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Cameroon govt sued over internet shutdown in Anglophone regions.

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The Cameroonian government has been hurled before the country’s top court over the imposition of an internet blackout on the restive Anglophone regions.

Two net freedom groups, Access Now and Internet Sans Frontieres (ISF) on January 19, intervened in a lawsuit “challenging a government-ordered shutdown in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions last year.

“We are providing expert advice on requirements under international human rights law and urging the court to end the shutdowns for good, a statement by Access Now said.

The two groups come under the banner of #KeepItOn coalition and have been documenting the cost of internet shutdowns. They are joining two earlier actions instituted in April 2017 seeking to have judicial pronouncement on the shutdown.

In the 2017 papers, the Cameroon government, the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication and the sector agency Cameroon Telecommunication (CAMTEL) are listed as respondents. There are five petitioners including the Global Conscience Initiative and Global Links.

The government on September 30, 2017 placed restrictions on access to social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and whatsapp.

This was despite a government statement saying that no such plans were to be implemented. Activists doing a count say Thursday January 25, 2018; is the 118th day of shutdown.

September 30 was the eve of a symbolic declaration of independence by the two Anglophone regions under the Ambazonia State banner. At the time a heavy security deployment across the regions was also in place, subsequent clashes between separatists and security forces lead to deaths, injuries and mass arrests.

It was, however, not the first such disruption in the Central African nation, an earlier one was a total blackout in the northwest and southwest regions. It was only lifted in April 2017 after over three months.

Cameroon’s courts have the opportunity to set a global precedent in favor of human rights and the rule of law,” said Peter Micek, General Counsel of Access Now.

“By declaring the government’s shutdown order a discriminatory, unnecessary, and disproportionate decree, issued under flawed procedures, the court can provide remedy to Cameroonians and light a path for victims of shutdowns elsewhere.”

“A decision by Cameroon’s Constitutional Council to reaffirm the protection of Human Rights, and rule on the illegality of shutdowns, would send a historic and powerful signal to other countries of the Central Africa region,” said Julie Owono, Executive Director of Internet San Frontieres.

Between 2016 and 2017, most countries in the region arbitrarily used internet shutdowns for political reasons.

Crime

Nigeria Football Federation boss Amaju Pinnick under fresh corruption probe

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Several properties belonging to top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), including its president Amaju Pinnick, have been seized in a fresh corruption probe.

The latest investigation and seizures are being carried out by the country’s Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission’s (ICPC).

The ICPC has published a newspaper advertisement about the properties seized – half of which belong to Pinnick.

According to the statement published in the Nigerian papers one of Pinnick’s properties is in London.

It comes amidst wide-ranging claims over how money meant for football development allegedly disappeared.

“We can’t go into further details beyond the fact that many officials of the NFF are under investigation,” ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa said.

“It’s basically because what they have is in excess of what they have earned.”

The ICPC has also taken control of properties belonging to the NFF second vice-president Shehu Dikko and the general secretary Muhamed Sanusi among others.

Source: BBC

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24 Hours Across Africa

Rwanda ban Burundi,s music star ahead of annual festival

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Burundian musician Jean Pierre Nimbona, popularly known as Kidum, has told the BBC he is confused by Rwanda’s decision to ban him from playing at the upcoming Kigali Jazz Fusion festival.

Kidum is one of Burundi’s biggest music stars and has performed in Rwanda for the past 16 years.

But a police official phoned the musician’s manager to warn that he would only be allowed to make private visits to Rwanda.

“[My manager was told] Kidum is not supposed to perform, tell him to leave. If he comes for private visits fine, but no performances,” the musician told BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme.

The mayor of Rwanda’s capital said that in this instance permission had not been sought from the authorities for him to perform at the festival in Kigali.

Kidum was a leading peace activist during Burundi’s civil war between 1993 and 2003 and used his songs to call for reconciliation.

The 44-year-old musician said he had never had problems with Rwandan authorities until recently when three of his shows were cancelled at the last minute – including one in December 2018.

That month Burundi had banned Meddy, a musician who is half-Burundian, half-Rwandan, from performing in the main city of Bujumbura.

Kidum said he was unsure if the diplomatic tensions between Burundi and Rwanda had influenced his ban.

“I don’t know, I don’t have any evidence about that. And if there was politics, I’m not a player in politics, I’m just a freelance musician based in Nairobi,” he said.

He said he would not challenge the ban: “There’s nothing I can do, I just wait until maybe the decision is changed some day.

“It’s similar to a family house and you are denied entry… so you just have to wait maybe until the head of the family decides otherwise.”

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