National leader of the All Progressives Congress and former Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu on Saturday urged editors in the country to support the president’s media aides to make their jobs less challenging.
Tinubu, represented by Gov. Adams Oshiomhole of Edo, gave the advice in Abuja at a reception organised by the Nigeria Guild of Editors for its members recently appointed as president’s media aides.
Those honoured were Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President and Mallam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President.
Tinubu, who was the chairman of the occasion, said the two presidential aides needed the support to make their job less difficult.
“I can already see that Femi and Garba are going to have real challenges but the men and women in this hall have all what it takes to help you to make the job less difficult,’’ he said.
Tinubu urged editors to keep fighting corruption and other vices that undermine the growth and development of the country.
“For me, the media are the best fighters. If you don’t fight, the society will not grow. Today, there are debates about poor governance. Nothing is going to change if we don’t fight.
“It is important to fight the war until we get the country of our dream; for me, let us fight a cause that is necessary in order to deliver prosperity to our people,’’ Tinubu said.
He said editors should keep fighting until the war against corruption was won, Nigeria was free from its insurgency and created an economy that was not so much dependent on one commodity.
Tinubu expressed happiness over the President’s political will to fight war against corruption in the country.
He congratulated the NGE for having two members of its own being appointed by the President to play very important role in his administration.
“I believe it is a reflection of the role of the media in the democracy. No matter what anyone will say, the Nigerian media remain a powerful pillar and force in the struggle for democracy.
“In history, you are on record as having been convicted for allegedly plotting a coup only with the power of your pen without a gun and you paid your prize.
“People went to prisons because you wrote pro-democracy stories that you thought that would prevent military government,’’ Tinubu said.
He said nobody understood the benefit of freedom more than the media, adding, “when the society is free, the media can operate.
“If we are celebrating democracy today, we are celebrating what Nigerian media has helped to build over the years,’’ Tinubu said.
In his address of welcome, the Acting President of NGE, Mr Garba Muhammad, said the NGE grand reception was organised to celebrate its two media icons, who were appointed few months ago by the president.
Muhammad described the president’s media aides as exceptional professionals, who had never engaged in fighting their colleagues in the course of exercising professionalism.
Alhaji Ismail Issa-Funtua, the Publisher, Defunct Democrat Newspapers, urged NGE to come up with ideas that would improve the capacity of students produced by the Nigerian Institute of Journalism in Lagos.
He said the NGE’s input was imperative as younger ones in the journalism profession lacked skills and wanted to run down the profession by begging for money at public events.
Adesina, who thanked the guild for the grand reception, urged the media to be fair in its reportage of the president’s activities.
Present at the occasion were Mr Ima Niboro, the Managing Director, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr Shola Omale, Director-General of Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and other dignitaries. (NAN)
Court soft-pedals on Nnamdi Kanu’s trial
The authorities of the Federal High Court in Abuja have soft-pedaled on the stringent conditions imposed on the trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.
Against their last month decision, the court authorities have stopped the movement of the trial to the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, at Jabi District of Abuja.
Also, the authorities of the Court have permitted the media to witness the treasonable felony charges brought against the Biafra nation agitator by the Federal Government.
At the time of this report, fully armed operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), have taken perfect control of the security situations within and outside the court premises.
Journalists, lawyers, litigants, as well as workers are being allowed into the court premises unhindered after formal introduction and presentation of identity cards.
The court had last month issued a Practice Direction which moved the trial to CCT believed to be large and spacious enough to accommodate the crowd that usually surged to witness the trial.
The Practice Direction endorsed by the Chief Judge of the Court, Justice John Tsoho had also prohibited media coverage except where expressly permitted.
However, it was observed that the stringent conditions have been jettisoned.
Although, reasons for deviating from the Practice Direction have not been made known, it was gathered that Jabi Code of Conduct Tribunal was considered too porous for such a sensitive trial, especially from the security points.
Apart from unhindered access being granted to lawyers and media practitioners, roads leading to the court are not blocked, while food vendors are also having their businesses done without molestation.
However, adequate security measures are being observed to prevent security breaches.
Finland and Sweden submit applications to join NATO
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says that Finland and Sweden have officially applied to join the world’s biggest military alliance, a move driven by security concerns over Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“I warmly welcome the requests by Finland and Sweden to join NATO. You are our closest partners,” Stoltenberg told reporters on Wednesday after receiving their application letters from the two Nordic countries’ ambassadors.
“This is a historic moment, which we must seize,” Stoltenberg said at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
Neutral throughout the Cold War, the two countries’ decision to join the alliance is one of the most significant changes in Europe’s security architecture in decades.
The applications must now be weighed by the 30 member countries. That process is expected to take about two weeks, although Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed reservations about Finland and Sweden joining.
If his objections are overcome, and accession talks go as well as expected, the two could become members within a few months. The process usually takes eight to 12 months, but NATO wants to move quickly given the threat from Russia hanging over the Nordic countries’ heads.
Canada, for example, says that it expects to ratify their accession protocol in just a few days.
Several NATO allies, most notably the United Kingdom, have offered security assurances to Finland and Sweden during the application period before they are covered by the alliance’s mutual defence pact.
“Over the past few days, we have seen numerous statements by allies committing to Finland and Sweden’s security. NATO is already vigilant in the Baltic Sea region and NATO and allies’ forces will continue to adapt as necessary,” Stoltenberg said.
Nigerian government puts Facebook under watch over IPOB
Facebook and other social media platforms have been cautioned against yielding their platforms to the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to incite violence and instigate ethnic hatred in Nigeria.
The Federal Government gave the instruction through Information, Culture & Tourism Minister Lai Mohammed at a meeting with a team from Facebook.
In a statement signed by his media aide, Mr. Segun Adeyemi, the minister said since IPOB had been proscribed and classified as a terrorist organisation, Facebook has no justification to continue allowing its platform to be used by the organisation to further its campaign of hate and destabilisation of the country.
Mohammed was quoted as saying: “I have called this meeting to enable us to discuss the increasing use of Facebook by separatists and anarchists, especially those of them based outside the country, to instigate violence and ethnic hatred in Nigeria.
“For whatever reason, they seem to have now chosen Facebook as their platform of choice. And their tools include disinformation, incendiary statements and hate speech.
“They use Facebook broadcasts to reach their followers, who are in thousands. They tag those opposed to their violent ways as ‘saboteurs’ who must be attacked, maimed and killed. They use both English and their local language as it suits them.”
He said the actions of the outlawed group have real-life implications, adding: “By purveying hate and inciting violence, people are getting killed while private and public property are being attacked and destroyed. Security agencies and other symbols of government are their choice targets.”
The minister said that despite the numerous complaints to Facebook on the activities of IPOB, nothing has been done by the company to curtail the group’s excesses on the social media platform.
He said: “Our social media people have been monitoring these separatists, anarchists and purveyors of hate, and have been reporting their atrocious actions to Facebook, but all they get are default responses that their complaints have been received and are being looked into.
“Most often than not, nothing has been done about such complaints… The truth is that whatever Facebook is doing to check these people is mere tokenism and is totally ineffective.”
Mohammed said the government would be monitoring Facebook and other platforms closely in the days ahead to ensure compliance with the demand, as it steps up the campaign for the responsible use of social media.
He said: “We have always advocated a responsible use of social media, and consistently called on all stakeholders to join us in achieving this. Some have tagged our efforts as an attempt to stifle social media.
“They are wrong, because we have no intention of preventing Nigerians from using social media responsibly. All we have been advocating is a responsible use of social media,” the minister said.
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