President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja on Tuesday for Aswan, Egypt to attend the Aswan Forum designed to set “An Agenda for Sustainable Peace and Development in Africa.”
The president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, confirmed this development in a statement in Abuja on Monday.
The Forum which holds between Dec. 11 and Dec. 12, is an initiative to address the interconnections between peace and development in Africa while promoting Africa-led solutions through strengthening policies and practices.
“The initiative is being launched by the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in his capacity as the Chairman of the African Union (AU) and as an advocate of Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development in Africa – a recurring theme of his tenure as the AU Chairman.
“It is also grounded in the AU’s Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, and the search for African solutions to African problems.
“The gathering is expected to bring together heads of state and government, leaders from regional and international organisations, financial institutions, private sector and civil societies.
”(Others are) scholars, visionaries and prominent experts for action-oriented discussions on the threats, challenges and opportunities.
“It is also expected to end with a Declaration on the theme of the Forum and become an annual event,’’ he said.
It would be recalled that the Speaker of Egypt’s House of Representatives, Ali Abdel Aal had delivered el-Sisi’s message to Buhari in Abuja on Oct. 28 inviting him to the inaugural Aswan Forum.
According to the presidential aide, the President will be accompanied by Governors Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa, Godwin Obaseki of Edo and Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State.
Others are: Minister of Defence, Gen. Bashir Magashi (Rtd); Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Amb. Zubairu Dada; National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (Rtd); and the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Abubakar.
Buhari is expected back in Abuja on Friday.
BREAKING: Buhari Presides Over Sixth Virtual FEC Meeting
The sixth virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting has commenced in the State House, Abuja, with President Muhmmadu Buhari presiding.
The Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN); Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha; the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari; and 11 Ministers are physically attending the meeting.
The Ministers at the Council Chambers include those of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed; Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi; Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammmed; Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN); Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika; as well as the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami.
Other Ministers physically present are those of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio; Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema; Special Duties, George Akume; Education, Adamu Adamu; and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada.
Before the meeting entered the main session, President Buhari called for a minute silence in honour of late ex-Sports and Youths Development Minister, Inuwa Abdulkadir.
Abdulkadir, who was a member of the recently dissolved National Working Committee (NWC) and National Vice Chairman (North-West) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), died on Monday.
BREAKING: Senate Passes Bill To Make Tenure Of IGP Single 4-Year Tenure
The Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that will make the tenure of office of the Inspector-General of Police by a single four-year term.
According to the Senate, the action became imperative to enable for a secured tenure of plan
a serving Inspector- General of Police, just as it passed that the community policing be strengthened.
The Senate has changed the name of “Nigeria Police” to Nigeria Police Force” as presently in use in view of the failed constitution alteration attempt to amend the name.
The Bill which was read the third time and passed, was a sequel to the consideration of the report on Police ACT CAP P19 LFN 2004( Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, 2020( SB.181) presented by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Senator Dauda Haliru Jika, APC, Bauchi Central.
The Upper Chamber has also approved that on the Appointment and Removal of the Inspector-General of Police, the provisions of the constitution in line with Section 2l5 of the l999 constitution (as amended) should be retained, as any proposal contrary to this provision will require constitution alteration for it to be viable.
The Senate resolved that the Police abide and enforce certain constitutional provisions, particularly fundamental rights at persons in Police custody under chapter 4 of the l999 constitution (as amended) and other international instruments on Human rights to which Nigeria is a signatory (including of provisions that reiterate the importance of fundamental human rights and advocating for their observance).
The Senate also passed that it should he made binding on the lnspector-General of Police to adhere to policing plans. The national policing plan should be made with inputs from the Police Force Headquarters and all the various Police formations nationwide before the end of each financial year, setting out priorities, objectives, cost implications and expected outcomes of Policing for the next succeeding financial year in order to change budgeting from a top-down approach to a bottom -up approach.
Do You Know Hate Speech Bill Is Still Alive And Well At The Senate?
By Fredrick Nwabufo
Social media/internet freedom is a basic human right. It is unalienable. In the pool of freedoms, it is as basic as the right to exist. Take away the power of thought and expression from a man, and you have a breathing cadaver.
On June 25, The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Community Court of Justice ruled that the September 2017 internet shutdown ordered by the Togolese government during protests was illegal and an affront to the applicants’ right to freedom of expression, this is according to Business and Human Rights Resource, which also reported that ‘’the court ordered the government of Togo to pay two million CAF to the plaintiffs as compensation and to take all the necessary measures to guarantee the implementation of safeguards with respect to the right to freedom of expression of the Togolese people’’.
The 2009 UN resolution on freedom of opinion and expression accentuates the primacy of the internet on human rights. The resolution foregrounds ‘’the importance of all forms of the media, including the Internet, in the exercise, promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, calling on states to facilitate equal participation in, access to and use of ICTs, applying a gender perspective’’.
This right is what Nigeria’s lawmakers at the national assembly seek to arrest and banish.
On November 6, 2019, the Senate introduced a bill seeking to regulate social media in the country. The proposed legislation entitled, ‘Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations bill, 2019’ was sponsored by Mohammed Sani Musa, senator representing Niger east – a district in the thrall of bandits. The bill has passed the first reading.
According to the sponsor of the bill, Nigeria needs the legislation because it would protect its “fragile unity”.
It proposes a fine of N150,000 or three years imprisonment for any offender and accords the government the carte blanche to shut down the internet – like in some authoritarian regimes across Africa.
A week after the anti-social media bill was floated; the senate introduced a bill seeking to establish a commission for the prohibition of hate speech in Nigeria. The bill entitled, ‘National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches Bill 2019’ was couriered by Sabi Abdullahi, the deputy majority whip of the senate.
The bill prescribed death by hanging for any person found guilty of any form of hate speech that results in the death of another person.
It said crime is committed when: “A person publishes, presents, produces, plays, provides, distributes and/or directs the performance of any material, written and/or visual, which is threatening, abusive or insulting or involves the use of threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, commits an offence if such person intends thereby to stir up ethnic hatred, or having regard to all the circumstances, ethnic hatred is likely to be stirred up against any person or persons from such an ethnic group in Nigeria.’’
While the hate speech bill exists still at the senate – it has not been withdrawn and the courier has insisted it will not be pulled out – the anti-social media bill is currently at the committee stage of the legislative process.
Interrogating these bills, it is clear they are symptoms of the fear of a failing administration. Only a failing government will be afraid of citizens’ criticisms on social media or interpret civil actions as subversion. If the government was living up to expectations, it would not need to worry about social media.
The anti-social media bill, for instance, which the courier said is designed to protect Nigeria’s ‘’fragile unity’’ is the fallout of critical takes at the government on social platforms by citizens who have elected to be defiant owing to the vacancy of a viable opposition. The sponsor, Musa Sani, once cited the controversy over the hoaxed wedding of the president on social media as the inclination for his pursuit.
Also, the hate speech bill leaves many grey areas. How do you define hate speech? Hate speech is simply according to whoever defines it, and in this case – the government. The proposed legislation was conceived to be a slave whip to suppress dissent and to drown citizens’ voices against the rising insecurity of which the instigators are perceived to be from one section of the country.
Nigeria being what it is, there is no telling how things will turn out. We could all carry on, only waking up after a journalist; a critic or anyone at all is arrested based on these inchoate legislations.
The Centre for Liberty (CFL) has been on passionate advocacy for the termination of these two bills through its Digital Freedom Advocacy (DFA), sponsored by Voice. It has embarked on citizens’ actions, mobilising voices and consciences against the gestating anti-people legislations. And the non-governmental organisation, supported by the Voice, has shown resolve of not relenting until these bills are decapitated and interred. Nigerians must, as well, lend their support and voices to this cause. It concerns us all.
Really, these bills are in the pursuit of fear, repression and autocracy. They have not been put to sleep yet at the senate. Nigerians must stay woke.
Fredrick Nwabufo is a writer and journalist.
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