INEC Records 80% PVC Distribution In Yobe

PVCs-Customs-INECThe Independent National Electoral Commission in Nigeria has recorded 80 per cent distribution of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) in Yobe State, one of the volatile states in the north-eastern part of the oil rich nation.

The spokesman for the commission, in Yobe State, Bagudu Nma, said, “so far 80 per cent of registered voters have collected their voter cards, as centres have been open for collection across the 17 Local Government Areas of the state”.

On the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) as a result of the prevailing Boko Haram insurgency in the state, Mr Nma said two camps had been opened for the two affected Local Government Councils of Gujba and Gulani.

He said Gujba voters would cast their votes in Damaturu, the state capital while electorates in Gulani would exercise their franchise in neighbouring Fika.

In the state capital, registered voters queued in their numbers to collect their voter cards, with the complain that the commission was grossly under staff as they hardly distribute the cards effectively.

They called for employment of more staff if the deadline of February 8 must be met.

The staff responsible for the PVC distribution in Damaturu are grossly inadequate, as sourcing and issuing of cards to the rightful owners take too much time.

A staff ought to be charged with the responsibility of attending to a ward. But as it is at the venue, the limited number will hardly beat the deadline.

“We have spent over three hours here and we are yet to be attended to. They are too slow in the distribution because they are few. A staff supposed to attend to a ward but that is not the case,” one of the electorates waiting to get his card said.

Meanwhile, trainings for electoral supervisors and officers have commenced across the state.

A visit to the venue of the training revealed that participants are being tutored on electoral proceedings, as they relate to modern times.

Similarly, a one-day voter awareness campaign on voter education had also been organised in the state.

Mr Hassan Garba, who is a resource person at the training, said the turnouts had been generally impressive. He said that the participants would be equipped with the required knowledge of electoral innovations.

A participant at the training, Mr Salisu Garba, said the training would avail them the opportunity to know more about the new innovations concerning the card readers which would tackle the issue of multiple voting recorded in the past.

INEC Says IDPs Outside Formal Camps ‘Will Not Vote’

displaced personsThe Independent National Electoral Commissions says Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), who are not in government camps in the north eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, will not participate in the February elections.

According to the Chairman of the INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, lack of accurate data for the IDPs living in informal camps within and outside those states had made it impossible for INEC to plan for them in the elections.

The INEC boss made the clarification in Abuja on Tuesday at a meeting with representatives from the states with affected persons.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Representative in Nigeria, Angele Dikongue-Atangana, had put the number of IDPs in Nigeria’s north-east at  650,000.

Majority of the displaced persons were displaced as a result of insurrections in region by members of the Boko Haram terrorist group. The over five years insurgency has also forced some persons in the region to flee to neighbouring Niger and Chad  for refuge, while others are in camps not under government control.

Professor Jega analysed the commission’s preparedness to conduct elections in the states – Adamawa, Borno and Yobe – stressing that the commission had made provision for only IDPs living in formal camps to participate in the February polls.

Some governors from the affected north-east states insisted that security issues should not be underplayed even if it would mean shifting the elections date.

But the Governor of Borno State, Governor Kashim Shettima, insisted that no electorate should be denied the right to vote under any guise.

Other representatives expressed concerns over the possibility of incumbents using the IDPs to their own advantages.

Having listened to the submissions from these stakeholders, the INEC is expected to make some adjustments and come up with a better template for the IDPs during the elections.

IDPS: Northern Governors’ Wives Donate Relief Items Worth 40M

internally-displaced-persons-NEMARelief items worth 40 million naira have been donated to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Maiduguri, north east Nigeria by wives of the northern governors.

The wife of the Benue State Governor, Mrs Yemisi Suswam who led wives of other northern governors to Borno State said the gesture is to provide succor for Nigerians who have suffered from the activities of the insurgents.

She appealed to the Governor of Borno State not to be deterred by the incessant attacks by members of the Boko haram sect but to focus on how to improve the lives of his people.

Governor Kashim Shetimma, who received the ladies, thanked them for the show of love to the people and assured them that the government will ensure that insecurity will soon be a part of history.

Hundreds of internally displaced persons (IDPs) are presently in various camps in the city of Maiduguri, the Borno state capital as well as other parts of the country.

Many Nigerians are eager to see that the war against the insurgents will soon be won so that displaced persons can reunite with their families and loved ones.

Northern Governors’ Wives Donate Relief Items To IDPs In Nasarawa State

internally-displaced-persons-NEMAWifes of Northern Governors Forum on Wednesday donated relief materials to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Nasarawa State.

Addressing the governors’ wives, the Governor of the State, Mr Tanko Al-makura,pledge to compliment the social responsibility efforts of the women.

The forum, which met with the Governor at the Government House in Lafia was led by its chairperson, Miss Yemisi Suswam.

Mr Al-makura and the wives of northern governors said they share the pains of IDPs across the country, stressing the need for such donation which was done in Benue and Borno state to be sustained.

The governor and his guest share the same thought on how to alleviate the plight of IDPs across the state and other parts of Nigeria.

Making the presentation of the relief materials worth millions of naira to the governor for onward distribution to IDPs the state, Miss Yemisi Suswam, called for inclusive effort in addressing insecurity in the north-east.

The wives of northern governors’ forum had last year began a social responsibility programme of reaching out to IDPs across Nigeria and Nasarawa state is the third to benefit from the gesture.

INEC Considering Various Options To Conduct Elections In N/East

Kayode_IdowuChief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Kayode Idowu, on Wednesday said the electoral umpire was prepared to conduct elections everywhere in Nigeria, including the troubled North East, where the war against Boko Haram rages, and it was considering various options to help citizens there cast their votes in the forthcoming elections.

However, he stressed that the electoral umpire was not a security agency and so it was relying on the security agencies to do their work.

“We are ready to conduct elections everywhere in Nigeria”, he insisted, noting that the agency had proven this by assigning REC to the states in the North East, “to take charge of the conduct of elections there”.

“The Commission is ready to go but it is not a security agency and therefore, it has to work with and rely on those who have been constitutionally empowered to provide security to do its work in that area (North East) and every other area,” Idowu said, on Sunrise Daily.

However, Idowu noted that the task force saddled with planning how Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North East will vote submitted its report which was running through the “decision making processes of the commission”.

According to him, various options were also being considered, including creating a safe haven where as many who live in the troubled regions or outside the country could come to cast their votes.

“One option, for instance, is to designate a safe haven, because the law prescribes constituency and residency voting.

“You can designate a safe area as a particular constituency and invite everybody who belongs to that constituency, wherever they dwell in the country, outside the country presently, to come over to that place and cast their vote.”

Idowu’s disclosure is coming after several bodies and individuals had raised concerns over the threat that many in the North East would not be able to vote.

In response, the umpire through Mr Idowu has said “there are many options that the Commission can work with, but essentially it will still need security cover to do these things”.

Police arrest 18 over Fulani-Gwari clash in Abuja

The police in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have arrested 18 suspects in connection with last weekend violent clash between Fulani herdsmen and Gwari communities in Gwako village in Gwagwalada area council.

The Federal Capital Police Chief; Mr Adenrele Shinaaba told Channels Television in Abuja that the suspects have given useful information to the police and investigations are near completion.

On its part, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) stated that although some of the victims have been released from the hospital while a four year old boy died yesterday at the camp as a result of inadequate medical treatment.

At the Internally Displaced Peoples’ (IDPs’) camp within the University of Abuja, workers of the National Emergency Management Agency were seen trying to move the displaced people to a new location provided by the University authority until a counter directive was given by the police to stop the plan for security reasons.

Complaints of disorderliness and open defecation were made by the IDPs around the school premises.

Inspite of this, the head of rescue team; Mr Lugard Slaku says there is no cause for alarm and that the relief materials are adequate.

The vice-chairman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Rarer association; Mr Abubakar Sulaiman also disclosed that some of those hospitalised have been discharged as he also confirmed the death of the four year old boy.

The police have given assurance that its investigations will help to fish out the perpetrators and prevent further crisis.

State and Local government must establish emergency agency-NEMA boss

In the wake of the disappointing rescue efforts for people affected by the flood disaster across the country, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has called for state and local government to establish Emergency Agency at their levels, because they are closer to the people.

This will enhance a prompt rescue mission to save lives whenever disasters strike. This was made known by NEMA’s Director of Search and Rescue, Mr Charles Otegbade on our breakfast show, Sunrise.

Responding to why the delay in rescuing people affected by the flood in Kogi which displaced almost a million people and claimed a number of lives, Mr Otegbade, stated that the agency got hold of the flood disaster in Ebaji (Kogi state) by 4PM and that the rescue team arrived at the disaster spot by 10AM the following day.

“We (NEMA) are a national body and the state and local government emergency agencies should have swung into action before our arrival because they are the closest to the people” he stated.

He also noted that the staff of national emergency agency had to be deployed from Benue state, which was already ravaged by the flood before the call came from to Kogi state.

“So the state and local governments must create these local agencies to quickly assist people whenever a disaster happens.”

He called for increased funding for the agency as well as other agencies that could assist in rescue operations.

“Idly, the Federal Fire Service should be the agency that will lead the rescue mission for flood disasters but because the Fire Service is in a dire state, they cannot do anything, all of these agencies need to developed by funding and manpower to enhance the rescue operations when needed.”

He added that “NEMA is essentially a strategic coordinating agency” as he quickly quipped that “but that does not precludes us (NEMA) from the operational tactics at the operational level.”

“NEMA should have just coordinated the efforts of every other agency if they were adequately equipped with equipment and manpower.”

Mr Otegbade stated that over 6,000 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) are currently accommodated in IDP camps in Kogi state.

The rescue expert claimed the excessive rainfall and release of water from the dam in Cameroun were responsible for the flood.

“What we expressing is the downward movement of the accumulated water from River Niger and River Benue to Delta state” as he spoke about the flood disaster that has also affected the Niger-Delta.


Over 10,000 people displaced in Kogi, Benue flood-NEMA

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has deployed relief materials to the camps where over 10,000 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) from Kogi and Benue states are taking refuge after they were sacked from their homes with the ravaging flood across north central region of Nigeria.

A technical team from the agency visited areas devastated by the floods along the banks of Rivers Benue and Niger and their tributaries in states over the weekend to assess the damage and identify suitable intervention required to address the problem.

According to the team, most of the affected areas remained flooded with most of the displaced persons resorting to taking shelter in four camps.

The flood in Benue state is said to affect the communities in Makurdi, the state capital, along the river belt, while about nine local government areas were affected in Kogi State, with Ibaji Local Government Area almost submerged.

Other local government areas affected as Bassa, Ofu, Kogi, Omala, Ajaokuta, Ankpa, Igalamela and Lokoja, where property, including hotels, residential buildings, offices and fishing communities along the confluence of Rivers Benue and Niger have all been submerged.

NEMA’s Director of Planning, Research and Forecasting, Charles Agbo, during a meeting with  Kogi State governor, Wada Idris, warned of prolonged flooding as more water would still be released from Lagdo Dam in Cameroon and Kainji Dam with the intensifying rains.

He also urged the state government to enforce the standard regulation on urban planning and development as well as permanently relocate communities in the flood plains to safer locations.

“Even after the flood, most of the submerged houses may become too weak and no longer be safe for habitation, in addition to the potential health hazards from the disaster,” he warned.

“Therefore, the states governments must to rise up to their responsibilities to the affected communities as the Federal Government, through NEMA, would provide necessary support the displaced persons.”

The governor expressed concern of the Federal Government towards the flood situation and requested support to reinforce the efforts by the state government to assist the displaced persons, while urging NEMA and other relevant organizations to identify measures to mitigate future occurrence of the flood.