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Electoral Act: Lawan Assures Of Reduced Violence In 2023

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The President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, has said that the 2023 General Election would see a drastic reduction in electoral violence after the passage of the amended version of the Electoral Act.

The Electoral Act is expected to be passed by the National Assembly in June, 2021.

Lawan gave the assurance while fielding questions after delivering a lecture at the National Defence College Course 29 Programme in Abuja, yesterday.

According to the Senate President, the Electoral Act under amendment by the Ninth National Assembly will provide for an Electoral Offences Commission, charged particularly with the responsibility of prosecuting electoral offenders.

He added that the piece of legislation when passed and signed into law would among other things, empower the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct transparent elections in Nigeria.

“Let me give some commendation to the National Assembly for continuously working on the Electoral Act to provide for a better electoral environment in Nigeria.

“All the improvement we have added was as a result of legislations passed by the National Assembly, and of course, supported by the Executive.

“This is going to be a continuous effort because electoral violence is largely a product of either genuine or misinformation of iniquity or some kind of conspiracy against certain persons during elections.

“But I also believe – and that is the position of the National Assembly generally – that we should have the Electoral Offences Commission, so that people who are involved in electoral violence will be prosecuted.

“I believe that it will go a long way in reducing and minimizing of all these tendencies of people taking the laws into their hands.

“But in addition, we are currently working on the Electoral Act, we want to amend it and we intend to achieve the amendment before June or thereabout.

“Our intention in the National Assembly with this is to further sanitize the electoral environment, and empower the election management body – INEC – to conduct seamless, transparent and very open sort of election where a winner is very happy that he is a winner and a looser will be glad that he lost in a very fair contest.

“So, we are working on this and we hope that the 2023 General Election will see less of electoral violence because the law itself would have been further improved.”

Speaking earlier during the lecture, the Senate President attributed the challenges faced by the Federal Government to various types of discolouration from conspiracies woven around political, ethnic and religious sentiments.

He, therefore, admonished Nigerian leaders to deploy strategic leadership tact needed for the realization of developmental initiatives that accommodate the national interest.

“For us particularly in this country, strategic political leadership is an imperative for development. You can’t but deploy it, and leaders must be strategic. And, it is required even more in countries like ours where the challenges of development are most.

“Unfortunately, almost every issue you bring in Nigeria would rather have or would be given either political, ethnic, geo-political or religious coloration.

“So, it makes governance tough. It gives leadership massive challenges because such colorations complicate the issues.

“Issues that could easily be relative and understood with little effort become so enmeshed in controversies that it may take you time to recover, and probably you may not even recover at all.

“This is an opportunity for me to appeal to all of us in political leadership that our responsibility to the people of Nigeria must remain the one and only critical factor for taking decisions.

“The national interest must override any other interest because it is the interest of the majority of the people of the country. If we do that, chances are that we will always get it right.

“I think it will be unpardonable for anyone to think that you can create controversies around government’s development programmes or projects. Let there be progressive and positive criticisms. Let’s allow the government a chance,” Lawan said.

Identifying diversity as fallout of a heterogeneous society such as Nigeria, the Senate President further called on leaders across the country to foster unity in their quest to achieve development and progress.

“Nigeria is heterogeneous, and there’s diversity. And, as leaders we must ensure that we weave the diversity into our strength, that we are able to create and sustain unity to engender peace and progress,” he stressed.

Assessing the collaboration between the Executive and Legislature, Lawan said, “as leaders and members of the National Assembly, we have to achieve unity of purpose. We have to attain bipartisanship.

“But because we are bicameral – that we have a Senate and House of Representatives – we also have to achieve harmony. We have to work in cordiality with our colleagues in the House of Representatives.

“And, having achieved united and very focused National Assembly, we also need to work in harmony with other arms of government, and particularly with the Executive arm that we work with on almost daily basis.

“But the essence this is that we are stronger, more productive, more effective and efficient together.

“As members of the National Assembly and a government, if distinguished members of the National Assembly work in unison to deliver their legislative interventions for the executive to work with; and between the executive and the legislature, there is mutual respect and consultation, as well as cooperation and partnership, the citizens get the best deal because performance and arrive deliver will be enhanced and sustained. This is the essence of any government.”

Lawan added, “Let me also emphasize that because our constitution provides for three arms of government, there are checks and balances that we have to make – checks mostly for the legislature on the executive arm of government – because the executive as we all know executes the government’s agenda.

“These are specified functions for the different arms. In our quest for harmony and cordiality with the executive arm of government, we also believe in the National Assembly that the Executive must be held to account.

“If we pass the budget and they implement, we need to know how they have implemented the budget. We need to know whether or not they restricted themselves to what has been provided in the budget, we need to know whether they implemented the projects and programmes with efficiency and prudence.

“And, we will not compromise on this, because we are expected by the constitution and the people to undertake those very important functions in addition to our representative roles to the people we represent and the legislature itself.

“So, oversight is key and important for us, but we also emphasize that unless it becomes absolutely necessary, the citizens should not be denied of benefits from programmes and projects, because of fights and disharmony between the two arms of government – the executive and legislature.

“The essence of any government according to our Constitution is to provide security and welfare to the people.

“The ordinary man doesn’t want to know why you will fight and the fight stops the delivery of services. So, we believe that we must continue to work together, and in this effort, since we came in June, 2019, we have been able to achieve so much.”

Lawan added further that in ensuring the delivery of infrastructural and economic development in accordance with the manifesto of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the Senate had severally engaged the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning on the need to rollout an economic plan that complements the nation’s annual budget.

“In the Senate, the Committee on National Planning and Economic Development has had a roundtable discussion and we are working with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to see how we can go back to this means of creating a rolling development plan for our country rather than this annual budgetary process that we do that stops within the year.

“But the Medium Term Expenditure Framework that we do in this administration today provides some direction even though it is not exactly what we want,” Lawan said.

 

 

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Borno NARD President, Residents Hail Malaria Vaccine Breakthrough

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The  Borno State branch President of Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Dr Abubakar Kaka-Sanda, has lauded the announcement of malaria vaccine by World Health Organisation (WHO), which he described as a welcome development.
Kaka-Sanda told The Tide source in Maiduguri yesterday that “a vaccine against malaria known as a killer disease with high mortality, particularly among children in Africa is something worth celebrating.”
He, therefore, urged states and the Federal Government to start early mobilisation of the public on the vaccine to address the issue of vaccine phobia.
He said “government needs to start early public enlightenment on the vaccine so that whenever it is available, there will be no issue of phobia.”
He also reacted to the just suspended NARD strike, saying “doctors are all back and attending to patients in hospitals.
“Our members are at their respective duty posts offering the best we can.”
Maryam Audu, a woman living in Maiduguri, seen at the Borno Specialists Hospital whose two children were diagnosed of malaria, described
the development as a welcome one.
She said “if we have vaccine for malaria, I can assure you that more children will survive till adulthood.
“Most cases affecting children is malaria and that’s why some mothers in Borno have problem with polio vaccination officials .
“We use to tell immunisation officials that the problem of our children is malaria and they should not be bothering us with polio immunisation.
“We are really  looking foward to the malaria vaccine.”
Tijjani Mohammed and Asmau Isa and Janet Ezekiel, all living in Maiduguri, also said they heard the news and hope it would be a dream come true.
Ezekiel said “70 per cent of illness affecting my family members has to do with malaria.  If malaria can be contained in Nigeria, I can say
that we have solved a major problem.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended widespread use of the RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) malaria vaccine among children in sub-Saharan Africa
and in other regions with moderate to high P. falciparum malaria transmission.The recommendation is based on results from an ongoing pilot programme in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi that has reached more than 800,000 children since 2019.
The WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, said “this is a historic moment. The long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is a breakthrough for science.”
child health and malaria control.
“Using this vaccine on top of existing  tools to prevent malaria could save tens of thousands of young lives each year.”
He added that malaria remained a primary cause of childhood illness and death in sub-Saharan Africa, noting that more than 260,000 African children
under the age of five die from malaria annually.

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Court Remands Labourer For Allegedly Robbing Woman At Hotel

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Justice Oyindamola Ogala of an Ikeja High Court yesterday remanded a 22-year-old labourer, Olanrewaju Opeyemi, for allegedly robbing a woman of N2,000 at a Lagos hotel.
The Tide source reports that Ogala ordered  that Opeyemi, who has  no fixed address, should be kept at the Ikoyi Correctional Centre after he pleaded not guilty  to a three-count charge which was interpreted to him from English Language to Yoruba Language.
The defendant was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery and causing grievous harm.
According to prosecution led by Mrs A.O. Oluwasanmi, the defendant committed the alleged offences at 2.00 a.m. on April 14, 2020, at Intendo Hotel, Agboju, Lagos.
“Opeyemi alongside others who are at large, conspired to commit robbery, and while armed with a knife, he robbed one Ms Blessing Okoro of N2,000.
“He also grievously harmed Okoro by cutting her with a knife and inflicting serious injuries on her.
“The offences violate Sections 245, 297 and 299 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015,” the she  said.
The judge adjourned the case until November 25 for trial.

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Borno NARD President, Residents Hail Malaria Vaccine Breakthrough

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on

The  Borno State branch President of Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Dr Abubakar Kaka-Sanda, has lauded the announcement of malaria vaccine by World Health Organisation (WHO), which he described as a welcome development.
Kaka-Sanda told The Tide source in Maiduguri yesterday that “a vaccine against malaria known as a killer disease with high mortality, particularly among children in Africa is something worth celebrating.”
He, therefore, urged states and the Federal Government to start early mobilisation of the public on the vaccine to address the issue of vaccine phobia.
He said “government needs to start early public enlightenment on the vaccine so that whenever it is available, there will be no issue of phobia.”
He also reacted to the just suspended NARD strike, saying “doctors are all back and attending to patients in hospitals.
“Our members are at their respective duty posts offering the best we can.”
Maryam Audu, a woman living in Maiduguri, seen at the Borno Specialists Hospital whose two children were diagnosed of malaria, described
the development as a welcome one.
She said “if we have vaccine for malaria, I can assure you that more children will survive till adulthood.
“Most cases affecting children is malaria and that’s why some mothers in Borno have problem with polio vaccination officials .
“We use to tell immunisation officials that the problem of our children is malaria and they should not be bothering us with polio immunisation.
“We are really  looking foward to the malaria vaccine.”
Tijjani Mohammed and Asmau Isa and Janet Ezekiel, all living in Maiduguri, also said they heard the news and hope it would be a dream come true.
Ezekiel said “70 per cent of illness affecting my family members has to do with malaria.  If malaria can be contained in Nigeria, I can say
that we have solved a major problem.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended widespread use of the RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) malaria vaccine among children in sub-Saharan Africa
and in other regions with moderate to high P. falciparum malaria transmission.The recommendation is based on results from an ongoing pilot programme in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi that has reached more than 800,000 children since 2019.
The WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, said “this is a historic moment. The long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is a breakthrough for science.”
child health and malaria control.
“Using this vaccine on top of existing  tools to prevent malaria could save tens of thousands of young lives each year.”
He added that malaria remained a primary cause of childhood illness and death in sub-Saharan Africa, noting that more than 260,000 African children
under the age of five die from malaria annually.

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