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NATIONAL NEWS

Fake news gone out of control – FG

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FG clears the air on date of dissolution of Buhari's cabinet

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed says the spate of fake news has assumed frightening proportion and has affected the nation’s image globally.

The minister made this known during the inauguration of the Aso Television (TV) Station and Aso Radio ultra modern studio in Abuja on Tuesday.

He called on media practitioners to rise up to the challenge and place national interest above any primordial ones.

“We want to challenge our journalists to know that the spread of fake news today that is aimed generally at the public, is undermining our international image.

“You cannot paint your country as having incompetent leadership and expect the country to be respected internationally.

“We are not asking that the freedom of information should be breached or that we will censor the media.

“We are appealing to the media to self-regulate or it will self destroy itself.

“The reputation of this industry is going down because of fake news and this is a real danger to our unity.

“Nigeria comes first before every other interest and we must work towards salvaging this country. Nigeria should come first,’’ he said.

Mohammed added, “there is no challenge that Nigeria is facing today that other countries are not facing.”

The minister added that with measures that had been placed in front of President Muhammadu Buhari, all these challenges would be a thing of the past in the very near future.

Earlier, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello said one of the disposition of the present administration on assumption of office four years ago was to reposition the Abuja Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) to be relevant to residents.

“However, the journey for television broadcasting began much earlier in 2004 when the licence was obtained with broadcast set in 2007.

“This however was not to be, due to a number of factors.

“It is therefore heart-warming to see that the set commenced full operations. It has taken a decade and half to get us to this stage and therefore we expect you to hit the ground running.

“I want to remind you of your responsibility to develop good quality content that will promote the unity of Nigeria which the FCT symbolises as well as promote the developmental agenda of the administration,’’ he said.

He warned the two stations to resist the temptations of joining sensational and imprudent journalism instead they should carve a niche for themselves as a responsible and level headed newsmen and content provider.

According to Bello, Nigeria and FCT more than ever, needs their institutions to bridge the gap on issues that tend to divide us and help to build a strong, virile and stable Nigeria.

“You must see this as your mission and use all your knowledge and experience to ensure that you succeed in this direction.

“You must also work hard to make this station economically viable so that it sustains itself.

“The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has expended a lot of resources to get it on its feet and you should therefore justify the confidence repose in you. After all, who much was given, much is expected,’’ he said.

He called on all FCT Agencies, Secretariats, Departments, corporate organisations and viewing public to patronise the station to help it grow.

Earlier, Chairman of the ABC Limited, Malam Farouk Muhammed, said about eight years ago the board ordered a number of equipment for Aso TV but were left in crates, because the supplier was not paid in full.

He said after the inaugural board meeting the Managing Director was mandated to convince the supplier to complete the installation.

Muhammed said after nine months of test transmission the station was still on test, noting that the sister radio station Aso Radio had been in existence for 18 years.

The chairman said all arrangements for local retraining of some ABCL staff and digital Aso TV transmission had been completed.

“Although we are ready to commence full transmission and increase gradually, we cannot do so until some tools for the job like Cameras, Teleprompters fly away kits, vehicles and others are supplied.

“Happily, several months ago you approved the supply of the said items, but the procurement process needs to be expedited and completed for the equipment to be supplied to enable Aso TV join the competitive terrain,’’ he said.

Muhammed thanked the minister for deploying some ABCL staff to the FCTA.

“We hope the process of financial independent would be expedited to enable Aso TV to start operating as full commercial entity of the government,’’ he said

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CATHOLIC WORLD

Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes

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Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump - CAN fumes

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.

Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.

He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.

He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.

“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’

“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.

“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.

“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.

“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.

“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”

However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.

He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.

“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”

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NATIONAL NEWS

CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

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CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS), for the passage of the 2020 Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAMA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.

Bishop Onah, said in a remark during the Sunday Mass that if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill, it would not have been passed into law.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Aug. 7, signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a supervising minister.

“The question many Christians have been asking is, where were Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?

“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house, it would not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.

“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.

“When I say that Christians are too divided and too selfish, don’t forget that the second in command in this country is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a professor of Law and a pastor.”

Onah, however, wondered what the Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church, NAN reports.

“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings.

“Had it been that the government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question the government,” he said.

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NATIONAL NEWS

Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike

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Increasing Fuel and Electricity Prices

Anger and condemnations, across the country, have continued to trail last week’s take off, of new increases in pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, as directed by Federal Government.

Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) official, D.O. Abalaka announced on Wednesday September 3, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the new price of petroleum is now N151.56k per litre instead of N149 – N150 per litre which it was previously.

The new electricity tariff which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) tagged “Service Reflective Tariff” has also come into effect. It requires consumers to pay N53.87 – N66.422 per kwh of electricity.

Outraged consumers of fuel and electricity have therefore warned government to get ready for collision with the masses if it fails to rescind these new prices.

Those who have expressed outrage over the new prices regimes include, the Organized Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian main opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).

Others are: Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA).

The NLC said, “The frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted. We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home.”

On its part, the PDP has described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.

The All Industrial Global sees the incessant increase as a confirmation that deregulation means just price increase.

“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic, we should put money in the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives.” In its reaction, NECA said it has always urged Federal Government to adopt deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.

The MOMAN in its statement insists that monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. It urged PPRA to adopt quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility. The statements by IPMAN and NACCIMA also followed along the same line that the hike “…serves only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”

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