The House of Representatives yesterday asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow eligible voters with Temporary Voter? Cards to vote during the general elections in February.
It said in a resolution it passed in Abuja that it was unlikely that INEC? would give every eligible voter the Permanent Voter Card before the elections.
Lawmakers held the position that allowing the use of the TVCs along with the PVCs was the only way not to deny many Nigerians their right to vote.
The decision, which received unanimous approval of members, was one of the key resolutions the House passed as lawmakers reconvened on Tuesday from their Christmas and New Year break.
In another resolution, the House ordered an investigation into the recent allegation by the Department of State Service that the All Progressives Congress planned to hack into the database of INEC.
The motions on the two issues were moved by the Minority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, and Deputy House Majority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor, respectively.
Defending the motion on TVCs, Gbajabiamila, an APC lawmaker from Lagos State, noted that if INEC insisted on using the PVCs, many eligible voters would be disenfranchised.
Members immediately endorsed the motion without allowing further debate and asked INEC to make provisions for the use of TVCs in its guidelines for the elections.
Part of Gbajabiamila’s motion reads, “?INEC has been and is still issuing permanent voter cards to eligible voters in replacement of the temporary voter cards issued to Nigerians about four years ago.
“Concerned that the general elections being just four weeks or 31 days from now, it is very unlikely that the commission will be able to distribute the PVCs to all registered and eligible voters before the elections.
“Disturbed that if the current position of the commission (that only voters with the PVCs are qualified to vote) is not addressed, many registered and eligible voters will be disenfranchised in the 2015 general elections to the detriment of the growth of democracy in Nigeria.
“The House resolves that the commission should include in its election guidelines for the 2015 general elections, a provision(s) allowing registered voters with the temporary voter card (TVCs) whose names are on record to vote during the 2015 general elections.”
Commenting on resolution of the House, the Speaker, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, observed that it was the responsibility of INEC to give all eligible voters a PVC.
However, he said if the same INEC was unable to do so, it should not punish the voter with a TVC by denying them voting rights.
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has lost 4,503 Permanent Voter Cards to hoodlums in five local government areas of Akwa Ibom State, Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Austin Okojie, has said.
Of the 4,503 PVCs snatched, Abak LGA lost 664; Ikono, 96; Mkpat Enin, 208; Oruk Anam, 2333; and Ukanafun, 1202 to hoodlums.
Okojie, who addressed traditional rulers during a state summit on peaceful conduct of 2015 elections in Uyo yesterday, revealed that 1,468,780 permanent voter cards were sent to the state.
“We had a security issue where a total of 4,503 of the permanent voter cards were snatched during the exercise in five local government areas of Akwa Ibom State,” he said.
Presenting status of the PVC distribution, he stated that 1,177,910, representing 80 per cent of PVCs have been distributed, leaving a balance of 284,915 to be claimed.
Okojie urged the traditional rulers in the state to ensure free, fair, peaceful and credible elections by using their positions to appeal to members of their communities to go for their cards between now and the next four weeks to enable them exercise their voting rights during the forthcoming elections.
The commissioner, however, said that with the introduction of card readers to authenticate real owners of each voting card, no snatched card will be useful during the elections as defaulters would be screened out of the exercise.
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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