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Paying ransomt To Kidnappers Is Foolishness —Obasanjo

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Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, on Wednesday, has cautioned against the payment of ransom to kidnappers.

He, however, submitted that the government must develop means to deal with kidnappers and bandits heavily in place of ransom payment.

He noted that the governments of both President Goodluck Jonathan and Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) paid ransom to kidnappers but they denied it.

Obasanjo said he does not believe in payment of ransom to kidnappers and bandits, saying it encouraged criminals indulging in the act.

The former president berated any government that pays ransom, describing them as follies.

Obasanjo spoke on Wednesday at his residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State, while playing host to members of Tiv professionals Group led by Prof Zacharys Anger Gundu.

Obasanjo insisted that it requires a “carrot and stick” approach to fight insecurity challenges to a standstill.

He said “Some people are still reaching out, and hoping that lives can still be saved. But a situation whereby anybody thinks paying ransom is the way out, that person is folly. He is a folly. This is because when you pay ransom, you encourage. But if you are not going to pay ransom, you must have the means to deal heavily with it. You must have the stick to deal with it.

“Government has always paid ransom. Not only this government, even during Jonathan (administration). They paid ransom, but they denied it.”

Obasanjo expressed fears that those beating drums of division in Nigeria don’t think about the interest of the minority ethnic groups.

He added, “Where do we want those minor groups to stand? Wherever they stand, now they are by virtue of Nigeria’s present situation a little bit protected. But if Nigeria breaks up and they are in a smaller country, they will be oppressed. They will always be exterminated. Are we thinking of that?

“I believe that if we will get it right in Nigeria, any leader must look at Nigeria with the prism of the diversity of Nigeria. For as long as you look at Nigeria with the prism of your ethnic group, then you aren’t going anywhere, either your ethnic group or religious group.

“But is there hope? There is hope.”

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NLC Protests Poor State Of Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway

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The Ogun chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), on Wednesday, blocked the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway over the bad state of the road.

According to NAN, the Lagos chapter of the union also joined the protest.

The protesters carried placards with inscriptions like “We don’t want palliatives”, “We want good roads”, “Dapo Abiodun save our souls from bad roads” and “We are not slaves in our country”.

Emmanuel Bankole, the NLC chairman in Ogun, said the union was not happy with the condition of portions of the Lagos-Abeokuta road and its environs.

“We will not allow anybody to take away our right. In times like this, we do not have any option other than to express our displeasure with the government,” he said.

The chairman said the 21 days ultimatum given by the NLC to Babatunde Fashola, minister of works and housing, after his visit to Sango-Ota, had lapsed.

Bankole said Fashola had promised to commence palliative work on the road but nothing much had been done since then.

“We deserve better than what we have seen today. What we see today is below our expectations,” he said.

Funmi Sessi, chairman of the Lagos chapter, said the protest was “long overdue”.

“We believe in action and the time for talking is gone. There is an urgent need to ameliorate the sufferings of the masses,” she said.

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Nigerian Press Council Seeks Law To Regulate, License Journalists

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The Nigerian Press Council (NPC) has pleaded with the house of representatives to enact laws to empower the council licence journalists.

Francis Nwosu, executive secretary of NPC, made the demand on Wednesday when he appeared before the house of representatives committee on information, national orientation, ethics and values.

Nwosu said this will also enable the council to generate revenue for the federal government and curb unprofessionalism in the industry.

“We appreciate the effort of this committee to help have a good footing in the Nigerian media space. As you can understand, there is no way we can earn any revenue except we have an act to regulate the media industry,” he said.

“Aside from the rooting implementation of credible media space in Nigeria to help the government to check fake news and disinformation in the society, we are also trying for our players to understand the need to draw a line between journalism practice and journalism business.

He said newspapers need to register as corporate organisations and pay royalties to enable the NPC make money.

“Journalists [need] to register with the council, have a licence to operate. That way, we can have some funds to the coffers of the council,” he said.

“These are the ideas we are thinking can help instead of depending entirely on the federal government for revenue. We can generate some amount every year from the registration of journalists and the registration of media houses.

“By this way also, we are also talking about supervising journalism training institutions and ensure that the right things are done in the institutions of learning so that we have well-trained journalists with good professional skills to do the right job for the best interest of the nation.”

Olusegun Odebunmi, chairman of the committee, said it is important for the journalism practice to be monitored.

“As regards the pure regulation of the journalists, no doubt about it,” he said.

Odebunmi said the committee is working on such regulation, adding that this will identify the players in the industry.

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FG lists Diezani’s Bras As Part Of Forfeited Items For Sale

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The federal government has listed personal effects like bras and waist trainers as part of the list of assets forfeited by Diezani Alison-Madueke, former petroleum minister.

Diezani had fled the county shortly before former President Goodluck Jonathan handed over to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.

She is alleged to have stolen $2.5 billion from the Nigerian government while she was minister — an allegation she has denied.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has since commenced a process to extradite her.

The federal government has gained forfeiture of Diezani’s properties located in Banana Island Foreshore Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos, including 18 flats and six penthouses.

Other properties listed include 125 wedding gowns, 13 small gowns, 41 waist trainers, 73 hard flowers, 11 suits, 11 invisible bras, 73 veils, 30 braziers, two standing fans, 17 magic skirts, six blankets, one table blanket and 64 pairs of shoes.

The federal government has begun the process of screening 613 independent valuers expected to manage the sale of the assets permanently forfeited.

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