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Kogi, Bayelsa Election: YIAGA Africa tasks INEC on flooded areas to avoid disenfranchisement

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YIAGA Africa on Tuesday urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to design a plan for flooded areas to avoid their being disenfranchised ahead of the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.

The Executive Director, YIAGA Africa, Mr Samson Itodo made this known in the organisation’s third Kogi and Bayelsa pre-election reports in Abuja.

Itodo said YIAGA Africa sent out “Watching The Vote (WTV)’’ observers to Kogi and Bayelsa to monitor the pre-election environment and to look at key issues facing the states, and INEC among others.

He said that some things observed were indicators of violence, violation of electoral codes, thuggery, selling and buying of voter cards, flooded areas usage of weapons and so on.

“This reporting phase also captures the plight of voters in some communities flooded and the issue of where they vote on Election Day including the issue of the threat of the likelihood for politicians to weaponise the elections.

“Some possible polling units affected are located in Kolokuma and Opokuma, Southern Ijaw, Ekeremor, Sagbama, and Yenagoa LGAs .

“In Kogi, polling units affected are located in communities within Ibaji, Kogi, Koton Karfe, Lokoja, Ofu, Ajaokuta, Omala and Idah LGAs, Ibaji appears to be the most severely affected LGA.

“Communities in Onyedega, Unale, Ojila, Odeke, Ejule, Ayah, Analo and Akpanyo ward are specifically affected,’’ he said

Itodo said that INEC needed to properly communicate its plans to ensure that voters in the polling units affected by flood were able to vote.

He said that this should include information on where and how these voters in the affected polling units would vote.

He maintained that the increase in the purchase of voter cards and voter details called for an immediate action from INEC to develop an oversight mechanism on Election Day to prevent manipulation of the voter accreditation process.

The executive director added that INEC should in collaboration with the police commence arrest of politicians going about requesting for PVCs and voter details.

Itodo said that there was also the need for INEC to intensify its voter education as the election was getting closer.

This, he said was especially with respect to voting procedure and messages on INECs plan to ensure credible election to build citizens’ confidence in the process.

He said that due to YIAGA Africa’s observations, INEC needed to ensure proper coordination with the security agencies to guarantee the security of polling officials and ad- hoc staff, especially corps members.

Itodo said that to ensure a peaceful election, there was an ardent need for better inter-agency collaboration and cooperation between both the security agencies toward the elections, especially in hot spots already identified.

The executive director advised that security agencies working on the elections should ensure that all personnel deployed were properly trained.

He encouraged political parties and candidates to focus on issue-based campaigns rather than the shameful act of purchasing PVCs and voter’s details.

According to him, parties should desist and refrain from recruiting thugs, militants, cultists, and criminals, among others to deploy violence to allow for peaceful election.

He appealed to citizens to guard their PVCs and voter details because the PVC was the only identity card that guaranteed their right to vote on Election Day.

Itodo also urged citizens to work with security agencies by reporting incidents of threats of violence or perpetrators of violence.
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Edited by Abiemwense Moru/Ese E. Ekama

Environment

LASG extends clean-up of Lagos Marina to adjoining streets

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  Lagos State Government on Thursday said it was extending its enforcement to areas around MCwen Bridge, down to Muson Centre on Lagos Island.

The Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello, said in a statement on Thursday that the extension became necessary following the successful evacuation of street traders, shanties, illegally parked vehicles and miscreants on outer Marina.

Bello said  the enforcement would extend to the Flag Staff House, Police AIG Zone 2 office road, Onikan to the Race Course Roundabout and stretching to the old State House Marina.

He declared a zero tolerance for street trading, food vendors on roadsides and indiscriminate parking inhibiting the free flow of traffic.

The commissioner also gave operatives of the Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI)  marching orders to continually ensure that no street trader was found in the areas.

He said that they should also maintain motorised patrols to clear any spill over of traders and goods.

The commissioner urged owners of all vehicles abandoned or parked indiscriminately on the roadsides to remove them immediately or risk being towed away.

He directed the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) to deploy more street sweepers to all the listed areas to ensure continuous hygiene in the the areas.

Bello added that Lagos State Parks and Garden Agency (LASPARK) on its part, should on a daily basis clear all vegetal nuisances noticed in the listed areas and roads.

He said that LASPARK should also ensure that some of the areas that had lawns converted into clothes hanging lines are cleaned up immediately.

Bello said the task of cleaning up Lagos and restoring the greenery had begun and that there would be no looking back.

He said that after the completion of the clean-up of Marina and its surrounding areas, the next port of call would be Ikoyi and Victoria Island.

Edited & Vetted By: Chioma Ugboma/Wale Ojetimi
(NAN)

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We’re putting you on 3 months probation, Gov. Matawalle tells new cabinet members

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, Gov. Bello Matawalle of Zamfara says members of his newly inaugurated cabinet would be on a three months probation during which their performances would be measured.

The governor made the remark on Thursday when members of his new cabinet comprising 19 commissioners and 28 special advisers took their oath of office.

“You will be placed on three months’ probation  within which your capability and efficiency will be measured. It is, therefore, my hope that you will live above board so that together we move our state to a higher level of development.

“There will be a quarterly review of your performances as any form of laxity will not be entertained,” the governor cautioned.

He called on members of the public in the state especially the youth to allow the new government functionaries to operate and render their contributions to the development of the state.

“Do not distract them from their official responsibilities through unofficial visits and unnecessary demands. We are putting in place measures to guard against loitering within the premises of government offices.

“The Secretary to the State Government and the Head of Service are to ensure that government offices are adequately secured and public officials discharge their functions as expected without any form of molestation or harassment,” he ordered.

The Nigeria News Agency recalls that the governor submitted the list of 19 commissioner-nominees and that of special advisers for confirmation by the state House of Assembly on Tuesday and they were all screened and cleared the next day leading to their inauguration on Thursday.

The new commissioners are: Alhaji Sulaiman Tunau, Alhaji Aminu Sulaiman, Abdulkadir Buhari Gora, Jinaidu Muhammad, Muhammad Sadiq Maiturare, Zainab Lawal Gummi, Jamilu Aliyu, Dr Nura Isah and Rabiu Garba,

Others are, Sufyanu Bashir Yuguda, Ibrahim Jibo Magayaki, Yahaya Chado Gora, Yahaya Muhammad Kanoma, Sheik Tukur Sani Jangebe, Ibrahim Isah Mayana, Abubakar Abdullahi Tsafe, Barrister Nura Ibrahim Zarumi, Bilyaminu Yusuf Shinkafi and Abubakar Muhammad.

The 28 Special Advisers include Alhaji Abdullahi Gurbinbore a former commissioner in the immediate past Yari-led APC administration in the state, Alhaji Danyaro Abdullahi, Sa’adu Muhammad, Yusuf Zugu former Special Adviser under Yari’s administration, Aliyu Madawaki Adabka, Ahmad Mukhtar Muhammad, Faika Ahmed Muhammad, lbrahim Ma’aji Gusau and Aminu Abdullahi.

Others are, Gazali Shehu Ahmad, Malam Aminu Zailani former Special Adviser Ulama Council to former Governor Abdul’aziz Yari, Aliyu S Fawa, Umar Sani Katuka, Ahmad Muhammad, Lukman Bisallla Majidadi, Muhammad Bello Galadima, Junaidu Sani Kaura, Rufai Abubakar Chiroma, and Umar G Muhammed.

Othes also are Zailani Baffa, Aminu Iliyasu, Ahmad Muhammad Kabir, Abdullahi Habibu Sirajo, Sambo Garba Marafa, Lawali Abubakar, Abdurrahman Bala, Rabi Ibrahim and Sule Magayaki.

Edited & Vetted By: Chioma Ugboma/Tukur Muntari.
(NAN)

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Lagos Dep Gov tasks residents to imbibe maintenance culture

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The Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, on Thursday called on residents to imbibe maintenance culture to compliment the development strides of the state government.

Hamzat gave the advice while addressing participants at a two-day strategy session held in Lagos with the theme: “Building Capacity for a Clearly Defined and Delivered Infrastructure Asset Management Responsibilities in Lagos State”.

NAN reports that the human resource component of the session was organised by the Lagos State Infrastructure Asset Management Agency (LASIAMA).

The deputy governor said that the current administration in the state understood the importance of the agency.

“When we build a house, we must maintain it and make sure that buildings stay relevant for it desired usage so that we don’t build and it just gets deteriorated.

“Government-owned asset must be well maintained so that it can serve the purpose for which it was built

“Everybody that has an asset should endeavor to maintain it,” Hamzat said

He commended LASIAMA for being one of the agencies in the state which was very apt in data collation

He charged them to pull their weight in maintaining all the infrastructure in the state.

The  General Manager of LASIAMA, Mrs Adenike Adekanmbi, said that the workshop was to help them plan better in the maintenance of public infrastructure.

“This workshop is to engage stakeholders, to let people know what we are doing and chart our direction for a better and greater Lagos,” Adekanmbi said. NAN)

Edited & Vetted By: Tajudeen Atitebi
(NAN)

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INEC to conduct  28 outstanding court-ordered re-run in January 2020

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed Jan. 25, 2020 to conduct 28 outstanding court-ordered re-run elections in 12 states.

The commission announced this in a statement issued by

 Education Committee on Thursday in Abuja.
 
Okoye said that the decision was arrived at the 51st regular meeting of INEC held on Thursday when the commission discussed re-run elections arising from petitions following the 2019 general election.

Okoye said that the commission considered  several issues surrounding the rerun elections, including the time needed for preparations, establishing the full details of the affected areas from court judgments as well as the intervention of the Yuletide.

He said that there were so far 30  court-ordered re-run and supplementary re-run elections of which two namely, the re-run election for the Ajaokuta Federal Constituency and the supplementary re-run election for the Kogi West Senatorial District were  conducted on Nov. 30.

“Consequently, there are 28 court-ordered elections still outstanding which are distributed across 12 States of the federation.

“The break down comprises one senatorial district out of 109, 12 federal constituencies out of 360 and 15 state assembly constituencies out of 991.

“In many of the cases, elections are to be re-run in only a few polling units.

“The commission will make available further details of the affected areas, including the polling units on its website in due course.”

The national commissioner said that further details of various activities and timelines for the elections would  be published later

He noted that that arising from the 2019 general election, a-total of 807 post-election petitions were filed at various tribunals.

“Out of this figure, 582 were dismissed, while 183 were withdrawn by the  petitioners.

“Out of the remaining 42, the tribunals ordered reruns in 30 and issuance of certificates of return in 12 cases.”

Okoye assure Nigerians that INEC was doing everything within its control to ensure that elections were free, fair and credible.

“We will continue to ask for the understanding, support and commitment of all stakeholders and agencies involved in elections to achieve this purpose.
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Reps C’ttee demands explanation on IGR spending by PENCOM

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The House of Representatives Committee on Pensions has frowned at the Nigeria Pension Commission (PENCOM) for spending it’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) without the approval of the National Assembly.

The Chairman of the Committee Rep. Alhassan Rurum (APC-Kano) expressed dissatisfaction for the expenditure at an investigative hearing on Thursday in Abuja.

He said that manner in which the finances of PENCOM were being managed by the commission’s management called for concern.

Also, the Deputy Chairman of the committee, Rep. Bamidele Salam (PDPOndo) said that the maagement of PENCOM must explain the spending of N2.13 billion of PENCOM’ IGR on administrative activities without approval.

“The committee also demands that the PENCOM management explain the spending of N369 million of its IGR on ‘Miscellaneous Expenses.

“The spending of N731 million of it’s IGR on capacity building and the spending of N1.8 billion Operational and Monitoring Expenses’, among other huge expenses, all without approval of the National Assembly,” he said.

Responding to the queries, the acting Director-General of PENCOM, Hajia Dahir-Umar, attempted to make verbal clarifications of the issues raised.

According to her, it is the right of PENCOM to start spending its IGR without further recourse to the National Assembly as soon as the president signs the Appropriation Act into Law.

Her verbal explanations were, however, not accepted as the committee insisted on sighting documented approvals and evidence of appropriation for the 2019 spending of PENCOM.

The committee gave the commission up until Monday, Dec. 9 to present to the committee the approvals for 2019 spending of PENCOM.

The committee also demanded the cash flow analysis for the IGR already spent and other necessary documents for clarity.

Edited & Vetted By: Kayode Olaitan
(NAN)

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Senate tells IGP to reduce checkpoints on federal highways

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The Senate has urged the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu to reduce the number of checkpoints on federal highways in the country.

This, according to the Senate, had become necessary to reduce the gridlock on the roads.

The resolutions were reached following the consideration of a motion by Sen. Chukwuka Utazi (PDPEnugu North) during plenary on Thursday.

The upper chamber also urged Adamu to direct officers of the Nigeria Police to eschew all forms of extortion on motorists as alleged.

Utazi’s motion, coming under order 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rules, was entitled “National Security versus Disproportionate Road Checkpoints on Federal highways in the country”.

The senator said that the national security architecture of Nigeria had been stretched beyond its elastic limits.

According to him, acts of criminalities had put pressure on the country’s national security architecture, necessitating and compelling security agencies to confront security breaches headlong.

The legislator stated that while road blocks were necessary to curb criminal activities, its abuse for unintended purpose was reprehensible.

All the resolutions were adopted by the senators after a voice vote by President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan.

Edited & Vetted By: Razak Owolabi/Kayode Olaitan
(NAN)

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