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41 INEC offices attacked in 14 states, says chairman

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The Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, yesterday said 41 INEC offices were destroyed in 14 states since 2019.

Prof Mahmood Yakubu made this known during an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.

He said a preliminary assessment indicates that 1,105 ballot boxes, 694 voting cubicles, 429 electric generating sets and 13 utility vehicles (Toyota Hilux) were lost in the attacks.

Yakubu said: “In the last two years, the Commission has recorded a total of 41 incidents involving deliberate attacks on the Commission’s facilities.

“Nine of these incidents happened in 2019 and 21 cases in 2020. In the last four weeks, 11 offices of the Commission were either set ablaze or vandalised.

“Two of these incidents were caused by Boko Haram and bandit attacks while 10 resulted from thuggery during the election and post-election violence.

“However, the majority of the attacks (29 out of 41) were unrelated to election or electoral activities. In fact, 18 of them occurred during the EndSARS protests in October last year while 11 attacks were organised by ‘unknown gunmen’ and ‘hoodlums’.

“Although the Commission is assessing loss of materials during recent attacks, our preliminary assessment so far indicates that we lost 1,105 ballot boxes, 694 voting cubicles, 429 electric generating sets and 13 utility vehicles (Toyota Hilux).

“By working together with the security agencies, we can stop these attacks and the wanton destruction of critical electoral assets.”

Yakubu reiterated his warning that the attacks could threaten future elections if not checked.

He said: “These attacks, which initially appeared as isolated and occasional actions, have now become more frequent and systematic targeted at demobilising and dismantling critical electoral infrastructure in the country.

“This will not only undermine the Commission’s capacity to organise elections and other electoral activities but will also damage the nation’s electoral process and democracy.

“Indeed, these attacks on the Commission’s facilities should now be treated as a national security emergency.”

Yakubu said an outcome of the meeting should be “an all-year-round, end-to-end protection of electoral facilities under the auspices of ICCES”.

According to the INEC chairman, since the conclusion of the 2019 general election, the commission has conducted four end-of-tenure governorship elections and 28 of 32 bye-elections.

Read Also: INEC moves sensitive materials from attack-prone areas

He said: “In the next nine months, two major elections will be conducted. The Anambra State Governorship election is scheduled to hold on 6th November 2021 to be followed by the end-of-tenure elections for 68 Area Council constituencies in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) holding on 12th February 2022.

“These major elections will be followed by the Ekiti and Osun State Governorship elections ahead of the 2023 General Election which is just 632 days away.

“In addition to elections, the Commission is also preparing for the resumption of the nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise on 28th June 2021 to enable Nigerians who have attained the age 18 years and those who did not register previously to do so.

“Similarly, registered voters who wish to change their voting locations and those who wish to correct their names and other details on their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) can do so.

“We plan to create 2,673 registration centres and deploy 5,346 officials for the exercise along with expensive voter enrollment machines. All these activities require security, thereby adding to the urgency and importance of this meeting.”

National Security Adviser and Co-Chairman of ICEES, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), mandated security and government agencies to deal with non-state actors plotting to disrupt the electoral process.

He said democracy would be sustained despite attempts by divisive elements to torpedo it.

“We (ONSA) are at hand to make sure that the people’s will, will be sustained, regardless of whatever happens,” he stated.

The Senator representing Enugu East Zone, Chimaroke Nnamani, described the attacks on INEC offices as worrisome.

The former Enugu State governor said in a statement: ”This trend is capable of alienating us from the rest of Nigeria. What we require is a society or nation of equal opportunities where no one is segregated upon or discriminated against on account of his ethnic or religious leaning.

“Justice and equity are what we should agitate for not violence. We can only achieve this in an atmosphere of peace and harmony.

“Burning police or INEC facilities cannot be a solution. The world is already a global village. We need each other. Those behind these acts must sheathe their swords and embrace dialogue”.

He reminded aggrieved Nigerians that there are many channels, including the courts or even the National Assembly to address any injustices or misgivings instead of resorting to violence.

“Violence will only lead to anarchy. It is certainly not one of the ways to resolve issues,” Nnamani stressed.

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Sanwo-Olu Appoints Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello As LASU VC

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Tunji Bello’s Wife, Prof. Ibiyemi Emerges LASU VC-Crystal News

Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has appointed the wife of the Lagos State Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Professor Ibiyemi-Olatunji Bello as the ninth substantive Vice-Chancellor of the Lagos State University, LASU, Ojo.

The Professor of Physiology (Lagos State University College of Medicine) had served as Acting Vice-Chancellor of the institution before her elevation.

She becomes the ninth Vice-Chancellor of LASU after an exercise laced with intrigues and suspense.

Details later…

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FG To Lift Twitter Suspension Soon

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FG To Lift Twitter Suspension Soon-Crystal News

The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced that the ban on Twitter will soon be lifted.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, confirmed this development when he fielded questions from State House correspondents on Wednesday in Abuja.

According to him, a lot of progress has been made in the ongoing dialogue with Twitter.

“I think even Twitter itself two days ago gave what I will call a progress report on our talks with them, and I think if I want to quote them rightly `it has been productive and quite respectful’.

“And as to the qualifying word for when or how soon, I want to assure you that the time that Twitter operation has been suspended, (I meant) between the time it has been suspended, and when it will be restored is by far, much, much shorter.

“That I can assure you that it is by far in other words, if the operation has been suspended for about 100 days now, I can tell that we’re just actually talking about a few, just a few more days now.”

The minister stressed that both parties were focused on reaching a conclusion on the matter.

“What we’re trying to do is the changes that have been going on, but we need to dot the ‘i’s’ and cross the ‘t’s’, but I can assure us that we’re not unmindful of the anxiety of Nigerians and both parties are working very hard to put a closure on the matter.

“And like Twitter itself said the changes have been very, very productive on both parties. It has not been advisory at all. And it’s quite respectful,’’ he said.

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Our Director Not On Terrorist Financier List — 9mobile

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9mobile-Crystal News

The Management of 9mobile has reacted to media reports that one of its directors is on the United Arab Emirates (UAE} list of terrorist (Boko Haram) sponsors.

According to a press statement cited by Crystal News, 9mobile said that one Abdurrahman Ado Musa, who is on that list is not a director of the mobile telecommunications company.

Some Nigerians were included on the list said to have been ratified by the Emirate Federal Capital. One of the names on the list and that the media has latched on is Abdurrahaman Ado Musa.

In its clarification, 9mobile said “We, however, wish to clarify that the so-named individual is not 9mobile’s Executive Director, Regulatory & Corporate Affairs, Abdulrahman Ado. The resemblance in names is purely coincidental, and our Director does not bear ‘Musa’.

“Our Director, Abdulrahman Ado, is a respectable law-abiding Nigerian. He served the country diligently in public service for over three decades before transferring his services to the private sector.

“He served in various capacities and was Pioneer Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission and Executive Commissioner, Licensing and Consumer Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission.

“As a law-abiding company that believes in the greatness of Nigeria, and the well-being of all its citizens, 9mobile would never accommodate any undesirable element within its management and staff.

“We urge the general public to kindly disregard the mistaken identify media reports making the rounds”

ICYM: High Profiled Nigerians Enlisted As Terrorist Sponsors- UAE Report

UAE authorities named 6 Nigerians as financiers of terrorist organizations including the Boko Haram sect and other criminal activities.

The 6 persons mentioned had been previously tried and sentenced in UAE with various prison terms after a federal appeals court upheld their convictions for funding the terrorist groups.

The decision was taken when the UAE federal cabinet met in Abu Dhabi on Monday after which they issued Resolution No. 83 of 2021, designating a total of 38 individuals and 15 corporate sponsors on its approved list of persons and organizations supporting Boko Haram and other terrorist causes.

The 6 Nigerians who are part of the list include Abdurrahaman Ado Musa, Salihu Yusuf Adamu, Bashir Ali Yusuf, Muhammed Ibrahim Isa, Ibrahim Ali Alhassan and Surajo Abubakar Muhammad.

The 38 names on the list are mostly Arabs from the Middle East.

UAE news agency reported that the resolution underscored the country’s commitment to target and dismantle networks that finance terrorism and its related activities.

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