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JUST IN: Senate Divided Over Social Media Bill

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Divergent arguments were raised on Wednesday at the Nigerian Senate’s plenary over the passage of bill to protect the social media from peddling fake news.

The bill for an Act to make provisions for the Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill, 2019 sponsored by Senator Mohammed Sani Musa, representing Niger East Senatorial District was re-read at plenary on Wednesday.

In defence of the bill, Senator Elisha Abbo expressed fear over the growth of fake news in Nigeria which, according to him, may destroy the nation if unchecked.

“I want to commend Distinguished Senator Musa for sponsoring this Bill. The issue of fake news in this country, if it’s not regulated is a cancer waiting to consume all of us.

“Even conventional media that are regulated are suffering from falsehood”, he mentioned.

Senator Abba Moro, equally threw weight behind the bill, describing it straightforward laced with good intentions.

He was quoted saying thus:

“I rise to support this Bill because its a straightforward Bill with good intentions. Some of us in one way or the other have been victims of fake news. I rise to support this bill as it will protect the society.”

“Today we know that America has risen up against fake news as it has had very terrible consequences in America. Fake news is dangerous, therefore Mr. President, we must rise to the challenge”, Senator Moro added.

Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, however, rejected the bill on the ground that it abuses the freedom of speech entrenched in the Nigerian 1999 constitution.

“I have great respect for the sponsor of this Bill. In person, I not only oppose it in totality, I condemn this Bill”, the lawmaker strongly asserted.

He further drew the attention of the National Assembly to the CyberCrime Act which makes provisions against such internet abuse.

“Based on our constitution that guarantees freedom of speech, there is a cybercrime act that deals with this,” Senator Nnamani established.

Meanwhile, Senate President Ahmad Lawan referred the bill to the committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to report within four weeks, after passing its reading for the second time.

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Inside Nigeria

BREAKING: FG Announces Resumption Of Domestic Flights

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Hadi Sirika

The Federal Government has announced the resumption of domestic flights in the country.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, announced this in a tweet on Wednesday.

According to him, the Abuja and Lagos airports will resume domestic operations on July 8, while the Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri and Maiduguri airports would resume on the 11th.

Other airports are also expected to resume operations on the 15th.

Sirika, however, noted that a date for the international airports will be announced in due course.

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Inside Nigeria

Number Of Poor People Might Triple Due To COVID-19 Pandemic — Buhari

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Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed fear of the Coronavirus pandemic making people poorer.

Speaking in a recorded video message to a virtual high-level UN meeting on trends, options and strategies in poverty eradication across the world, President Buhari apprised the UN meeting on steps to revive the nation’s economy in the wake of the pandemic and also warned that COVID-19 pandemic risks reversing decades of progress achieved in the efforts to eradicate poverty globally.

He said, “It is my conviction that devoting our efforts towards human capital development, efficient management of our resources, greater financial inclusion and transformation of the agricultural sector to ensure food security are crucial to poverty eradication.

”In this regard, Nigeria continues to strengthen its existing social safety net initiative by increasing access to enrolees who fit the various programmes in the scheme.

”Nigeria will also continue to provide easier and increased access to financial services for micro and small-scale businesses through the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme. But we are determined to do more.

”Nigeria holds the view that education is a critical driver of sustainable development and has an immense capacity to eradicate poverty.

”Educating our children, especially the girl-child, contributes significantly to the fight against poverty, environmental sustainability, and improved health, as well as building peace and resilient societies.”

In the statement released by President Buhari’s media aide Femi Adesina on Wednesday July 1, it was also gathered that the Nigerian leader expressed concern that more than 700 million people or 10% of the world’s population are classified as living in extreme poverty.

He also noted that in Nigeria as in many other countries, the domestic supply chains and trading corridors have come under enormous strain, bringing to fore the health versus economics debate.

Buhari said, ‘‘All the while they struggle with the most basic needs like nutrition, shelter, health, education and access to clean water and sanitation.

‘‘In this condition, the number of poor people is estimated to triple as livelihoods across almost all economic sectors have been adversely affected.”

He also disclosed at the meeting that with a population of about 200 million; a large percentage of Nigerians live in various stages of poverty. According to him, the prospect of the population sliding further into extreme poverty is real and his government is also striving to combat and reverse the trend.

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Buhari Names Adesina, Seriki, Awoniyi 39 Others As Ambassadors Nominees

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday requested the Senate to screen and confirm 41 non-career and one career ambassadors for appointment.

Buhari’s letter of request was read on the floor at plenary by the Senate President Ahmad Lawan.

Among the nominees included Debo Adesina (Oyo), Exco-Minister of State for Defence, Ademola Seriki (Lagos) and Mr. Dare Sunday Awoniyi (Kogi).

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