Monday, 21 December 2009

Security Operatives Arrest Editor

The State Security Services (SSS), at 10 a.m. today picked up Ahmed Shekarau, the editor of Peoples Daily, a newspaper based in Abuja.

An email from Abdullzeez Abdullahi, a colleague of Mr. Shekarau, stated that the three officers of the SSS who came to pick up Mr. Shekarau “said that the SSS DG wanted to have a chat with him (Mr. Shekarau).” The men gave no further details.

Mr. Abdullahi wrote that; “our belief however is that the invitation may be over the story of the succession battle for the VP’s slot in the event that Goodluck Jonathan becomes president. The story was published last Friday.”

He said; “The Public Relations Officer of the SSS, Maryln Ogah said she would get back to us with some information but still hasn’t done so and is not picking calls to her phone.”


Friday, 4 December 2009

Security service detains French journalist

The Social and Economic Rights Action Center, (SERAC), has reported the detention of a French television reporter, Frederic Tonolli, by the Nigerian State Security Service (SSS) in Lagos for taking footage in a private housing community in the Amuwo Odofin area of the city.

SERAC is a non-governmental organisation that works for the promotion of social and economic rights of which housing rights are a major aspect.

Victoria Ohaeri, the Programme Coordinator for the center in a telephone interview said that Mr. Tonolli, a reporter for the French television network, Channel Five, was arrested Wednesday, December 2 by the security service.

She said Mr. Tonolli was “vigorously interrogated and detained by the SSS for several hours at their Shangisha office in Lagos and eventually released later in the night with an order to report back the following day at noon.”

Mr. Tonolli was again detained when he reported Thursday December 3, 2009, according to Ms. Ohaeri, who said the French journalist is expected to leave the country on a scheduled flight tonight but have been told that he may not make that flight because operatives have yet to conclude their investigations.

Mr. Tonolli has requested consular assistance, but was denied the opportunity to make contact with the French Embassy in Lagos, according to Ms. Ohaeri who also claimed that the SSS has not furnished any legal basis for interfering with Mr. Tonolli’s liberty.

Ms. Ohaeri said her organisation is currently in dialogue with the SSS to seek the release of Mr. Tonolli.


Tuesday, 17 November 2009

What is Abike Up To?

The plot against the Freedom of Information Bill is crystallising at the House of Representatives. Notonly has its passage into law been frustrated, a new bill aimed at curtailing press freedom and suppressing the practice of journalism has been freshly manufactured.

Unfortunately for Nigeria , the same journalist-turned- lawmaker who sponsored the FOIB is also the initiator of "An Act to Provide for the Repeal of the Nigerian Press Council Act 1992 and Establish the Nigerian Press and Practice of Journalism Council" at the House of Reps: Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

The bill seeks to create two new bodies - the National Examination Accreditation Board and the Media Practitioners' Complaint Council - to prescribe fresh conditions for journalism practice in the country. Before one could work as a journalist, one must be certified fit by the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ), not any degree-awarding institution in the world!

And, in case of an infraction, a media house has to pay a fine of N100, 000 while the journalist, a first-time offender, has to pay N50, 000 and risks being suspended for a maximum of six months. The fine could be upped to N500, 000 and N100, 000 respectively where the corporate body or individual refuses to comply with rulings.

Nothing illustrates the ignorance and idiocy of the bill's makers (including, unfortunately, Dabiri-Erewa) better than sections 35, 36 and 37 that provide for the salary and conditions of service of media people. Every media organisation must pay a minimum of 20 per cent more than the salaries paid by the federal and state governments as well as private companies "as the case may be".

In the case of any media house that covers up to two-thirds of the country, it shall pay not less than 120 per cent more. The bill adds, in section 37, that the salaries and conditions of service of journalists are to be negotiated collectively among the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON). And, for the avoidance of doubt, the agreed salaries and conditions of service shall be published in the Federal Government Gazette and made available to every journalist (section 39)!What is Dabiri-Erewa up to?

We are surprised that such a trained media person could permit her name to be appended to this bill that is only fit to remain in the trashcan. It is unworkable. It is distasteful. It seeks to reverse all the gains made from the practice of journalism in the country over the past 150 years. Needless to add, it is the product of some idle minds that have nothing meaningful to contribute to the media and to national development.

We are at one with the Nigerian Guild of Editors, which has advised the legislators not to waste its energy on shadow-chasing. It is not their duty to educate journalists on the ethics of journalism. And they are not competent to legislate on how the business of mass communication and indeed other businesses should be managed effectively. Already, the Nigerian media is on the road to better self-regulation - the birth of the ombudsman. "Veteran" journalists like Dabiri-Erewa ought to have sought clarifications from those who know.

Perhaps, no other profession absorbs as much insult from unlearned persons as does journalism in Nigeria . This bill offers a good example: It abhors the independence of the council to be created to regulate media practice, as its chairman shall work at the pleasure of the Nigerian president and the minister of information and communications (both of whom might know nothing about journalism). In fact, the council's members shall be required to swear to an oath of secrecy - an apparent contradiction to the Freedom of Information Bill that canvasses openness and accountability.

Yet, journalism is the only profession assigned responsibility by the Nigerian constitution: "The press, radio and television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this chapter (Fundamental Objectives and Directive of State Policy) and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people." (Section 22) Where the government - the legislature, in this case - chooses to make rules to be used in holding it accountable and responsible to the people, it violates the supreme document of the land, and its rules are therefore null and void.

Our lawmakers would do well to make laws for the good governance of Nigeria before attempting to design a training programme for would-be journalists. It is to their eternal shame that Nigeria has become one of the most corrupt, most ungoverned, most discomforting nations in the world. Today, the easiest route to wealth is having access to public funds, not hard work or intelligence. When future generations shall probe into Nigeria 's ugly past, our current lawmakers' names shall be listed among those who acquired enormous wealth without doing any work.

The new bill sponsored by Abike Dabiri-Erewa is dead on arrival. Any time the house spends debating it is a waste. Instead, it should resurrect the FOI Bill which former President Olusegun Obasanjo refused to sign into law in 2007, which the current lawmakers are apparently afraid of, but which journalists, anti-graft agencies and the overwhelming majority of the Nigerian public have been yearning for.

All through the ages, tyrants have made vain efforts to gag the press. The army of detractors led by Dabiri-Erewa shall surely fail. If history is any guide, they should be educated by the third amendment to the United States constitution: "Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of expression.. ."

Courtesy: Leadership Newspapers

Monday, 16 November 2009

The Nigerian Press and Practice of Journalism Council Bill

A Bill for an Act to Provide for the repeal of the Nigerian Press Council Act, 1992, and establish the Nigerian Press and Practice of Journalism Council, to provide high profession standards for the Nigerian Press and deal with complaints emanating from members of the public about the conduct of journalists and media houses in their professional capacity, or complaints emanating from the press about the conduct of persons, organisations or institutions of government towards the press and for other matters connected therein.

Sponsored by Hon. Abike Dabiri

Be it enacted by the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as follows:

Part 1 – Establishment of the Nigerian Press and Practice of Journalism Council (NPPJC)
1.There is hereby established a body to be known as the Nigerian Press and Practice of Journalism Council (in this Act referred to as “the council of Journalism”) which shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and may sue and be sued in its corporate name.

2 (1) The Council of Journalism shall consist a chairman and the following other members, that is-
(a) four representatives of the Nigerian Union of Journalists;
(b) two representatives of the Nigerian Guild of Editors;

(c) two representatives of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria who shall be practising journalist;
(d) four representatives of the general public; one of whom shall be a legal practitioner and one woman;
(e) one representative of education institutions involved in the training of journalists

(f) one representative of the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation who shall be a practising journalists
(g) two representatives of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria;

(h) one representative of the News Agency of Nigeria, who shall be a practising journalists; and

(i) Executive Secretary of the Council of Journalism
(2) The chairman of the Council of Journalism shall be appointed by the president, on the recommendation of the minister, after due consideration of the submission of the Nigerian Press Organisation and shall be a person -
(a) of high intellectual and moral qualities and knowledge about the press and public affairs; and

(b) With not less than twenty years experience as a journalist

(3) The members of the Council of Journalism appointed under the paragraphs (d) and (f) of subsection (l) of this section shall be appointed by the Minister and members of the Council appointed under paragraph (a), (b), (c), (e), (g) and (f) of the said subsection shall be appointed by the Minister after an election by or on the nomination of the union, association of other body concerned.

(4) The supplementary provisions set out in the First Schedule to this Act shall have effect with respect to the tenure of office and proceedings of the Council and the other matters contained therein.

(3) The Council shall be charged with the duty of -
(a) enquiring into complaints about the conduct of the press and the conduct of any person or organisation towards the press and exercising in respect of the complaints the powers conferred upon it under this Act;
(b) monitoring the activities of the press with a view to ensuring compliance with the code of Professional and ethical conduct as provided for in this Act;
(c) receiving application form, and documenting the print media and monitoring their performance to ensure that owners and publishers comply with the terms of their mission statements and objectives in liaison with the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria;

(d) researching into contemporary press development and engaging in updating press documentation
(e) fostering the achievement and maintaining of high professional standards by the press;
(f) reviewing developments likely to restrict the supply through the press, of information of public interest and importance of which are liable to prevent free access of the press to information and advising on measures necessary to prevent or remedy such development;

(g) ensuring the protection of the rights and privileges of journalists in the lawful performance of their professional duties

4 (1) There shall be appointed for the Council of Journalism an Executive Secretary by the President; on the recommendation of the Minister

(2) The executive secretary shall -
(a) be a journalist with at least 15 years post qualification experience and shall have held high journalist positions;
(b) be the chief executive of the Council;
(c) be responsible for the execution of the policy of the Council and of its day-to-day administration;
(d) in addition to the functions expressly conferred on him by this Act; perform such other functions as the Council may, from time to time, direct;

(e) hold office on such terms as to emolument and otherwise, as may be specified in his letter of appointment and may, from time to time, be approved by the president;
(f) subject to this, the executive secretary shall hold office for a term of four years in the first instance and may be eligible for reappointment for a further term of four years;
(g) the executive secretary may be removed from office on the recommendation of the Minister for inability to discharge the functions of his office arising from infirmity of mind of body or from other cause.

5 (1) The Council may appoint other employees as it may consider necessary for the efficient performance of the Council’s duties under this Act
(2) The terms of service (include terms and conditions as to remuneration; allowances; retiring benefits and discipline) of the secretary and other employees of the Council shall be such as may be determined, from time to time, by the Council

(3) In carrying out the functions for which the Council is established under this Act, the Council shall be autonomous and shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other authority or person except as provided in this Act
6 (1) Service in the Council shall be approved service for purpose of the Pension Act
(2) Employees of the Council shall be entitled to pension, gratuities and any other retirement benefits as are enjoyed by persons holding equivalent grades in the civil service of the Federation

(3) Nothing in subsection (1) or (2) of this section shall prevent the appointment of a person to any office on terms which preclude the grant of pensions and gratuity in respect of that office -
(4) For the purpose of the application of the provisions of the Pension Act, any power exercisable thereunder by a Minister or authority of the Government of the Federation, other than the power to make regulations under section 29 thereof is hereby vested in and shall be exercisableby the Council other than any other person or authority

7 Without prejudice to the provisions of sections 6 of this Act, the terms and conditions of service including terms and conditions of remunerations, allowance, retirement and other benefits of the staff and other employees of the council shall be as may be determined by the Council with the approval of the Minister

Part II Power the Council of Journalism

8. In carrying out the functions for which the Council is established under this Act, the Council shall be autonomous and shall not be subject to the direction of control of any other authority or person except as provided in this Act.
9 (1) The Nigerian Union of Journalists shall provide a code of Professional and Ethnial Conduct to guide the press and journalists in the performance of their duties

(2) The Nigerian Union of Journalists shall cause a revision of such a code of Professional and Ethical Conduct as deemed appropriate from time to time to conform with media practices
(3) The Council shall, after due consideration, approve the code of professional and Ethical conduct by the Nigerian Union of Journalists and ensure compliance

(4) The Council shall cause to be published in the Nigeria Press and Practice of Journalism Council Journal, the code of Professional and Ethical Conduct as approved under subsection (3) of this subsection which shall be binding on every journalist in Nigeria

10 Every member of the council shall be required on assuming office, to subscribe to an oath that he shall faithfully and impartially and to the best of his ability, discharge his duties with respect to any inquiry conducted by the Council under this Act, and if the inquiry is not held in public, that he shall not divulge the proceedings, the vote or opinion of the members or any other matter relevant to the inquiry.

11 (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act the Council shall, following complaints lodged before it by any person, have the power to -

(a) inquiry into and examine all such witness as the Council may deem it fi;
(b) without prejudice to provisions of the code of Professional and Ethical Conduct, summon any person in Nigeria to attend any meeting of the Council to give evidence and to examine him as a witness in the case of journalists;

(c) consider and deal with any matter referred to it in the absence of any party who has been duty summoned to appear before it;
(d) admit any evidence, whether written or oral and act on evidence, whether written or oral;
(e) appoint any person to act as a interpreter in any matter brought before it;

(f) generally give all such directions and do all such things as are necessary or expedient for dealing speedily and justly with any matter referred to it from time to time
(2) Summons issued under subection 1) (b) of this section shall be in the form set out in Second Schedule to this Act and shall be served by such persons as the Council may direct/

12 The Chairman shall have power to issue on behalf of the Council all summons and appoint such number of interpreters as may be required under this Act, either before or during the inquiry until the final determinations.
13 Any interpreter appointed under section 12 of this Act shall before assuming office, subscribe before the Council, to the oath specified in the Third Schedule to this Act.

14 The chairman shall have power to issue on behalf of the Council all summons and appoint such number of interpreters as may be required under this Act, either before or during the inquiry of witness and interpreters.

Witnesses and interpreters and any other persons attending the inquiry at the request of the Councillor upon summons, shall be paid such sums, allowances or expenses, as the case may be, as the Council may, from time to time, direct and such payments shall be defrayed from the funds of the Council.

15 No member shall be liable for any act done or omitted to be done in the performance of his duties under or pursuant to this Act. Provided such act or commission is not inimical to Justice, Equity and the interests of the general public.
16 – (1) Complaints shall come to the Council by way of Appeal arising from the decision of the Media Practitioner Complaint Commission.

(2) Any person aggrieved —
(a) by anything published in respect of him in any medium of information; or
(b) by anything done in respect of him by any journalist in his capacity as a journalist; or
(c) by anything done against the journalist that is capable of limiting the preservation of the freedom of the Press guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, may make a complaint in respect thereof, in writing, addressed to the Council.

(3) If the Council is satisfied that the performance of the press is not consistent with the provisions of the Code of Professional and Ethical Conduct, the executive secretary shall, in accordance with such general directions as may be given by the Council, lay before the Council all appeals made under subsection (1) of this section.

17 – (1) where, after inquiring into a complaint under section 16 of this Act, the Council is satisfied that-
(a) the subject matter in respect of which the complaint was made, was not in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Professional and Ethical Conduct:

referred to in paragraph (a) of this subsection;
(c) the conduct of a journalist or person is, ill the circumstances of the case blameworthy.
(2) The Council may, where appropriate, direct the medium of information or cause the person concerned to publish, in such manner as the Council may direct, a suitable apology or correction, and may in addition reprimand the Journalist or person concerned in the matters or uphold the decision of the Media Practitioner Complaint Commission or as the case may be.

(3) Where the medium of information or the journalist so sanctioned in accordance with subsection (1) of this section does not comply with the Council’s decisions, the medium or journalist is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction –

(a) in the case of a body corporate to a fine of N100,000; and
(B) in the case of a journalist of a fine of N50,000 and the Council shall order the suspension of the journalist or Media House from practice for a period not exceeding six months.

4) Where there is persistent refusal to comply with the directives of the Council, the medium or journalist so sanctioned in accordance with subsection (1) of this section, commits of an offence and is liable on conviction –
(a) in the case of a body corporate to a fine of N500,000; and

(b) in the case of a journalist to a fine of N100,000.

(5) The Council may cause to be published in the Press Journal and in such other manner as the Council may deem fit the name of any journalist reprimanded by the Council under subsection (1) of this section.

18.– (1) Subject to rules made under this Act, a person shall be entitled to be fully registered under this Act if–
(a) he has attended a course of training recognised by the Council so acquired, with the cognate experience recognised by the Council; or

(b) the course was conducted at an institution so approved, or partly at one such institution and partly at another or others; or
(c) he holds a qualification so approved; or
(d) he holds a certificate of experience issued in pursuance of section 24 of this Act.
(e) he has a general professional orientation which covers the basic requirements of information art, leading to a qualification not less than a diploma; and

(f) he has a good knowledge of the politics and socioeconomic affairs of his society acquired from an approved institution.
19-(1) It shall be the duty of the executive secretary to maintain a register of a accredited journalists and News Agents compiled by the Council in collaboration with the Nigeria Union of Journalists and the Nigerian Guild of Editors.

(2) The register referred to in subsection (1) of this section shall (without prejudice to any other mode of proof) be admissible in any proceedings as evidence that any person specified in the document or the documents read together is registered or was so registered and that any person not so specified was authorised.

(3) where in accordance with subsection (2) of this section a person is in any proceedings shown to have been or not to have been so registered at a particular date with the Council he shall, unless the contrary is proved, be taken for the purpose of those proceedings as having at all material times thereafter continued to be or not be so registered.


20. Ownership of media establishment shall be in accordance with section 39 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

21. Every Nigerian citizen or corporate body authorised by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, on the fulfillment of such conditions as had been laid down by the National Assembly, shall have the right to own, establish or operate a television or own, establish or operate a television or wireless broadcasting station for educating, entertaining and informing the citizenry.

22. The right of the Government of the Federation or of a State to own, establish or operate a television or wireless broadcasting station shall be exercised in the interest of the Generality of the peoples of the Federation or of the State, as the case may be, and such right shall not be exercise to the detriment of the privately owned media journalist.

23. The freedom of the press as established by section 39 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is hereby further guaranteed.

24. No journalist shall be arbitrarily arrested, detained, prosecuted or punished for his published views and opinions, and;

25. Notwithstanding the provisions in paragraph 8 (d) of the Third Schedule of the NBC Act No. 38 of 1992 (as amended), paragraph13.3.3.1 (c) of the NBC Code, no media establishment shall be arbitrarily closed down, scaled up or practice licence revoked for publishing an opinion or information, except in accordance with the provisions of this bill or in accordance with any other bill enacted by the National Assembly, or in the due process of application of the procedure relating to a breach of an existing law in Nigeria.

26. A person shall not practice as a Journalist in Nigeria unless —

(a) he has passed the qualifying examinations as approved by the Nigerian Press and Practice of Journalism Council
(b) he is a registered member of the Nigerian Union of Journalists;
(c) he is employed as an editorial staff (that is, Reporter, Editor, Sub-Editor, Features Writer, Leader Writer, Proof Reader, Photo Journalist, TV Engineering, Cameraman, Cartoonist, Information Officer in State or Federal Ministries of Information, or Local Government Information Officer, or Newscaster attached to News and Current Affairs Department) in a media establishment recognised by law;

(d) possess either a Higher National Diploma (HND) or a Degree or their equivalent in Journalism or Mass Communication obtained from recognised institutions.

(c) he has qualifications in other disciplines from a recognised institution and has passed the prescribed professional examination of the Nigeria Union of Journalist; or

27. – (1) The Press and Practice of Journalism Council in conjunction with the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), The Nigerian Institute of Journalism and the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) shall establish a National Examination and Accreditation Board to conduct examination for would-be journalists or graduates of Mass Communications in Nigeria in the Nigeria Institute of Journalism.

(2) The following body shall form the National Examination and Accreditation Board NEAB)—
(a) 3 representatives of the Nigerian Press and Practice of Journalism Council
(b) 2 representatives of the Nigeria Union of Journalists

(c) 2 representatives of the Newspapers Proprietors of Nigeria
(d) 2 representatives of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria
(e) 2 representatives of the Nigerian Guilds of Editors.

(3) The National Examination and Accreditation Board shall make rules guiding the conduct of the students and the general academic activities of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism.

(4) the Nigerian Institute of Journalism shall organise a one-year professional programme for the training of graduate of journalism.

(5) The Nigeria Press and practice of Journalism Council shall establish Journalists Registration Board which shall among other activities, issue certificate of practice to every registered journalist in Nigeria.

28. Subject to subsection (2) of this section, the Council may approve for the purpose of Section 20 of this Act—
(a) a course of training which is intended for persons who are seeking to become or are journalists and which the Council considers is designed to confer on persons completing it, sufficient knowledge and skill for the practice as members of the profession;

(b) any institution either in Nigeria, or elsewhere, which the Council considers is properly the whole or any part of a course of training approved by the Council under this section; and

(c) any qualification which, as a result of an examination take in conjunction with the course of training approved by the Council under this section, is granted to candidates reaching a standard at the examination indicating, in the opinion of the Council that they have sufficient knowledge and skill to practice journalism as a profession.

(2) The Council shall from time to time, publish in the Federal Gazette a list of qualifications in the profession of journalism approved by it, and subject thereto, the Council shall not approved for the purposes of subsection (1) of this section a qualification granted by an institution Nigeria, unless the qualification has been so published by the Council.

(3) The Council may, if it thinks fit, withdraw any approval given under this section of this Act in respect of course, qualification or institution; but before withdrawing such an approval the Council shall —

(a) give notice that it proposes to do so to persons in Nigeria appearing to the Council to be persons by whom the course is conducted or the qualification is granted or the institution is controlled, as the case may be; and

(b) afford each such person an opportunity of making to the Council representation with regard to the proposals; and
(c) talk into consideration any representation made as respects the proposal to withdraw the approval.

(4) As respects any period during which the approval of the Council under this section for a course, institution or qualification is withdrawn, the course, or qualification or institution shall not be treated as approved under this section; but the withdrawal of such an approval shall not prejudice the registration or eligibility for registration of any person who by virtue of the approval was registered or was eligible for registration (either) unconditionally or subject to the obtaining a certificate or experience) immediately before the approval was withdrawn.

(5) The giving or withdrawal of an approval under this section of this Act, shall have effect from such date after execution of the instrument signifying the giving or withdrawal of the approval, as the Council may specify in that instrument and the Council shall—

(a) as soon as possible, publish a copy of every such instrument in the Federal Gazette and
(b) not later than seven days before its publication as aforesaid, send a copy of the instrument to the Minister.
29. — (1) it shall be the duty of the Council to keep itself informed of the nature of—

(a) the instruction given at approved institutions to persons attending approved courses of training;
(b) the examinations, as a result of which approved qualifications are granted, and for the purposes of performing that duty, the Council may appoint, either from among its own members of otherwise, person to visit approved institution or to attend such examinations.

(2) It shall be the duty of a person appointed under subsection (1) of this section, to report to the Council on —
(a) the adequacy of the instruction given to person attending such approved courses of training at institutions visited by him;

(b) the adequacy or otherwise of the examinations attended by him; and
(c) any other matter relating to the institutions or examination on which the Council may, either generally or in a particular case, request him to report:

Provided that the person shall not interfere with the giving of any instruction or the holding of any examinations.
(3) Our receiving a report made in pursuance of this section of this Act the Council shall, as soon as may be send a copy of the report to the person appearing to the Council to be in charge of this institution or responsible for the examinations to which the report relates requesting that person to make representations to the Council within such period as may be specified in the request, not being less than one month beginning with the date of the request.

30. — (1) A person who after obtaining an approved qualification, satisfies the conditions specified in subsection (2) of this section shall be entitled to receive free of charge a certificate of experience in the prescribed for from the person in charge of the institution.

(2)The conditions referred to in subsection (1) of this section are that—
(a) he shall have served his time for employment, the prescribed period in Nigeria with a view to obtaining a certificate of experience; or

(b) He shall have acquired during his employment practical experience under the personal supervision and guidance of one more registered journalists for such periods as may be prescribed.
(c) the manner in which he carried out the duties of is employment and —————————the period of his employment shall have been satisfactory.

(3( it shall be the duty of the employer, being a registered journalist supervising the training of the person employed with a view to obtaining a certificate of experience, to ensure that the person is afforded proper opportunities of acquiring the practical experience required for the purposes to paragraph (b)of subsection (2) of this section.

(4) Whereafter having served his time as referred to in paragraph (c) of subsection (2) of this section, a person is refused certificate of experience, he shall be entitled—

(a) to receive from his employer particulars in writing of the grounds of the refusal; and
(b) to appeal against the refusal to a committee of the Council in accordance with rules made by the Council in that behalf (including rules as to the time within which appeals are to be brought) and on any such appeal the committee of the Council shall have power to either discuss the appeal or itself issue the certificate of experience in question or give such other direction on the matter as it considers just.

(5) The Minister may made regulations for the issuance of certificates of experience in respect of employment and Institutions outsider Nigeria.

31. The council may cause to be published in the Press Journal and in such other manner as the Council may deem fit the name of any journalist or person reprimanded by the Council in the exercise of its power under this Act.
32. The Council may publish its journal and books, to publicise its activities and the result of its findings on adjudication and such other matters which relate to the development of mass media in Nigeria.


33.— (1) A person shall be qualified for appointment as Editor in a newspaper or media establishment if –
(a) he had attained the age of 25 years;

(b) he is a registered member of the Nigerian Union of Journalists; and
(c) he has, for a period of not less than ten years served as a reporter or acquired working experience as a journalist in a reputable newspaper house, electronic news medium of news agency.

(2) Nothing in subsection (1) of this section shall be —————————–to include working experience, employment in a house journal, newsletter or any similar publications.

34. Any media establishment that appoints any journalist without the appropriate Qualifications as editor shall be guilty of an offence of professional misconduct, and the matter shall be referred to the Nigerian Press and Practice of Journalism Council who shall proceed on the matter in accordance with Part IX of this Act.

35. In order to ensure the independence, objectivity, impartiality and transparency of journalists, they shall be placed on salaries, allowances, pensions and general conditions of service at least not less than 20 per cent above those paid to staff in Federal and State Government parastatals and private companies as the case may be.

36. Any media establishment that covers at least two-thirds of the country shall pay their workers not less than 120 percent above the rates of salary, pensions, allowance, etc. which obtain at the Federal level, shall pay their workers not less than 20 per cent above the rates, pensions and allowances, etc. which operate at the State level. Allowances may however differ to accommodate peculiar needs.

37. The conditions of Service of Journalist including salaries, allowances, leave, general and retirement benefits, etc. shall be negotiated collectively and as necessary between the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), and the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON).

38. Every registered journalist shall be given an insurance certificate taken out on his behalf by the employers with reputable Insurance Company.

39. The agreed Conditions of Service shall be published in the Federal Gazette, and made available to every journalist and media establishment.

40. The —————————————–applicable salaries, allowances and conditions of service, shall be an offence under this Bill and shall be reported by the Nigeria Union of Journalists to the Nigerian Press

Courtesy: Vanguard Newspapers

Sunday, 20 September 2009

The Guardian reporter killed in Lagos

LAGOS – IT was another black Sunday for The Guardian Newspapers as a gang of suspected armed robbers shot dead one of its journalists identified as Bayo Ohu.

Police sources said the bandits stormed the journalist’s No 9, Oyeniyi Street, Odukoya estate residence at the about 7.00 a.m. and forced their way into his apartment. They were said to had demanded for cash and other valuables which the journalist readily obliged.

After collecting the cash he had, they picked his lap-top before releasing some bullets into his stomach. He was said to had slumped and died almost immediately.

However, reports said while the robbery was going on, a neighbour had put a call to the police, but the bandits had successfully made good their escape before the police arrived.

But a team of anti-robbery squad on routine patrol in the area were reported to have given the armed gang a hot chase, forcing them to abandon their get away vehicle and fled.

The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, confirmed the incident but said it might be a case of assassination. Mba said the police had recovered the vehicle, an unmarked Toyota Camry used for the attack, assuring that a manhunt for the perpetrators had since begun.

In a related development, a team of anti- robbery squad from the Area E Command, Festac town Lagos has arrested two armed robbers in the area.

The suspects identified as Andrew Ilouere and Chinedu Nwokolie were arrested along the Lagos-Badagry expressway moments after they had successfully robbed one Paschal Anyawu.

They were said to have collected an un specified amount of money and other valuables from the victim but ran into the waiting hands of the patrol team.

Reports said when they were searched, a locally madeGuardian Newspapers with some live cartridges were recovered from them.

The police image maker also confirmed the arrest, adding that the suspects would be transferred to the SCID Panti, Yaba, Lagos for further investigation.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Gambia frees jailed journalists

Six Gambian journalists who were jailed for criticising President Yahya Jammeh have been freed after he pardoned them.

A government statement confirmed the decree by Mr Jammeh but gave no reason for his decision.

The six were found guilty of defamation and sedition in August and sentenced to two years in jail.

They had questioned Mr Jammeh's declaration that the government was not responsible for the 2004 death of prominent journalist Deyda Hydara.

Mr Hydara, a vocal critic of strict media laws, was gunned down but nobody has been charged with his murder.

Since then the privately owned newspaper he edited, The Point, has incorporated into its masthead his photo, with the question: "Who killed Deyda Hydara?"

Another prominent journalist Chief Ebrima Manney went missing three years ago.

One of the journalists - Sarata Jabbi-Dibba, vice-president of the Gambia Press Union - confirmed to the AFP news agency that she had been released.

The agency reports that her five male colleagues left another prison on Thursday evening chanting "the truth will always prevail".

President Jammeh came to power through a coup in 1994 and has won three multi-party elections since then.

But amid claims of plots to oust him, dozens of people have been arrested and unlawfully detained, human rights groups say.


Thursday, 3 September 2009

Police Raid News Of The People Office

Two policemen in mufti early this morning stormed the office of the News of The People, a softsell magazine, based in Ojodu, Lagos, to arrest either the publisher or the editor.

Informed sources revealed that the policemen said they were from Police Headquarters, Abuja, and working on the orders of the Inspector-General of Police to arrest either the publisher, the editor or both, over a story on the Nigeria Aviation Handling Company (NACO), the magazine published recently.

The source added that the policemen claimed the IG said the story is capable of causing security threat in the country.

Meanwhile, Babatunde Oshinaya, the Admin Manager of the magazine, and a reporter, Lukmon Akintola have been arrested and taken to an unknown destination.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

'No-music day' on Nigeria radio

Radio stations in Lagos have largely observed a call by Nigerian artists for a "No-Music Day" to protest at piracy and the non-payment of royalties.

The BBC's Fidelis Mbah in the city says some stations have instead played foreign music.

A musicians' spokesman said that many stations and nightclubs see obtaining music licences as an "alien idea".

Last week, a group of Lagos musicians organised an ongoing hunger strike to protest at rampant piracy.

Our correspondent says pirated CDs of popular albums are readily available on the city's streets, at a fraction of the official price.

Despite the occasional raid on the pirates' production outfits, security agents have failed to tame their activities, he says.

It is the first time Nigerian musicians have united to highlight their plight.


Nigerian Music Industry Coalition spokesman Efe Omorogbe said the failure to pay royalties was equivalent to making and distributing pirated CDs.

There are probably more radio stations in Lagos than in two other African countries put together. Lagos stations do not pay royalties," he told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

He said Nigeria had two royalty collection associations.

Radio stations often say they do not know which one collects for which catalogue.

"The system has failed to structure itself in such a way that people are compelled to pay," he said.

The musicians' indefinite hunger strike will be followed by a protest to the National Assembly, our correspondent says.

Lagos musician Funsho Olatunbosun, who goes by the stage name Xtreme, says piracy has really affected his income.

"All the artists are feeling the pain... we're not relying on the album [sales], we're only relying on shows," he said.


Are you taking part in Nigeria's "No-Music Day"? Do you buy pirated CDs? Let us know what you think about it, by using the postform below to send us your comments.

I felt for Nigerian artists, 95% of albums sold in d streets are pirated, govt are not helping issues they always claim to fight corruption but reverse was d case they like corruption d way fish likes water, everything in Nigeria is pirated even d air we breath, nigeria is one of d richest in oil they've kept on importing oil, what a shame of a country.
Arinze Umeweni, Abuja, Nigeria

Oh please! No power supply, the pipes are dry, schools are on strike, people are getting kidnapped. We've got bigger issues to worry about.
Kunle Oduwobi, Ogun State, Nigeria

It's definitely a perfect idea. Bravo Lagos artists. In Uganda, many artists have gone into oblivion because of that. I am one of them.
Jane Apio, Lira, Uganda

I think the idea here is correct but the implementation remain the issue, no amount of law our national assemble will ever produce without enforcement from the heart of our law enforcement agencies that will ever produce positive change, this change will come from you and me who will join hand together to fight the good fight, all Nigerian artist should come together as a team, identify that one enemy, join hand the pull the trigger and have the enemy kingdom pulled down, this goal is achievable.
Ras Jeluna, PH, Nigeria

It is not only music that is pirated in Nigeria. Books are also pirated, even household goods, toiletries, soaps, etc are pirated - virtually everything in Nigeria is pirated. Do we all go on hunger strike? Though I sympathise with the musicians, but some of them are just happy to hear their music played on radio, thus giving them free publicity. They should learn to live with what Nigeria has turned out to be - THE JUNGLE - where the rule is survival of the fittest. The government is on indefinite leave.
Segiru Sule, Ibadan

A labourer deserves his wages. Why are people reaping where they did not sow? So stand firm and fight for your right.
Victor-Davis Eche, Awka

For decades, imported music has been bootlegged in the country with no protest from the industry .Now the chicken has finally come home to roost. Suck it up guys with your sorry music.
Charlie Igbonoba, Dallas, Tx USA

Corruption in Nigeria from presidency to common Nigerian so piracy continues...
Declan Egbusuo, Nkume Njaba Biafra

Hey, leave the musician they too are pirating foreign albums and is vice-versa, let them shout, piracy continues...James Badboy, Lagos, Nigeria

Yes, the musicians are really suffering as a result of our unregulated check economy. The govt. need to come in to salvage the music industry in one hand and the artist on the other hand.
Mr Esabu Monday, Agadaga Ewohimi, Edo State, Nigeria

its really disastrous because i was in Abuja early this year when the Nigerian major musicians attends comedy events, just to earn a living, while their Cds is everywhere in the market.
Jonas E. ThankGod, Madrid

What is this nonsense about no music day? Why can't the country not get serious in eradicating poverty. Despite the oil from the delta region, the cocoa from the west and midwestern region, the palm oil from the eastern region the groundnuts and the cattle from the northern region, the rubber from the midwestern and southeastern regions of the country plus precious solid minerals in all parts of the country there are no basic amenities for all the population. Even in the commercial city of Lagos 95% of the city do not have pipe borne water flowing through the taps to drink and even flush the toilets. What a shame. A big shame indeed. I learnt that the governor of Lagos state is beautifying the city, when there is no electricity in constant supply and pipe borne water. Get serious Nigeria. The country is being laughed at from serious nations around the world after so many years of self rule. Stop this no music day and get the country off poverty. Mind you observers don't go to the GRA, Victoria Island or Ikoyi. They go to areas that have been neglected.
Dr. Eng. William. Gillbeak, London Unitied Kingdom

I support you with all my life. we have been robbed for too long.
Oyet, Ukatejit, Calabar, Nigeria

This's just a nonsense. How's the music industry beneficial to the Nigerian Federation? After all the parliament and the executives have already failed to provide the dividend of the so-called democracy to their people, so what next do they expect from them?
Tijjani Bukar, Damaturu, Nigeria

It sad that our musicians are not getting compensated for their talents due to nefarious activities of some unscrupulous individuals. Piracy is an up hill battle for the music and movie industries in Nigeria. Due to the current economic downturn in the country, a lot of people find the pirated CDs cheaper than the original ones. For as long as people are buying pirated CDs, the industry will remain vibrant and lucrative. It is had time the national assembly join our artistes in the fight against pirated CDs and payment of royalties to the musicians. There is no doubt that the livelihood of our artistes is in jeopardy. My fellow Nigerians should boycott pirated CDs and help are artistes to grow.
Omorodion Osula, Boston, USA

I support Nigeria musicians. This idea it will help them 2 develop the activities of music in Nigeria.
Yakubu Peter, Kano, Nigeria

Monday, 31 August 2009

Sokoto Govt under pressure to recall suspended journalists

Concerned stakeholders in the media industry in Sokoto State are mounting pressures on Governor Aliyu Wamakko and the state Ministry of Information to recall two journalists of the state radio who were recently suspended by the ministry.

The two journalists, Abdulnasir Abubakar, a news editor and Abubakar Isa, a reporter, of Sokoto State owned Rima Radio were suspended for reporting that the state’s Ramadan feeding programme breached meal specifications given by the state government.

The state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in a reaction described as hasty, the decision to suspend the journalists. The state chairman of the NUJ Alhaji Sajo Sayyinna in press statement advised the ministry and management of Rima Radio to, in the interest of fair play and professionalism, reverse the decision. The state council of the NUJ also urged the ministry and management to investigate the various feeding centres in line with what is being provided by government. The NUJ disclosed that the case had already been referred to its ethics and disciplinary committee for necessary action.

Commenting on the suspension order, the chairman, correspondents chapel, Mallam Abdullahi Elkurebe, said in the interest of justice and fair play, the ministry and Rima Radio management should not have just suspended the two journalists but should have looked properly into their report with a view to determine its veracity.

It was further learnt that the two reporters, having visited various centres established for the Ramadan feeding programme, found out that people were not being fed in accordance with the government’s specification in view of the release of N100 million for the exercise designed purposely to assist the less privileged.

Friday, 28 August 2009

My Arrest and Release

I had another brush with Nigerian security agents on wednesday 26th August, 2009 and below are some of the reports about my arrest and release.
My record is gradually increasing...6 arrests by the Police and 3 arrests by the State Security Service...still counting


BBC Reporter Arrested, Freed
August 27, 2009 15:37, 511 views

By Paul Dada

A British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reporter, Fidelis Mbah, has explained how he was arrested and later freed by officers of the State Security Service, SSS.

The Nigerian-born Mbah was arrested at the VIP Lounge Press Centre of the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Ikeja, while doing a live telephone interview with the BBC’s London office.

According to him, “SSS detained me today at the airport for about an hour. They claimed I was not authorised to gain access to the VIP lounge press centre at the airport. I was doing a live phone interview with my London studio when they ordered me to stop and locked me inside their office. They seize my phone and ID card and threatened to take me to Shangisha.”

Mbah said it was after the intervention of some journalists, who pleaded with the SSS men, that he was released.



Date Published: 08/26/09

BBC Reporter detained in Lagos

Fidelis Mba, a reporter with the British Broadcasting Service was today arrested and detained for several hours by the State Security Operatives, SSS, in Lagos.

Mba who was conducting an interview at the VIP wing of the Lagos Airport was almost wisked away to Shangisha, the dreaded detention camp used to torture journalists and pro democracy activists by the late General Sanni Abacha.

He was later released after scores of journalist pleaded on his behalf. His identification card and other valuables were seized.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Journalist Alleges Threat to Life

The South-South Bureau Chief of Champion Newspapers, Mr. Tony Ita Etim, has written a protest letter to the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State Command, Mr. Bala Hassan, alleging threat to his life by some suspected Islamic extremists.

In the letter dated August 12, 2009 to the police chief, the journalist said, ''i write to intimate you that I have been receiving several telephone calls from a section of the society who claimed to be Moslems threatening to beat me or kill me''.

According to him, ''these calls came in Friday July 31, 2009. The callers are claiming that they are reacting to an article titled DRUMS OF WAR which was published in my column called AKPANIKO. Though most of the callers have hidden their numbers, some callers’ numbers were opened and these numbers are 08039266105, 08036388469 and 07030803077' '.

''On Tuesday, August 11, 2009''; he went on, ''a new dimension was added when a caller with number 084764210 threatened to send assassins after me. He alleged that in 2003 at the New Covenant Anglican Church, Amadi Flat during the child dedication of a staff of AGIP, one Engineer Nwabueze I took his pictures and publish same without his permission; which is a lie''.

''I know Nwabueze and was invited for the said ceremony. I did not attend his child dedication because I was out of Port Harcourt. The first time I went to that Church was when then Rivers State Information Commissioner now Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Mr. Magnus Abe, dedicated his son, Peter. I did not take any picture. My second visit to the church was in 2008 when the Chairman of the Federated Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Mr. Lawson Heyford held a thanksgiving service for his wife, Bright, who survived a cancer operation. Also I did not take pictures because I didn’t own a camera as at that time'', he said in the letter.

Continuing, he added, ''i would appeal to you to use your good office to investigate these callers, their motives as well as arrest and prosecute them. I am a law abiding citizen of this country and if in the course of my duty as a reporter anybody is aggrieved with my opinion, such persons have the right to go to court and seek legal redress than resort to threat of violence and assassinations.

''Sir, I would also ask for police protection as I have been observing strange faces trailing me and coming to my office under the guise of doing one business or the other and at the end they end up not doing anything rather than waiting and asking for names of my colleagues in a bid to identify who among them is Tony Ita Etim.

''Sir, I count on your assistance as my life is in danger.''

In the mean time, Journalists for Niger Delta (JODEL), a media group concerned with the affairs of Nigeria's oil and gas region has warned that any harm to the journalist could trigger a religious conflict that will further worsen the situation in the Niger Delta.

An official of the media group, Mr. Daniel Abia, told our correspondent on telephone on Saturday that they are confident that Mr. Hassan, the police boss, will not allow the threat to the life of the journalist, to degerate.

''While we are watching the situation, JODEL will like to say at this point that we have confidence in the competence of the commissioner of police to handle the matter'', Mr. Abia said.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Ekiti Radio Shut

Police have taken over the premises of the Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State (BSES) after a protest by its workers, which led to the sudden closure of the organisation.

The workers of the broadcasting house have beenengaged in an industrial disharmony with the management headed by Dr. Segun Aderiye.

The radio station went off air at about 4 p.m. on Friday followingthe redeployment of three leaders of the aggrieved workers. They have been having a running battle with the management for months, demanding Aderiye's removal as the director general, adding that it is the way peace can be guaranteed in the organisation.

Aderiye, while confirming the incident, said the station was shut down following the emergency congress called by the affected union leaders. He explained that letters of redeployment were served in the Ministry of Establishment and Trainingto the union leaders, but the letter did not state any reason.

Aderiye, who said he was not at the office when the incident occurred, added that efforts were already being made the management to get the station back on air.

Ekiti State Police Public Relations Officer, Oladipupo Awe, who also confirmedthe incident, said his men have already taken over the premises to forestall any breakdown of law and order, adding that the situation has been put under control. Efforts to get comment from the affected union leaders proved were to no avail.

Courtesy-Independent Newspaper

Friday, 22 May 2009


Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo yesterday in Awka, Anambra State, ordered journalists out of a conference where he was scheduled to deliver a paper.

Soludo was invited to deliver a lecture entitled “Financial sustainability in the Catholic Church’’ at the conference, organised by the Awka Diocese of the Catholic Church.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Soludo had hardly begun to speak when he noticed the presence of a horde of photographers and other journalists in the venue of the forum.

“Who are these?” he asked and when told that they were newsmen invited by organisers to cover the event, he threatened to discontinue the lecture until the “intruding” reporters were sent out of the hall. “I have the right to talk to my church, and my visit here is private,” Soludo said.

The request was immediately carried out by the organisers who asked the newsmen not only to leave the hall, but the entire premises of the Pastoral Retreat Centre, venue of the conference.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Partisan Journalism

I am getting quite disturbed with the conduct of some professional colleagues. I am disturbed cos am a member of the family and as such cannot run away from making observations to restore dignity to my cherished profession.

I find it hard to explain why some colleagues have lately thrown caution to the winds and embraced partisanship in the discharge of their duties. Am worried that professionalism has been thrown to the dust bin and what some colleagues are now wearing is 'coat of interest'.

I have been in Ekiti State , southwest Nigeria where a disputed election re-run has pitched the ruling PDP and the opposition AC. My experiences in the hands of my professional colleagues is not what i want to share with my wife during dinner so she does not lose her appetite.

Before i embarked on the trip to Ekiti State, I read and heard stories about how some journalists were harassed, beaten and assaulted by natives. I had this concern at the back of my mind and planned to thread with caution in terms of visibility.

But my findings on getting to Ekiti State were shocking. My colleagues were actually beaten up cos they were confirmed to have pitched their tents with the political parties. Almost all journalists belonged to a political camp even though they were not card carrying members.

Some were given special accomodation at 3-star hotels and they never hid it that they were on the payroll of the parties.

Some colleagues were willing tools of propaganda and concerned themselves more with spreading rumuors than carrying out their duties. I don't want to mention names but to say i was disappointed with the conduct of some colleagues i had respect for prior to the Ekiti disgrace is an understatement.

So why wont we get beaten up by our readers/listeners/ viewers?

There has to be a change in attitude and am appealing to individuals cos the Nigeria Union of Journalists now seems to be a toothless bulldog.

Change in attitude is definitely inevitable.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Regulator Slaps Private Radio Fine over Sharp Practices

Nigeria's broadcast regulator, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), fined private radio station Adaba FM 500,000 Naira (approx. US$3,350) for allegedly transmitting on 25 April "materials that were capable of inciting members of the public to violence and consequently leading to breakdown of law and order", while covering the re-run of the governorship elections in Ekiti State in the southwest.

Mr. Awwalu Salihu, NBC's head of public affairs, said in a statement that Adaba FM's broadcast of 9:30 a.m. (local time) of 25 April violated sections 3.1.2 and 1.4.4 of the Nigerian Broadcasting Code, adding that the commission gave the station until 8 May to pay up or "face higher sanction".

The letter of sanction was reportedly handed over to the acting general manager of the station, Mr. Joseph Alake, in the afternoon of 27 April.

The commission stressed its "determination to ensure that broadcasting stations play their indispensable role according to the rules of the game to ensure fairness and peace in the nation's political process."

The NBC was not specific on what aspects of the station's programme breached the Broadcasting Code. As was the case on previous occasions when it sanctioned privately owned broadcasting stations, the NBC again did not follow the procedure specified in the Broadcasting Code which requires the commission to give a station an opportunity to defend itself before applying sanctions.

The NBC is viewed by many as lacking in independence as it is directly under the control of the minister of information and communications as well as the president.

It has been repeatedly accused of being quick to muzzle privately owned broadcast stations with little or no justification while turning a blind eye when government-owned stations violate the provisions of the Broadcasting Code, particularly during election periods.

Adaba FM is a private station running on the frequency modulated wave band and is based in Akure, the Ondo State capital, in south-west Nigeria.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Youths New Drugs Discovery


LIZARD dropping has become the major intoxicant in Gombe as a sizeable number of youths in the state now depend on it for stimulation, investigation has shown.

Investigations revealed that the droppings have since taken over from Indian hemp and other drugs as the major stimulant in the state.

Youths, according to the investigation, take the droppings because of its potency as a strong intoxicant.

Newsmen also observed that the development had raised the value of the droppings, as it was no longer easy to find.

A user who spoke to on condition of anonymity, revealed that they usually assigned younger children to scout for the droppings after enticing them with token amounts.

‘’We just give them N5 or N10 to buy sweet or biscuit and they comb the nooks and crannies of the streets for the excreta,’’ he told newsmen after a monetary bargain.

Some youths arrested by the police for engaging in violence three weeks ago confirmed the shift from Indian hemp to lizard droppings.

Mr Hosea Karma, Deputy Commissioner of Police in Gombe, told newsmen that the youths had confessed to using the droppings to intoxicate them before engaging in their nefarious activities.

‘’When asked what they normally take before engaging in violence, some of them revealed that Indian hemp was no longer potent, and that lizard dropping was stronger,’’ he said.

‘’There is the need for parents to really wake up to their responsibilities of proper up-bringing of their children, to make it easy for the authorities to complement their efforts,’’ Karma advised.

On his part, Mr. Ishaku Iliya, Commander of NDLEA in Gombe, told newsmen that his men were yet to come across such practice in the state.

Asked to confirm the potency of the lizard excreta as an intoxicant, the commander said the white portion of the droppings was a killer drug.

‘’The white portion is rich in ammonia which intoxicates and it is the one they go for. They soak and drink it or sometimes mix it with Indian hemp for enhanced effect,’’ he revealed.

Private TV Alleges Threat to Operations

Galaxy Television alleges harassment

The management of Galaxy Television has raised alarm over threat to the life of its staff by agents of Ogun State Government, saying it would ensure that such threats coming from "a source with a historical reputation for violence" are investigated.

A statement by its President, Mr. Steve Ojo, said since the station commenced a five-part report on the state of insecurity in Ogun State, abuse of power and collapse of legislation on April 6, 2008 the station`s personnel had been subjected to undue harassment.

While the residence of its correspondent in Ogun State was burgled, a member of the State House of Assembly, one Hon. Amusan on April 11,threatened the lives of guests and a presenter on its weekly programme, Editors` Forum.

"Galaxy Television insists that threats to the life of its staff or guests will not be taken lightly," he said.

Galaxy Television is privately-owned and operates from Ibadan Oyo State and Lagos in South-West, Nigeria.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

The Punch condemns reporter’s detention

The management of The Punch newspapers has condemned the detention by the Police of its Chief Correspondent in Abuja, Mr. Olusola Fabiyi.
The correspondent was said to have gone to the Police headquarters, Abuja, to confirm a story when he was seized by personnel over his refusal to disclose the source of a story ran by the paper last Monday.

The paper had in the story quoted a statement by the Action Congress (AC), alleging that a prominent governor in the North-Central zone was co-ordinating the plot by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to kill former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Fabiyi, who was said to have insisted that the source was the party’s press release, The Punch management said, has been moved to Area 10 by the police, who also seized his telephone.

The company said it seriously "condemned the detention of an innocent journalist on a baseless excuse".

Source; the Nation Newspaper


1. PTDF: Court decides Obasanjo’s fate tomorrow

An Abuja High Court is set to resolve questions raised in a suit filed by two lawyers seeking the trial of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Barely a week after he expressed his readiness to face trial for any abuse of office, Obasanjo will tomorrow know his fate over the alleged mismanagement of over N1.2billion belonging to the Petroleum Technology Development Fund(PTDF).

A judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja, Justice Anwuli Chikere, yesterday fixed judgment for tomorrow in a suit seeking the trial of the ex-president over the PTDF fund.

Although Obasanjo is said to be out of the country, his lawyer had been notified of the judgment by the court.

2. Governors petition Yar’Adua, IG over plot to kill Tinubu

The six governors in the North-Central zone of the country have petitioned President Umaru Yar‘Adua and the Inspector- General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro, over the allegation by the Action Congress that one of them was behind the alleged plot to assassinate a former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

The governors, in the two-page petition signed on Wednesday by five of them, are demanding an investigation into the allegation.

The governors, who wrote the petition are the Chairman of North-Central Governors‘ Forum, Mr. Jonah Jang (Plateau); Mr. Gabriel Suswam (Benue); Alhaji Ibrahim Idris (Kogi); Dr. Bukola Saraki (Kwara); Alhaji Aliyu Doma (Nassarawa); and Dr. Babangida Aliyu (Niger).

According to the governors, Okiro’s investigation in the matter was imperative as the ”allegation is not only serious but weighty and should not be handled with levity.”

3. 19 Political Parties Agree on Mega Party

The expected formation of a mega political party is gradually taking shape with a coalition of 19 political parties' agreeing to come

The parties include, faction of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), led by General Muhammadu Buhari, Action Congress (AC), Progressive Action Congress (PAC) and Tunji Braithwaite led Nigeria Action Party (NAP), Olu Falae led Democratic Peoples Alliance (DPA).

Others are, Peoples Mandate Party (PMP), Alliance for Democracy (AD), Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Labour Party, Progressive Action Congress (PAC) and Peoples Progressive Alliance (PPA) among others.

The final decision will be taking in Lagos on April 7, where the name, logo and manifesto would be unfolded.

4. Gunmen Kill 8 Policemen in Delta CP’s Convoy

Eight policemen attached to the convoy of the Delta State Commissioner of Police, Mr Jacob Oshiomogor, were killed yesterday during an exchange of gunfire with armed robbers.

Mr Oshiomogho, however, escaped death by the whiskers. The attack took place at Ekpon, Igueben Local Government Council of Edo State, near Agbor, in Delta State.

Initially, the whereabouts of the Police chief could not be ascertained, but the Force Public Relations Officer, an ACP (ACP), Emmanuel Ojukwu, who confirmed the incident in Abuja, said Oshiomogho was alive and safe.

He, however, could not confirm the number of casualties.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

‘Abducted’ National Life Abuja Bureau Chief surfaces in Bayelsa

The Abuja Bureau Chief of National Life newspaper, Mr. Akin Orimolade, who was snatched in Abuja on Tuesday by security operatives from Bayelsa State, yesterday surfaced in a Magistrate’s Court on the outskirts of Yenagoa.
He was brought to the court in Biogbolo, a few kilometres to Yenagoa, the state capital, by plain-clothes security men in a blue Mercedes Benz 190 car.

Orimolade, clad in a white long sleeves shirt and blue striped trousers, was received on arrival at about 11.25 a.m by his colleagues in the state.

He protested to Governor Timipre Sylva’s Special Adviser on Legal Matters Dennis Otiotio, who was in the court premises, that he "was abducted from Abuja".

But Otiotio said the security agents acted in accordance with a court order.

"It should have been done in a more decent way," Orimolade insisted, adding that he was lured to come and pick up an advertisement material for his paper by someone who claimed to be working for Silver Bird Cinema.

Surrounded by his colleagues, Orimolade said he was invited to City Plaza, Abuja where the transaction was to take place and was arrested there by some armed security personnel.

"I was arrested at City Plaza, Abuja. They brought tear gas, and bundled me into a car. Even in the bus, they held me as if I was about to abscond," he said.

Contrary to government’s claim that the security operatives acted on the orders of a Magistrate’s Court, Orimolade said: "We didn’t appear in any Magistrate’s Court".

He threatened to report Otiotio to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

Orimolade said the security operatives locked him up with armed robbers in a police cell.

"They locked me up with armed robbers," he said.

Otiotio, who was with other members of the governor’s legal team, had a heated argument with the reporters.

He defended government’s action, claiming that Orimolade reported what was not true about the governor.

Orimolade’s trial could not, however, take place. He was taken away to an unknown destination by the security operatives.

Shedding light on why Orimolade’s arraignment could not hold, Otiotio said it was due to the absence of his lawyer, Femi Falana, and two other suspects still at large.

He said the government is ready to forgo the case if certain steps are taken.

Otiotio, who refused to name the magistrate that ordered Orimolade’s arrest, said neither the government nor the police could order the reporter’s release.

He said only the magistrate has the powers to order the release of Orimolade.

He said the offence against him is bailable, but bail can only be granted after he appeared in court.

"The magistrate ordered his arrest. The offence is bailable. The arraignment could not take place because his lawyer called to say he had transport problems, we should wait till the lawyer comes before he should be charged. We felt we should give respect as a senior colleague," Otiotio said, adding: "The arraignment will go on tomorrow (today) and the charges will be read in the court".

He went on: "He was charged with two others. Since they were not present, it could not go on. We don’t want to suffer him and that is why we want to severe the charges and charge him separately. When the other accused persons are arrested, they will be charged.

"The offence was jointly committed by them but to avoid being kept in court for long, his charges will be severed and he will be charged separately."

Otiotio expressed government’s preparedness to forgive the accused on some conditions.

According to him, the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) has intervened.

Otiotio said Orimolade was still in the custody of security operatives.

Police spokesman Iniobong Ibokette could not confirm the reporter’s whereabouts.

The Abuja Council of the NUJ has condemned the state government for Orimolade’s plight.

In a statement it issued yesterday by its Chairman, Mr. Timothy Elerewe, reads in part: "We strongly condemn the resort to brigandage in settling purely legal disputes. We also are not fooled by the belated step to frame charges against Mr. Akin Orimolade in a Yenagoa Magistrate’s Court which is outside the province of the ‘locus inquo’ of distant geographical jurisdiction.

"Governor Godwin Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State last year did it with impunity when he caused the police to kidnap Mr. Sam Asowata of the Fresh Facts newspaper from Abuja over alleged unpalatable story. Now, it is Governor Sylva. This is condemnable and we urge all democratic institution and civil society groups to condemn it.

Orimolade was arrested by policemen from Bayelsa in connection with a story in the January 31 edition of National Life where Sylva was said to have been involved in a brawl with a former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at an Abuja hotel.

courtesy- the Nation Newspaper