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Electoral Act: INEC Reacts To Buhari’s Letter



Electoral Act: INEC Reacts To Buhari's Letter

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has broken its silence on a letter written to it by President Muhammadu Buhari, over the contentious Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

Buhari, who received the bill on November 19, has until December 19 to sign it or withhold his assent and communicate to the National Assembly his views and comments about it.

And if after 30 days he refuses to sign the bill, and with the National Assembly not in support of the President’s amendments or reservation, the Senate and the House of Representatives can recall the bill and pass it into law.

Should the bill be passed in the form it was sent to the President by two-thirds majority votes in both chambers, the bill automatically becomes a law even without the signature of the President.

But reacting to the President’s letter on Wednesday, INEC National Commissioner and chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said its position constitutionally, legally and administratively was that the electoral management body is the end user of the electoral legal framework.

He said that it was conventionally rational, strategic and fundamental to seek the opinion of the commission and other critical agencies in the electoral matrix before a new legal framework becomes law.

Okoye said, “Pursuant to Section 58(4) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the President has 30 days to assent to a bill presented to him by the National Assembly.

The President has requested the commission and other critical national institutions to revert with detailed and considered views indicating whether or not the President should assent to the bill.

This is the democratic way to go and the commission will make its views known to the President bearing in mind the overriding national interest and interest of our democracy.

The commission will go through the bill and revert to the President within the time frame given to it.”

He said INEC was aware that Nigerians were waiting for this bill and also conscious of the fact that a comprehensive, clear, unambiguous, and forward-looking electoral legal framework was germane to early preparations for elections.

He said the regulations and guidelines of the commission are drawn from the Electoral Act and without a new electoral legal framework, the work of the commission will be tentative and that will not be good for the electoral process.

Speaking on the cost implications, Okoye said that it was rather unfortunate that the issue of direct or indirect primary had overshadowed other fundamental issues in the bill.

He said, “However, it is difficult at this stage to speculate on the cost implications of direct primaries. As of today, the bill is inchoate until the President assents to it.

It is the constitutional and legal responsibility of the commission to give effect to laws passed by the National Assembly.

Moreover, direct primaries have been a feature of our electoral legal framework. The commission has monitored direct and indirect primaries organised by the different political parties. The commission does not dictate to political parties on the mode of primaries to adopt.

The new system of direct primary election proposed in the bill domiciles the conditions for the conduct of the primaries with the political parties. In other words, the procedure adopted for the direct primaries shall be spelt out in a guidelines to be issued by the political party and filed with the commission at least 14 days before the primary election.”

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FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup: Nigeria’s Falconets Wins Opening Game



FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup: Nigeria’s Falconets Wins Opening Game

Nigeria’s Falconets have begun the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica with a win, defeating France 1-0 on Friday in Group D’s opening match.

The two-time runner-up against all odds defeated Europe’s top team France after an hour-long delay and gameplay under tough rain.

The goal came late in the game, as Falconets’ top scorer in the African qualifying series, Flourish Sabastine’s strike in the 85th minutes led her team to victory.

READ ALSO: Smithies: Leicester Signs Schmeichel Replacement

Nigeria U20 women started the game well regardless of the weather that hindered movements of the ball, as Esther Onyenezide who operates from the Falconets midfield still caused panic in the French team’s vital area with an intelligent free kick barely seven minutes into the game.

With the rains still pouring, Mexican referee Francia Gonzales opted to stop the game in the 20th minute as visibility was increasingly becoming impossible for both teams.

The suspension lasted exactly one hour.

Magnaba Folquet had to desperately clear the ball from goal eight minutes after the resumption, as Nigeria pushed forward.

In the second half, both teams fought even harder. Two minutes before the hour mark, Mercy Idoko failed to connect properly at the end of a sweet team move, and 20 minutes from time, goalkeeper Oyono Omini provided a critical block in the vital area as France surged forward.

In the 72nd minute, substitute Chiamaka Okwuchukwu was hindered from getting anything positive as Flourish Sabastine got a cross into the French vital area.

The game flowed from end to end as both teams attacked with zest and defended resolutely.

Substitute Jade Nassi thought she had put France ahead when she slotted home from a goalmouth melee that followed a corner kick in the 80th minute, but referee Gonzales consulted the Video Assistant Referee who correctly ruled out the strike.

Five minutes later, Nigeria got the goal that their effort and enterprise deserved when Flourish Sabastine raced onto a brilliant Mercy Idoko pass, kept her composure, and slotted past goalkeeper Marie-Morgane Sieber with some flourish.

The Falconets’ next game is on Sunday against the Korea Republic at the Estadio Alajuela Morera Soto. Victory in that game will automatically assure Nigeria of a place in the tournament’s quarter-finals.

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Abuja-Kaduna Train: Why We Can’t Use Lethal Military Force On Abductors, Buhari Explains



Abuja-Kaduna Train: Why We Can't Use Lethal Military Force On Abductors, Buhari Explains

President Muhammadu Buhari has stated ‘collateral damage’ as the reason behind the refusal of lethal military force for the rescue of abducted Abuja-Kaduna train passengers.

The President disclosed this in a tweet after he met with families of abducted passengers, assuring safe return for the captives.

“We have received and evaluated several suggestions about the deployment of lethal military force to rescue the abducted train passengers. Buhari wrote.

READ ALSO: Bandits Free More Kidnapped Kaduna Train Passengers

However, with no guarantee of a successful outcome and of minimal collateral damage, that course of action has had to be reluctantly discarded.

It is understandable that emotions typically run high at times like this. We’re just as keen to bring this sad chapter to an end, but we are also determined to safely return all the remaining victims to their families. My primary concern is to get everyone released SAFE & UNHURT.

Recall, that on the 28th of March, unknown gunmen attacked the Abuja-Kaduna train with an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), and abducted many passengers.

No less than eight (8) people were killed, with many others injured.

The terrorist, on Wednesday, August 10, 2022, released seven of the kidnapped passengers, as reported by NEWSRAND.

The victims were released after spending 135 days in the custody of the terrorists.

The development brought to 52 the number of victims that had regained their freedom since the unfortunate incident.

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Ondo Church Attack: 2 More ISWAP Leaders Arrested -Army



Ondo Church Attack: 2 More ISWAP Leaders Arrested -Army

The Nigerian Army has disclosed the arrest of two more leaders of the Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP) who are linked to the deadly June 5, 2022, terrorist attack on St Francis Catholic Church, Owo in Ondo State.

It would be recalled that on Sunday, June 5, some gunmen invaded St. Xavier catholic church in Owo, Ondo State, and left no less than 40 worshippers dead.

The incident immediately sent many people in Ondo State into panic, as the assailants threatened more attacks.

Addressing members of the public on the outcome of an ongoing investigation of the incident, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022, stated that the terrorists behind the attack have been arrested.

More so, in the late hours of Wednesday, August 10, Director Defence Information, Major General Jimmy Akpor, in a statement, gave the names of the newly-arrested suspects are – Al-Qasim Idris and Abdulhaleem Idris.

The statement read: “Recall that the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, during his parley with media executives and editors yesterday, Tuesday 9 August 2022, informed of the arrest of 4 terrorists among those who carried out the attack on St Francis Catholic Church, Owo on 5 June 2022. They were arrested through a combined operation by military and DSS personnel at Eika, Okehi LGA, Kogi State on 1 August 2022. Those arrested include Idris Abdulmalik Omeiza (a.k.a Bin Malik), Momoh Otohu Abubakar, Aliyu Yusuf Itopa and Auwal Ishaq Onimisi.

Barely few hours after the disclosure by the CDS of the arrest of 4 of the Owo Catholic Church attackers, 2 additional ISWAP terrorists, who were also connected to the attack on the church were apprehended at Omialafara (Omulafa), Ose LGA, Ondo State yesterday, 9 August 2022. The arrests were made through the collaborative effort by military and DSS personnel. The suspects are Al-Qasim Idris and Abdulhaleem Idris. It is instructive to note that Abdulhaleem, alongside other high profile ISWAP commanders, had also previously coordinated attacks on military targets in Okene, Okene LGA, Kogi State resulting in casualties.

It is the avowed commitment of the leadership of the military, Nigeria Police, DSS and other security agencies to work in synergy to enthrone peace and security all over the country. This is due to the need for collaboration as an essential requirement to successfully deal with the existential asymmetric threats currently bedeviling our dear nation, Nigeria.”

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