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NBC to Appeal Judgment Barring it From Imposing Fines




The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) says it will appeal the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja nullifying its powers to impose fines on erring broadcast stations.

The Director-General of NBC, Mallam Balarabe Ilelah, made this known in a statement on Friday in Abuja.

He said; “The attention of the National Broadcasting Commission has been drawn to a ruling by the Federal High Court, Abuja nullifying its powers to impose fines on broadcast stations that violate the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.

“In view of the foregoing, the commission has applied for a Certified Copy of the judgment.

”It is global best practice and the ethics of the legal profession, that no party to a suit can freely comment on a judgment it has not seen and read.

“The commission will appeal against the judgment when found to be in conflict with previous judgments of the court, which empowers the commission to regulate broadcasting in Nigeria.”

Report says that a Federal High Court Abuja, on Wednesday, gave an order of perpetual injunction restraining NBC from imposing fines, henceforth, on broadcast stations in the country.

Justice James Omotosho, in a judgment, also set aside the N500,000 fines imposed, on March 1, 2019, on each of the 45 broadcast stations.

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Omotosho held that the NBC, not being a court of law, had no power to impose sanctions as punishment on broadcast stations.

He further held that the NBC Code, which gives the commission the power to impose sanction, is in conflict with Section 6 of the Constitution that vested judicial power in the court of law.

The judge said that the court would not sit idle and watch a body imposing fine arbitrarily without recourse to the law.

He said that the commission did not comply with the law when it sat as a complainant and at the same time, the court and the judge on its own matter.

The judge agreed that the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, being a subsidiary legislation that empowers an administrative body such as the NBC to enforce its provisions cannot confer judicial powers on the commission to impose criminal sanctions or penalties such as fines. (NAN)


Child Labour: The Big Wall Preventing Future Professionals




By Laide Akinboade

In the bustling streets of Kano, I encountered Hamisu Ibrahim, a 15-year-old boy carrying a bucket of pure water sachets on his head. It was around 9 am, and his dusty feet indicated he had already spent several hours hawking water while other children his age were attending school.

Curiosity led me to engage Hamisu in a conversation, during which he revealed that he wasn’t the owner of the pure water business.

Instead, he collected the water from a customer who owned a cold room. After selling the water, he kept the profit and returned the capital to the cold room owner.
Hamisu’s father, a salesperson in the market, received a portion of the money to help support their family.

Hamisu hails from Madibo local government in Kano state. When asked about his motivation, he explained, “I engage in the pure water business to support myself and provide for my father. We need to feed at home. After attending Islamic school in the morning, I start hawking sachet water. Unfortunately, I am not enrolled in any government school as my parents didn’t register me. My mother resides in Katsina state, so it’s just me and my dad here in Kano. My dream is to attend a government school and become a doctor in the future. I want to assist sick people and street children, and going to a government school will allow me to dress well and enjoy better meals.”

According to former Kano State governor Abdullahi Ganduje, there are approximately three million out-of-school children roaming the streets of the state, known as Almajiri. These pupils, attending Quranic schools, are often forced into begging. Many of these children come from neighboring states and countries in West Africa, such as Niger Republic, Chad, and Northern Cameroon.

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The former governor expressed his concern over the social and economic challenges posed by the growing number of Almajiri. He emphasized the need for a common legislative approach to prevent the movement of school-age children and address the Almajiri problem collectively.

Child street hawking is a form of child labor that deprives children of their potential, dignity, and proper physical and mental development. In Kano state, child hawking, driven by poverty, exposes children to various risks, including accidents, exploitation, and loss of educational opportunities. Children as young as 10 to 14 years old can be found hawking for over 12 hours a day, subjected to harsh weather conditions and potential dangers.

Fortunately, the recent passage of the Child Protection Bill by the Kano State Assembly and its subsequent assent by the governor offer hope for the protection of these vulnerable children. However, concerns have been raised regarding the removal of certain provisions, such as those addressing child marriage and age definitions, which require amendment and further advocacy.

Mubarak Daha Isa, the Digital Campaigns Manager of Bridge Connect Africa, a non-governmental organization in Kano, expressed the need for ongoing efforts to amend and implement the bill fully. He stressed the importance of information dissemination in northern Nigeria, where cultural and religious factors often influence decision-making without a comprehensive understanding of children’s rights.

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During a training session for journalists, UNICEF Child Protection Specialist Fatimah Adamu highlighted that only three states out of 32, including the Federal Capital Territory, have established family courts, which affects the effective implementation of child rights legislation. While most states have passed the Child Rights Act, the delay and reluctance in domesticating it have hindered the protection of children’s rights.

The welfare of children is a selfless commitment, as stated by Mr. Falayi Temitoye, Chief Information Officer of the Child Rights Information Bureau in the Federal Ministry of Information. He commended the journalists for their dedication to the upliftment of children and urged them to continue their efforts to ensure the full implementation of the Child Rights Law of 2003. Temitoye emphasized the importance of encouraging the remaining states to domesticate the law promptly, especially by addressing critical aspects such as child marriage and age definition.

It is crucial for the new administration of Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf to prioritize the eradication of child hawking in Kano state. Efforts should be made to encourage children to attend school instead of engaging in hazardous labor. These young hawkers are deprived of their childhood, and it is disheartening to witness their struggle. Many of them bear the responsibility of providing for their families at such a tender age.

One such child, 17-year-old Mohammed, a scavenger in Kano, shared his weariness with his current occupation. However, he felt trapped in this job as his parents resided in Edo state, and he lived with his siblings in Kano. His elder brother also worked as a scavenger, and together, they supported their two younger siblings. Mohammed expressed his aspirations to take the Common Entrance examination and pursue a career in medicine to help children in similar situations.

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To combat the prevalence of child labor, the government must undertake aggressive advocacy campaigns, provide education and awareness programs for child hawkers, and strengthen community capacities to identify vulnerable families and prevent exploitative labor practices. While the Child Protection Bill represents a significant step forward, its effective implementation is paramount to improving the lives of over three million children who are currently trapped in street hawking in Kano state.

The new administration should prioritize the inclusion of the removed provisions, such as child marriage and age definitions, in the bill. These provisions are vital to ensure comprehensive child protection and align with the Child Rights Acts assented to by Nigeria in 2003.

In conclusion, the plight of child laborers in Kano state demands immediate attention. The government must work tirelessly to protect the rights of these children, guarantee their access to education, and create an environment where they can thrive. The collective efforts of policymakers, NGOs, journalists, and society as a whole are crucial in creating a brighter future for these young individuals. By investing in their well-being and opportunities, we can break the cycle of child labor and pave the way for a more prosperous and equitable society.

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Gunmen Abduct 7-year-old Girl in Abuja




Armed men have abducted a seven-year-old girl in Yangoji village, Kwali Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Mr Suleiman Musa, a resident of the village told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the hoodlums invaded the community in the early hours of Wednesday.

He said the hoodlums invaded the village firing several gunshots before breaking into some houses where they adducted the seven-year-old girl.

According to him, the quick intervention of a police team forced the gunmen to scramble out of the village.

NAN gathered that the Kwali Divisional Police Headquarters responded to the distress call on the attack at about 5 am on Wednesday.

A source said it was the swift response of police personnel, hunters and vigilance members led by the Kwali Divisional Police Officer (DPO) that saved the community from further harm from the gunmen.

He said that the hoodlums engaged the security team in gun battle before escaping with the abducted girl.

The source said that the security team is currently combing the area with a view to rescuing the girl and arresting the gunmen.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the FCT, SP Josephine Adeh, said she would get back to our reporter as soon as she gets details of the incident. (NAN)

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Abuja’s UTC Complex Demolished for Urgent Upgrade, Security Measures – FCTA Explains




By Laide Akinboade, Abuja

In a significant move to propel small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) forward and tackle security challenges, the Federal Capital Territory Administration has taken the decision to demolish the renowned UTC Shopping Complex, the capital’s largest graphics design and printing hub.

The complex, which had stood for over three decades, is set to undergo a complete reconstruction to meet global business standards.

Hassan Ogbole, Deputy Director of Monitoring and Inspection at the Department of Development Control, explained that the existing structures were deemed defective and required upgrading to align with international business norms.

While acknowledging the inconvenience caused to traders and occupants, Ogbole emphasized the necessity of creating a modernized facility capable of meeting global standards.

Strict enforcement notices were issued to the occupants well in advance, urging them to vacate the premises to facilitate the construction process. However, some occupants deliberately chose not to comply, hampering the authorities’ efforts to proceed with the development plans.

“The condition of the complex has deteriorated significantly, rendering it unsuitable for habitation and business activities. We must make way for a new development,” stated Ogbole, underlining the urgent need for reconstruction.

Addressing the security concerns in the area, Peter Olumiji, Secretary of Command and Control at the FCTA Department of Security, highlighted the importance of remodeling the complex. In addition to meeting global standards, the revamp aims to eliminate criminal activities, including the forging of official documents, that have been prevalent within the complex.

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One of the traders, Samuel Onuchukwu, expressed concern about the temporary site provided by the developers, citing inadequate security measures for conducting business. Many traders are still in the process of removing their goods and property from the shops and offices, further complicating the situation.

Authorities are cognizant of the challenges faced by the occupants and assure them that adequate measures will be taken to ensure a smooth transition during the reconstruction process. The demolition of the UTC Shopping Complex marks a significant step towards fostering a thriving business environment and enhancing security in the area.

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