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Arrest INEC Office Attackers, SERAP Tasks Buhari

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to “urgently direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, and appropriate law enforcement agencies to identify and arrest the perpetrators and sponsors of attacks on the offices of Independent National Electoral Commission across the country.”
SERAP urged Buhari to “ensure that the perpetrators and their sponsors are named and shamed, and promptly brought to justice, regardless of their political affiliations.”
There are recent reports of simultaneous attacks on the local government offices of INEC in Abeokuta, Ogun State, and Ede, Osun State.
“There were at least 41 attacks in 14 states between February 2019 and May 2021. Recent reports also show over 50 attacks on INEC offices in several states in the last few months,” SERAP stated.
In a letter dated November 12, 2022 and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said, “These attacks are increasingly putting INEC under siege. If not urgently addressed, the escalating attacks on the offices of INEC would impair the people’s right to vote.”
SERAP said, “The attacks would also undermine public trust and confidence in the electoral process. It is confidence in the process that is the true backbone of Nigeria’s constitutional democracy and the rule of law.”
According to SERAP, the right to vote will have little meaning if perpetrators and sponsors of attacks on INEC offices continue to get away with their crime against the Nigerian people.
The letter further read in part, “An electoral commission that can operate in a safe and secured environment is essential to Nigeria’s constitutional democracy.
“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall consider appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest.
“The continuing failure by your government to investigate, identify, name and shame the perpetrators and their sponsors, and to bring them to justice is fuelling impunity, and resulting in a vicious cycle of attacks and violence.
“SERAP urges you to direct the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to immediately provide adequate security to protect INEC facilities across the country to ensure and guarantee the safety and security of the commission’s staff and materials.
“SERAP is seriously concerned about the escalating attacks on the offices and equipment of INEC and election materials.
“Ensuring the security and safety of INEC officials, and their working environment, as well as election equipment and materials is essential for the commission to effectively and satisfactorily carry out its constitutional and statutory responsibilities.
“When armed non-state actors including political thugs and their sponsors attack the offices of INEC and get away with their crime, the essential electoral reforms that have taken place would have little or no effect on the electoral process.
“Arresting and prosecuting the perpetrators and their sponsors of these attacks would prevent repetition of such acts ahead of the 2023 elections, improve the ability of INEC to discharge its responsibilities, and promote the right to vote.
“Any failure to urgently track, identify, arrest and prosecute the perpetrators and sponsors of the attacks may be construed as the inability or unwillingness of your government to confront the problem, and to ensure and guarantee the safety and security of INEC officials, equipment and election materials.
“Persistent and widespread attacks on the offices of INEC directly undermine the people’s right to vote, and the deprivation of the right to participation in a safe and secured environment would completely compromise the legitimacy of representative government.”
SERAP added that “Attacks on the offices of INEC are also happening in the face of reports of political repression of opposition parties by some state governors, and political violence including attacks by suspected political thugs during campaigns.”

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We Get Petrol At N200 Per Litre From Depots, IPMAN Cries Out

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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has decried the ‘unsustainable’ price that the private depot owners sell the premium motor spirit, otherwise known as petrol in the country.
Speaking, yesterday, on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, the Deputy National President of IPMAN, Zarama Mustapha, revealed that the private depots get petrol at the approved price of N148/litre from the sole importer of the commodity, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, however, sell it for as high as N195 to N210 to independent marketers, which is not sustainable.
“Though marketers get petrol at the approved price of N148/litre from NNPC depots, the company does not have enough storage facilities to cater to the needs of marketers, hence, the latter resorts to private depot owners. It is more of the issue of private depots collecting the products at the approved price and not selling to the independent marketers at a price approved by the mainstream, downstream regulatory authority.
“You cannot get a product at N195 to N200 and expect to sell it at N175,” he noted.
The IPMAN official said depot owners give excuses such as the cost of transporting the product from the mother vessel to their depots and escalation of the dollar as reasons for the price hike.
Mustapha lamented that most Lagos depots are in a chaotic situation and marketers spend three days to load refined petrol that they are not supposed to spend more than three hours to lift.
He urged the NNPC to engage depot owners to sell the product to marketers at the recommended price, saying the common man is at the receiving end.
For weeks, vehicle owners have had a tough time getting petrol from filling stations, especially in Lagos and Abuja.
Whilst many outlets are closed, the few open ones sell the indispensable commodity for as high as N250 per litre from the uniform price of N169/litre.
The supply shortage has led to long, gruelling snake-like queues at the few open filling stations as motorists and business owners jostle to buy fuel while others resort to the black market.
The situation has also worsened traffic on major roads as vehicle owners block at least one lane to join queues to filling stations.

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Make Nigerian Youths Innovative, Buhari Tells Corporate Leaders

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President Muhammadu Buhari has tasked leaders of corporate organisations to build the capacity of Nigerian youths to be innovative and embrace technology to make positive contributions to their organisations and the nation.
The president, represented by the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, said this at the Institute of Directors (IoD) 2022 Annual Director’s Conference (ADC), yesterday, in Lagos.
The ADC had as its theme: “Corporate Governance and Digital Transformation: Leading Purposefully for Growth and Sustainability.”
Buhari, noting that the challenges associated with corporate governance were multifaceted, stressed the need for heads of organisations to harness technology to achieve effective governance.
He reiterated the commitment of his administration to providing the necessary legal support and framework to support the entrenchment of good corporate governance practices across various sectors of the economy.
Buhari also pledged his commitment to supporting the IoD by giving the institute’s chartered bill the necessary consideration to enable it to achieve its mandate.
Deputy Secretary General, United Nations, Ms Amina Mohammed, said the world was hit by a series of global crises which have affected the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Mohammed said technology and digitalisation would set the era of digital transformation in areas of health, education, agriculture and finance.

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Nigeria Does Not Belong To North, Arewa Youths Tell Northern Elders

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The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) has said that Nigeria does not belong to the North ahead of the 2023 general election.
Apparently reacting to the recent interview granted by a member of the Northern Elders Forum, Alh Sani Zango Daura, in which he called on the North to support a Northern candidate.
The AYCF, in a statement issued by its National President, Yerima Shettima, noted that supporting a southerner was clearly a demonstration of justice.
He noted that this was because Nigeria does not belong to the North alone, or Muslims and Christians of the North, insisting that “even on moral grounds, the most responsible political action by the North was the decision on powershift in 2023, because the Presidency cannot be hereditary and Nigeria is not a Banana Republic”.
Shettima further said, however, that the elder was expressing his personal opinion and not the stand of the North in general, saying that a “ little balancing was needed in position of our father Zangon Daura, more so when he admitted that the elders are mere escorts for the younger generation today”.
The AYCF noted that when 13 Northern governors led by Kaduna State Governor, Mal Nasirel-Rufai endorsed a Southern candidate for the 2023 presidency, they repeatedly cited political justice.
“Though we are not card-carrying members of the APC, we shared the view that the decision was in line with being fair to the South in 2023.
“We are aware, as well as our father ZangonDaura, that the North is respected for honouring its promises to the South and this one absolutely undeniable character of all Northerners.
“We are not known to break promises and that explains why our son, President MuhammaduBuhari never objected to the idea of a Southern presidential candidate in the ruling party. In the North, like our father ZangonDaura knows, promises are sacred and in fact a culture”.
It would be recalled that in a viral audio of AlhajiZangonDaura while addressing a group of youths, suggested that they should throw their weight behind a fellow Northerner for the presidency in 2023, citing historic and religious instances, something the AYCF said it believed was “overtaken by events, current realities, and the spirit of justice and fairness in the Nigerian project”.

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