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NASS will never pass any law against press freedom -Lawan

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As journalists celebrate this year’s World Press Freedom Day, today, May 3, the National Assembly, has said that it would never pass any law that inhibits the freedom of the press in Nigeria.

The Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, who gave the assurance in a message of felicitation with Nigerian journalists as they joined their colleagues across the world to celebrate the event, however, urged them to purge themselves of bad eggs.

Lawan noted that May 3 is set aside every year to remind governments around the world of their obligation to facilitate and respect press freedom, and also to remind journalists the need to respect the ethics of their profession.

The Senate President, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Ola Awoniyi, stated that he is proud that Nigeria has a vibrant media that have always resolutely defended freedom of speech.

According to him, freedom of the press enables journalists to effectively discharge their roles as the watchdog of the society and Fourth Estate of the Realm.

“I also celebrate the Nigerian journalists for the invaluable contributions and sacrifices that they have made throughout our national history to nation-building and entrenchment of democracy.

“I pay tribute to the patriots who have lost their lives in the line of duty and pray that their death will not be in vain.

“The Ninth Senate and the National Assembly in general will never pass any law that inhibits the freedom of the press but rather works with the media to further enhance the practice of the profession.

“It is in this light that I call on the practitioners to purge their noble profession of the bad eggs whose nefarious activities are denting the credibility and reputation of the mainstream practitioners.

“The leadership organs of the profession also need to adopt practical measures to check the activities of the purveyors of fake news.

“My belief is that the menace of fake news is capable of eroding the integrity and credibility of the media in general, and this should not be allowed to happen” Lawan said.

The Senate President wishes the media a happy celebration.

It would be recalled that a bill which will make it possible to sentence to death by hanging anybody convicted of spreading hate speech and another one seeking to regulate social media sparked outrage among Nigerians, especially journalists, lawyers and activists after they passed second reading at the Senate in November 2019.

While the first proposed legislation, “The Prohibition of Hate Speech Bill” was sponsored by Senator Aliyu Abdullahi (APC Niger North), the other, entitled “Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation 2019” was sponsored by Senator Sani Musa (APC Niger East).

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Freedom At Last, as Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame are Release

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Two former governors Jolly Nyame and Joshua Dariye have been released by the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS).

They were serving jail terms for corruption allegations until they were granted a presidential pardon by President Muhammadu Buhari a few months ago.

The Council of State had approved the pardon alongside 157 other convicts in April this year.

The former governors were convicted by Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the Federal High Court, Abuja in 2018.

Dariye was convicted of stealing N1.16 billion while serving as Plateau governor from 1999 to 2007 and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. But his term was eventually reduced to 10 years by the Court of Appeal in Abuja, while his conviction was affirmed by the Supreme Court.

Nyame, who was Taraba governor from 1999 to 2007, was convicted of stealing N1.6 billion from the state’s treasury and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. The judgment was also upheld by the Supreme Court.

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Former NARSDA Boss, Prof Seidu Mohammed Passes On

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Former Director-General of the National Space Research and Development Agency, NARSDA, and one-time governorship aspirant,  Professor Seidu Muhammed Ogah has been confirmed dead. It was gathered that he died in Abuja.

A statement by Agency disclosed that the former NARSDA boss died at Nisa Premier Hospital in the early hours of Monday. .

”It is with the deepest sadness that we announce the passing of Prof Seidu Mohammed Onailo, our former Director-General, National Space Research and Development Agency, NARSDA which occurred on August 8, 2022, at Nisa Premier Hospital in Abuja,” the statement read.

The 62-year old former NARSDA boss,  a Professor of Space Science,  hailed from Abejukolo in Omala Local Government Area of Kogi State and is survived by his wife, children and other relatives.

He was a visiting Professor of Remote Sensing and GIS, Kaduna State University. He obtained his Ph.D. in Environmental Remote Sensing from Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria in 2004, and received his M.Sc. degree in Soil Survey /Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System from International Institute for Geo-information and Earth Observation (ITC) Twente University, Enschede, The Netherlands in 1993, where he studied as a European Economic Commission Scholar.

He also served as a senior lecturer in the department of Geology, University of Jos from 2007-2009. Over the years, he made significant contributions to the development of models for desertification assessment and predictions in the North West region of Nigeria. This model has been applied by the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) as well as other Nigerian institutions in studying the menace of desertification in the country. The model is currently being used to study the green belt region in West Africa.

An erudite scholar prolific writer,  he had over 40 publications in applied space science. He has made tremendous contributions to the implementation of the space programme in Nigeria.

Under his leadership at NARSDA, Nigeria launched three satellites. He was the Chairman, Governing Board, African Regional Centre for Space Technology Education, Ile-Ife as well as the Chairman, Board of Directors, GeoApps + Limited.

He was also a Fellow of the Nigerian Association of Radio and Planetary Sciences, the Astronomical Society of Nigeria, the Nigerian Institute of Physics, the Cartographic Association of Nigeria as well as a fellow and board member of the International Academy of Astronautics.

Meanwhile, reactions and condolence messages have been coming in, as the people mourn the demise the thoroughbred intellectual.

Reacting to the death of the foremost academic and researcher, prominent indigene of Abejukolo and Special Assistant to the Minister of Aviation, Dr James Odaudu said the death was a great loss to the people of Omala Local government, Igala Kingdom, the Nigerian nation and the academic world.

Late Prof S. O Mohammed

“Professor Seidu Mohammed was not only a leader of the people of Omala Local government, Kogi State and the entire nation, but an intellectual colossus whose academic works have been of immense benefit to scientific research, especially in the area of remote sensing”.

Director-General of the National Productivity Centre, Dr Kashim Akor in a message of condolence to the family and people of Kogi State described the death of the space and remote sensing expert who developed and advanced space technology across the continent, as a colossal loss to Nigeria.

He further described the space Professor as a rare gem who had distinguished himself both in the academic, administrative and space management across the world.

He said during his tenure he resolved alot of thorny issues in the country with the aid of space technology, as he was still rendering professional advises to the current handlers.

Also reacting, former Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris commiserated with the people of Kogi State, particularly Omala local government over the sudden death of Professor Seidu Onailo Mohammed who also served as Director General, Directorate of Rural Development DRD during his first term between 2003-2007.

Idris who expressed shock over the sad development, described his death as a great loss to Kogi State and Nigeria at large.

He recalled how he contributed greatly to the rural electrification efforts of his administration,  having served as Director General at that point in time, during his administration in Kogi State.

The former Governor stated that his death came at a time when his services were needed both at the state and national level, praying to Almighty God to forgive him his shortcomings while on earth.

His burial is expected to be held at Abejukolo in Omala Local Government Area of Kogi State Tuesday according to Islamic rites.

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Crime

Hanifa : Court Sentences School Proprietor to Death

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Remember Hanifa the little girl who was abducted on December 4, 2021 on her way home from Islamiyya and subsequently discovered to have been killed by  her teacher and school proprietor, after demanding N6m ransom, at Dakata, Nasarawa Local Government Area of Kano State?

Well, Justice has been served as Kano State High Court on Thursday sentenced the Proprietor of Nobel Kids Academy and North West Preparatory School, Abdulmalik Tanko, the principal suspect who masterminded the kidnap and killing of the 5-year old school girl, Hanifa Abubakar, to death.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Usman Na’abba, sentenced him to death by hanging while delivering his judgment on Thursday.

Details later….

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