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INEC Seeks Monarchs’ Support For Peaceful, Credible Poll In Bayelsa

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has sought the partnership of Bayelsa’s State’s traditional rulers in the efforts to conduct peaceful and credible governorship election in the state on November 16.
The Resident Electoral Commission (REC) in the state, Mr Monday Udoh, who made the request at a meeting with the royal fathers in Yenagoa, stressed that INEC, was poised to conduct free and fair election.
He said the one-day meeting, tagged: “Alternative Disputes Resolution (ADR): Pre-Election Round-Table on Conflict Resolution’’ was to enlighten the royal fathers on the need to tackle disorder before, during and after election.
The REC described traditional rulers as “Peace Ambassadors’’ and urged them to support INEC’s initiative on Election Alternative Disputes Resolution (EADR), adding that the  managing conflicts informally would forestall breakdown of law and order during and after election.
Director, ADR, INEC Headquarters, Abuja Mr Clement Oha, said the meeting was part of efforts to check pre-election and post-election cases.
“This is to solicit royal blessing, support and advice, on the sustenance of peace before, during and after the election.
“We urge the traditional rulers to apply their wealth of experience in their areas and support INEC in tackling election disputes,’’ Oha advised.
Chief Alfred Diete-Spiff, Chairman, Traditional Rulers Council in the state said the meeting was a welcome development and pledged to ensure hitch-free election in Bayelsa on Nov. 16.
“Yes, the success of an election depends on people, especially the traditional rulers but, first, we must call the politicians to order because they are the major cause of conflict.
“The politicians should stay away from disorder; we know they can agree and disagree, but INEC has to advise them more.
“The police and other security agencies need to step up their games in managing conflicts, especially during elections.
“We must know that election is not war and we must avoid using the army.
“We, the traditional rulers, will do our best and we are going to mobilise our members including the first class Chiefs across the eight local government areas of Bayelsa,” Diete-Spiff said.

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Niger Delta

FOI Act: CSOs Want Nigerians To Ask Govt Questions

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Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), including journalists and lawyers, in Edo State have urged citizens in the country to rise up to the challenge of asking government at all levels questions on how state resources are deployed using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Rising from a two-day Civil Society Capacity Building Routable On the Provisions and Use of the Freedom of information Act 2011, the non-state actors identified the FOI Act as a citizen-driven-law that requires Nigerians to take advantage in holding their leaders accountable.
The Roundtable which held recently in Benin, the Edo State capital, was facilitated by the Freedom of Information Coalition, Nigeria (FOICON) and Media Initiative Against Injustice, Violence and Corruption (MIIVOC) with support from the British Council managed European Union Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (ROLAC) programme.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, the participants affirmed the capacity of the FOI Act to entrench an open society and reduce corruption in Nigeria if vigorously implemented and urged stakeholders to embark on extensive grassroots sensitization on their rights under the Act and the benefits accruable there from to the country.
“Stakeholder called on citizens to take advantage of the FOI Act to demand for reports of audits carried out, result of tests or analysis, including actions taken as a result of findings from any investigations, amongst others, in order to establish patterns of behaviors breaches, of rules or cases of inducement, “ the communiqué stated.
The communiqué also acknowledged and commended the efforts of the Edo State government “towards having a state version of the law, as long as it does not conflict with the provisions of the federal version of the law,” while noting that “the applicability of the FOI Act in all states of the Federation is not negotiable.

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Niger Delta

God Has Been Kind To My Family, Banigo Insists

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The Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo says she would continue to offer sacrifice of thanksgiving and pay her vows unto the Almighty God because the Lord has been good to her family.
Banigo stated this during a special thanksgiving service for God’s Mercies and Tombstone Dedication organized by the family of late Dr. Owen Gogo Banigo at St. Stephen’s Cathedral Bonny, last Saturday.
The deputy governor, who expressed regret that her late husband, Dr. Owen Gogo Banigo, could not have his funeral service at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in 2009, said the Almighty God has been faithful over the years.
“I want to sincerely thank our father in the Lord, the Diocesan for permitting us to have this service. I recall that we were not able to have his funeral service in this church in 2009, which was very heartbreaking for the family”.
The deputy governor, who expressed gratitude to the State Chief Executive, Chief Nyesom Wike for his unquantifiable support to the programme, stressed that the governor also released key members of his team to grace the occasion.
In his sermon drawn from Exodus 14: 15-31, the Dean of the cathedral, the Very Rev Richard Ibitoru Hart said, “God demands total and sincere service from us as Christians”, stressing that “when we offer our selves first, whatever follows next will be pleasing to God”.
According to him, “we have a reason to praise the Lord at all times because of His benefits to us”, stressing that moving forward with God brings testimonies.
It would be recalled that the late Dr. Owen Gogo Banigo was the first indigenous urological surgeon in the state, who initiated and nurtured the Urology Unit of the Department of Surgery in the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital.
He died on February 13, 2009.

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Niger Delta

25 Ex-Agitators Get Presidential Amnesty, Commodity Starter Packs

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Not fewer than 25 ex -militants have been provided with commodity starter packs by the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
The exercise which was done last weekend at the Port Harcourt liason office witnessed the presence of heads of all the camps including Rivers, Delta, Akwa-Ibom and Bayelsa States.
Speaking through the Manager of the Port Harcourt Liason Office, Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty, Prof. Dokubo said the exercise was to empower beneficiaries, and set them in small scale businesses.
The commodity starter pack he explained, was for ex agitators who want to do business hence the Presidential Amnesty office had decided to equip them to achieve their vision.
He assured the beneficiaries that more support would come once the office sees they are utilizing the opportunity to maximise their output.
Prof Dokubo urged them not to waste the opportunity but to use it to better their lives.
In the same vein, Joshua Opiah who addressed the beneficiaries appreciated the amnesty programme recalling that the programme has been delayed, yet it is fulfilled.
Opiah urged the presidency to do more as to engage ex militants in meaningful activities and to fulfill their part of the bargain.
Vendor to the programme, representing CC Vision and Dad Mas, Aniefok Akpan said the items given covers shop rent, tax, and other incentives to ensure they manage their shops without hazzles,at least for one year.

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