Mr Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA National Coordinator made the call at a news conference on Monday in Abuja.
Onwubiko also called on the commission to ensure that it was not intimidated by security forces during the election.
He explained that elections were transparent when each step was open to scrutiny, and stakeholders could independently verify whether the process was conducted honestly and accurately.
He maintained that information relating to all stages of the electoral cycle must be made available and accessible to citizens, including voters and candidates.
“Nonpartisan and partisan observers should be accredited to observe all phases of the election process and be permitted to comment publicly on the process free from unreasonable restrictions,” he said.
Onwubiko added that any attempt to rig the forthcoming Edo governorship election slated for Sept. 19, might not augur well for the state and Nigeria in general.
He specifically appealed to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressives Congress (APC), and other political players participating in the election to see it as an opportunity for Edo people to democratically elect their governor.
He stressed that the people of the state must be allowed to freely exercise their voting rights without interference from any quarter.
Onwubiko advised that security forces should strive to be objective, before, during and after the election.
He added that they should also not allow themselves to be used as agents by any politician to undermine the electoral process and the will of the people of the state.
“HURIWA wants the Edo governorship poll to be credible; we agree that inclusive elections provide equal opportunities for eligible citizens to participate as voters in selecting their representatives and as candidates for election to government.
“This right to participate is a broad concept and can only be subject to reasonable restrictions that are provided by law.
“Authorities must take steps to assess and remove any barriers to the participation of all citizens during elections, “ he said.
The HURIWA national coordinator frowned at the verbal attacks by some politicians in the state during electioneering campaigns, adding that this was not the way to go.
He, therefore, advised such politicians to restrain from using abusive words during electioneering campaigns.
He condemned the reported posting of soldiers to protect the former APC National Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomole, saying it was contrary to the law.
“This report if proven, amounts to a gross abuse of power because soldiers ought not to be posted as gate men.
“This is against the Constitution of the Nigerian Armed Forces,” he said.
He added that there must be effective remedies in place for violations of citizens’ election-related rights.
He further added that there must also be administrative accountability for those organising elections and those conducting governmental activities related to elections.
“In addition, there must be timely procedures to bring to account those who conduct criminal acts that affect electoral-related rights,” Onwubiko said.
Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye/Donald Ugwu
NSE, others commit to expanding retail investment opportunities in capital market
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the webinar was on “Capital Market Investing in a Digital Age”.
Mr Oscar Onyema, Chief Executive Officer, NSE, in his address, said that investor participation was crucial to sustainable economic growth.
Onyema said that the Exchange was committed to playing its role in advancing the Federal Government’s financial inclusion goals.
“Investor participation is central to the growth of sustainable development of any economy.
“NSE is committed to playing a critical role in the advancement of the FG’s financial inclusion goals.
“As part of our efforts to realise the objectives of the financial inclusion, we intend to facilitate conversations which will serve to equip existing and potential investors with the necessary skill to effectively manage and grow financial resources at their disposal.
“In these engagements, we will also expand the retail investment opportunities available in the capital market and the channels through which they can be accessed,” Onyema said.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 adversely affected the global economy in many ways and at different magnitude.
“The Nigerian capital market was also negatively affected, with the market witnessing a downturn in Q1 of this year.
“However, the market rebounded in Q2 and as a result the NSE all share index has recorded a 18.9 per cent increase from its position at the end of March.
“The market also witnessed the growth in the percentage value of equity transactions contributed by retail investors, currently at 29 per cent from 21.8 per cent in 2018 and 24.72 per cent in 2019,” he said.
According to him, these highlight the market’s resilience in time of adversity and is a testament of market stakeholders’ ability to adapt.
Onyema said that digital technology played a significant role in achieving the positive results recorded in the NSE so far.
He said that technology had helped to make significant services more easily accessible.
Mr Laolu Martins, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, NISL, said that it had become imperative to ensure that retail investors were made aware of the opportunities inherent in the capital market.
Martins said that for retail investors, navigating through the web of processes in the capital market was usually difficult, thereby discouraging them from investing.
He said: “The general belief is that retail investors are often left behind and do not have enough knowledge on the workings of the capital market.
“NISL is a securities trading company, financial advisory service, offering consulting solutions to corporate bodies across the value of activities on the stock exchange.
“In order to invest properly, all investors need to carry out some sort of financial planning, no matter how small or big.
“We realised that for retail investors, it is usually difficult for them to navigate through these web of processes and other issues that create a bottleneck or discourage investors.”
Martins said that some processes that create difficulties for investors include budgeting, investment, savings, risk management and liquidity management.
“At NISL, we have enough expertise to ensure that we help our investors navigate through this web of terms and processes to ensure that their investment is rewarding,” he said.
Martins said the reason for the webinar was to expose some of the investment opportunities for retail investors.
“This webinar is to enlighten the investing public, retail investors, that they can buy bonds in the NSE and it is like lending your money to a company or a government entity.
“It is advisable that retail investors should approach their stockbrokers to guide them in which bond they should invest in,” he said.
Mr Femi Balogun, Head, Market services Department, NSE, spoke on the importance of market data in guiding investors’ decision.
“Market data is important to the investment of an intending investor.
“Some people are good at picking stocks, but If you use data to drive your decision in conjunction with your expertise, you make a better informed decision on your investment,” he said.
Amolegbe said that the Exchange had always provided avenues that would support and ensure a seamless investing process for retail and other investors.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Oluwole Sogunle
Imo Govt. moves to restore Owerri masterplan to check flooding
Gov. Hope Uzodimma of Imo, has said his administration is desirous to restore the original masterplan of Owerri, the capital city, as part of the efforts to tackle flood-related issues in the state.
Uzodinma said this on Monday, when a delegation of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) came on an advocacy to the state.
The governor, who was represented by the Secretary to State Government (SSG), Mr Cosmos Iwu, said that plans were underway to demolish all the houses built on the waterways in the city “in order to give the water access to flow into Otamiri River.”
He also said that government had carried out series of sensitisation programmes in the state aimed at preparing the people for emergencies and called for the agency’s support.
“We are appealing to NEMA to assist us because the environmental impact of the flood in Imo is bigger than us.
“We have been doing our best and we will continue to do our best. We have received some relief items from NEMA but we are asking for more.
“We also commend your visit to Imo, it shows serious commitment on the side of NEMA,” the governor said.
In a speech, the Director-General of the agency, AVM Mohammed Mohammed (rtd.), appealed to the state government and major disaster stakeholders to demonstrate greater commitment to disaster management.
Mohammed, who was represented by Deputy Director (Accounts) in the agency, Mr Abdul-Aziz Jibrin, said that the visit was to ascertain the level of preparedness by Imo government in case of any disaster.
He said that the state was among the states in Nigeria likely to witness flooding this year as predicted by the Nigeria Meteorological Agency.
The NEMA boss said that Imo had shown capacity in disaster management in the past and urged Gov. Hope Uzodimma to show more commitment in mitigating flood and other disasters in the state.
“We are here on advocacy visit and awareness campaign to sensitise the people on the need to be prepared at all times.
“I am assuring Imo of NEMA’s full commitment to partner with the government and dissaster stakeholders in the area of disaster management,” he said.
Mohammed listed Ohaji-Egbema, Ogutta, Oru-East and Owerri North as highly probable flood risk local government areas in the state.
He warned that other council areas, “which does not fall under high probability may also be affected.”
He said that although the state seemed prepared for any disaster, there was need for the government to ensure regular sensitisation of the people to be vigilant.
“We have interacted with all the disaster stakeholders and government and I can assure you that we are satisfied with their level of preparedness.
“But they must not relent in showing commitment at all times,” Mohammed said.
He said the agency was also in Imo to interact with other disaster stakeholders to know their challenges and the way forward.
The Commander, 211 Quick Response Group Nigerian Air Force, Group Capt. Elisha Bindul, assured the NEMA delegation in his office of the command’s commitment to disaster management.
Bindul said the command had also embarked on advocacy visits to various community leaders in Imo to sensitise them on disaster management.
He said the command also carried out rescue operations in various communities and also provided security to NEMA officials during emergencies.
“It is our legal responsibility to carry out rescue operations during emergency and to also collaborate with other stakeholders in mitigating disaster,” Bindul said.
He listed limited speed boats and life jackets, ambualances and mattresses as some of the challenges facing the command during interventions in disaster management.
He solicited the assistance of the agency in providing the necessary logistics to the command for a better proactive approach to disaster management.
He promised the command’s readiness to continue to partner with the agency in disaster management in the state.
Edited By: Sam Oditah
Cyber-security: CSCS chief, others say collaboration key
Mr Haruna Jalo-Waziri, Chief Executive Officer, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc, says cyber-security is a collective effort, and everyone must play their roles to preserve the integrity and sanctity of the financial market.
He spoke on Monday at a webinar on “Cyber Security and Information During the Pandemic”, organised by the CSCS, Nigeria’s capital market infrastructure.
Financial market stakeholders, including bankers and capital market operators, shared ideas on innovative measures for preventing cybercrimes at the webinar.
Jalo-Waziri said that eradicating cybercrimes required collaborative effort.
According to him, the pandemic and its attendant remote connections occasioned by business continuity and work-from-home protocols have increased exposures to cyber-security risks.
He said that some businesses may also have suffered colossal losses due to cyber attacks since the pandemic.
“More than ever, cyber attacks are like a double whammy at this challenging time when businesses are re-strategising to adapt to the new normal and ensure sustainability,” he said.
Mr Femi Onifade, the Chief Strategy Officer, CSCS, said that a breach on a market operator’s system could inadvertently expose the entire system.
This, he said, reinforced why all must collaborate to prevent any vulnerabilities in the financial system.
He said that all participants and stakeholders must take active and effective measures in ensuring and sustaining cyber-resilience.
Mr Bharat Soni, Chief Information Security Officer, GTBank Plc, said the new work culture had expanded remote activities and cloud capabilities to an unprecedented level.
He said this had made businesses more vulnerable to cyber-attacks such as online scams and phishing, disruptive malware, malicious domains amongst others.
Soni said that due to this, the use of strong authentication for accessing networks would no longer be an option but a necessity.
According to Soni, awareness of the new realities of safe cyber practices needs to be communicated to employees, partners and customers.
He said this was necessary so that they could remain aware of the evolving cyber threat and how to best protect themselves and their organisations.
Mr Ikechukwu Ugoji, Chief Information Security Officer, Interswitch Limited, said that over 90 per cent of breaches were facilitated by phishing emails or social engineering attacks.
He said that every employee is a first-line of defence against incoming threats and employees must be made to understand their vital roles and responsibility in protecting the organization.
On his part, Mr Tobe Nnadozie, Divisional Head, Technology and Innovations, CSCS, noted that the pattern of spending on cyber-security showed that organisations were taking steps to protect their systems.
“Organisations are making relevant investments to protect their systems and broader market, albeit sadly, lack of vigilance is the leading cause of breaches,” he said.
The attendees lauded the timeliness of the webinar, as COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant remote connections may have increased cyber-security risks in many organisations.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Oluwole Sogunle
APC congratulates Gov. Obaseki on his re-election as Edo State Governor
Edo election should present a new watershed.
We will work hard to win the Ondo election. Having reaffirmed our commitment to free and fair elections, it is our expectation that all opposition parties in the country will also commit themselves to free and fair contests.
We will therefore accordingly expect congratulatory message from all parties just as we similarly guarantee that once we are defeated in a fair contest, we will congratulate the winner.
May God continue to bless our democracy, our nation and our people!
His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni
Chairman, APC Caretaker Extraordinary/Convention Planning Committeehttps://nnn.ng/apc-congratulates-gov-obaseki-on-his-re-election-as-edo-state-governor/