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Nigeria Newspapers

Buhari breaches human rights in blocking 72M phone lines, legal action looms

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President Muhammadu Buhari breached human rights laws in ordering the blocking of 72 million active telecommunication subscribers from making calls on their unlinked NIN-SIMs.

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) pointed out the breach in an open letter to the President on Sunday.

It urged the president to rescind the order.

It asked the president to “direct the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to immediately reverse the apparently unlawful decision.

The group announced a legal action if the decision is not rescinded within 48 hours.

“If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions in the public interest to ensure full compliance with human rights standards.”

Last week, the Federal Government ‘ordered’ telecommunications companies to block outgoing calls on all unlinked lines as the deadline for the verification expired on March 31.

Following the directive, over 72 million subscribers have now been barred from making calls.

In the open letter dated 9 April, 2022 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said, “Blocking people from making calls undermines their ability to communicate freely, and associate with others. It infringes their rights to freedom of expression and family life, as well as socio-economic rights.”

“The decision will have a chilling effect, dissuading the free expression of ideas and information.”

“The decision to block people from making calls is also inconsistent and incompatible with the country’s international legal obligations to respect, protect, promote and facilitate economic and social rights. The decision contradicts the tenets of the rule of law, and a democratic society.”

“Immediately reversing the decision would be in conformity with the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended], and Nigeria’s international human rights obligations.

“Reversing the decision would also improve the confidence of the international community in human rights and the rule of law in Nigeria.”

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Nigeria Newspapers

Lagos warns citizens to disregard false video over market demolition

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By Christopher Oji

The Lagos State Government has described the video circulating online showing officials of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) and the Environmental and Special Offences Unit (Task Force) at Alaba-Rago Market as the evil works of mischievous people.

The government has blamed it as the evil plan of some wicked people trying to fuel religious and ethnic crisis in the state.

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In a statement by Honourable Commissioner Ministry of Information and Strategy Gbenga Omotoso,”the video is accompanied by a voice, which is not that of any official of the two agencies. The voice is that of a faceless blogger trying to whip up ethnic and political sentiments over the planned relocation of traders for the remodelling of Alaba Rago Market.

“The video is authentic because Commander, Rapid Response Squad (RRS), CSP Olayinka Egbeyemi, and Chairman, Lagos State Task Force, CSP Shola Jejeloye, were in Alaba Rago last Thursday, to brief the traders on the planned relocation. The traders have 14 days to vacate the area to pave the way for the re-modelling.

“Alaba Rago,is occupied by traders from many parts of Nigeria and neighbouring West African countries. Any insinuation towards any ethnic attack is a lie and purveyors of such are mischievous. It is a devious attempt to cause trouble among peaceful traders. Such actions should be disregarded. Engagements are ongoing towards a hitch-free temporary relocation of the traders.

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“The planned relocation is part of the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration’s Urban Renewal Programme. Lagos State Government and the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing have just demolished market stalls under Apongbon Bridge ahead of the reconstruction of the bridge, which got burnt.

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“It is illegal to bring ethnic, religious or political colourations to such an exercise, which is designed to ensure development and better security in our communities.

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“The discovery of some locally made shotguns by Ojo Police Division a few weeks ago was part of many other reports that prompted the Government to expedite action on the remodelling of this market.

“About 4:00 a.m. on 3 April, 2022, officials of RRS, intercepted a busload of illicit drugs at Mile 2 en route Mushin. The suspects confessed that the consignments were loaded at night in Alaba Rago.

“The Lagos-Badagry Expressway is an international route. It will be insensitive of the Government not to redevelop an unplanned and filthy market, such as Alaba Rago, with many shanties lined up on such an international route.

“Besides, Alaba Rago is directly opposite the Lagos State University Ojo Campus. Keeping a very busy market like that directly opposite a reputable institution of learning is not right”.

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Nigeria Newspapers

Amaechi: Women will enjoy equal opportunities in my reign

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By Lucy Ogalue

A presidential aspirant on the platform of the APC, Rotimi Amaechi has promised to give women equal opportunities with men in his administration if elected president come 2023.

He made this pledge during his consultation visits to Benue, Gombe, and the Katsina States.

According to him, women are more competent and intelligent than men.

Amaechi said “I don’t believe in the 35 per cent affirmative action for women in politics because women are more competent and intelligent than men.

The former Minister said that women delegates should get ready to vote him into power after he gets the party ticket as his administration would give women equal rights.

“When we win, women will have equal opportunities as the men; there will not be 35 per cent affirmative action for women. No, you are more intelligent than the men.

”Ask parents, if you have a boy and a girl, the girl develops faster than the boy and is more intelligent, eventually, the boy becomes the Oga of the house by tradition, not because he is more brilliant.

“Amina Mohammed was not selected because she was a woman, she earned it. Women are more qualified than men, whether you believe it or not, in our government, we will include women, just go and vote.

“We will give you opportunities like every other person in Nigeria to serve the country because you are equally qualified. So, there will be equal opportunities for both genders,” Amaechi said.

Speaking to the youths, he urged them to join a party and be more active at the party level, stating that he became a Speaker at the age of 34years.

“I became a Speaker at the age of 34years, then there was no “Not too Young to Run Bill,” and I was given the opportunity, if youths are more committed at the party level, they will get more opportunities to serve,” he said.

NAN

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