Tinubu’s men accuse Arise TV of bullying presidential candidate; FG lifts COVID-19 restrictions | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • Tinubu’s men accuse Arise TV of bullying presidential candidate
  • FG lifts COVID-19 restrictions
  • INEC commences nationwide distribution of PVCs
  • Political Campaigning in public schools banned under new law passed by Rivers Assembly
  • Nnamdi Kanu speaks out against assaults in Southeast

Across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, these are the five top Nigerian news stories you shouldn’t miss:

Tinubu’s men accuse Arise TV of bullying presidential candidate

On Monday, the Thisday/Arise Media Group released a statement accusing the PCC’s Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Bayo Onanuga, and Adviser, Media, and Communication, Mr. Dele Alake, of trying to muzzle independent media and intimidate the press in advance of next year’s general election. This statement was met by a response from the All Progressives Congress APC Presidential Campaign Council PCC’s Media and Communication Directorates.

As of late Monday night, the PCC had released a statement saying “the claim is unfounded” on behalf of the two.

Noting that it did not single out the media outlet, the PCC said that some of its columnists “substitute vile and vulgar abuse for sound logic and informed analyses while its television anchors heckle and harass their guests, particularly those of the APC in their jaundiced, flagrantly unprofessional programmes.”

“We recall that both THISDAY and ARISE Television sought to bully and compel the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, into attending its Town Hall meetings with presidential candidates, despite the media team’s explanation that it would not attend such programmes organised in a haphazard and uncoordinated manner by individual media houses.

“Each candidate’s campaign team has the right to adopt its own strategies for reaching out to and interacting with Nigerians. As we have repeatedly said, the Tinubu campaign will not succumb to the blackmail, intimidation, and harassment of Obaigbena and his media group”, added.

According to the PCC, the “attempt in the said statement to justify its false news report on the purported death of one Mueez Adegboyega Akande and the attempt to insinuate mischievously that he died in suspicious circumstances failed abysmally.

“Rather than apologise for this professional lapse, it resorts to tendentious rationalisations. Its futile attempt to link Asiwaju Tinubu to a drug case in the United States, even when as far back as 2003, the United States government had categorically stated that the candidate has no criminal records in that country, shows the depths of mischief the newspaper is willing to descend in its bid to bring down the APC candidate at all costs. This campaign of calumny is doomed to fail as it always has.

“Our candidate is focused and will not be distracted by this diversionary tactics to throw mud at him simply because he is the obvious front runner in this race and some believe that the only way to stop him is to peddle falsehood against him.

FG lifts COVID-19 restrictions

The federal government has announced a further review of COVID restrictions in the country.

The presidential steering committee (PSC) on COVID-19, announced the development in a statement issued on Monday and signed by Boss Mustapha, its chairman.

The PSC said President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the immediate relaxation of COVID safety measures, following the PSC’s recommendations based on sustained reduction in COVID transmission across the country.

In April, the federal government had lifted the nationwide curfew imposed from midnight to 4am and the advisory limiting Nigerians to essential travels.

It had also said all recreational venues, are allowed to open at 50 percent capacity, and that the use of face masks for indoor activities is mandatory but at individual’s discretion during outdoor activities.

According to the newly reviewed guidelines, the use of face masks for indoor use is no longer compulsory.

All limitations on public gatherings have also been lifted.

“Gathering limitations in Public Places: All restrictions with regard to gathering in public places have been lifted. Owners of facilities are strongly encouraged to maintain good environmental/respiratory hygiene, and ventilation,” the statement reads.

“Use of Face Mask: The use of facemasks is at individual’s discretion for outdoor and indoor events. However, the elderly, immunocompromised and those with co- morbidities are advised to use facemasks, wash hands with clean water and soap, use hand sanitizers, and avoid large gatherings.

“COVID-19 Travel testing: All pre-departure and post arrival PCR test requirements for all persons who are not fully vaccinated have been suspended. With the suspension of both the preboarding and post-arrival PCR tests, passengers will no longer be required to upload evidence of vaccination on the Nigeria International Travel Portal (NITP). All unvaccinated and partially vaccinated passengers are strongly encouraged to get fully vaccinated.

“Health Declaration Form. A simplified Health Declaration (non-covid-19 specific) shall be completed by all passengers arriving in Nigeria on the Nigeria International Travel Portal (NITP); while provision will be made on arrival for those who were unable to complete this form before departure.

“Finally, the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC) passionately appeals to Nigerians to ensure that they take their COVID-19 vaccinations as well as booster doses.”

Meanwhile, the development comes amid political rallies featuring massive crowds supporting candidates contesting the 2023 elections.

INEC commences nationwide distribution of PVCs

On Monday, INEC began distributing Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) at its local government offices across the country.

According to a correspondent from the News Agency of Nigeria who followed the process of collecting PVCs in the FCT, the program was launched at the same time in INEC, FCT headquarters, and its six area council offices.

NAN reports that some of the registered voters in their hundreds were seen in the queue at the gate of the INEC FCT state office for the collection of their cards.

NAN reports that the collection was done in wards in the FCT, depending on the mode of registration, including those who did fresh registration, transfers, requests for replacement, and others.

Some of the residents who spoke to NAN expressed mixed reactions to the exercise.

INEC has fixed between Dec. 12, 2022, and Jan. 22, 2023, as the dates for PVC collection in all its 774 local government offices nationwide from 9 a.m to 3p.m daily, including Saturdays and Sundays.

The exercise is expected to be devolved to the 8,809 registration areas and wards from Friday, Jan. 6, to Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023.

After Jan. 15, 2023, the exercise will revert to the local government offices of the commission until Jan. 22, 2023.

Political Campaigning in public schools banned under new law passed by Rivers Assembly

The Rivers state House of Assembly has passed the Advertisement and Use of State-Owned Properties Prohibition Bill 2022.

The House passed the bill shortly after a public hearing was held on the bill with various stakeholders including Civil Society Organizations and security agencies in attendance.

The Public Hearing committee had recommended in its report that the bill be passed.

The bill was sponsored by the Leader of the House and member representing Obio/Akpor Constituency 1, Martin Amaewhule.

It seeks to prohibit the use of residential buildings for non-residential purposes, prohibit outdoor advertisements, ​ particularly the posting of bills, posters, and other materials, and the use of state-owned institutions or public schools for political campaigns.

The Bill stipulates a fine of N3million, N200,000 and N400,000 for the contravention of the various sections of the law.

Speaking during the public hearing on Monday in Port Harcourt, the Deputy Speaker, Edison Ehie said the bill is aimed at ‘sanitizing the state from the use of residential properties for commercial purposes”.

Ehie, who doubled as the chairman of the committee, said bill is timely especially where residential areas are being converted into night clubs.

On his part, the speaker of the House Ikuyi Ibani while commending the public hearing committee asked that the report of the committee be amended to include “a ban on all commercial activities within the Old GRA”.

In the meantime, Rivers State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Micheal Besong Ogah, who was represented by the Public Relations Officer of the command, Femi Ayodeji has assured that the command will enforce the law when it is signed into law.

Nnamdi Kanu speaks out against assaults in Southeast 

The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, has lamented over the spate of attacks in the Southeast.

Kanu expressed sadness and strongly condemned the attacks across the Southeast.

He disclosed this during his routine meeting with his Special Counsel, Aloy Ejimakor and some members of his legal team.

The IPOB leader also conveyed his comfort to victims of the attacks.

A tweet by Ejimakor reads: “Update: I had a visitation with #MNK today. With profound sadness, he received news of the staggered attacks of past few days across Southeast, including the one at my hometown.

“He asked me to strongly condemn the attacks on his behalf & convey his comfort to all the victims.”

Lately, some unknown gunmen have been attacking communities, markets, and government facilities in the Southeast.

Over the weekend, these unknown gunmen had attacked Ejimakor’s hometown in Imo State.

Meanwhile, gunmen had attacked INEC’s office in Imo State severally.

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