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Corruption Probes: SERAP Drags Lawan, Gbajabiamila To Court

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has taken a legal action against Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila.
SERAP is accusing them of failing to publish reports of all completed public hearings and corruption probes by the National Assembly since 1999.
The legislature recently held investigative hearings on Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) including the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).
In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1065/2020 filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP is seeking an order of mandamus to compel Lawal and Gbajabiamila to release the findings.
SERAP is also seeking an order for the disclosure of the number and names of individuals, companies and MDAs indicted since 1999.
The rights group wants an order to stop lawmakers from directly getting involved in the execution of projects by MDAs, and to ensure the proper and effective exercise of their oversight functions.
The suit followed SERAP’s Freedom of Information (FoI) requests dated July 25, 2020.
SERAP’s lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi, said there was no legally justifiable reason why the information should not be made available to Nigerians, and why the prosecution of indicted suspects should not be pursued where there is admissible evidence.
“Public officers are mere custodians of public records. There is legitimate public interest in the publication of the reports of these public hearings and probes. The public hearings and probes can only serve as effective mechanisms to prevent and combat corruption if their reports are widely published”, the suit noted.

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INEC Plans Migration To E-Voting, Meets Machine Producers

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Monday, commenced the processes that would lead to the replacement of manual voting with an electronic voting system.

Already, the commission has invited manufacturers of electronic voting machines around the world to practically demonstrate how the machines work, preparatory to the full migration.

The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this during the demonstration of electronic voting machines.

He said, “Over the years, the commission has been automating the critical pillars of the process. The biometric register of voters has been updated continuously. At the moment, the INEC register of voters is the largest database of citizens in Nigeria.

“In addition, the combination of biometric voter cards commonly known as the Permanent Voter Card and the Smart Card Reader have revolutionised the accreditation of voters during elections.

“More recently, the introduction of a number of portals has facilitated the seamless nomination of candidates for elective offices by political parties as well as the accreditation of observers and the media.

“Most significantly, the commission now uploads polling unit level results in real-time on Election Day to a portal for public view. These are significant innovations that have deepened the transparency and credibility of elections and the electoral process in Nigeria.

“The commission developed the specifications of the functions required of the machine. After extensive discussion and review, the commission took the decision to invite original manufacturers of electronic voting machines around the world for a virtual or practical demonstration of the machines.”

Yakubu revealed that over 40 companies, which indicated interest, would demonstrate to the commission how their IT solutions meet its specifications.

“The commission is aware that Nigerians want us to deepen the use of technology in elections. Let me reassure Nigerians that the commission is committed to expediting the process leading to the deployment of the EVMs in elections in earnest,” the INEC chairman said.

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PDP Knocks Akeredolu Over Comments On Mimiko, Ex-CJ

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Campaign Council for Ondo Governorship Election has condemned a statement credited to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Governor Rotimi Akeredolu against a former governor of the state, Olusegun Mimiko, and a former Chief Judge of the state, Justice Olasehinde Kumuyi.

Akeredolu was alleged to have said on a television programme that Mimiko and Kumuyi were his “enemies for life” for not supporting him and his party, the APC, ahead of the October 10, 2020 governorship election.

The PDP campaign council described the statement as hate speech.

This was contained in a statement titled, “PDP Condemns Akeredolu’s ‘Enemy For Life’ Comment On Mimiko, Kumuyi,” which was signed by the Chairman, Publicity Sub-Committee of the council, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Monday.

He said Akeredolu and the APC had become deflated and overwhelmed by the massive support for the PDP’s candidate, Eyitayo Jegede across the state.

The PDP said it was unfortunate that “the governor can toe such ungodly path in his desperation to cling to power despite being rejected by his people due to his failures.

“Akeredolu’s recourse to hate comments against patriotic leaders and citizens of Ondo State over the consensus by the people to replace him with the PDP candidate, Eyitayo Jegede.

“Our campaign wants Governor Akeredolu to note that the Ondo people cannot be cowed by his enmity towards them. Ondo State belongs to the people and Governor Akeredolu cannot intimidate anybody to submission.”

When contacted, the state Commissioner for Information, Hon Donald Ojogor, declined to react to the matter.

“They deserve no comment for their misdirected aggression,” Ojogor added.

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Attack On Zulum: Buhari Alleges Sabotage

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President Muhammadu Buhari has described the ambush on the entourage of Umar Babagana Zulum, the Governor of Borno State as an orchestrated sabotage against the long planned return of displaced persons to their local communities.
Our source reported earlier that the attack led to the death of security men and some operatives of Civilian-JTF.
This was the second attack on the Governor’s convoy by the Islamic terrorist group.
In a statement signed by Garba Shehu, the President’s Spokesman, and made available to newsmen at the weekend, Buhari said the attack “was an orchestrated sabotage against long planned return of displaced persons to their local communities.”
The President noted, “with deep sympathy, the loss of lives of security men on the convoy, ahead of the return of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, commiserating with their families and loved ones.”
Buhari further called on the state government, working with security and intelligence agencies, to remain firm in their determination to restore normalcy to all communities liberated from Boko Haram terrorists.
The Nigerian leader urged security and intelligence agencies to intensify efforts to check sabotage, sanitise the roads, venues and locations well in advance of returning IDPs, while working closely with local communities.
The President commended the gallantry of service personnel who repelled the deadly ambush, as well as the sincere determination of Governor Zulum, who has been working with Armed Forces to end the menace of terrorists, rebuild homes and return IDPs to regular life.
He prayed that God will grant the souls of the departed security men and operatives of Civilian-JTF eternal rest, and comfort their families.

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