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2023: INEC rejects NIN for voter registration

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The Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday rejected the mandatory use of National Identity Number for the Continuous Voter Registration which recommences on June 28, 2021, in the 774 Local Government Areas ahead of the 2023 general election.

The PUNCH reported that immediately after the press conference, the INEC chairman took a dose of the Astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

Others who took the vaccine were INEC National Commissioner and chairman, Information and. Other Education Committee, Festus Okoye and chairman of the commission’s press corps, Okey Nnabuchi.

Yakubu said, “The NIN is not going to be mandatory for the simple reason that we are operating on the basis of the law establishing INEC. Section 10 of the Electoral Act lists the means of identification to be presented by prospective registrants for the purpose of registration.

“These includes, birth certificate, national passport, national identity card, or any other document that will prove the identity, age, and nationality of the applicants. The NIN is only one of the means of identification provided for under section 10 (2) of the Electoral Act.

“We can’t single that out and make it mandatory. All the other requirements are requirements of the law and we must apply the law equally. Yes, if you have your national ID card, you can present it during registration but we will not make it mandatory means of identification for the exercise.”

Yakubu said the registration exercise would be carried out continuously for over a year until the third quarter of 2022.

The commission had earlier in the year announced that the exercise would commence in the first quarter of 2021.

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He said, “The CVR could not recommence in 2020 due largely to the COVID – 19 pandemic. In line with the general advice by health officials regarding events involving large groups of people, we considered it inauspicious to restart the CVR at the height of the pandemic…In the light of the pandemic, the commision promised the nation that it would recommend the CVR in the first quarter of 2021.

“The first quarter of 2021 ended yesterday (Wednesday) and obviously the commision was unable to restart the CVR exercise…In consideration of these challenges and the measures we have taken to overcome them, the commision is now in a position to announce Monday June 28 2021 as the date for the recommencement of the CVR exercise nationwide.

“When it comes to voter registration, we expect perhaps higher crowd. Between 2017 and 2018 when we did the last voter registration, 14.2 million Nigerians registered.

“This time around, we are projecting something much higher anywhere between 16-20 million. We will make process safer for our staff and voters and that is why we are taking our time to develop online registration portal so people would not have to crowd around the polling unit for registration.

“On how it works, they will start the process online and there is going to be locator on the portal we are developing that will guide them to the next available registration center for the capture of their facial and biometrics. We hope that will also help us to deal with multiple registration. We want to completely eliminate multiple registration.”

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Leadership

Eid: Buhari asks Nigerians to pray against banditry, kidnapping

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Wednesday asked Nigerians to pray against kidnapping, banditry and blackmail.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President made the call in his Eid-il-Fitr message.

The statement was titled ‘On the occasion of Eid, President Buhari calls for unity and solidarity’.

Shehu quoted the President as saying, “On this blessed occasion, I wish that the Eid festival brings with it peace, safety, security, brotherhood and love amongst all.

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“Unity and solidarity among all citizens, Muslims and Christians are imperative especially at a time when our country is faced with multiple challenges which are surmountable only when we come together as one.

“It is important that we remember how we share, through our faiths, common bonds that should serve to unite us and not allow ourselves to succumb to those who seek to divide us, using our two great religions, for their own selfish advantages.

“We should jointly pray against the tragic incidents of kidnapping and banditry and the desperate quest for political power expressed through blackmail against the existence of our country as a united entity.

“We must resist the temptation to retreat into our communities. I urge our political and religious leaders as well as traditional rulers to encourage our citizens to turn towards one another in love and compassion.”

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Leadership

Insecurity: Southern Governors ban open grazing, ask Buhari to address nation

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The governors in 17 states of the southern part of Nigeria have demanded the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to address Nigerians on the challenges of insecurity and restore the confidence of the people.

The Forum stated this in a 12-point communique read by its Chairman, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, at the end of its four hours meeting held in Asaba, the Delta State capital.

The governors affirmed that the people of Southern Nigeria remain committed to the unity of Nigeria on the basis of justice, fairness, equity, oneness, and peaceful co-existence between and among its peoples with a focus on the attainment of shared goals for economic development and prosperity.

He said, “Southern Governors expressed very grave concern on the security challenges currently plaguing the nation and strongly urged that Mr. President should address Nigerians on the challenges of insecurity and restore the confidence of our people.

“We observed that the incursion of armed herders, criminals, and bandits into the Southern part of the country has presented a severe security challenge such that citizens are not able to live their normal lives including pursuing various productive activities leading to a threat to food supply and general security.

“Consequently, the meeting resolved that open grazing of cattle be banned across Southern Nigeria.

“Agreed that the progress of the nation requires that urgent and bold steps be taken to restructure the Nigerian Federation leading to the evolution of state police, review of revenue allocation formula in favour of the sub-national governments and creation of other institutions which legitimately advance our commitment to and practice of true federalism.

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“In view of widespread agitations among our various peoples for greater inclusiveness in existing governance arrangements, the Federal Government should convoke a national dialogue as a matter of urgency.”

The forum expressed concern about the continued gridlock on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway.

The meeting, therefore, recommended the activation and establishment of ports in other states of the federation to create new jobs and promote socio-economic activities in the country.

The Southern Governors also expressed concern on the economic implications of another lockdown on the country and therefore suggested greater coordination and cooperation between Federal and State Governments in evolving strategies for dealing with the pandemic.

Fifteen governors were in attendance at the meeting.

They are Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Dr Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), and Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos).

Others are Douye Diri (Bayelsa), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), David Umahi (Ebonyi), Willie Obiano (Anambra). Imo and Akwa Ibom States were represented by their deputy governors, while Osun and Cross Rivers states were absent at the meeting.

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Business

Buhari sends delegation to Ghana over Nigerian traders’ plight

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has directed that a ministerial delegation be sent to Ghana to resolve the prolonged conflict between Nigerian traders and Ghanaian authorities.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, disclosed this on Monday.

According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Ifedayo Sayo, the minister spoke at a meeting.

The statement was titled, ‘FG delegation to visit Ghana over Nigerian traders’ conflict with Ghanaian counterparts.’

“President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that a ministerial delegation be sent to Ghana to resolve the lingering conflict between Nigerian traders and Ghanaian authorities,” the minister was quoted as saying.

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Adebayo, who said he would be leading the delegation, added that members of the delegation “will also engage in further dialogue with Ghanaian authorities with a view to finding a lasting solution to the problem.”

He disclosed that the delegation is expected to embark on the visit between May 31 and June 1, 2021.

Other member of the delegation include the Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada; the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo; the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Yewande Sadiku; Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa; and the President of National Association of Nigerian Traders, Dr Ken Ukaoha.

There has been lingering controversy over $1 million levy imposed on Nigerian traders and foreign investors by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre.

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