The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says it will deploy relevant technology to ensure transparent, violence-free and fair election in tomorrow’s Cross River North Senatorial and House of Assembly by-elections.
INECs Commissioner for Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, said this on Wednesday in Calabar while speaking on the commission’s preparedness for the polls.
He said the successes recorded in Edo and Ondo elections were testimonies to the fact that the commission was improving by every election through the use of modern technology.
“We want to surpass our successes in Edo and Ondo.
“We are going to conduct a transparent, violence-free and credible election in Cross River North come Saturday.
“We are ready for the elections, the Card Readers have been purged, charged, and configured and will be deployed with other sensitive materials.
“INEC will also transmit Form ECA8A(1) (Unit Results) in real time using the Z-pad via INEC viewing results portal,” he said.
The commissioner urged the security agencies to brace up for the challenges by deploying adequate personnel to ensure a hitch-free exercise.
“It is common knowledge that some of the Local Government Areas have difficult terrain.
“We urge the security agencies to provide adequate and efficient security for election officials, election materials and the voters,” he said.
Okoye warned that, the commission would not tolerate election violence in any form.
According to him, the commission will not declare any results “procured through violence and resistance to the deployment of Smart Card Readers”.
He said the commission had deployed two extra Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC) from Edo and Benue including himself to assist the State REC in ensuring a successful exercise.
He also cautioned political parties and their candidates for the elections to seek legal and genuine redress if they found any INEC official doing the wrong thing.
“We will investigate such staff member and apply appropriate punishment, if found wanting.
“But any petition without proper address and phone number or evidence from the petitioner will not be investigated,” he said.
In a related development, the Police Command in Cross River said over 1,500 personnel had been mobilised for the Saturday’s by-election.
The Comissioner of Police in the State, Mr Abdulkadir Jimoh, disclosed this to newsmen in Calabar.
“We will have adequate policemen in each of the polling units. We have 1,341 personnel on ground.
“Also, Seven Mobile Units are coming from different parts of the country to join 200 Mobile Units that we have on ground.
Streetlight: Anambra Set For Solar Energy Option-Commissioner
The Anambra State Government says the switch from diesel powered streetlights to solar powered alternative will soon be completed.
Commissioner for Power and Water Resources in the State, Mr Julius Chukwuemeka, told The Tide’s source in an interview in Awka that the disruption in the streetlights project was due to the migration from diesel powered generators to solar powered energy .
Chukwuemeka said the diesel powered alternative had to be suspended because of its huge cost implication and adverse environmental effects..
He said the switch, which would be cheap and sustainable, would be concluded soon and streetlights restored.
According to him, the new system would also be made to run Independently without the danger of outage in transmission noting that the streetlights were also part of the state’s security architecture.
“Looking at what we had in the past, we noticed that hundreds of millions of Naira was being spent on diesel to power these generators, what this government is doing is to cut costs and achieve more.
“At that time, the price of diesel was between N200 and N250 per litre but now it is between N800 and N850 per litre, you can see that it is no longer cost effective to use generators.
“Diesel is also not very environment -friendly because of the emissions, so after our comparative analysis, we concluded that the best way to power the streetlights is to migrate fully to solar energy.
“We are considering energy sources that are cost effective and also amenable to a green environment, it should also be independent such that we don’t depend on the national grid,” he said.
Chukwuemeka said the solar energy source initiative was also being developed to power water schemes to drive public water supply projects in the state.
He said water supply had been restored at the State Secretariat complex, while the Iyiora pilot scheme in Anambra West was already functional with 5,000 gallons capacity reticulated solar motorised machine.
“However, we are discussing and working with EEDC to ensure that power supply hits 24 hours in most parts of the state and as you can see there has been overall improvement in power supply in Anambra,” he said.
NDLEA Recovers N8.8bn Tramadol, Nabs Suspect In Lagos
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has recovered about 13, 451,466 pills of tramadol 225mh worth N8.9 bililon in street value in Lagos .
Director, Media and Advocacy, Mr Femi Babafemi said this in a statement in Abuja.
Babafemi said operatives of the agency had also arrested the suspected drug baron, Chukwukadibia Ugochukwu, in connection to the recovered drugs.
He said the operatives raided one of the mansions of the suspect in the highbrow residential estate, Victoria Garden City, Lekki area of Lagos.
According to him, the arrest of Ugochukwu, who is the Chairman of Autonation Motors Ltd, was coming barely two months after NDLEA uncovered a methamphetamine clandestine laboratory in the residence of another suspected drug kingpin in the estate.
The Tide’s source reports that Chris Nzewi, was arrested on Saturday, July 30, along with a chemist, Sunday Ukah, who was said to have cooked the illicit drug for him.
At least, 258.74 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine and various precursor chemicals used for the production of the toxic drug were reportedly recovered from Nzewi’s home during his arrest.
Babafemi said following credible intelligence, NDLEA operatives on Friday, Sept. 30 stormed the Plot A45 Road 2 home of the 52-year-old billionaire drug kingpin.
“A search of the expansive mansion led to the discovery of 443 cartons of Tramadol Hydrochloride 225mg.
“This was in a carton which contained 13,451,466 pills of the drug, while some cartons were already burnt in a fire incident in the house same day,” he said.
Babafemi said that before his arrest, Ugochukwu, who hails from Ihiala Local Government area of Anambra had been on the agency’s watch list.
The suspect, he said, was as one of those behind the tramadol drug cartel in Nigeria.
“Preliminary investigation shows that he has about six mansions within the VGC. one of which he uses to warehouse the tramadol consignment, while he lives in another one at Plot Z-130 Road 67 and uses one as his office.
“Five exotic vehicles had also been located in two of his mansions, out of which two SUVs including a bulletproof jeep had been successfully removed to the agency’s facility,” he said.
Reacting to the latest drug haul, the Chairman, NDLEA, retired Brig.- Gen. Buba Marwa, commended the officers and men involved in the operation for their diligence.
Marwa also appreciated Nigerians for supporting the agency in its arduous task of ridding the country of the menace of drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.
According to him, “I’ll like to reassure Nigerians and other stakeholders wherever they are located across the country.
“This assurance is coming beyond our preparedness to work with them on this onerous task of saving our people from the drug scourge.
“This partnership is a further warning to the drug barons and cartels that there is no hiding place for them anymore.
“This is because, we remain on their trail and we’ll always get them, “he said.
NCSU Tasks FG On Recovered Looted Funds
Following the successful conduct of its 12th Quadrennial Delegates Conference in Abuja on Wednesday, the Federal Council of the Nigeria Civil Service Union (NCSU), has called on the Federal Government to reinvest all recovered monies said to have been looted from the nation’s treasury by public office holders in employment generation ventures.
The union, which made the call in a communiqué issued at the end of the conference and signed by its new Chairman, Comrade Adoga Gupada Aruwa and Assistant General Secretary,Comrade Daniel Otakpo, applauded the committed efforts of the Muhammadu Buhari administration and the various anti-graft agencies including other relevant organs of government in recovering the looted funds.
The union also expressed deep concern on the present global economic recession being experienced by workers and Nigerians, with it attendant effects of further exposing them to untold hardship owing to the negative activities of some unpatriotic persons in the oil sector, thereby making it extremely difficult for payment of workers’ salaries and provision of resources for infrastructural development programmes of governmental levels.
It, therefore, called on the government to diversify the economy to other sources of revenue generation by paying particular attention to Mineral Resources, Tourism and Agricuture.
The NCSU equally stressed the need for reduction of the cost of governance in view of dwindling resources, and observed with dismay hundreds of billions of naira frittered away in the guise of security votes, and enjoined the government to be more prudent in resources allocation.
The conference-in session condemn in strong terms what it described as unfortunate and illegal the continued coercion of members of NCSU without their consent by forcefully deducting from the salaries “dues”, despite several circulars from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, pointing out that this illegal act constitutes a breach and also an infringement on the right of such workers to belong to the union of their choice as guaranteed by the ILOC convention 87 and 98 and national laws of the country.
The union, therefore, called on the relevant agencies to enforce the right of workers to belong to a union of their choice, while at the same time, commending the Federal Government for keeping faith with workers by paying salaries and allowances of federal employees.
New officer selected at the conference to pilot the affairs of the union in the next four years include Comrade Adoga Gupada Aruwa, Chairman; Comrade Okwor Hillary Onyebuchi,Vice Chairman; and Comrade Akam Moses Oden,Treasurer.
Others are Comrade Greg Nwajei Peace Udoka,Trustee; Comrade Muhammed Babaniogu Kolo, Auditor; and Comrade Adelakan Adeyinka Olusola, Assistant Secretary.
The immediate outgone Chairman of the union, Comrade Timothy Odebunmi,in his valedictory speech, thanked the members for their support, and went ahead to list the modest achievements recorded by his administration in the past four years.
Odebunmi,who would be retiring from the civil service in the next few days, said his administration established an empowerment scheme where civil servants were trained and over 100 union members acquired tailoring skills and were empowered with some stipends. He stressed the need for the union members to close ranks as well as look inwards to fashion a way of solving problems collectively.
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