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House Endorses Independent Candidacy

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House of Representatives on Tuesday endorsed independent candidacy for future political aspirants after a request by President Umaru Yar’Adua for constitution amendment had gone through the second reading.

The constitutional clauses submitted for amendment by Yar’Adua seek to broaden the political space by allowing aspirants to public office run without political affiliations and to make Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) independent of the executive in funding.

The proposed amendments as contained in the “Bill for an Act to alter the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and for matters connected thereto, 2009” are drawn from the Muhammed Uwais’ committee report on electoral reforms.

In a lead debate, House Leader, Tunde Akogun, said “the bill provides for independent candidates, thereby expanding the political space for persons seeking election as the president, governor, members of the national assembly and the state Houses of Assembly.”

Other highpoints of the bill, he stated, include the amendment of section 84 of the constitution on the remuneration of the president and certain other officers.

“This section is sought to be amended to make funding of the INEC a first line charge on the consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.”

The bill also canvasses amendment to a section that “seeks to exclude the decision of the administrative panel of inquiry as a condition for disqualifying a candidate for election to the office of the governor.”

Other amendments are “provision of the constitution dealing with the restriction on formation of political parties.”

“This amendment proposes an additional condition for an association to function as a political party so as to check the proliferation of non-functional political parties,” Akogun noted.

The bill also seeks “to amend the constitution by providing for an affirmative action for increased women participation in executive positions.”

Minority leader, muhammed Ali Ndume, in his contribution, said with reports from national political reform conference, Uwais’ committee report and the immediate past efforts to amend the constitution, the job of the national assembly was half done.

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Bello’s Gunmen After My Life, Family -Kogi Dep Gov

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Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Elder Simon Achuba yesterday alleged that the governor of the state has sent gunmen after his life.
Acbuba called on the inspector General of Police, the Department of State Services (DSS), the Army and other security personnel to safeguard his life, family members and his aides.
Achuba, who spoke with newsmen at his official residence in Lokoja said, “From all information at my disposal, the governor has mobilised gunmen to attack me.
“I want the police, SSS, IGP to know that if anything should happen to me, my family and aides, the governor should be held responsible.”
The deputy governor likewise called on the President to beam his searchlight on the state.

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LGAs Responsible For Farmers, Herdsmen Clashes In Nigeria -UN

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Zebulon Takwa, Peace and Development Adviser, Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, says poor Local Government administration is largely responsible for farmers-herdsmen clashes in Nigeria
Takwa, who gave the position in an interview with newsmen yesterday in Abuja, expressed concerns over “weak operational structures at the local government level’’.
He said that issues that were supposed to be addressed by local administration authority were left unattended to over a long period.
The UN official noted that most of the issues that escalated to crises ought to have been resolved at the local level by the authorities, traditional and religious leaders.
He decried the situation where structures for such prompt amicable settlement were not effective enough to prevent conflicts.
Takwa condemned the situation where most local government officials migrated to urban centres instead of concentrating on their primary responsibilities of settling crises, developing infrastructure and social amenities, among others.

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Reprisal Killing: Taraba Police, Tiv, Junkun Differ On Casualities

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The Police Command in Taraba State has said that only one individual was killed in what appeared to be a revenge for the alleged murder of a Junkun man yesterday.
While the Tiv claimed that no fewer than nine of their kinsmen were killed in Takum town, Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State on Tuesday, the Police said the figure was not true.
Takum is the hometown of Governor DariusIshaku who turned 65 today.
Multiple sources in Takum said trouble started yesterday morning when a Jukun man was killed on his farm along Takum-Wukari road, and irate Jukun youths in Takum went on the rampage, killing at least eight people in the town.
A resident of Takum, Mr. Nathaniel Jato, in a telephone interview with our Correspondent said the eight people killed in Takum town were all Tiv resident in the town.
“We counted at least eight dead bodies around General Hospital Junction and Zenith Bank around the Wukari roundabout.
“We were told that many people were killed around Rimi Primary school area, but there is tension, so we can’t go there.
“The Caretaker Chairman of Takum Local Government Council, ShibanTikari, has assured us that the situation will not escalate, but I am afraid the situation might degenerate if adequate security measures are not put in place,” he lamented.
Jato, who said there was threat that their houses would be attacked in the night, called on Governor Darius Ishaku and security authorities to quickly restore peace in the area to pave way for proper investigation of the matter.

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