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CSOs, observers urge INEC to prosecute staff involved in election malpractice

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Malpractice

Jos,  March 13, 2019 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Coalition of Domestic Observers in Plateau have urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to prosecute any of its staff involved in electoral malpractice.

The leader of the groups, Godwin Okoko, told newsmen at a news conference in Jos on Wednesday, that some INEC staff allegedly compromised during the elections.

Okoko cited two cases where an electoral officer conveyed election materials from the Central Bank in Jos to a local government without security escort and a returning officer from Bokkos who absconded with election results.

According to him, INEC should also thoroughly verify the activities of its ad-hoc staff.

“We, the members of the above groups, agreed to come together to deepen and strengthen democratic practice in Nigeria through the strengthening of electoral structures and processes.

“It has become imperative to address you today on the just-concluded elections held on March 9, in Plateau and other states of the Federation.

“The elections, you are aware, were to elect governors and members of the States House of Assembly.

“We observed the elections across the seventeen (17) local government councils in Plateau.

“Our members were stationed in more than 2, 500 polling units, in all Registration Area Centres (RACs), Local Government Area Results Collation Centres as well as State Collation Centre.

“We had 12 roving observers in the Northern Senatorial Zone of the state, 13 roving observers in Central Senatorial Zone and 15 roving observers in Southern Senatorial Zone of the state,” he said.

Okoko said that the groups observed the elections were generally peaceful and orderly, but that there was voter apathy in most polling units visited across the state.

He, however, commended INEC for early arrival of officials, sensitive and non sensitive materials and early set up of polling units and voting points.

“Smart card readers in almost 98 per cent of polling units visited were functional, compared to the challenges encountered in the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

“Adhoc staff acted more professional than in the Presidential and National Assembly elections.”

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Defence chief tasks attachés, aides on prudent utilisation of resources

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The Chief Of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, has urged Nigerian Defence Advisers and Attachés to ensure prudent and judicious utilisation of resources allocated to them in their various places of assignment.

Olonisakin made the call at the closing of the Defence Advisers and Attachés 2019 Annual Conference on Friday in Abuja.

Olonisakin, who was represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Defence Headquarters, AVM M.A Balogun, said the call was in view of dwindling government resources.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the theme of the conference was “Enhancing Inter Agency Collaboration in Response to Current and Anticipated Threats in Nigeria’s Security Environment: Role of the Defence Attaches System.”

He said that the authorities had taken cognisance of the administrative constraints facing the various defence sections as discussed during the conference.

“I would like to assure you that the agency, in conjunction with Ministry of Defence, DHQ and services headquarters, will do all that is within their powers to alleviate the identified challenges.

“This is in order to ensure that you carryout your jobs with little or no stress.

“I will thus urge you all to ensure prudent and judicious utilisation of resources allocated to you in view of dwindling government resources,” he said.

Olonisakin sad that the conference had enabled the participants to articulate and produce a number of resolutions that would enhance the productivity of the defence section.

He said the conference also articulated resolutions in areas of evolving collaborations among security agencies towards combating the nation’s contemporary security challenges as well as developing synergy among them.

“Be reassured that these resolutions will be given the attention they deserve at the appropriate quarters,” he added.

He also called on the attachés to deploy the knowledge they acquired during the conference and contribute more effectively to the performance of their sections.

“In the last 13 days, the defence attaches and advisers have been taken through a refresher training, which culminated in the defence advisers annual conference.

“The idea of the refresher training is to bring the skills of the defence advisers up to date for increased and effective performance of their duties.

The annual conference had in attendance, the defense attachés/advisers deployed to different countries of the world as well as top military chiefs and past Chiefs of Defence Intelligence.

Edited by Ejike Obeta/Sadiya Hamza

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Gombe govt. moves to avert closure of airport, promises to settle debt owed FAAN

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Gov. Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State has promised to settle the debt owed the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) by the state government in order to avert the closure of Gombe Airport.

This was contained in a statement issued by Mr Ismaila Misilli, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the governor and made available to newsmen on Friday, in Gombe.

According to the statement, the governor has waded in and made a commitment to settle the debt which had accrued since the tenure of the last administration.

He stated that the move by the governor was as a result of the notice given by FAAN, indicating its resolve to withdraw the services of its aviation security and aerodrome rescue and fire fighting personnel.

Misilli said that the FAAN’s threat was to effectively shut down operations at the airport from Friday, Nov. 15.

He stated that FAAN had, in April, threatened to shut down the airport and eight others that were indebted to it after the earlier ultimatum had lapsed.

“On coming to office in May, Gov. Inuwa Yahaya had promised to intervene to get FAAN to continue with its services at the airport.

“Following the latest notice, the state government has made a commitment to make another payment by the end of November and offsetting the outstanding debts in subsequent months,” Misilli said.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that FAAN had, on May 3, said that the airport, owned by the Gombe State government, was owing N607.9 million.

Edited by Remi Koleoso and ‘Wale Sadeeq

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Yuletide: FRSC advises motorists not to be distracted by family problems

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The Ogun Command of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), ahead of yuletide, has advised motorists not to be distracted by family problems while driving to avoid accident.

Mr Clement Oladele, Ogun Sector Commander of FRSC, gave the advice during the 2019 Ember Months Campaign organised by Idiroko Command in Idiroko, Ogun.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the campaign was tagged: “Road safety is a state of mind; road crashes is an absence of mind. Stay alert, stay alive’’.

Oladele noted that the advice became necessary to motorists as driving required full concentration, saying that any slight distraction would lead to mishap on the highways.

The sector commander said that no fewer than 314 people had died this year across the state due to some attitude of some drivers.

“Motorists need to change as their attitude may cause sorrow to somebody when an unexpected crash leading to the death of loved ones happened through them.

“They can also cause sorrow to members of any family if they drive recklessly and against traffic, which sometime resulted to loss of a `bread winner’,’’ he said.

The FRSC enjoined motorists to drive with caution and adhere strictly to 50km per hour speed limit where rehabilitation work is ongoing.

Oladele, however, said that the Federal Government was making efforts in repairing the bad roads in order to make the nation’s highways safer for people.

Earlier, Mr Akinwunmi Olaluwoye, Idiroko Unit Commander of FRSC, said that negative attitude of some drivers had contributed to unnecessary loss of lives and property.

Olaluwoye suggested a conducive environment for ease of doing business through improved road users’ behaviour so as to achieve economic growth and development.

The unit commander said that some of the crashes were caused by non-compliance with traffic rules and regulations by the drivers.

“It is in view of this that the FRSC usually intensifies its public enlightenment programme, especially during this period to educate motorists and road users on the importance of safety.

“Also to sensitise motorists and the populace on the proper usage of the highways to guide against avoidable road traffic crashes during festivals like Christmas and New Year,’’ he said.

Edited by Adeleye Ajayi

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2 die, 17 vehicles burnt in Sango-Ota tanker accident

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Two persons were confirmed dead and six others injured in a fire accident involving a petroleum tanker at Bible College Bus-stop along the LagosAbeokuta Expressway on Thursday night.

Ganiyu Akeem, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Assistant Corps Commander in Ota, told the Nigeria News Agency that 17 vehicles were also burnt in the accident that happened around 11.55 p.m. on Thursday night.

He said the incident happened when the lone tanker fell and spilled its inflammable content into the drainage channel.

He said the tanker ignited the fire that burnt many vehicles.

Akeem said 17 vehicles were affected, which included one tanker trailer, 10 articulated vehicles, three cars and three commercial buses.

NAN correspondents who visited the accident scene in the early hours of Friday report that Sango Toll Gate premises of the FRSC was also affected.

Also, Mr Adekunle Ajibade, an official of the Ogun State Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps (TRACE), told NAN that the fuel-laden truck was heading to Lagos from Sango-Ota when it developed a gear fault and overturned in the process.

“The driver was trying to change the gear of the vehicle and lost control.

“The truck overturned and caught fire immediately,’’ Ajibade said.

The FRSC commander said that seven fire-fighting trucks, three from Ogun and four from Lagos, were promptly mobilised to the scene.

“Thank God, we were able to stop the vehicles coming from Lagos at the Toll-gate on LagosAbeokuta Expressway in good time.

“We rescued one person and took him to Ota General Hospital.

“We also evacuated two corpses that were burnt beyond recognition and we took them in our ambulance to Ifo General Mortuary.

/WOJ

Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde/Wale Ojetimi

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Buhari mourns Alex Akinyele, condoles with govt., people of Ondo

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Condolence

Abuja, Nov. 15, 2019 President Muhammadu Buhari has commiserated with family of former Minister of Information, Chief Alex Akinyele, who passed away on Thursday night.

The President’s condolence message is conveyed through a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Friday.

President Buhari also commiserated with the government and people of Ondo State, friends and professional colleagues of the departed, urging them to take solace in the lasting legacies of the former colorful minister.

President Buhari affirmed that Akinyele’s scrupulousness, discipline and diligence were always obvious to those who worked closely with him, and his love for the nation, which was zealously demonstrated through providing exemplary leadership.

The President prayed that the Almighty God will grant the soul of the former minister eternal rest, and comfort all members of his family.

Akinyele, who died at the age of 81, was a trained teacher and Public Relations Specialist, and had also served as Chairman of National Sports Commission and Chairman of National Reconciliation Committee.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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Refugees commission partners with Rochas foundation to build schools in IDPs camps

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The National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), says it is partnering with Rochas Foundation to establish formal school system within IDPs camps across the country by January 2020.

The Federal Commissioner, NCFRMI, Sen. Basheeru Mohammed disclosed this when Rochas Foundation, led by the founder, Sen. Rochas Okorocha paid him courtesy visit in Abuja on Thursday.

Mohammed said the aim was to reduce the number of out-of-school children among IDPs across the country.

According to him, one of the challenges that Nigeria is facing is providing durable solutions to over 2.3 million internally displaced persons.

“We also have about 1,000 formal and informal IDPs camps spread across the country, in the North-east alone, we have 289 camps and 18 in the FCT.

“As a commission we have scale up interventions in the provision of back to school kits to IDPs children in different camps.

“The Commission has the mandate to coordinate all the humanitarian responses involving Nigerians, which include the refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons as well as the returnees and stateless persons.

“Our focus as the coordinating body for the aforementioned entities is to provide lasting solutions to all through the effective utilization of data, research and planning, so that proper resettlement and reintegration of victims into the system will be achieved,’’ he said.

He also commended Okorocha for his support to Nigerian Children more especially for making education accessible to every Nigerian child.

In his response, Okorocha said that his foundation has the mandate to provide succour to the less privileged, especially the vulnerable children in the society through free and quality education.

He noted that IDPs camps were not a comfortable place as children were exposed to so many challenges.

“So, we are here to partner with the commission to see how we can make life better for these children; we are aware of the fact that government is making a lot of efforts toward addressing this ugly situation.

“But in spite of the effort of the government there are still a lot of challenges, especially in the education sector, so we are here to work out modalities together to address the ugly situation,’’ he said.

According to him, Rochas Foundation has been in the forefront of campaign for free education for the vulnerable.

“We believe that education must be made free so that the children of the poor can go to school,’’ he said.

Okorocha, therefore, encouraged good and privileged Nigerians to assist in ensuring that out-of-school children go back to school.

He said that the Foundation will build a temporary structure in the IDPs camps to encourage learning and teaching in camps, saying that every child counts irrespective of the background.

Nigeria News Agency reports that Rochas Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation, is founded by Rochas Okorocha, a former governor and senator representing Imo West senatorial district at the 9th Nigerian Senate.

The Foundation as a charity organisation has a number of special schools across the country and gives scholarship to the less privileged children in the society.

Edited by Felix Ajide

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