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INEC To Start e-Voting In 2021, Seeks Cancellation Of Bye-Elections

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it has resolved to pioneer electronic voting in the country by 2021, as it intends to be using more technological tools in discharging its mandate going forward.

INEC disclosed this in a 17-page document released Monday in Abuja which was tagged, “Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the Covid-19 Pandemic”, and signed by its Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.

The Commission stated that it would suspend the Continuous Voter Registration CVR due to the Covid-19 pandemic while by 2021, it would pilot the use of electronic voting in the country.

The policy states that INEC shall; “Suspend the Continuous Voter Registration CVR for the time being to prevent the health risks associated with it in the context of COVID-19. Continue to make available its electronic channels for voters to check their registration status.

“Pilot the use of Electronic Voting Machines at the earliest possible time (not Edo and Ondo), but work towards the full introduction of electronic voting in major elections starting from 2021”.

The electoral umpire also decried the rising cost of elections in the country, saying it would be liaising with the National Assembly to see how political parties can nominate replacements for dead representatives in line with a Supreme Court judgment that votes belong to the parties and not individuals.

INEC said its records showed that it is only in 10 percent of all bye-elections conducted since 2015 that the party which originally won the election went ahead to lose, saying it would engage federal lawmakers and other stakeholders to explore ways of defraying the costs associated with bye-elections.

“As already announced by the Commission, the dates for the Governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States remain 19th September 2020 and 10th October 2020 respectively. Dates for the four postponed bye-elections in

Bayelsa, Imo, and the Plateau States, as well as other bye-elections that become due during the COVID-19 pandemic will be announced by the Commission following its established procedures.

“The Commission will engage with the legislature and other stakeholders to explore ways of responding to the rising

cost of conducting frequent bye-elections, especially in consideration of the Supreme Court position that votes belong primarily to political parties, as

well as the Commission’s records, which show that only in 10% of all bye-elections since 2015 did the party that won originally lose the election.

“The Commission will engage relevant authorities, including the legislature, to designate election as an essential service to enable the Commission function effectively in times of national emergency”, INEC said in the policy.

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Niger Delta Militants Threaten To Attack Lagos, Abuja

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Niger Delta militants under the aegis of Supreme Egbesu Liberation Fighters have threatened to destroy infrastructure in Lagos State and Abuja .
In a video posted on Tuesday by AIT , members of the group were seen wearing masks and putting on a military uniform .
One of them , who read a statement on behalf of the group , lamented poor implementation of the amnesty programme in the region, saying , “ there are no schools , no potable water , no light , no hospital and access roads for our people to enjoy till date” .
He said , “ Over the years, the Niger Delta people have made frantic efforts to create an enabling environment but to our great dismay, the Nigerian government over the years has decided to handle the issues of the Niger Delta with kid gloves .
“ They have betrayed the struggle and have left the people to their fate ,” a member of the group read from a statement .
“ Rather, what is visible is the presence of military gunboat and the numerous military personnel dispersed to the Niger Delta who are killing, raping , and maiming the innocent people of the region.
“ Look at the security surveillance contract taking place in our region through the federal government these agencies in place have decided to shortchange our people . Now in our territorial waters , it is an Israeli company that is providing waterway security which we have competent hands with expert knowledge to manage.
“ Don ’t worry, because we are coming to destroy all your infrastructure in Abuja and Lagos . As a group committed to giving total liberation to our people , we will destroy the oil facilities both onshore and offshore in no distant time , we will be seen to be crippling the Nigerian economy. ”

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Ogun To Arrest Illegal Occupants Of Forest Reserve 

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The Ogun State government said it would soon start combing its forest reserve to arrest and prosecute illegal occupants .
The State Commissioner for Forestry , Tunji Akinosi , said this while responding to questions from journalists in Abeokuta , the state capital.
Akinosi said the government had written letters to the traditional rulers in the areas asking them to tell the illegal occupants to leave or be arrested .
He said, “ We have asked those that are illegally occupying our lands to leave , and now we are moving to the second stage of combing the areas ourselves and arresting those that are still residents in the reserve. ”
The Commissioner, while speaking on the depleted condition of the forest reserve, said, “ In the last 18 months , this administration has taken the bull by the horn in getting the Imeko and Aworo Forest Reserves back and running .
“ Unfortunately , the depletion did not start right now , it has been there and government this year alone had met twice with the Iledotun project coordinators and had taken 108 ,000 hectares of the forest reserve in Imeko and Aworo for regeneration .
“ We call it LND project , Land Degradation Neutrality project where you bring people of diverse nations to regenerate that place , and I am sure that between now and the next few months , you will see the work that would start there in reclaiming all the land that is there .”

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Police Misconduct Responsible For #EndSARS Protests —PSC

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The Chairman , Police Service Commission , Musiliu Smith , has attributed the # EndSARS protests to the misconduct of officers of the Nigeria Police Force.
Smith , a former Inspector -General of Police , decried the level of misconduct in the police force saying his office was always inundated with complaints from Nigerians .
The PSC chairman stated this at a retreat with the IG and his police management team , in Abuja on Tuesday .
Smith ’s statement contradicted claims by the Minister of Information and Culture , Lai Mohammed that the October protests were instigated by political and religious leaders .
He also said the demonstrations which were subsequently hijacked by hoodlums leading to widespread violence and looting , were aimed at overthrowing the Federal Government .
But puncturing these claims in his first public comment on the incident , the retired IG said, “ We are always having a lot of complaints from the members of the public against police officers. I believe that # EndSARS resulted from serious misconduct of some of our personnel .
“ I want to advise that we review the arrangements we are making for investigating such cases . Let ’s ensure that investigations are thoroughly conducted and whoever is the police officer that has been indicted will be punished according to the law . If we are doing that , some of the public complaints will go down . ”
Smith , who had been at loggerheads with the police leadership on the recruitment of police constables , also admonished IG Mohammed Adamu to work closely with the commission on the recruitment of credible Nigerians into the force.
Smith added that the number of court cases against the police was alarming , stressing that the force may not be able to pay the damages awarded against it .
In his remarks earlier, the IGP noted that the retreat was to bridge the communication gap and engender a better understanding and working relationship between the force and the police service commission .
The Attorney – General of the Federation and Minister of Justice , Abubukar Malami , who also spoke at the retreat, harped on the need for a harmonious working relationship among all the agencies of the government .

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