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[NIGERIA] TINUBU CERTIFICATE FORGERY: OUTRAGE OVER NBC’s WARNING TO ARISE TV

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Condemnations have trailed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC)’s warning to ARISE NEWS Channel over what the commission perceived as “offensive and inflammatory comments” made on the network.

NBC had on Friday issued a last warning to the television station regarding their alleged use of offensive and provocative language on their channel.The warning was conveyed through a letter titled “Prevalence of Offensive and Inflammatory Comments: Final Warning,” signed by the Director General of NBC, Dr Balarabe Shehu Ilelah.

But in its reaction, Amnesty International (AI) has criticised the federal government for using regulations to suppress press freedom.While expressing its disapproval on its social media platform, X (formerly Twitter), the international rights group asserted that the federal government was unwilling to be held accountable, and had resorted to employing regulations as a means to target and exert influence over the media.

“Amnesty International condemns the ‘final warning’ issued to ARISE TV by the federal government through National Broadcasting Commission (NBC). Targeting Arise TV simply for doing their work sends the wrong message that Nigerian authorities are not prepared to be held accountable. “Nigerian authorities must stop the unrelenting quest to silence media organizations like ARISE TV, which are crucial to ensuring independent and diverse media space in the country and fulfilling people’s right to information.

“Using regulations as a way to silence independent journalism is completely unacceptable. The media in Nigeria should be free to exercise their right to freedom of expression as protected by international law,” the international rights group explained. Also reacting, Nollywood actor and legal practitioner, Mr. Kenneth Okonkwo, has also cautioned the Director General of the NBC against using his (Okonkwo’s) name “disrespectfully” in his communication with media houses.

Okonkwo insisted that the Ilelah must publicly apologise to him for infringing on his fundamental right to hold views, without let or hindrance, on issues of national importance. Okonkwo, who made his position known in a letter entitled, ‘Open letter to Mr. Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, DG National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC),’ however, said Ilelah should be sympathised with.

The letter read: “I read the letter written by Mr. Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, DG of NBC, and wish to state as follows:“I sympathise with him in this unfortunate journey intended to please his employers, but state that he would have been wiser and more circumspect in going about it. “Maybe he is not aware that the court has decided that NBC has no power to fine or sanction any media house. Intimidating or manipulating the media house is a form of sanction and is unlawful.

“He ill-advisedly mentioned my name in his letter as making an unguarded utterance simply because I confirmed that the Chicago State University certificate, which BAT submitted to INEC, was forged, for the simple reason that the university has expressly stated that the certificate did not come from them, which is the condition necessary to prove forgery.

“This statement is an outright infringement on my fundamental human rights as enshrined in Sections 38 and 39, which provide that “every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought…; every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information, ideas and information without interference”.

“It’s unfortunate that when all media houses condemned Mmesoma for forging her JAMB certificate, and rightly too, without being convicted by a court, simply because JAMB disowned her certificate, and rightly too, the DG didn’t write to any TV station or mention the name of any guest on TV who condemned such forgery. Now that the certificate of the President is disowned by the university that purportedly issued it, the DG has suddenly found his mouth to mention the names of the people who condemned such forgery of the certificate after the university disowned it and even wrote to the media house to threaten it.

THISDAY

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DEADLY CROWD CRUSH DURING SALE OF SEIZED RICE IN NIGERIA

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Bags of confiscated rice for sale are seen in Lagos, Nigeria, in this photo shared by Nigeria Customs services on February 23, 2024. From Nigeria Customs servicesCNN — 

There was a deadly crowd crush during the sale of seized rice in Nigeria. The Nigeria Customs Service says it is investigating reports people were trampled to death during a sale of bags of confiscated rice amid growing anger over skyrocketing prices of food in Africa’s most populous country.

“There was a chaotic situation caused by the impatience of people to follow the laid down procedures and rules that were set up for the exercise,” spokesperson for the service, Abdullahi Maiwada told CNN on Saturday. “I can neither confirm or deny any deaths but we are investigating,” he added.

Long queues have formed outside the Lagos customs office since the commencement of the sale as thousands of locals struggle to grab a bag of the 25-kilogram rice selling at a discounted price of 10,000 naira ($6.80).

Some eyewitnesses said they saw people “trampled to death” Friday.

“A man just died in my hospital, he was stamped on after falling at the custom office trying to get rice. He was on the queue with his wife when he fell down and couldn’t get up on time which resulted to people stamping on him. So sad. Survived by very young children,” said one Nigerian doctor on X.

Last week, anti-government protests broke out in parts of the West African nation as the country battles one of its worst cost-of-living crisis that has seen inflation accelerate to nearly 30% – the highest in 30 years.

The local currency has also significantly depreciated, losing over half its value to the US dollar following its second devaluation in less than a year.

More than 80 million Nigerians live on less than $2 a day, representing “the world’s second-largest poor population after India”, according to the World Bank.

The customs service said the distribution of the seized bags of rice was part of the government’s plan “to tackle the pressing issue of food insecurity.”

The cost of rice, a staple food in Nigeria, has surged in recent months. It is now priced at over N70,000 ($47.60) per 50kg bag, compared to a range of 45,000 to 50,000 naira previously.

The customs service says it has been confiscating contraband rice from smugglers following restrictions on foreign rice imports by the Nigerian government.

Analysts welcomed the rice distribution initiative but questioned its viability in tackling Nigeria’s worsening food insecurity.

“Interventions in terms of food supply look like a good idea but there should have been a policy rolled out to define how this will happen,” political analyst Sam Amadi told CNN.

“There is some distribution in Lagos now, what about other parts of the country? Is it just a Lagos intervention? Is it going to be a one-off, or a consistent sharing and does it have the potential to make some impact?” he asked, adding that “there is a lack of intelligible criteria and framework.”

Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu, who has faced criticism over the spike in the prices of goods and services said he is “dedicated to evolving home-grown solutions to tackle our nation’s food security challenges head-on.”

His government came under fire last November over a budget that allocated funds for purchasing SUV vehicles for the presidency, amounting to N2.9 billion ($3.6 million), and to cover the cost of renovating the president’s residential quarters, estimated at N4 billion ($5 million) as the country grapples with mounting debts.

Tinubu said he trusts the country’s central bank to fix the issue of the plummeting local currency.

The Lagos government said Thursday it was rolling out plans to address the food crisis in the state. Its governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu announced the opening of special markets “across the state to sell food items at really affordable rates.”

“We aim to serve over 500,000 Lagosians with essential food items at rates that defy inflation” in addition to the construction of food hubs, Sanwo-Olu added.

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DOZENS OF HAMAS TERRORISTS SURRENDER TO ISRAELI SOLDIERS

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Dozens of Hamas terrorists surrendered to Israeli force s in northern Gaza Thursday, Dec. 7, according to reports.

The Hamas terrorists turned themselves in after being pushed back by the advancing Israel Defense Forces near Jabaliya, the Times of Israel reports.

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Photos show dozens of alleged Hamas terrorists lined up on a street, sitting in rows with their hands over their heads.

The men were stripped to just their underwear as the IDF troops lined them up.

In one clip, the dozens of Hamas members could be seen in the back of an Israeli military vehicle.

Channel 13 reporter Almog Boker estimated that more than a hundred Hamas fighters turned themselves in, the largest group to surrender to the IDF since Israel began its incursion into the Palestinian enclave.

However, Israel’s Kan News reported that the group of men were detained before the IDF could verify whether they were all in fact members of Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The New Arab, a Qatari-owned news outlet based in London, alleged that one of the men seen in the footage was Diaa Al-Kahlot, one of its correspondents reporting from Gaza.

Senior Hamas leader Osama Hamdan claimed that the people arrested in the video were unarmed civilians who were not affiliated with the terror group, Arabic broadcaster Al Araby reports.

The IDF has yet to comment on the arrests in Jabaliya.

Many watchers of the ongoing situation in Gaza had always believed it was a matter of time before the Hamas terrorists began to be captured or surrender in their numbers.

Hamas is already claiming the dozens of alleged Hamas terrorists rounded up were not it’s members. Before now, people have been wondering why upon all the footages of the war in Gaza most pro Hamas media organisations have been portraying most graphically, no wounded or killed Hamas combatants have been shown.

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MAN EATEN ALIVE AFTER JUMPING INTO TIGER CAGE IN PAKISTANI ZOO

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Joe Exotic in Tiger King

A zoo in Pakistan has been shut down after a man was mauled to death by tigers in an attack discovered during routine cleaning, officials said Thursday. The body was found on Wednesday morning in Bahawalpur’s Sherbagh Zoo in the eastern province of Punjab after staff spotted one of the three tigers with a shoe…

A zoo in Pakistan has been shut down after a man was mauled to death by tigers in an attack discovered during routine cleaning, officials said Thursday.

The body of the man who apparently eaten alive was found on Wednesday morning in Bahawalpur’s Sherbagh Zoo in the eastern province of Punjab after staff spotted one of the three tigers with a shoe in its mouth.

“The zoo is closed right now as we determine how the man got in,” Ali Usman Bukhari, a senior officer of the province’s wildlife department, which operates the zoo, told AFP.

The condition of the body suggests the attack happened late Tuesday night after he jumped into the cage and was eaten alive by the tigers.

“The autopsy report has not been released, however, evidence gathered from the enclosure points towards him being alive when he was attacked by the tigers,” Bukhari said.

“The tigers did not go out of the den to attack the man, he jumped into their enclosure,” he said.

“If we find a security lapse, we will address it. If need be, we will hire private security guards.”

The man eaten alive has not been identified and no family member has come forward to claim the body.

Speaking to media outside the zoo after the body was discovered on Wednesday, senior local government official Zaheer Anwar said all staff had been accounted for.

“Our assessment so far is that this appears to be a lunatic, because a sensible person would not jump into the den,” he said.

“You can see the den is secured. There are stairs behind the den, maybe he jumped from there.”

The three tigers present in the den when the body was discovered have been restricted to a smaller space while evidence is collected.

The zoo was built in 1942 by the ruling royal family of the former princely state of Bahawalpur and costs adults 50 rupees (18 cents) to enter.

Pakistan’s zoos are generally in a poor condition and frequently accused of disregarding animal welfare.

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