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Edo poll: INEC insures over 20,000 ad hoc staff against death, others

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Ahead of the September 19 governorship election in Edo State, the Independent National Electoral Commission says it has ensured all its staff and the 20,974 ad hoc staff that will be deployed for the exercise. It said comprehensive insurance had been put in place for them and those who would serve in the October 10 governorship election in Ondo State.

INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said in an interview on Saturday that the election officers would be insured against deaths and other election hazards.

There have been apprehensions from within and outside the state that the election, which holds on Saturday, maybe marred by violence. This had prompted INEC, security agencies, prominent individuals and organisations to sue for peace.

No fewer than 14 political parties would participate in the election, but the two major parties in the state; All Progressives Congress and Peoples Democratic Party, continue to accuse each other of planning to foment trouble during the exercise.

The Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, had on September 2 chastised the candidate of the PDP, Governor Godwin Obaseki; that of the APC, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and some other party chieftains over the pockets of political violence and tensed political atmosphere in the state.

In a meeting with the candidates, their running mates and other stakeholders at his palace, the monarch described some of their utterances and activities during the electioneering as immature.

Many previous elections across the country have been marred by violence, during which some election officers were killed.

But in a bid to assure its personnel of its commitment to their safety in the forthcoming election, Okoye said the staff members of the commission were already insured but that the ad hoc staff would be insured.

Okoye said, “All the ad hoc staff engaged by the commission for the purposes of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections will be covered by insurance and it’s comprehensive insurance covering deaths, accidents and other election hazards. It’s group insurance that covers every individual given a contract by the commission as ad hoc staff. The staff of the commission are already covered and there is no need to cover them a second time.”

The National Commissioner also said most of the ad hoc staff had been trained, except for Collation Officers who are usually trained three to four days to the election.

He said corps members would be deployed as Presiding Officers and students of federal tertiary institutions as Assistant Presiding Officers. While promising that each of them would be given a contract and their allowances paid promptly, he added, “We plead with them to always supply their correct details and account numbers to prevent the late payment from the bank.”

He added, “The commission will deploy a total of 20,974 election officials in Edo State. We have 18 Local Government Areas in Edo State, so there will be 18 Local Government Collation Officers; 192 Registration Area Collation Officers, 263 Supervisory Presiding Officers and 2,627 Presiding Officers.

“The commission will also engage a total of 13,557 Assistant Presiding Officers and 3,259 Presiding Officers (Voting Points) and we will also engage not less than 841 Reserves. There will be one Returning Officer for the election. There are 2,627 polling units and a registered voter population of 2,210,534. Our training programme has been robust and we are confident that our trainers have done a good job.

INEC had said out of the 2.2 million registered voters in the state, only 1.72 million collected their permanent voter cards, while 484,000 persons who did not collect theirs would not vote.

 

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NIGERIA

Enforce Public Procurement Laws – CSOs tells Buhari

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Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center CISLAC has called for the enforcement of public procurement laws in all contract bidding especially one that has to do with international organisations.

Citing the Process and Industrial Developments Limited P&ID case, the agency said the international scam would not have been possible if due diligence was followed and public officials, patriotic and honest.

The agency also decried the connivance by Nigeria public officers with foreign companies to defraud the country of monies that could be spent on providing basic amenities for the citizens.

While lamenting the non interest of National Assembly in the case, the Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Musa expressed regrets over efforts by the lawyers representing the country to frustrate the case.

The CSO commended the proposed Database for recovered assets, but however called on the government clarify if the database will be accessible to the ordinary citizens.

CISLAC therefore called on citizens to continue to hold public officers accountable.

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NIGERIA

Nigerian Navy deploys 6 warships, 60 gunboats for operation in 4 States

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The Nigerian Navy on Tuesday deployed troops on board six warships and 60 gunboats for a special military exercise.

The drill targets pirates, oil smugglers and other criminalizes in the nation’s waters.

Rear Admiral David Adeniran, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command (ENC), Calabar, made the announcement.

He spoke at the flag-off of the exercise in Onne, Rivers State

The operation code-named, ‘Exercise Sanga Sung,’ means ‘Safe Transit’ in Ibibio dialect.

The States to be covered are Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ebonyi and Rivers.

The commander explained the operation would consolidate ‘Exercises Bekan Mmon I and II’

Adeniran added that the purpose was to train personnel and check the state of preparedness of fleets.

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NIGERIA

Buhari reports Boko Haram, bandits to UN

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday told the international community that Nigeria was still battling Boko Haram and bandits.

Buhari’s message was contained in his pre-recorded address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

He urged countries to take a strong action against illicit flow of small arms and light weapons.

“Nigeria remains deeply concerned over the illicit trade, transfer, and circulation of small arms and light weapons, particularly on the continent of Africa. In Nigeria, we are still facing violent extremism from the insurgency of Boko Haram and bandits,” he said.

He noted that Nigeria counts on cooperation with neighbours and UN counter-terrorism bodies to overcome terrorists in the Lake Chad Basin and the wider Sahel Region.

The President said his administration will sustain the rehabilitation, reconstruction and resettlement of victims of terrorism and insurgency in the North-East.

On COVID-19, the Nigerian leader added his voice to supply of safe and effective coronavirus vaccines for all.

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