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In its morbid apprehension that it may yet lose more Governorship or National Assembly seats that it won against clear legal provisions of the Electoral Act and Constitution of the Federal Republic, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has continued to wage attacks calculated to disparage, denigrate and blackmail our democratic institutions, particularly the Judiciary into submission to its nefarious electoral agenda.
At a press conference earlier today, the PDP’s Acting National Chairman, Umar Damagum, alleged, without any shred of evidence, that the All Progressives Congress (APC) was plotting to use some "hugely compromised Election Petition Courts" to upturn some of its victories. In Damagum's warped view, this was tailored towards "systemic emasculation of opposition" and actualization of an imaginary one-party state.
PDP's hallucinations about one-party state is understandable only in the context of its unrealized plan to rule Nigeria for 60 years but now seeks to taint APC with its own scripted crude, intolerant, unpatriotic and anti-democratic zealotry.
What is by far more repugnant, devious and a clear and present threat to our democratic way of life is the PDP’s relentless and unjustified objurgation of our courts and judges. The PDP has maligned and poured invectives on our judges at every turn since its miserable performance in the general elections. When it is not accusing judges of bias or corruption, it is calling for the disbandment of some judicial panels. Yet, the same party has been the biggest beneficiary of the vibrancy and independence of the judiciary since the country’s return to civilian democracy in 1999.
In its psychotic hypocrisy, the PDP screams to high heavens when court judgements are against it, but jubilantly extols verdicts by the same judiciary in its favour. Such anti-democratic and insanely manipulative politics is wrong and has got to stop.
Indubitably, the PDP has lost its purpose, its essence, if it ever had any. As a ruling party, the PDP was a reckless rolling stone of corruption and underdevelopment, now rudderless and antithetical to the idea of what an opposition party ought to be. The PDP is a liability to partisan democracy.
In other democracies, opposition political parties offer answers to national important questions and provide competing visions for good governance and economic development. The PDP cannot even manage its own internal affairs let alone offer valuable contributions for the good governance of our country.
Rather than dissipate its low energy on rallying other opposition parties into a phantom coalition, the PDP may wish to undertake critical introspection, reinvent itself, if not already too late, instead of blaming the courts and others for the self-inflicted hot mess the party is in, or save our partisan democracy the embarrassment by winding down altogether.
Felix Morka, Esq.
National Publicity Secretary
All Progressives Congress (APC)
The University of Benin has produced 178 First Class graduands in the 2020/2021 academic session.
Prof. Lilian Salami, Vice-Chancellor of the University, announced this on Thursday in Benin, the Edo State capital.
Salami spoke at a press briefing to herald the activities commemorating the 48th convocation and 53rd founder’s day of the institution.
The vice-chancellor stated that a total of 14,254 graduands would be awarded degrees, while 4,045 would be conferred with postgraduate degrees.
She said: “These accomplishments could not have been achieved without the commitment of staff and the deliberate efforts by management to put in place requisite academic infrastructure that have ensured that graduates of the University of Benin continue to shine and to positively influence their world.
“In that regard, the university boasts of cutting edge Information Communications Technology, advancement of our Centres of Excellence, successful accreditation of the university’s programmes and courses by the National University’s Commission and other professional bodies as well as compliance with the new National Education Policy on Core Curriculum Minimum Academic standards.”
The vice-chancellor said that seven personalities would also be honoured with doctoral degrees from the institution at the ceremony.
Four of these honourees, she said, were alumni of the university who were deemed fit due to their contributions to national development.
Salami listed the awardees to include a former Governor of Lagos State and immediate past Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN); wife of the Edo Governor, Betsy Obaseki; and Chief Charles Edosomwan (SAN).
Others are Olukayode Dotun-Adegbulugbe, Osaro Isokpan, Paul Enebeli and an engineer, Gbenga Komolafe, who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission.
Prof. Mike Kwanashie, a former Vice-Chancellor of the Veritas University, Abuja, Salami said, would deliver the founders’ day and convocation lecture, titled: “Governance and Crisis of Development.”
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has voided the election of Governor Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State and declared the election inconclusive while the governors of Kano, Abba Kabir Yusuf, and his Bauchi State counterpart, Bala Mohammed will know their fate today.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Lawal the winner of the March 18 governorship election.
But the All Progressives Congress (APC) challenged the victory of Lawal, who ran under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), at the tribunal.
After the tribunal upheld Lawal’s election, the APC proceeded to the Appeal Court.
While the Kano State election petitions tribunal declared Gawuna of the APC winner, in Bauchi State, just like Dauda of Zamfara State, Bala Mohammed won at the tribunal but no one can predict how the two judgements will look like today.
Yesterday, a three-member panel of justices annulled the victory of Lawal and ordered a rerun of the election in three local government areas.
The affected LGAs are Maradun, Birnin Magaji and Bokoyom.
INEC had declared Dauda winner with 377,726 votes, but the incumbent Matawalle of the APC, who polled 311,976 votes, went to court.
Matawalle, now minister of state for defence, had accused INEC of subverting his victory at the poll by failing to include the results of some ward areas.
However, the tribunal, in a judgement on September 18, held that the petition was devoid of merit.
The court also awarded a N500,000 fine against the petitioners.
Matawalle and the APC then filed an appeal challenging the decision of the tribunal.
Delivering judgement, the court of appeal held that the Zamfara state election petitions tribunal did not consider the evidence provided by the appellants.
Consequently, the Court of Appeal declared the election as inconclusive and ordered INEC to hold a fresh election in three LGAs.
In Bauchi, speaking with LEADERSHIP ahead of judgement, the director, media and communication Bauchi APC Gubernatorial campaign, Salisu Ahmed Barau, said the party faithful across the state will welcome the court judgment in good faith and would not foment any trouble.
On the part of the ruling PDP in the state, the special adviser to the governor on media and publicity, Mukhtar Gidado, said the ruling part in the state was confident that the appellate court will affirm the victory of Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed in the election.
Meanwhile, the Bauchi State Police Command has cautioned against all forms of celebrations and rallies by political party supporters for or against the winner/loser at the appellate court.
A statement by SP Ahmed Mohammad Wakil, the police public relations officer, said the command would deal decisively with any person(s) or group(s) who violate this order or deliberately cause the breakdown of law and order in whatever manner.
He said, “Those in violation will be arrested and made to face the full wrath of the law as security agencies have been deployed strategically and directed to ensure full enforcement.”
Uneasy Calm In Kano
Also, the Kano State Police Command and other security agencies in the state have warned troublemakers not to jeopardise the security arrangements in the state as the Appeal Court sets to deliver ruling in the case between Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), and the All Progressive Congress (APC) on Friday.
There was uneasy calm in the Kano metropolis yesterday evening as residents awaited the judgement of the Court of Appeal on the contentious governorship poll between the two parties.
Sanusi Bature Dawakintofa, the chief press secretary to the state governor, in a press statement, announced the impending judgement as coming today at 10am.
In a joint press briefing yesterday, led by the state’s Commissioner of Police Mohammed Usaini Gumel, he stated that security agencies had engaged the two parties’ leadership to ensure peace during and after the court verdict.
No fewer that 613 members of the family of some police officers who paid supreme price while serving the country have received their loved ones’ death benefits to the tune of N2,276,110,966.80.
They were presented a Settlement Group Life Assurance and IGP Family Welfare Scheme benefits by the Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun on Thursday.
Daily Trust reports that the Life Assurance Scheme is being funded by the federal government while the IGP family welfare scheme is funded by the Nigeria Police Force.
Presenting the cheques to families of officers who died in active service at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, Egbetokun urged the beneficiaries to use the money judiciously.
He specifically charged them to use the money for the benefit of the families left behind by the deceased officers.
According to him, the gesture was part of the NPF’s efforts to sympathise with the families of deceased police officers and also for the upkeep of their day-to-day life challenges.
As the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the February 25 election, Peter Obi, picked holes in the economic policies of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Presidency has said the current hardship faced by Nigerians was not caused by the new administration.
Obi, who appraised the Tinubu government yesterday, challenged the federal government to come clean on the bankruptcy comment, saying government spending does not suggest it inherited a bad economy from the previous government.
To this end, Obi said the Tinubu government should make full disclosure of what it inherited from the previous government.
Obi said in a series of tweets on his X handle on Thursday that the alarm also contradicts the spending behaviour of the government as contained in their supplementary budget just signed into law by the President and the bloated size of the government.
“I just read yesterday a widely publicized story from the present APC-led federal government saying that they inherited a bankrupt nation from the former APC administration.
“But then the story failed to disclose what they actually inherited which qualified us for bankruptcy status,” a statement issued by his personal assistant, Michael Jude Nwolisa, said.
Obi noted that one major characteristic expected of the new Nigeria he preached was a transparent system of disclosure; for example, what is inherited should be disclosed to enable the public to know where the country was headed.
2027: I’ll Contest Again, Says Peter Obi
The LP standard beer recalled that the previous APC government made a similar claim in 2015 against the PDP administration that handed over to it without telling the nation what it actually inherited.
He said: “Rather, according to official records, they took our debt profile from N12.6 trillion in 2015 to N87 trillion in 2023 when it left office without improving on any indices of development: Education, Health, Poverty eradication, and Security. Instead, every aspect of the development index got worse.”
Obi further noted that the alarm raised by the government, questions the rationale behind some expenditure profiles of the government so far, especially some items contained in the supplementary budget just signed into law by the president.
“It also goes to buttress the argument I have held since the electioneering time – that the cost of governance must be drastically reduced.
“A bankrupt country should channel every available resource into funding critical development sectors like security, healthcare, education, and eradication of poverty by addressing youth unemployment, not spending on non-focal areas,” he said.
On behalf of the Presidency, the national security adviser (NSA), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, yesterday joined the growing calls for Nigerians to exercise patience while waiting for the dividends of democracy under the current administration.
He maintained that President Bola Tinubu inherited the problems he is trying to fix in the country.
Ribadu expressed optimism that a new era would soon evolve with some far-reaching measures taken by the President Tinubu-led federal government to tackle the security challenges and other socio -economic challenges confronting the country.
“The reality is that the present administration inherited tough times”, he said, adding that what the country needs is the cooperation of all to ensure the federal government eliminates all forms of insecurity in the country.
Ribadu, made this appeal at the ongoing 19th Annual Nigerian Editors Conference in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, with the theme ; ‘Stimulating Economic Growth, Technological Advancement: Role of the Media.’
Noting that there had been a lot of improvement in the security situation of the nation, he stressed that all hands must be on deck to surmount the problem.
He said: “We inherited a tough period. We appeal for patience and understanding. It’s tough times and that is the reality. It requires all of us to come together. We are all in it together, it is not going to be for too long. In a matter of time, it will be better.”
He disclosed that the insecurity in the South East had also been reduced since this administration came on board, appealing that it will get better.
“Let me start with the Niger Delta, at the time we took over, the production of crude oil was 1.1 mbd. Today crude oil production is over 1.7 mbd.
“We have witnessed three weeks without any incident of security challenge in the Niger Delta. This is the first time since 1993.
“In the South East, when we took over last year we had 46 police stations attacked, today we don’t have a single one. In the last two months, not a single person had been killed through violent attacks in the south east, we don’t talk. The leadership we have in our country does understand things a bit better. Work more, talk less.”
Ribadu described the present administration as the most transparent government ever in the history of Nigeria.
National Directorate of Employment (NDE) has commenced the process of developing a clear-cut roadmap for job creation and poverty reduction within the framework of the Renewed Hope Agenda of the federal government.
Minister of state for labour and employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, who met with the NDE executive management and the state coordinators to begin the process in Abuja urged the directorate to assume a more significant role in lifting Nigerians out of poverty through job creation.
Onyejeocha commended the NDE for its achievements in the past 35 years as the apex job creation agency in the country, but also stressed the need to intensify efforts to meet the expectations of the present administration.
She said the federal government under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu has promised to propel the nation towards a sustained progressive economy and job creation and to lift 50 million Nigerians out of poverty.
She added that the NDE has a vital role to play in the realisation of the eight-point priority areas of the president while emphasising that skills acquisition and entrepreneurship development for blue collar jobs are the key strategies for economic empowerment and national development.
The minister therefore charged the NDE to focus on the youth, women and vulnerable groups to build the core skills needed for national revival, growth and prosperity.
She also urged the NDE to increase the tempo of sensitisation and awareness for its skills acquisition programmes and entrepreneurship development initiatives, and to create a festival of skills to showcase its innovative achievements.
Earlier, NDE director general, Abubakar Fikpo, who highlighted the achievements of the NDE said, the directorate has produced many successful entrepreneurs and artisans who are contributing to the gross domestic product (GDP) and the domestic market of the nation.
Fikpo further stated that the NDE has modified most of its job creation schemes and has created a spectrum of demand-driven skills set, which according to him has generated over four million direct and indirect jobs in the last three years.
The Taraba State House of Assembly has put to rest the constitutional crisis surrounding the tenure of local council chairmen by unanimously passing an amendment bill. The emergency session, held behind closed doors, was prompted by an ongoing industrial action by parliamentary staff.
The major entrance to the Assembly premises was sealed due to the strike, compelling lawmakers to use alternative entrances to access the chambers. The bill’s passage coincides with preparations for the local council election scheduled for tomorrow.
Nelson Len, Chairman of the House of Assembly Committee on Information, explained that the urgency was driven by the need to address legislative demands. Len, representing Nguroje constituency, attributed the expedited action to the ongoing parliamentary staff strike, stating that using alternative entrances was necessary to proceed with legislative matters.
Len emphasized the significance of timely action, especially with the upcoming local council election, and mentioned that allowing the bill to remain pending could jeopardize the governor’s intentions for the election. The bill in question reportedly revised the tenure from three years to two years.
The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), yesterday said that the current tariff regime in the telecom sector is not sustainable.
The Chairman of ALTON, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, disclosed this in Lagos, during a stakeholders’ meeting with the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Dr. Aminu Maida.
He said price review should be considered in line with the rising operating cost, adding that operators are burdened by 52 taxes across the country.
“Our current pricing regime is no longer sustainable. That is the fact, with the way things are going, I am not sure we can sustain this sector with the current pricing regime,” he said.
He also urged the EVC to intervene in the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) debts owed them by Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), which he noted has now hit N200 billion. He noted that the total debt must be paid, stressing that the association would not hesitate blocking debtor banks from accessing the service.
While assuring the NCC EVC of the support of stakeholders in the sector, he said it is important to put a timeline on resolutions reached at the meeting.
On his part, the President of Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr Anthony Emoekpere, said there is a need to bridge the telecom infrastructure in the country as part of measures to improve the quality of service.
The NCC boss while assuring the stakeholders of his support and commitment to the growth of the sector, said his action would be guided by the Renewed Agenda of President Bola Tinubu and the policy guidelines enumerated by the Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani.
Noting that the government sees the telecom sector as critical to the economy, he urged the operators to improve the quality of their services as well as boost job creation in the country.
Meanwhile, the Senate yesterday confirmed the nomination of Dr. Aminu Maida as the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The confirmation followed the consideration and adoption of a report by the Senate Committee on Communication, which screened the nominee.
The Committee Chairman, Senator Aliyu Ikra Bilbis (Zamfara Central), while presenting the report during plenary Thursday, said Maida’s nomination was in accordance with section 8 (1) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Act, 2003.
He said that during the screening, the committee found that Maida passed security clearance as well as possessed the requisite qualifications, professional experience, competence and capacity to occupy the office.
Dr. Maida had, prior to his appointment by President Bola Tinubu as the new Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, served as the Executive Director, Technology & Operations at Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS).
MultiChoice, Africa’s leading pay-TV provider, reported a third consecutive semi-annual loss, attributing its financial challenges to foreign exchange difficulties in Nigeria and persistent power outages in South Africa.
In a filing on Wednesday, Africa’s largest pay-tv company disclosed a net loss of 1.32 billion rand ($72.4m) for the six months ending September 30.
The loss was linked to the Nigerian naira’s weak performance against the US dollar; following a 40 per cent devaluation after Nigeria allowed the naira to trade more freely in mid-June.
The firm said it was influenced by inflationary pressures in key markets like Nigeria and typical trends following a FIFA World Cup or Northern Hemisphere football off-season.
“A total of 0.1m subscribers were added to end the period at 13.0m 90-day active subscribers. The active subscriber base was broadly stable at 8.9 million subscribers and subscription revenues grew 14 per cent organically.
“Revenue of ZAR10.5bn was flat (+13 per cent organic) with a weaker ZAR against the USD on conversion, offsetting the impact of weaker local currencies relative to the USD.
“The RoA (return on assets) segment delivered a trading profit of ZAR330m (+ZAR2.2bn YoY on an organic basis) which was underpinned by specific cost interventions around decoder subsidies and content costs.”
According to the firm, weaker currencies remained a significant impediment to improvements in profitability, with average first-half exchanges falling sharply against the dollar.
“The sharp fall of the naira resulted in a large proportion of the previously recognised losses incurred on cash remittances now being recorded in trading profit.
“The net effect of these forex movements was a negative ZAR1.6bn impact on the segment’s trading profit for the period,” it stated.
The Police Service Commission and the Nigeria Police Force are contemplating the extension of the police retirement age to either 65 years or 40 years in the service.
The move, it was gathered, followed the retirement of several competent police officers which had affected the effectiveness of the force.
The recommendations were among the several others presented by the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Solomon Arase, to the Inspector-General of Police, Kehinde Egbetokun, as part of plans to reform and professionalise the police force as contained in the Nigeria Police Force Scheme of Service.
Among other policies being considered under the NPF Scheme of Service is a proposal to ease out junior officers at the inspectorate cadre unless there is a conversion based on additional academic qualifications.
However, if the policy was approved, the affected policemen would not be promoted beyond the rank of Chief Superintendent.
The recommendations for inclusion in the NPF service scheme read, “Rank and file should terminate at the inspectorate cadre unless is a conversion based on additional qualification but should not rise beyond the rank of Chief Superintendent of Police.
“Non-graduates should not be promoted to the SPO cadre. The scheme of service should cover traffic warden personnel as a specialised arm of the force.
“Abolish the concept of general duty or limit it to a specific number of years after initial entry to allow new intakes to develop skills, gain competencies and acquire relevant experience to progress into specialised areas.
‘’Length of service in the NPF should be extended to either 40 years or 65 years of age, whichever comes first.’’
When asked about the proposal to ease out junior officers who failed to provide additional qualifications, the force spokesman, Muyiwa Adejobi, simply said, ‘’A recommendation is not a policy.’’
Explaining the decision to extend the service tenure to 65 years for policemen, the spokesman for the Police Service Commission, Ikechukwu Ani, said the commission’s chairman, Arase, believed that the early retirement of seasoned police officers had robbed the NPF of what he called institutional memory.
He stated, “The chairman of the commission is saying that when you retire them too early, they go away with their institutional memory and this affects the force. They have done it (extension of service years) for the judges, and he is saying it should be extended to the police.
“At the last retreat for retired IGs, it was part of their communiqué. When they leave below 60, some of them are still young and they can still be useful to the police and the nation. When you extend their tenure, they are still in a position to contribute to the nation.’’
On the plan to peg the exit rank for junior officers who had no additional qualifications to CSP, Ani stated that the personnel had been directed to present their certificates.
‘’What I know is that they asked those with additional qualifications to submit their certificates. The policy behind it is that they can move up to fill certain positions.
“There are some policemen that read law and they are corporals and they go to court to represent the police and the NBA (Nigerian Bar Association) said it is wrong. The chairman said there is a need for them to be in short service and upgraded so they have self-confidence in the job they do,’’ the PSC spokesman disclosed.
Meanwhile, the police reform plans have received the endorsement of retired IGs.
The Committee of Retired Inspectors-General of Police in a communique issued at the end of their retreat in Ibadan in August advocated 65 years as retirement age and 40 years as tenure of service for police personnel.
The retreat had the theme, ‘Intervention of former IGs for strategic contribution to effective policing in Nigeria.’
The retreat allowed the ex-police heads to brainstorm about repositioning the NPF for greater impact, relevance, and strategic intervention within the country’s competitive security landscape.
According to the communiqué, there is a need for a re-evaluation of retirement age and tenure of service.
“This should be by extending the retirement age from 60 to 65 years and tenure of service from 35 to 40 years, whichever comes first,” it said.
The committee also recommended that divisional police headquarters across the country, which they observed were usually understaffed and under-equipped, should be adequately staffed.
“They should be provided with appropriate law enforcement equipment to enable them to discharge their statutory duties effectively,’’ it said.
The committee said recruitment into the Nigeria Police should be institutionalized and captured in the annual budget proposals of the NPF to put a halt to intermittent requests for approval.
It also asked the police management to re-evaluate the large number of police personnel usually attached to VIPS and politicians to allow for wider coverage of the personnel in its core area of policing.
The committee advised the NPF to build the capacity of its personnel by promoting digital literacy initiatives to enhance professionalism, noting that promotions should be based on examinations, merit, competence, and a deep understanding of the evolving challenges.
The former IGs encouraged the NPF management to leverage the experience of retired officers and harness their potential in the efforts to combat security challenges.
They said, “In the immediate, graduates, professionals, and technicians should be recruited to replace the number of personnel wastages in the system. The efforts of the IG should be applauded for gravitating towards actual personnel increase during staff recruitment rather than the usual personnel replacement.
‘’The Federal Government should give the NPF funding priority in the face of competing demands. Government at all levels should prioritize consultation with the Committee as a strategic partner in both intelligence sharing and policy reforms.
“Government at all levels should prioritize the employment of technology in policing to complement other policing assets of the Nigeria Police. The government is advised to come up with a policy as a condition precedent for all building approvals to have CCTV installed, as part of community safety measures in the country.’’
The participants also called on the Federal Government to implement the White Paper on the Police Reform Reports (Danmadami and M.D Yusuf Reports) for optimal performance of the Nigeria Police.
Relying on extant provisions of the Constitution and Establishment Act, the ex-IGs said the NPF should be restored to be effectively in charge of internal security management to avoid needless usurpation of her statutory functions.
The communiqué further stated, ‘’Police Mobile Force should be restored to its original status where it has its budget with the IGP as the Accounting Officer for efficient service delivery.
“The NPF should, as a matter of urgency, conduct a personnel audit of the PMF to restore it to its original concept.
“It was observed that the Divisional Police Headquarters across the country are usually under-staffed and under-equipped. It is therefore recommended that they should be adequately staffed and provided with appropriate law enforcement equipment to enable them to discharge their statutory duties effectively.’’
Also, given the shortfall in manpower of the Nigerian police, the CRIG stressed the urgent need to upgrade junior police officers with higher educational qualifications to the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police to reflect the persona and carriage of their qualifications.
Noting the level of sophistication with which modern crimes were perpetrated, it urged the Federal Government to support the NPF in her quest to continually upgrade assets in logistics and intelligence-sharing technology with her strategic partners.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja today November 16 declared as inconclusive the Zamfara state governorship election that was held on March 18.
In a unanimous decision, the three-member panel led by Justice Oyebisi Folayemi nullified the return of Governor Dauda Lawal of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the governorship poll.
Justice Sybil Nwaka who read the lead judgement, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election in three Local Government Areas of the state, where elections had not been held previously or where results from various polling units were not counted.
The affected LGAs are Maradun, Birnin-Magaji and Bukyun.
The court held that it was wrong for INEC to rely on information it obtained from its INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal, to collate the final result of the governorship election. The judgement followed an appeal that was brought before the court by the immediate past governor of the state, Bello Matawalle, who was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election. Matawalle is currently the Minister of State for Defence.
The South African government has asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the Israeli government for alleged war crimes in Gaza, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced during a two-day visit to Qatar.
The claim against Israel, which has not ratified the Rome Statute – the treaty establishing the ICC was taken “together with many other countries in the world”, Ramaphosa said, without specifying which nations were involved according to the video address posted on his X account.
Ramaphosa claimed that while South Africa, an active supporter of Palestinian sovereignty, does not endorse the Hamas attacks on Israrl, the Israeli response amounts to genocide that warrants an ICC investigation.
“We are opposed to the operation that is ongoing, particularly as it is now targeting hospitals where babies, women, and the injured are dying like flies,” the South African leader said.
“There is a need for the whole world to rise and call for the Israeli government to ceasefire, and stop what is happening and the ICC to investigate. Of course, legal measures need to be taken at a global level,” he added.
Colombian President, Gustavo Petro, had last week said Bogota would request that the court prosecute Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over “the massacre” of civilians in Gaza.
Israel declared war on Hamas last month following a raid by the Palestinian militant group into Israeli territory that killed an estimated 1,200 people. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has been bombarding Gaza for more than a month.
The Palestinian Health Ministry in Ramallah has said that more than 11,200 people have been killed in the enclave since the hostilities erupted, with another 2,700 reported missing.
Earlier this month, South Africa joined Chad, Jordan, Bahrain, Honduras, Colombia, Bolivia, and Turkey in recalling diplomats from Tel Aviv in response to Israel's actions in Gaza.
The National Peace Committee led by former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, on Thursday, decried cases of violence, intimidation, and vote-buying, among other practices during last Saturday’s off-cycle governorship elections in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa states.
In a statement on Thursday, the peace committee said, “We are not unaware of the glitches recorded during the elections. Sadly, we have noted that some of the old ways remain and ordinary people continue to collude with corrupt members of society to stall the processes of our elections.
“The persistence of the culture of vote-buying, intimidation, and voter apathy, among others are disturbing. A democratic culture will only grow if we participate in cleaning up the process of our elections because, in the end, we are the victims. The corruption of the process will lead to the emergence of corrupt leaders if we collude with merchants of corruption.”
The body, however, said was “grateful to all critical stakeholders who worked round the clock to ensure that the elections are free, fair and credible.”
It said, “Our appreciation goes to the staff of INEC, security agencies, traditional rulers, leaders of political parties, non-governmental organisations, civil society groups, the media and others who ensured the success of the elections in the three states.
“We express our gratitude to voters in the states for defying obstacles and threats by performing their civic duties. We encourage our people to remain resilient and to use our experiences to correct the mistakes in the process of our elections.”
Oil marketers stated on Thursday that the reason behind the long queues at petrol filling stations in Abuja and neighbouring Nasarawa and Niger States is the insufficient supply of Premium Motor Spirit by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited.
The NNPCL, which is the sole importer of the product, refuted the oil marketers’ claim, attributing the queues in the affected areas, particularly Abuja, to “price war”.
The queues for petrol at filling stations in Abuja and its neighbouring states in particular, as well as some South-East and South-South states, have persisted in the past few weeks.
“The queues have continued because there is an insufficient supply of products. If we have enough products, it will bring down these acts of profiteering among marketers,” the National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, told our correspondent.
He added, “It is when the products become very difficult to access that is when you start to see cases of profiteering. But if everywhere is littered with products, you won’t experience what we are seeing now.
“In Port Harcourt, for instance, our tickets have been tied down. For the past three weeks, we have not been able to load products, leading to queues at the few stations that have products. But the government, which is actually represented in this business by NNPCL, keeps saying that it is expecting stock.”
Ukadike noted that though NNPCL had promised to discharge some vessels of PMS at Warri, Lagos and Calabar soon, the products had yet to arrive.
This, according to the IPMAN official, was among the reasons private depot owners had raised the cost of their products, leading to the hike in the pump prices of petrol at retail outlets.
“We heard that there is a vessel that is coming to Calabar to discharge, so Port Harcourt and other states in the region are still expecting it. Also, we heard that another vessel is going to discharge in Lagos. Warri is also expecting a vessel.
“So, with the few depots that have petroleum products now, you will know that there will be serious profiteering and scrambling for PMS. It is, therefore, important for NNPCL vessels to come in with products, particularly as we approach the Yuletide.
“But they (NNPCL) have assured us that there will be enough products during the Christmas period,” Ukadike stated, but stressed that the fuel importer did not inform marketers when the expected PMS vessels would arrive.
The oil marketer further stated that the cost of PMS in most states outside Lagos and the South-West was about N650/litre, describing the average price of N640/litre in Abuja is cheap.
“The N640/litre price in Abuja is cheap when compared to the N660/litre average price in the South-East. In fact, in Owerri, Imo State, it is N670 and in Anambra it is N700/litre. So, those of you in Abuja are lucky.
“Do you know that it is getting close to N800/litre in remote areas in the far North? This is based on reports we receive from our members. That is the situation. There is insufficient supply of products and this often leads to profiteering.”
Also speaking on the issue, the Secretary of IPMAN, Abuja-Suleja, Mohammed Shuaibu, stated that though the queues being experienced in some states were due to low supply volumes from NNPCL, it could also be attributed to the forthcoming festive season.
“Yes, products are not as readily available as before, which is why many retail stations are not dispensing nowadays. However, you should know that during the festive period towards the end of the year, we always experience queues.
“This is why the government should intervene now by flooding the country with products so that those who want to catch-in on the season to profiteer would not be able to do so,” Shuaibu stated.
However, the Chief Corporate Communications Officer of NNPCL, Olufemi Soneye, told our correspondent that the position of oil marketers as regards the re-emergence of fuel queues was not true.
“That is not true. The recent tightness in Abuja is essentially a price war, which is typical of any competitive market. Motorists would rather queue at filling stations that offer lower prices than others.
“While NNPC retail is selling at N613/litre in Abuja, other marketers’ prices range from N625-N650/litre,” Soneye stated.
Meanwhile, it was observed that while the queues at NNPCL stations were longer, similar scenarios played out in Conoil and Total filling stations opposite the Abuja headquarters of NNPCL, and other outlets across the capital city and its neighbouring states.