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2019 Elections: Death of 626 Nigerians unacceptable – Stakeholders

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Another party wants Adamawa guber election annulled

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Nigerians across the country have described as most unfortunate and condemnable the death of over 600 Nigerians during the just concluded general elections.

This was at stakeholders gathered to undertake a review of the security challenges arising from the elections.

At the event held in Enugu were the General Officer Commanding 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. Abubakar Maikobi, the Enugu State Commissioner of Police, Sulaiman Balarabe, the Enugu State Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, civil society organizations, the media, among others.

Various speakers at the Forum blamed the rising cases of violence on politicians, their supporters, as well as security operatives.

The event was at the instance of SBM Intelligence and Gatefield Nig. Ltd, in collaboration with the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, OSIWA.

While kick-starting deliberations, Cheta Nwanze, the head of Research, SBM Intelligence lamented the high scale violence which trailed the elections.

In the group’s report presented to the stakeholders, it was disclosed that “thuggery, influenced by politicians and political parties, protest, election fraud, violence in battleground areas and vote buying impacted on the outcome of the elections.

“Same can be said for terrorism, especially in the North-eastern States of Yobe and Borno, and the activities of security agencies in some contentious States.”

While blaming low turnout of voters partly on the fatal clashes recorded in the months leading to the elections, SMB said “there were 161 verified incidents, which resulted in 626 deaths within the period between 16 November, 2018, the official start of the campaigning and the day of elections.”

The South-south recorded the highest incidents of violence, (59), while the North-West had the highest number of fatalities (172), with the South-East recording the least incidents of violence and fatalities, 7 and 14, respectively.

It concluded that by voters’ admission, “the 2019 general elections in Nigeria were greatly flawed. Some of the blame adduced to INEC’s shoddy preparation for the elections, some electoral officers’ willingness to participate in fraud and politicians’ lack of sportsmanship.”

In his remarks, the GOC, said the military were highly professional during the elections, even at the face of provocation by some overzealous politicians and their supporters.

He called for an attitudinal change on the part of the politicians, who should strive to see political office as a call for service and not a do-or-die affair.

Similarly, the Enugu State Police Commissioner, Balarabe attributed the peaceful elections in Enugu State to synergy among the various security agencies.

He said “based on the training we received prior to the elections, all the security operatives involved in the exercise knew their job and it was carried out with utmost professionalism devoid of bias. There was a complete synergy among all the security agencies in the State and that is why we had a violence-free exercise in Enugu State.”

Meanwhile, in one of the presentations at the Forum, entitled “Root Causes of Electoral Violence during the 2019 Elections”, Dr. Maurice Ogbonnaya, from the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPPS, said with the wild scale violence and manipulations, “young people are losing hope in the election system. They do not believe that the election represents the voice of the people.”

Ogbonnaya added that “elections ought not to cost the life of any Nigerian. Even if it is one person, it is a loss too many.”

Dr. Freedom Onuoha of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, toed same line, blaming the political tensions on the over-concentration of power and resources at the centre.

Onuoha, a lecturer at the Political Science Department, said power and resources should be decentralized, adding that “security chiefs would always do the bidding of the man at the helm of affairs in other to not just retain their positions but attain higher ranks.

On his part, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Anambra State, Nkwachukwu Orji, who also made presentations at the event identified major challenges during the elections to include “insufficient assessment of trouble spots; unavailability of deployment information; insufficient number of security agencies; poor response to situations, late of deployment of senior officers, among others.

A communique is being expected at the end of the 2-day Forum.

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CATHOLIC WORLD

Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes

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Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump - CAN fumes

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.

Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.

He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.

He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.

“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’

“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.

“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.

“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.

“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.

“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”

However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.

He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.

“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”

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NATIONAL NEWS

CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

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CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS), for the passage of the 2020 Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAMA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.

Bishop Onah, said in a remark during the Sunday Mass that if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill, it would not have been passed into law.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Aug. 7, signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a supervising minister.

“The question many Christians have been asking is, where were Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?

“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house, it would not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.

“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.

“When I say that Christians are too divided and too selfish, don’t forget that the second in command in this country is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a professor of Law and a pastor.”

Onah, however, wondered what the Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church, NAN reports.

“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings.

“Had it been that the government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question the government,” he said.

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NATIONAL NEWS

Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike

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Increasing Fuel and Electricity Prices

Anger and condemnations, across the country, have continued to trail last week’s take off, of new increases in pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, as directed by Federal Government.

Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) official, D.O. Abalaka announced on Wednesday September 3, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the new price of petroleum is now N151.56k per litre instead of N149 – N150 per litre which it was previously.

The new electricity tariff which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) tagged “Service Reflective Tariff” has also come into effect. It requires consumers to pay N53.87 – N66.422 per kwh of electricity.

Outraged consumers of fuel and electricity have therefore warned government to get ready for collision with the masses if it fails to rescind these new prices.

Those who have expressed outrage over the new prices regimes include, the Organized Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian main opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).

Others are: Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA).

The NLC said, “The frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted. We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home.”

On its part, the PDP has described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.

The All Industrial Global sees the incessant increase as a confirmation that deregulation means just price increase.

“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic, we should put money in the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives.” In its reaction, NECA said it has always urged Federal Government to adopt deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.

The MOMAN in its statement insists that monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. It urged PPRA to adopt quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility. The statements by IPMAN and NACCIMA also followed along the same line that the hike “…serves only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”

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