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Bayelsa poll: We will not accept attack on our personnel – INEC

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(NAN)The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned that it would not accept any form of attack on its personnel, ad hoc staff or materials to be deployed for the Bayelsa Nov. 16, governorship election.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu gave the warning on Tuesday in Yenegoa during the commission’s interactive session with the members of the Bayelsa Traditional Rulers Council.

Yakubu said in addition to governorship election in Bayelsa, INEC would be concluding Brass II State Constituency Election in Brass Local Government Area (LGA) on the same day.

He also warned that the commission would not tolerate the issue of vote buying.

He said that as an honest broker, INEC was committed to conducting free, fair, credible, conclusive and acceptable election in Bayelsa.

Yakubu said that while INEC was ready for credible election, the attitude of political class remained a source of concern to the commission.

“We are concern about utterances likely to breach peace during the campaign, on election day and during the collation of results.

“Let me remind the candidates that the commission working with the security will not accept attack on your children, the people will engage on election day.

“We are going to engage over 10,000 young Nigeria across the state.

“We are concerned on mobilisation of armed persons to the voting and collation centres as we experienced in previous elections,” he said.

Yakubu commended the traditional ruler for their continuous support to INEC including the mobilisation of their subjects to register and collect their permanent voter cards as well as advocacy for peaceful elections.

He urged them to continue with the advocacy for peaceful election.

“No one can accuse you of partisanship. You are fathers of all. Your words are laws in communities.

“So we appeal to you to continue to speak to your subjects, the political actors and their supports for peaceful conduct during the electioneering campaigns, the voting process and beyond,” he said.

Yakubu assured that as an umpire, INEC would maintain it neutrality in the electoral process and open poll by 8 a. m. in the state.

INEC is not a political party, INEC has no candidate in the governorship election. The choice of who becomes next governor rest entire in hands of the people of Bayelsa.

“We have delivered all the nonsensitive election in Bayelsa, they are already in the state. We have delivered all the nonsensitive materials for the election in Bayelsa.

“We have secured funding and made funds available to the Resident Electoral Commissioner for the administration of the election. We have no problem whatsoever with that.

“We will deploy straight from our office in Yenegoa to registration area to make it faster for us to open polling units at 8am on election day.

“We are committed to ensuring that voters don’t wait for INEC and materials to arrive. We should be their waiting for voters to arrive at 8 a.m,” he said.

Yakubu said that out of 14 activities scheduled for the state election, INEC had successful concluded 10.

Mr Dibal Yakadi, Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in-charge of zone 5, Benin City, Edo, decried spate of snatching of ballot box during elections.

Yakadi pledged that the police was making adequate arrangement to checkmate irregularities during the gubernatorial poll in the state.

He said that security personnel would be deployed to all the eight local government areas and wards in Bayelsa.

He called for the collaboration of traditional rulers ensuring a successful and violence free violence election in the state.

His Royal Majesty, King Alfred Diete-Spiff, Chairman of Traditional Rulers in the state said the council would continue to support INEC activities, especially in the forthcoming gubernatorial election.

Diete-Spiff expressed concern about people in Internally Displaced Persons in Yenagoa, urging INEC to ensure they vote in the forthcoming election.

He also expressed concern about deployment of huge military officers for election, urging the agency to control its men.(NAN)


OBE/OOCKM/ABI


Edited by Kabir Muhammad

Politics

Reps. determined to prevent Donkey extinction in Nigeria

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The House of Representatives is determined to prevent donkeys from going into extinction in the country.

Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, made the pledge at the launch of a world report on donkeys organised by the Donkey Sanctuary, a UK based organisation on Thursday in Abuja.

The speaker, represented by the Chief Whip of the House, Rep. Mohammed Mongonu (APC-Borno), appreciated Donkey Sanctuary for choosing Nigeria to launch the report.

He said that it showed the commitment of the organisation to the survival of donkeys in the country.

The parliamentarian said that the green chambers had taken cognisance of the indiscriminate killing of donkeys and exportation of its body parts.

Gbajabiamila said that the House had passed a bill to prohibit the act with a jail term of about 10 years to serve as deterrent.

According to him, the penalty will save the donkeys from going into extinction in the country because of its socioeconomic importance.

The speaker said that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria empowered the House to pass laws to either prohibit or encourage importation or exportation of commodities.

Gbajabiamila said that some members of the House were members of the ECOWAS parliament and that they would be sensitised to make it a regional law.

“We will do all it takes to make sure donkeys do not go into extinction in Nigeria because of its sociocultural importance.

“The House will study the report and adopt key recommendations for implementation,” Gbajabiamila said.

In his remarks, the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Garba Datti (APC-Kaduna) said that the House was the voice of the voiceless including the donkeys.

Datti said that when he moved the motion, he knew little or nothing about the activities of the Donkey Sanctuary.

He said he moved the motion by the poor handling of the animal of burden saying that he was an accident animal freedom fighter.

The lawmaker said that clauses one and two of the bill prohibited the killing of donkeys, purchase and exportation of its body parts.

Datti said that clause four of the bill proposed 10 year jail term for offenders and where cooperate organisation or association was guilty, the Chief Executive would be held liable.

The legislator explained that the bill will be transmitted to the Senate for concurrence and then be forwarded to the President for assent.

Earlier, the Chief Executives Officer of Donkey Sanctuary, Mr Mike Baker, said that the world was faced with a crisis according to an independent research; 4.8 million donkeys skin are exported to China every year.

According to Baker, within five years, that will require over half of the world’s population of donkeys.

He said that the current rate could lead to making donkeys a thing of the past in few years to come.

Baker said if that happen, it could lead to hardship and increased labour in areas where donkeys are used to carry goods and services.

Speaking on the report, Baker said that it contained the horrific details of donkeys and their welfare.

Baker said that in some cases many Donkey die while being transported in overcrowded Lorries and the survivals got various degrees of injuries.

He said that they were held in pens without food or water, saying that it was cheaper when the animal dies in that situation than in slaughter house.

Baker said that the choice for Nigeria to host the launch was because the country was leading the way against the trade of donkeys.

He said that was also based on the fact that the country had suffered from the spread of diseases.

Edited by Abiemwense Moru/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Refineries: Reps to investigate alleged $396.33m maintenance cost

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The House of Representatives will investigate the sum of 396.33 million dollars allegedly spent in four years on Turn Around Maintenance of the nation’s three refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna.

This followed a unanimous adoption of a motion moved by Rep. Ifeanyi Momah (APGA-Anambra) during plenary presided over by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Mr Idris Wase, on Thursday.

The motion was titled, “Call for Investigation of the 396.33 million dollars allegedly spent in Four Years on Turn Around Maintenance of the Nation’s Three Refineries”.

Moving the motion, Momah said that Nigeria currently had three major refineries situated with installed capacity to refine 445,000 barrels of oil, enough for domestic consumption and export.

The lawmaker said the objective of domestic consumption and export had not been realised owing to a combination of factors.

He said the factors included corruption and inefficiency in the running of the refineries with regular “Turn Around Maintenances” mismanaged over the years.

“The House also recalled a report in a national daily of Friday Oct. 18, 2019 by the Nigeria National Resource Charter (NNRC) on “Reducing Losses from Refineries Operations”.

The report reviewed the operations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) from a cost perspective of efficiency and value for money.

“It observed the assertion by the NNRC in the report that the NNPC spent a whopping $396.33 million between 2013 and 2017 to carry out repair works under the “Turn Around Maintenance” (TAM) scheme on its three decrepit refineries at Port-Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna.

“It also observed the claim that the NNPC also spent N276.872 billion on operating expenses of the refineries between 2015 and 2018, as well as $36 billion on importation of petroleum products between 2013 and 2017.”

The legislators said that the three refineries contributed less than 10 per cent annually to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

It also noted that the refineries were among the league of refineries with the highest operating costs worldwide and their consolidated capacity utilisation dropped to 6.1 per cent at the end of Sept. 2017.

The House expressed concern that the goal of establishing local refining facilities to contribute to national development continued to elude the country’s oil and gas industry.

“Going by the reckoning of the NNRC, the $36 billion the country spent on importation of petroleum products in the last four years could have built four brand new refineries of similar capacity with the same 650,000 barrels per day.”

The lawmakers also expressed concern on the maintenance costs of the refineries which had remained comatose and left the country dependent on importation of refined petroleum products for its domestic consumption.

The House called on the Federal Government to consider divesting a certain percentage of its shareholding in the refineries to competent investors under transparent and fair bidding process.

It also mandated the Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) to conduct an investigative hearing on the processes of the TAM at the three refineries by the NNPC between 2013 to date.

The committee is expected to report back in eight weeks for further legislative action.

Edited by Abiemwense Moru/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Miyetti Allah congratulates Bello on election victory

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The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MCBAN) has congratulated Gov. Yahaya Bello for emerging victorious in the Nov. 16 governorship election in Kogi State. The state Secretary of the organisation, Mr. Mohammed Suleiman, who gave the commendation in a statement issued in Lokoja on Thursday, described the victory as well-deserved.

He called on the governor to use his second term to provide meaningful development for the state, urging him to embark on programs and projects that would impact positively on the lives of the people.

Suleiman also lauded the Fulani in the state for trooping out in a large number on the election day and for heeding the directive to vote for Bello, saying that their action contributed immensely to the governor’s victory at the polls.

He also called on all Fulani to remain peaceful and resist any attempt to be used by aggrieved politicians to disrupt the peace of the state.

Suleiman urged the governor to carry along all the sections in the state in the distribution of amenities and political appointments in the interest of equity and justice.

He appealed to the people of the state to continue to cooperate and support Bello in his efforts at taking the state to the next level.

According to him, whoever is not satisfied with the outcome of the election should seek legal redress instead of resorting to violence.

Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq

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INEC presents certificate of return to Bello

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Certificate

Lokoja, Nov. 21, 2019 ( NAN) The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has presented certificate of return to Gov. Yahaya Bello for emerging victorious in the Nov. 16 governorship election in Kogi State.

Speaking at the event in Lokoja on Thursday, INEC National Commissioner  in charge of Kogi, Kwara and Nasarawa states, Malam Mohammed Haruna, urged Bello to see his victory as an opportunity to usher in a new beginning for the state.

He asked him to embark on fence mending, bearing in mind the fact that the election was characterised by violence.

The state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. James Apam, said that the issuance of certificate of return to Bello and his deputy, Chief Edward Onoja, climaxed the process of the election held on Nov. 16.

Bello won the election by polling 406,222 votes to beat 24 other candidates, including his closest rival, Mr Musa Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party, who scored 189,704 votes.

Speaking shortly after receiving his certificate, Bello commiserated with relations and friends of those who died during the wide spread violence that characterised the election.

He promised to work with police and other security agencies to identify the perpetrators of the violence and make them to face justice.

Bello promised to use his second term in office to work more for the people of the state, especially in the areas of infrastructural and human development.

The governor also commended the INEC, police and other security agencies for their efforts before, during and after the election.

Edited by Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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We saved FG N15b by blocking leakages on projects – NGO

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Connected Development (CODE), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) on Thursday said it saved the Federal Government more than N15billion by blocking leakages in funded  projects in rural communities.

Mr Hamzat Lawal, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CODE made this known at a news conference to mark the group’s seventh year anniversary and to unveil the new brand of its “Follow The Money Initiative’’.

According to Lawal, Follow The Money Initiative advocates and tracks government and international aid spending in health, water, sanitation hygiene and education across grassroots communities to ensure and promote open government and service delivery.

He said that apart from saving government N15 billion in seven years of its establishment, CODE had also tracked an estimate of 113.6 million dollars in budgeted sums for projects across 181 communities in more than 25 Nigerian states.

“We have improved more than four million lives in the rural areas, practically, we have also ensured that 5million children have gone back to school.

“When you look at the data from 2015 till date, Follow The Money was instrumental to reducing the statistics of out of school children from 15 million to 10.1 million.

“We did this by ensuring that the children go back to school with the basic education resources we tracked.

“Also in tracking basic healthcare, we have ensured that we saved over 15 million lives in various communities because today they now have access to quality primary health care centres .’’

Lawal said that grassroots communities in Nigeria were constantly deprived of access to basic human needs like healthcare, water, and education in spite of billions of naira of tax generated revenues appropriated for these projects.

According to him, most time these funds do not reach the communities so disturbed by this anomaly, CODE is providing marginalised communities in Africa with resources to amplify their voices by creating platforms for dialogue.

He said that the group build capacity of citizens and empower them to hold their elected representatives accountable through the Follow The Money Initiative,

He said that Follow The Money was now in seven countries in Africa namely: Kenya, The Gambia, Cameroun Malawi, Zimbabwe Liberia and Nigeria with Canada at the verge of joining.

Lawal said that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) recently expressed readiness to partner with CODE in the fight against corruption at the grassroots and ensure that government and international funds for projects were appropriately utilised.

He said EFCC agreed to assign a desk officer for CODE to manage and ease communication with the Follow The Money chapter leads across states.

Also speaking , Ms Kevwe Oghide, Lead Communications and Advocacy, CODE said that Follow The Money recently emerged winner of the 2019 Council of Europe’s Democracy Award.

Oghide said that Nigerians suffer because of a broken system which allowed public funds to be siphoned and until public funds begin to work for the good of the people, the dividends of democracy may not be attained.

She called on the media to also help in holding government accountable and to be the voice of the people to ensure that communities get access to social amenities.

She said that Follow The Money unveiled its new corporate identity in line with its mission to track government funds and international aid funding to promote transparency and accountability in governance.

Mr Busayo Morakiyo, Community Engagement Manager, CODE said that all the chapters of CODE were in Abuja to mark its 7th year anniversary and to assess its impact since 2012.

Morakiyo said that CODE empowered youths to track projects in their various rural areas as a form of including youths in the anti-corruption fight and three persons emerged winners.

He said Mr Akinsola Jeremiah from Kwara,Ukeme Anwan from Akwa Ibom and Muhammad Kime from Yobe were the winners and were awarded N100,000 each.

The awardees commended CODE for the privilege and promised to continue to work toward tacking projects in communities to ensure that appropriations were unitised effectively.

Edited by Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

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Be above board, do us proud, PDP urges members in Nasarawa Assembly

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nasarawa State has advised the lawmakers elected on its platform to be above board, do the party proud and enhance the development of the state.

The state PDP Chairman, Mr Francis Orogu, gave the advice on Thursday, when the executive members of the party paid a solidarity visit to the lawmakers in Lafia.

He appealed to them to work hard in improving the wellbeing of their constituents to project the image of the party in positive light.

“Our mission is very simple; we are here to fraternise with you; to advise you and to let you know that we are proud of you.

“I want to call on you to be alive to your responsibilities as minority members, by speaking for the voiceless in the state. Your criticism must, however, be constructive.

“I urge you to continue to stand for the party at all the times and make positive impacts on your constituents, in the interest of development.

“You should also continue to initiate good policies and programmes that will have direct bearing on the lives of your constituents and the state at large,” he appealed.

Orogu also congratulated the lawmakers on their victories at the tribunal and the appellate court.

He assured the lawmakers of their support to enable them succeed in the task ahead of them.

Earlier, Mr Danladi Jatau (PDP-Kokona West), the Minority Leader of the state House of Assembly, commended the party leadership for the visit, assuring that they would not to fail in their responsibilities.

“We, the seven members of this Assembly from the PDP, will never let the party down.

“We are united, focused and competent, and we will not fail in our responsibilities, by God’s grace,” he said.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the seven PDP lawmakers are: Danladi Jatau (Kokona West); David Maiyaki (Karu/Gitata); Abel Bala (Nassarawa Eggon West); Peter Akwe (Obi I); Luka Zhekaba (Obi II); Samuel Tsebe (Akwanga South) and John Osewu (Doma South).

Edited by Philip Dzeremo and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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