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Hate Speech Bill: Those Misinforming Nigerians Are Ignorant – Senator Sabi Abdullahi

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Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, has said that opponents of the Hate Speech Bill are ignorant of the dangers that loom if the bill is not passed into law.

In a signed statement on Sunday, Senator Abdullahi said the opponents are only pretending to protect ‘Freedom of Speech’ by misinforming Nigerians on the intent of the legislation before the National Assembly.

The lawmaker, therefore, warned Nigerians to beware of “false information being spilled out by some persons and groups parading themselves as serving the interest of the nation”.

Citing a report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) on ‘Overcoming Dangerous Speech and Endemic Religious Divides in Central Nigeria’, Senator Sabi Abdullahi said persons with strong bias capable of escalating ethnic and religious violence are infiltrating the media.

According to him, such persons and groups are opposed to the passage of a Hate Speech law by the National Assembly as same would put an end to their trade that depends on using ethnic and religious bias for the realization of self-serving interests.

“Both Christians and Muslims have said that the media blatantly expresses bias against their religion, and that journalists will deliberately not report their story or perspective.

“Outside the immediate communities affected by a specific incident, the general public’s understanding of violent events is often incomplete.

“In some cases, false news about attacks have incited the people to undertake revenge attacks in various parts of the country,” the lawmaker quoted the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) report as saying.

Senator Abdullahi, who cited another report by the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), said there are strong indicators making it imperative for the introduction of legislation by the National Assembly to criminalize Hate Speech which is responsible for high cases of violence and killing.

The CITAD report reads in part, “In 2017, Nigeria experienced the continuation of three major conflicts that provided a fertile ground for the propagation of hate speech.

“These were the resurgence of the Biafra Agitation in the South East, the clash between the Army and members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, popularly referred to as the Shiites Movement in the North West, and the transformation of the localized farmers-herders conflict and cattle rustling to the large scale rural banditry that had taken an ethno-religious character across much of the North West and North Central zones of the country.”

“Across the country, scores of people were killed as a result of these conflicts, further providing fuel for the wildfire of hate speech.

“More than at any time in the recent history of the country, hate speech became widely used in public discourse and communication.

“They fueled a dynamic that weakened national cohesion and made it difficult for the country to collectively address the threat to peace that affected the population in the country”, the CITAD report said.

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NYSC Issues New Certificate To Obaseki

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The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has issued a new certificate to Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State following an official request by him.

The governor partook in the scheme in 1980 but it turned out there was an error on the certificate issued to him with an alphabet missing in his surname which read Obasek instead of Obaseki.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) panel which screened aspirants for the Edo 2020 primary had cited this error as one of the reasons for disqualifying the governor from the race – a decision which made him defect to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) where he contested and won the primary.

The coast had earlier been cleared for governor Obaseki’s win after other aspirants running against him stepped down.

One of those who stepped aside for the governor was Kenneth Imasuagbon, who said he was inspired by Obaseki’s performance as the leader of Edo State.

According to him, he has been a “victim of godfatherism” and will help the Edo leader fight anyone who wants to “enslave” the people of the state.

Meanwhile, the National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has appointed the Governor of Rivers State, H. E. Nyesom Wike, as the Chairman for Obaseki’s election campaign council.

The party disclosed this in a statement on Friday.

It also noted that the Adamawa State Governor, Rt. Hon. Ahmadu Fintiri, has been appointed as Deputy Chairman of the council.

The election is expected to hold on September 19.

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APC Accuses PDP Of Links With ‘Hushpuppi’, Demands EFCC Investigation

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The All Progressives Congress on Saturday said there were links between major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party and the US indicted fraudster, Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, also known as ‘Hushpuppi’ and added that those links should be investigated.

In a statement signed by the APC’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, the APC alleged that there have been reports of “criminal conspiracy linking” top members of the PDP to the disgraced Instagram aficionado.

According to the APC statement, “the PDP leadership turned Dubai into their “Strategic” meeting place ahead of the 2019 general elections in Nigeria, and ‘Hushpuppi’s’ affinity with the PDP leadership is not mere coincidence.

“At different times, “Hushpuppi” was photographed in Dubai meeting with the PDP’s 2019 presidential candidate, Alh. Atiku Abubakar; former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; former Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; Senator Dino Melaye among other PDP stalwarts.”

The APC called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the matter.

“We note that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has already declared the arraigned Instagram celebrity wanted over fraud allegations,” the APC said. “However, the EFCC, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and other sister agencies must investigate money laundering reports linking some PDP leaders and financiers to the Dubai-based international criminal ring.”

The APC also challenged the PDP to open up on the nature of their relationship with ‘Hushpuppi’.

“In the leadup to the Edo and Ondo governorship elections, we renew our call against monetised elections and vote buying schemes which the PDP has serially deployed in elections,” the statement said. “We call on relevant authorities to up their guard to prevent these practices that threaten the sanctity of our elections. The people’s will and votes should determine elections, not illicit money used to buy votes.”

Hushpuppi, a Dubai resident was arrested last month by UAE security agencies for allegedly conspiring to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from business email compromise (BEC) frauds and other scams, including schemes targeting a U.S. law firm, a foreign bank and an English Premier League club.

Hushpuppi was then extradited to the United States and taken into custody by FBI special agents earlier this week.

If convicted of conspiracy to engage in money laundering, Abbas would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

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Criminal Conspiracy Linking “Hushpuppi” With PDP Leadership Should Be Investigated – APC

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The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has called for an investigation into alleged reports of the criminal conspiracy linking the top echelon of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with Ramon Olorunwa Abbas also known as “Ray Hushpuppi” who was recently arrested along with associate(s) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and extradited to the United States of America to face trial over cyber-enabled fraud and Business Email Compromise (BEC) schemes.

The APC said such report should be a matter of serious interest to relevant authorities in Nigeria.

In a statement signed Saturday in Abuja by its spokesman, Yekini Nabena, the party said that the PDP leadership turned Dubai into their “Strategic” meeting place ahead of the 2019 general elections in Nigeria and “Hushpuppi’s” affinity with the PDP leadership is not mere coincidence.

“We note that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has already declared the arraigned Instagram celebrity wanted over fraud allegations. However, the EFCC, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and other sister agencies must investigate money laundering reports linking some PDP leaders and financiers to the Dubai-based international criminal ring.

“At different times, “Hushpuppi” was been photographed in Dubai meeting with the PDP’s 2019 presidential candidate, Alh. Atiku Abubakar; former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; former Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; Senator Dino Melaye among other PDP stalwarts.

“While relevant authorities investigate the nature of their relationship and business partnership, we also challenge the PDP leadership to do same by opening up on the nature of the relationship, particularly the kind of services the arrested “Hushpuppi” provided them.”

On the forthcoming Edo and Ondo governorship elections, the APC, however, renewed call against monetised elections and vote buying schemes, alleging that PDP had serially deployed such tactics during elections.

“In the leadup to the Edo and Ondo governorship elections, we renew our call against monetised elections and vote buying schemes which the PDP has serially deployed in elections. We call on relevant authorities to up their guard to prevent this practices that threaten the sanctity of our elections. The people’s will and votes should determine elections, not illicit money used to buy votes.”

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