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Trust TV: SERAP Drags Buhari To Court Over N5m Fine

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project and Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development have filed a lawsuit against the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), asking the court to “declare arbitrary and illegal, the N5 million imposed on Trust Television, Multichoice Nigeria Limited, Nigerian Television Authority-Startimes Limited and others over their documentaries on terrorism in the country.”

Joined in the suit as Defendants are the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, and the National Broadcasting Commission.

The NBC had last week imposed the fines on the media houses, claiming that their documentaries “glorified the activities of bandits and undermines national security in Nigeria,” and contravene the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.

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The PUNCH reports that Trust TV was fined over the broadcast of the documentary titled “Nigeria’s Banditry: The Inside Story”, which was aired by the station on March 5, 2022.

The Trust TV management, in a statement last Wednesday, noted that the fine was communicated to the media firm in a letter signed by the NBC Director General, Balarabe Shehu Illela.

READ ALSO: NIN-SIM Linkage: SERAP Sues Buhari Over Security Agencies’ Access To Subscribers’ Details

Illela had said the fine was imposed on Trust TV because its broadcast of the said documentary contravened sections of the National Broadcasting Code.

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But in the suit number FHC/L/CS/1486/2022 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Lagos, SERAP, and the CJID are seeking: “an order setting aside the arbitrary and illegal fines of N5 million and any other penal sanction unilaterally imposed by the NBC on these media houses simply for carrying out their constitutional duties.”

According to the plaintiffs: “The NBC and Mohammed have not shown that the documentaries by the media houses would impose a specific risk of harm to a legitimate state interest that outweighs the public interest in the information provided by the documentaries.”

The plaintiffs said: “The documentaries by these independent media houses pose no risk to any definite interest in national security or public order.”

The plaintiffs also said, “It is inconsistent and incompatible with the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended] to invoke the grounds of ‘glorifying terrorism and banditry’ as justifications for suppressing access to information of legitimate public interest that does not harm national security.”

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The plaintiffs also said, “The documentaries by the independent media houses are in the public interest, and punishing the media houses simply for raising public awareness about these issues would have a disproportionate and chilling effect on their work, and on the work of other journalists and Nigerians.”

According to the plaintiffs, the action by the NBC and Mohammed is arbitrary, illegal, and unconstitutional, as it is contrary to section 39 of the Nigerian Constitution, and international human rights treaties including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which Nigeria has ratified.

The suit filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by their lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Ms Adelanke Aremo, read in part: “A fine is a criminal sanction and only the court is empowered by the Constitution to impose it. Fine imposed by regulatory agencies like the NBC without recourse to the courts is unfair, illegal, and unconstitutional.”

“The grounds of ‘glorifying terrorism and banditry’ used as the bases for sanctioning the media houses are entirely contrary to constitutional and international standards on freedom of expression and access to information.”

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“Imposing any fine whatsoever without due process of law is arbitrary, as it contravenes the principles of nemo judex in causa sua which literally means one cannot be a judge in his own cause and audi alteram partem which means no one should be condemned unheard.”

“Article 19 (1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights establishes the right to freedom of opinion without interference. Article 19(2) establishes Nigeria’s obligations to respect ‘the right to freedom of expression,’ which includes the freedom to seek, receive and impart information, regardless of frontiers.”

READ ALSO: Missing N4b: SERAP Drags Lawan, Gbajabiamila To Court Over Failure To Institute Probe

“Under article 19 (3), restrictions on the right to freedom of expression must be ‘provided by law’, and necessary ‘for respect of the rights or reputations of others’ or ‘for the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health and morals.”

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“Although article 19(3) recognises ‘national security’ as a legitimate aim, the Human Rights Council, the body charged with monitoring implementation of the Covenant, has stressed ‘the need to ensure that the invocation of national security is not used unjustifiably or arbitrarily to restrict the right to freedom of opinion and expression.’”

“The grounds for imposing fines on these independent media houses fail to meet the requirements of legality, necessity, and proportionality.”

“The requirement of necessity also implies an assessment of the proportionality of the grounds, with the aim of ensuring that the excuse of ‘glorifying terrorism and banditry’ and ‘national security’ are not used as a pretext to unduly intrude upon the rights to freedom of expression and access to information.”

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

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UAE Resumes Visa Issuance To Nigerians

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The Federal Government and the government of the United Arab Emirates, UAE, have signed an agreement for the resumption of visa issuance to travellers with Nigerian passports wishing to travel to the Middle Eastern country.

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, who disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday, said the agreement took immediate effect.

He said, “You are aware that Nigeria has been discussing with the United Arab Emirates on the issue of visas for Nigerian passport holders going to the United Arab Emirates.

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READ ALSO: Japa: 7 Common Reasons Application For Canada Student Visa Gets Rejected

“Today, an agreement has been reached on that, and effective from today 15th July, Nigerian passport holders are able to obtain visa to go to the United Arab Emirates.

“Details of that will be provided to you latter today when we put out a statement.

“But I can tell you that the agreement has been reached, and effective from today, Nigerian passport holders intending to travel to the UAE are able to do so.”

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Elon Musk,World Leaders, Celebrities, Others React To failed Ass@sination Attempt On Trump

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World leaders, celebrities and the global online community have expressed disgust at the attempted assassination of former US president Donald Trump while he was holding a rally on Saturday, July 13.

Butler County district attorney Richard Goldinger said in a phone interview that the suspected gunman was dead and at least one attendee was killed after gunshots rang through the crowd as former President Donald Trump spoke at a rally Saturday in Butler, Pennsylvania.

House Speaker Mike Johnson was the first Republican to put out a statement in the moments after the party’s presumptive presidential nominee was rushed off the stage with blood streaming from his ear.

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“Praying for President Trump,” Johnson simply wrote on X.

Former US President George W. Bush says he is “grateful” that former President Donald Trump is safe.

Laura and I are grateful that President Trump is safe following the cowardly attack on his life. And we commend the men and women of the Secret Service for their speedy response,” Bush said in his statement.

US president and Trump’s opponent in the coming election, Joe Biden, wished Trump quick recovery.

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“I have been briefed on the shooting at Donald Trump’s rally in Pennsylvania,” Biden wrote. “I’m grateful to hear that he’s safe and doing well.”

Biden added: “I’m praying for him and his family and for all those who were at the rally, as we await further information. Jill and I are grateful to the Secret Service for getting him to safety. There’s no place for this kind of violence in America. We must unite as one nation to condemn it.”

Former President Barack Obama said in a statement that “There is absolutely no place for political violence in our democracy.”

He added that while details were still scarce, “we should all be relieved that former President Trump wasn’t seriously hurt, and use this moment to recommit ourselves to civility and respect in our politics.”

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“As one whose family has been the victim of political violence, I know firsthand that political violence of any kind has no place in our society,” former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

“I thank God that former President Trump is safe. As we learn more details about this horrifying incident, let us pray that all those in attendance at the former President’s rally today are unharmed.” she added

House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries said on the social platform X that his thoughts and prayers are with former President Trump. “I am thankful for the decisive law enforcement response,” he said. “America is a democracy. Political violence of any kind is never acceptable.”

North Dakota Sen. Doug Burgum, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Sen. JD Vance, the three men on Trump’s shortlist for vice president, all quickly sent out statements expressing concern for the former president.

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Rubio shared an image taken as Trump was escorted off stage with his fist in the air and a streak of blood on his face along with the words, “God protected President Trump.”

“I am horrified by what happened at the Trump rally in Pennsylvania and relieved that former President Trump is safe. Political violence has no place in our country,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer in a statement.

Billionaire Tesla CEO, Elon Musk tweeted that his vote will be going to Trump in the coming election .

 

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Mut!lated Bodies Of Women Discovered At Abandoned Quarry In Kenya

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Six severely mut!lated bodies of women wrapped in polythene bags have been found at an abandoned quarry used as a dumpsite in Kware near Mukuru kwa Njenga in Nairobi, Kenya.

The grim discovery made on Friday morning, July 12, 2024 has sent shockwaves through Mukuru kwa Njenga slums and beyond.

According to an eyewitness who spoke to Citizen Digital, the bodies had visible injuries and had been tied with ropes.

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The eyewitness called on the government to investigate the killings to determine what happened to the women who are yet to be positively identified

“A woman came and told me that she dreamt of the whereabouts of her missing sister and wanted us to go and retrieve her body. We doubted her at first and as we approached the scene, spotted a wrapped polythene bag,” said the eyewitness.

READ ALSO:Seven Sentenced To Life Imprisonment In S’Africa For B*rning Two Sisters To D@ath Over Alleged Witchcraft

Upon examining the area, we found several bodies wrapped in the polythene bags with some being cut into pieces and tied with ropes. If they lived nearby, we would have heard of the reports which means that these bodies were transferred to this location. We want the government to investigate this matter.”

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Police officers arrived and cordoned off the area.

The bodies were transferred to City Mortuary as the search gets underway to positively identify them.

Law Society of Kenya President Faith Odhiambo called for police to investigate the matter to establish what transpired.

We need investigations to be done! Unacceptable,” she said.

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The Directorate of Criminal Investigations in a statement, confirmed that six bodies have been retrieved from the abandoned quarry.

READ ALSO: Heated Rhetoric As Republicans Blame Biden For Trump Shooting

The DCI said that all six bodies were females and had been killed in the same mode.

The Director of Criminal Investigations Mohamed Amin, said the bodies were severely mutilated and were in various stages of decomposition

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“Earlier today at approximately 1100hrs, the Embakasi Division Police and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) responded to an urgent call from the public in the Villa area of Mukuru kwa Njenga,” Amin said.

“The alarm was raised following the discovery of six severely mutilated bodies, all female, in various stages of decomposition.”

READ ALSO: Trump Releases Statement After His Assassination Attempt

He said the bodies were wrapped in nylon papers and reinforced with nylon ropes.

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The discovery was made at an abandoned quarry, currently filled with water and used as a dump site,”

Amin added that the Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) personnel from Embakasi quickly arrived at the scene, retrieving the bodies and documenting the area.

The bodies have been transported to the Nairobi Funeral Home (City Mortuary) to await postmortem.

“Homicide detectives and officers from the Forensics Division of the DCI are currently analysing samples to identify the bodies,” he added.

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The area has been cordoned off and designated as a crime scene as the investigation continues.

Amin called on Kenyans to cooperate with the authorities as investigations continue as probe continues.

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