Ribadu speaks on report he blamed government officials for banditry

Nuhu Ribadu, a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, has blamed most of the country’s challenges on fake news peddled by the social media.

Ribadu spoke on the development in the nation’s capital, Abuja, on Sunday at a news conference he addressed.

He was reacting to reports in the social media that he accused some top government functionaries of sponsoring banditry in the country.

The former EFCC boss said it was time for him to clear the air on the issue, which he said had been on for some time. He said: “July 2019 was the first time I came out to know about it, and I came out with a very strong denial, saying that it was a fabrication and had no basis.

“It was a piece of rubbish with very bad grammar and factual destruction, but indeed very damaging.

“I reacted very strongly after that, it didn’t stop and I was forced again to issue a statement denying it.

“I thought that would have been the end of it, but not long afterwards, it started coming back again and I am worried and concerned.”

Ribadu said globally, people who were worried and concerned and wanted to fact-check had been getting in touch with him, adding that he had continued to respond to the issue every single day.

He said: “I want to again deny in the strongest term and send a message to everybody to disregard the statements, it is not fair, it is not just.

“It is very sinful for you to create something from no where and attribute it to an innocent person who doesn’t know anything about it, I have nothing to do with that message.

“This is my strongest denial, everybody should please disregard the statement: it is not from me, it is not true.”

Ribadu said he had been inundated by messages from friends and associates who wanted to find out if the tweets on the issue were actually from him.

He, however, said he had made a formal complaint …

FG commends NARD, offers N47b as hazard allowance

The Federal Government has commended the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors for suspending its nationwide strike that had lasted for 63 days.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, gave the commendation on Wednesday in Abuja.

He spoke when he received the leadership of the Nigerian Medical Association, who led NARD’s executive members on a visit to his office.

Ngige, who commended the new NARD leadership, led by Dr. Godiya Ishaya, for asking its members to return to work, disclosed that the federal Government had increased the aggregate money in the 2022 budget for hazard allowance from N40 billion to N47 billion annually. He said the latest strike would not have degenerated to the point it got to if the former NARD leadership had given their members the correct information.

The minister said the Federal Government was not indebted to any doctor up till August 2 when NARD embarked on the strike.

He, however, noted that there were contentions about allowances such as Medical Residency Training Fund and some doctors who were not paid the Special COVID-19 allowances.

The Minister assured that all the contentious issues were being addressed, including the payment of Medical Residency Training Fund and Special COVID-19 allowances for those omitted.

Ngige said: “The previous NARD leadership hoarded information from your members.

“Instead, things wouldn’t have degenerated.

“There is no need being pugilistic.

“We know that we have opposition to our government.

“It doesn’t mean that if we are doing something right, we should not be praised.

“If the former NARD leadership were not playing politics, they should have reported well to their members, especially after the intervention of the Elders Forum, of which the President and Secretary General of NARD were members.

“You are lucky to have me, a medical doctor and health system manager, here as the Minister of Labour and Employment.

“So, when the matter came, the issues are clear to me.

“But when you bring advice to both parties on how things should be done and it is thrown away completely, …

UNILAG: Why Babalakin quit — FG

The Federal Government has explained that overbearing posture was responsible for the removal of the Pro-Chancellor/Chairman, Governing Council of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, Dr. Olawale Babalakin, SAN.

It also maintained that Babalakin was not exonerated of any wrongdoing by the General Martin Luther Agwai-led Regular Visitation Panel to the university.

The Director, Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Education, Bem Goong, who explained in a statement, insisted that the former Pro-Chancellor remained indicted and removed from office.

The statement reads: “The Senior Advocate of Nigeria had accepted his guilt by resigning hours before the release of the White Paper that came out of the Special Presidential Visitation Panel, adding that the hostility towards the Permanent Secretary for doing his job is unnecessary and unjustifiable. “After weeks of media hostilities over another contrived crisis in the University of Lagos, the Federal Government has maintained that the embattled former Pro-Chancellor/Chairman of the Governing Council of that University, Dr. Olawale Babalakin, SAN, was not exonerated by the General Martin Luther Agwai-led Regular Visitation Panel to the university.

“Following his indictment for breach of due process and flagrant disregard for the university laws in the aborted removal of the Vice-Chancellor and the unilateral appointment of an Acting Vice-Chancellor, the Special Presidential Visitation Panel and the White Paper, thereof, recommended and approved, respectively, his removal from office and the dissolution of the Governing Council.”

While condemning the campaign of calumny as a desperate attempt to distract and slow down the rising profile of the university, Goong said facts on the ground spoke to the contrary.

Asked to clarify whether the second (Regular) Visitation Panel exonerated Babalakin from the indictment of the Special Visitation Panel, Goong said: “It is embarrassing for a lawyer of Babalakin’s standing, a SAN for that matter, to say that a Regular Visitation Panel has exonerated him from the indictment of an earlier visitation panel on three grounds.

“First, the Regular Visitation Panel was not, is not, and cannot be an appellate body for the Special Visitation Panel.

“Administratively, the …

FG hails Akinbiyi on appointment as first Nigerian Commissioner in Australia

Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, has congratulated Abiola Akinbiyi on her recent appointment as the first Nigerian Community Representative Commissioner of the Victorian Multicultural Commission in Australia.

Akinbiyi’s appointment was announced alongside others by the Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Hon. Ros Spence.

Spence is also the Premier of Victoria of the Australian Labour Party.

Each Commissioner is recognized for their skills and life experience championing cultural and religious diversity across Victoria. In a congratulatory message, the NIDCOM boss said Akinbiyi’s appointment has proved her leadership prowess and passion towards women and youth empowerment.

Dabiri-Erewa urged her not to relent in her service to humanity but remain focused and strive to achieve more in the service of mankind.

Akinbiyi, a community leader and advocate, an award winning entrepreneur and also a Woman and Youth mentor, holds a Bachelor degree in pure and applied mathematics from Ladoke Akintola University of Science and Technology, Ogbomoso, and also holds a B.Sc in Nursing.

She is also a graduate of African Leadership Development Programs (Leadership Victoria), where she was nominated for Women in Leadership and Entrepreneur of the year 2018 by African Media Australia, winner of 2018 Business and Entrepreneurship (Afro Shine Award), also by African Media Australia.

Akinbiyi, nee Sarumoh of Ibadan, Oyo State, has served in many developmental committees and associations, a mentor to many African youths with multiple successful outcome.

She has also been privileged to speak in different community events that helps to empower African youth and the newly arrived migrants in Australia.

A registered nurse, nurse educator, an IT professional and an entrepreneur with a passion for community development and cultural diversity who believes in positive Integrations and unity, irrespective of race, social status, ethnicity, religion or gender.

She is happily married to Dr. Akinsola Akinbiyi, a high profile consultant psychiatrist in Australia, and the marriage is blessed with lovely children.…

FG Insists Twitter’s operation is illegal despite ECOWAS court ruling

Eighteen days after the micro-blogging platform, Twitter, was suspended in Nigeria, the Federal Government insists operation of Twitter in the country’s social media space “is not legally permissible.”

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this yesterday when he appeared before a House of Representatives investigative hearing. He said Twitter was used to disseminate information “that endangers the life and security” of Nigerians and cause disunity in the country.

Following the suspension, the green chamber had mandated its committees on communication, justice, information and culture, and national security and intelligence to investigate the circumstances behind the decision.

Speaking at the investigative hearing, Mohammed said the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 does not permit foreign companies to do business in Nigeria if not registered. He said Twitter cannot be given the legitimate rights to operate until it is incorporated in Nigeria.

“As it regards operation of foreign companies in Nigeria, the law provides that a foreign company, which fails to take necessary steps to obtain incorporation as a separate entity in Nigeria for that purpose, but until so incorporated, the foreign company shall not carry on business in Nigeria or exercise any powers of a registered company,” he said.

“Hence, flowing from this background a foreign company as Twitter cannot be clothed with the legitimate rights to operate as a company registered in Nigeria, as they are not licensed, accordingly.

“Notwithstanding the foregoing, it is also observed that the operations of Twitter in the Nigerian social space is not legally permissible when it is used in airing of information that endangers the life and security of the majority of citizens of Nigeria.”

Mohammed said Twitter’s suspension is backed by international laws including articles 24, 25 and 26 of the African Union on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection (CCPR).

He said the government would not hesitate to suspend other social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Google hangout, and others if they are found to be promoting posts or statements capable of destabilizing the country.

There was a …

FG establishes two new Universities of Technology, upgrades four others

The Federal Government has announced the establishment of two additional universities of technology in Jigawa and Akwa Ibom, while also upgrading and equipping four others.

The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Sonny Echono disclosed this to newsmen in Abuja on Monday.

Adamu said that a National Institute of Technology (NIT) would be established in Abuja to serve essentially as a postgraduate center devoted to research and innovation.

According to him, this will draw the best graduates from the six universities of technology as well as other exceptional graduates from reputable universities within and outside Nigeria. “Recall that at the inception of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, he promised to establish an apex National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Abuja with six satellite universities of technology, one in each geo-political zone of the country.

“This was captured in the 2015 APC Manifesto and also stressed in the Education for Change: Ministerial Strategic Plan 2018 – 2022 of the ministry. The objective is to stimulate rapid technological transformation of the country.

“After a comprehensive review of the policy by key stakeholders in the education sector, it was resolved that the four existing universities of
technology located in Yola (North East), Akure (South West), Owerri (South East) and Minna (North Central) be upgraded and equipped.

“While two additional universities of technology to be located in Jigawa and Akwa Ibom States, would be established for the purpose.

“Similarly, a National Institute of Technology shall be established in Abuja. The institute shall be patterned after similar institutions in Singapore and Malaysia.

“This is to serve essentially as a postgraduate center devoted to research and innovation, drawing the best graduates from the six Universities of Technology as well as other exceptional graduates from reputable universities within and outside Nigeria,” he said.

Adamu said that the president had also approved the phased development program, compelled by the country’s lean resources.

He said that the two new Universities of Technology would be established in 2021, while the upgrade …

Twitter ban is Indefinite says FG

Despite widespread anger over the ban on Twitter use in the country, indications emerged, yesterday, that the Federal Government is not ready to shift grounds.

Coming a day after the government met with some envoys, which ended in both parties sticking to their guns and some very influential clerics continuing the use of the popular micro-blogging platform, a top government functionary, last night, told The Guardian that the ban remains indefinite for now as the administration insists ongoing tough on social media regulation.

“In fact, there will be a public communication today or tomorrow asking all foreign social media companies to register before they can be allowed to operate in the country.”

The source further confided that the outcome of Monday’s meeting of the Minister of Foreign Affairs with envoys of the United State, United Kingdom, European Union, Canada and Ireland may not have the blessing of the presidency.

“The government may have regretted the meeting with envoys, giving the impression the Minister may have acted without the full backing of the full house, that is the Presidency. This is because it is believed Twitter has two standards; one for Nigeria and one for other countries. So, for now, the government is not backing down.”

The inkling of the government’s hard stance on maintaining its position despite public criticism emerged when the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), restated his stand on the ban of Twitter by deactivating his account yesterday.

Only the President’s wife, Aisha Buhari, had similarly deactivated her Twitter account as soon as the ban was announced on Friday. Many top government functionaries and institutions are still maintaining their Twitter accounts. Many have described the ban as an attempt to gag the media, an attack on press freedom, freedom of expression and an attempt to pass the controversial Social Media Bill.

Malami had on Saturday ordered the prosecution of Nigerians defying the Federal Government’s last Friday’s ban on Twitter as a result of the platform’s deletion of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet even …