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Voter Card Distribution Resumes in Imo … Hijackers won’t go unpunished -REC warns

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Hundreds of registered Imo voters who could not get the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) in November last year, now have a second chance to try again.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has resumed the distribution of the all-important card, without which no one can vote in the up-coming general elections.

PVC issuance was conducted shabbily in Imo State from November 7- 17, 2014 and ended before even half the number of deserving people could get it. It, therefore, left many would-be voters dejected, disillusioned, confused and potentially disenfranchised.

However, INEC’s announcement on Wednesday has restored some hope among potential voters and many are willing to queue up again at their wards to obtain the precious card.

Our correspondents who visited some wards across the state report that distribution has begun in places such as Umualumaku/Umuihi, Umuezeala and Ikpe Nsu wards in Ehime Mbano Local Government Area, as well as Mgbee/Government Station, Ogberuru and Eziachi/ Amaike wards in Orlu LGA.

In Owerri North, cards were being issued at Akwakuma, Amakohia, Ihitte Ogada and Awaka wards only, while people in other wards of the Local Government were asked to wait till Friday.  In Umuguma in Owerri West, people were asked to go to Local Government Headquarters to collect theirs . At the Owerri City School however, most people could not collect the PVC but were asked to come back in two weeks.

At Mbaukwu Ihitte, Nneise and Amagbo in Ezinihitte LGA, cards were distributed but INEC officials left the scene before mid-day. However the cards were shared at the CGC rather than ward level announced by INEC.

INEC’s Resident Electoral commissioner (REC) Dr Gabriel Ada who announced the restart of the PVC distribution, on Wednesday, at a media briefing disclosed that Imo had approximately 1.8 million registered voters and worried that less than 60 percent of the PVC in their Imo office had been distributed.

However, he promised that the rest of the voting cards would reach the state not later than January 24th and be distributed before the elections. He said INEC officials had been deployed to the various registration centres to commence work.

INEC’s boss said he had ordered that the PVC distribution be conducted at ward levels so that every eligible voter could get a chance to exercise their voting rights. He said any one who registered in 2011 could go to the ward with their temporary card and collect the permanent one.

The REC advised each registered voter to go in person to pick up the card as none would be collected by proxy. He explained that INEC would use Smart Card Readers at this year’s elections, which would nullify the possibility of using another person’s card. He explained that the PVCs were designed to help achieve a ‘free, fair, transparent and credible election’.

Dr Ada warned against any acts of violence or unruly behaviour at the collection centres and appealed to people to be orderly. He also appealed to the media to assist INEC in publicising and sensitizing people about the nitty –gritty of the general elections. He said INEC would hold a similar briefing with security personnel and politicians.

Dr Ada revealed that INEC officials had discovered an unauthorised register containing names of registered voters in Imo state who were yet to receive their PVC and warned those behind such compilation of names to desist.

“We have not given anyone permission to compile anybody’s names for PVC collection.  Anybody doing so is doing it illegally,’ INEC boss warned.

Fielding questions from reporters, Dr Ada said it was not INEC’s responsibility to determine which aspirant was academically qualified to stand election, but that of the parties.

 

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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