The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Rivers State has said that it will kick-off its 2015 election activities with the distribution of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) in the 4,442 polling units in the state from November 7 to 9, 2014
A statement by the Head, Protocol and Publicity of the commission, Anthonia Nwobi said from November 13-17, 2014, INEC will carry out Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise in the 319 registration wards in the state, and 205 polling units that recorded below 50 voters in the last registration.
She said INEC Permanent Voter Cards will commence on November 7, 2014 in the 4,442 polling units in the state and urged registered voters to visit the polling units where they previously registered with their temporary voters cards in order to ascertain their registration status and collect their permanent voters cards.
INEC called on persons whose data were appropriately captured during the 2011 registration exercise to handover their TVCs at the polling units in accordance with set procedures.
Those with defective data for which their’s have not been produced will be opportuned to re-register during the continuous voters registration that holds immediately after the distribution of PVCs from November 13-17, 2014.
According to the statement, uncollected PVCs at the polling units will be taken to the INEC Local Government Area offices for subsequent distribution, adding that local government distribution would be stopped at a date to be announced by the commission.
The CVR exercise is for persons who turned 18 years after the registration exercise in 2011, persons who did not present themselves for registration during the last registration exercise in 2011 and persons with temporary voters cards who did not see their names on the voters register displayed at the polling units during the distribution of PVCs period of November 7-9, 2014, the statement added.
It however advised voters to register only once as double registration is an offence punishable by law. INEC said voters wishing to transfer their registration data from where they previously registered should seek the advice of electoral officers in their area, while those that have lost their temporary voters cards should go with approved identity cards such as Drivers License, International Passport or National Identity card as proof of identity and still appear in person if they do not have any of those identification documents.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, yesterday spoke about his fears for next year’s general election in the country.
The INEC chief said he was bothered by heightening insecurity and the unruly attitude of politicians which constitute major challenges to peaceful elections next year.
Jega, who said the security problem was more evident in the three troubled North eastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, stated that his greatest fear for the 2015 elections was making politicians to play by the rules.
“The attitude of the political class is the greatest challenge. They want to intimidate, harass and induce.
“Security is also a challenge. ýEspecially in the three states in Northeast. We cannot put our men and resources at risk. But we are holding inter-agencies security meetings frequently,” Jega said.
The INEC chairman spoke in Abuja yesterday at a national stakeholders’ forum on elections organized by the Civil Society Situation Room on Achieving the Implementation of Credible 2015 general elections.
He said investigation conducted by the commission showed that youth corps members who were compromised were threatened by politicians to either collect gratification or be killed.
Jega urged politicians to play by the rules of the game during the 2015 elections.
He said the commission has identified and blocked many of the loopholes exploited in the past by politicians to rig elections.
“I am confident that 2015 will be better operationally and logistically,” Jega said.
He added that a better voter register has been produced and that all ballot boxes were being numbered serially. This, he said was not so when he was appointed in 2010.
He spoke of other efforts being made by INEC under his leadership.
The Bishop of Sokoto Diocese of ýCatholic Church, Rev. Father Mathew Hassan Kukah, cautioned President Goodluck Jonathan and governors of the 36 states against imposing candidates on the people.
He said such practice would heat up the polity and frustrate elections’ results.
90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says about 90 per cent of money laundering is done through the real estate sector.
The commission’s Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated this while featuring on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, yesterday,
According to him, although the sector is monitored via the special control unit, more needed to be done.
According to Bawa, “One of the problems we have now is the real estate. 90 to 100 per cent of the resources are being laundered through the real estate.”
He said there are so many issues involved, but that they were working with the National Assembly to stop what he called “the gate keepers” as there would be reduction in looting if there is no one to launder the money.
Bawa, the EFCC boss, gave an example of a minister who expressed interest in a $37.5million property a bank manager put up for sale.
He said, “The bank sent a vehicle to her house and in the first instance $20million was evacuated from her house.
“They paid a developer and a lawyer set up a special purpose vehicle, where the title documents were transferred into.
“And he (the lawyer) is posing as the owner of the property. You see the problem. This is just one of many; it is happening daily.”
The EFCC chairman also revealed that he receives death threats often.
Asked to respond to President Muhammadu Buhari’s frequent “Corruption is fighting back” expression, Bawa said he was in New York, USA, last week, when someone called to threaten him.
“Last week, I was in New York when a senior citizen received a phone call from somebody that is not even under investigation.
“The young man said, ‘I am going to kill him (Bawa), I am going to kill him’.
“I get death threats. So, it is real. Corruption can fight back,” he said.
On corruption in the civil service, he said there were a lot of gaps, especially in contracts processing, naming “emergency contracts” as one.
Bawa said, “A particular agency is notorious for that. They have turned all their contracts to emergency contracts.”
However, he said, EFCC has strategies in place to check corruptions, one of which is “corruption risk assessments of MDAs”.
According to him, “I have written to the minister and would soon commence the process of corruption risk assessments of all the parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to look at their vulnerability to fraud and advise them accordingly.”
Asked if the scope of corruption in the country overwhelms him, Bawa, the EFCC boss said, “Yes, and no.”
We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says his administration has spent N9billion in upgrading structures and installation of new equipment at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
He said the fact that 40 per cent of the 2021 budget of the state is dedicated to provision of quality healthcare delivery was a further demonstration of the priority placed on the sector.
Wike made the explanation at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at RSUTH, last Friday.
The governor said he made promise to Rivers people that the best would be provided to them in all sectors of the society within his capability because of the mandate they gave to him.
“As we came on here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9billion in this teaching hospital.
“If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the Rivers State Government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget.”
Speaking further, Wike said the state government cannot afford to implement free medical service programme in the present economic circumstance.
While dismissing the request for a subvention for RSUTH, Wike, however, commended the chief medical director and his team for their commitment to turnaround the fortunes of RSUTH.
“I have never seen anywhere that health services can be totally free. They’re telling me that people who come here can’t pay. I have never declared that this state is going to take over the health fees of anybody.”
Also speaking, the former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who performed the flag-off, noted that Wike’s achievements in the health sector in particular, surpass what former governors of the state had done.
Sekibo said that the governor has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that was positioning the state as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, lauded Governor Nyesom Wike for his interest in the health of Rivers people.
He noted that the renal centre, when completed, would become another landmark development project in the health sector that would handle and manage all kidney-related ailments.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron, commended Wike for approving the renal centre.
Aaron explained that chronic kidney disease was a major burden globally with estimated 14 million cases in Nigeria.
According to him, over 240,000 of these cases require renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.
The CMD said the building that would house the centre was expected to be completed in six months and consists of two floors.
The ground floor, according to him, would house the haemodialysis unit with eight haemodialysis machines.
He further explained that the first floor of the centre would house the surgical component where most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant would be installed.
Aaron said Wike has released the funds required to build, equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.
Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW
Power supply in Nigeria has failed to improve on last week’s performance, as it fell by 22.9 per cent from peak generation of 4,115Megawatts on Saturday to 3,172.20MW as at 5pm, yesterday, latest data from the System Operator has shown.
According to the data, most power plants were operating far below capacity due to gas shortage with Olorunsogo Power Plant 335MW capacity; and Sapele Power Plant, 450MW capacity; completely out.
Egbin was generating at 746MW; Omoku 37.20; Omotosho (NIPP) at 105MW; while Afam was generating at 80MW.
The data showed that on the average power generation in the past seven days were 4,120.9MW on Sunday, June 6; 4,249.4 on Monday, June 7; 4,000.9MW on Tuesday, June 8; 3,720.7 on Wednesday, June 9; 3,517 on Thursday, June 10; 3,765MW on Friday, June 11; and 4,115MW on Saturday, June 12.
The International Oil Companies (IOCs), had last warned that despite Nigeria’s huge gas reserves a lot needs to be done to attract investment to the sector to develop gas reserves to boost power generation in the country.
Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria/MD SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said with 203trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves, what was needed in the country is to deliver projects that would produce the gas.
“The challenge is not just growing the reserves but in producing these reserves for the benefits of our country. Essentially growing the reserves and delivering on the production is a function of two or three elements.
“I like to see infrastructure that is required for the development of these resources at two levels. Soft infrastructure is often the one that is more important than and that is the one that is actually drives most of what you see at site.”
“Soft infrastructure refers to the enabling environment and nothing pleases me as much seeing both the Senate President and the speaker of the house give very firm commitments about trying to pass the PIB this month.
“That is probably the big one of the enabling environment to provide the kind of stability we also need all sorts of other issues we need to that we have discussed severally in terms of sanctity of contract, stable policies and collaboration and I think we are well on our way there”, he added.
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