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2023 Elections: Northwest residents caution Media Organisations, Journalists ,against heating polity

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2023 Elections: Northwest residents caution Media Organisations, Journalists ,against heating polity

Stakeholders in the Information and Communication sector in Northwest have cautioned against heating the polity, admonishing media organisations and Journalists to display the highest sense of responsibility.

The advice is coming as political campaign activities continue, preparatory to the conduct of general elections scheduled to commence from February next year.

The stakeholders, who spoke in Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto and Kebbi states said the media had a role to play in ensuring peaceful and violence-free conduct of political campaigns across the country.

They said the Media could play an important role in stabilising the polity by de-emphasising provocative comments from politicians capable of triggering violence.

Alhaji Zubair Galadima, Kaduna State Director of National Orientation Agency (NOA) urged media organisations to be mindful of any reportage that would heat up the system.

“They should ensure they do not inflame passion, are neutral, non-partisan and uphold professional ethics.

” The media practitioners will do a lot of good by downplaying those issues that will ignite violence, and by not allowing themselves to be used to score cheap political interests”, he admonished.

According to him, most people believe almost everything they see or hear in the media, as such the use of simple language with no ambiguity should be applied in reporting.

Muhammad Yaba, a Journalist in Kaduna, said a reporter was supposed to be the first gatekeeper of news, as such should not give prominence to inciting statements.

He explained that although some media organisations were after sensational news that sold, it was better to discard provocative statement by politicians which could cause violence.

” The bigger responsibility lies on the politicians who are the key players when it comes to making such unguided statement; they are interested in attacking personality instead of talking about issues,” he said.

He, therefore, urged media regulatory agencies, especially the National Broadcasting Commission, to keep close watch over electronic media organisations , being the most sensitive of media establishments.

He also called for the regulation of social media outlets, adding that such outlets could be used by unscrupulous politicians to incite violence.

Malam Ibrahim Yusuf, a politician in Kaduna, said campaigns should be issue-based, not attack personality, adding that Journalists should be living up to their responsibilities by rejecting inciting utterances to avoid violence.

On their part, stakeholders in Kebbi called on media organisations to always put national interest above personal or organisational interest, adding that the 2023 general elections would be the toughest in the political history of the country.

One of the respondents who is also the Secretary to Kebbi State Government, Alhaji Babale Yauri, advised media organisations to avoid sensational stories.

He said that media organisations were all aware of the security situation in the country and the dangers of biased reports.

“You must endeavour to be careful in your reports so as not to aggravate the already fragile situation; we are faced with economic and political challenges which enemies of the country could capitalise on to destabilise the nation.

“Of more serious concern is the challenge to national unity, and this calls for caution on the part of media organisations and all stakeholders”, he cautioned.

Yauri said the government was not unaware of the critical role of the press in ensuring credible and fair elections through well-balanced reports.

“This informed the convening of different workshops and training sessions for media practitioners in the state, to equip them with necessary information on the roles expected of them”, he added.

On his part, former Permanent Secretary, Kebbi State Ministry of Information and Culture, Alhaji Garba Hamisu, said that media practitioners should be trained and sensitised to enable them play their role appropriately and devoid of conflicting interests.

On his part, the Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Kebbi, Alhaji Hamza Galadima, called on Journalists to contribute to fair, transparent and peaceful processes as part of their role in the promotion of democracy and respect for pluralism.

“In Kebbi State, we have conducted workshops and training for members of NUJ in various media organisations on how they could contribute to ensure free, fair and violence-free elections in 2023,” he said.

Also, Alhaji Lawal Saidu, publisher of an online media organisation in Katsina, urged media practitioners to be fair in their reportage, advising them to desist from publishing issues that could cause violence among people or groups.

In his input, Chairman of NUJ, Katsina State Council, Alhaji Tukur Dan-Ali, admonished Journalists to uphold the ethics of their profession.

Dan- Ali urged media organisations to desist from harping on issues that could cause crises, but rather focus on matters that promote peace and unity in the country.

Malam Aliyu Ibrahim, a Political Scientist in Sokoto, said the manner of reportage of political activities was a key determinant of democratic sustainability in the society.

Ibrahim said that the input of reporters could determine, whether or not, campaigns, elections, and transitions, would be peaceful.

“It is, therefore, necessary for those in control of media organisations to ensure that all elements that could trigger violence or encourage thuggery, are avoided”, he advised.

On his part, Malam Isa Abubakar, the Director, New Media, Sokoto State Ministry of Information, said monitoring reports of media organisations on political activities was mandatory, not optional.

He said avoiding reportage of violence and thuggery would support our country’s security architecture and ensure sustainability in our democracy.

Also speaking, Malam Ismail Umar, a Journalist, said media organisations must be wary of desperate politicians that would want to use the media for selfish purposes.

In Kano, the Chairman of NUJ in the state, Mr. Abbas Ibrahim, urged journalists to be conversant with the electoral laws in the discharge of their duties before, during and after elections.

“We have only one country and no Journalist should be used as agent of destruction by politicians”, he admonished.

A Security Operative, Mr. Sa’ad Lawan, also advised journalists to avoid focusing on hate speech but tasked them with enlightening Nigerians on the dangers of thuggery and electoral violence.

Lawan, a retired Police Officer, further advised journalists to exhibit high degree of fairness in the coverage of the 2023 general elections, regardless of the situation.

He also urged political parties, their candidates and supporters, to go about their political campaigns in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity, to promote democracy.

An aide to Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State and APC Chieftain, Mr. Abubakar Ibrahim, said the Media had an important role to play in curbing political violence in the state and country as a whole.

Ibrahim warned politicians to desist from using slogans tainted with abuses and hate in their campaigns.

Furthermore, the Chieftain advised youths to shun violence and resist the ploy by dubious politicians to use them to perpetrate violence during elections.

 

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Features

Nigerians reeling under the yoke of fuel scarcity

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Nigerians reeling under the yoke of fuel scarcity

With barely 26 days to the end of 2022, and with the busy Yuletide season beckoning, Nigerians have continued to groan over the scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol, in major cities across the country.

Correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) observed queues at most filling stations in Lagos and its environs, as motorists spent several hours buying petrol.

The situation is unabating in Lagos, particularly in Epe, Badagry, Ikorodu, Agege, Ikotun, Surulere, Ikorodu road, Maryland, Ikeja, Anthony, Bariga, Ilupeju, Ikoyi and Victoria Island areas, as motorists are agitated for spending several hours on queues.

Though many filling stations in Lagos still sell fuel at the official price of 170 per litre, residents continue to lament the frustration experienced in getting the product to buy.

In Badagry, independent marketers sell petrol at between N280 and N300 per litre while some filing stations are under lock and key due to lack of supply.

A NAN correspondent in Badagry said from Mowo to Aradagun along Badagry Expressway, only two filing stations out of 10 stations sold fuel throughout last week.

At Samuel Ekundayo Way, Badagry, Mobil filing station and ENYO filing station sold fuel at between N170 and N175 per litre, but both experienced long queues of motorists.

Mr Ibrahim Opeyemi, a motorist, lamented that he was in the queue for two days without buying fuel.

“I have been in the queue since Wednesday, the price of petroleum here is reasonable, it is N170 and they are selling the product but many independent marketers in Badagry are selling a litre for N300.

“I want to appeal to the government to address the scarcity before 2023,” he said.

Mr Sam Ofade, a resident of Badagry, said illegal bunkering was responsible for the high price of petrol in Badagry.

According to him, over 500,000 litres of petrol are diverted to the Republic of Benin through independent marketers who collude with illegal operators to shortchange the government.

“Many women from Benin Republic cross to Badagry through our borders to buy petrol inside Ragolis bottles and Jerry cans.

“I want the government to investigate the illegal bunkering and high price of petrol in Badagry,” he said.

In Mushin-Isolo, NAN found out that selling in jerrycans was more attractive to attendants at filling stations who charged additional costs.

At G&G filling station along Mushin-Isolo road, a barber, Mr Ismaila Ofolahun, who bought fuel in his keg decried the difficulty in buying fuel.

Ofolahun said he paid N1000 before he was allowed to buy fuel in his 50-litre keg for N5,000, bringing the total cost to N6,000.

“I buy in excess so that my business will not run down,” he said.

In some suburbs of Ikorodu, majority of filling stations of Independent marketers sell petrol between N230 and N250 per litre. 

A visit to Dikram, Bravo limat, Akamok, mallo, Collins, Alaka Happy Days and Dominions Favour filling stations showed that they were all selling at above the regulated price. 

Some of the attendants who spoke to NAN said: “It is only during scarcity vehicles patronise us.

“We cannot sell below N230 per litre because of the high cost of foreign exchange in buying the product from depot owners.”

Motorists in Ikorodu town suffer the same faith, for instance at NIPCO filling station in Omitiro, petrol is sold for N175 per little while ADB filling station at Itamaga sells at N250 per litre, but they are subjected to long hours in queues.

Mr Samson Alejo, a motorist, said he expected the next government to do everything possible to stabilise fuel supply since it had been established that subsidy would be removed totally. 

Another motorist, Mr Femi Alekun, said petrol marketers should not be allowed to put Nigerians in dilemma anymore, and that their unions must be disbanded.

The lingering scarcity has thrown up a thriving “Black Market” in many cities, with hoodlums taking advantage of the situation to hoard products and sell to desperate motorists in jerrycans at exorbitant prices.

A five-litre jerrycan goes for N3,000 and 10 litres for N7,000 in the black market.

It was also observed that many women and youths are making brisk business, taking advantage of the perennial fuel scarcity.

Some homes around Idi-Araba area of Mushin had various litres of petrol displayed on their front porches for sale.

On Ikorodu road, black market activities are more pronounced as many youths sell petrol in jerrycans in front of filling stations. 

NAN found out that only filling stations owned by Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) sell at the regulated price of N170 per litre, while those owned by Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) sell between N220 and N260 respective petroleum marketers have blamed private depot owners for the lingering fuel scarcity, while some stakeholders blamed the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. (NNPCL) for not explaining to Nigerians the cause of the current fuel scarcity in the country.

Some marketers who preferred not to be mentioned attributed the current scarcity of fuel to three major factors. 

One is that the NNPC is broke and has no money to finance the importation of fuel into the country.  

To attest to the fact that NNPC is broke, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently said the NNPC, which used to remit 3 billion dollars into CBN account some years ago is now unable to do so.

The company is said to be highly indebted to some of its contractors/suppliers who are no longer ready to take the risk of supplying petrol to NNPC on credit.

The second point is crude oil theft, which was allowed to fester for too long, which has reduced Nigeria’s production capacity to below one million barrels per day.

This is considered a major blow to NNPCL’s ability to continue with its Direct Sales of Crude Oil and Direct Purchase of Petroleum Products (DSDP) programme.

NNPCL currently has no crude oil to facilitate the DSDP programme as many of the contractors no longer have access to crude oil proceeds to finance the purchase of refined products for use in the country.

NAN learnt that there were products in vessels on the high seas but the owners of the products were unwilling to take the risk of supplying them to NNPCL on credit.

The situation is compounded by the fact that other players that could have helped to import fuel to ease the fuel scarcity cannot do so due to scarcity of foreign exchange (forex) or its high cost.

Marketers access forex from the black market at an average rate of between N700 and N800 to the dollar, which is considered a disincentive.

The petroleum marketers themselves have attributed the current fuel scarcity to the unavailability of petroleum products and difficulty in accessing forex.

According to the marketers, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) are struggling to get products from NNPCL, the sole supplier.

Mr Mike Osatuyi, the Operations Controller of lPMAN, alleged that NNPCL had stopped importing enough petrol to meet demand in the country.

Osatuyi was emphatic that marketers could no longer sell at the regulated price because the unsteady supply of petrol had resulted in higher prices at depots.

“We are experiencing scarcity because the product is not available.

“The price of a litre of petrol at private depots is currently between N205 and N210 as against N162.50.

“The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Ltd., is the sole importer of refined petroleum products, which are not readily available to marketers,” he said.

The oil marketers and petroleum depot operators have, however, called for quick intervention by the Federal Government.

The Chairperson of DAPPMAN, Mrs Winifred Akpani, urged the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to comply with the Federal Government’s directive to end payment of port charges in dollars for petroleum products brought into the country.

Akpani maintained that accessing forex through the CBN window would enhance their capacity, facilitate a seamless supply of petrol, and birth a regime of sustainability in terms of storage, distribution and supply across the nation.

Stakeholders have also flayed the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) for not protecting consumers of petrol from greedy marketers.

They blamed NMDPRA, which they said had continued to look away, leaving consumers to their fate.

“When the authority was operating as the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), it monitored and ensured that retail outlets that hoarded fuel were penalised and forced to sell.

“Likewise retail outlets that sold above the regulated price were penalised,” said a source who declined to be mentioned.

The source added that the management of NMDPRA had become a toothless bulldog that could not even bark.

The source urged NMDPRA to wake up to its responsibilities or let Nigerians know if the federal government had fully deregulated the price of petrol through the back door and saved the consumers untold hardship.

Meanwhile, the Group Executive Director, Downstream, NNPCL, Mr Adeyemi Adetunji, said the company was making efforts to end the lingering supply crisis, adding that about 2 billion litres of petrol sufficient to last for 30 days was available in its depots.

He said: “The NNPCL assures Nigerians of fuel sufficiency of over 2 billion litres availability. The company has enough stock in its depots to last for at least one month.”

The NNPCL attributed the long queues at filling stations across the country in recent times to the ongoing road infrastructure development project around Apapa, which is being complicated by the access road and challenges in parts of Lagos depots.

Adetunji said Abuja was equally impacted by the challenges experienced in Lagos, although he promised massive product load out including 24 hours operations in selected depots and extended hours of operations at strategic stations to ensure product supply sufficiency nationwide.

He said vessels had been programmed and massive load out from depots to various states were closely monitored.

He reassured consumers that NNPC was prepared to significantly increase products loading from depots to different parts of the country.

Also, NMDPRA in a statement on Nov. 30 assured there were no plans to hike the price of petrol.

The statement said: “The Authority wishes to inform the general public that the Federal Government has no intention of increasing the price of PMS during this period.

“The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) has imported PMS with current stock levels sufficient for 34 days.

“Consequently, products Marketers and the general public are advised to avoid panic buying, diversion of products, and hoarding.”

The Authority said in keeping with its responsibilities as outlined in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), the Authority assures the public that it would continue to monitor the supply and distribution of all petroleum products nationwide, especially during this holiday season.

Amid all these challenges, stakeholders insist deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil and gas sector remains the best solution to ending fuel scarcity in Nigeria. 

By Yunus Yusuf

– News Agency of Nigeria 

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Features

Editor’s Pick: CJN Will Never Directly or Remotely Make Political Comments or Innuendoes, says Aide

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Editor's Pick: CJN Will Never Directly or Remotely Make Political Comments or Innuendoes, says Aide

…Says this is the era of aggressive and even unconventional politicking!***

 The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Olukayode Ariwoola is a Judicial officer and not a politician, and as such, will never directly or remotely make political comments or innuendoes.

This is contained in a statement issued by Dr. Festus  Akande, the Supreme Court Director of Press and Information on Saturday in Abuja.

Akande was reacting to alleged comments made by Ariwoola on Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo state being a member of G5 governors.

“We wish to state unequivocally clear that the CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola never at any point said such during his brief remarks at the State Banquet organised as part of the events lined up for the commissioning of the two Judiciary projects undertaken by the Rivers state government.

“We can’t really pinpoint where such barefaced falsehood is coming from…”

“Issues bordering on misconceptions and misrepresentations of this nature are not always strange in times like this when the country is preparing for general elections, as some people may want to take advantage of every opportunity to score very cheap goals.

“As we all know, this is the era of aggressive and even unconventional politicking, so, there’s nothing that will not be heard or seen at this crucial time, especially between now and February 2023, when the general elections will be conducted.

“People say whatever they choose to say, just to please their selfish interests and inordinate desires.

“We can’t really pinpoint where such barefaced falsehood is coming from; and certainly, we don’t also know at what point the CJN said he was happy that Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State was a member of the now christened “Integrity Group” or “G-5 Governors.

“We wish to set the record straight by making it clear that the CJN and other senior judicial officers were in Port Harcourt to commission the two buildings that accommodate the Federal Judicial Service Commission’s South-South Liaison Office and Justice Mary Peter-Odili Judicial Institute, which were conceptualised and constructed by the Rivers Government.

“Even at the State Banquet organised as part of the events, the CJN made it clear in his brief remarks, that he (CJN) was not in Port Harcourt for the State Banquet but simply to commission the two projects as a mark of honour for the Judiciary and Mary Odili.

“Similarly, he said he was very surprised to see the “G-5 Governors” (“Integrity Group Governors”), just as he equally expressed the same surprise when he saw them in Ibadan, Oyo State, during the reception organised in his honour by his state government in October 2022.

He said the CJN’s surprise particularly stemmed from the fact that he saw his own state governor, Makinde who incidentally is a member of the “G-5 Governors” at the Port Harcourt’s occasion.

He equally stated jocularly that being that Makinde married from Rivers State and is equally very close to Gov. Nyesome Wike, he would be able to replicate the developmental strides of the latter in Oyo State for the good of the citizens.

“This, of course, is a comment that, ordinarily,  ought to elicit applause and not myopic misrepresentations, as governance is all about positive comparisons and healthy competitions.

“Anyone or group of individuals making these unconscionable assumptions and pervading the misinformation are by implication, creating the impression that it is now a crime for the CJN to have come from Oyo state, which coincidentally, has a member of the group, Makinde, as the governor.

“Let it be noted that anything said,  assumed, presumed, reported or placed in the public domain outside the above facts, is simply a mere figment of the imagination of such authors and doesn’t in any way represent what the CJN said in Port Harcourt, as we are not ready to join issues with such purveyors of misinformation”, he added.

The group emerged after the PDP presidential primary where Nigeria’s former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, defeated Mr. Wike and other aspirants in the race to emerge as the party’s presidential candidate.

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Accidents

47 die, 180 injured in 52 accidents in Sokoto — FRSC

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47 die, 180 injured in 52 accidents in Sokoto — FRSC

No fewer than 47 persons died, while 180 sustained injuries in 52 different road crash that occurred from May to October in Sokoto state.

Mr. Kabiru Yusuf-Nadabo, the Sokoto State Sector Commander of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) disclosed this at the 2022 accident victims remembrance day on Friday in Sokoto.

Yusuf-Nadabo said out of the road crashes, 23 were fatal while 25 were serious that involved 78 different categories of vehicles.

He said that the event was part of Africa Road Safety/World Road Safety awareness initiative to awaken people on the rising cases of road accidents that cause loss of lives, as well as properties.

According to him, FRSC was established to curb the menace and to create a safe motoring environment for all Nigerians, adding that FRSC has been making remarkable efforts on reducing road traffic accidents.

”The event was set to commemorate road traffic accidents victims and equally sensitise the Nigerian public on the dangers, consequences of accidents and proper usage of roads.

”Based on the statistics presented and life experiences from some survivors of traffic accident victims, ” Yusuf-Nadabo said.

He urged motorists to abide by regulations and abstain from dangerous driving, overspending and overloading to ensure accident-free and safer roads.

 Prayers were offered in both Islamic and Christian ways.

In the same vein, two traffic accident survivors, Malam Kabiru Bello and Malam Hassan Garba, recounted their ordeals during and after the crashes they were involved in.

The event witnessed presentations from the state Vehicles Investigation Office (VIO), Special Marshals, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO).

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Editor’s Pick

Politics

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