The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has suspended the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) ahead of the Oct. 10 governorship election in Ondo State.
Mr Rufus Akeju the state Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner disclosed this at a news conference in Akure on Wednesday.
Akeju said that INEC has also suspended the issuance of Permanent Voter’s Card (PVCs) until after the poll.
“It is extremely important for me to inform you that the Commission has suspended the CVR.
“And the implication is that, the window of opportunity for new registrants to register, distribution of PVCs, transfer of registration and replacement of lost or defaced PVCs has been shut for the meantime owing to the ravaging pandemic.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Section 78(7) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) empowers INEC to de-register political parties in carrying our this constitutional responsibility.
“The commission has de-registered Seventy-four (74) political parties and now left with Eighteen (18) subsisting political parties in the political space of the country.
“In accordance with the election timetable released by INEC for the conduct of gubernatorial election in Ondo State, the conduct of the political party primaries shall take place between July 2 and July 25.
“Pursuant to the above, and also as political activities begin to gather momentum in the state, I hereby admonish the political actors and gladiators to live up to expectations.
“Play the game according to the dictate of the extant laws, regulations and guidelines of their political parties to promote democratic values,”he said.
Akeju revealed that the number of registered voters was 1,822,346, while number of PVCs collected was 1,478,460, while 372, 888 PVCs were uncollected.
He also revealed that in compliance with Section 30(1) and in conformity with the scheduled time table, the electoral body had posted the notice of election on July 1 as required by law.
Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)
Ahead of the governorship elections scheduled to hold on Sept. 19 and Oct. 10, INEC has warned voters in Edo and Ondo against wearing face masks with the logo of their political parties, to polling units.
Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Electoral Operations and Logistics Committee (EOLC), gave the warning on Wednesday in Abuja, during the commission’s first virtual consultative meeting with media organisations.
“Wearing of face masks to polling units will be compulsory, but any voter with branded face masks will be turned back from the polling unit,” he said.
He, however, said that INEC would not provide or share face masks to voters during polls.
Ibeanu, in his presentation at the meeting presided over by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said that the commission could not afford the cost of providing face masks to registered voters in the states.
According to him, it will cost not less than N640 million to provide face masks to all registered voters for the elections.
“INEC cannot provide these face masks. If we were to provide these masks for the registered voters, we are talking about 6.4 million voters.
“So, should INEC be spending N640 million handing out masks that voluntary organisations and government agencies can actually give to people, if we had a national campaign for this purpose?” Ibeanu asked.
He, however, urged the media to sensitise people on the need for individuals and organisations to donate and distribute face masks to the people, not just during elections but at all times.
“It is not just about the election. It is just that it will help in the circumstances of the pandemic.
“I don’t think anybody in Nigeria should not have access to face masks now. But the more important thing is that people can also improvise and they need to understand that they can do so,” he added.
The national commissioner also said that the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) and the distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), before the Edo and Ondo governorship elections, as well other by-elections would not be feasible.
Ibeanu said that there was no need for the distribution of the PVCs before the elections as the nation just came out of a general elections last year.
“Since the 2019 general elections, there has not been new CVR. If the collection of the PVCs is allowed for Edo and Ondo polls, the same demand will be made for bye-elections, causing other challenges.
“So, after much consideration, we decided not to allow collection of PVCs before the elections,” he said.
He disclosed that with the new policy document on conducting elections during the COVID-19 pandemic, voting would commence at 8.30 am and close by 2.30pm as against the usual 8 am to 2pm.
The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, said that INEC was determined to be part and, indeed, lead the process of innovation and creativity in the electoral process.
He said that the commission would not throw in the towel and postpone all elections to an indeterminate period.
“Throwing in the towel in our constitutional circumstances may do violence to the constitution and wittingly or unwittingly throw the country into avoidable constitutional crisis.
“The commission is therefore determined to proceed with the two governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States and the 10 Senatorial and State Assembly elections.
”These exercises will be done with caution, bearing in mind that the health and safety of the people will be crucial determinants of the success or otherwise of the elections,” Okoye said.
Lion Air has ended its search for the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) from its Boeing 737 MAX jet, but Indonesian investigators said they plan to launch their own probe as soon as possible.The jet crashed into the Java Sea in October 2018.
The crash, the world’s first of a Boeing Co 737 MAX jet and the deadliest of 2018, killed all 189 people on board.
Contact with flight JT610 was lost 13 minutes after it took off on Oct. 29, from the capital Jakarta heading north to the tin-mining town of Pangkal Pinang.
The main wreckage and the CVR, one of two so-called black boxes, were not recovered in an initial search.
Lion Air said in December it was funding a 2.64 million dollar search using the offshore supply ship MPV Everest.
The search using the ship ended on Saturday, Danang Mandala, the spokesman for Lion Air Group, told Reuters.
A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Commission (KNKT), however, said on Thursday the agency would start its own search for the black box as soon as feasible.
The CVR is likely to hold vital clues that could give investigators insight into the actions of the pilots.
The KNKT spokesman said negotiations with the Indonesian navy were under way to use a navy ship to re-launch the search for the second black box as soon as possible.
“It might be as soon as Jan. 9. It won’t be as fancy as the (Lion-subsidised) MPV Everest but will be equipped with a CVR detector and we already have a remote-operated vehicle,” the commission’s spokesman said.
The clock is ticking in the hunt for acoustic pings from the L3 Technologies Inc CVR fitted to the jet.
It has a 90-day beacon, the manufacturer’s online brochure shows.
A preliminary report by KNKT focused on airline maintenance and training, and the response of a Boeing anti-stall system to a recently replaced sensor but did not give a cause for the crash.
“While we appreciate the fact Lion Air Group brought out the MPV Everest ship, we are disappointed because there’s no actual results,” Anton Sahadi, a relative of a victim of the plane crash, told Reuters by a text message.
“It has been a waste of money, of time and of a sophisticated ship for several weeks, we the families of victims were given only fake promises by Lion Air,” he said, adding he was not confident in the government’s efforts.
The family of the Indonesian co-pilot of the flight filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Dec. 28, against Boeing in Chicago, adding to litigation piling up against the plane maker.
The lawsuit alleges that the Lion Air-operated Boeing 737 MAX jet was unreasonably dangerous because its sensors provided inconsistent information to both the pilots and the aircraft.
At least two other lawsuits have been filed against Boeing in Chicago by relatives of victims.
There has also been some debate among experts over Indonesian authorities’ decision to ask Lion Air to pay for the search that ended on Dec. 29.
Safety experts say air accident investigation agencies typically lead the search for black boxes with public funding to ensure the independence of the process and that it is unusual to hand the task to one of the parties to the investigation.
Indonesian investigators previously said that bureaucratic wrangling and funding problems had hampered the search for the Lion Air CVR and they had turned to the airline for help.
In 2007, efforts to recover the black boxes from a crashed Adam Air jet were delayed by disagreements between Indonesia and the airline over who should bear the cost.
Edited by: Abigael Joshua/Muhammad Suleiman Tola
A Lion Air jet that crashed into the sea off Indonesia last month was not in an airworthy condition on its second-to-last flight when pilots experienced similar problems to those on its doomed last journey, investigators said on Wednesday.
In a preliminary report, Indonesia’s transport safety committee focused on the airline’s maintenance practices and pilot training and a Boeing Co anti-stall system but did not give a cause for the Oct. 29 crash that killed all 189 people on board.
KNKT investigator Nurcahyo Utomo said the agency had not determined if the anti-stall system, which was not explained to pilots in manuals was a contributing factor.
“We still don’t know yet, if it contributed or not,” he said in response to a question. “It is too early to conclude.”
The report unveiled fresh details of efforts by pilots to steady the 737 MAX jet as they reported a “flight control problem”, including the captain’s last words to air traffic control asking to be cleared to “five thou” or 5,000 feet.
Contact with the jet was lost 13 minutes after it took off from the capital, Jakarta, heading north to the tin-mining town of Pangkal Pinang.
Information retrieved from the flight data recorder showed the “stick shaker” was vibrating the captain’s controls, warning of a stall throughout most of the flight.
The captain was using his controls to bring the plane’s nose up, but an automated anti-stall system was pushing it down.
“It’s very distracting and unnerving,” former Boeing flight control engineer Peter Lemme said of the stick shaker activation.
“It’s not something you ever want to have happen as a pilot.”
Pilots flying the same plane a day earlier had experienced a similar problem, en route from Denpasar, Bali to Jakarta, until they used switches to shut off the system and used manual controls to fly and stabilize the plane, KNKT said.
“The flight from Denpasar to Jakarta experienced stick shaker activation during the takeoff rotation and remained active throughout the flight,” the committee said.
“This condition is considered as un-airworthy condition” and the flight should have been “discontinued.”
The pilots of that flight reported problems to Lion Air’s maintenance team, which checked the jet and cleared it for take-off the next morning.
After the crash, Lion Air instructed pilots to provide a “full comprehensive description” of technical defects to the engineering team, KNKT said.
In a statement, Boeing drew attention in detail to a list of airline maintenance actions set out in the report but stopped short of blaming ground workers or pilots for the accident.
The manufacturer, which has said procedures for preventing an anti-stall system activating by accident were already in place, said pilots of the penultimate flight had used that drill but noted the report did not say if pilots of the doomed flight did so.
Boeing’s statement did not make any reference to a revised anti-stall system introduced on the 737 MAX which U.S. pilots and Indonesian investigators say was missing from the operating manual.
Boeing says the procedure for dealing with a so-called runaway stabiliser, under which anti-stall systems push the nose down even when the plane is not entering a stall or losing lift, had not changed between earlier version of the 737 and the newly delivered 737 MAX.
Pilots, however, say the control column behaves differently in certain conditions, which could confuse pilots who have flown the earlier model.
A source at the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said a number of factors were ultimately likely to be cited as causes of the crash, including pilot training and maintenance.
It had still to be determined how much, if at all, the plane design would be faulted, the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Edward Sirait, chief executive of Lion Air, said he had not read the KNKT report but would comply with investigators’ recommendations.
The report provided new recommendations to Lion Air on safety on top of earlier recommendations about the flight manual that have already been implemented by Boeing.
Authorities have downloaded data from one of the black boxes found days after the crash, the flight data recorder, but are still looking for the cockpit voice recorder (CVR).
Indonesia plans to bring in a ship from Singapore able to stay in position without dropping anchor, to help with the search.
Asked what was needed from the CVR, Utomo said: “A lot.
Discussions between the left and right pilots were about what? What procedures did they carry out. Were there any strange noises?”
Without it, he said there would be “a lot of guessing”.
Edited by: Udochukwu Ifionu/Silas Nwoha
Indonesian investigators will deliver their first report into the Lion Air crash on Wednesday, a month after the brand-new Boeing 737 crashed into the sea.
In the crash, all 189 on board were killed in the country’s second-worst air disaster.
The report, which comes as the search continues in the Java Sea for the jet’s cockpit voice recorder, is not expected to draw firm conclusions from the ongoing investigation into the Oct. 29 crash.
However, investigators have said they are focusing their attention on the Boeing 737’s anti-stall system.
The doomed jet’s systems had detected it was in a stall due to a faulty indicator.
It then gave the captain a warning through a “stick shaker” that vibrated the controls, Nurcahyo Utomo, an investigator at Indonesia’s Transport Safety Committee (KNKT), told parliament last week.
The Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) – an automated modification, new to the model that crashed – activated and directed the jet’s nose down to prevent a stall, Utomo said.
The pilots counteracted that successfully for some time before the plane entered a final dive, he added.
The same anti-stall system had activated on the jet during a flight the previous evening, but the pilots, in that case, managed to shut off the system, Utomo said.
The crash was the first involving the latest model of Boeing’s best-selling 737 series, the 737 MAX, which entered service a year ago.
MCAS was not described in the Lion Air flight manual before the crash, KNKT said, nor in those used by American Airlines, according to U.S. pilot unions.
However, the cockpit procedure for dealing with a runaway stabiliser remains unchanged from earlier 737 models.
Boeing Chief Executive, Dennis Muilenburg, said earlier this month that Boeing provides “all of the information that’s needed to safely fly our aeroplanes’’.
However, the jet’s manual and training methods have come under scrutiny after the crash.
In response to initial findings from the jet’s flight data recorder, Boeing issued a bulletin to airlines reiterating procedures and advising them to add information on MCAS to flight manuals.
The instruction was followed by a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration directive making that mandatory.
A Boeing spokeswoman on Tuesday declined to comment on the investigation but said Boeing had discussed MCAS functions with more than 60 airline operators globally since 2016.
Lion Air’s maintenance practices and pilot training also face scrutiny after investigators said the doomed jet had problems with airspeed indicators on its final four flights.
Lion Air, one of Asia’s largest budget carriers, says it tackle safety concerns highlighted by previous incidents.
Most air accidents are caused by a cocktail of factors and investigations typically take around a year to complete.
Investigators are expected to restrict their report to factual details from the jet’s flight data recorder, which contains 69 hours of information from its last 19 flights.
But they can include immediate recommendations if they have pressing safety concerns.
The search for the cockpit voice recorder is proving difficult after investigators said last week its “ping” signal was no longer being detected.
“We’re still making efforts to find the CVR and it is very important.
“The CVR is related to the credibility of the country so that we can avoid the same incident,’’ KNKT Head, Soearjanto Tjahjono, told parliament. (Reuters/NAN
Edited by: David Onilede/Abdulfatah Babatunde
Indonesian divers and remotely operated subs have spotted one of the enginesand the landing gear of a Lion Air aircraft that crashed into the sea with 189 people on board, officials said Friday.
A video taken by one of the divers and broadcast on local television showed what appeared to be one of the ill-fated Boeing 737 MAX VIII’s engines.
“It’s part of the engines,” navy spokesman Agung Nugroho said.
Search chief Muhammad Syaugi said bigger parts of the aircraft, including its landing gear, were also spotted Thursday during an operation to retrieve part of the aircraft’s black box but were too heavy to lift.
“We lowered an Remotely Operated Vehicle and saw many debris and several bodies.
“There were also the aircraft’s two wheels and the side of the aircraft’s body,” he added.
The Boeing 737 MAX VIII plunged into the sea Monday about 13 minutes after take-off from Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, killing all 181 passengers and eight crew members.
Naval divers on Thursday found one of the black boxes, with crash investigators saying it was most likely to be the Flight Data Recorder (FDR).
Search teams are still looking for the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR).
The CVR records conversations in the cockpit, while the FDR tracks flight data such as airspeed, pressure altitude and vertical acceleration.
Data from the recorders could shed light on the cause of the crash.
Global energy giants Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil have asked U.S. regulators for exemptions to the nation’s biofuels policy.
The exemptions have historically been reserved for small companies in financial distress, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The requests will add fuel to a raging dispute between Big Oil and Big Corn over how the Trump administration should manage the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard.
This is a 2005 law that requires oil refiners to mix biofuels such as corn-based ethanol into the nation’s fuel supply, or buy government-awarded credits from other energy firms who do the blending.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already issued an unusually high 25 hardship waivers to small refineries in recent months, according to an agency source.
Such waivers drivie blending credit prices down and helping the oil industry reduce compliance costs.
But the agency won’t name the firms receiving the exemptions, citing a concern over disclosing private company information.
Both Chevron (CVX.N) and Exxon (XOM.N), among the world’s most profitable energy companies, have asked EPA for waivers for their smallest facilities.
Such facilities as Chevron’s 54,500 barrel-per-day refinery in Utah and the Exxon’s 60,000 bpd refinery in Montana, two sources briefed on the matter told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The exemptions would free the plants from their obligation to hand in blending credits earned or purchased for 2017, which came due this year, the sources said.
The disclosure of the Chevron and Exxon applications, which have not been previously reported, follow a me report this month that the EPA has exempted three of ten refineries owned by Andeavor (ANDV.N), one of the biggest U.S. refining companies.
The waivers could save Andeavor 50 million doll or more in regulatory costs for the company’s 2016 obligations under the biofuels law.
Husky Energy – a Canadian oil giant backed by a :billionaire – will also be seeking an exemption, this one covering thd spokesman Mel Duval told Reuters, disclosing the waiver for the first time.
Duval said Husky inherited a 2017 exemption when it bought the 50,000 bpd Superior refinery from Calumet Specialty Products Partners (CLMT.O) for $435 million in November.
The waivers are intended for facilities producing less than 75,000 barrels per day (bpd) that can also prove compliance with the policy would cause them “disproportionate economic hardship.”
A spokesman for Chevron, Braden Reddall, declined to confirm or deny the application, but said waivers provide an edge.
“Several competitors have reportedly received exemptions from the RFS,” he said in a written statement to the media.
“If true, any refinery which has not been exempted from the RFS will be at a competitive disadvantage.”
Exxon spokesman Dan Carter declined to comment.
The exceptions and the EPA’s refusal to disclose them have infuriated the corn lobby, which argues the waivers hurt farmers by undermining demand for corn and should be used only sparingly for tiny facilities in dire straits.
“EPA is hiding behind poor excuses about proprietary business information to shield big oil companies from public scrutiny,” five Republican senators, including Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst from Iowa, wrote in a joint statement Thursday.
“This looks like just another backdoor attempt by (EPA) Administrator (Scott) Pruitt to destroy the Renewable Fuel Standard and circumvent congressional intent.”
Bob Dinneen, head of the Renewable Fuels Association said there is nothing ‘small’ about Exxon and Chevron, both of which rank in the top 20 of the Fortune 100.
“For these two behemoth oil companies to claim economic hardship is downright offensive and insulting to the hard-working farm families and ethanol producers that depend on the RFS,” Dinneen said.
It’s unclear whether the EPA has approved the Exxon or Chevron application. EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman declined to comment on which firms have applied for or received exemptions.
She said the agency considers any application to exempt a refinery of less than 75,000 bpd – regardless of the size of the company that owns it.
“EPA decisions on waivers are based on refinery-specific information,” she said in an email. “We continue to work through petitions received for 2017.”
Other big oil companies including Phillips 66 also own refineries small enough to be eligible for a waiver, as does CVR Energy (CVI.N) which is owned by billionaire investor and Trump ally Carl Icahn.
Officials for those companies did not respond to requests for comment on whether they are seeking exemptions.
Icahn’s efforts last year to overhaul the biofuels program – while acting as an adviser to Trump on regulatory issues – drew scrutiny from federal investigators after lawmakers said it raised ethical concerns.
Biofuels proponents including U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has criticized the use of RFS exemptions as “demand destruction” for corn-based ethanol.
Ethanol demand has been vital to farmers who are buffeted by low commodities prices and the threat of a global trade war.
The American Petroleum Institute, which represents big oil companies like Exxon and Chevron, has also opposed small refinery exemptions in the past, arguing for a level competitive playing field.
Edited by Udochukwu Ifionu