Press spotlights ECOWAS Court declaration that Twitter ban was illegal, others

The Guardian reports that the Economic Community of West African States Court sitting in Abuja has declared as“ unlawful the suspension of Twitter by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.”. The court maintained that suspending Twitter was unlawful and inconsistent with Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of the…

APA – Lagos (Nigeria) The declaration by ECOWAS court that the Twitter ban by the Nigerian government was illegal and the fears expressed by private sector operators about government’s resort to multiple taxation and over-regulation and the negative impact on growth and business survival are some of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Friday.

The Guardian reports that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court sitting in Abuja has declared as “unlawful the suspension of Twitter by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.”

The order followed a suit by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 176 other Nigerians. In the judgment, yesterday, the court held that it had jurisdiction to hear the case, and was admissible.

The court maintained that suspending Twitter was unlawful and inconsistent with Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which Nigeria is a state party.

The newspaper says that as the country struggles to ramp up revenue, private sector operators have expressed concerns about government’s resort to multiple taxation and over-regulation, noting that such actions will negatively impact growth and business survival.

According to the operators, new formal taxes, in addition to rising informal and implicit taxes impact the ability of businesses to survive and grow.

Specifically, Africa Tax and Legal Service Leader, PwC Nigeria, Taiwo Oloyede, stated that the bulk of tax evaders are in Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs), noting that the bulk of federal government’s revenues are with evaders.

He stated this at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) economic and business outlook seminar 2022, tagged: “LCCI Mid-year economic review and outlook conference” in Lagos.

He explained that Nigeria can increase its tax revenues without increasing taxes or introducing new ones while also calling for the need to repeal existing taxes.

“In his words: “The bulk of your existing revenue is with tax evaders, and even some of them are facilitated by the government. In fact, the highest tax evaders in Nigeria are in government from MDAs who collect Value Added Tax (VAT) and withholding tax that do not remit it and nothing will happen and you know in Nigeria you can do a lot of things and get away with it.”

On fuel subsidy, he projected that Nigeria will spend more than the proposed N4 trillion, pointing out that the federal government has never been honest about the cost of fuel subsidy.

The Punch reports that President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Jaji, Kaduna State, said the last 12 years had been “very challenging” for the country, considering the different security threats that had been confronting it.

He also promised that his government will ramp up support for the military to “wipe out terrorists off the face of the earth” and bring peace to the country.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President spoke at the graduation of 247 students of the Senior Course 44 of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji.

The statement was titled, ‘President Buhari lauds combat readiness, operational capability of Nigerian military, pledges more support in fight against insurgency.’

It quoted the President as appraising the ongoing collaboration of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger Republic, Benin Republic and Chad in a multinational operation to combat the Boko Haram insurgency in the Lake Chad region.

Buhari said, “This occasion provides me another opportunity to briefly reflect on the state of the Nigerian nation, particularly regarding national security.

“The last 12 years have been very challenging for our nation, considering the different security threats that have besieged the country.

“Our government is poised to promote national security and development, as well as to remain committed to promoting a vision of a secure, safe, just, peaceful, prosperous and strong Nigeria.”

The newspaper says that the Nigerian Correctional Service has recaptured 421 inmates who fled the its facility in Kuje Abuja, while 454 others are still at large, according to the House of Representatives’ Committee on Correctional Service.

This is just as the committee said it had summoned the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; and Comptroller-General of the NCoS, Haliru Nababa, to appear before it over the recent attack on the Kuje Custodial Centre.

The committee also invited the Commander of the Nigerian Army Platoon on duty on the night of the attack.

The chairman of the committee on Correctional Service, Edwin Anayo, who disclosed this during an oversight visit to the facility on Thursday, said the lawmakers met 115 inmates.

The inmates, including 69 suspected Boko Haram members, had escaped Kuje Medium Custodial Centre on Tuesday last week after members of the Islamic for West Africa Province attacked the facility.

Anayo decried that 12 other Custodial Centres had been attacked across the country recently. He said the recent jailbreaks by gunmen leading to the release of inmates are worrisome.

The Nation reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it has commenced an investigation into trending videos of buried Permanent Voters Card (PVC) discovered in the compound of an unnamed high-profile person.

In a statement by INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, the Commission said it was not taking the allegations lightly.

The commission said: “The attention of the Commission has been drawn to videos trending online of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) allegedly buried underground in some locations, including the compound of a high-profile person.

“The Commission is not taking these allegations lightly. We have commenced an immediate investigation and anyone found culpable in this diabolical scheme clearly intended to disenfranchise Nigerians will be sanctioned under the law. Every eligible Nigerian who registered as a voter is entitled to his/her PVC. The constitutional right to vote in any election must never be suppressed or abridged in any way”.

It added: “As far as the record of the Commission is concerned, PVCs have been printed for all valid registrants in Nigeria up to 14th January 2022 and delivered to all the States of the Federation for collection by voters. We will not allow retrogressive elements to sabotage our efforts.

“The issues of voter registration, a compilation of the voters’ roll and issuance of PVCs are at the heart of any democratic elections and the Commission is working hard to ensure that every eligible citizen who appears in person at the registration venue is registered. We assure Nigerians that this matter will be pursued to its logical conclusion.

“Already, the Commission is reviewing the procedure for collecting PVCs to make it less cumbersome and more transparent. This will be a major topic at the next regular quarterly meeting with stakeholders so that working together we can find a lasting solution to the issue.

“Meanwhile, we appeal to those who found the allegedly buried PVCs to deliver them to our nearest State or Local Government office. This will be their patriotic contribution to the consolidation of our electoral process.”

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