The National Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Mahmood Yakubu on Wednesday, inspected election materials to be used for Saturday’s by- election in Nasarawa Central State Constituency.
Yakubu, speaking at INEC Nasarawa Local Government Area Office of the state before the inspection, said the commission’s visit was to inspect election materials and check the level of preparations for the election.
“This is the first election we are holding since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. We thought we should come to check the level of preparations and I am happy we are joined by the Liaison Officer of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
“The lessons that will be learnt from this election will help us in Edo, Ondo governorship elections and so many by-elections to be conducted by INEC.
“As far as the headquarters is concerned, everything that INEC office in Nasarawa requires for the election has been provided. So, we want to see how ready they are to deploy for Saturday’s election,” Yakubu said.
He added that the visit was also for the commission to meet with traditional rulers in the constituency as well as relevant stakeholders in the election including security agencies.
“This is an extra ordinary election, so we are visiting the palace of Emir of Nasarawa to ask for their support,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Yakubu, accompanied by INEC National Commissioners, inspected the non-sensitive materials already arranged according to their Wards, for the election.
Some of the nonsensitive materials included, Voters’ Register, voting cubicles, ballot boxes, bottles of hand sanitisers, generator sets, facemasks and jackets for electoral and presiding officers, stamp and other voting materials.
The election is expected to take place in seven wards, 44 polling units and other voting points, with 71,919 registered voters and 673 staff required to conduct the by -election.
INEC fixed Aug. 8 for the election following the death of Mr Suleiman Adamu, member representing Nasarawa Central at the state House of Assembly on April 30.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ekemini Ladejobi (NAN)
Minister inaugurates committees on sales, distributions of agro-chemical inputs
The FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, on Monday in Abuja inaugurated two committees – one for the distribution of grains, and the other for the sales of fertilisers and other agro-chemical inputs.
Aliyu, while inaugurating the committees, said that they would execute the administration’s mandate of ensuring that governance profited the people.
Represented by the Senior Special Assistant on Administration and Strategy, Prof. Muhammad Usman, Aliyu directed the fertiliser sales committees to determine available stock and work out modalities for the sales.
She also said that the committee would make preparations for the flag-off and subsequent sales of the fertilisers, pesticides and agro-chemicals in the FCT.
Aliyu charged the committee members to work diligently to ensure that the exercise met its objectives.
The minister advised the grains distribution committee to ensure that grains wre released from warehouses and made available to the residents of the territory in a manner that was free, fair and transparent.
“As you are aware, the administration buys off excess harvest from our farmers to give them value for their efforts and labour at the end of the season.
“Before the new harvest, when prices are naturally on the increase because of dwindling supply, the administration releases the buffer stocks to ensure that prices are regulated if not drastically reduced, for the benefit of the residents of the territory.
“In the wisdom of the FCT administration, individuals have been carefully selected to be saddled with the responsibilities of ensuring that the exercise meet its objective.
“The grains released from the warehouses must be made available to the residents of the territory in a manner that is free, fair and transparent,” she said.
The minister said that the administration would be counting on the wisdom and the ability of the committee members to diligently discharge the responsibilities diligently.
Speaking on behalf of the two committees, Mr Abdul Agbade, who chairs the committee on grains distribution, promised to deliver on the mandates.
“I want to use this opportunity to thank the Minister of State FCT for the confidence reposed in us. We will not toy with it.
“We will try as much as possible to discharge our responsibilities with the fear of God and in accordance with our terms of reference.
“The prices of food items are going up in the market and the people need to be assisted. We will do our best to ensure that these grains are sold to the people in need,” he said.https://nnn.ng/minister-inaugurates-committees-on-sales-distributions-of-agro-chemical-inputs/
NSCDC prevents thieves from diverting 1,100 litres of PMS across border
The Commandant of NSCDC, Lagos State, Mr Iskil Makinde, at the display of the exhibits in Lagos on Monday said that the thieves were arrested in their boat while they were carting away the product to Benin Republic from Badagary where it was siphoned.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mr Makinde assumed duty in Lagos on Aug. 24 following a posting order dated Aug. 17 from Commandant -General of the NSCDC, Abdullahi Mohammadu.
The Commandant said that the incident happened on Sept. 20 and that the products were stocked in polythene bags and kegs.
According to him at the parade, all attempts to stop the culprits initially proved abortive.
“ However, a hot pursuit by the NSCDC marine corps of the thieves made them abandoned the boat in which the products were loaded and jumped into the sea to escape,” he said.
Makinde said that other exhibits recovered at the scene include a wooden canoe which cracked in the course of bringing it to the shore.
“ Also recovered is a 740 HP Yamaha engine used to power the boat,” he said.
The commandant said that the corps would not condone any act of criminality in the state.
“The corps is also assuring the residents of Lagos State of peaceful environment as its personnel are set of ridding the state of all criminal elements,” he said
Edited By: Peter Dada
NCC set to commence cost-based review of new rates for International voice calls services
Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs, NCC, made this known in a statement on Monday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that ITR is the rate paid to local operators by international operators to terminate calls in Nigeria.
Adinde said that as part of the process for the rate determination, the Commission has organised a virtual stakeholders’ engagement forum with relevant industry stakeholders.
He said that the meeting was to intimate them about the ongoing cost-based study and the need to cooperate with Messrs Payday Advance and Support Services Limited, the consultants engaged to carry out the study.
Addressing the stakeholders, NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the study had become imperative following the various implementation constraints arising from contending industry and market dynamics that met previous efforts at finding an optimum price for the termination of international voice services in Nigeria.
Danbatta, said through the new ITR pricing, the Commission would be able to balance the competing objectives of economic efficiency and allowing operators the latitude to generate reasonable revenue.
He, however, explained that in 2013, the Commission issued a determination stating that Mobile Termination Rates (MTR) were the same irrespective of where the call originated from, adding that it was largely misconstrued by operators at that time that ITR should be the same rate as the MTR.
He said this led to operators ignoring the international cost portion, where ITRs were agreed at MTR level without a positive residual to cover the costs of the international leg for local operators.
“As a result of this, the ITRs continued to decline, in line with the MTR glide path and as the ITR was set in naira, it suffered a further downward slide in dollar terms following the currency devaluation.
“Ironically, the Nigerian operators paid the international operators in dollars to deliver international calls which created an imbalance of payments as the ITR in Nigeria declined,” he said.
Danbatta said Nigerian operators’ profitability and commercial results were negatively affected putting Nigeria’s ITR below that of most countries with which it made and received the most calls, thereby making Nigerian operators perpetual net payers.
“According to him, this has, therefore, led to undue pressure on the nation’s foreign reserves, which continued to get depleted by associated net transfers to foreign operators on account of this lop-sidedness.
“Hence the need for Nigeria, with volatile a currency to regulate the ITR to prevent or mitigate the imbalance of payments with international operators.
“Where ITR is not properly regulated, it tends to have negative effect on a market like Nigeria with major supply side challenges and associated socio-economic implications. So, setting a rate substantially above the MTR has resulted in a number of repercussions.
“One of such is the consumer shift to online channels as calls are increasingly made through Internet Protocol (IP)-based technologies such as Skype and WhatsApp because of high international call prices.
“To this end, an economically-efficient ITR that is cost-based will maximise economic benefits to all stakeholders,” he said.
Earlier in her remarks,NCC Director, Policy, Competition and Economic Analysis, Mrs Yetunde Akinloye, said the forum was aimed at formally engaging with and sharing the perspectives and insights of industry stakeholders.
Akinloye said that it was also for ultimately enlisting their collective support in relation to the inputs and requirements towards the determination of a mutually- realistic ITR in Nigeria.
She noted that the project commenced on March 10, with a kick-off meeting but was stalled by the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, necessitating the need to explore emerging channels of engagement to move forward and ensure the completion of the project.
Akinloye reiterated the Commission’s commitment to continuously provide a conducive environment and level-playing field for the effective interplay of factors that would sustain market development and growth.
“This is addition to ensuring the provision of qualitative and efficient telecommunications regulatory services for the benefit of consumers and licensees,” she said.
Edited By: Ali Baba-Inuwa
Osinbajo Engages APC Social Media Influencers on hate speech
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the Federal Government is ready to support youths to influence the passage of the hate speech bill presently before the National Assembly.
Osinbajo gave the assurance on Monday in Abuja while engaging the All Progressives Congress (APC) social media operators and influencers at a virtual meeting held at the party’s national secretariat.
The Vice President also assured that the government would not relent in expanding and sustaining youth friendly projects, including media platforms that would add value to the society.
Also speaking at the virtual meeting, Alhaji Ahmed Ismaeel, National Youth Leader of the APC, described the meeting as the first of its kind and very engaging, adding that the party would continue to organise such meetings from time to time.
He said the meeting was organised to particularly recognise the party’s online soldiers and media influencers, who had over the years, helped to shape public opinion on it.
Speaking on the party’s defeat at the just concluded Edo governorship election, Ismaeel said the party would do a postmoterm on the outcome of the election to know why it lost.
“We thought we had covered the grounds very well, but there was a blind side we didn’t see, the party intends to do a postmoterm on the election this week.
“We will conduct a postmoterm this week, to know how far and how we found ourselves in this kind of situation,” he said.
Ismaeel, who is also a member of the APC Caretaker and Reconciliation Committee, added that knowing that the party did not win the last presidential election in Ondo state, would make the election to be dicey.
He added that the state governor had, however, done what he needed to do in terms of reconciling aggrived party members, there was more to be done.
Ismaeel stressed that the party would not take anything for granted again, but would rather go out and fight to ensure that it retained Ondo State.
He said it was disheartening to note that for the first time since 2015, the APC doesn’t have a representative in the South South geopolitical zone again, adding that this was worrisome.
Ismaeel said while the party may have lost Edo state governorship election, it had to work hard, especially to ensure that it won the forthcoming Ondo State governorship election slated for October 10.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that about 100 APC media influencers participated at the event.
Nigeria like other developing nations have varieties of media technology through which information gets to the people.
Apart from the conventional media like Television, Radio and Newspapers, Digital media services such as email, social media sites, websites are among others playing the role of information dissemination.
The interface with the APC media influencers and its leadership was an opportunity to review performances and renew commitment, according to its organisers.
Edited By: Benson Iziama/Felix Ajide