The Nigerian government says it is making out plans on how to control social media by injecting sanity into that space, which it said was currently out of control. Speaking in Abuja, the information and culture minister, Lai Mohammed, said that no responsible government would sit back and allow activities capable of setting the country on fire to continue unchecked. He insisted that no amount of criticism would stop the government from implementing the tougher sanctions for broadcast stations that breach the country’s broadcast code especially as it concerns the dissemination of fake news, inciting and divisive comments, which were approved by President Buhari recently, noting that responsible journalists have nothing to fear as the government’s intention is not to gag the media, but to “restore sanity to the country’s airwaves.”
MTN Nigeria has transported a 9,100-page document to court in a bid to prove its ₦3 billion claim against the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami. This comes as the tax-related legal battle between the telecommunication firm and the AGF gathers momentum. Several copies of the extraordinarily bulky document were delivered to the registry of the Federal High Court in Lagos. Last year, MTN sued Malami in protest against a 20 August 2018 letter in which the AGF demanded that the telecom firm pay ₦242 billion and $1.3 billion as import duties, withholding and value-added taxes. The firm’s lawyer, Wole Olanipekun, described the AGF’s ₦242 billion and $1.3 billion demand from MTN as “malicious, unreasonable and one made on an incorrect legal basis.” Olanipekun said the demand letter to MTN, Malami acted beyond his powers and violated the provisions of Section 36 of the constitution on fair hearing with “the purported revenue assets investigation” he carried out on the firm’s activities covering 2007 to 2017. He is, on behalf of MTN, urging the court to award ₦3 billion against Malami as general and exemplary damages. Justice C.J. Aneke, who is hearing the case, had in May dismissed the preliminary objection filed by Malami, challenging the competence of the suit. Justice Aneke rejected the AGF’s argument that the suit was not filed within three months of cause of action and was statute-barred. Meanwhile, the Tuesday’s proceedings in the case were stalled as counsel sought an adjournment while Justice Aneke adjourned till January 30, 2020. MTN is urging the court to declare that the AGF acted illegally by “usurping the powers of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, to audit and demand remittance of withholding tax and value-added tax.”
Thousands of passengers have opted for rail transport as a more secure means of travel due to the unbearable insecurity on the Abuja-Kaduna road according to The Punch. This has raised the passenger volume on the railway by 270 percent. The FG had said that the passenger traffic on the Abuja-Kaduna rail service has risen to 3,700 daily from its carrying capacity of 1,000 people as it announced plans to commence a trial run of trains on the Lagos-Ibadan railway service in December. The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said that the increase in the Abuja-Kaduna railway service was due to the level of insecurity on the Abuja-Kaduna road.
AMCON has asked the FG to convert Arik Air to a national carrier. Ahmed Kuru, AMCON’s MD, said this when he appeared before the Senate committee on banking, insurance and other financial institutions. AMCON had taken over the airline in February 2017 owing to its failure to pay off its debts. Kuru said the airline has enough facilities already, and it would be better for the government to use it as a stepping stone which would save the extra cost of starting from scratch. The FG had commenced the Nigeria Air project in 2018 but it was suspended indefinitely. Kuru also advised that Slok Airlines and the likes may have to come back to Nigeria’s air space to address the gap between a large number of airline passengers to the limited airlines available in the country. Nowadays, a passenger has to book ticket two or three days earlier to be sure of getting a seat on an aeroplane, he said. He said the National Assembly has a vital role to play to help the aviation industry especially in terms of regulations. The current state of the sector is not helping the operators, especially as the fees and charges they pay to different agencies regulators are too high.