EFCC operatives attacked by alleged vote buyers in Kaduna

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says its operatives on election monitoring duty were on Saturday attacked at School Road, Unguwan Rimi Kaduna, while attempting to arrest a suspected vote buyer.

The EFCC Spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said this in a statement in Abuja.

“The team, working on intelligence on the alleged activities of one Kabiru Musa who was seen in an amateur video allegedly inducing eligible voters by using his phone to transfer money into their accounts as they cast their votes, had mobilized to the scene to arrest the suspect.

“However, immediately he was accosted by the operatives, Musa became unruly and screamed to attract the attention of his syndicate members, who descended on the operatives, using all manner of weapons that left some of them injured.

“It took great restraints for the operatives to ignore the unprovoked attack but insisted on arresting the suspect.

“As the team drove away with the suspect, their vehicle was pelted with stones and other dangerous objects that damaged the windshield and three operatives suffered varying degrees of injuries in the process,” he said.

According to him, the injured operatives are currently receiving medical attention at the Medical Centre of the Kaduna Zonal Command, while the suspect is in custody, pending conclusion of the investigation.

He recalled that EFCC teams were similarly attacked during the presidential and national assembly elections, leaving some of its vehicles badly damaged.

He quoted the Chairman of the Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa as commending the operatives for exercising great restraint under extreme provocation.

Bawa, however, appealed to the public to desist from attacking officers of the Commission as such action would no longer be tolerated

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Expert wants Nigeria, Qatar to take advantage of EU gas market

An Associate Professor, Olanrewaju Aladeitan has urged other gas producing countries to take advantage of the vacuum created by the non-supply of oil to Europe by Russia and expand their gas projects to penetrate the European market.

“This is where countries like Qatar and Nigeria come in,” Aladeitan, an oil and gas expert said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.

Aladeitan, an Associate Professor of Energy and Natural Resources, University of Abuja said the major off-taker of Nigerian gas was in Europe and there were on-going viable projects to actualise that.

On issues bordering the Russian-Ukraine war and the strategic position of Russian Gazprom, the strategic producer and supplier of gas, he said the crisis left some shortfalls in continental Europe, the UK and NATO allies.

“Now ordinarily, it is elementary business logic that vacuum created by the non-supply of oil by Russia should be taken advantage of by any other gas producer and this is where countries like Qatar comes in.

“So North Europe is looking at where to readily get supply to make up for the shortfall or non-supply from Russia.

“So, definitely, there is an implication, there is an effect of the Russian special operation or invasion on Ukraine on gas supply.

“Now gas countries, of which Nigeria is one and a country like Qatar are willing to take advantage of that opportunity of course, because there is a demand.

“But how do you take advantage of that particular gap that has been left as a result of the decision of Gasprom to withdraw supply from that region,” he asked.

On Nigeria’s preparedness to catch in on that opportunity, he said Nigeria would have been prepared if it had done what it needed to do as far back as the 1970s, or even in the early 1990s and 2000.

He said that these periods were when the whole idea of the Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline (TSGP) project was mooted and revisited again which would have aided penetration to the EU market.

“If we had done that then, by now we would be smiling to the bank because we would have utilised the opportunity of market that was left by the withdrawal of Russia,” he said.

He said Nigeria took deliberate action, starting with the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) company in developing the gas sector.

This he said was in a bid to cut down on gas flare, and also to take advantage of the economic potential of the gas reserves in the country.

He said the major off-taker of Nigerian gas was in Europe, but how to reach there, and derive the utmost benefit, had also been of concern to the country.

According to him, it is why the idea of the TSGP project has always been there as piping the gas all the way through will cost less because the cost of transportation through the vessel is something else.

“So if we can achieve the same aim through the Trans-Sahara pipeline, it will be fine.

“We also have the West African Gas Pipeline, which passes through Benin Republic, Togo to Ghana, and that has also been in the works for some time.

“This is what has informed Nigeria looking at constructing these pipelines to Europe and the gas can flow from there,” he said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

New oil, gas discoveries indicate huge gas reserves in Nigeria – Expert

An Oil and Gas Expert, Olanrewaju Aladeitan, has lauded the new oil and gas discoveries in Nigeria, which indicate that the country has huge gas reserves.

The expert said Nigeria could be more described as a gas country than a crude oil country because it had trillions cubic feet of gas reserves.

Aladeitan, an Associate Professor of Energy and Natural Resources, University of Abuja, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Abuja on Sunday.

NAN reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had in November 2022 inaugurated the Kolmani Integrated Development Project at Kolmani River II oil field located at a border community between Bauchi and Gombe States.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. (NNPCL) in 2019 had announced the discovery of crude oil, gas and condensate in the Kolmani Oil Field with over one billion oil barrels reserves and 500 billion cubic feet of gas.

The NNPCL is also set to develop the first oil well in Nasarawa State in March 2023 in view of its confirmation of presence of substantial hydro carbon resources in the state.

Aladeitan said information from an insider revealed that data emerging from the Bauchi-Gombe axis showed that there was oil in commercial quantity, but with a caveat that gas could be more.

He said some of the new frontiers that were also being discovered in the country even had more gas reserves than crude oil reserves.

“Which means Nigeria’s reserve of gas is very huge.

“Somewhere around Igbariam in Anambra we have a huge gas reserve there.

“Luckily, there are new frontiers coming up, we have the Bauchi-Gombe new oil and gas discovery that is fast coming on and recently in Nasarawa and also Niger.

“By the time the efforts are taken to the Sokoto Trough, we may also find some reserves there as well,” he said.

Speaking on the perception of some people whether oil was truly found in the new locations, he said initially all the troughs had shown evidence of crude oil and gas in the past.

But he said unfortunately the technology available then may not have made it possible to follow up the discoveries.

He said though some people were skeptical about the discovery of oil in those environments, but it was not as if those areas never showed evidence of crude oil as there were traces.

According to him, the kind of technology that existed in the past could not make them explore further, but now there is advanced technology that has made it possible.

He further said then Shell was exploring oil and given the entire country, but realised that the Niger Delta had more concentration of oil.

This, he said made Shell to concentrate in that region, not that there had not been traces of oil in other places.

“But we are not sure that if the exploration continues, whether or not it will show that it is in commercial quantity or not.

“But I can assure you from an insider view that the data emerging from the Bauchi-Gombe axis shows that there is oil in commercial quantity, but with a caveat that what they may get more might be gas.

“So, even in the Chad Basin, there are traces of it. There are evidences. It is just like what happened with shale gas; you know that there are some unconventional sources of gas and oil that is what the shale gas is all about.

“So, in some of those unconventional sources, you use new technology and you will definitely discover.

“What I am saying in essence is that with improved technology and improved knowledge now, we can get clearer pictures of those things we could not assess or have information about in the past.

“Some people ridiculously argued that they connected oil pipelines all the way from the Niger Delta region to Benue, which is a ridiculous thing to say,” he said.

He, however, emphasised the need to cut down gas flare and take advantage of the economic potential of gas reserves in the country.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Polls: ICPC officers attacked, vote buyers nabbed in Sokoto, Katsina

The ICPC said it arrested four vote buyers in Sokoto and Katsina States during the governorship and House of Assembly elections on Saturday.

The ICPC Spokesperson, Mrs Azuka Ogugua, who disclosed his in a statement on Sunday in Abuja, said the commission’s monitoring team was attacked by hoodlums in Sokoto.

“In its election monitoring operations across the states of the federation, officers of the anti-corruption agency encountered some vote buyers at Kauran Miyo Primary School in Bodingo Town of Bodinga Local Government Area of Sokoto State.

“The Sokoto State Monitoring Team of the Commission arrested the three male vote-buyers – Mahe Bello, Musa Adamu and Mustapha Mohammed – all of Kauran Miyo Bodinga.

“Bello was caught in possession of a cash sum of N38,000, two PVCs, one ATM Card and an Infinix phone while Musa Adamu had CFA 228,000 in his possession which was being offered to voters.

“The third suspect, Mustapha Mohammed, was arrested with some PVCs in his possession,” she said.

According to her, the ICPC Monitoring Team, however, came under attack while carrying out the arrest of the three vote-buyers.

“An officer of the Commission, Rabiu Ibrahim, suffered a head injury after being hit by stones. He has been admitted into a hospital and he is in a stable condition.

“The three voters were kept in the custody of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) before being conveyed to ICPC’s detention facility in Sokoto.

“In a related development, the ICPC Katsina State Election Monitoring Team arrested one Tanimu Tabale for vote buying at Tashar Yamma Polling Unit in Zango Local Government Area of the State,” she said.

She said that Tabale, a 35-year old man, claimed he was an observer in Makama Polling Unit but was arrested at Tashar Yamma Polling Unit with the sum of N20,000 in different denominations attempting to buy the votes of the electorate.

“One of the ICPC Monitoring Teams in Delta State rescued a female voter, Oge Nwaomose, from mob action by agents of some parties who accused her of vote-buying.

“Nwaomose was seen parading herself at Unit 13 Ward 6, shortly after casting her vote at Unit 8 Ward 13, Ogbu-Utu Primary School, Issele-Uku, Aniocha North Local Government Area, Delta State

“The officers of the anti-corruption agency at Polling Unit 13 Ward 6 in Issele-Uku, Aniocha North Local Government Area, Delta State, prevented further attacks on the lady, who was thereafter whisked away to the state office for interrogation,” he said.

She said that during a search conducted on her, ?6,000 in 500 naira note denomination was found on her, adding that her statement was obtained and was granted bail.

She recalled that the Commission had on Feb. 25, arrested nine vote-buyers in Osun, Ondo, Borno, Akwa Ibom and Sokoto States during the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

We’ll sue INEC over omission of party’s logo – NNPP Cross River guber candidate

Amb. Wilfred Bonse, the governorship candidate, New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) in Cross River says the party will sue the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the omission of the party’s logo from ballot papers.

Bonse, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Ogoja said he was disappointed over the conduct of the governorship and house of assembly elections in the state.

He noted that the party had earlier written a letter to INEC to ensure the inclusion of his party’s name on the ballot paper, instead of only the logo.

NAN reports that the governorship election was largely peaceful in Ogoja and Boki local government areas of Cross River.

The NNPP Gubernatorial candidate for Cross River said he was denied the opportunity of voting for himself and having the Cross River people vote for him.

Bonse said that the party would sue INEC for the wrongful exclusion of its logo from the ballot papers.

“This is a very interesting election in which I didn’t even have the opportunity to vote for myself because I was wrongfully excluded from the ballot.

“NNPP was not represented at all in the governorship ballot paper, and that’s not acceptable.

“We are going to sue for wrongful exclusion. We intend to take this to the highest possible level to ensure we get redress

“It is wrong for INEC to let us go through the process, then they go all the way and print ballot papers for an election and excluded us.

“So, this is just the beginning and certainly not the last of this,” he said.

Also, Carolyn Williams, the NNPP Senatorial Candidate for Cross River North in the recently concluded presidential and national assembly elections held on Feb. 25, said she was also on ground to cast her vote in her polling unit at Mbube East, Ward II.

Williams, however, expressed disappointment at the turn of events, adding that justice must prevail for NNPP.

“Well, I didn’t expect INEC to act differently. They had deliberately erased NNPP from the 2023 elections in Cross River. First, it was my senatorial and the presidential election .

“We raised concerns about the party’s logo and our absence from the ballot, but nothing, absolutely nothing was done to correct the deliberate act by INEC.

“This is totally unfair to me and our gubernatorial candidate,” she said.

Simon Akpa, INEC, Assistant Electoral Officer for Ogoja told NAN that he was not aware of the issue as it had not been formally reported to INEC on Sunday.

Akpa, however, said that if the report was true and what was obtainable not just in Ogoja or Boki but also in other parts of the state, then the party had the constitutional right to file an official complain to INEC for further investigation.

“The complaint has to be officially transmitted from the national level of NNPP to INEC. At that level, the commission will give prompt attention to the issue.

“However, if the issue was a peculiar one to a particular local government area and not a general concern, the complaint might not really hold water.

“But if the same concerns were raised and observed all over the state, then it will definitely be looked into by the electoral commission,” he said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Stakeholders reiterate need to embrace cultural diversity for unity, peace

Some stakeholders have stressed the need to embrace cultural diversity to promote unity, peace and development in the society.

They made the call on Saturday at a World Cross Cultural Day celebration organised by Safe Heritage Crest Academy in Abuja.

Mrs Feyikemi Arolasafe, Proprietress of the academy, said diverse cultures, values and ways of life, showed the rich cultural history and heritage of a people, hence should not be allowed to go extinct.

Arolasafe said the event was aim at showcasing the school as a cross-cultural and cultural inclusiveness academy.

This, she said would prepared the students to adapt to various cultures, wherever they find themselves in future.

“As such, we need not perceive a country’s culture as an aspect of another country rather; it should be allowed to stand on its own.

“Every country is unique and we should embrace each other cultural diversities for unity, progress and prosperity of one another.

“We are training world conscious students and pupils who will find themselves tomorrow in various parts of the world as undergraduates, graduates and professionals.

“They will perfectly fit into the societies as responsible ambassadors,’’ she said.

Arolasafe said the event brings hopes, hope for harmony and peace between all races, tribes and religions in Nigeria, particularly at a time that the country was challenged.

“We hope to see the young generations inspired by the values of culture.

“This event will continue to promote sustainable peace, togetherness, co-existence and development that promote prosperity for this country and the world at large,’’ she said.

Also, Mr Gbenga Arolasafe, the school Chief Operating Officer, said: “the world is rich in cultural diversity and we want to make our children aware of this at an early age.

“We want them to appreciate various diversities in culture, languages, fashion, food, academic system.

“This will help them in their education because once they are aware of all these, they will not get overwhelmed when they travel to other countries because they are already familiar with their lifestyle.

He called on the government and other stakeholders to implement policies that would improve quality education standard in Nigeria.

One of the students, Miss Precious Enoma, said the cultural celebration would enable students, from an early age to know the different cultures especially their languages, fashion, music, arts and literature.

Other highlights of the day were, various food presentation, music, dance, drama and other activities showcasing various cultures in Nigeria, Jamaica, South Africa, India, France and China by the students

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

ECA report urges Africa to tackle poverty, social inequality

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), says many African countries are struggling to meet the continent’s development goals due to the impact of severe and mutually reinforcing shocks.

Mr Adam Elhiraika, ECA’s Director, Macroeconomic Policy Division, in a statement said the continent encountered severe developmental challenges due to increased poverty, high inequality rates and lack of decent jobs.

Elhiraika said that the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ukrainian war and resultant food and energy crisis, rising inflation, debt tightening, and natural disasters were critical factors to the challenge.

The director said this while presenting an overview of recent Economic and Social Conditions in Africa at the ongoing meeting of experts.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was held to herald the 2023 Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development in Ethiopia.

According to the Report, growth in Africa dwindled from 4.6 per cent in 2021 to 3.6 per cent in 2022.

“In 2022, an additional 18 million new poor emerged in Africa, with more than half the highest proportion of the world’s poor at 54.8 per cent.

“This is alarming because 546 million people were living in poverty in 2022, which is more than half of the continent’s population,” Elhiraika said.

According to the director, women and girls remain particularly vulnerable, and the continent is facing a potential reversal of the hard-won gains made on gender equity.

He said another challenge stressed during the meeting was inequality which remained pervasive across all African sub-regions and was exceptionally high in Southern Africa.

“Among the top ten countries where wealth inequality is the highest, seven of them, South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, Angola and Malawi, are in Southern Africa.

“While two are in west Africa, Guinea-Bissau, and Sao Tome.

“ECA estimates that although the economic outlook remains bleak, Africa is anticipated to grow by 3.9 per cent in 2023,” he said.

Elhiraika said the commission had cautioned that the growth might experience headwinds.

“Especially with an unfavourable external environment created by the recession in both the United States and the Eurozone and expected to weigh on commodity prices,” he said.

Fostering recovery and transformation in Africa to reduce inequalities and vulnerabilities is the theme of the ongoing meeting in Addis Ababa.

At the meeting, countries were urged to pursue pro-poor and inclusive macroeconomic policies and ensure access to affordable and innovative finance for an inclusive recovery.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Lunda Sul gets 60,000 hectares for PLANAGRÃO

Saurimo – At least 60,000 hectares of land have been identified, in the eastern Lunda Sul Province, for the start of the National Plan for Promotion of Grain Production (PLANAGRÃO), in 2024.

These are the municipalities of Saurimo and Muconda, in the province of Lunda Sul, in the eastern part of the country.

PLANAGRÃO, an initiative of the Angolan government, will be developed in the provinces of Moxico, Lunda Norte, Lunda Sul, and Cuando Cubango.

Each province will benefit from 500,000 hectares, with financing from the Development Bank of Angola (BDA) estimated at 1.6 billion kwanzas.

The secretary of State for Economy, Ivan dos Santos, who concluded a two-day visit to Lunda Sul on Saturday, verified the conditions of the areas chosen for the implementation of PLANAGRÃO, and specified that of the identified areas 35,000 hectares belong to the commune of Muriege where the four cereals will be cultivated.

Another 25,000 hectares are located in Peso-Velho, commune of Mona Quimbundo, exclusively for rice production, given the history of the locality in the cultivation of this cereal.

According to the State secretary, the identified areas offer favourable conditions for the cultivation of rice, corn, soybean and beans, with a considerable water potential which will serve for the Planagrão start-up, offering job opportunities to the youth, especially to the newly graduated.

He also said that Planagrão has two components, being the first related to infrastructures (roads, energy and water) and the other connected to the financing of the private sector that will be operated by the Development Bank of Angola (BDA).

Ivan dos Santos said that the private sector in this Plan will be in charge of bringing the equipment to materialize this great project.

He recommended the municipal administrations to encourage young people to participate in this project, in order to boost the cultivation of these cereals in the country, thus promoting economic development.

Source: Angola Press News Agency (APNA)

Technology: AUDA-NEPAD scores NBMA high

The African Union Development Agency (AUDA)-New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) (AUDA-NEPAD) has rated the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) high in the advancement of technology across Africa.

Mrs Florence Nazare, the Acting Director of AUDA-NEPAD, gave the commendation while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Abuja.

“We cannot underscore the role of NBMA in promoting technology, science technology innovation across Africa.

Nazare said they are happy to learn from the agency and commended their facilities to drive modern technology forward.

She commended their partnership with NBMA in leading negotiations in technology.

“Nigeria has played a critical role in all the international negotiations.

The Ag. Director also commended the expertise of NBMA and other agencies across West Africa as a pillar to industrialise through biotechnology.

She commended the facilities, laboratory and so many instruments employed by NBMA to promote biotechnology innovations across West Africa.

Nazare promised more collaboration with NBMA to fast track technological advancement in West Africa.

She expressed optimism that within the framework of initiative that had brought them to Nigeria, they would be able to foster inter Africa relations.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

EFCC arrests 65 suspects over alleged voter inducement

The EFCC says it arrested 65 persons in 28 states on Saturday over alleged voter inducement at the governorship and Houses of Assembly elections.

This is contained in a statement issued by its spokesman, Mr Wilson Uwujaren.

Uwujaren stated that 20 of the suspects were arrested in Kwara, while 13 suspects were arrested in Kaduna State.

He added that 12 suspects were arrested in Rivers; four suspected arrested each in Akwa Ibom and Cross River, while others were arrested in Gombe, Sokoto, Kebbi and Niger states.

“Those arrested in Kaduna State were 10 males and three females. They were apprehended by EFCC operatives either working on intelligence reports or were chanced upon during monitoring.

“A suspect allegedly involved in vote buying was nabbed at School Road, Unguwan Rimi in Kaduna. The suspect, who initially resisted arrest, is however in custody pending the conclusion of investigation.

“Also in Kaduna, a team arrested a suspect with voter coupons, which he confessed would be used to trace and pay those who voted for his party,’’ Uwujiaren stated.

He added that the EFCC team monitoring voting around Local Education Authority School, Kabala Doki in Kaduna also arrested two suspects for vote buying.

He noted that upon arrest, N67,500, a list containing names of voters, their PVC numbers and bank accounts details were recovered from the suspects.

The EFCC spokesman stated also that investigation showed that the major modus operandi of the suspects was to give cash, transfer money, coupons or send recharge cards to eligible voters to induce them.

Uwujaren said a search of their persons and phones showed that most of them had transferred money into bank accounts of some voters on the lists recovered from them.

“Some of the items recovered from the suspects were voter cards, monies, lists containing names and accounts details of voters and telephone recharge cards,’’ he stressed

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Jigawa PDP rejects governorship election results of 5 LGAs

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the results of the governorship election in five local government areas of Jigawa.

Jigawa has a total of 27 local government areas out of which results of 26 LGAs have been presented at the ongoing collation in Dutse.

The PDP agent at the State Collection Centre, Mr Aminu Abubakar, announced the rejection of the results on Sunday.

The results had been presented to the Returning Officer, Prof. Zaiyan Umar of Federal University, Birnin Kebbi by the local government collation officers.

The local government areas are Kazaure, Yankwashi, Birnin Kudu, Gwaram and Dutse.

Abubakar accused INEC of “unjustified” cancellation of more than 22 polling units results in Birnin Kudu LGA alone, where the PDP candidate came from.

He also argued that the results were characterised by “a lot of abnormalities” in the five LGAs and called on the returning officer to declare the election in those areas inconclusive.

The PDP agent alleged that the abnormalities committed in those areas were deliberate, because the areas were stronghold of the party.

In his reaction, the All Progressives Congress (APC) agent, Dr Abdullahi Kainuwa, dismissed the objection raised by the PDP.

He said that there were rules and procedures provided by the Electoral Act for tackling such issues which PDP ought to have followed when collation was concluded.

Kainuwa said that it was very clear that the PDP was fretting having realised that it had lost the governorship election.

Responding, the returning officer said all the issues raised by the PDP agent will be given attention immediately after the full collation of the governorship election results.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Situation Room calls for independent inquiry into conduct of 2023 General Elections

The Civil Society Situation Room, has called for an independent inquiry into the conduct of the 2023 General Elections in Nigeria.

The Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) made the call in their Second Interim Statement on the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections on Sunday in Abuja.

The report, signed by the Convener, Ene Obi, and co-coveners Asma’u Joda and James Ugochukwu, said investigation was necessary to unravel the challenges experienced and some irregularities.

Obi said that the Situation Room’s observation and analysis of the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections indicated that there were huge shortcomings with the management of electoral operations and logistics as well as election security.

She said that the elections were characterised by late commencement, insufficient election materials, challenge with upload of results, violence, and vote buying, among others.

“Situation Room notes that Nigeria has again missed the opportunity to deliver on credible elections even at the grassroots level.

“In the light of the serious shortcomings with the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections, the Situation Room calls for an independent inquiry into the conduct of the 2023 General Elections in Nigeria.

“This independent inquiry should address, amongst other issues, procurement, logistics management and abuse of electoral process by INEC and security officials.

“This is urgently needed to identify challenges and make recommendations towards repairing the damaged credibility of Nigeria’s electoral process.”

According to Obi, it is imperative to undertake a national debate to address all these critical challenges that still confront Nigeria’s electoral process.

She said that this, without doubt, would enthrone more transparency and help to build peoples’ confidence in the democratic process.

She said that Situation Room observations indicate a worrying level of voter apathy with the Governorship and State Assemblies polls in an election that should resonate more with citizens.

She added that Situation Room observers reported high prevalence of vote buying across the country.

She said that items given in exchange for votes included clothing items, food items and money, amounts ranging from N500 to N5,000 in cash, transfer or promissory notes.

Obi said Situation Room observers were harassed and obstructed from carrying out their duties and some journalists from AIT, ARISE TV among others, were also attacked.

“The Situation Room also received a disturbing report that 19 INEC ad-hoc staff who were on their way to seven different polling units in Ugbelie Ward 06 in Ideato South LGA of Imo State were abducted by unknown persons.

“There were reports of attack on voting centres in an IDP camp in Uhogwa, Ovia North East LGA of Edo State, by armed hoodlums.

“In addition, there were reports of voter intimidation, disruption of voting and destruction of election materials in polling units visited in Enugu, Imo, Sokoto, Delta, Niger, Gombe, Nasarawa, Akwa Ibom and Ogun States.”

Obi said that the Situation Room called on government to urgently address this persistent issue of election violence.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Makinde floors Folarin, others emerges governor-elect in Oyo

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Gov. Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the March 18 governorship election in Oyo State.

Prof. Adebayo Bamire, the State Returning Officer, also the Vice-Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, made the declaration on Sunday at the INEC State Headquarters in Ibadan.

Makinde floored his closet rival, a serving Senator, Teslim Folarin of the All Progressives Congress (APC), having won in 31 local government areas of the state, leaving only two to his opponents.

Bamire declared that Makinde polled 563,756 votes to defeat his closest rival, Folarin, who scored 256,685 votes.

The Returning Officer, declaring the final results, said, “Seyi Makinde having polled the highest number of votes in the election, was returned elected as Governor of Oyo State”.

He, also, said that the candidate of Accord, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, came third with 38,357 votes.

While Makinde won in 31 local government areas, Folarin won in Irepo and Orelope Local Governments.

In his reactions, Makinde said he was overwhelmed.

He, therefore, thanked the people of the state for the confidence reposed in his administration.

Makinde also thanked his friends, political associates and everyone that supported his aspiration in one way or the other.

He promised to work harder for the people of the state in his second tenure.

NAN reports that 16 registered political parties contested the governorship election in the state, some of the candidates, however, dropped their ambition few days to the election, to align with either of the three main contenders.

The margin of defeat is 307,071 votes.(

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

NDLEA arrests 2 members of Afro-Europe cartel

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has disrupted the activities of a drug syndicate that operated between Nigeria, East Africa, and Europe, with the arrest of two members of the cartel.

The Director, Media and Advocacy, NDLEA, Mr Femi Babafemi said this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

Babafemi said that the NDLEA operatives at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, (MMIA) Ikeja Lagos made the arrest and foiled the attempts to traffic the drugs.

He said that the operatives at the Lagos Airport had on Monday March 13 intercepted a member of the drug syndicate, Ejezie Ifeanyi, during screening of inward passengers on an Ethiopian Airline flight from Malawi via Addis Ababa at the arrival hall.

Babafemi added that a search was conducted on him, saying that it was discovered that one of his two bags had a false bottom concealment.

He said: “During preliminary interview of the suspect, he confessed that a member of the syndicate was waiting at the airport car park to pick him.

According to him, an immediate follow up operation led to the arrest of Franco Chukwu, who was waiting in a grey colour Mercedes Benz C180 coupe, marked EKY 973 GQ to receive the drug consignment.

“After his arrest, a proper search of the bag was conducted before the two suspects leading to the recovery of 3.00 kilograms of heroin.

“Findings revealed that the drug syndicate networks operate between Nigeria, and Malawi, Mozambique in East Africa and Europe.

“Chukwu who lives in Lagos is responsible for the recruitment and coordination of the activities of mules on behalf of other members of the cartel based in Mozambique and Malawi, another set operates from the South-Eastern part of Nigeria,” Babafemi said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Expert decries continuous cash scarcity, tasks CBN on circulation of naira notes

A financial expert, Mr Muktar Muhammed, has urged the CBN to take urgent steps to address continuous shortage of naira notes in circulation.

Muhammed, also an investment banker, made the call on Sunday in Abuja when he spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

According to him, refusal by the CBN to obey a Supreme Court order legalising the old naira notes on time is partly responsible for the continuous scarcity of naira notes.

He said that inadequate circulation of the new notes was also an indication that the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC) had limited capacity to produce the required quantity of currency notes.

“The CBN was not ready to obey the Supreme Court order until the presidency made a pronouncement.

“Even after that, the circulation is inadequate and we see more of the old notes than the new ones.

“This implies that the NSPMC lacks capacity to print the required quantity of naira notes within a specified period,’’ he said.

Muhammed added that though the naira redesign policy had enormous economic advantages, its lacklustre implementation made it problematic.

The expert said that the fact that the policy was driven by some other factors that were not strictly economic also created problems.

“The policy had to do with fighting inflation. One of the tools to fight inflation is to mop up liquidity.

“It is a good policy but poorly implemented because we did not take into consideration the Nigerian factor.

“It was not driven entirely by economic considerations. We had to contend with political considerations as it relates to vote-buying and we had the security consideration,’’ he explained.

Muhammed said that the policy had done great harm to the informal sector of the economy, which is the driver of the economy and which mainly does cash transactions.

“That sector suffered during this period because of the scarcity of cash, and even the digital platforms that were created did not have capacity to handle a lot of transactions from the informal sector.

“The CBN should have collaborated with the Bankers Committee to build a strong infrastructure that can accommodate the cashless policy and the naira redesign robustly.

“They should have come together to build the Nigeria Interbank Settlement that would make digital transactions seamless for Nigerians,’’ he stressed.

Muhammed noted also that many Nigerian youths had become jobless because of the naira redesign policy and the scarcity of naira notes.

He said that the policy had also not worked well in checking rising inflation because of its negative effect on the informal sector, which is integral to checking inflation.

He noted, however, that in spite of the difficulties that the policy inflicted on Nigerians, it recorded some gains.

According to him, a lot of Nigerians have now moved into the digital space, especially small businesses.

“Some of the small businesses have started to open bank accounts because they realised that it is the only way they can do business.

“It has also helped in stabilising the exchange rate, from between N800 to N900 to the dollar to around N750 to the dollar.

“That is still not good enough, but it is better considering where we are coming from,’’ the investment banker said.

He also told NAN that the naira redesign policy had also helped to improve government’s revenue generation.

“The Value Added Tax, for instance, has improved within the last few months.

“The Federal Government said it recorded 160 per cent increase in VAT collection for the month of January 2023,’’’ he said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria