Isa Pantami, minister of communications, has directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to work with the telecommunications service providers to reduce the price of data.
According to Yusuf Abubakar, an aide of the minister, Pantami gave the directive to the regulator when he received a report on the implementation of the ministry’s short-term performance targets.
Abubakar said Pantami expressed dismay that despite the high cost of data, Nigerians do not enjoy good internet services.
“According to the report from a UK-based price comparison website – Cable, Nigeria is not among the top 10 African countries with low average price of data, a position the Minister of Communications, Dr Isa Pantami, finds worrisome considering the fact that the country has over 174 million internet users made public by the Nigerian Communications Commission,” Abubakar said in a statement.
“The minister also finds it unacceptable that with the prevailing high cost of data in Nigeria, the citizens still do not enjoy value for money as subscribers battle daily with illegal deduction of data, poor quality of service, among others.
“It is against this backdrop that the minister directed the NCC, the telecom regulators, to immediately work hand in hand with the telecom operators and ensure a downward review of the price of data in Nigeria, improved quality of service provided and check the illegal deduction of subscribers’ data.”
Boko Haram: Fake News Merchants Distracting Nigerian Military From Attaining Maximum Goals – Centre
The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET) believes certain individuals and groups in the business of peddling falsehood are jeopardizing the remarkable progress of the Nigerian military.
The Centre made this known in a special report to address the “impact of fake news on the war against terrorism and implication for national security”.
In an extensive report, signed by Executive Secretary, Comrade Isaac Ikpa and delivered at a one-day workshop on Thursday in Abuja, CESJET frowned at fake news merchants misleading the public without factual evidence.
According to the Centre, the “ use of social media and other media sources contributes in part to the premature categorisation of certain events and creating unnecessary hype.”
Also part of its findings, CESJET revealed that “ the use of language, labelling coupled with unsubstantiated or grossly inaccurate facts before an event can result in misinformation and heighten the public fear unnecessarily.”
The Centre adds that a more careful assessment of facts will limit the media publicity of known terrorist groups.
However, in order drastically halt this menace of fake news, the Centre recommend that:
“ Communicating accurate information and minimising the spread of rumours and conspiracy theories is vital to supporting the public during a time of crisis. News media outlets and social media platforms should play complementary roles in this process: news media must try to ensure that correct information is disseminated, and social media platforms should be more vigilant in preventing bots and propagandists from flooding online platforms with misinformation. The role of independent, nuanced and responsible journalism has never been more important—and yet there’s a growing distrust of mainstream media’s reporting on terror. This stems from Trumpian rhetoric and accusations of fake news, as well as from public perceptions of media bias when reporting on attacks.
“ It is important for our security experts to remain vigilant. The reduction of misinformation and the accurate use of terrorist terminology relating to events, foiled plots and threats will not detract from the overall objective of public protection but rather will strengthen and focus this goal. Clear information and a common focus on ensuring accurate information is disseminated can be complemented by the accurate and honest acknowledgement of the real threat and the due recognition of the excellent job which the security industry has done to date to abate attacks and minimise the potential for any future events.
“ Similarly, the general population, while rightfully expressing anguish and grief, must refrain from excessively circulating news in these times, given the possibility that even media channels do generate fake news. The presence of fact checkers, as third parties and separate teams within news channels, is important to ensure that such news is not peddled to an unsuspecting public. Ultimately, it must be noted then that fake news and rumours are frequently spread by various parties despite their intentions and that media and the general public must remain vigilant at this time. In this regard, politicians too have an added and urgent responsibility to prevent both rabble-rousing and circulation of rumours.
“ States and non-state actors including terrorist groups use misleading information in order to try and influence values and the action of the populace. As such, protection against false information and hostile propaganda is to critically appraise the source,” it continues. “The way to do that is to ask questions like ‘Is this factual information or opinion?’ or ‘Is the source trustworthy?'” It goes on to advise seeking out information from more than one source in order to verify it.
“ In this age of social media, the spread of misinformation, or ‘fake news’, has made the job of journalists much harder. There are examples of sincere efforts to maintain journalistic integrity, but there are many challenges to overcome, especially related to UGC on social media. Calling for greater government control or a ‘content watchdog’ to police online platforms is a good approach to the above percieved problem. It echoes precisely the ‘Orwellian’ sentiments that tech companies are pushing back against. Rather, as a first step, it should be in their own interest for online platforms to work with news media outlets to develop appropriate ethical, editorial and practical guidelines, and then to regularly adapt and revise those guidelines.
“ The Nigerian government has made effort to inject sanity into the social media space which, today is totally out of control, contrary to insinuations, the government had no intention of muzzling the media or stifling free speech, the campaign was against fake news and hate speech. Fake news has proven to possess the capaility of inflicting untold damage on Nigeria’s national unity. They represent a clear and imminent danger to the survival of the nation. Acknowledging that fake news and hate speech is not only a threat to democracy but also to peace, security and cooperate existence of Nigeria. Fake pictures and videos have also contributed their parts in stoking conflicts in Nigeria. All of these interfere with choices of the people and stoke conflicts in the midst of peace as they are being deliberately peddled to cause division and tension in the polity to put Nigeria backward.
“ Nigeria must find a way to ensure that its national newspapers and TV stations are sustainable to practice quality journalism that will be acceptable to people. When you do that successfully, you will consider good independent regulation of the media; with this will reduce the attention that the fake media get and penalty should be given for maliciously published items.”
Desperate Dickson, PDP Responsible for Nembe’s Killing, Maiming, Says Nabena
The All Progressives Congress (APC) said it has been vindicated with the violent outcome of the political rally held by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at Nembe Local Government Area, on Wednesday where souls were lost and several others injured, saying the Bayelsa state government and its party should be blamed and held responsible.
The APC accused the PDP campaign team of mobilising armed thugs to the Nembe rally.
In a statement made available to newsmen on Thursday in Abuja by the APC’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, said it has earlier raised the alarm that the PDP government in Bayelsa state were planning to cause Mayhem to create atmosphere of war at the stronghold of the APC.
“We had alerted the security agencies and the general public on the secret release of about 100 awaiting trial inmates from Okaka Prison in the state capital, Yenagoa by the state government. We also exposed the plot by the PDP-led government in the state to lure voters with N20,000 each, deploy fake Police and Military uniforms, clone Permanent Voters Card (PVCs) among others to allegedly rig the governorship election.
“The manifestations of some of the concerns we raised three day ago seem to have started. If not, PDP will not mobilized armed thugs to its rally to kill and cause mayhem, having realised that the people of this area had made up their minds to vote the APC.
Mr. Nabena said having realised the strength and popularity of the APC in Nembe Local Government, “the PDP decided to unleash armed thugs, fake military and para-military men in uniforms to cause unrest in the area, ultimately to create fear in the minds of our potential voters.”
While condemning the act of violence in Nembe, the APC, however, called on the security agencies to up their game and quickly identity those who responsible for the violence and bring them to book.
“Just three days ago, we told the world that fake Navy, Army and Police uniforms have been procured to kit political thugs recruited by the PDP-led government in Bayelsa state. We have been vindicated with the display of desperation at Nembe Local Government by the PDP.
“It is now clear to all that the outgoing Governor Seriake Dickson, has become chaotic in the face of rejection of his party by Bayelsans as well as the soaring popularity of the APC in the state, and the governor has now resorted to violence.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the APC had peaceful, decent and clean rallies all over the state and nobody was harrassed, Bayelsans were not coaxed or force to attend our rallies but the did because they have embraced APC. How the PDP, who is the ruling party in the state could not be decent in the conduct of its political rally at Nembe?
“We believe that the failed plan is to kill and injure as many as possible of our supporters in some of our strongholds, Nembe inclusive but we believe that the people of Bayelsa will not fall to the PDP devilish trick,” Nabena stated.
While commiserating with families of those who lost their lives at the unfortunate incident at Nembe, Nabena also called on the International Community, local observers and all lovers of democracy “to call Governor Dickson to order not to set the state ablaze for the selfish ambition of his handpicked PDP candidate,” Nabena stated.
FG to Remove Tax Exemption on Oil Companies’ Dividends
Dividends paid from the profits of oil companies will no longer be tax-exempt if the finance bill submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari is passed by the national assembly.
This was contained in a statement released by Yunusa Abdullahi, special adviser on media and communication to Zainab Ahmed, the minister of finance, budget and national planning, on Tuesday.
“This bill seeks to improve revenue by removing the tax exemption granted for dividends or income received from companies charged under the petroleum profits tax act,” the minister was quoted to have said.
“The bill contains some changes to the companies income tax act, value-added tax act, petroleum profits tax act, personal income tax act, capital gains tax act, customs and excise tariff act and stamp duties act.
“The bill also seeks to address the taxation of industries, such as insurance, start-ups, and the capital markets, evaluated by the federal government as critical to the growth and development of the Nigerian economy with a view to stimulating activities in those sectors and fostering overall economic growth.”
The president had submitted the 2020 budget proposal to the national assembly alongside the finance bill.
The bill has already scaled second reading at the legislative chambers.
Providing other details of the bill, Ahmed said capital gains tax amendment will cover the taxation of business combination and seeks to prevent abuse of a provision of the act on group restructuring.
In the area of stamp duties, the minister said the new bill will work towards increasing revenue generation from duties on electronic stamps.
While presenting the bill, Buhari had said it would fiscal equity by mitigating instances of regressive taxation; reform domestic tax laws to align with global best practices and introduce tax incentives for investments in infrastructure and capital markets.
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