PVC Distribution: INEC Achieves 81.2% Collection Rate

PVCThe Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, says it has achieved 81.2% distribution of the Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs.

This is according to a document released by the commission in Abuja on Friday. The document, which is a list, contains the data collated from the 36 states in Nigeria including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

As at Friday, March 13, out of a total number 68.8 million registered voters across the country, 55, 904, 272 million PVCs have been distributed.

Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Kayode Idowu, said that the commission could not set a particular number of PVCs that must be collected before the elections could hold.

He, however, gave the assurance that INEC would continue to work hard to ensure that more cards are distributed across the country before the election.

While giving an explanation on why the commission would not set a target, he said, “The danger with doing so is that if the threshold is not reached, then we cannot conduct elections.”

The Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) had, in the previous week, extended the distribution of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) by two weeks.

The exercise, which was scheduled to end on March 8 after an initial extension, was further extended and would continue across the country until March 22, 2015.

PVC Collection: INEC Embarks On Traders Sensitisation In Akwa Ibom

PVC_Distribution_LagosThe Independent National Electoral commission (INEC) in Akwa Ibom State in south-south Nigeria on Friday embarked on a one-day market outreach programme, to sensitise traders and the general public on the need to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) in order to participate in next month’s general elections.

The outreach programme was held at two major markets in the capital  – Afaha market and Akpan Andem market.

‘Frustrating Process’

According to the spokesman of the INEC in Akwa Ibom State and the leader of the outreach team, David Edak, the exercise was organised to encourage the public to collect their PVCs, to vote for candidates of their choice in the upcoming elections

Most people at the market said they had collected their PVCs and were ready for the elections.

A few others, however, said they were yet to get theirs, owing to what they describe as a ‘frustrating process’.

The INEC chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, has continued to promise Nigeria that the commission would do its best in ensuring free, fair and credible elections, assuring Nigerians that the commission would achieve at least 80 per cent of distribution of the PVCs.

“We are not promising a perfect election in 2015 but we are confident that we will do our best,” Professor Jega told reporters in one of the recent press conferences.

The commission had also started the sensitisation of electorates on how the card reader, which would be used in the election, works.

We are working towards averting floods for the next half century – Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has assured that his administration is working towards averting floods in the country for the next 30 to 50 years.

The President gave this assurance in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, when he visited the state to assess the damage caused by flood in parts of the state and also to commiserate with the victims.

In a bid to tackle flooding, he assured the speedy completion of the Kashin-bila dam in Taraba State; the construction of a dam on River Benue and dykes across the country.

While lamenting the condition of the victims, the President also decried economic losses suffered by the victims, assuring that the Federal Government would do everything to mitigate the effect of the flood on their lives.

He noted that the Federal Government had already released N500 million to the state government stressing that this would be disbursed to the victims to assist them to pick up their lives again.

Jonathan also promised the release of funds to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to purchase improved seedlings that would be distributed to farmers across the country, adding that money will also be given to the Ministry of Health to ensure control of water borne diseases like cholera and diarrhoea in parts of the country in the aftermath of the flooding.

He said: “Government is committed to turning your calamity into a blessing. Those of you who lost farmlands would be given high yielding seedlings to make you improve your farm produce. We will help you start new economic lives and pray that you do not suffer from such calamity again.”

He expressed appreciation to developmental partners, non-governmental organisations, faith-based organisations, security agencies and other well-meaning Nigerians for their support to the flood victims across the nation.

 

IG orders 24-hour security for worship centres during Sallah

Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, has ordered all Zonal Assistant Inspectors-General of Police and Commissioners of Police at the state commands to provide 24-hour water-tight security across the country before, during and after the Sallah celebration.”

In a statement by the Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, in Abuja on Wednesday, Abubakar directed all Commanders of Police Highway Patrol Teams  to ensure that motorised patrols on highways targeted at crime and accident prevention, are intensified to ensure a safe, secure and peaceful celebration.

“Policemen deployed on our highways have also been directed to render necessary assistance to travelers and road users, especially accident victims and those who might have suffered vehicular break down,” he added.

The IG further directed the CPs to personally ensure that key and vulnerable points, all places of worship, recreation centers, resorts and other public places are adequately and effectively protected, to enable worshipers and the general public to enjoy the Eid-el Kabir celebration.

Abubakar warned officers who would be deployed during the period, to ensure that they conduct themselves within the confines of the law.

“They must be firm but polite, civil and professional in the discharge of their assigned roles, giving due regard and respect to the fundamental human rights of citizens at all times,” he said.

Subsidy scam: court denies Ubah, Capital oil management bail

The embattled CEO of Capital Oil and Gas, Ifeanyi Ubah, has again been denied a bail application by a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

The court also denied some of Mr Ubah’s senior executive staff namely Nsikan Usoro (Head of Trading), Godfrey Okorie (Depot Manager), Chibuzor Ogbuokiri (General Manager, Operations) and Orji Joseph Anayo (Executive Director, Operations).

The Capital Oil management had approached the court through an ex-parte application seeking for bail from police detention.

However, Justice Okon Abang, in his ruling denied their application and asked them to inform the respondents through a motion on notice. The case is to be reheard today.

The respondents in the case are the Inspector General of Police, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, and a Chief Superintendent of Police with the Special Frauds Unit.

The suspects are in custody for their alleged involvement in a fuel subsidy scam that cost Nigeria N43.29 billion.

They stand accused of defrauding the Federal Government “by falsely pretending that the company had imported and sold 538, 74 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (pms) during the 2011 fiscal year through 26 transactions.”

FG confirms dialogue with Boko Haram via “back channel”

The federal government has confirmed that it is in dialogue with the fundamentalist sect Boko Haram, which has been raging insurgency across states in Northern Nigeria, claiming hundreds of lives.

The dialogue with the sect is said to be holding through what is described as “back room channels”. This was made known by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati.

Dr. Abati, told state house correspondents in Abuja that the federal government is discussing with the insurgents with a view to finding a permanent solution to the siege on the north.

He explained that such engagements with the sect or its affiliates would not be the conventional roundtable talks that are the norm across the world; instead, it would be a meeting by proxy.

The federal government has decided on the use of backdoor channels so as not to endanger government negotiators or expose the sect members.

Dr Abati adds that the federal government would follow the process “through multi-level, constructive interventions aimed at addressing a difficult issue that is multifarious.”

According to him “the form of the dialogue is that backroom channels are being used to reach across with the sole objective of understanding what exactly the grievances of these persons are.  What exactly can be done to resolve the crisis, in the overall best interest of ensuring peace and stability in Nigeria and the security of lives and property?”

The presidential spokesman adds that president Goodluck Jonathan is only asking for the support of Nigerians in this onerous national duty.

Our challenges will soon be over – President Jonathan

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan on Friday assured Nigerians that the challenges hampering the development of the nation would soon fade into the cultural pot of time.

The president gave the assurance while granting audience to the outgoing British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Andrew Lloyd, who paid him a farewell visit at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to him, his administration was committed to evolving and implementing policies and measures that would help the country to overcome its present challenges especially security.

While commending Lloyd for enhancing the already excellent bilateral relations between Nigeria and Great Britain significantly during his tenure, Jonathan lauded the outgoing High Commissioner’s efforts to boost trade and economic cooperation between Nigeria and Britain.

“We shall continue to count on your support and I hope your successor will continue your good work here in Nigeria,” he told Lloyd.

Similarly, Jonathan also granted audience to the outgoing Egyptian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Youssef Shawki who is leaving Nigeria after a two-year tenure.

Nigerian media is politicised-Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has passed a damning verdict on the Nigerian media, claiming that the nation’s media is politicised.

According to the president, the Nigerian media is no longer the voice of ordinary people, but “the voices of their ‘rich owners’.”

“Before, the media used to be the voice of the ordinary people, but now, the media is the voice of those who own the media houses and those who owned the media houses have private jets and those who own private jets are not ordinary people.”

Mr. Jonathan made this known while unveiling the new performance assessment scheme for members of his cabinet on Wednesday, to highlight government’s targets and achievements in all sectors of governance.

The president also blamed the necessity for the new performance evaluation mechanism on the mass media, which he said no longer reflects the voice of the ordinary man.

On the signing of the performance assessment scheme, Jonathan assured the cabinet members that initiative was not to witch hunt any of them.

President Jonathan promised that he would not go back in his desire to meet up with the task set before his administration.

He said the exercise was only meant to remind all public office holders that they are representatives of Nigerians and they (the officials) are accountable to the people.

“There have been all kinds of speculations about this exercise. It is important to state what it is and what it is not” he said.

“I want to assure every one of you who has taken part in the exercise that this is not a witch-hunt.”

“It is to remind all of us, from the President to directors-general, to advisers and other aides that we are representatives of the Nigerian people, and we are accountable to them at all times.

“I had stated clearly during the inauguration of the Federal Executive Council that ministers are expected to be accountable, productive, transparent and focused.

“In the past two months, many of you have had to make detailed presentations on the Key Performance Indicators in your ministries. Today’s exercise is yet a reminder of our commitment to service delivery for the common good of Nigerians.”

Bribery scandal: I’m not on the run – Lawan

The former chairman of the adhoc committee of the House of Representatives on fuel subsidy, Hon Farouk Lawan has said that he is not on the run.

Honourable Lawan who is on the Lesser Hajj in Mecca stated on Monday, that there is no reason for him to be on the run because he is not afraid of anything.

The embattled lawmaker made the statement while reacting to insinuations that he has absconded the country as the fuel subsidy scandal  rages on.

He further explained that he was in the holy land of Mecca to perform his religious obligation and not because he had to run from Nigeria.

He promised to return home as soon as the Hajj rites were over, insisting that he was innocent of the bribery allegations leveled against him by oil baron, Femi Otedola.

The lawmaker also denied reports that he always wept whenever he faced police interrogators on matters relating to the alleged bribe, saying such reports were calculated attempt to portray him as guilty.

Lawan also said the claim that members of his dissolved committee had disowned him on the bribery charge was misleading.

He stated he was prepared to do anything to clear himself on the alleged bribe.

There will be another civil war if Jonathan is impeached – Asari Dokubo

Former President of Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC) and leader of Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF) Asari Dokubo on has said that those those who want  President Goodluck Jonathan impeached are looking for another civil war.

Mr Dokubo, who addressed a press conference in Abuja on Monday,  said “we are saying that nothing must happen to Jonathan because if anything happens to him, the world will know.”

Speaking on the Boko Haram insurgency, Mr Dokubo said “the arrogance of Boko Haram is un-Islamic. The type of bomb they are using is small. If we begin to throw bombs, nobody will stay in Abuja. We don’t manufacture bomb but we will buy them and dynamites. I started armed struggle in the Niger Delta. It is because of Goodluck Jonathan that we kept quiet.

“But soon, we will not be able to guarantee our patience any more. If Ijaw people should retaliate, every household in the North will cry. It is the North that needs peace more than us. Everybody must impress it on them that they should sheathe their swords and drop their arrogance.”

The former militant leader further said it was an insult on President Jonathan for him to be asked by Boko Haram to convert to Islam or resign his position. He warned that the Ijaw nation will retaliate should anything happen to the president.

Insecurity: Babangida, Obasanjo call for urgent actions

Former heads of state, General Olusegun Obasanjo and General Ibrahim Babangida leaders issued a rare joint statement on Sunday calling for talks to end a deadly insurgency by Islamist group Boko Haram, warning the violence could put the nation’s unity at risk.

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo and ex-military ruler Ibrahim Babangida, who have been rivals in the past, said in a joint statement that the killings had become “unbearable” and had led to a nation “gripped by a regime of fear”.

“Unfolding events in our dear motherland, Nigeria, over the last few years are threatening to unravel the nearly a century old labour of our founding fathers and subsequent generations in building a strong, united, peaceful nation …,” the statement said.

Without mentioning Boko Haram by name, they called for “community involvement” in addition to security measures to resolve the crisis, urging efforts from local governments, religious leaders and grassroots organisations.

The statement also said that “for us, and we believe for millions of other Nigerians, the continued unity of this nation is not only priceless but non-negotiable.”

Boko Haram’s insurgency has left hundreds dead since mid-2009. Its attacks have grown increasingly deadly and sophisticated, moving from drive-by shootings to homemade explosives and suicide bombings.

The insurgency has been focused in the northern part of Nigeria.

Obasanjo, president from 1999 to 2007, is a Christian from the country’s southwest, while Babangida, who ruled from 1985-1993, is a Muslim from north central Nigeria.

Nigeria produces most of W/Africa’s illegal weapons – Army

The Nigerian Army on Saturday stated that 70 per cent of the 10 million illegal weapons in West African are produced in Nigeria.

The Chief of Army Standards and Evaluation, Major-General Shehu Abdulkadir, gave the figure in his paper entitled, ‘The challenges of internal security and implications for national development’ at the 7th annual Ramadan lecture of Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria in Abuja.

Abdulkadir said, “Out of approximately 500 million illicit weapons in circulation worldwide in 2004, it was estimated that about 100 million are in sub-Saharan Africa, with eight to 10 million concentrated in the West African sub-region. Regrettably, more than half of these Small Arms and Light Weapons are in the hands of non-state actors and criminal groups.

“Nigeria is both a producer and consumer of SALW in the West African sub-region. Although it is difficult to determine the exact quantity of illegal SALW circulating within or penetrating into Nigeria, it is estimated that over 70 per cent of eight to 10 million illegal weapons in West Africa are in Nigeria.”

The army chief also decried the fact that access to illegal weapons made criminals and militants bolder when facing security agents, which made it more difficult to fight them.

He described security management as “a very expensive venture,” adding that the Federal Government had to spread resources among competing needs and that the Armed Forces had to manage scarce resources to carry out their duties.

He, however, stated that the government, in recent times, had increased funding to the security sector, which would go a long way in alleviating the problem of resources.

Also, the lecture, Mr. Nurudeen Abdulmalik challenged the Federal Government to find lasting solutions to the multifaceted problems bedevilling the nation.