The Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has said the agency was ready for the conduct of by-elections in 28 constituencies across 11 states.
He said the agency will ensure a credible exercise, urging stakeholders to cooperate with its officials on electoral duty.
Yakubu spoke in Abuja during the swearing in of two Resident Electoral Commissioners.
They are Dr. Alalibo Sinikiem Johnson from Bayelsa State and Umar Mukhtar Gajiram from Borno State.
Johnson replaces the former REC of Cross River State while Gajiram replaces the former REC of Taraba State who died a few months ago.
Johnson holds a BSc. Degree in Political Science and a Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Peace and Conflict Studies. Until this appointment, he was a lecturer at the Niger Delta University in Bayelsa State.
Gajiram holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Language and a Master’s degree in Public Administration. He served in various capacities in the Borno State Civil Service until his retirement as director.
Yakubu congratulated the new commissioners, urging them to live to expectation.
He said as officers responsible for the implementation of the commission’s policies, they will exercise supervisory control over personnel, resources and the legal and administrative processes in their states.
He added: “You will also interact with various categories of stakeholders. In doing so, you must maintain the required openness and consultation.
“At the same time, you must be very firm in the discharge of your responsibilities.”
Yakubu said RECs can be deployed to any state as dictated by the exigencies of service, but clarified that they will never be posted to their states of origin throughout their tenure.
He said their deployment came three days to the conduct of re-run elections by court order.
Bayelsa Assembly Committee on Environment To Curb Unlawful Sand Dredging Activities.
With various complaints and pettitions by communities impacted by the activities of illegal sand dredging and mining in the Bayelsa State, the state House of Assembly has organised a public hearing on a bill to regulate the operations of sand dredging to ensure that the environment is not adversely impacted on.
The bill tagged ” Regulation of Sand Dealing and Dredging Operations Bill 2019″ according to the House Committee on Environment is aimed at gathering inputs from experts, technocrats and the public in order to formulate a people-friendly bill that will serve the best interest of Bayelsans.
The House Committee Chairman on Environment and member representing Nembe Constituency one, Hon. Ebi Ben Ololo noted that the public hearing became necessary on the need to remediate the environment and tackle the challenges posed by sand dredging operations in the state.
” The importance of this bill cannot be overemphasized because it can save lives. You are aware a number of times so many communities and their representatives have sent pettitions to this House, specifically the Chairman House Committee on Environment as per the environmental degradation that has taken place as regards the illegal sand dealing and dredging activities in various communities all around the state”, he said.
“With those number of complains and pettitions we thought it wise to put up a bill to take care of those issues. Most important thing is that we all know that public hearing is a mechanism by which parliamentary Committees obtain information, deal with the information obtained and also exchange views with experts and the public so as to fine-tune whatever bill there is for the public hearing to come up with a top class bill that will be people- friendly and also save lives of the people in Bayelsa”, he added.
” Lots of suggestions, contributions, opinions and interactions have been made as regards this very important bill, like we have assured the representatives of the various groups that we will go back in our committee, look at those very important areas where they have suggested and also fine tune the bill. So that in no distant time we will come up with a very formidable bill that will stand the test of time. That the people will benefit from”, Ololo reassured.
He lauded participants for their insightful contributions and opinions during the public hearing, promising that the Committee would do justice to come up with a bill that would meet the expectations of Bayelsans.
In her contribution, House Chief Whip and member representing Yenagoa Constituency 2, Hon. Ebiowu Koku Obiyai lamented the deliberate connivance between communities and the sand dealers, warning that if nothing is done to regulate the activities of sand dredgers Bayelsa communities will be eroded away.
The House Whip also expressed concerns on the activities of companies carrying out dredging business near bridges and sued a delibrate efforts by all in order to save the bridges from collapse.
By Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa.
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