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Nigerian media inaugurates National Complaints Commission

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The Nigerian media on Monday inaugurated a nine-member board of the National Media Complaints Commission (NMCC), otherwise known as the National Ombudsman, to strengthen public confidence in the media.

The commission was inaugurated in Ikeja, Lagos by the Nigeria Press Organisation (NPO).

Newsmen reports that NPO comprises Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), and Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON).

Malam Kabiru Yusuf, the President of NPO and President of NPAN, at the inauguration, said that the commission would `watch the watchdog.

According to him, NPO is the umbrella body of owners, editors and reporters of print and online journalists in Nigeria, taking the responsibility of regulating its work and conduct.

“In deference to the dictum, that journalism is too important to be left to journalists, we have opted for a mechanism of co-regulation.

“This is done with the help of other actors like the civil society, especially the bar and non-media Non Governmental Organisations.

“Radio and television are already regulated, but the print, which is the oldest, and online, which is the newest, have escaped such control.

“The former warned by the lessons of history and the latter, by the amplitude of technology.

“Powerful and privileged Nigerians, irritated by the nosiness of the media, often express the wish for some checks on its powers. I sometimes think that such people take freedom for granted,” he said.

Yusuf, however, said that some journalists seemed all out to prove that their pen was indeed a sword for slaying real or imaginary enemies.

“The Ombudsman will call such people to order, to appreciate that the power of the press should be used for good, not for self-aggrandisement.

“To be effective, the physician has to heal himself, before he can apply the cure to others.

“We have selected a strong team to administer this medicine,” he added.

According to him, the nine-member commission will be chaired by Mr Emeka Izeze, former Editor-in- Chief and Managing Director of the Guardian Newspapers.

“ Izeze is one of our very best. To work with him, we have selected other leading lights of our profession and that of our partners,” he added.

Yusuf listed other members of the commission to include: Malam AB Mahmoud, former President, Nigerian Bar Association; Prof. Chinyere Okunna, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Paul University, Awka; and Dr Hussaini Abdu, Country Director Care International.

Also among are: Mr Lanre Idowu, Editor-in-Chief, Diamond Publications; Mrs Eugenia Abu, Veteran broadcaster and author; Mr Edetean Ojo, Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda.

Mrs Dupe Ajayi-Gbadebo, lawyer and former Editor, and Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Information, are also part of the team.

“We expect the commission to serve as an independent forum for resolving complaints about the press quickly, fairly, and free of charge.

“It must maintain high standards of Nigerian journalism and journalists’ ethics; and defend the freedom of the press and the right of the people to know.

“We invite all stakeholders in the Nigerian project to support this initiative. The media is wary of government regulation because politicians tend to have short-term goals.

“We are happy to submit to peer-regulation, by collaborating with civil societies, business and the professionals,” he added.

Yusuf commended the working committee, made up of the NPAN, NGE, NUJ and the Guild of Online Publishers, which worked together to develop the ombudsman mechanism.

Responding, Izeze commended stakeholders for the initiative and the confidence reposed on NMCC members.

He said that the commission was not to gag the media.

He said that the stakeholders had fought for so long to keep the media unaffected by the shenanigans of those who were in government at one time or the other in the country.

According to him, since the military regime to date, there have been certain distastes for the media and people always look for how to keep the media in check.

“What has happened lately is that we (media practitioners) haven’t also been keeping ourselves in check.

“Our responsibility primarily is not to come and gag the press, we will not do that. We think that we have to be fair to ourselves. We must always do the right thing.

“So, when the public is complaining, instead of waiting for the people who do not understand this job to pull us down, we will remember this commission and take the imitative to address the issue.

“People do not like their dirty stories being told in the public and there are too many dirty stories that have to be told, particularly in our environment, to make progress,” the veteran said.

According to him, the job is to give the public a channel for seeking redress.

“I assure you that with my colleagues here, we will attempt to do justice to your expectations and see how far we can go to help the media operate professionally.

“We will see how far we can go to help the media to observe some of those rules that we drew for ourselves and help the media to build what this nation needs.

“We cannot make progress in this nation without the media operating professionally, it is not possible,” he said.

The event was attended by the leadership of NPO, NPAN, NGE, NUJ, BON and the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers, along with other strategic media players and the civil society.

Mr Sam Amuka-Pemu, the Founder and Publisher of Vanguard Newspapers, inaugurated the commission.

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Rotary executes N68m worth of impactful projects in Plateau

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The Rotary Club of Jos Central, has executed 17 impactful projects valued at N68 million.

Mr Kayode Fasua, the club’s outgoing president, who made the disclosure on Friday evening, at a dinner/award night, said that the projects, spread across Plateau, were in line with Rotary International’s seven areas of priority.

Fasua listed some of the projects executed to include the donation of a motorised solar-powered borehole to the Alheri community, and the donation of medical equipment to some selected secondary schools in Jos.

The president added that under his leadership, the club distributed grinding machines to widows and wheelchairs to disabled persons.

He further said that the club provided uniforms, sandals, socks, school bags, and shoes to 90 students from three primary schools.

According to him, the club also donated 90 modern school desks (30 per school) to three primary schools and also provided 3,000 notebooks, with 1,000 going to each school.

“Additionally, we planted 200 economic trees in Jos East to benefit the environment.

“In addition to N14 million worth of projects, we executed a global grant project in partnership with the Rotary Club of Calgary, North Canada, and Rotary International.

”The project, worth N54 million Naira, was carried out in five communities across Plateau and Kaduna states.

“We trained 10 youths in each community in brick molding technology to help rebuild their communities that were destroyed as a result of attacks.

“We held a medical outreach in Tudun Wada, attending to over 600 inhabitants for various medical interventions, including complex gynecological procedures, thanks to Professor Ishaya Pam, former CMD of Jos University Teaching Hospital.

“We visited internally displaced persons camps in Mangu, providing foodstuffs, sanitary pads, and clothing. We also erected a peace signboard in front of the local government,” he added.

The outgoing president believed that he would be fondly remembered for a major leap in membership recruitment, stating that within one year, the club gained 29 new members.

He pointed out that the feat was the largest recruitment in the entire district, spanning 26 states.

Mr Mike Nwanoshiri, District Governor-Elect for District 9127, lauded the club president’s sterling leadership, which he said would be indelible in the history of the club and beyond.

“However, remember that our work is far from over; there are challenges, needs to be met, and lives to be changed.

“In our collective strength, we will continue to be the changemakers, the vision carriers, and the history makers in communities and beyond,” Nwanoshiri said.

Mr Hilary Ezeadilieje, Assistant District Governor, appreciated all rotarians on the Plateau, saying that achievements would not have been possible without their unflinching support.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that different categories of awards were given to individuals who distinguished themselves during the rotary year.

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Ogun Govt. bars traditional rulers from signing MoUs on land

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Gov. Dapo Abiodun has issued three Executive Orders, an official said on Saturday in Abeokuta.
Two of the three orders are establishing two new agencies, while the third restrains traditional rulers from signing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on land in the state.
Abiodun’s Special Adviser on Media and Strategy, Mr Kayode Akinmade, in a statement, listed the agencies as the Ogun State Mineral Resources Development Agency and Ogun State Landscaping and Recreation Agency.
“In addition to the establishment of these two agencies, the third executive order restrains traditional rulers from entering into any form of agreement or MoU concerning mining activities or any other land matters in their domain,” he said.
Akinmade said the Mineral Resources Development Agency would establish a working relationship with host communities in order to conduct geo-technical and geological surveys of solid mineral deposit within their domain.
“The second agency is responsible for sustaining the achievement of the Ministry of Environment in the area of environmental regeneration and restoration and through the provision of parks, gardens and recreational centres state-wide to preserve the biodiversity and ecosystem of the environment,” he added.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governor’s aide said the three executive orders take an immediate effect.
“Executive Order One is based on Section 5(2) of the 1999 Constitution which vests in the governor the exercise of executive powers of the state for the purpose of effective governance.
“The agency shall, directly or through qualified third parties, conduct and establish working relationship with host communities and local governments for the conduct of geo-technical and geological surveys of solid mineral deposits within their domain.
“It will conduct geo-technical survey of solid mineral deposits in the state and maintain relevant data in the sector, (and) organise the solid minerals sector to the best interest of the state.
“To realise its objectives, the agency shall be funded through fees generated from regulatory agency, budgetary allocation, grants and financial intervention from both local and international development partners, as well as gifts, aid and other legitimate contributions,” he explained.
Akinmade said Executive Order Two was on the basis of the Ministry of Environment starting a massive and aggressive tree-planting campaign to complement the beautification and landscaping programmes.
”This is to ensure environmentally sustainable, healthier and beautiful society, and the agency shall administer, maintain and manage all designated parks and recreation centres in the state.
“For the purpose of realising its objectives, it shall be funded through budgetary allocation or monies received for services rendered, grants and financial intervention from both local and international development partners, as well as gifts, aids and other legitimate contributions.”
He added that Executive Order Three bars traditional rulers in the state from entering into any form of MoU with reference to mining or any other land matters.
“The State has observes the current trend in which miners and investors circumvent regulations and government oversight by encouraging traditional institutions to interfere with land management by entering into MoUs and other irregular legal arrangements.
“Therefore, all forms of traditional institutions existing within the state are hereby with immediate effect barred from entering into any form of MoU or agreement with any individual, companies or organisations seeking land within any part of the entire state for purposes of mining or industry.
”They are to forthwith refrain from issuing any form of consent letters for mining across the state.
“Any traditional institution or stakeholder in the institution who flouts this order shall be sanctioned in line with the provisions of the Kings and Chiefs’ Law and other relevant criminal statutes.
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Lagos cholera cases rise to 421, as govt intensifies response efforts

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By Sodiq Adelakun

The Lagos State Government has confirmed an increase in suspected cholera cases, with the total number now standing at 421, up from 417 reported earlier.

Commissioner for Health, Akin Abayomi, disclosed this on Saturday via his Instagram handle.

The additional four cases were reported as of June 20, 2024.

The government has activated the Emergency Operations Centre, which is working closely with partners to conduct contact tracing, community-based surveillance, awareness campaigns, sample testing, and ensuring appropriate medical treatment for confirmed cases.

So far, 35 cases have been confirmed, and 24 deaths have been reported across 20 Local Government Areas in the state.

Cholera is a food and water-borne disease caused by ingesting the bacteria Vibrio cholerae in contaminated water and food.

The World Health Organisation has also reported a global spike in cholera cases, with almost 195,000 cases and over 1,900 deaths reported in 24 countries since the start of 2024.

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