About 37 days to the beginning of the voters’ registration exercise in Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says there is no going back on the commencement of the exercise on January 15, 2011. The exercise will run for two weeks.
INEC chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega who stated this at a one-day stakeholders mobilisation forum on the 2011 registration of voters exercise and general elections in Port Harcourt, said the conduct of free, fair and creditable elections was sacrosanct.
Jega, represented by the INEC Supervisory National Commissioner for Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States, Mrs Thelma Isemiren, said each polling unit across the country would be allocated a Direct-Data Capture (DDC) Machine to facilitate the success of the exercise in record time.
The INEC boss said the DDC machine would capture the biometric data of each registrant and eliminate double registration. He was categorical that those who indulge in double registration would be disqualified from voting during the elections.
The INEC boss said that the voters’ register when compiled would be displayed in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, adding that people would also have the opportunity to verify their names on the commission’s website.
The commission’s chairman told the people that INEC would engage the services of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members to instill accountability and eradicate electoral malpractices during the election.
He promised Nigerians that the commission would collaborate with various security agencies in the country to create an enabling environment where the electorate could vote at polling units without molestation, adding that proper logistics arrangements were being put in place to ensure that voting commence on time.
Prof. Jega while reiterating the commission’s earlier promised on conducting free, fair and credible elections during next year’s general elections urged political parties to abide by the provisions of their various constitutions.
Earlier, in a welcome address, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Hon. Aniedi Ikoiwak stated that the purpose of the forum was to acquaint the people of the state of the preparedness of INEC on the 2011 voters’ registration exercise and elections as well as interact with the people with a view to conducting the exercises successfully in the state.
Hon. Ikoiwak said that the commission had held several meetings in the state towards creating confidence in the minds of the people on the commission’s determination to show transparency in its activities both in the state and the country at large.
11m Benefitted From $415m World Bank Supported CSDP – FG
The Federal Government has disclosed that 11 million Nigerians benefited from $415 million World Bank-supported Community and Social Development Project (CSDP) programme.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajiya Umar Farouq, disclosed this in an opening address during the close out ceremony of the CSDP programme.
According to Farouq, 11 million direct beneficiaries with an estimated 25 million indirect beneficiaries across 29 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were reached between 2009 and 2021 when the CSDP programme was being implemented.
She also described the project as highly successful and highlighted sectors the project focused on including health, education, transportation, electrification, community housing, and others.
She said: “The Project became effective in 2009, has had two additional financing, all totaling USD415 million. In its over 11 years of existence, the CSDP has evolved into one of the strong pillars for the implementation of the Social Protection Programmes of the Federal Government under the supervision of my Ministry through the National Social Safety Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO).
“The CSDP operates with the core principle of Community Driven Development (CDD) Approach. This is a development paradigm that focuses on the needs of the poor and vulnerable and empowering them with development resources to address their peculiar needs.
“Using this unique approach, the CSDP has implemented micro projects in poor communities across the 543 Local Government Areas of 29 States and the Federal Capital Territory.
“This represents about 70 per cent of the total number of Local Governments in Nigeria. The poor communities are identified specifically through the use of Poverty Maps agreed to by each participating State and FCT.
“The Project has made substantial impact on improving access of the poor and vulnerable to social and natural resources infrastructure across the benefiting communities. The total number of beneficiaries of CSDP stands at 11 million direct beneficiaries across the 29 states, with estimated 25 million indirect beneficiaries.
“Specifically, the CSDP has achieved the following: Successful completion of 16,166 micro-projects in 5,664 communities and 934 vulnerable groups. These micro-projects cut across eight sectors of intervention namely education, health, water, transportation, electrification, socio-economic, environment and community housing; 5,764 classrooms, 1,323 health centres and 4,442 water micro projects were constructed and or rehabilitated.
Cooking Gas Use Campaign Begins In 12 States
The Federal Government in collaboration with the Nigerian Energy Support Programme has kicked off the national sensitisation and awareness campaign for the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas in Nigeria beginning with 12 pilot states.
The states include Sokoto, Katsina, Bauchi, Gombe, Enugu, Ebonyi, Delta, Bayelsa, Lagos, Ogun, Niger and the Federal Capital Territory.
The government said the campaign to ensure increased usage of LPG, popularly called cooking gas, was in line with its ‘Decade of Gas’ initiative, adding that its socioeconomic and health benefits far outweighed the use of kerosene and firewood.
Speaking at the inaugural campaign in Abuja, Tuesday the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said there was no excuse for Nigeria not to be able to develop its gas sector considering the huge gas reserves in-country.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Programme Manager, National LPG Expansion Plan, Office of the Vice President, Dayo Adeshina, said the use of LPG would help in cutting down gas flaring in Nigeria.
He said the government was working to ensure that Nigeria achieved the five million metric tons LPG consumption target, adding that efforts were being made to ensure the provision of cylinders at affordable rates to Nigerians.
“Our gas reserves in this country are enormous and we have every reason to develop the gas sector and ensure that our citizens use LPG,” the Vice President said.
He added, “The use of LPG is good for our health and has better socioeconomic benefits and this is in line with the ‘Decade of Gas’ initiative of government.”
Recently, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said over 120 million Nigerians were experiencing energy poverty despite the huge natural gas resources across the country.
Participants at the awareness campaign also called for adequate penetration of LPG usage in Nigeria, as they pledged to support the government in achieving this target.
Rail Transport Suffers 38% Decline In Q1 2021 – NBS
Rail transportation suffered a 38 per cent, year-on-year average decline in passenger and cargo travel in the first quarter of the year 2021 (Q1’21).
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) disclosed this yesterday in its Rail Transport Data for Q1’21, which showed that passenger travel fell by 34.4 per cent, year-on-year, to 424,460 passengers in Q1’21 from 647,055 passengers recorded in Q1’2020.
Similarly, cargo travel fell by 43.13 per cent, year-on-year, to 10,511 tons in Q1’21 from 18,484 recorded in Q1 2020.
The NBS stated: The rail transportation data for Q1 2021 reflected that a total of 424,460 passengers travelled via the rail system in Q1 2021 as against 647,055 passenger recorded in Q1 2020 and 134,817 in Q4 2020 representing -34.40 per cent decline year-on-year and +214.84 per cent growth QoQ respectively.
“Similarly, a total of 10,511 tons of volume of goods/cargo travelled via the rail system in Q1 2021 as against 18,484 recorded in Q1 2020 and 35,736 in Q4 2020 representing -43.13 per cent decline year-on-year and -70.59 per cent decline QoQ respectively.
Revenue generated from passengers in Q1 2021 was put at N892,467,526 as against N398,999,290 in Q4 2020.
Similarly,revenue generated from goods/cargo in Q1 2021 was put at N26.19 million as against N82.57 million in Q4 2020.
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