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Electoral Bill: CSOs Warn NASS Against Postponing Resumption

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A Coalition of Civil Society Partners on Electoral Reform has warned the National Assembly against the postponement of the resumption date scheduled for January 18, warning it could jeopardise the passage of the amended Electoral Bill.
It said the National Assembly has an urgent task to override the veto of President Muhammadu Buhari or amend, pass and re-transmit the bill back to the executive for assent.
It also called on the lawmakers to suspend the House and Senate rules and bureaucracy of legislative business, and deal with the bill within 48 hours of their resumption.
The coalition disclosed this in Abuja on Monday in a press statement, to advocate for electoral reforms in the country.
The statement, which was jointly addressed by the Executive Director, Adopt A Goal Initiative, Ariyo-Dare Atoye; Convener, Raising New Voices Initiative, Jude Feranmi; and Human Rights Advocate, Rachel Anyanwu, called on the leadership of National Assembly to rectify all errors which may cause issues in the interpretation and execution of the law by government agencies.
They added that such errors were responsible for the refusal of the president not to assent to the bill in the 8th National Assembly.
The group urged the lawmakers to do everything within their power to address the issues raised by the president if they could not get the required number to override the president’s veto.
According to the statement issued at the conference “On the 20th day of December last year, President Muhammadu Buhari wrote to the National Assembly citing varying reasons he had refused to assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill sent to him by both chambers. Mr President was quoted to have said that “the conduct of elections for the nomination of party candidates solely via direct primaries as envisaged by the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021 has serious adverse legal, financial, economic and security consequences, which cannot be accommodated at the moment considering our Nation’s peculiarities.”
President Buhari also said that its introduction “has implications on the rights of citizens to participate in the government as constitutionally ensured.”
“This conclusion reached by the President drew various criticisms from the Nigerian populace and outright disappointment from the civil society organisations working to ensure the conduct of freer, fairer and more credible elections in the forthcoming exercises happening in Ekiti, Osun and the 2023 general elections.
“To say the least, Mr President’s refusal to assent to this bill has set back the advocacy for these democratic reforms. However, as civil society organisations, we cannot rest on our oars and must ensure that the desire of Nigerians for a more credible electoral process where the people can elect leaders of their choice and their votes will count must become a reality.
“It is for this reason that we are here today to call the attention of the National Assembly to make the following demands.
“Under no circumstance should the January 18 resumption date set by the leadership of both chambers for members of the Senate and House of Reps be postponed. Any further delay will put in jeopardy our efforts to ensure the passage of this bill.
“The first rule of business upon resumption should be the issue of the Electoral Reforms Amendment Bill. While the National Assembly may choose to override the President’s veto and go ahead to pass the bill into law, they may also choose to review the bill to meet the President’s demands and transmit back to him for assent. We are asking that this step, whatever the members may decide should be the first business of legislation.”
The statement added that for democracy to bring development to the people and an improved standard of living, elections must be fair and seen, to be honest.

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London School Of Public Relations Launched In Nigeria

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After months in the making, the London School of PR (LSPR) Nigeria has been launched and will be offering a variety of courses including Fundamentals of Public Relations, diploma programmes, and other shorter courses focusing on brand building, reputation and risk management.
The courses, to be delivered by World-class trainers from Europe, the United States and Nigeria, are being offered at a specially discounted price for all starter courses. LSPR Nigeria is a partner company to the London School of PR in the UK.
The school has been delivering world-class training in the UK and globally since 1993, recognised in academia and the PR industry as one of the finest training establishments.
The school was founded by Professor John Dalton, biologist, communications specialist and UK business leader.
“I and my team in London are delighted that this initiative has finally come to fruition. We believe the school will be very successful in Nigeria given the position of the country in terms of its GDP, economic growth and educated workforce.
“We already have a successful operation in Ghana and expect our Nigerian business will be equally fortunate”, Dalton commented.
LSPR Nigeria is headed by entrepreneur Charles Edosomwan, who has led advertising and digital marketing company Teksight Edge for the past 8 years using data and technology to drive brand engagement and customer acquisition.
He said: “I am excited to be leading LSPR in Nigeria and I am looking forward to delivering our first courses next month. We have a team of excellent trainers who are experienced in both the virtual and the traditional classroom environments.
“The PR Landscape in Nigeria suffers from competency and standard issues especially with regards to professionalism and barrier to entry. We have the support of local business leaders and academia to ensure that professionals and business people in Nigeria can have access to world class training.”

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10 Rescued As Soldiers Battle Bandits In Kaduna

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Bandits yesterday morning invaded Unguwar Musa Tudun Wada Kudansa in Maraban Rido, Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
A resident of the community, who spoke to The Tide source morning, said the bandits were resisted by the security personnel who quickly intervened.
He said before their arrival, bandits had already captured 10 residents to be taken to their den.
He added that, as soon as soldiers arrived at the scene, they engaged the bandits in a fierce battle that lasted for three hours.
According to him, the kidnapped victims were rescued while several residents fled as the gun battle raged on.
The Village Head of the community, Joseph Sauri Garba, who confirmed the incident yesterday, said the gun duel between the bandits and the soldiers lasted three hours.
Kaduna Police Command Spokesperson, ASP Jalige Mohammed, did not respond to calls, and text messages sent to him

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Benue, UNICEF Partner To Provide 2,000 Boreholes To Eight LGAs

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Benue State Government in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has provided over two thousand boreholes to communities in eight local government areas of the state.
Outgoing UNICEF Chief Field Officer in Nigeria, Ibrahim Conteh, who disclosed this on Tuesday, January 18, 2022 at the Benue Peoples House during a farewell visit to the Governor, said the feat was achieved in a period of four years.
Conteh stated that the intervention was to ensure that the most deprived communities have access to safe drinking water which he said could save the people, especially children and women from contracting water borne diseases.
The UNICEF Chief Field Officer who is moving to Afghanistan stated that the UN Agency has gone a step further to connect the boreholes to primary health care centres and primary schools in the communities and assured that they would also undertake rehabilitation of the boreholes.
According to Dr Conteh, UNICEF has also expended about one million dollars to provide temporary learning centres in IDPs across the state as well as partnered the ministry of education to ensure that children were enrolled in schools.
He commended Governor Samuel Ortom for always providing the needed counterpart funding to make the work of UNICEF easier as well as consistently feeding the IDPs to ensure that children living in the camps are not malnourished.
Governor Samuel Ortom expressed appreciation to UNICEF for assisting the state through various interventions and assured that apart from the counterpart funding, the government would ensure that facilities provided by the UN Agency are well managed.
The Governor lamented unequal treatment of IDPs in Benue State as compared to what happens in the North Eastern part of Nigeria, stressing that the development was against justice, fairness and equity.
Governor Ortom prayed God to grant the UNICEF Chief Field Officer success in his new assignment in Afghanistan where he is redeployed to help intervene in humanitarian crisis.
Local government areas where the boreholes are cited include Konshisha, Katsina Ala, Guma, Tarka, Buruku, Ogbadibo, Oju and Obi.

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