INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu
By Ayodeji Alabi
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has reaffirmed the readiness of the commission for a smooth conduct of the Oct.10, Ondo State governorship election.
Yakubu said this in Akure on Wednesday while speaking with newsmen.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the chairman was in Akure on a 3-day visit to assess the preparedness of the Ondo State office of the commission and to meet with various stakeholders on the forthcoming election.
Yakubu, who also said that he was in the state to meet with the commissions staff members on ground said that in spite of the unfortunate fire incident, INEC was fully prepared for the election.
We have already recovered. Unfortunately, we lost 5,000 smart card readers, but we recovered by getting the prerequisite number of card readers from the neighbouring Oyo State, and they have been delivered.
They have arrived, been charged and configured and are ready for the election on Oct.10, in Ondo State.
Importantly, we will use the Z-pads to upload results on election day real-time and we have moved those Z-pads from Edo to Ondo State for the election.
So, the same preparations that we made for Edo, we have also made for Ondo, so we are prepared for the election, he said.
Yakubu said he would also meet with council of traditional rulers, security agencies, and officials of the commission in the 18 Local Government Areas of the state for the purpose of the election.
This is the first visit. We are still coming back a week after for the main stakeholders visit and the signing of the peace accord, he said.
NAN recalls that 5,141 card readers to be used for the conduct of the Oct.10, governorship election in Ondo State were damaged at the Akure INEC office in a night fire outbreak. (NAN)
Source: NAN News
By Naomi Sharang
A member of All Progressives Congress (APC), National Committee on Ondo Governorship Election, Mr Osita Okechukwu, has dismissed fears that the APC may lose the Oct.10 election in the state.
Okechukwu, who spoke to newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday, said that he was optimistic that Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu would win the polls.
I dont harbour any fears of APC losing Ondo election; for Akeredolu and governor-elect of Edo, Godwin Obaseki, share a lot in common. One harbours no fears, he said.
He listed those qualities in the duo to include: One, they devoted much more resources in the past four years to physical infrastructural development than stomach infrastructure.
This is why some elites are antagonistic to both.
Secondly, both diligently reconciled with their fellow gubernatorial aspirants within their parties thus going into the election with the spirit of internal democracy advantage.
Thirdly, they both defeated same candidates in 2016 and one does not see the danger naysayers are hyping.
Fourthly, dont forget that they are products of our great party, APC.
Okechukwu, however, said that President Muhammadu Buhari had vowed to uphold the best tenets of free and fair election as the bedrock of democracy, making the use of the proverbial federal might a mirage.
This is a good omen for Nigerian democracy.
Yes the Presidents position of non-interference and creation of level playing field is a good omen to our fledgling democracy.
It is also in no manner particular hindrance to Akeredolus chances of winning the election, he said.(NAN)
Source: NAN News
By Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma
The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) key market indicators on Wednesday sustained positive rally, appreciating by 0.50 per cent due to monetary policy rate cut to 11.5 per cent.
Speficially, the market capitalisation rose by N67 billion to close at N13.474 trillion against N13.407 trillion recorded on Tuesday.
Also, the NSE All-Share Index inched higher by 128.12 points or 0.50 per cent to close at 25,783.02 from 25,654.90 achieved on Tuesday.
The performance was supported by bargain buying in MTN Nigeria Communications, Nigerian Breweries, Seplat, Mobil and Flour Mills.
Consequently, the month-to-date gain increased to 1.8 per cent while the year-to-date loss moderated to -4.0 per cent.
Analysts at Cordros Capital Ltd had predicted that the fixed income market would see a downward adjustment in yields, thereby making the equities market more attractive.
Market sentiment closed positive with 21 gainers in contrast with 14 losers.
International Breweries and Prestige Assurance dominated the gainers chart in percentage terms, rising by 10 per cent each to close at N3.60 and 60k per share, respectively.
UACN Property grew by 5.26 per cent to close at N1, while Seplat appreciated by 3.90 per cent to close at N400 per share.
Conversely, Associated Bus Company led the laggards chart in percentage terms, dropping 9.09 per cent to close at 30k per share.
Royal Exchange trailed with a loss of 6.90 per cent to close at 27k, while Eterna lost 6.72 per cent to close at N2.50 per share.
NPF Micro Finance Bank shed 6.15 per cent to close at N1.22, while AIICO Insurance depreciated by 3.37 per cent to close at 86k per share.
Transactions in the shares of Sterling Bank topped the activity chart with 85.21 million shares valued at N97.99 million.
FBN Holdings sold 82.74 million shares worth N413.70 million, while Access Bank exchanged 58.21 million shares valued at N366.71 million.
Zenith Bank traded 28.45 million shares worth N480.21 million, while MTNN accounted for 25.72 million shares valued at N3.13 billion.
In all, the volume of shares traded increased by 58.05 per cent as investors bought and sold 414.16 million shares worth N6.28 billion in 3,793 deals.
This was in contrast with 262.05 million shares valued at N4.39 billion achieved in 3,254 deals on Tuesday. (NAN)
Source: NAN News
Mr Pelumi Olajengbesi, convener COPA
By Emmanuel Afonne
The Coalition of Public Interest Lawyers and Advocates (COPA), a Human Rights, pro- democracy and good governance group has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing into law the Nigeria Police Act, 2020.
The coalition in a statement by its convener Mr Pelumi Olajengbesi on Wednesday in Abuja applauded the president saying the signing was timeous.
It would be recalled that President Buhari on Sept. 17 signed the police bill into law to enhance professionalism in their administration and regulation in the country.
The new law among other things provides for a more effective and well organised police force driven by the principles of transparency and accountability in its operations and management of its resources.
It also enables and establishes an appropriate funding framework for the Police in line with what is obtainable in other Federal Government key institutions to ensure appropriate funding for all Police formations.
Olajengbesi said that the police were at the heart of a seamless functioning of any political entity given its strategic role in the maintenance of law and order and as such must be preserved.
He noted that inadequate funding, lack of manpower, poor training and expertise in the police had continually been felt by Nigerians who had to bear the brunt of abuse of human rights, and so on.
It remains puzzling that an agency as strategic as such has been allowed to labour for too long under the limitations of an anachronistic legislation that among other things did not reflect the reality of evolution over the years.
We therefore commend all civil society organisations and individuals who have tirelessly sustained the clamour for a review of the enabling law governing the Nigeria Police.
We particularly commend Mr Segun Awosanya, (Segalink) for his selfless role in advocating for the reforms which have so prominently featured in the new law, he added.
He also commended the 9th National Assembly for midwifing a forward thinking legislation, while calling on the leadership of the Nigeria Police to ensure that the law yielded the desired result.
We urge the Inspector-General of Police to set proper tone for this new beginning by ensuring that utmost compliance and application is given to the law. (NAN)
Source: NAN News
By Shedrack Frank
The Central Naval Command (CNC), Yenagoa, on Wednesday inaugurated a Sea Exercise code-named EXERCISE AKERE, which is the Ijaw word for arrest or catch.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the exercise which started in the Central Naval Command Area of Responsibility (AOR) will run from Sept. 23, 2020 to Sept.25, 2020.
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) of CNC, Rear Adm. Suleiman Garba, speaking at the event said that the aim of the exercise is to enforce the use of Automatic Identification System (AIS) by vessels operating in the Commands AOR.
Garba said that the Commands AOR covers one of the major coastal regions of the country which accommodates the bulk of the nations economic assets including oil exploration infrastructure.
According to him, It is therefore part of the CNCs responsibilities to protect these assets and ensure that the nations maritime economic activities are not disrupted.
There are internationally accepted rules guiding vessels operating in the maritime environment to ensure that they are positively identified.
Such rules include: flying visible flags and switching on of the AIS.
He said that the command had observed lately that some vessels operating within its maritime environment were in the habit of switching off their AIS.
He said that such an action used to impede the identifications of such vessels, thus interfering in the nations maritime awareness infrastructure from monitoring or tracking such vessels activities.
He said, This non-observance of the commands rules can be adduced to criminal intent by them so that their nefarious activities will not be detected.
Furthermore, the act of inappropriately switching off AIS can prevent the Nigerian Navy from determining vessels that are genuinely in distress probably due to either piracy or sea robbery attack and deserve rescue.
This act is considered to be a grave infraction of maritime security as it contravenes the rules governing the use and purpose of AIS and the general safety of other seafarers.
The FOC said that the act of deliberately switching off AIS for illegal activities had led to economic losses and sabotaging the nations economic growth and prosperity.
He said that with the approval of the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, the Fleet would fine-tune its process of enforcing the use of AIS and reduce infractions to the lowest possible level.
It is, therefore, the directive of the CNS to use this enforcement processes to help minimise economic sabotage in the nations maritime environment through enhanced patrol and operations.
He also said that Operations CALM WATERS II and SWIFT RESPONSE were still ongoing .
The FOC said that through them, other security agencies within the Commands maritime boundary are making efforts to rid the country of numerous security challenges being encountered.
Despite the increased presence of the Navy in the countrys maritime domain which had led to numerous arrests of culprits, the violation of switching off AIS has persisted.
This is considered as a leading cause of increase in maritime crimes such as: illegal fishing, poaching, sea pirates/robbery, kidnapping, arms smuggling and trafficking, illegal oil bunkering and anti-economic activities.
Garba added that EXERCISE AKERE was inaugurated to complement and consolidate on the achievements recorded so far by the ongoing operations.
We are deploying eight ships and a helicopter to carry out intensive patrols of the waterways and sea lanes.
This is to ensure strict compliance to the use of AIS by vessels in our maritime environment and prevent other maritime crimes for sustainable economic activities to thrive.
The ships will conduct Vessels Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) on all suspected vessels as well as arrest defaulters.
The exercise will also afford the fleet the opportunity to practise other evolutions such as: ship manoeuvres, emergency drills, communication exercises and gunnery firing , the FOC said. (NAN)
Source: NAN News
By Ishaq Zaki
A High Court in Gusau on Wednesday dismissed a suit filed by local government council Chairmen challenging their dissolution.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that thecouncil Chairmen were dissolved by the state government on June 4, 2020.
They filed the suit challenging that as duly elected officials, their tenure had not expired.
Those council chairmen that filed the case challenging their removal include Bakura Local Government, Alhaji Dandare Dakko, Gummi Local Government, Alhaji Sanusi Sarkin-Aski, Shinkafi Local Government Alhaji Sani Galadi, Gusau Local
Delivering judgment, Justice Bello Shinkafi, held:one does not need magnifying glasses to understand the multiplicity of action in the various suits filed at different courts of the same jurisdiction.
Filingtwo cases of the same fact at the court of the same jurisdiction was an abuse of court process, therefore dismissed the case.
Filing multiple suits is a violation of court proceedings as such, the case is hereby dismissed.
He held that the court will not rely on speculation to make a judgment, stressed that after both plaintiffs and defendants were heard, and argued extensively, based on relevant sections of the law, he dismissed the suit filed by plaintiff.
Reacting to the judgment, the counsel to the defendants and the Director of Litigation, Zamfara Ministry of Justice, Surajo Abdullahi described the ruling as a victory to the rule of law.
He said the judgment will serve as a deterrent to counsel to avoid entering same suits in different courts at same time.
In his reaction the counsel to the plaintiffs, Mr Surajo Garba, said he was satisfied with the decision of the court. (NAN)
Source: NAN News
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the death of 23 people, as confirmed by the Federal Road Safety Commission, represents another disturbing and saddening incident in the litany of tragedies that have befallen our country.
The president made his feelings known in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Wednesday.
The presidential aide quoted Buhari as reacting to the petroleum tanker explosion earlier on Wednesday in Lokoja, the Kogi State Capital, which claimed the lives of travellers, school children, bystanders, including some students of Kogi State Polytechnic.
Buhari said he was seriously worried about the frequency of these unfortunate and large scale tragedies in the country which cause needless deaths.
These frequent incidents that result in loss of lives and property are national scandal caused by our indifference to safety standards.
Many accidents are preventable if proper proactive and precautionary measures are put in place or properly observed as routine policies.
Ours is a country where we move on whenever tragedies occur instead of taking preventive safety measures to forestall future calamities.
However, refusal to do the right thing can cause potential tragic problems that harm innocent people, he said.
The president, therefore, called on the countys transport authorities, traffic and road management agencies as well as law enforcement officials to sit up and enforce safety standards with more seriousness.
According to him, Nigeria is not having a shortage of laws and regulations, but the nations problem is lack of zeal to enforce those laws and regulations for the sake of public safety.
He condoled with Kogi State government and the families of the victims of the tragedy.
Source: NAN News
The people of Itele community in Ado Odo/Ota Local Government Area of Ogun on Wednesday besieged the Governors Office in Abeokuta, demanding the appointment and installation of a new traditional ruler in the town.
The residents, led in protest by their Baales (village heads) and other community leaders, said that the absence of a monarch for nearly two decades had impacted negatively on the development of the community.
According to the protesters, the ancient town has been without a monarch after the late traditional ruler passed on over 15 years ago.
Some of the inscriptions on their placards are: Itele people are peace loving; No Ademola, No King and A town without a king is a ghost town.
Others are, Itele people deserve a king and Please, approve our king as nominated by all the kingmakers and family.
Speaking on behalf of the community, one of the Baales in Itele-Ota, Chief Oluyemi Onifade, told newsmen that the kingmakers recently elected Prince Ademola Asorota as the new king.
He, however, said that government had been foot dragging on his ratification and subsequent installation.
He alleged that some groups of land grabbers, allegedly positioning one of them as the new king, had plotted to thwart the process.
Onifade urged the government to speed up the process, warning that any manipulation against the peoples wish would plunge the town into crisis.
Ademola Asorota is an indigene of Itele from Iliwo in Itele. He is never an outsider. He is never an outcast.
What we are asking the government to do is to hasten the process.
Already, the process is ongoing, but please, let us fasten the process so that we can have an Oba in Itele; because it has drawn the town backward to the extent that no meaningful development is taking place in Itele.
We dont want chaos; we dont want crisis in Itele, he submitted.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the protesters were addressed on behalf of the state government by Adesoji Adewuyi, Director of Chieftaincy Affairs at the state Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
He admitted that the selection process, which had started on Itele stool, had been stalled by a litigation.
According to Adewuyi, the ministry has transferred the matter to the Ministry of Justice for a legal advice before the government can take a final decision.
He, however, assured the protesters of governments transparent process to avoid crisis in the community.
Source: NAN News
Primary school pupils
The United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) says it is working hard with the Federal Government toward ensuring safe school reopening considering the importance of health to societal development.
Mrs. Azuka Menkiti, Education Specialist, UNICEF, Abuja made this known on Wednesday while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) during aZonal Stakeholders Dialogue School Re-Opening Readiness in Akwanga, Nasarawa State.
NAN reports that theZonal Stakeholders Dialogue School Re-Opening Readiness was organized by the Federal Government in collaboration with UNICEF.
Menkiti said that UNICEF has developed a template to ensure safe school resumption while soliciting for traditional rulers and relevant stakeholders support in ensuring that the environment is safe for students and teachers.
We have organised a similar meetingon Monday for policy makers made up of state commissioners in order to ensure safe school reopening.
And today, we are organising this stakeholders dialogue for traditional rulers, SBMC, PTA, NAPPS among others on safe school reopening in order to ensure safety of our children and teachers.
UNICEF and Federal Government are committed and working hard in order to ensuring safe school reopening, hence the need for this stakeholer dialogue, she said.
The UNICEF official said that the meeting was aimed at sharing and reviewing school reopening readiness template and to get the views of stakeholders and their support towards school reopening.
We are here specifically to share and review the draft school reopening readiness template as adapted from the school reopening guidelines.
To agree on expected roles and responsibilities at all levels of education governance towards safe return to school.
To commit to minimum expectations and standards for safe return to school and to agree on best decisions in learning recovery upon school resumption, she said.
Mentiki also advocated for the continued use of face masks, frequent hand washing, hand sanitizers by students and teachers among other Nigerians as precautionary measures against COVID-19, adding that COVID-19 is real.
She urged stakeholders to continue to educate and sensitize their children and other people on the need to continue adheringto COVID-19 protocols.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the dialogue had in attendance NCDC, SUBEB, School Basec Management Committee (SBMC), National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), Parents Teachers Association (PTA), traditional rulers among others from the North Central zone.
They all lauded UNICEF and the Federal government on safe school reopening initiative while assuring of their support to ensure the safety of students and teachers.
Source: NAN News
By Emmanuel Oloniruha
The 36 state governors are to hold an emergency meeting over the threat by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to embark on an industrial action to demand that the Federal Government rescinds its decision on the recent hike in the prices of petroleum products and electricity.
The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) disclosed this in a statement issued by its Head, Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, in Abuja on Wednesday.
Bello-Barkindo said that the emergency meeting scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Thursday would seek ways of settling the rift and find a mutual agreement.
He said that all governors were expected to attend the first NGF emergency virtual teleconference to consider the matter which he described as of urgent national importance.
Bello-Barkindo said that the matter needs to be quickly resolved in order not to worsen the already bad situation of Nigerians as caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Source: NAN News