A total of 14 bodies have been recovered while six are still missing in Tuesday's boat crash in the Koko/Besse local government area of Kebbi.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that the boat was carrying about 100 rice farmers to Samanaji, a riverside community, when it capsized.
Already 80 people have been rescued alive while the search continues for the six missing people.
Governor Atiku Bagudu, accompanied by Justice Minister Abubakar Malami was in the community on Thursday to commiserate on the accident.
18 burnt to death in road accident in Bauchi
Gombe passengers bound for Lagos burn to death
Bagudu warned boat operators to avoid night trips and overloading, and observe safety measures at all times.
He prayed for those who died and their families to bear the loss with strength.
The governor praised those who assisted in the rescue of the ship's passengers and the continued search for the missing.
“I am here with an important delegation to express my condolences for the unfortunate mishap of the ship.
"We pray to God to forgive all those who lost their lives and we pray for the recovery of those who disappeared," he said.
Earlier, the president of the council, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, thanked the governor for the attention and care shown to the families of the victims.
Bello said search and rescue operations were still ongoing in the area to see if more people were found.
The president praised APC gubernatorial candidate Dr. Nasir Idris for donating N5 million to the families of the deceased.
NAN reports that Dutsinmari District Chief Alhaji MuAllayidi Usman received the Governor and thanked him for the condolence visit.
The governor's delegation includes former governor Saidu Dakingari, APC gubernatorial candidate Dr. Nasir Idris and state assembly speaker Alhaji Abubakar Lolo, among others.
Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited is looking for crude oil in more northern locations, after discovering the product in Bauchi and Gombe states.
NNPC stated that it was currently taking coordinated steps for further frontier exploration in the region, as part of measures to shore up the country's oil production and reserves.
The company said this in a document, seen by TheCable, about NNPC's border exploration services activities from 2020 to 2022.
The document outlined some potential states where the NNPC was expected to discover oil to include Niger, Nasarawa, Sokoto, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Bauchi and Gombe.
Further north, the Anambra Basin was listed as another area where the NNPC was scrambling to find more oil.
Prospecting is the first stage in the discovery of oil and gas deposits, by virtue of which seismic studies are carried out.
Contact: [email protected]Credit: https://punchng.com/nnpc-prospects-for-oil-in-niger-borno-report/
Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) says it is taking coordinated steps for further frontier exploration in the north.
The company said this in a document, seen by TheCable, about NNPC's border exploration services activities from 2020 to 2022.
According to the document, some prospective states where oil is expected to be discovered include the states of Niger, Nasarawa, Sokoto, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Bauchi and Gombe.
Further north, the Anambra basin was listed as another area where NNPC is striving to find more oil.
Prospecting is the first stage in the discovery of oil and gas deposits, by virtue of which seismic studies are carried out.
These are the highlights of the exploration activities of the Nigerian oil company in two years.
NNPC SEISMIC DATA ACQUISITION
The NNPC paper showed that the 2D seismic acquisition was completed at line kilometer 700 (LKM) in the Sokoto basin, where crop compensation payment was completed.
According to NNPC, post-acquisition reached 70 percent in the 600 LKM basin in Bida, while acquisition activities were suspended in the southern Chad basin, due to undisclosed circumstances.
To ensure the continuation of activities in the southern Chad basin, he said that the security clearance was received from the defense headquarters on November 7, 2022.
NNPC said it has also applied for a waiver from the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) for the environmental impact study (EIA) for the start of operations in the aforementioned basin.
Meanwhile, for the 813A 3D oil prospecting license (OPL) in the southern Chad basin, post-acquisition is 65 percent complete.
In Nasarawa State, the NNPC paper revealed that the 86 km2 Keana West 3D seismic data has been fully acquired, but post-acquisition activities have yet to start.
NNPC said it is looking for oil in phase 13 in Wadi, Yobe state, where a probable area of 168 km2 is being assessed.
In Adamawa, he noted that it is in phase 14 of the Kinasar prospect, covering 170 km2, as well as phase 15 of the Ziye prospect, covering 172 km2, all in the Borno basin, adding that both prospects have been fully assessed for security risk.
In addition, he said that while the contractual agreements for phases 13 and 14 have been executed, the one for phase 15 is yet to be executed.
OIL EXTRACTION FEATS
Highlighting progress in drilling prospective well sites, the national oil company said it has reached the stage of drilling six sites in the border basins.
According to the document, the company drilled Kolmani River 3, which began in April 2020 and completed in November 2020, drilling 13,000 feet.
NNPC also drilled the Kolmani River 4 well from July 2021 to September 2021, noting that drilling in the Chad Basin and three other sites will begin soon.
According to the report, the company has also applied for permits from the regulatory agency to complete the drilling of the phase 8 – X3 well in the Chad basin.
The NNPC report further explained that "oil play fairway analysis", basin modeling activities and seismic interpretation were underway in the Anambra basin and had reached 65 percent completion.
Section 9 of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) established the frontier exploration fund (FEF) with the allocation of 30 percent of the proceeds from NNPC upstream oil and gas contracts (participation contract in the production, profit-sharing and risk-sharing) for this purpose.
FIRST CRUDE OIL DRILLING PROJECT IN THE NORTH
On November 22, 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the Kolmani Integrated Development Project (KIPRO) located on the border of Bauchi and Gombe states.
KIPRO is an 809 and 810 Oil Prospecting License (OPL) at the Kolmani field site in the Gongola Basin of the Upper Benue Trough.
The first phase of the project is expected to comprise an on-site oil refinery with a capacity of up to 120,000 barrels per day, a gas processing plant of up to 500 million standard cubic feet per day, a power plant of up to 300MW of capacity and a fertilizer plant of 2,500 tons per day.Credit: https://www.thecable.ng/6-oil-drilling-sites-anambra-basin-now-65-highlights-of-nnpcs-frontier-exploration-in-two-years
Gombe State Amateur Athletics Association Chairman Alhaji Ahmed Shuaibu-Gara Gombe has distributed clothing items to athletes who represented the state at the 21st National Sports Festival held in Delta State.
The gifts arrived in bundles of wrapping and brocade materials.
Gara-Gombe described the items as a token of appreciation for the athletes' efforts at the biannual festival.
Gara-Gombe, who was represented by the association's technical advisor Prince Simon Ayuba, urged the athletes to resume camp after the New Year to begin preparation for Ogun 2024.
“I am proud of you, although your overall performance at the sports festival was not encouraging enough.
But I see perspectives in all of you and I am ready to help you achieve success in the next competitions”, said Gara-Gombe.
Gara-Gombe and 23 other presidents and board members of the association were inaugurated by the State Sports Commission some three weeks before the Delta Sports Festival 2022.
He, however, said he would not take responsibility for any output that athletes they got from the festival, but that would lay a solid foundation for future performance.
“I am fully committed to my words and very soon I will roll out my comprehensive program for athletes in the future,” he said.
• Yusuf Alli praises Shaibu for his support Benin's Bendel Insurance FC is seeking a continental ticket this season, based on a statement by Edo Sports Commission Chairman Yusuf Alli. Benin Arsenal, as the club is affectionately called, earned promotion to the elite league this year.
The club were subsequently crowned champions of the Nigerian National League (NNL) during the Super 4 contest where they finished with seven points from three games ahead of Bayelsa United, El Kanemi Warriors and Doma United.
The team will kick off their abbreviated league battle against former champions Akwa United FC from Uyo in what has been tagged as the star match of the Nigerian Professional Football League 2022/23 opening fixtures on January 8.
Speaking to The Guardian yesterday.
Alli, a former national and African long jump champion, stated that the club's goal in the NPFL this season is to secure a continental ticket.
"Bendel Insurance is ready and we are going to make a bold statement in the NPFL this season," Alli said.
“Everyone in Edo State worked very hard to get the club promoted to the elite league, and I must commend the role of Vice Governor Phillip Shaibu for his morale and financial support of the club.
” Bendel Insurance's return to the top league means a lot to the government and people of Edo State.
Starting on January 8, 2023, when the NPFL will officially start, commercial activities will increase in and around the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City. The people of Edo love football, and Bendel Insurance will once again prove that it is still the pride of Nigerian football.
We are ready for the challenges ahead,” said Alli, a three-time Olympian.
The Guardian recalls that at the end of the 2007-08 season, Bendel Insurance, which was one of the founding members of the Nigerian Premier League in 1972, suffered a major setback due to the management crisis, when it was relegated from the top tier.
to the lower division, the first in the club's history.
The club struggled to return to the elite division a few years later, and in 2019 Bendel Insurance, along with El-Kanemi Warriors, Kwara United, Gombe United, Niger Tornadoes and Yobe Stars, were relegated from the Nigeria Professional Football League.
Meanwhile, in draws held in Abuja by the league's organizers, the Interim Management Committee (IMC), on Wednesday, the 20 teams were divided into two groups.
In Group A, Kwara United tango Gombe United.
Remo Stars will face newcomers Elkanemi Warriors at home, while former champions Enyimba FC will host Nasarawa United.
In Jos, Plateau United will host Shooting Stars of Ibadan in another interesting matchup.
In Group B, it will be the eastern derby as Rangers International go for the jugular of Abia Warriors.
Defending champions Rivers United and Lobi Stars will meet in Port Harcourt, just as Doma United and Sunshine will trade tackles in Gombe.
Bayelsa United will face Dakkada in the last group match.
8 minutes ago Young people, yesterday, stormed the palace of the Emir of Yamaltu-Deba in the state of Gombe demanding his dethronement for allegedly supporting the candidate for governor of the Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP), Jubreel Barde.
It was then that Governor Muhammad Yahaya's re-election campaign train was at the palace to promote his candidacy on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The young people, who,… 8 minutes ago Indigenous people from the Akokwa Community and the entire Ideato Council of Imo State, have lamented the continued silence of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Alkali Baba, about the alleged assassination attempt on the Spokesperson of the Coalition of Political Party States (CUPP), Ikenga Ugochinyere.
Remember that CUPP had threatened to request foreign missions to secure a visa ban for.
of Permanent Voters (PVC), as it promises to carry out free and fair elections in 2023.
The national commissioner of information and voter education, Festus Okoye, said that the commission had to take its turn at the carnival to.
8 ago minutes Some Christian supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Dass, Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro local councils of Bauchi State have explained the reasons for their support for Tinubu/Shettima's presidential candidacy.
They said they do not view the former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, as a complete Muslim; hence the joint ticket of him with the former governor of Borno state,.
9 minutes ago Novak Djokovic says that his deportation from Australia will stay with him for the rest of his life.
Djokovic, 35, was detained and sent home in January due to his covid-19 vaccine status after trying to enter the country to compete at the Australian Open. But he overturned a three-year ban on applying for a visa.
The Association of Bankers and Mobile Money in Nigeria has expressed optimism that the Central Bank of Nigeria will reverse its policy of cash withdrawal limits before the new year.
AMMBAN National Chairman Victor Olojo revealed to The PUNCH on Sunday that the National Assembly has pledged to convince CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele to review the policy.
The new CBN policy set weekly cash withdrawals for individuals at N100,000 and corporate entities at N500,000 per week.
The directive further said that withdrawals above the thresholds would attract processing fees of five percent and 10 percent respectively, for individuals and legal entities starting January 9.
In addition, third party checks above N50,000 will not be eligible for over the counter payment while existing limits of N10 million on compensation checks are maintained.
In a petition dated December 16, 2022, PoS operators asked the CBN to review its policy and prevent 1.4 million bank agents from losing their livelihoods.
But giving an update on the matter, Olojo explained that assurances given by the CBN and the National Assembly that POS operators would not be affected by the policy have caused the group to soften its planned legal action.
However, it warned that if the policy is not reversed by the end of the year, its members would take to the streets to demand its reversal and also take the main bank to court.
The president of the union of outlet operators said: “We have not gone to court yet because we have obtained guarantees and we are waiting for a formal response from CBN. We have visited the National Assembly and have also explored other tools at our disposal at this time.
“They have given reassurance that mobile money and POS operators will not be affected. So, we are waiting for an official statement from the CBN. However, if nothing changes by the end of the year, we will take to the streets to protest and go to court.
''Remember that the Director of Banking Supervision, Mustafa Haruna, was quoted on a TV channel as having stated categorically that mobile money and banking agents would not be affected, so we just want to take that as an assurance while we wait for a formal report. . We have written to CBN, but have not yet received a response."
Olojo also based his hopes on assurances from the CBN governor that the policy would be flexible.
“The CBN governor also said that they will be flexible, so we are waiting for a revised policy that shows the flexibility. The national assembly also said that they will prevail over the governor as they oppose the new policy of CBN,'' he noted.
Also commenting on the policy, the president of the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Businesses, Lagos State Chapter, Dr. Adams Adebayo, confirmed to our correspondent that the association met with the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions on the subject last week.
“The Senate committee has assured the MSME Council that the CBN Governor will review it, especially for PoS and small business owners,” Adebayo explained.
CBN spokesman Osita Nwanisobi could not be reached on Sunday for comment when the main bank would announce the policy review, as calls to his phone indicated he was unavailable.
Commenting on the policy, the president of the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions, Abakpa Anthony, said it was too harsh, adding that the CBN should have run a pilot system and seen the level of compliance before introducing it.
He also argued that as much as the cashless policy would help Nigerians, the nation has not developed to the point of implementing a full-blown cash limits policy.
The head of NUBIFI said: "People in rural areas do not have phones that support online transactions and in most cases there will be no network to carry out the transactions."
He further stated that ATM and POS withdrawal limits may drive many Nigerians into poverty and put POS operators out of work.
”Some farmers who buy and sell in large quantities in rural areas where there is no network; what will happen to them? When Nigeria is ripe for such a policy, Nigerian workers will know it."
Meanwhile, the Gombe State Governor's Special Adviser on Information Strategy and Management, Ahmed Gombe, said the state government was also opposed to the CBN policy on the grounds that the amount stipulated by CBN was inadequate.
Gombe was reacting to a report that the NGF was opposed to the cash-out policy and that the governors of the 36 states were planning to meet with the Presidency on the issue.
Speaking in a chat with one of our correspondents, the media aide stated: “The Gombe State Governor supports any federal government policy as long as it is in the interest of the Nigerian people, especially in Gombe State. At the same time, he also supports any collective decision made by his colleagues in the best interest of the Forum of Governors”.Credit: https://punchng.com/cash-limits-pos-operators-give-cbn-ultimatum/
President Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (ret.) returned from Washington DC, United States, on Sunday morning after a week-long participation in the US-Africa Leaders Summit.
Buhari's official plane landed at the presidential wing of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, in the early hours of Sunday morning, bringing the total number of overseas trips made in 2022 to at least 19.
Countries visited so far include Rwanda (June), Equatorial Guinea (May), Guinea Bissau (December), Niger (December), United States (September and December), United Kingdom (March and November), United Arab Emirates (May). , Liberia (July), South Korea (October), Ghana (June), Portugal (June), Spain (May), Belgium (February), Ethiopia (February), Kenya (March), Ivory Coast (May) and Senegal (July).
In between, the president and his vice president have been out of the country at the same time at least three times in the past two months, The PUNCH observed.
In his first speech at the US-Africa Leaders Summit, the President of Nigeria reaffirmed the Federal Government's commitment to generate 30 gigawatts of power by 2030.
Buhari noted that Nigeria became the first African country to develop a detailed Energy Transition Plan to address both energy poverty and climate change.
Consequently, he sought US support in getting Nigeria's Energy Transition Plan done, which he said required at least N10bn/yr to finance.
During the Just Energy Transition panel discussion, Buhari cited recent analysis showing that delivering the Energy Transition Plan requires spending of $1.9 trillion through 2060, including $410 billion above business-as-usual spending.
This additional funding requirement, he explained, translates to an investment of $10 billion per year.
In his second speech, the president warned his fellow African leaders that unconstitutional regime change, terrorism and the effects of climate change on the continent may undermine the ability of their states to achieve Agenda 2063.
Speaking on the topic, Partnership in Agenda 2063: A Peaceful and Secure Africa, Buhari, however, expressed his hope that these threats would not overcome the shared unity of purpose among all member states.
He urged member states to quell the resurgence of conflicts in their regions through inclusive governance, constitutionalism and strengthening the African Union's conflict prevention and mediation support mechanisms.
In an interactive session on Friday titled A Conversation with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, the president said he had given the Independent National Election Commission the necessary resources to run the 2023 election smoothly.
Therefore, I would not consider excuses from the political arbitrator on the basis of insufficient funds.
“I made sure they got all the resources they asked for because I don't want any excuse that the government denied them the funds,” Buhari said in response to a question about INEC's preparation for the 2023 elections at the co-sponsored event. by the United States Institute of Peace, the International Republican Institute, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems.
Buhari also warned Western nations against issuing "frivolous" travel advisories on Nigeria, urging international media to be more objective in their reporting on the country.
In the bilateral scenario, Nigeria signed two agreements on space exploration and clean energy.
On the first day of the summit, Nigeria, along with Rwanda, became the first African nations to sign the Artemis Accords.
According to a statement issued by the United States Department of State, “The agreements were signed by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and by the Executive Director of the Space Agency of Rwanda, Francis Ngabo, on behalf of the Republic of Rwanda."
The Artemis Accords represent a bold and multilateral vision for the future of space exploration. The current 23 signatories commit to the principles to guide their civilian space activities, including the publication of scientific data, responsible debris mitigation, registration of space objects, and the establishment and implementation of interoperability standards.
On the second day, the Nigerian Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment signed a clean and reliable energy agreement with Sun Africa LLC, the largest US renewable energy company operating in Africa.
The agreement earmarked at least 360 rural communities and another 16 nationwide for the construction of 5,000MW of solar power generation plants and 2,500MWh of battery energy storage plants.
The first phase of the project scheduled for Q1 2023 includes: Gwagwalada, FCT (143 MWp PV size and 68 MWh energy storage); Gombe, Gombe State (270 MWp PV size and 128 MWh energy storage); Lafia, Nasarawa State (350 MWp PV size and 166 MWh energy storage); Geregu, Kogi State (174 MWp PV size and 82 MWh energy storage) and Ihovbor, Edo State (24 MWp PV size and 11 MWh energy storage).
The president returns amid disputes between state governors, lawmakers and the Central Bank of Nigeria over the N20,000 daily cash withdrawal limits imposed by the latter.Credit: https://punchng.com/buhari-returns-to-abuja-from-washington-dc/
The Independent National Electoral Commission has expressed a divergent view with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on the impact of the attacks on the electoral body’s offices and facilities in different parts of the country and how this will impact on it.
While the President said the electoral body had no excuse not to conduct credible, free and fair elections despite the attacks as the funds it requested had been made available to it, INEC noted that its funds were overstretched by the attacks as it would have to rebuild and replace the destroyed facilities.
Buhari had on Friday assured the United States of America that the attacks on the offices would not stop the conduct of next year’s general elections.
The President spoke in Washington DC during a conversation co-hosted by the United States Institute for Peace, the International Republican Institute, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems.
The President attended the US-Africa Leaders Summit held between December 13 and 15, 2022.
In the session monitored by Sunday PUNCH, the President also described Nigerian politics as argumentative and rancorous.
Buhari said in his opening remarks, “Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the stage is now set for Nigeria to conduct another general election in February 2023. I am resolute in my determination to enable the conduct of free, fair and transparent national elections in the first quarter of 2023 whose outcome will be largely accepted by the contestants.
“Since 2015, the conduct of our election continues to steadily improve. From the 2019 general elections, the bye-elections and off-season elections in Edo, Ekiti, Anambra and Osun states were conducted largely in improved content to the satisfaction of contestants and voters. That is what we hope for in 2023. Nigeria and the United States of America share many attributes. Apart from being among the largest democracies in the world, the Nigerian constitutional framework and brand of democracy are patterned along the United States of America. The two countries are the largest economies as well as the most populous in their respective continents.”
Asked if INEC was ready and able to conduct the 2023 general elections to keep the democratic process forward, Buhari replied that the commission was fully prepared for the forthcoming polls.
He said, “Thank you very much. You asked whether INEC is prepared to conduct the elections next year, I will say they are because I made sure they were given all the resources they asked (for). I don’t want any excuse that they were denied funds by the government.
“Though some of their offices in one or two geo-political zones have been attacked, all the same, INEC has not complained. Exactly, they cannot complain that they were denied resources to make sure that their infrastructure is firmly in place.”
On whether the attacks on INEC offices could impede the election process, the President said it would not in any way, stating, “It will not. I think there were two incidents. Don’t forget that we have six geo-political zones. If two offices in one geo-political zone were affected, I think the security is good. The results of the elections in Anambra, Osun and Ekiti, through them, Nigerians have appreciated that this administration is defending them to choose their political parties. This is the fundamental thing about democracy. Let people have a choice. I think Nigerians are realising that.
“Politics in our country is generally an argumentative and rancorous business. These characteristics do not necessarily diminish the very way of democracy. Governance is a product of rancorous debate to ensure the bidding of the majority of the people or representatives. More importantly, such an outcome represents the will of the people and not only of the leadership. Our political journey over the last years has pretty much been guided by these attributes of democracy. This process does not endear itself to speedy decisions.
“The characteristic trade-offs in democracy necessarily makes governance an extremely slow process. I am sure that you are familiar with the reference to me as ‘Baba Go Slow’. My compatriots would rather prefer that every day new policy decisions or actions are reeled out by the government in a military administration. But we are in a democracy and a converted democrat like me must listen and or be guided by the majority of opinions and most importantly, must learn to understand the knock-on effects of actions before they are undertaken.”
However, INEC has called on the Federal Government to intensify efforts at protecting its facilities and property nationwide to ensure hitch-free polls.
The commission also lamented that from 2019 till date, it had recorded a total of 50 attacks in 15 states of the federation.
Speaking exclusively to Sunday PUNCH, the National Commissioner, Voter Education and Publicity, INEC, Festus Okoye, said the commission would go the whole hog to deliver credible polls next year.
Quoting the commission’s Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, while making a presentation before the House of Representatives last week, Okoye said the attacks were worrisome and unfortunate.
Okoye stated, “In four years (2019 to 2022), the commission has suffered 50 attacks in 15 states of the federation. These are malicious attacks and do not include damages to facilities as a result of fire accidents, natural disasters such as flooding or rain windstorms, the snatching and destruction of materials during elections, theft and attacks on election duty officials.
“However, the commission is deeply concerned about the most recent attacks. This is so not only because they are increasingly happening closer to the 2023 general elections, but some of them seem to be rather coordinated. So far, there have been eight attacks in 2022 in Enugu, Ogun, Osun, Ebonyi and Imo states. Two of the attacks happened in Abeokuta. It appears that these attacks are coordinated and ostensibly targeted at disrupting the forthcoming general elections.”
On the impact of the attacks on the preparations for the polls, he said, “The facilities that are destroyed, especially offices, will take time to rebuild. In the alternative, the commission must rent suitable accommodation. Second, several materials lost in the attacks have to be replaced. In some of the recent attacks, Permanent Voter Cards in the offices were destroyed.
“The commission will have to reprint them in time for collection by their owners, who must be given the opportunity to vote in the coming elections. Further, the commission and security agencies must have to increase security around the facilities. This may be very challenging for security agencies that are already over-stretched trying to protect the public and other national assets.
“These attacks on election facilities are certainly additional problems they can do without. Above all, these attacks mean that the commission will have to rebuild facilities and replace destroyed materials.”
Another area of concern, according to Okoye, is funding given the low value of the naira.
“Our funds are already overstretched by inflation, exchange rate and other additional incidental responsibilities. In fact, in five states, the commission’s facilities were attacked twice, in some cases when they were still under construction as was the case in the Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State or within a few days after staff members moved to the reconstructed renovated facilities as in the case of the Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State,” he added.
Should the attacks continue at the current pace, Okoye warned that the commission “may find it increasingly difficult to recover in time for the elections.”
Buhari on corruption
Buhari noted that his administration’s efforts on corruption continued to yield results as relevant agencies soldiered on by making impressive recoveries and securing convictions of those sabotaging the country’s efforts at sustaining development and growth.
“The major cash recoveries will be deployed in a transparent way to fund the infrastructure debts,” he promised.
The President also noted that global terrorism, banditry and trans-national crimes continued to pose enormous challenges not only to Nigeria, but to global peace and security.
“These acts have become perennial threats to sustaining economic development and growth, which ought to be the dividends of democracy,” he added.
He further said that Nigeria and other regional bodies in Africa and the rest of the world were working assiduously to deal with the existential threats to the existence of humanity.
He stated that Nigeria had continued to engage bilaterally and multilaterally to comprehensively win the war against Boko Haram and related terror groups, and overcome evidence of banditry and kidnapping.
The President said, “Recall that when I assumed power, Boko Haram held about two-thirds of Borno State, half of Yobe State and a couple of local government areas in Adamawa State. Today, this is no longer the case. As a country and sub-region, we continue to be negatively impacted by the events in Libya, the Central Africa Republic, the Sahel and the war in Ukraine. Our region is awash with small and light weapons that continue to freely circulate as well as cope with the influx of foreign fighters.”
According to him, the country’s armed forces and those of its partners in the multinational joint task force consisting of Chad, Niger and Cameroon continue to demonstrate great bravery while paying the ultimate price in securing the region’s collective freedom.
He added, “Despite the difficult times we face, we continue to spend scarce and dwindling resources to ensure that we have a well-resourced military force to tackle the tasks. Ideally, these are resources that could be spent on education, or healthcare and other social services. But without peace, we have learnt the hard way that our children cannot go to school or seek good healthcare.
“We are nonetheless winning the war and making significant progress in dealing with the threats to Nigeria and the sub-region’s safety and survival. This steady progress is in spite of the negative reports of the international media as well as the nonchalant actions and attitudes of some of our friends and allies to sufficiently appreciate our efforts in the fight against terrorism. Rather, they focus on negativity which the travel advisories have become.”
PDP, APGA speak
Meanwhile, opposition parties have called on the President to go beyond verbal commitment to free, transparent polls to actions capable of engendering confidence in the electoral process.
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ibrahim Abdullahi, said, “There must be sincere commitment and renewed determination in the democratic space. And this goes beyond lip service or mere rhetoric. Express and fiat instructions backed by exemplary sanctions must be demonstrated by the APC-led government and particularly President Buhari.”
On his part, the Director, Strategic Communications of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, Chief Dele Momodu, maintained that “everything must be done to protect the sanctity of INEC. Security is key.”
Joining the conversation, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Chief Victor Oye, called on all Nigerians to join hands with the commission to ensure hitch-free elections.
He also called on the Federal Government to consider recruiting local security agencies to complement the police, army and other relevant security bodies.
Oye stated, “There should be concerted efforts on the part of all Nigerians to protect our national assets. Destroying these assets will remain counterproductive as public funds will be ploughed back to get them back to life. Giving INEC all the money they need is one thing, providing adequate security for INEC property, staff and facilities is another.
“APGA expects to work with security agencies to devise a more functional and effective strategy to deal with the recurring issue of burning INEC assets. It will not be a bad idea to recruit vigilance groups to man these assets.”
Groups reply IG
Representatives of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra and the Yoruba Nation agitators have warned the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to stop blaming them for attacks on the facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The IG had on Friday said self-determination agitators in the South-West and the South-East were responsible for the attacks on INEC offices in different parts of the country.
Baba, who was represented by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Department of Operations, Dandaura Mustapha, stated this when he appeared before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating attacks on INEC assets across the country.
He had said, “We now come to the immediate attacks on INEC facilities. Of recent, the ones that took place in Osun and Ogun, then last week in Ebonyi, Imo and Enugu; it is a well-known fact that in the South-East geopolitical zone, we have issues of secessionists – the IPOB and ESN.
“These groups are bent on stopping elections from taking place in the South-East. They have been attacking our personnel; they have been retrieving arms from members of the security agencies, not only the police, but the military and other paramilitary organisations that are there. They have been doing it, especially now that the embargo on campaigns has been lifted.
“In the South-West, we equally have the pro-Yoruba secessionists that are equally bent on seceding and not allowing the elections to take place in their areas, hence the attack on INEC in Osun and Ogun of recent. Those ones are also sponsored by politicians and other stakeholders.”
Reacting, one of the legal advisers to the Yoruba Nation agitators, Mr Olasupo Ojo, said the IG should go and fish out people responsible for the attacks and stop blaming members of the self-determination group.
This is as he said the group was opposed to violence in its agitation and would not deviate from that.
“Our struggle is non-violent; so, we deny such allegations totally,” Ojo said.
He urged the IG to stop “jumping into conclusion from his office and move to the field and conduct his own investigation.”
Ojo stated, “He (IG) should move out of his seat and go to the field to conduct investigations. He should stop depending on hearsay or beer parlour rumours. He should go and do his work thoroughly.
“He cannot label us anarchists. Yoruba Nation agitators are not anarchists. We are civilised and educated. We are pursuing our agitation legitimately and lawfully in accordance with the norms of international laws.
“We are not criminals; we don’t engage in any crime. They should go and look for whoever is burning their offices.
“They should screen all their politician friends, including fellow officers of the Nigeria Police Force. They should screen themselves first.”
He also noted that members of the group were not interested in the elections or their outcome, adding that the Yoruba Nation agitators had filed a lawsuit stopping the conduct of the polls.
The lawyer stated, “We won’t fight our people. We cannot fight out fellow Yoruba. We have a few who are contesting for various positions; they are still our brothers.
“After all, those offices were built with our money. We are not going to destroy what belongs to us. By the time the Yoruba Nation comes alive, we are going to be using those facilities for our governance. If we burn them now; what are we going to use then?”
Similarly, the representative of the Ilana Omo Oodua, Maxwell Adeleye, said a stance would be taken by the group today (Sunday) and communicated to members of the public.
“We will meet and issue a stance tomorrow (Sunday) please and not today (Saturday),” he simply said.
Also reacting, the counsel for IPOB, Mr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, said the group had before now denied involvement in attacks on INEC facilities and should not be blamed for them.
“IPOB has denied these allegations before now. The IG should go and look for the people burning these facilities and bring them to justice,” he said.
Arrest attackers – Ohanaeze
The spokesperson for the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, urged the IG to go after the attackers and stop “blaming the Igbo and IPOB.”
He said, “Insecurity in the South-East cannot be blamed on the Igbo or on IPOB. This is what they call ‘blaming the victim’.
“When they orchestrated the Igbo out of the 15 security architecture in the country, we were not bothered about it. Now, they cannot prevail against insecurity. They have failed woefully. The security system appears to have collapsed and now they are blaming Igbo and IPOB for it. This is unfair.
“An efficient security system is supposed to nip all this in the bud and curtail it. If they said it is IPOB or the Igbo; let them arrest the persons responsible and deal with them within the ambit of the law.”
He, however, admitted that there were agitations and youth restiveness in the region “but this is as a result of how our people feel in respect to the government’s marginalisation and alienation.”
Ogbonnia stated, “It is convenient to say the people responsible for these attacks are ‘unknown gunmen’ because IPOB has often denied it. The onus lies on the security agents to establish the people doing this. If it is IPOB, let them display them as IPOB and let us know the identities of these masked men.
“It is simply because of the inability of the security officers to get the people arrested that they are conveniently saying it is IPOB. It is not true. They have said countless times that it is not their handiwork.”
No postponement – INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission has ruled out a possible postponement of the 2023 general elections as it has the required resources for the smooth conduct of the polls.
INEC’s Head of Operations in Gombe State, Aminu Isah, made this disclosure during the discussion segment of an engagement with youth focused groups in the North-East with the theme; ‘Making your votes count…consolidating democracy’, which was held in Gombe on Saturday.
The engagement was part of the commission’s drive to sensitise youths, especially corps members, as well as religious and civil society groups.
Isah said unlike previously, INEC had received the needed resources that would make the electoral process smooth.
“The 2023 elections will be the best to be conducted; INEC has got all its funds ahead of the elections. There will not be any possible postponement of the 2023 elections, unlike 2019,” he stated.
On Permanent Voter Card collection, he said it had commenced in earnest adding, “All the states have received the last tranche of the printed PVCs for those that have registered.”
The Gombe State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Ibrahim Umar, who represented the National Commissioner in charge of Taraba, Gombe and Adamawa states, Dr Baba Bila, said the commission had received non-sensitive materials and some sensitive materials, including the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System machines, in readiness of the elections.
Bila stated that the youth population constituted over 50 per cent in the country, stressing that their involvement in the polls was important.
He said, “INEC is fully prepared to conduct free, fair, timely and all inclusive elections come 2023. The Head of Operations has already told you that we have already received most of the non-sensitive materials and among sensitive materials we have received full complement of the BVAS. By the grace of God, we are not going to have any hitches.”
Osun’s 5,306 BVAS
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Osun State, Dr Mutiu Agboke, on Saturday said the commission had received a total of 5,306 BVAS machines for use during the 2023 elections.
Agboke, who spoke during an awareness campaign in Osogbo, which was organised in collaboration with the Power of PVC Ride, a non-governmental organisation, to create awareness for the collection of Permanent Voter Cards in the state, also said the commission had commenced the training of its employees ahead of the polls.
“We have received 5,306 BVAS and we are ready; we are charging and configuring them, and training our staff members and partnering stakeholders, and we have always been engaging our stakeholders,” he stated.
Adegoke called on residents of the state to collect their PVCs to enable them participate in the elections.Credit: https://punchng.com/buhari-inec-differ-on-election-funding-commission-blames-forex-inflation/
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