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Rights group, Ezekwesili condemn AIT shutdown

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Rights groups including Amnesty International and Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project as well as a former Minister of Education, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, have slammed the Federal Government for shutting down the Africa Independent Television and Raypower 100.5FM.

Daar Communications, owned by Peoples Democratic Party chieftain, Raymond Dokpesi, is the parent company of the radio and television stations.

The company had its broadcast licences suspended by the National Broadcasting Commission headed by Kawu Modibbo, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in Kwara State.

However, the move has been condemned by a large section of Nigerians.

Amnesty International described the shutdown as an attempt to stifle free press.

It said in a tweet, “Amnesty International condemns suspension of AIT and Raypower by Nigerian authorities. This heavy-handed clampdown is clearly a ploy to undermine independent media and freedom of the press.”

Similarly, SERAP called on President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo to intervene immediately.

SERAP posted on Twitter, “We have carefully reviewed the ‘grounds’ for suspending AIT and Raypower. We maintain that the indefinite suspension by NBC is arbitrary and blatantly illegal. The ban must be lifted immediately.

“The NBC must immediately reverse its arbitrary decision to suspend AIT, Raypower or face legal action. This is censorship. The move is a serious blow to freedom of expression and Nigerians’ right to information about critical developments in the country.”

In a similar development, former minister, Ezekwesili, described the ban as dictatorial.

She said, “There is nothing in that letter from NBC to AIT that reaches the threshold for withdrawal of license and shut down of a media house that we all know government perceives as an ‘opposition media’.

“Wisdom should have actually instructed the Federal Government against striking out at them.”

Ezekwesili said the fact that the Presidency was circulating the ban on AIT on its social media handles showed that there was a conspiracy against the media house.

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We lack authority to deregister political parties – INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission said it lacked the constitutional power to deregister any of the existing 91 political parties in the country.

The INEC Federal Commissioner in charge of Nasarawa, Kogi and Kwara States, Malam Muhammed Haruna, made this known on Monday in Lokoja while declaring open a post-election review meeting on the last general elections.

Haruna said that the clamour by Nigerians for a reduction in the number of registered parties could only be done through an amendment of the Constitution.

He agreed that the provisions in the 1999 Constitution that state that parties must be national in outlook and have headquarters in Abuja had led to unexpected problems but explained that INEC was helpless.

The Commissioner advocated a consensus among stakeholders to resolve the issue, explaining that constitutional amendment was the only way out.

Haruna identified logistics as the major challenge the INEC encountered in the process of conducting the last general elections, saying that steps would be taken to prevent a re-occurrence.

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Lecturer queried over alleged sex scandal

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The management of Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti led by the acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof Olubunmi Ajayi, on Friday issued a query to a lecturer of the institution, allegedly fingered in a sex-for-marks scandal.

Head, Directorate of Information, EKSU, Bode Olofinmuagun, said this in a statement in Ado Ekiti on Saturday, adding that the institution “would not condone any act of sexual harassment in the university.”

He also said, “The attention of the management of EKSU has been drawn to a video that has gone viral on an alleged sex scandal involving one of its lecturers.

“The video allegedly fingered one Dr O. O. Aduwo of the Department of Accounting.”

He added that the institution had “as such, issued a query to the concerned lecturer to defend himself against the allegation, as a first step in the spirit of due process.

“Thereafter, a panel of investigation would be constituted to get to the root of the matter, while the findings of the panel would be made public. The general public is hereby assured that management would continue to be transparent and would not allow such a matter that could smear its good image to be swept under the carpet.”

Students alleged that the lecturer went to a female student’s residence to have sex with her in exchange for marks, unknowingly for him that other students had laid in wait at the place to embarrass him.

According to some students who preferred anonymity, the lecturer was about to begin the “immoral act” when other students appeared, dragging him out and assaulted him.

A video that had gone viral about the alleged sex scandal showed the lecturer in towel, pleading for mercy from the students who mocked and tortured him, as he struggled to resist being drawn out of the room into the public glare.

But a student said on Saturday that the incident took place in the lecturer’s house, adding that it was “a set-up”, allegedly “to teach him some bitter lessons.”

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Global Warming: Anambra students, others protest against detrimental practices

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Students of different Schools in Anambra State in partnership with Live Mother and Child initiative and Mind Savers Youth Initiative and Nigeria Coalition of Eco-Social Research (NCEHR), yesterday, protested devastating effects of climate change in Nigeria, especially in the South east.

The students were drawn from Community Secondary School Enugwu-Agidi; SUSU College, Nkpor; Lighthouse Academy, Okija, Golden Star Secondary School, Amichi, as well as Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Medical Student’s Association (COOUMSA), Awka, Anambra State.

The protesters highlighted several practices detrimental to the environment, which according to them, included: deforestation, poor waste management, use of fossil fuels that increase carbon footprint.

One of the protesters and member, Nigerian working group of Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research (NWG-CCGHR), Dr. Ngozi Joe-Ikechebelu, appealed to citizens to practice greener lifestyles in order to save the planet, just as she asked government to create and implement policies that would aid in the global fight against climate change.

Ikechebelu, who addressed journalists in Onitsha, expressed joy that Nigerian students were committed to reminding the government on the state of climate emergency in the country.

She said, “The protest taking place in different countries of the world is part of the global school students’ decision to demonstrate, through an international movement, called Friday For Future (FFF).

“In Nigeria, the FFF was organised by the NWG-CCGHR which comprised of Nigerian students at the University of Victoria (UVic) and British Columbia.”

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