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Nigerian plastic bag sellers could face three years in jail

Nasidi Adamu Yahya

BBC Africa, Lagos

Plastic bags at a dump site
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Plastic bags dumped by the roadside blight the landscape in many places

The war against the plastic bag in Africa continues, with Nigeria now mulling severe penalties for those who sell them.

On Tuesday, members of the country's lower house of parliament passed a bill banning their use and anyone found selling, manufacturing or carrying them could face fines of up to $13,000 (£10,000) or prison sentences of up to three years.

The bill, which has already been passed by the upper house, prohibits the use, manufacture and importation of plastic bags for commercial and household packaging.

It now needs to be sent to President Muhammadu Buhari to become law.

Several other African countries have outlawed plastic carrier bags, including Kenya, Rwanda, Mauritania and Eritrea.

Nigeria president orders roads cleared around Lagos port

Nasidi Adamu Yahya

BBC Africa, Lagos

Anyone who's driven through Nigeria's commercial capital, Lagos, will have come up against its notorious traffic jams.

Apapa, a district near some of the city main port, is arguably the worst place of all.

The roads are usually lined on both sides with container lorries parked up and waiting to get into the port.

This gives cars only a single lane to drive on.

But there could be some respite as President Muhammadu Buhari has told the police and other agencies to unblock the chaotic roads.

All lorries on the bridges and roads within Apapa and all adjoining streets should be cleared within two weeks, a statement from the presidency says.

Most of the goods being imported to the country come through Apapa, and delays caused by traffic basis seriously affects the economy, the statement adds.

Port activity
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The blocked roads have an impact on the efficiency of Lagos' ports

Nigerian parliament press rules 'primitive'

Men stand around a newsstand with national newspapers bearing headlines announcing the victory of the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari following Nigeria's presidential election result on February 27, 2019, in Kano. -
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Journalists have given the National Assembly 24 hours to withdraw the new guidelines

Journalists in Nigeria are opposing new rules that restrict the accreditation of reporters covering parliament, local media reports say.

Parliament wants media houses to provide copies of two year's worth of income tax returns for journalists who want to be accredited, reports the Vanguard newspaper.

The Guild of Editors termed the rules, set to come into effect next month, as "primitive, undemocratic and blatantly anti-press and anti-people".

The Punch newspaper says parliament also wants media houses to provide proof of incorporation of the organisation, that their members belong to professional bodies, and have an operation bureau in the capital, Abuja, with no less than five journalists.

The paper adds that the guidelines require that print media have a daily circulation rate of at least 40,000 copies and proof of 50,000 daily views for online media.

"These guidelines run contrary to the grains of reason, democratic ideals and they are a clear affront on the letter and spirit of the Nigerian constitution which empowers journalists to freely practice their profession without any gag, muzzling and restriction," Nigeria's Guild of Editors was quoted as saying.

Others also opposed to the rules are the opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP) and the Nigerian Union of Journalists.

Nigeria promises to clean up oil-polluted Ogoni areas

After decades of battling with environmental degradation from oil spills, the Ogoni people in Nigeria’s oil rich region of Niger Delta have won an apparent environmental victory.

The federal government says it will commence a clean-up of the area.

Mr Nnimmo Bassey is a Nigerian environmentalist from the region who for years has been campaigning for action.

He told BBC Newsday's Alan Kasujja:

Humans can be very resilient. In the face of all this... people persist.

But when the land and water are so polluted, whatever you get from those environments is contaminated. People are sick and severely impacted."

Listen to the interview below:

Nigerian government promise comes after years of campaigning by the Ogoni

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Lagos rains halt operation 'show me your licence'

Andrew Gift

BBC Pidgin, Lagos

Van driving through flood waters

A two-week traffic safety operation that began in Lagos, Nigeria's most populous state, on Monday to weed out drivers without licences has been disrupted by heavy rain that flooded roads and caused a traffic gridlock.

Despite the morning downpour the operation had so far been a success, Florence Ediong, the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) spokesperson, told the BBC.

However, a BBC reporter who monitored the operation said that road safety officers were only seen controlling traffic and not verifying drivers' licences.

The FRSC said last week that more than 60,000 drivers using the state's roads had no valid licences.

The operation "show your driver's licence" will resume on Tuesday.

Traffic gridlock
Traffic gridlock

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