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The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has released its report on the 2023 general election.

The commission said the publication of the report is in keeping with its tradition over the last four electoral cycles and commitment to transparency.

This was made known in a statement by Sam Olumekun, the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee.

 

Olumekun said the Report showcases the election’s unparalleled diversity in party representation, demonstrating significant democratic progress.

According to him, the 2023 general election saw four political parties winning gubernatorial races, seven parties winning senatorial seats, eight in federal constituencies and nine in State legislatures, illustrating a broad shift in political representation across Nigeria.

He said the document has been made accessible on its website and social media platforms.

“On Thursday, 22nd February 2024, the Commission convened for its weekly meeting, where the 2023 General Election Report was reviewed and approved for publication.

It partly read: “In keeping with our tradition over the last four electoral cycles, and our commitment to transparency, we are pleased to announce the release of the official INEC report on the 2023 General Election.

“This comprehensive 526-page document, structured into 13 chapters and enhanced with 60 tables, 14 boxes and 10 graphs, offers an in-depth analysis of the election’s key processes, achievements, and challenges, alongside valuable lessons learned.

“The Report showcases the election’s unparalleled diversity in party representation, demonstrating significant democratic progress. This election saw four political parties winning gubernatorial races, seven parties winning senatorial seats, eight in federal constituencies and nine in State legislatures, illustrating a broad shift in political representation across Nigeria.

“The Report underscores the pivotal role of technological advancements, particularly the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), in enhancing electoral integrity and reducing fraud. Furthermore, it addresses public concerns about the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal, explaining the technical issues encountered during the upload of polling unit results for the presidential election.”

[DailyPost]

Friday, 23 February 2024 13:45

Okpebholo emerges Edo APC Gov candidate

Senator Monday Okpebholo (Edo Central) has been declared winner of Edo All Progressives Congress (APC) Governorship direct primary election.

Cross River Governor Bassey Otu, who was the Chairman of Edo APC shadow poll, made the declaration after collating the results from the 18 local government areas. 

The collation and declaration were at Lushville Hotel and Suites, Gapiona Avenue, Government Reservation Area (GRA), Benin.

Okpebholo polled 12,433 votes to defeat the representative of Ovia constituency in the House of Representatives, Dennis Idahosa, who scored 6,541 votes.

Details shortly…

[TheNation]

 

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Taoreed Lagbaja, has appealed for the liquidation of the N42bn electricity debt of the Nigerian Army following the disconnection of various Army barracks and cantonments by power distribution companies.

Lagbaja also revealed that the blackouts in barracks had led to the decomposition of corpses in Army mortuaries, a development that had warranted protests by owners of the corpses.

The Army chief made the appeal when he visited the Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, in Abuja, where the minister told him that the debt would be restructured and not written off.

Lagbaja, in a statement issued in Abuja by the media aide to the power minister, Bolaji Tunji, said the main reason for his visit was to discuss the consequences of the power outage in Army formations and the way forward.

He regretted that some barracks and cantonments had been in total blackout since January.

He was quoted as saying, “Debt owed is loaded on the meter, so no matter the amount of credit we put, the meters pick it automatically. Corpses in the Army mortuaries are decomposing and the owners of the corpses are protesting.”

According to the statement, “he (Lagbaja) further stated that the army couldn’t raise funds to pay the entire debt, as he solicited liquidation as was done in 2005 by the then President.”

He also described blackouts in army barracks and cantonments as security threats.

Meanwhile, the Army chief assured the minister of the Army’s unflinching support towards developing intelligent strategies in curbing the menace of electricity infrastructure vandalism.

Responding, Adelabu assured the Nigerian Army of his readiness to dialogue with the power distribution companies to relieve the Nigerian Army of its electricity debt burden amounting to N42bn.

He reiterated the importance of liquidity and funding in the power sector, adding that the debt could not be written off.

Adelabu told his guest that he would intervene to restructure the debt payment if there was assurance of regular payments by the Nigerian Army.

He further revealed that the debts owed by power distribution and generating companies were not the only challenges bedevilling the power sector.

According to the minister, the vandalism of power infrastructure, which often leads to national grid collapse, theft, inefficiency in billing and collection process, poor metering gap, liquidity, shortage in gas supply, transmission stations being blown up with explosives in volatile areas, were all part of the issues being experienced in the power sector.

“The fundamental issues in the power sector value chain could be traced back to the last 50 years and a government that is barely eight months old cannot use a magic wand to proffer a solution. There is a saying that you won’t know what is happening in Rome until you get to Rome,” he stated.

The minister said power outages were not peculiar to army barracks but a national issue, adding that the Discos and Gencos were profit-oriented organisations.

“We can only plead with them to adopt a repayment plan monthly instead of embedding the whole debt in their meter,” Adelabu stated.

He charged the army to continue assisting the ministry in safeguarding power facilities across the country and pledged to seek collaboration for the army through any of the development partners for the installation of solar PVs and Battery Energy Storage Systems as alternative power supply sources in army barracks and cantonments.

A lot of government agencies and parastatals owe power distribution several billions of naira in electricity debts that have continued to drag on for years.

On February 20, 2024, The PUNCH reported that no fewer than 86 ministries, agencies, and departments of government were owing the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company to the tune of N47bn.

A public notice by the management of AEDC listed the Presidential Villa as owing the Disco the sum of N923.9m; National Security Adviser, N95.9m; Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory being supervised by Nyesom Wike, N7.57bn, while Adelabu’s Ministry of Power owed N78m.

In the notice, AEDC said it would be constrained to list the names of MDAs with “long outstanding unpaid bills for services rendered to them through the provision of electricity supply in that our previous attempts to make them honour their obligations have not been achieved the desired result.”

The power firm had threatened to disconnect the MDAs in 10 days should they fail to pay their debts.

[Punch]

The Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, will today commence the sale of seized bags of rice to the public at the rate of N10,000 per 25kg.

Disclosing this to newsmen in Lagos, Comptroller General of the NCS, Mr. Adewale Adeniyi, said the process for the sale of the food items has been perfected such that a form with all the details of the applicant including the National Identification Number, NIN, will be submitted and a bar code will be generated for the collection of the commodity.

 Adeniyi stated that ten registration points will be opened for members of the public with a view to easing the purchase process.

The Customs boss said that the moves to sell the seized items is to crash the price of food items and the shore up the value of the Naira.

He warned against the resale of purchased rice adding anybody caught reselling will be arrested and possibly prosecuted.

He explained that the disposal of these seized items will be for a period of time adding that very poor Nigerians were the target for this gesture.

He said, “In ensuring food security for Nigerians. We are here to shed light on the commitment of the NCS in protecting our society by ensuring the availability of essential food items.

“In recent months, the government has been addressing the challenges faced within our economy, particularly the lagged effects of insecurity and the current exchange rate issues.

“As part of our ongoing commitment to safeguarding the food security of Nigerians, the NCS has secured approval from the government to dispose of these seized food items to needy Nigerians at discounted prices.

 

“The criteria for Nigerians to benefit from this initiative include having a verifiable National
Identification Number (NIN).

“The target groups include artisans, teachers, nurses, religious bodies, and other Nigerians within our operational areas. The intention is to reach out directly to members through these organized structures to ensure the maximum impact of this exercise.

“To ensure the security and integrity of this initiative, NCS has put in place comprehensive measures. These measures encompass robust security protocols throughout the process. Our officers will be closely monitoring the entire supply chain to prevent any misuse or diversion of the food items.

“Moreover, we have established strict guidelines and eligibility criteria to ensure that the items are distributed only to those in genuine need. Additionally, we will be working closely with relevant agencies to ensure compliance with the terms of this program.

“It is imperative that beneficiaries of this exercise understand that the items are not to be resold. We take a strong stance against any form of profiteering or exploitation of this initiative. We urge Nigerians to report any incidents of misuse or unauthorized resale of the seized food items.

 

“NCS is fully committed to transparency and accountability in this process, and we will not hesitate to take decisive action against any individuals or entities found to be in violation of the
terms of this program.”

In a related development, the leadership of the NCS disclosed that the agency The challenge of food security have exacerbated concerns which has led to a concerning trend where food items are moving out massively to neighbouring countries.

He further disclosed that over 20,000 bags of assorted grains (Rice, beans, Maize, Guinea corn, millet, Soya beans, 2500 cartons and 963 bags of dried fish. Others include, Dried pepper, tomatoes, cooking oil, Maggi, Macaroni, salt, sugar, garri.

“This trend is not sustainable as it puts pressure on our productive capacity and threatens our food security.

“To address this, the NCS has remained responsive in carrying out its mandate to protect our borders from the inflow and outflow of restricted goods. One concerning trend noticed is the outflow of food items in huge quantities, posing a threat to our food security. It should be noted that the condition for the export of any item is only met upon fulfilling sufficiency internally.

 “In this regard, food items deemed not to fulfil these conditions are showing up in our interceptions made at the borders. We will continue to advance the nation’s goals and objectives by aligning with the administration’s policies and aspirations for a prosperous Nigeria.

“NCS is dedicated to executing its duties with excellence and efficiency. Recognizing the significance of its responsibility to protect the society and facilitate trade, the NCS remains steadfast in its commitment to safeguarding national interests and ensuring the well-being of all Nigerians.

“Furthermore, the NCS is committed to fostering a culture of transparency, accountability, and public service. By upholding the highest standards of integrity,” he stated.

[Vanguard]

Olukayode Ariwoola, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), will on Monday swear in 11 justices for the supreme court.

Festus Akande, supreme court spokesperson, said the event will hold by 10 am at the main courtroom of the apex court.

In December 2023, President Bola Tinubu asked the senate to confirm 11 judges of the court of appeal as justices of the supreme court.

The president’s request came after the National Judicial Council (NJC) recommended the justices for elevation.

 

The supreme court is currently left with 10 justices after the death of Centus Nweze, and the retirements of Amina Augie and Dattijo Muhammad.

On December 21, 2023, the senate confirmed the judges recommended for elevation.

The confirmed justices are Jummai Hannatu Sankey, Chidiebere Nwaoma Uwa, Chioma Egondu Nwosu-Iheme, Haruna Simon Tsammani, Moore Aseimo A. Adumein, Obande Festus Ogbuinya, and Stephen Jonah Adah.

 

Others are Habeeb Adewale O. Abiru, Jamilu Yammama Tukur, Abubakar Sadiq Umar, and Mohammed Baba Idris.

The swearing-in of the new apex court justices would translate to the supreme court having the full complement of 21 justices as stipulated by the constitution.

[TheCable]

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, said operatives of its Enugu Zonal Command, in collaboration with a Joint Task Force, JTF, arrested a total of 115 suspected currency racketeers along Owerri Road, Ogui, in Enugu State.

A statement by the EFCC spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, on Thursday said the JTF, which comprised five teams from the Nigeria Police Force and three teams from the Nigeria Customs Service, arrested the culprits on Wednesday following credible intelligence.

He said that out of the 115 suspects arrested, 113 were males and two were females.


He further said the operatives swung into action when they got information about some bureau de change operators, currency speculators, and street hawkers operating illegal foreign exchange markets in the environment.

Oyewale mentioned the items recovered from the suspects to include N110, 700,000, $8,368, £145, €2,725, and 900 South African Rands.

Others are CFA 32,000, 100 Turkiya, and 500 Bank Mozambique currencies in different denominations.

A safe abandoned by one of the street hawkers was also recovered.

He said preliminary investigations showed that some of the suspects are foreigners from the Niger Republic.

He added that they would soon be charged in court at the end of investigations.

The Federal Government has moved against online platforms of Binance and other cryptocurrency firms over alleged manipulation of the forex market.

Binance is a digital assets platform which serves as a window for peer to peer transaction allowing users to advertise interest to sell or buy currencies of their choice.

On February 5, 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directed banks, non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), and other financial institutions (OFIs) to close accounts of persons or entities involved in cryptocurrency transactions.


The regulator also warned local financial institutions against dealing in crypto assets or facilitating payments for crypto exchanges.

CBN cited concerns over money laundering, terrorism financing, cybercrime, and the volatility of cryptocurrencies as reasons for the ban.


In December 2023, the Central Bank of Nigeria changed its stance on crypto assets and asked banks to disregard its February 2021 ban on crypto transactions.

This latest restriction on crypto websites is aimed at slowing currency speculation activities in the country, with Binance stating that its platform is not for currency pricing.

Bayo Onanuga, Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy, argued that Binance and other crypto platforms should be banned from operating in Nigeria.

He said the cryptocurrency trading platform is facing restrictions in multiple jurisdictions such as the United States, Singapore, Canada and the United Kingdom.


Reacting, Binance said its firm does not operate as a price discovery platform and FX rates are determined by complex forces that have nothing to do with the company.

Read Also: EFCC chairman bags Fraud Investigators Institute’s Fellowship

The trading company said it provides a market-driven peer-to-peer (P2P) platform that is not meant to be a proxy for currency pricing in Nigeria.


The platform users have complained about their inability to buy dollars.

The platforms blocked include:


– Binance

– Forextime

– OctaFX

– Crypto

– FXTM

– Coinbase

– Kraken

– Kucoin

– Bybit

There are also many other platforms used in the cryptocurrency transaction in Nigeria.

Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Dr. Olayemi Cardoso, yesterday, begged Nigerians to be patient, as the management of the apex bank is doing everything possible to ensure that the Naira is strengthened.


Cardoso said this at the 2024 public lecture entitled: ‘Recent Developments in a Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market: Issues, Options and Way Forward’, organised by the Nigerian Economic Society, NES, at the CBN Centre of Excellence Hall, University of Ibadan.

The CBN governor, who was represented at the event by Dr. Usman Opanachi of the Department of Monetary Policy, CBN said: “Anytime the Naira is on trial, the CBN is also on trial. We are working day and night to address the challenges and we hope things will work out.

“The exchange rate features nearly in every sector. The exchange rate and inflation are very high now. The exchange rate is a problem.

“Excess demand for forex in Nigeria is a legendary problem. It has just been there and over the years, the bank has implemented various strategies to address this problem. Those strategies have only been able to provide some temporary relief.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria does not supply or produce dollars. It is the naira that it produces. The CBN management thinks when you hold the price of a commodity that is determined by forex down artificially, a time comes when you will not be able to do that.

“The thinking of the new management of CBN is that the policies you have are intended to address the problem. The approach the management has adopted is the market forces approach. The bank now allows the market forces to play a greater role in the determination of the price of naira.”

Delivering the lecture, a renowned economist, Prof Sam Olofin, said it will be difficult for the CBN to control the foreign exchange saying the parallel market forces have taken dominance.


On the evolution of the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market, Olofin said: “We are only applying the same old drugs on a patient without any good results. The parallel markets are outside the purview of the CBN.”
In his welcome address, President of the Nigerian Economic Society, Prof Adeola Adenikinju urged the Federal Government to consult economists on the weak economy.

The Comptroller General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, announced that the distribution of confiscated food items will start on Friday. Adeniyi, addressing journalists in Lagos on Thursday, cautioned against reselling the distributed items.

He also prohibited customs officers from participating and mentioned that the rice, available in 25kg bags, would be sold for N10,000.


The NCS had earlier stated plans for direct distribution of seized food items to Nigerians, with eligibility requiring individuals to provide a Nigerian Identification Number, as reiterated by Adeniyi.

“The target groups included artisans, teachers, nurses, religious bodies, and other Nigerians within our operational areas. The intention is to reach out directly to members through these organised structures to ensure the maximum impact of this exercise,” Adeniyi added.

He warned against profiteering or exploitation of the initiative.


“It is imperative that beneficiaries of this exercise understand that the items are not to be resold. We take a strong stance against any form of profiteering or exploitation of this initiative. We urge Nigerians to report any incidents of misuse or unauthorised resale of the seized food items,” he said.

He maintained that the NCS was fully committed to transparency and accountability in this process.

“We will not hesitate to take decisive action against any individuals or entities found to be in violation of the terms of this program,” the customs asserted.

Adeniyi said that the exercise would not last forever, adding that it would be a way for the service to dispose of seized food items for now.

“We are here to shed light on the commitment of the NCS to protecting our society by ensuring the availability of essential food items. In recent months, the government has been addressing the challenges faced within our economy.

“Items are moving out massively to neighbouring countries. Some of the items included, over 20,000 bags of assorted grains, 2,500 cartons, and 963 bags of dried fish.

“Others are dried pepper, tomatoes, cooking oil, macaroni, salt, sugar, garri. This trend is not sustainable as it puts pressure on our productive capacity and threatens our food security,” Adeniyi noted.

Former Senator Abubakar Halilu Girei has proposed urgent measures to tackle Nigeria’s economic challenges, advocating for a presidential order mandating all political office holders to contribute 40% of their salaries and allowances towards alleviating the hardship faced by Nigerians.

Girei made these remarks during a press conference at his residence in Yola, the capital of Adamawa State, on Thursday.


To address the issue of job creation, he suggested that political office holders at the national, state, and local government levels should contribute 40% of their salaries and allowances for a period of two years, as outlined in a presidential order.

Additionally, Girei proposed the presentation of a supplementary budget of N1 trillion to the National Assembly, with a significant allocation of N2 trillion towards addressing insecurity in the country.

The former Senator also recommended the implementation of the White Paper on the Oronsanye Report, aiming to streamline Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to reduce the overall cost of governance.

Furthermore, he called for a joint meeting of the National Council of State and the National Economic Council to align their strategies and take necessary political actions to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians.

Girei underscored the importance of combating corruption, particularly in the management of subsidies on petroleum products and electricity. He urged for a forensic audit to uncover any fraudulent activities related to tax, Value Added Tax (VAT), and other revenue streams accruing to the federation.