The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, has insisted that the All Progressives Congress (APC) in connivance with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), forcefully seized power in Kogi and Bayelsa states during the just-concluded elections.
Secondus explained that the crime allegedly committed by APC, INEC and the police indicated that Nigeria’s democracy was threat.
The PDP national chairman stated this during a press conference in Abuja, yesterday while lamenting over the killing of some party followers during the just-concluded elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states.
He said: “We alert Nigerians and the international community that all is not well with our nation. A wave of terror is threatening our democracy; our constitutional order, national cohesion and safety of our citizens are now as at stake.
“As the world witnessed, the official conspiracies, bloodletting and mindless killing of innocent citizens by agents of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration in connivance with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to aid the forceful seizure of power in the November 16 Kogi and Bayelsa states’ governorship elections, clearly show that our democracy is under severe attack.
“In an apparent organized attack, government-controlled police and military, working for the APC, deployed dangerous assault weapons, including helicopters to coordinate the violent invasion of polling units with maximum force; shooting, killing and maiming unarmed civilians, who were called out by government to perform their civic responsibilities at the elections.
“The world watched with horror as killer security agents brutalized voters and carted away ballot boxes to government facilities were results were written in favour of the APC and handed to a heavily compromised INEC, which has become part of the crime, to announce.
“From the report reaching our party, no fewer than 30 innocent compatriots were killed and many more injured in this organized crime against humanity by the APC, the police and INEC.
“The only crime of the citizens was their expressed determination to vote for the candidates of their choice as governors of Kogi and Bayelsa states as clearly manifested in the results from the polling centres before the forceful seizure of the electoral processes.
“Most distressing is the gruesome incineration of one of our party’s woman leaders in Kogi State, Mrs. Acheju Abuh, in her home by APC thugs, a crime that was abetted by unscrupulous security agents.
“Our party holds that this electoral fraud and crime against humanity, including established culpable homicide committed by the APC, security agents and INEC cannot be allowed to pass.”
However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has clarified that it has nothing against former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan over the just concluded Bayelsa governorship election.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan disclosed this in an interview with newsmen after a meeting of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) in Abuja, last Wednesday.
There were reports in the media that Jonathan may be sanctioned by the party following the defeat of PDP by All Progressives Congress (APC), at the November 16, governorship election in Bayelsa.
Ologbondiyan said that the issue of Jonathan was not part of matters discussed at the NWC meeting.
“The issue of former President Goodluck Jonathan did not come up at the meeting and it was not discussed.
“You must know about the procedure and processes in our party. If we do not have a report or an issue before us, we cannot delve into.
“As we speak now, we do not have any matter concerning Jonathan before us in the party,” he said.
Ologbondiyan said that the only issue discussed at the meeting was the November 16 election in Kogi and Bayelsa.
“We have taken a decision to go to court long before but beyond that, we are going to take other measures.
“We have not done a post mortem of the election. We have only weighed the circumstances that surrounded the election.
“We have also looked at the global condemnation of the election. We have reviewed the role of INEC and the role played by security agencies. Formally, the party will come up with a position,” he said.
He, however, denied insinuation that the National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus was under pressure, saying the party was rather concern about the state of democracy in the country.
“We believe that as the main opposition party we have a responsibility to salvage democracy,” he said.
Ologbondiyan also said that there was no division within the NWC.
“All of us are here. Virtually everybody was here and we discussed freely,” he said.
Meanwhile, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party caucus in the House of Representatives has called for the cancellation of the November 16, 2019, gubernatorial elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states, saying the exercises fell below electoral standards.
The caucus accused the government of using the security agencies to intimidate the electorate and influenced the outcomes of the polls in the favour of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a statement by its leader, Rep. Kingsley Chinda, the caucus said that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s APC-led government has destroyed all known democratic tenets, norms and conventions in Nigeria.
The opposition caucus regretted that the government of the day had jettisoned significant changes introduced by the PDP government, accusing the Buhari of having plans to elongate his tenure beyond 2023.
The statement read thus: “Reports by the field agents of the PDP in both Kogi and Bayelsa, which were largely validated by the diplomatic and temperate views of both local and international observers, show the following:
“Card readers were largely ignored in area that President Buhari’s, All Progressives Congress (APC) thought it had comparative advantage while subjecting areas believed to be the strongholds of the PDP to the use of smart readers, which usually malfunctioned or were deliberately calibrated to frustrate voters not to vote.
“In addition, in areas where the APC thought it did not have much support, it unleashed violence on the people. Some instances burning of PDP women leader etc regrettably, these dastardly acts were done with the connivance or complicity of security agents. The inability of the security agencies to protect the sanctity of the electoral process even when there was an offseason election.
“We have no hesitation in aligning ourselves with the conclusion of the Nigerian Civil Society situation room that the elections fall below the standards expected for free, fair and credible elections.
“Kogi State election represents a major dent on Nigeria’s democratic process.
“We are therefore joining our voice to the clarion call across the land and even internationally, for the cancellation, in its entirety of the Kogi State elections conducted on November 16, 2019.
“The novel and indeed, criminal conduct of ‘community voting’ in Bayelsa State, a situation where political entrepreneurs with the active connivance of security agencies force people to vote for preferred candidates offends the fundamental human rights of people to choice as well as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which all security agents, President Muhammadu Buhari and INEC officials unclose swore to protect.
“This by any stretch of the imagination cannot be regarded, like an election. There is, therefore, no reason to allow the Bayelsa elections to stand. These elections make Nigeria a laughing stock!!”
“Unfortunately for Nigeria and Nigerians, the major beneficiary of the electoral reform, President Muhammadu Buhari used the greater part of his tenure to relentlessly work to undermine the credibility of the electoral process, reduce democratic space, destroy press freedom and as well destroy the little that is left of the integrity of the Judiciary.
“You will recall, Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, that President Muhammadu Buhari, has jettisoned the innovation of the smart card reader, which weeded out fake voters.
“After the Supreme Court ruled that card readers are alien to the electoral law, the 8th National Assembly sought to correct that by empowering the INEC to use the card reader but for four times President Buhari vetoed the Electoral Act on flimsy and inexcusable grounds.
“As a matter of fact even after the National Assembly conceded to all his suggestions, he still vetoed the bill.
“Little did we know that he had planned on returning himself to power willy-nilly. We have now found out that we were wrong to have assumed that the abuse of power and desecration of the electoral system and our values will end with the Presidential elections. Now there is no reason why we should not seriously consider the wild allegations that the APC is rehearsing strategies for tenure elongation.
“Those who thought that because he had won the second term, President Buhari would make a casual and perfunctory gesture for electoral reforms have been thoroughly disgraced and disappointed by the unprecedented violation of the right and dignity of the peoples of Kogi and Bayelsa states.
“The wanton destruction of properties of the people, as well as the denial of the right of the people to choose for themselves, reflects the degeneration. The reformed electoral system inherited by President Buhari has been completely eroded since he emerged as President.”
“Furthermore, we call on President Muhammadu Buhari to take actions that will stop the slide of the country into anarchy! The growing sense of insecurity and injustice will definitely give birth to the lawlessness that Nigeria can ill afford to joke with, especially as our unemployment figures keep soaring and the economic fortunes of the country keep dwindling.
“For a start, the President should forward an executive bill to the National Assembly, on electoral reforms, which must include the compulsory use of card readers in all polling units.
“Ladies and Gentlemen given the networked nature of the present global system, there is no doubt that the growing insecurity will have a spill-over effect outside Nigeria. The comity of nations needs to be concerned about Nigeria, for it also has the moral obligation and the responsibility to protect Nigerians from the flagrant abuses of human rights, including wanton killings of innocent people, often perpetrated by secretary agents.
“We are therefore calling on all nations that wish Nigeria well to join the USA and immediately consider, the imposition of Visa bans and travel restrictions on all individuals within the Independent National Electoral Commission, security agencies, and politicians of all political parties who are involved in any form of electoral offences and violence. This will prove to Nigerians that the world is standing with them, and deter future occurrences.
“We wish to condole the people who lost their family members in the last week’s show of shame and we call on Nigerian’s to stand fast on democracy and keep sacrificing for us to have a Nigeria that is free and prosperous.”
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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