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INEC To Extend Deadline For Voters Registration

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Barring any changes, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may anytime from now announced an extension in the on going registration of voters.

Chairman of the commission, Prof Attahiru Jega who made the disclosure when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Electoral Matters said the possibility of extending the time frame for the ongoing voters registration exercise would be announced next week.

“If it is absolutely necessary for us to extend the time, we will not hesitate to do so. But we have to do an assessment on whether such extension should be nationwide, or only in the areas where the exercise is starting late.”

He noted the progress so far made on the hitches-ridden exercise, and efforts to address the challenges, however, agreeing that as much as 2,273 polling units were yet to get the Direct Data Capture (DDC) machines as at yesterday.

According to him, there have been significant improvement in the speed of per capita registration in the last few days, as according to him, adjustments had been made to the fingerprints scanners, which he said were initially set at a high sensitive aperture, specifically meant for forensic analysis in criminal investigation, and was slowing the process down due to multiple rejections, but that such was not necessary for voters registration.

“Over eighty per cent of the machines in the field have already been reached and they are being re-configured and that is why in the last two days many are saying there is a remarkable improvement in the registration,” Jega stated.

He disclosed that out of the 132,000 DDCs ordered by the commission through three firms; Messrs Zinox Technologies Ltd, Haier Electrical Appliances Corp Ltd (a Chinese company) and Avante International Technology (an American firm), only 115,000 were delivered as last Monday, but quickly pointed out that the only defaulting firm (Avante) was expected to deliver 5,000 units last night, and the balance of 11,000 units today.

Zinox was contracted to supply 80,000 units of the DDCs, while Haier was offered to supply 30,000 units, and Avante 22,000. Jega explained that some polling units could not get the DDCs because while Messrs Zinox Technologies Ltd and Haier Electrical Appliances Corp. Ltd, delivered on promise, Avante delivered only 5,500 units as at last Saturday when the exercise commenced.

While enumerating the various hitches faced by the exercise, Jega admitted that the ad-hoc staff did not get the requisite training as there were no enough funds to provide the comprehensive training required for the exercise.

“We wish we had more money for more days of training including hands on the machines. I know when I say more money every Nigerian now laugh because people say that we have already being given too much money, but frankly we could have done with more time of training because the more people are trained, then the better,” he said.

He insisted that any would be voter who has obtained a voter’s card without fingerprints being captured risked disenfranchisement, and advising that such persons to bear the inconveniencies of repeating the process, he warned all offenders by way of multiple registration and all other related offences would be prosecuted.

“One of the major challenges we have on the field is that our officers when confronted with long queues took decisions to register without finger prints and that is wrong. We have devised guidelines now and have informed all our officials on the field, whoever has been registered has to go back and re-register again and all the ten fingers must be registered.

“It’s unfortunate that they have done this and are causing additional inconveniences to the people but what is worth doing is worth doing well. The reason for capturing ten fingers is to make it near impossible for double registration, only the possibility of one duplication in five million voters. So we have to go back to that otherwise the moment we register people without fingerprint, it creates additional problem of checking double registration.

“People have also discovered that there is no way they can do multiple registration on one machine, they now go to another polling unit to register but we have mechanism in place to check double registration at the state level. We do it local government by local government across the state. Whoever does double registration will be caught, we will remove it and we will have evidence to prosecute them subsequently because even if you do registration with different names it will still be your photograph.

“We are using this opportunity to also warn Nigerians because we have information from some states that some politicians are using vehicles to move people from place to place to do double registration. The security agencies are already helping us to apprehend these people and we will prosecute them because clearly, it is electoral offence that they have committed,” Jega said.

Earlier in his remarks, Chairman of the House Committee on Electoral Matters, Hon. Musa Sarki explained that the invitation of Jega was necessitated by the several concerns expressed by Nigerians on the technical hitches experienced from the takeoff point of the exercise.

Adar said Nigerians were greatly disappointed owing to the huge expectation on INEC, saying that the committee wanted to know the possibility of registering all eligible Nigerians within the two weeks stipulated by the commission.

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GoG: Nigerian, Ghanaian Navies Meet On Joint Operations

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Against the backdrop of renewed piracy and hostage-taking incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo and his Ghanaian counterpart, Rear Admiral Issah Adam Yakubu, have commenced a security engagement aimed at joint security initiatives to tackle the situation.
Speaking during the meeting held at Naval headquarters, Abuja, Vice Admiral Gambo said, “The Gulf of Guinea is currently bedevilled by the activities of criminal elements who take advantage of limited capability of the navies in the region to adequately secure the area.
“The threat posed by the activities of these criminal elements constitute a major challenge not only to the littoral states but equally undermines regional development and global trade.
“Notably, the trans-boundary and trans-national nature of maritime crime makes the security of the maritime domain a task beyond the capacity of any country acting alone.
“It is against this backdrop that this bilateral engagement was convened at the instance of the Heads of Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Ghana towards addressing the maritime security challenges within the region”.
Vice Admiral Gambo expressed belief that “the engagement would foster greater collaboration and burden sharing that is hinged on cooperative maritime security framework as envisioned in the 2013 Yaoundé Protocol to arrive at strategies that would help address the maritime insecurity for enhanced economic prosperity in the region”.
Declaring the technical session open, the CNS said, “In deliberations, please consider amongst others: maritime area of interest covering Zone E and integration of the capabilities of the countries in Zone E, emplacing a robust intelligence sharing mechanism and collaboration with international partners”.
On relations between both countries, Gambo said, “This good relation is equally manifest in the several interactions between the Nigerian Navy and Ghana Navy. I must not fail to mention the remarkable contributions of the Ghana Navy-CNS to manpower development during his tour of duty at the prestigious AFCSC, Jaji as a member of the Directing Staff. I have no doubt that this engagement would further strengthen the existing cordial bilateral relations between Nigeria and Ghana navies.
In his address, Chief of Naval Staff of Ghana, Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu, noted that he and his delegation were in Nigeria at the behest of President Nana Akufo Ado to engage the Nigerian Navy and come out with collective strategies to tackle insecurity which is in the ascendancy in recent times in the Gulf of Guinea.
“We hope our navies will buy into this engagement to improve security in the Gulf of Guinea. We know our big brother Nigeria has bigger capacity to chart the way forward”.
He disclosed that, “Since year 2020, the situation has bot been good in the Gulf of Guinea”, noting that “Last May, two Ghanian vessels were attacked and 10 persons were abducted with investigations still ongoing”.
Consequently, the Ghanian Navy Chief said, “We are proposing an ECOWAS naval task force and joint maritime security architecture to checkmate these threats, adding that this was done in the past successfully during ECOMOG operations without problems with inter-operability and doctrinal issues.
Furthermore, he proposed the setting up of a ‘transit corridors’ where ships from fellow West African countries can go to anchor for assistance and joint naval assets will conduct regular patrols especially for protection of commercial fishing vessels.

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Wike Orders Destruction Of Criminal Hideouts In Rivers

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has ordered the destruction of all criminal hideouts in Ahoada, Elele, Eleme and Onne to prevent attempt to undermine security of the state.
The governor said criminals were already coming to terms with the reality that Rivers State was too hot for them to invade at will and detonate their foolish attacks on targeted security posts and personnel.
Wike, who made this assertion in a state broadcast, last Friday, disclosed that the state government has identified the hideouts, safe houses and secret places that provide both cover and comfort for the hoodlums to plan, execute and return to after operations.
“This was the reason we ordered the destruction of all the shanties and makeshift structures located along Elele to Ahoada expanse of the East–West Road to deny the criminals the opportunity to continue to undermine our security from these hideouts.
“We have equally decided to destroy all the shanties, illegal shops and mechanic sheds along the Eleme to Onne stretch of the East-West Road having discovered these places also as hideouts and operational bases for criminals and criminal activities in the state.
“Consequently, I hereby direct owners of such shanties and illegal structures along the Eleme – Onne axis of the East-West Road to vacate the area within two weeks from June 11, 2021, as the state government will go ahead to destroy these structures without any further notice.”
Wike said the government was not unmindful of the economic effect these measures would have or may have had on residents carrying out businesses in the affected areas.
He, however, stressed that government was merely discharging its constitutional responsibility to advance the collective security of all with no ethnic targets in mind or attachment to political sentiments.
He explained that the existing curfew in Rivers State will not last one day beyond necessary, and pleaded with all residents to endure the temporary inconveniences in the interest of the state and collective wellbeing of all.
“We will continue to take the war on criminality and insecurity to the den of the criminals and we will neither yield nor lower the tempo of our assault until they are comprehensively neutralized. As a matter of fact, they want us to prematurely terminate the state wide night time curfew in order for them to have the leeway to operate again and roll back the gains of the last few weeks.”
Wike said he has received reports about the excesses of the State Task Force on Illegal Trading and Parks, especially the alleged shooting of motorists, extortions and abuse of the human rights of citizens.
He assured that government would not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law on any member of the task force who crosses the boundaries of the law and rational behaviour.
The governor, who appealed to motorists and residents to be responsible road users by complying with the clear regulations against illegal trading, indiscriminate parking and irresponsible driving, noted that the situation where some motorists would have the effrontery to compete for traffic space with or even attempt to block his official vehicular convoy leaves much to be desired.
He has meanwhile, directed the management of the Rivers State Waste Management Authority to clear the state of filthiness within one week or be disbanded without any further notice.

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Army Begins Shooting Exercises In Rivers

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The Nigerian Army, 6 Division, has announced that it would commence its annual range classification exercise from yesterday to Sunday, June 27.
The division’s spokesman, Lt.-Col. Charles Ekeocha, said in a statement in Port Harcourt, that the exercise aimed at ascertaining the professional competence of troops on the use of firearms.
He said troops from the division and its affiliated formations and units would conduct the exercise at the Army Shooting Range in Igwuruta and Elele Barracks, both in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
“The shooting exercise is a routine activity in the Nigerian Army which involves the firing of various calibre live ammunitions.
“Members of the public, especially residents of Igwuruta and Elele, as well as its environs, are advised to keep away from the general shooting area,” he stated.
The Army spokesman also advised the public not to panic over the movement of troops, military hardware and sound of gunshots.

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