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Paradigm Initiative Unhappy with Alleged Government’s Attempts to Clampdown on Online Newspapers

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By peter

Paradigm Initiative has expressed displeasure over alleged Federal Government’s secret attempts to block the domain names of several identified websites accused of threatening national security in Nigeria.

These attempts are an unacceptable violation of constitutionally and globally guaranteed rights of expression and information.

According to a report published in the Nigerian Tribune, the Federal Government is alleged to be currently carrying out this operation through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), ostensibly hiding behind Section 146 of the NCC Act 2003.

The section, which provides generally on the duties of a network licensee to assist the Commission in preserving national security and preventing the commission of a crime, must not be used by the Federal Government to intimidate online news providers and infringe on their rights.

According to Adeboye Adegoke, Paradigm Initiative’s Program Manager Magoyi (ICT Policy), “Section 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria expressly provides that every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides similarly that everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice”

While commenting on the development, Paradigm Initiative’s Director of Programs, Tope Ogundipe says that “whatever process is underway by the influence of the NCC and the NSA would result in a violation of the Constitution and should, therefore, be halted. The Federal Government should desist from covert acts as such and should instead release a list of such sites purportedly threatening national security and follow the due course of the law in handling this matter transparently.”

Mrs Ogundipe further states that in an already declining society which pays minimal regard to the freedom of expression and press freedom, a dangerous precedent would be set if the NCC goes ahead with this plan to restrict access to certain websites in the Nigerian Cyberspace.

While speaking further on the development, Program Manager, Magoyi (ICT Policy), Adeboye Adegoke said that, “The right to receive information and the right to give information is expressly codified in legal instruments recognized in Nigeria and so it would be sheer defiance by the NCC to attempt to make a derogation in such a manner”

Paradigm Initiative has noted the denial of this censorship plan by the Minister of Communications, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu, stating that he was not aware of any plan by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) to gag online newspapers.

The Honourable Minister should go a step further to investigate this claim and make a commitment to press freedom and unhindered internet freedom. On its part, Paradigm Initiative will continue to monitor the development and will deploy every legitimate advocacy tools to get to the root of it in ensuring that fundamentally guaranteed rights of citizens are safeguarded.

Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University.

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Buhari Extends Ministers Tenure Till Tuesday

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President Muhammadu Buhari and his vice Osibanjo
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President Muhammadu Buhari President Muhammadu Buhari has asked his ministers to continue working till Tuesday.

 

He gave the directives during the valedictory Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting yesterday.

 

The President said, thereafter, they should submit their handing over notes to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

 

Buhari said: “ Although today is our last council meeting, continue to work until Tuesday.. Your handover letters should be submitted to the office of the SGF.”

 

The president commended the ministers for contributing towards the development of the country.

 

Yemi Osibanjo, Vice President and the 31 ministers took turn to deliver their speeches on their experiences working with the president.

 

The president would be sworn in on Wednesday May 29 for his second term.

 

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UBA’s Africa Conversations: Leaders Emphasise Importance of History to African Development

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l-r Chairman of Ghana’s Convention People’s Party, and daughter of Mr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ms Samia Nkrumah; Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka; Group Chairman, UBA Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu; Guinean Historian and playwright, Professor, Djibril Tamsir Niane; Afro musician, Mr. Femi Kuti; and Legal Practitioner and Moderator, Ms. Ayo Obe, during the panel discussion themed ‘Africa’s History Redefined, our past, the path to the future,’ organised by UBA to mark Africa’s Day in Lagos on Wednesday
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African leading minds have called on Africans to be mindful of their rich history, which according to them creates the path towards the socio-cultural, economic and political development of the continent

 

The strong African voices which included Group Chairman, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Tony Elumelu, Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka; Professor emeritus and authority in Sahelian history, Djibril Tamsir Niane; Ghanaian Politician, Samia Nkrumah and Famous Musician, Femi Kuti spoke during the first edition of UBA’s Africa Conversations, a symposium organised by the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc at the UBA House in Lagos, as part of activities marking this year’s Africa Day celebrations. The theme of the panel session was “Africa’s History Redefined, Our Past, the Path to the Future”.

 

Opening the conversation, the Group Chairman, UBA, Tony Elumelu stated ‘UBA understands the past- that Africa as a continent has always been united by the struggle for identity. UBA is a symbol for the development of Africa, for the economic empowerment of our people, the Small and Medium Enterprises as well as the big corporations. Thus, identifying with Africa and indeed Africa Day is synonymous with who we are as a bank. It presents us the opportunity to remind ourselves, the world and indeed Africa that we owe ourselves the duty of making Africa the continent of our dreams.”

 

Elumelu added that it is important for Africans to remember history as this will help prepare for the future. ‘Our past provides a veritable tool to fashioning the continent’s development, renaissance and economic growth’ he emphasised.

 

Speaking strongly on the issue, professor Wole Soyinka, who commended UBA’s initiative for opening up discussions on these pressing topics decried the growing erosion of history from the curriculum in African schools, adding that the lack of knowledge of our past makes children’s growth on the continent truncated. “How can we cope with the modern phenomenon if we do not know the past? We should never forget the importance of history as it is not just an academic exercise,” he enthused.

 

Corroborating Soyinka’s position, Professor Niane opined that reminiscing about Africa’s rich history is important as there is no people without history. He said, “A lot of work has been done by Africans and we have to be happy about it. There is the need to continue the conversation about African unity. Policies  have been put in place and our democracy can only get stronger. Peace will reign and Africa will be reunited. Economic transformation is also important but it is not the only thing we should concentrate on.”

 

 

Samia Nkrumah, the daughter of Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, who commended UBA for prioritising African entrepreneurship, called for a renewed attempt at African unity, which according to her, has to be a collective effort of the people.

 

Nkrumah said, “As we work in our individual smaller countries, it will be easier to achieve more if we work together and complete unification can only come if we work together; we won’t go anywhere unless we use unity as a political project.’ She added.

 

On his part, Femi Kuti emphasised the importance of History, saying “Our children need to learn this history so that they can come up and build the continent. We need everyone – both boys and girls to work towards this vision.”

 

The UBA Conversations, an initiative of the Pan African financial institution, aims at aggregating discussions necessary for the growth and development of the continent. It is being held as part of the activities to mark the 2019 edition of Africa Day celebrations by the bank.

 

With presence in 20 African countries as well as in the United States, France and The United Kingdom, UBA’s passion for Africa’s growth is part of who they are.

 

The bank is set to continue conversations around these important topics that are required to galvanise the African economy with the aim of attracting the much needed support that will boost SMEs and support business growth on the continent.

 

 

 

 

 

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Facebook Celebrates One Year of NG_Hub

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Celebrating exactly a year to the day since the doors of NG_Hub opened in Lagos, and Facebook further cemented its ambitions to train users across Nigeria in digital skills, Facebook released an infographic highlighting key milestones over the past year.

Created as part of Facebook’s ongoing commitment and investment in growing the start-up ecosystem, and in partnership with CcHub, NG_Hub is a multi-faceted space which connects and bring together developers, start-up’s and the wider community to collaborate, learn and exchange ideas. With a number of expert training and events with partners across Nigeria, undertaking in the hub and externally, the aim is to equip individuals and businesses to grow.

Some highlights over the past year includes: Trained over 50,800 SMBs in digital skills across 20 states in Nigeria

– Delivered 526 events with over 11,490 attendees at NG_Hub, including programmes such as AR/VR meetups, FbStart Accelerator Programme, Facebook Community Leaders Community meetings (CLCs), Developer Circle gatherings etc.

– Directly supported businesses in 11 different industries from agriculture, through to catering, education and fashion

Speaking of its one-year anniversary, Adaora Ikenze, Head of Public Policy, West and Central Africa, said: “I’m proud of the incredible impact that NG_Hub has had in its first year, and continues to have on the lives of young Nigerians.

“We remain committed in deepening our engagement, increasing skills development and supporting the next set of innovators, tech entrepreneurs, start-ups,in our collective bid to change the face of technology and grow the economy.”

Commenting on the partnership Bosun Tijani, Founder/CEO of CcHub, added: “We’re glad about the tremendous impact Facebook’s investment in NG_HUB has had in such a short period and the ecosystem is already seeing the fruits of this commitment. We’re committed to working with Facebook to position NG_HUB as a major platform that drives smart application of technology innovation for economic prosperity across the region and beyond.”

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