The Federal Government has declared Friday, March 30 and Monday, April 2, 2018, as Public holidays to mark the Good Friday and Easter Monday.
The Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. (Rtd) Abdulrahman Dambazau, on Tuesday, made the announcement on behalf of the Federal Government.
He called on all Christian faithful and everyone in general to employ the spiritual ethos of Easter, which includes love, peace, and sacrifice, in contributing to the unity and peaceful coexistence among Nigerians.
According to him, Nigerians should remain supportive of the Buhari-led administration in his efforts towards building a peaceful, united and prosperous nation.
He also implored all to use the occasion to pray for the peace and unity of the country.
The Ogun State government has dismissed insinuations in some quarters that the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, dismissed some civil servants due to the ongoing strike in the state.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor, Mr Adejuwon Soyinka, dismissed the claim in a press release on Tuesday.
He explained that the Ogun State Civil Service Commission, in furtherance of its statutory responsibility of maintaining discipline and adherence to public service rules and extant regulations, on Monday, took the decision to sanction some civil servants but this was not related to the workers’ strike.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we will like to state unequivocally that there is no iota of truth to this speculation.
“The affected civil servants were alleged to have been involved in certain acts of misconduct in the course of the 2016 World Teachers Day celebration on October 5, 2016 before the ongoing strike action commenced,” he said.
The State Civil Service Commission had on Monday issued a statement signed by the Ogun State Head of Service, Sola Adeyemi, in which it explained that it received complaints from concerned members of the public against some public and civil servants allegedly involved in various acts of misconduct in the course of the 2016 World Teachers Day celebration.
“The allegations against the affected civil and public servants, contrary to extant public service rules, they got involved in partisan politics by publicly admitting to receiving money from a politician and also hiring a musician with whom they sang praises of the said politician while chanting political slogans in the course of the World Teachers Day celebration.
“To determine the veracity of such complaints and give the affected civil and public servants the opportunity for fair hearing, the Civil Service Commission said it set up an administrative panel of Inquiry on October 17, 2016.
“The panel’s term of reference include, among others, to investigate the events of October 5, 2016 at the NUT Multipurpose hall, Kuto, Abeokuta with a view to identifying the public and civil servants directly or indirectly involved in partisan political activities; determine the culpability or otherwise of the identified public servants and recommend appropriate disciplinary actions in line with the public service rules and extant regulations.
“Before arriving at its decisions, the panel issued queries and invited the affected civil servants who in turn made written and oral representations.
“After listening to all parties involved including witnesses, as well as reviewing the evidences at its disposal, the panel, in its wisdom, recommended the dismissal of 16 public and civil servants.
“They were all found to have contravened the Public Service Rules 04401, 04402 (c&d) and 04406 (a) due to their involvement in the political rally they held under the guise of World Teachers Day celebration event.
“The panel also recommended the suspension of 19 others while exonerating one other who was said not to have been involved in the alleged partisan act.
“From the foregoing, it is clear that the State Civil Service Commission only acted in fulfillment of its statutory responsibility and this has nothing to do with Governor Amosun or the ongoing strike action embarked upon by a section of the workforce in the state.”
An Election Observer Group, Election Monitor, is asking the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to pay attention to calls for the cancellation of the just concluded governorship election in Edo State.
The call is on grounds that widespread public outcry signifies dissatisfaction that should not be ignored.
Presenting the group’s election observation report to a press conference in Abuja on Friday, the National coordinator, Abiodun Ajijola, said the election had a high case level of vote buying and over-voting across the polling stations especially in Esako Local Government Area.
He says such acts give credence to such expressions of dissatisfaction.
Mr Ajijola also noted that while the election could be said to have been conducted effectively with regards to operation and conduct, the group observed unacceptable delay in collation of results which the electoral commission ought to address.
It is the second observer group that is dismissing claims by the electoral body that the election was free and fair.
The group claimed that the election was far from being free, fair and credible.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Monday, the acting General Secretary of the organisation, Mrs Mma Odi, said that there was generally no secrecy in voting, as people voted in the full glare of party agents despite the presence of security agents.
But INEC says the governorship election was free and fair, dismissing allegations of bias and compromise by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
But an official of the electoral body said the election was conducted in accordance with the guidelines of the Electoral Act.
INEC’s National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Solomon Soyebi, told Channels Television’s correspondent in Kaduna on Wednesday that the election was not fraught with irregularities, as being alleged by the PDP and its candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
He also debunked claims by the PDP that the commission deliberately delayed result of the election from the 18 Local Government Councils in Edo state in order to favour the ruling APC in the state.
“Checkmated Any Form Of Rigging”
He further explained that INEC deployed an electronic device during the election that tracked the collation of results from the polling units up to the last collation centre.
“These devices checkmated any form of rigging,” he stated.
Mr Soyebi further highlighted that with the peaceful conduct of the Edo election, the commission was determined to improve on the success during the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State.
INEC has come under criticism by some aggrieved persons since last week Thursday when it announced the results of the election that produced the APC candidate, Godwin Obaseki as governor-elect in Edo State.
Another opposition party in the election APGA had before the announcement of the result called for total cancellation of the election, citing irregularities.
Mr Osaro Onaiwu alleged that financial inducement and intimidation of party loyalists occurred during the poll.
“The election is going to be inconclusive because there is a lot of damage already. There was no election in Ologbo and Oluku and whatever result they are bringing out from these two places, it is not going to be accepted by us,” Mr Onaiwu said.
He is the first candidate in the election that has called for the cancellation of the election that had 19 contestants.
The election is said to have been peaceful, but with cases of ballot snatching reported.
Earlier, a member of the party monitoring the process at a polling unit, Stephen Edema, told Channels Television that the process had been smooth.
The Independent Electoral Commission had said the election was smooth and had progressed as expected.
U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry said on Monday talks were closer to extending a Syrian truce to Aleppo, the divided northern city where a sharp escalation of violence in recent weeks has torpedoed peace talks and left a ceasefire in tatters.
Kerry was in Geneva for talks with other dignitaries to try to revive the first major ceasefire of the five-year Syrian war, which was put in place in February with U.S. and Russian backing but has since all but collapsed.
Syria announced temporary local truces in other areas last week but has so far failed to extend it to Aleppo, where government air strikes and rebel shelling have killed hundreds of civilians in the past week, including more than 50 people in a hospital that rebels say was deliberately targeted.
The Aleppo fighting threatens to wreck the first peace talks involving the warring parties, which are due to resume at an unspecified date after breaking up in April when the opposition delegation walked out in anger.
“We’re getting closer to a place of understanding, but we have some work to do, and that’s why we’re here,” Kerry said at the start of the meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.
The civil war in Syria has killed hundred of thousands of people, driven millions from their homes, created the world’s worst refugee crisis and provided a base for Islamic State militants who have launched attacks elsewhere.
The fighting has drawn in global powers and regional states, while all diplomatic efforts to resolve it have foundered over the fate of President Bashar al-Assad, who refuses to accept opposition demands that he leave power.
The United States and Russia have taken the leading roles in the latest diplomatic initiative, which began after Moscow joined the war last year with an air campaign that tipped the balance of power in favor of Assad, its ally.
So far, Syria has announced a “regime of calm” — a temporary local truce — in the Eastern Ghouta suburb of Damascus and the countryside of northern Latakia province, from Saturday morning. The Latakia truce was for three days and the Ghouta truce, initially for 24 hours, was also extended by another 48.
Both are areas where there has been heavy fighting, but Aleppo remains the biggest prize for Assad’s forces, who are hoping to take full control of the city, Syria’s largest before the war. The nearby countryside includes the last strip of the Syria-Turkish border in the hands of Arab Sunni rebels.
A Russian military official, General Sergei Kuralenko, said talks were under way on extending the regime of calm to Aleppo.
The running mate to the late Prince Abubakar Audu in the November 21 governorship election in the state, Mr James Faleke, has vowed to reclaim the mandate of the people of the state given freely to the APC during the election.
Faleke who has been picked as the substitute for the late Abubakar Audu, made this assertion while addressing hundreds of APC supporters in Lokoja on Monday.
Quoting a section of the constitution while picking Mohammed Audu as his running mate, he pointed out that attempts to snatch power from the reins of the APC in Kogi State were fruitless as the party is poised to chart a new course for the state.
He explained that there is no contention between him and the immediate political family of late Abubakar Audu and described the task ahead as a moral burden on him to fight on, till the victory of APC is accomplished.
Going back to the primary election conducted on August 28, 2015, he noted that he remained the only person holding on to the votes cast for the APC.
Some APC leaders from the three senatorial districts of the state were present as Mr Faleke made his decision known to his supporters.
The Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayodele Fayose, has again dismissed the impeachment notice allegedly posted online by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
While speaking at an audience participatory programme, ‘Meet Your Governor’ on Monday, Governor Fayose, said that those plotting his impeachment were the same enemies of Ekiti State that plotted his exit from office in 2006.
He said: “Nobody served me any impeachment notice. I only saw the notice online like every other person. I’m like Israel that is in the midst of enemies but will always prevail. Whoever wants to remove me will first have to impeach God”.
Fayose added that the APC people were trying to get at him because he wholeheartedly supported President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election bid.
“Let me say it again, I have not been served any impeachment notice. The House of Assembly is also on recess and Dr Adewale Omirin is not the speaker of the State House of Assembly.’
“Omirin is in court, challenging his impeachment and he can’t be challenging his impeachment in court and at the same time laying claim to being Speaker,” he said.
While urging the APC to accept defeat, as done by President Goodluck Jonathan, Governor Fayose said: “By the power of God, they lost 16 – 0 on June 21, 2014, they lost 16 – 0 again on March 28, they will lose 26 – 0 on Saturday, April 11”.
Governor Fayose had earlier dismissed the impeachment plot, saying “the script being acted by the APC is a failed one because no one, no matter how highly placed he is, would be allowed to test the will of Ekiti people”.
There have been several complaints against the continuous voters registration by the Independent National Electoral Commission in Kwara State by voters and political parties.
They are complaining of inadequate personnel and faulty machines for the exercise, just as it is about to end on Monday.
The INEC, however, blamed the large turnout on wrong people who are not supposed to be there and insisted that two personnel are enough for a unit.
The state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Iyiola Oyedepo, noted that non preparation by the INEC could be responsible for the lapses of inadequate and faulty machines which he noted could lead to majority of Kwarans being disenfranchised.
He emphasised that the development had resulted in mass crowd of people being made to face rigorous and cumbersome registration with one machine.
He also lamented that the challenges had resulted into crisis and violence in some areas and urged the INEC to correct the situation by extension of the exercise and drafting of more police personnel to the centres.
In Abuja, residents of the nation’s capital trying to take part in the continuous voter’s registration are complaining about what they called lack of preparedness by the INEC.
Hundreds of residents, who trooped out to the few centres for registration over the past few days, have complained of inadequate equipment and personnel for the registration exercise.
They are demanding that the INEC should extend the registration process and release more equipment and staff to prevent many Nigerians from being disenfranchised in next year’s general election.
At the L.E.A. Primary School in Wuse Zone Two area of Abuja, one of the few centres in the city where residents of the nation capital city are expected to register and pick up their temporary voters’ cards, some eligible voters waiting to be registers expressed dissatisfaction with the process.
With one day to go, the crowd at the centre is overwhelming for the INEC ad-hoc staff and so are the complaints.
Besides the persistent system failure causing endless hours of queuing, the absence of adequate registration centres is also a matter of great concern as residents call for an extension of the exercise.
Reacting, the Deputy Director Voters Education and Publicity for INEC in Kwara State, Jacob Ayanda explained that the allegation of faulty machines should not arise. He explained that the equipment, though used some years ago, had been serviced with several back-up in case of breaking down.