Showing posts with label POLITICS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label POLITICS. Show all posts
Everything you need to know about Florida law restricting social media access for children

Everything you need to know about Florida law restricting social media access for children

At a time when US federal government is pushing for a ban on TikTok, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a law restricting children's access to social media. The law will come into effect on January 1, 2025.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday signed into law a bill restricting social media access for minors, as concerns grow over the negative effects such platforms are having on teens in the United States.

The signing came barely two weeks after federal lawmakers in the House and Senate passed a bill that could see the Chinese-owned video platform TikTok banned in the US.

DeSantis on Monday said his administration is "trying to help parents navigate this very difficult terrain that we have now with raising kids."
What we know so far

The law, which will go into effect on January 1, 2025, will bar Florida children 13 and under from having social media accounts, and 14- and 15-year-olds will need parental consent to use them.

"Governor Ron DeSantis signs HB3 to protect children from the harms of social media," the Florida Representative wrote on his official X account, formerly Twitter.

Monday's bill was a watered down version of one previously put forth by Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Paul Renner that would have banned all children under 16 from social media.

The new version of the bill also dropped wording that detailed exactly how platforms would have to verify a user's age. Though most social media platforms require users to be 13 or older, they do little in terms of enforcement.

The new law does not target any one company but is aimed at restricting access to platforms that use "addictive" features such as "likes," push notifications, auto-play videos and those that encourage "infinite scrolling."

According to Speaker Renner, social media is fraught with risks from traffickers and pedophiles. He also claimed "social media platforms have caused a devastating effect in the mental well being of our children."

"Our bill is focused on addiction," said Renner. "Unlike an adult who can make an adult decision… a child, in their brain development, doesn’t have the ability to know they are being sucked into these addictive technologies, and to see the harm and step away from it."
Child protection vs. free speech: battle lines drawn

The law has sparked concern among those who fear it sets a precedent for restricting free speech online.

At the same time, there has also been growing concern across the country about the effects of social media on child and teen development. While proponents claim the social media ban gives parents oversight in the matter, others say the government should stay out of such issues altogether.

Renner said he expects social media companies will, "sue the second after this is signed. But you know what? We're going to beat them. We're going to beat them and we're never, ever going to stop."

DeSantis, former Republican presidential candidate and a combative "culture warrior," has seen similarly ambitious legislation overturned before. Just recently, for instance, a majority Republican appeals court struck down his signature 2022 "Stop Woke Act" for violating free speech rights.

Those opposing the new law, among them giant tech companies like Meta, say it not only violates free speech rights, it also strips away parental authority — something DeSantis and fellow Republicans claim to champion.

"This bill goes too far in taking away parents' rights," Democratic Representative Anna Eskamani said in a statement Monday. "Instead of banning social media access, it would be better to ensure improved parental oversight tools and improved access to data to stop bad actors — alongside major investments in Florida's mental health systems and programs."
BREAKING NEWS: Senate rejects electricity tariff hike, probes N2tn subsidy

BREAKING NEWS: Senate rejects electricity tariff hike, probes N2tn subsidy

The Senate has kicked against plans by the Ministry of Power to approve the proposed hikes in electricity tariff by Distribution companies.

The Senate also rejected plans to remove electricity subsidy given the present hardships in the country.

The Senate then called on the government to step down the idea of an increase in electricity tariff.

The upper chamber also directed the committee on power to investigate the N2tn required for electricity subsidy payment, other debts owed in the sector, and the state of metering in the country.

The resolution of the Senate followed its consideration and approval of a motion moved by Senator Aminu Abbas (PDP, Adamawa Central) during plenary on the need to retain subsidy on electricity in the country for the foreseeable future.

Last week, the Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, disclosed at a press conference in Abuja that Nigeria was not likely to sustain the current electricity subsidy payment.

He explained that the indebtedness of the country’s power sector to electricity-generating companies (GenCos) and gas companies (GasCos) had risen to over N3tn.

He said, “Today, we owe a total of N1.3tn to the power generating companies, out of which 60 per cent is owed to gas suppliers. Today we have a legacy debt, before 2014, to the gas companies of $1.3bn; at today’s rate, that is close to N2tn.”

The spokesperson of the Senate, Yemi Adraamodu, as saying that it would not allow any hike in the price of electricity that might add to the woes of Nigerians.

Abbas in his lead debate said the “Senate notes with greatest dismay the plan to increase electricity tariff by the relevant statutory authority in gross disregard of increased economic challenges with attendant widespread poverty and high cost of living.”

He added, “The Senate may note that the Hon. Minister of Power was reported saying ‘the nation must begin to move towards a cost-effective tariff model, as the country is currently indebted to the tune of N1.3tn naira to generating companies (GenCos) and $1.3bn owed gas companies.

“According to him, over N2tn needed for subsidy, only N450 billion was budgeted this year. The same electricity businesses are collecting money from customers for services not rendered. When they have not added anything to the equipment, they inherited it from PHCN.

“Communities buy transformers to replace damaged ones in addition to overburden bills and arbitrary estimates for unmetered customers.”

Senator Abbas further stated, “Cognizance that in a country where a greater population live below the poverty level, with stagnant wages, rising inflation and depreciating currency, the prospect of higher electricity bill is unattainable.

“The issue of arbitrary energy charges on unmetered customers has become worrisome given the February 2024 report of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission on the non-compliance with energy billing caps by DisCos and the penalty of N10.5bn imposed on the distribution companies that over-billed its unmetered customers.

“Aware that in 2018, the then Hon. Minister of Power, Works, and Housing directed the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to issue a regulation that facilitates signing of meter agreements between the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Ziglaks company and other meter asset providers to address the metering gaps in the power supply industry.”

He further noted, “Further aware that as far back in 2020 the president then, ordered the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to commence Mass pre-paid Metering to end estimated billing, and that Funds were released to that effect

“Disturbed that the multiple sanctions declared to be imposed by NERC against DISCOs for failing to comply with the scrapping of estimated bills for unmetered customers which include credit adjustments to overbilled unmetered customers for the period January – September, 2023 by the March 2024 billing cycle, publication of the list of credit adjustment beneficiaries in two national dailies, and deduction of N10,505,286,072 from the annual allowed revenues of the eleven DisCos during the next tariff review seemed to have been in futility given the continued violations by Discos.”

It would be recalled that this Senate via a motion called on the Federal Government and NERC not to increase tariff on electricity for customers and citizens of this country at this time.

Abbas further noted, “Regret that in addition to the high cost of living being experienced in the country, the unmetered customers who are owners of small and medium enterprises are adversely impacted by this level of exorbitant electricity charges and by implication have their businesses affected.

“While the prospect of the new Electricity Act, 2023 of ensuring accurate electricity charges will be negated if DisCos are not investigated to ascertain the current statistical data on unmetered customers, poor provision of electricity service despite exorbitant tariff and regulatory role of NERC which leaves much to be desired.”
Corruption allegations against Gbajabiamila baseless — Speaker

Corruption allegations against Gbajabiamila baseless — Speaker

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, has called on security agencies to diligently investigate allegations leveled against the Chief of Staff to President Bola Tinubu, Femi Gbajabiamila.

The speaker gave the charge on Thursday while addressing a press conference on the state of the nation.

Gbajabiamila has been at the centre of allegations of graft involving suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu.

Addressing the citizens, Abbas urged Nigerians to desist from fake news but welcomed constructive criticism to make government officials more accountable.

He, however, pointed out that the allegations against Gbajabiamila are capable of undermining the nation’s democracy.

He said, “There has been a rise in defamation campaigns on social media involving the deliberate dissemination of false and misleading information with the intent to harm the reputation of individuals or organisations. These campaigns often target political opponents, seeking to undermine their credibility, integrity, and public trust.

“The recent unjustified and baseless allegations against the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, point to the danger of an unfettered and unaccountable social media. Such acts not only undermine the integrity of our democracy but also erode the fabric of our national unity. Yet, Femi is just one of millions of Nigerians who suffer cyberbullying and coordinated campaigns of defamation daily. Too many victims are not as powerful as him to defend themselves.

“Those of us who have worked with him for over a decade can attest to his patriotism and integrity. His willingness to voluntarily subject himself to investigation by all security and law enforcement agencies demonstrates his rectitude and honour.

“I urge the security agencies to work diligently and swiftly to investigate all matters he has raised in his letter to them and inform Nigerians of their findings. If not found guilty, these agencies must fish out those responsible for the character assassination and ensure they are brought before the law.

“It is most unfortunate that someone who has, over the years, built a reputation through hard work and commitment to service, should be damaged by unscrupulous elements. The consistent attempt to pull him down for purely political or personal reasons and without consequence is deeply deplorable.”

Sen. Ubah celebrates YPP’s victory in Anambra Federal Constituencies rerun elections

Sen. Ubah celebrates YPP’s victory in Anambra Federal Constituencies rerun elections

Sen. Ifeanyi Ubah, member representing Anambra South Senatorial District in the National Assembly, has expressed gratitude to the electorate for ensuring victory for the Young Progressives Party (YPP) in the Feb. 3 rerun elections in parts of the state.

Ubah made this commendation while reacting to the outcome of the rerun elections in Nnewi on Sunday.

Recall that in the rerun election for Nnewi North/Nnewi South/Ekwusigo, YPP candidate, Mr Peter Uzokwe, displaced Mr Uche Elodimuo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to emerge the lawmaker representing the constituency.

In Orumba North/Orumba South Federal Constituency, YPP’s Chinwe Nnabuife defeated Mr Okwudili Ezenwankwo of the Peoples Democratic Party to retain her seat.

Ubah, who described the election as a foretaste of the 2025 governorship contest, said it was a show of how much people believed in his contributions to the development of Anambra as a private citizen and a Senator.

He said even though he was now a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), he was able to help his former party, the YPP, to win two Federal Constituencies in an APGA-dominated state.

“I am delighted with the result of the rerun election in Anambra, it was double victory for me but more importantly, it shows we are a force to reckon with.

“Winning election is not about deploying resources on election day, as a private citizen I have always been with my people, as a senator I am working for them, my impact is all over the place,” he said.

Ubah commended the security agencies for their roles in ensuring that the rerun election went peacefully.

“Their presence was good, they did not harass or intimidate anybody, they ensured that everything went well, so, I thank them,” he said.
 No Plan to Increase Fuel Prices Again NNPCL Assures Nigerians

No Plan to Increase Fuel Prices Again NNPCL Assures Nigerians

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited on Thursday said it was not planning to increase the cost of Premium Motor Spirit, known as petrol.

The NNPCL in a statement by its Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Olufemi Soneye, urged Nigerians against panic buying of petrol.

The statement read, “NNPC Ltd. urges Nigerians to disregard unfounded rumours and assures them that there are no plans for an upward review of the PMS price.

“Motorists nationwide are advised against engaging in panic buying, as there is presently ample availability of PMS across the country.”

The reports that oil marketers expressed fears that there might be a scarcity of petrol if the NNPCL fails to make the product available to depot owners and other dealers.

They said the long queues being experienced in filling stations and some parts of Ogun State might eventually spread to other parts of the nation should the NNPCL fail to sell enough petrol to distributors.

“The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Ltd. assures the public that there is no imminent increase in the cost of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol,” the statement read.

“NNPC Ltd. urges Nigerians to disregard unfounded rumours and assures them that there are no plans for an upward review of the PMS price.

“Motorists nationwide are advised against engaging in panic buying, as there is presently ample availability of PMS across the country.”