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Dickson calls for violence-free guber election in Bayelsa

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Bayelsa Governor, Mr Seriake Dickson has called for a violence-free gubernatorial election in the state as the citizens go to the poll on Nov. 16.

Dickson made the call on Friday while speaking with newsmen on the sidelines of the Third Annual Conference of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP) in Lagos.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had announced that 45 political parties would contest the governorship election in Bayelsa.

Dickson said :” The election is coming and we call for a free and fair election.

“We call for impartiality and professionalism on the part of all the agencies and institutions. ”

The governor alleged that recent elections in the country had been characterised by violence, stressing that the people Bayelsa should be allowed to vote for a candidate of their choice.

“They should be allowed to vote for a candidate that understands the state, a candidate that will continue with the massive infrastructural development that has come to stay in Bayelsa, he said.

Dickson also dismissed the claim by Mr Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), that the APC would win the election.

The governor said the APC could not win in a free and fair election in Bayelsa.  (NAN)

ASO/SOA


(NAN)

Edited by Oluwole Sogunle

Politics

Hate speech bill will stifle freedom of expression — Odumakin

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Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, President, Centre for Change, says the hate speech bill before the National Assembly has the potential of stifling freedom of expression of Nigerians.

Odumakin, who said this  in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Wednesday in Lagos, said the bill had the potential of permanently gagging the freedom of the press in the country.

“Let it be noted that many of us are strongly against every person or group who disseminates fake news.

“But the fact remains that Nigeria already has enough laws to deal appropriately with anyone culpable of committing such offences.

“One significant reactionary element of the proposed legislation is the attempt to create an agency for prosecuting alleged offenders, which in my view is insensitive.

“I therefore think the proponents of this bill should immediately have a rethink,” she said.

NAN reports that reaction have continued to trail the Senate reintroduced bill that seeks to penalise persons found guilty of hate speech.

The Deputy Chief Whip, Sen. Aliyu Abdullahi, had on Tuesday, Nov. 5, sponsored the National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech Bill.

It prescribes death penalty for anyone found guilty of spreading falsehood that leads to the death of another person.

The bill also seeks the establishment of a National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech to help investigate and prosecute offenders.

(Edited by Kevin Okunzuwa/Peter Ejiofor)

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Politics

Gov. Dickson inaugurates 41-member Transition Committee

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Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa on Tuesday inaugurated a 41-member Transition Committee in readiness for the inauguration of the incoming administration in the state.

Chief David Lyon of the All Progressives Congress (APC) won the Nov. 16 governorship election and is slated to assume office on Feb. 14, 2020.

The committee which has the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Kemela Okara, as Chairman, also has Mr Talford Ongolo as Deputy Chairman and Mr Luka Obiri as Secretary.

Members of the committee which includes all serving Commissioners, five Permanent Secretaries and political appointees was inaugurated on Tuesday at the Governor’s Conference Room, Government House, Yenagoa.

A statement by Mr Fidelis Soriwei, Chief Press secretary to Gov. Dickson, said the constitution of the Transition Committee was in line with the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Dickson described the governorship election won by the APC on Nov. 16 as a charade.

He,however, noted that irrespective of the outcome of the several initiatives being taken by the PDP, there was still need for a proper handover process to be initiated.

“Knowing that what transpired is not an election, we have to set up a transition committee the first time in our democratic rule.

“I thank God for the grace and enablement for making this possible for eight years and with a lot of achievements,” Dickson said.

According to Dickson, the purpose of the committee is to articulate, record and document all the policies, programmes, projects and achievements of the administration in all sectors in eight years.

“The purpose is to articulate and record all that we have achieved and done in all sectors as a state.

“That’s why all commissioners are part of this committee to enable you to present a scorecard of all our policies and programmes both completed and ongoing projects.”

He said that the outcome of the work  would be handed over in various forms to the incoming administration.

He said the achievements of his administration would be a testimony while Bayelsa people were assured of continually enjoying the dividends of democracy.

He thanked members of the committee for their diligence, sacrifice and manner they served his administration.

In his address, the chairman of the committee, Okara, gave the assurance that before the end of the year the committee would complete its assigned task.

The assignment includes the financial position of the state, in terms of assets and liabilities, in a clear document.

He added that they would produce a very thorough and standard report that other states would envy.

Edited by Donald Ugwu

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Kogi, Bayelsa polls: PDP calls for investigation into violence

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Violence

Abuja, Nov. 19, 2019 The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday called for “immediate investigation” into the violence that characterised the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections so as to fish out the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

The party, in a statement in Abuja, particularly decried the killing of its Women Leader, Mrs. Acheju Abuh, who was reportedly burnt in her house.

The statement was signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan.

“Our party is grieved by the killing of our members and other innocent Nigerians by thugs that disrupted the electoral process.

“While invoking the wrath of God on the perpetrators of the gruesome killings, the party calls on the Police to immediately track down and bring their killers to book.

“Indeed, their deaths will never be in vain as the mandates for which they were killed will surely be recovered,” he said.

Ologbondiyan claimed that the elections were rigged and declared that the results as announced by the electoral umpire would not stand.

“The PDP leadership will not fold its hands and watch the mandates clearly given to its candidates, Musa Wada in

Kogi and Sen. Douye Diri in Bayelsa, taken away.

“The Inspector-General of Police and the Chairman of INEC should look into the alleged cases of violence and manipulation that characterised the elections,” he said, adding that truth and justice would always prevail.

According to him, the PDP is determinaed to use all legitimate means to “retrieve our mandate in Kogi and Bayelsa”.

“The PDP will also file legitimate actions against identified INEC and security officials who compromised their roles in the election,” he said.

He urged PDP members to remain calm, keep the faith and be united while the National Working Committee commences lawful actions toward recovering the mandates.

Edited by Ephraims Sheyin

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Politics

Senate probes GenCos,DisCos,over unsteady power supply

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Probe

Abuja,Nov.19,2019The Senate has mandated its Committee on Power to investigate the activities of power generating and distribution companies to unravel the cause of unsteady power supply in Nigeria.

The investigating committee has four weeks within which to submit its report to the Senate for consideration.

The decision by the upper chamber to probe power generation, transmission and distribution in the country was reached sequel to a motion considered during plenary on Tuesday.

Sen.Chukwuka Utazi, (PDPEnugu North) who sponsored the motion said Nigeria, with a population of 200 million and an annual growth rate of 2.6 percent per annum, is the seventh most populous nation on earth.

According to Utazi, the power generating or installed capacity of Nigeria in relation to its population and Gross Domestic Product cannot place the country to compete favourably in terms of development with other nations.

He, therefore, called on the Federal Government to find solutions to the power deficits faced by the country.

Citing Indonesia and Philippines as examples, the lawmaker noted that both countries with a population of 267 million and 107 million, respectively, have installed power capacity of 60,000 MW and generating capacity of 42,465 MW as well as installed capacity of 20,055 MW and generating capacity of 16,271ME.

The lawmaker while expressing optimism that Nigeria can set a realisable target of generating capacity of 100,000 MW in the next ten years, said same can be achieved through a mix of energy sources like natural gas, hydro, coal, wind and renewable energy.

He added that the various zones in the country are naturally positioned to take advantage of the various energy mix and renewables, particularly solar energy.

“The northern part of the country with vast expanse of land can tap into large solar farms while the southern parts of the country with significant reserves of natural gas and cola can generate power from same.

“Both the north and South have large water bodies that can still be dammed for hydro,” Utazi said.

The lawmaker further posited that Nigeria can improve on its transmission infrastructure by up-scaling its networks from the current 330kv and 132kv to 765kv super grid to enable big power plants to send power through such grid over long distances.

He added that beyond generation and transmission, Distribution Companies (DisCos) lack the financial and technical capacities required, thereby resulting in their inability to pay for power which Generation Companies (GenCos) deliver to the grid.

Underscoring the motive behind the privatization of the power sector in 2013, Utazi stressed that the objective in privatizing power distribution assets was not to achieve highest financial bids.

According to him, it is rather to get capable companies that can achieve the lowest Average Technical Commercial and Collection losses within five years.

In her contribution, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu (APC-Lagos Central) said the failure of the power sector was largely due to the refusal of the leadership of past governments to embrace new ideas.

According to her, “Government should embrace new ideas that would take Nigeria to the next level.”

Another lawmaker, Sen. Jibrin Barau (APC- Kano North) said uninterrupted power supply remains a fundamental requirement needed in a modern economy.

The lawmaker, who bemoaned previous policies particularly under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, said the power problems of the country remain the same despite their introduction.

He, therefore, called on the Federal Government to engage all stakeholders in the power sector with a view to coming up with workable solutions to Nigeria’s power crisis.

“We need to bring experts together to look at the power sector as a whole in a bid to realising these targets. Our companies are now being moved to Ghana, this is because of power.

“The Committee on Power should get everybody together. Government cannot do it alone. Let’s bring everybody together so we can find a lasting solution to this problem,” Barau stressed.

Sen. representing Cross River South, Gershom Bassey, said what Nigeria needs to resolve its power problem is to develop the country’s transmission infrastructure.

According to him, Nigeria’s transmission infrastructure currently lacks the capacity to withstand an increase to power generation.

The lawmaker, however, advised the Federal Government to build on existing policy frameworks inherited from past administrations.

Bala Ibn Na’Allah (APC –Kebbi ) alleged that some high placed persons were sabotaging efforts by the Federal government to fix the power problems in the country.

He said: “Some people have sworn that nothing works in the power sector and had done everything possible to frustrate efforts by government to improve power generation and distribution.

“There is need to break their strong hold on electricity generation and distribution.”

Sen. Ibrahim Gobir (APC-Sokoto ) said the problem of the nation’s power sector was lack of political will, noting “our problem is lack of political will drive  the power sector.”

He stressed the need to review the nation’s energy bill, noting that the generation and distribution of power could be decentralised to enable state and local government areas to participate in the sector to improve in the distribution.

Sen. Rochas Okorocha (Imo-West) cautioned that if the federal government wants to solve power problem it must concede the generation and distribution of power to  Public Private participation (PPP), because of the huge capital requirement to drive the sector government can not successfully meet the nation’s power challengies.

Accordingly, the Senate urged the Federal Government to upgrade the transmission infrastructure of Nigeria’s power grid for a more efficient transmission of power.

While advocating for 100,000 megawatts installed capacity to match size of Nigeria’s economy and population, it further urged Federal Government to break-up the power distribution companies into smaller, more manageable distribution companies for optimal performance.

The lawmakers also urged the Federal Government to devise power generation models that are embedded for economic and industrial clusters, hinging around regional grids that are semi-autonomous but interconnected to the national grid .

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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LASG to prosecute assailants of traffic officers

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The Lagos State Government has vowed to prosecute anyone caught assaulting officers in the course of carrying out their official duties and responsibilities.

Mr Olajide Oduyoye, General Manager, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), in a statement on Tuesday, condemned the recent increase in reported cases of assault on Lagos State Traffic officers by unscrupulous members of the public.

Oduyoye recalled a recent incident of assault by a commercial bus driver at Costain, saying that the Lagos State Government would, henceforth, prosecute and severely punish offenders.

He said that the state would also prosecute and punish motorists and other road users who violated traffic laws.

According to him, the driver of a commercial bus with registration number FST 300 XV, now at large, plying the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor contrary to the law, was accosted by a Traffic Officer at Costain, Iponri, Surulere.

”The driver, however, knocked down the officer as well as the commercial motorcyclist and injured his passenger while trying to escape enforcement,” he said.

Oduyoye gave assurance that the commercial bus driver would be apprehended and warned members of the public to desist from attacking LASTMA officials in the course of their traffic control duties.

Meanwhile, the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), has said that a five-count charge has been instituted against the wanted driver at the Special Offences Court of Lagos State sitting at Oshodi, Lagos.

The five-count charge includes willful obstruction, driving against oncoming traffic, physical assault of traffic officers, resisting arrest by vandalising LASTMA vehicle and use of restricted BRT corridor.

The Magistrate, before adjourning the case to Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019, granted the two applications made by the prosecution counsel – Abiola Olateju, Kehinde Akerele and Aderemi Amu – that the vehicle be held in the custody of the Lagos State Taskforce on Special Offences until the defendant appears.

The Magistrate said that the vehicle shall be forfeited to government after the expiration of one month.

Edited by Wale Ojetimi

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Politics

Sanwo-Olu flags off “Exercise Crocodile Smile IV” in Lagos, urges citizens to be security conscious

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Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has assured the Nigerian Army of his administration’s continued support as it engaged in intensive security duties in the state.

Sanwo-Olu made this known on Tuesday during the flag-off of Exercise Crocodile Smile IV by 81 Division of the Nigerian Army held at Takwa Bay, Lagos.

Represented by his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, Sanwo-Olu commended the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, for his thoughtfulness and strategic foresight in conducting Exercise Crocodile Smile IV ahead of the Yuletide.

He said that the idea was geared towards ensuring peace and security within the South-West and South-South region during the festive period.

“From antecedents, the security issues prevalent within the Yuletide are not lost on any of us as criminal elements move to amass wealth through underhanded means during the period,” he said.

He said that Exercise Crocodile Smile IV was a welcome development that promised to ensure that criminal elements had no safe haven within the period.

“I commend the army for their resilience and determination towards providing security in Lagos and other states across the country including the Federal Capital Territory,” Sanwo-Olu said.

While seeking support for security operatives, the governor alluded to the need for citizens to be security conscious.

“They should notice what is going on in their environment and adopt the popular saying of ‘see something and say something’.

“If you see something wrong make sure you act.

“The police and other security personnel are not magicians, they do not look at oracle, they listen to information.

“It is for all of us to conduct ourselves and just be our neighbours keeper,” he said.

Commenting on the clean-up of the beaches as part of efforts to boost tourism, the governor urged citizens to own the beaches and treat them as their homestead by properly disposing their plastics and wastes.

Earlier in his remarks, Buratai, represented by Major-General John Irefin, GOC 81 Division, Nigerian Army, said that Exercise Crocodile Smile IV was part of the Army’s continuous commitment to combating security challenges in the country.

He added that the exercise would reduce to the barest minimum the prevailing security threat in the riverine environment such as illegal oil bunkering, militancy, kidnapping, pipeline vandalism, cultism and other common sundry crimes.

Buratai said that the exercise, aimed at sharpening the professional skills of security personnel, would be intelligence-driven and portray real time operation.

“This will be in line with the military’s constitutional role of conducting internal security operation to aid civil authority,” the COAS said.

He said that it would also provide good opportunity for collaboration with other services and relevant security agencies in order to strengthen greater inter- agency cooperation in combating crime and criminality in the country.

Edited by Wale Ojetimi

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