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NGO Calls for Sack of Kawu, NBC Boss over Hate Speech

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Paradigm Initiative, Pan-African digital rights advocacy group, has called on the Acting President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to terminate the appointment of Modibbo Kawu as Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission, for alleged engagement in spreading hate speech.

 

The group made the call in a letter sent to the acting president last Wednesday, August 8.

 

The group urged the acting president to relieve the DG of the NBC of his duties “to allow for fair investigation of comments attributed to him and to serve as a needed example and precedent for politicians and public officers irrespective of political affiliation”

Modibbo Kawu

Mr. Kawu’s duty as the Director General of the NBC entails ensuring that the execution of the policies of the commission and its day to day administration is carried out smoothly.

 

The organization further noted that “in carrying out this responsibility… several sanctions and heavy fines have been imposed by the DG against radio, television stations and media houses who have been adjudged as promoting “anti-democratic” content such as misinformation and content capable of inciting violence or causing disaffection in the polity.”

 

However, a Premium Times report on the 5th of August 2018 revealed that Mr. Kawu engaged in posting a string of undemocratic messages on a Whatsapp group of northern editors and intellectuals.

 

In the said group, he made statements of tribal and ethnic implications; capable of inciting hate.

 

According to Boye Adegoke, Program Manager in Paradigm Initiative, “Given the sensitive nature of Mr. Modibbo’s position and role in the affairs of the NBC, it is highly unbecoming of him to be seen creating and promoting such inciting content.

 

“Not only are his actions inappropriate and unbefitting of a public servant but also unacceptable of the Director General of the Commission responsible for amongst other things, regulating and controlling the broadcasting Industry in Nigeria.

 

“At a time when the Nigerian government is putting in efforts to curb fake news, hate speech and harmful content, it is almost laughable that the very person put in the frontline of championing this cause is reported to be engaging in acts such as this,” Adegoke concluded.

 

Paradigm Initiative ended the letter reminding the acting president that Nigeria is a democratic nation in which no one should be above the law and in which equity and justice prevail.

 

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FG Launches 5 Mobile Radio Frequency Monitoring Equipment

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Abdur-Raheem Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communication

Adebayo Shittu, minister of Communications, has, launched five mobile radio frequency monitoring equipment and national spectrum management system for effective monitoring of frequency bands used to provide radio communication services in the country.

 

The minister, who said that the equipment was worth nine million dollars, added that it would guarantee effective spectrum management in the country.

 

He said that the project would not only stem irregular and illegal use of radio frequency but would ensure that users complied with the guiding laws and regulations.

 

According to Shittu, the project will ensure that radio frequencies are protected and used according to the guiding laws.

 

He said: “The project was embarked upon to enable the ministry to stem irregular and illegal use of the scarce radio frequency spectrum resource for judicious, efficient and equitable utilisation by competing radio communication services.”

 

He promised that the ministry would do its best to utilise the equipment to improve spectrum monitoring activities and frequency management functions to minimise incidences of harmful interferences.

 

He said: “With these facilities in place, the ministry has the capacity and capability to detect, identify and locate the source of transmission and is therefore able to determine if a frequency user is duly licenced or not.”

 

Shittu added that radio spectrum needed to be managed well for its efficient, judicious and equitable use by radio communication services to drive socio-economic development of the country.

 

He said: “The services include aeronautical, broadcasting, maritime, mobile communication, radio navigation, satellite and space research.

 

“The radio frequency spectrum has diverse applications in agriculture, artificial intelligence, education, health, banking, commerce, manufacturing, robotics and many other human endeavours.”

 

Radio frequency monitoring is a means of investigating the use of the radio frequency spectrum. It is also used in detecting and identifying the direction and source of electromagnetic emissions and possible location of a radio communication station and equipment.

 

The minister, therefore, explained that the national spectrum management system would be used to create database of all licensed users and platform for carrying out spectrum management functions which included engineering analysis and monitoring control activities.

 

He said that the project also included two Denial of Service equipment to serve as one of the enforcement tools that may be applied to deny services to non-compliant users of the frequency spectrum.

 

Shittu urged Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), as well as private individuals and organisations that use the frequency spectrum to enhance communication and transmission of data within their organisation.

 

He advised them to ensure they first obtain the requisite authorisation from the ministry to use the radio frequency spectrum before they procure and operate any radio communication equipment.

 

In addition, those presently using the frequency spectrum without due authorisation should formalise their status of operation or face sanctions, he advised.

 

Onawo Ogoshi, chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Information Communication Technology, said that the importance of the project cannot be overemphasised.

 

He commended the ministry for achieving the feat and urged the minister to ensure that the project was put to best use.

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Umahi, Ebonyi Gov. Sacks Ebonyi Broadcasting Corporation Board Chairman

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David Umahi, Ebonyi State Governor, has sacked Mrs Patience Ogodo, board chairman of the Ebonyi Broadcasting Corporation (ESBC)

 

Mr Emmanuel Uzor, chief press secretary to the governor, who issued a statement on Saturday, said the sack was sequel to Ogodo’s suspension as a member of the Peoples Democratic Party Board of Trustees.

 

Uzor alleged that the PDP’s National Executive Committee had suspended Ogodo for acts inconsistent with her mandate which included, absenteeism and other anti-party activities.

 

“Consequently, Ogodo is directed to hand over all government properties in her possession within 24 hours to the closest person on the board.

 

“The governor wishes to stress that Ogodo’s suspension was in affirmation of the PDP’s NEC which tried and found her guilty of anti-party activities and other sundry actions.

 

“This was unbecoming of a board of trustees member from a highly disciplined party like the PDP as it acted in line with the party’s constitution,” the statement read.

 

The statement further noted that the governor wished her well in her new political journey.

 

 

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Court Unfreezes Pinnacle Account, Counsels Anti-Graft Agencies

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Nnamdi Dimgba, Federal High Court Judge has ordered Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to unfreeze the account of Pinnacle Communications Limited and counselled anti-corruption agencies of government against taking drastic action that could prevent private enterprises from flourishing prior to concluding investigations to justify such action.

 

Delivering his ruling in the case instituted against ICPC for instructing Zenith Bank to freeze it’s account Friday, the judge maintained that the anti-corruption war was as beneficial to the society as flourishing private enterprises pointing out that scuttling the operations of major private organizations like Pinnacle Communications Limited also sends negative signals to the international community about Nigeria’s business environment.

 

Justice Dimgba described ICPC’s action against Pinnacle Communications Limited as “an overkill just like using a sledgehammer to kill a fly” considering that even after six months since the case was instituted and despite lèeway provided by many adjournments by the court, ICPC could not file any charges against the company, emphasizing that it should not have frozen the account without establishing a prima facie against it.

 

The judge remarked that anti-corruption agencies should not based their actions on rumours or “beer parlour stories” but on thorough investigations that could sustain judiciall scrutiny.

 

He held that freezing accounts of individuals or organizations by ICPC amounts to an administrative action of a federal agency which relevant sections of the constitution empower the Federal High Court to review for compliance with the law and obligations of such agencies.

 

Justice Dimgba also ruled that an order freezing account could not subsist perpetually if it was meant to be temporary adding that the essence was to allow for quick conclusion of investigations, especially when it involves a major company playing a major role in the national broadcast sector which could be jeopardized.

 

The judge however said ICPC could continue its investigations and present it’s case before a court which would decide if there is any basis to freeze accounts in future.

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