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Political Campaigns: INEC Warns Against Hate Speeches

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned against hate speeches by political aspirants, party faithful and other stakeholders during political campaigns.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Imo State, Prof. Francis Ezeonu gave the advice at a one-day town hall meeting/sensitisation visit by Imo REC and his team to Nwangele Local Government Area.
Ezeonu said that the importance of a clean, violence-free and hate speech-free electoral campaign could not be overemphasised. He said that although the time for campaigns and elections were still in view, there was the need to sensitise the Imo electorates on proper behaviour ahead of the election.
The Imo REC said that election should not be a do or die affair and emphasied the need for election winners to lay aside party affiliation and embrace all other contestants for progress and development. He assured of adequate training and retraining of INEC and other adhoc staff on proper conduct, handling of machines and other sensitive materials during and after elections. Ezeonu called on the people of Nwangele to go out enmass and register in the ongoing voter registration exercise, stressing that politics is a game of numbers.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Electoral Officer in Nwangele, Mr Daniel Lifu, had expressed gratitude to the REC for the visit and awareness creation exercise. He said that the number of registered voters had increased tremendously since the beginning of the year, especially with the introduction of mobile registration. According to him, a total of 3,850 persons had registered in the area since the CVR exercise.
The electoral officer, however, expressed regret that the collection of Permanent Voters Card (PVC) had remained low in spite of the fact that the list of uncollected PVCs were pasted at wards.
He said that so far, only 49 PVCs had been collected from earlier registration exercises, while 4,346 were still pending. Some stakeholders commended INEC on the sensitisation programme which they described as a step in the right direction and a show of concern and love.
They, however, blamed some staff of the commission for allegedly aiding rigging in elections and urged INEC to put its house in order. They also urged INEC to ensure proper training of its staff to avoid mistakes of the past. The Imo Deputy Speaker, Mr Ugonna Ozuruigbo, who hails from the area, expressed gratitude at the visit. He said that there had never been any successful rigging without the connivance of INEC officials. He thanked the REC for working towards turning a new leaf.
Mrs Ngozi Njoku, the Commissioner for Gender and Social Development, said that election should not be a war front as some politicians had made it.

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Senate Resumes Work On MTEF/FSP, Next Week

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The Senate Committee on Finance, yesterday, said it would begin legislative work on the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) on Wednesday, August 19.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC Lagos West), disclosed in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja, adding that invitations have been sent to ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the government with presentations to make on the document.
Adeola, in the statement signed by his media aide, Kayode Odunaro, said the MDAs were to appear before the Senate Joint Committee on Finance, and National Planning.
He noted that there was need to examine the rationale for pegging the price of crude oil at $40 per barrel and a projected crude oil production of 1.86 million barrels per day (mbpd), in the MTEF/FSP document.
He  said, ”We are kick-starting the process on Wednesday with Government-Owned Enterprises (GOEs) like NNPC, NCC, NPA, Customs Service, NIMASA, DPR and others, followed by the Ministry of Finance and its agencies, and subsequently, all revenue generating agencies”.
The lawmaker called on heads of MDAs to be prepared to defend their projections “as the Joint Committee intends to present the report to the Senate in plenary immediately on resumption from its ongoing vacation in tandem with the desire of the upper chamber to pass the 2021 budget in December.”
Adeola insisted that there was need for thorough scrutiny of the MTEF/FSP document in view of the fluid nature of the world economy following the disruptive impact of Covid-19 pandemic and the vagaries of the international market for crude oil and its attendant effects on the nation’s sources of revenue.
According to him, “There is a need for all stakeholders to come together to critically study the fundamentals of the ‘new normal’ forced on the global economy by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“With the instability witnessed in the price of crude oil at the international market and the sluggish world economy with some nations falling into recession, there is a need to assess our situation critically and be realistic about our revenues sources for budgets going forward”.

 

By: Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja

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Take Off Of National Senior Citizens’ Centre Underway, FG Assures

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The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, has said plans are on the way to build a centre for the old people.
Farouq, according to a statement by her Special Assistant on Strategic Communication, Halima Oyelade, said this at a meeting with the Coalition of Societies for the Rights of the Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN) in Abuja, yesterday.
“She assured members of the coalition that the ministry is working toward the successful take-off of the National Senior Citizen’s Centre,” the statement said.
It read further: “According to the Minister, a law establishing the centre is already in place. When operational this centre will among other things identify needs, opportunities, and training of senior citizens and provide recreational, sports, educational, health and social programmes and facilities designed for the full enjoyment and benefit of senior citizens.
“Responding, the President of the COSROPIN, Senator Eze Ajoku, thanked the Honourable Minister for the Covid-19 Palliatives, the group had received to cushion the effects of the pandemic.
“He then briefed the minister on activities of the coalition which include following up on the National Policy on Aging, pursuing non-contributory health insurance for older persons, enumeration of older citizens as well as the Older Persons Rights and Privilege Bill which according to him had passed second reading at the Senate.
“He asked for the minister’s support in the actualization of these initiatives.
“The Honourable Minister assured the coalition of the ministry’s support adding that older citizens are one of the key vulnerable groups that are of concern to the ministry.
“She further noted that most of them have been of service to the nation in their prime and still have a lot to offer due to their wealth of experience.
“The ministry will, therefore, ensure it gives due attention to issues concerning their well-being while ensuring it carries them along in the structuring and take-off of the National Senior Citizens Centre.”

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World Powers Deny Us Weapons To Fight Insurgency, FG Cries Out

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The Federal Government has appealed to the world powers not to be weighed by unsubstantiated arguments to deny the country vital platforms and weapons to fight insecurity.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the appeal, yesterday, when he featured on the News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja.
“I want to use this opportunity to say that the international community can help us better than they are doing right now.
“To fight terrorists we need platforms and weapons.
“When the international community is weighed by unsubstantiated arguments to deny the country of vital platforms and weapons to fight insecurity, you cannot turn round to accuse the country of not fighting terrorism,’ he said.
The minister buttresses the claim, saying “certain world powers have refused to even sell to us certain vital weapons.”
“For more than two to three years now, we have paid for certain vital weapons that they have not released to us and they even refused to give us spare parts.
“I think our appeal to them is that they should please help Nigeria to provide us with these sensitive platforms so that we can fight insecurity more effectively.”
The minister said for Nigerians to fairly assess the efforts of the Federal Government in the fight against insecurity, they should compare where the country was pre-2015 and today.

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