The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has criticised alleged moves by the present administration to regulate the social media, describing it as unconstitutional, anti-people and a design to stifle Nigerians.
The PDP claims the plan is targeted at muzzling the youths, media and civil society organisations from demanding for accountability and competence from the APC administration.
Following the #EndSARS protests that degenerated into violence and mass looting across the country, there have been calls for regulating the social media by government officials; the latest being Monday’s expanded meeting of the Northern Governors Forum.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, says the plan by the Wike administration to limit available employment opportunities in Government establishments to persons within the age bracket of 25 to 35 years smacks of discrimination.
The Spokesman for the APC, Hon. Ogbonna Nwuke said in reaction to a government plan to recruit 5000 workers that the template adopted by Government is unfair and unjust.
“We have taken time to analyze the pronouncement of the Rivers State Government pertaining to the employment of 5000 Rivers youths.
“It is now clear from the position of the Government that persons who are likely to fill those job vacancies are those within the age bracket of 25 and 35 years.
“The APC has been agitating for job creation opportunities especially for able bodied youths for a long time. While the APC welcomes the eventual decision by Governor Nyesom Wike to respect its persistent demands for the evolution of a system that has a human face, we completely condemn the template that is about to be used in employing Rivers people by the State Government.
“This is because the Government’s plan will openly promote discrimination against certain segments of the youth population.
“Youths are youths and they must be treated equally. The bench mark officially recognized by the Nigerian Constitution in terms of adulthood is 18 years. The implication is that as an 18-year old, a Nigerian is entitled to all rights, including the right to work.
“The Wike plan obviously excludes young graduates who fall within the age bracket of 18 to 24 years as well as those who fall within the age range of 36 and 40 years.
“We believe that the decision to exclude other youthful persons who fall outside the age brackets that Government has chosen is totally unacceptable and should be condemned by the Rivers people.
“It smacks of Government’s lack of understanding of the anxiety that parents are facing, following the continued stay of their children and wards at home.
“What should matter is their qualification and competence to deliver on the job. Is it the fault of those who are above 35 years that they have found no work to do long after graduation? Why should they become victims of forced-stay-at-home order inspired by a Government ban on employment?
“It is our view that Government should have taken cognisance of the aspiration of all graduates, who for no fault of their own, have remained at home after going through secondary and tertiary education.”
The APC noted that the decision of the government was hasty, faulty and discriminatory.
“For years, many parents have prayed for an opportunity like this. Now, youths who have earned first degrees and other qualifications, and who are not within the age range prescribed by Government are to be wilfully excluded from aspiring to work in Government establishments.
“We urge parents to rise up against this attempt by Government to encourage segregation, particularly among youthful elements who are entitled to every opportunity that their State can offer.
“Government should not act as if it is doing Rivers people a favour. It is a duty that it is bound by law to fulfill. In doing so, it has no right to discriminate.”
On the alleged plan to regulate the social media, the PDP, in a statement by spokesma, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, adds: “Our party rejects the claims that the regulation bill is targeted at checking fake news. This is because our nation already has enough implementable laws to counter the dissemination of fake news and punish offenders.
“It is clear that the APC administration is rather xenophobic of criticisms from citizens against its manifest atrocities that it seeks to surreptitiously reenact the obnoxious military decree 4 to suppress Nigerians.
“Instead of this desperation to gag the citizens and curtail their constitutionally guaranteed rights, our party counsels the APC administration to rather take steps to reassure Nigerians by ending its manifest corruption, treasury looting, abuse of human rights, nepotism and unaccountability for which the citizens demands answers.
“Our party counsels the APC administration to become more accountable, particularly, by ending its arrogance as well as its shielding of corrupt officials, as being witnessed in the desperation to protect federal officials allegedly involved in the criminal diversion of funds voted for COVID-19 palliatives.
“The Buhari administration should be forthcoming on various corruption allegations, including the stealing of trillions of naira in sleazy oil subsidy regime and claimed under-recovery for unnamed West African countries; the humongous fraud in the N500bn Social Investment Programme as revealed by First Lady, Aisha Buhari; frittering of over N9.6 trillion ($25 billion) as detailed in the leaked NNPC memo, among others.
“This is in addition to the N90 billion allegedly stolen from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in which APC leaders were mentioned; the alleged looting of N33billion from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) fund; the over N25 billion siphoned from the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) among a litany of others.
“The APC administration should come clean on the parameters for the hike in the cost of fuel, the depletion of our foreign reserves as well as the mortgaging of our nation to external interests through foreign loans.
“Instead of seeking to gag Nigerians, the APC administration should be explaining how government vehicles were seen conveying hoodlums to attack protesters in Abuja as well as who deployed the military to Lekki Toll gate leading to the reported killing of innocent and unarmed protesters.
“While our party does not in anyway condone the dissemination of fake news, which was actually birthed and promoted by the APC as a tool to grab power during the build-up to the 2015 elections, the PDP rejects the attempt to hide under fake news to impose a siege mentality in our country for selfish political reasons.
“In fact, if anything, the APC should be apologizing for making our social media toxic, importing fake news into our polity as well as running an incompetent, oppressive and corrupt administration.”