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Press focuses on lawsuit filed against Nigerian gov’t over suspension of Twitter, others

The lawsuit filed by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 176 concerned Nigerians against President Muhammadu Buhari over the…

The lawsuit filed by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 176 concerned Nigerians against President Muhammadu Buhari over the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, and criminalisation of Nigerians still using Twitter is one of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Wednesday.ThisDay reports that the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 176 concerned Nigerians have filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari over the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, and criminalisation of Nigerians still using Twitter.

Following the deletion of Buhari’s ‘civil war’ tweet by the micro blogging platform, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed, last week announced the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria. The government has also threatened to arrest and prosecute anyone using Twitter in the country, while the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has asked all broadcast stations to suspend the patronage of Twitter.

In the suit No ECW/CCJ/APP/23/21 filed before the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice in Abuja, SERAP and the concerned Nigerians are seeking an order of interim injunction restraining the federal government from implementing its suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, and subjecting anyone, including media houses, broadcast stations using Twitter in Nigeria, to harassment, intimidation, arrest and criminal prosecution, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

In the suit filed by solicitor to SERAP, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), the plaintiffs said that the suspension has seriously undermined the ability of Nigerians and other people in the country to freely express themselves in a democracy, and undermined the ability of journalists, media houses and broadcast stations to freely carry out their professional duties.

The plaintiffs are therefore asking the ECOWAS Court for the following reliefs, ‘’A declaration that the action of the Defendant and its agents in suspending the operation of Twitter or any other social media and microblogging application without an order of a competent court of jurisdiction is unlawful, inconsistent and incompatible with Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

The newspaper says that a presidential candidate in the 2019 general election, Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, has called on President Muhammedu Buhari to, as a matter of national emergency, establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as first step to stabilise Nigeria and begin the process of national healing and reconciliation.

The former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) deputy governor made the call at a press conference yesterday in Abuja, where he hinted that insecurity and nationhood of Nigeria were evident in President Buhari’s recent controversial remarks about the security crisis in the South-east region in the context of the 1967-1970 civil war.

He said the president could start with a declaration of May 30 as a national holiday to honour the millions of lives lost in the Nigerian civil war, as currently mark “unofficially by many Nigerians as Biafra Remembrance Day.

Moghalu warned that regardless of the current phase of turbulence in the country today, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has no reason not to conduct election in 2023, as already been widely speculated in some quarters.

The economist, who expressed regret that the current leadership of the country has failed to approach the present crises in the country in its peculiar nature, said he cannot rule out the fact that there are political motives behind the current security crisis in the country.

While he condemned the attacks on security personnel and the touching of INEC offices in the South-east region by unknown gunmen and the reported extra judicial killings of innocent civilians by security agencies in the region, he said he believes “strongly in the viability of a united Nigeria anchored on equity and justice, and as a leader, I do not believe in a surface approach to issue.

The Punch reports that telecommunication companies have lost 19.20 million subscribers since the Federal Government began the linking of National Identity Number with SIM cards, according to new industry statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission on Tuesday.

The subscriber base fell from 207,907,709 in November 2020, to 188,705,734 in April 2021. MTN is the biggest loser with over 7,202,757 subscribers lost, while Airtel, Globacom and 9mobile lost 7,054,115; 4,490,531; and 408,904 subscribers respectively.

The latest NCC data released on Tuesday showed that the telcos lost 3.7 million subscribers in April as the subscriber base fell from 192,413,613 in March.

Broadband penetration also dropped from 45.07 percent in November to 40.66 percent in April. The telcos have lost more than eight million data subscribers since the SIM-NIN policy began. Porting services dropped from 16,342 in November to zero in April.

In December 2020, the sale and registration of new SIM cards was banned by the Federal Government and a December 30 deadline issued for people to link their National Identity Number with their SIM cards was set. This has since been moved to June 30, 2021.

The Sun says that a long-standing effort to deepen gas consumption in Nigeria paid off on Tuesday when the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) and three of its pioneer offtakers sealed a pact on sales and purchase agreements for supply of LNG in Nigeria.

Speaking at the event, the Managing Director of NLNG, Tony Attah, said that the vision of the company was to become a global LNG supplier and ultimately build a better country.

He said that the company boasts of 22mt per annum capacity of LNG and six trains having begun operations in 1999. Attah added that the company also wants to deepen cleaner energy consumption in the country.

“More than 100,000 people die from dirty energy sources yearly. We will continue to scale up LPG supply. There is energy deficit in Nigeria and we want to help address this.

“This Sales Purchase Agreement will ensure quicker LNG delivery. We got a lot of support from NNPC. We have ernomous gas reserves, but this is no longer the issue but what we do with it. “Next week, LNG Train 7 will take off. We were held back by COVID-19 and it’s a collaborative effort”, Attah said.

The newspaper reports that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has approved the serving of prepackaged, sealed meals while passengers are disembarking but said consumption of food is prohibited in-flight.

This directive was contained in an All Operators Letter (AOL) signed by the NCAA Director General, Captain Musa Nuhu with Ref: NCAA/DG/AIR/11/16/312 and addressed to Accountable Managers titled: ‘Public health guidelines for companies providing in- flight catering services to airlines operating domestic flights. It warned that non-compliance with the directive would attract appropriate sanctions.

The letter read: “Catering Service providers have been identified by the Authority as key service providers to airlines that are required to put in place COVID-19 risk management measures to assure the travelling public that catering products (meals, snacks etc) served on board flights are not a potential source of COVID-19 infection.

“With the resumption of domestic flight operations in the country in-flight catering companies were required by the Authority to carry out regular risk assessments of their operations and put in place remedial actions to address any identified hazard to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 virus to their customers through their products.

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