By Jude Obuseh, Editor-In-Chief
The past week was a flurry of explosive news stories bordering on the controversial, bizarre, comical and exasperating. From the purported impeachment of the Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Francis Okiye, and his deputy, Roland Asoro, by Seventeen lawmakers; the announcement of a N5 million fine for hate Speech offenders by the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed; the warning by the United States to the Nigerian government about a potential influx of Al-Qaeda elements into the country’s North-East; to President Buhari’s order for the re-engineering of the nation’s entire security architecture, it has been a week of fireworks.
Today’s News Recap gives you tit-bits of the aforementioned news items and more. If you are a first-time reader, News Recap is a collection of headline stories published on agendawatchdog.com during the week. Have a pleasurable experience!
-.Seventeen lawmakers of the Edo State House of Assembly, including 14 members whose seats had been previously declared vacant, claimed that they had impeached the Speaker of the House, Francis Okiye, and his deputy, Roland Asoro. The decision was taken on Thursday at a private location in Benin City, the state capital, hours after security officials took over the State Assembly Complex. In their place, the lawmakers said they had elected Victor Edoror, who represents Esan Central Constituency, and Emmanuel Agbaje, who represents Akoko-Edo Constituency II as Speaker and Deputy Speaker, respectively.
-.President Muhammadu Buhari approved the extension of the second phase of the eased lockdown for another four weeks.This extension was the third for the second phase of lockdown currently observed across the country.
-.The United States warned the Nigerian government about a possible influx of Al-Qaeda elements into the country’s northeast region where an ongoing war with Islamist extremist group, Boko aram, has raged for 11 years. This was disclosed by the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, Africa, Major General Dagvin Anderson, during a digital press briefing on Tuesday, August 4, 2020, where he cautioned that the Jihadist group was flocking into Nigeria and other African countries.
-.A huge blast at Beirut port killed at least 137 people, left dozens missing, and at least 5,000 wounded, a Lebanese health ministry spokesperson said Thursday. Tuesday’s explosion obliterated part of the port and caused damage over a wide radius in the heart of the city, prompting fears the final death toll could yet rise significantly.
-.A Canadian preacher who claimed Christians were safe from coronavirus was on Thursday jailed for three months in Myanmar after he and dozens of his followers became infected when he held a banned service. The Southeast Asian nation has so far weathered the pandemic well with just 357 confirmed cases and six deaths, although the low numbers tested make many fear the true figures are far higher.
-.Hate Speech offenders in Nigeria will now have to pay more, as the federal government increased the fine for disparaging language to N5 million, up from N500,000. Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed made this known during the inauguration of the Reviewed Broadcasting code, where he said that the reforms were necessitated by a presidential directive in the wake of the 2019 general elections, adding that the recommendations were approved by President Muhammadu Buhari as a way of repositioning the NBC to better perform its regulatory role in the areas of political broadcasting, local content, coverage of emergencies, advertising and anti-competitive behaviour.
-.President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the reengineering of the nation’s entire security apparatus. National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, disclosed this during a media briefing on Tuesday after the third National Security Council meeting in 2020 chaired by President Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
-.Rivers State Governor Nyseom Wike on Tuesday gave the green light for schools to re-open in Rivers state. The information was contained in a statement signed by the State’s Commissioner for Education, Prof Kaniye Ebeku. The re-opening, however, is for the limited purpose “of allowing candidates in exit classes to revise with their teachers and write their exit examinations.”
-.A petition has been addressed to the Senate alleging that the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission mismanaged N6.25bn set aside for COVID-19 palliatives. In a letter dated August 3, 2020, Chairman of the NDDC COVID-19 Palliatives Committee, Sobamabo Jackrich, described the management of the funds as “a show of shame and a scam.” Jackrich said the money was “misappropriated and embezzled by the IMC of the NDDC and their Co-conspirators.
-.Almost one million people have been infected with COVID-19 in Africa, according to data from the Africa Centre Control (CDC). The agency said as of Sunday, August 2, 2020, the 55-nation Africa Union (AU) has 944,450 infections from the virus.
-.The National Consultative Front, a newly formed group, has told Nigerians to be prepared for nationwide mass action against the President Muhammadu Buhari government. The mass action, according to the group led by a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Umar Na’Abba, and a former presidential candidate, Prof Pat Utomi, is against corruption, hunger, abuse of public trust and insecurity.
-.Founder and General Overseer of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, SCOAN, Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua, begun ‘virtual prayer’ for healing of those afflicted with COVID-19 in isolation centres. A Youtube video captured Joshua praying in front of several huge screens relaying in real-time the footage from the several wards within Isolation centres in Honduras, a Central American nation. During the prayer, which was translated simultaneously into Spanish, several patients were seen ‘vomiting’ whilst others were seen rising to their feet from their hospital beds and waving their hands.
-.Following flaks received from the public due to its amnesty programme for repentant members of Boko Haram, under the Operation Safe Corridor programme, the Nigerian military has moved to throw more light on the rationale behind the controversial initiative. Making the clarifications during a media parley on Thursday, DHQ spokeperson, Major-General John Enenche, claimed that that those released were categorised as Boko Haram “victims” themselves because they were forcefully conscripted by the Islamist group.
That is where I draw the curtain on News Recap for this week. See you again on this page next week.