet shutdown which took place during last week’s nationwide protests.

“It has become very clear that the minister had no authority to make that directive,” judge Owen Tagu said in a case brought by human rights lawyers and journalists.

The shutdown occurred as the security forces cracked down on protesters following a wave of demonstrations which turned violent.

AFP

Feuding Trump Grounds Democratic Speaker’s Foreign Travel

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi               Donald Trump/ AFP

 

President Donald Trump clipped the wings of Democratic party leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday, scrapping her foreign travel plans in a new twist to the government shutdown feud.

Pelosi had suggested postponing Trump’s January 29 State of the Union address to Congress. Although she cited the shutdown’s effect on security, she appeared to want to deny the president one of his chief annual moments in the limelight.

In a letter laced with sarcasm and accompanied by his dramatic signature, Trump responded in kind.

“I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed. We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the Shutdown is over,” he wrote. “I am sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is appropriate.”

Rubbing it in, Trump said that Pelosi could still book her own non-government flights.

“Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative,” he wrote.

The personal feud between Trump and Pelosi is just one facet of a political crisis sparked by the Democrats’ refusal to approve funding for a Trump project to build more walls along the US-Mexican border.

In an attempt to pressure Congress, Trump has refused to authorize funding for swaths of the government, leaving some 800,000 federal employees and many more government contractors without pay for nearly a month.

The government shutdown is leaving an increasingly deep impact across the country, where FBI agents, museum workers, Coast Guard personnel and other officials are either not at work or having to work for nothing.

The Democrats and the White House blame each other for the impasse, with neither side showing any sign of backing down soon.

AFP

Rap Superstar Cardi B Blasts Shutdown In Viral Rant

 

Rap’s woman of the moment Cardi B unleashed a profanity-laced rant blasting Donald Trump and the US government shutdown, leaving some Democratic lawmakers wondering whether to promote the clip touching on their talking points.

The Bronx-born artist with some 40 million Instagram followers posted the video late Wednesday, denouncing Trump’s callback of furloughed federal employees to complete vital government tasks without pay as the shutdown drags into its fourth week.

“Hey y’all,” begins the Grammy-nominated superstar known for hits like “Bodak Yellow” and “I Like It.”

“Trump is now ordering — as in summonsing — federal government workers to go back to work without getting paid,” she says in the clip, which has racked up more than 10 million views.

“Now, I don’t want to hear Y’all mother fuckers talkin’ bout, ‘oh but Obama shut down the government for 17 days,'” she says, referencing a 2013 funding gap.

“Yeah, bitch! For health care! So your grandma could check her blood pressure.”

Democratic senators Brian Schatz from Hawaii and Chris Murphy of Connecticut puzzled over whether to promote the viral video — but ultimately decided against it.

“Guys, I’m still holding my breath,” tweeted top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York. “Are you gonna RT Cardi B or not?”

“We decided not to do it,” Schatz tweeted. “Wouldn’t be senatorial.”

Acknowledging that many of her fans might not be following the shutdown saga, which is persisting due to a standoff between the US president and Democrats in Congress, Cardi B said: “we really need to take this seriously.”

“Our country is in a hellhole right now,” the 26-year-old said. “All for a fucking wall.”

Trump insists he won’t agree to open the government until Congress signs off on his demand for $5.7 billion to build a wall along the border with Mexico, which he argues is needed to prevent illegal immigration.

“This is crazy,” said Cardi B, who was born to a Dominican father and Trinidadian mother. “I feel like we need to take some action.”

AFP

US Government Shutdown Muddles Canada Trade Tallies

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto (L), US President Donald Trump (C) and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are pictured after signing a new free trade agreement in Buenos Aires.

 

The Canadian statistical agency said Thursday the US government shutdown is having impacts beyond its borders, stemming data sharing and forcing Ottawa to suspend publication of trade figures.

The United States is Canada’s largest trading partner, with about 75 percent of Canadian exports sent to its southern neighbor.

Statistics Canada and the US Census Bureau (USCB) share economic data collected by the two nations’ respective customs agencies to produce trade reports.

But a partial Washington shutdown started on December 22, which included the closure of the USCB, has halted US data collection and sharing.

“This has a direct impact on Statistics Canada’s ability to compile, produce and publish Canadian international merchandise trade data, as Statistics Canada will not receive data on Canada’s exports to the United States for the duration of the shutdown,” the agency said in a statement.

The nations trade about Can$2 billion (US$1.5 billion) worth of goods each day.

Statistics Canada has suspended trade reporting from December 2018 onward, until US government workers return to work. The next release of monthly trade figures, for December, had been scheduled for February 5.

As the US shutdown moves toward the fifth week, there is no sign of a breakthrough in the impasse between President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats over Trump’s demand for US$5.7 billion to build a border wall with Mexico, which he argues is needed to prevent illegal migration.

AFP