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Poll Results: INEC Worse Than Evans, The Kidnapper -HURIWA …Observers Demand Probe Of Poll Violence, Killings

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Pro-democracy and non-governmental body, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), yesterday, accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of committing more “egregious and satanic crimes” than alleged billionaire kidnapper, Evans.”
HURIWA stated this while condemning the just concluded Saturday’s presidential election which saw President Muhammadu Buhari emerging as winner.
The body described the just ended presidential and National Assembly election as a “charade and a monumental travesty of justice.”
In a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the Head of Legal, Barrister Sylvia Nneka Okonkwo, and made available to newsmen, yesterday, HURIWA urged the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar to “explore the legal option which he has opted for.”
HURIWA said in terms of categorizing the crime committed by INEC in manipulating the outcomes of the Saturday’s elections in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC) officials of the electoral umpire “committed a more egregious and satanic crimes than the alleged billionaire kidnapper, Mr. Evans.”
The group, therefore, wondered why on one hand, some persons, including government officials are celebrating over the massive electoral thefts done by INEC but are silent or supportive even as Evans the kidnapper is being prosecuted.
HURIWA said the double standards shows that Nigeria was an unjust community of individuals that support travesty of justice committed by elite but would very rapidly carry out mob justice on petty criminals.
The rights group expressed pessimism that with the “near destruction of judicial independence by President Muhammadu Buhari through the unconstitutional suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Samuel Kanu Onnoghen over nebulous charges and his (Buhari’s) persistent disobedience of several court orders in the cases of erstwhile national security adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki and the leader of Shiites Islamic Movement, Sheikh Ibraheem el-Zackzacky, a recourse to the justice system may not effectively redress the perceived electoral heist suffered by the leading opposition figure.”
The body also accused Buhari of deploying the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Department of State Services (DSS) to intimate and sow fear in the minds of judicial officers.
Against this backdrop, HURIWA charged Abubakar to “invest his resources and time towards building constructive and formidable opposition platform that would galvanize the public towards actualization of holistic electoral reforms to guarantee free and fair polls in the future.”
HURIWA described the presidential poll conducted by the Yakubu Mahmood-led INEC as “the most predatory and roguish political enterprise that has ever happened in the twenty century world.
“The election was anything but peaceful, transparent, free and fair, just as the collation of results at the national level was choreographed to appear like a scenario whereby a robbery gang took their time to allocate the looted fund to themselves whereas the victims are left to agonise and pass through trauma. The European and so-called observers from ECOWAS; AU and Commonwealth were bribed to endorse the sham elections by INEC.
“The election witnessed the most brazen acts of deprivation of the right to vote technically and systematically implemented by INEC against the southern voters and most especially, voters bearing Christian names because of the widespread perception that Christians would normally not vote for a government that did nothing to stop the genocide against them by armed Fulani herdsmen.”
HURIWA condemned the electoral violence that trailed the polls in Kogi, Rivers, Bayelsa, Lagos and the deliberate disenfranchisement of Igbo voters in Lagos and Sabon Gari, Kano by the political godfathers of those states in collusion with INEC.”
The body stated that the pains of the manipulation of the election may take years to heal but the group called on like-minded ideological citizens to organize themselves and champion the cause of achieving total electoral reforms to make the electoral body truly independent.”
It also called on the police to arrest and prosecute all those who disrupted the polls as captured by the vigilant cameras of patriots Nigerians which are circulating on verified accounts of several credible statesmen and women of truth.
“Sweeping the organized crimes that happened during the elections behind the carpets of impunity is no longer an option. We condemn all those who are gloating and celebrating over the results of the election which in all honesty is worse than the crimes ascribed to the Evans the Billionaire Kidnapper,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, a transparency organisation, Connected Development (CODE), yesterday, urged appropriate authorities to investigate all allegations of violence and cases of violent acts, during the Presidential and National Assembly Elections, in accordance with the rule of law and bring perpetrators to justice.
Head of Mission, CODE Election Observation Team, Mr Hamzat Lawal, made the call while presenting the final report on the Presidential and National Assembly Elections and the way forward in Abuja, yesterday.
“CODE strongly condemns election-based violence which resulted in the burning of thumb-printed ballot papers in Isolo Local Government Area in Lagos. It also resulted in the killing of a young voter at a polling unit in Dekina Local Government Area in Kogi; death of two persons in Nembe, Bayelsa; the death of 16 people in Rivers and injuries to citizens.
“The Nigeria Police stated that it would be responsible for the protection of electorate and would deploy, at least three officers each at the 119,973 polling units across the country. However, this level of preparedness was not reflected as Uzabe (a real-time technology) recorded many polling units having one security attached and in some places, there were none. CODE is disheartened by the poor level of preparedness shown by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct violence-free elections.”
Lawal alleged that INEC failed to ensure that there was no violence despite the week-long postponement of the elections that was supposed to allow for adequate logistics and security readiness.
The head of mission said security remained a prevalent challenge confronting the nation’s growth, adding that the electorate did not have to die at the cost of participating in the electoral process.
Lawal said that the Uzabe, a real-time technology for intelligence gathering and election monitoring, provided emergency incidents reports to security agents through its situation room.
He said that the technology also helped to minimise violence at polling units.
The team leader said that the Uzabe received more than 3,887 reports from on-the-ground observers and “online social sentiment analysts. From these reports, Uzabe established about 453 election incidents across 34 states in the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Uzabe recorded issues of electoral violence, voter suppression, security personnel and party agents influencing ballots of voters, vote buying, underage voting and destruction of voting materials.
“These incidents were recorded in Lagos, Bayelsa, Rivers, Kogi, Taraba, Bauchi, Borno and Yobe, leading to death of civilians,” the head of mission disclosed.
He, however, said that there were also reports of security agents restoring peace in areas where political thugs tried to incite violence.
Lawal urged security agents to do better at protecting the lives and property of the electorate, and at ensuring that no lives are lost during the electoral process.
“We cannot keep addressing issues of electoral violence except adequately prepare for these contingencies,” he said.
The head of mission, however, commended INEC for allowing the will of the people to be heard and remaining firm on its duty “regardless of pressure from political actors who wanted to truncate the electoral process.”
According to Lawal, through the Uzabe mapping tool, CODE established early warning systems for communities and voters, strengthened mitigation and emergency response during the presidential and National Assembly elections.
The report reads in part, “CODE had on ground observers and online social sentiment analysis who reported over 3,887 reports. From the reports, Uzabe were able to establish about 453 election incidents across the federation including the FCT.
“Uzabe received over 3,887 reports from on-the-ground observers and online social sentiment analysts. From these reports, Uzabe established about 453 election incidents across 34 states of the federation and the FCT.”
He commended INEC and security agencies over their professional conduct at the election.
“The CODE would also like to acknowledge the commitment made by various volunteers, the field observers, who sent in reports to Uzabe for public awareness to ensure transparency; their time and resources were critical to the conduct of an objective electoral process.
“CODE also commends Nigerians, particularly her youth, for their loyalty and resilience in the face of insurmountable pressure.”
The group further advised INEC to provide policies and regulations guiding campaign financing to enhance accountability of political candidates and also legal measures should be introduced to address abuse of state resources.
“Appropriate authorities should investigate all allegations of violence and cases of violent acts, as well as vandalism and destruction of election materials and electorates’ properties, in accordance with the rule of law, and perpetrators held legally responsible.”
According to Lawal, “in order to enhance confidence in the election process, INEC’s complete autonomy must be strengthened to ensure it provides more effective and objective electoral process; the organisation must develop result-management process using competent and secure technology; and provide a more conducive environment for collating results in regions.”
He added that, “There should be policies and regulations guiding campaign financing to enhance accountability of political candidates and also legal measures should be introduced to address abuse of state resources; INEC must introduce reforms that allow for Nigerians in the Diaspora to vote the candidate of their choice.
“Under-age voting is a violation of the Nigerian constitution and it is prevalent in some regions of the country. INEC must work to curb this issue as it serves as an indictment on the credibility of election process and ultimately a threat to our democracy.
“Party agents must learn to be cordial irrespective of political differences and must desist from inciting election-violence.
“Government must apply punitive measures in prosecuting criminals and perpetrators of election-based violence and security agents must do better in protecting lives and properties of the electorate and ensure lives are not lost during the electoral process.
“We cannot keep addressing issues of electoral violence except we adequately prepare for these contingencies,” he said.

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FG Targets Production Of Locally Made Vehicles By Dec

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The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite, has affirmed that Nigeria now has the capacity and materials to manufacture Made-In-Nigeria cars for local use and export.
With the enabling environment being provided by the government, she said manufacturers should be held responsible if the cars are not rolling out by December 2024.
Currently, Nigeria produces less than 10 per cent of the vehicles used in the country.
Last year, Nigeria’s vehicle assembling industry, estimated to be worth around N302billion, tanked to a new low due to increasing production costs and weakened demand for locally assembled automobiles.
According to the Manufacturers CEOs Confidence Index, activities of motor vehicles and miscellaneous assembly deteriorated further below the benchmark (50 points) from 48.6 to 46.7 points.
But speaking at the Automotive Component Manufacturers meeting in Abuja, she noted that the automobile industry is faced with both challenges and opportunities.
A statement issued last Friday by the Director of Information and Public Relations, Adebayo Thomas, said, “In a significant move aimed at fostering sustainable growth and development in Nigeria’s automobile industry, the Federal Government has issued a clarion call to all stakeholders, including manufacturers, dealers, regulatory bodies, and other players in the automobile ecosystem.
“The call comes as part of a broader strategy to enhance the sector’s contribution to the nation’s economy.”
Encouraging the stakeholders to key into the Nigerian Automotive Development Policy, the Minister said, “As far as we are concerned, the auto industry is now set to go.
“We are counting on all stakeholders to make that happen. If we do not produce made-in-Nigeria cars before the end of this year (December), it will be your fault, because I am sitting down here giving you all the assurances that this administration has created the enabling environment to make sure that the auto policy kicks off.”
Anite emphasised the need for collaboration among manufacturers, dealers, regulatory bodies, and other players in the automobile ecosystem, saying by working together, they can address challenges, streamline processes, and drive innovation.
She also urged stakeholders to maintain high-quality standards across the board, including vehicle manufacturing, safety features, emissions control, and after-sales services.
Stringent adherence to quality, she said, will boost consumer confidence and attract investment.
The minister assured all that the government would continue to encourage increased investment in research and development, adding that, innovations in electric vehicles, fuel efficiency, and alternative energy sources are critical for long-term sustainability.
On local content, she also emphasised the importance of promoting local content by sourcing materials and components locally.
By doing this, she said, the sector can create jobs, reduce import dependency, and contribute to economic diversification
In his introductory comments, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Nura Rimi, emphasised the significance of team action and shared vision as outlined in the Nigerian Automotive Development Policy.
He also urged stakeholders that the country “will overcome obstacles and unleash the full potential of Nigeria’s automotive component sector.”
He encouraged NADDC and other stakeholders to use the chance to form alliances, explore new areas of collaboration, and devise ways to catapult the automotive components manufacturing industry to new heights of success.
The statement added, “The government’s charge underscores the pivotal role stakeholders play in shaping its trajectory. Their commitment to sustainable practices will drive Nigeria’s automotive sector towards a brighter and more prosperous future.
“Environmental Responsibility: Stakeholders are reminded of their environmental responsibilities. Sustainable practices, recycling, and eco-friendly manufacturing processes are essential for a greener future.”

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Waive Tax On Electronic Imports, Women Engineers Appeal To Tinubu

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The Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), Lagos Chapter, has called on President Bola Tinubu to exempt the importation of electronic components from taxation for inventive engineers.
Chairman of APWEN, Ms Atinuke Owolabi, said this a in statement yesterday in Lagos, in commenration of the 2024 World Creativity and Innovation Day, with the theme: “Step Out and Innovate”.
The Tide source reports that World Creativity and Innovation Day is a global UN Day, celebrated on April 21, to raise awareness about the importance of creativity and innovation in problem solving.
This is with respect to advancing the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, also known as the global goal.
Owolabi explained that such a measure would significantly enhance technological progress, support local innovators, and elevate Nigeria as a leading hub for innovation globally.
She stated that in a world marked by dynamic challenges and unprecedented opportunities, creativity and innovation stand as the driving forces behind progress and transformation.
According to her, women engineers recognise the critical role that innovation plays in shaping our societies and driving sustainable development.
”On this occasion, we affirm our commitment to fostering a culture of creativity and innovation within our organisation and the broader engineering community.
”Together, let us step out, innovate, and inspire the next generation of women engineers to reach even greater heights of achievement and impact.
”We believe that by stepping out of our comfort zones and embracing new ideas, technologies, and approaches, we can unlock innovative solutions to the complex challenges facing our world today,” she said.
According to her, the theme: ‘step out and innovate’, serves as a call to action for women engineers everywhere to break barriers, challenge conventions.
She noted that it would also pioneer groundbreaking solutions that would propel them toward a brighter and more sustainable future.
Owolabi disclosed that in celebration of the World Creativity Day, APWEN Lagos had inaugurated an artificial intelligence club tailored for female engineering students and young engineers.
She said that the proactive initiative aimed to inspire and equip young engineers with cutting-edge technological insights.
Th chairman said, “Additionally, we already have a 200-capacity hall to set up a resource, technology, and innovation hub to empower women and girls in engineering.
”This endeavour serves as a catalyst for encouraging aspiring female engineers to embrace innovation and stay abreast of emerging trends in the field.
”APWEN Lagos stands united in its dedication to promoting diversity, inclusivity, and excellence in engineering.
“We encourage all female engineers to seize this opportunity to unleash their creativity, explore new frontiers, and make an indelible mark on the world.”

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Pan-Igbo Group Hails Dangote Group For Reducing Diesel Price

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A pan-Igbo group, Ndigbo Unity Forum (NUF), has commended the Chairman of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and his management for reducing the price of diesel from N1,600 to N,1000 per litre.
The Tide’s source reports that diesel is the major fuel used by heavy duty vehicles and generating sets to transport goods as well as run industries across the country.
The President of NUF, Mr Augustine Chukwudum, told The Tide’s source in Enugu, yesterday, that Dangote’s timely response to suffering masses of Nigerians, going through hell to get a meal a day, “is highly commendable”.
According to Chukwudum, Nigerians need to appreciate the patriotism of Dangote since what he has done will go a long way in reducing prices of goods, especially food stuff which has gone out of the reach of the poor.
He called on Nigerians, who wish and pray always for the betterment of the country, to appreciate and thank God for answering their prayer through Dangote’s move.
“It is clear that if Dangote Refinery starts fully and gets all the crude oil needed from Nigeria, the prices of petrol, kerosene and diesel will further reduce.
“We commend President Bola Tinubu for being a listening President and supporting the Dangote Group on our crude oil needs.
“We appeal to Tinubu to encourage Dangote by providing the company with crude oil at a reduced rate as we have been demanding,” he said.
Chukwudum said that this move and subsequent further reduction, would bring industries in comatose back to life, jobs created for unemployed youths and reduction in crime as well.
“We call on governors of oil-producing Anambra, Imo and Abia States to bring investors, who shall build refineries in each of the states to refine thousands of barrels of crude in commercial quantities,” he said.

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