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INEC Raises Fresh Security Alerts Over 2023 Poll …Urges Media To Avoid ‘Breaking News’ Syndrome

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has raised fresh concerns over security challenges confronting next year’s general elections.
It also disclosed that it would immediately publish summary of guidelines on finances and election expenses of parties and candidates and release the summary highlighting the legal provisions governing the conduct of political rallies, processions and campaigns.
INEC’s Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, made the revelation at the stakeholders forum organised by the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room in Abuja, yesterday.
“Arising from our experience in previous elections, the commission has expanded the scope of collaboration to include the marine union for the riverine areas. Very soon, the revised MoU will be signed with the service providers to cover both land and maritime transportation.
“However, there are four broad areas that Nigerians would like to receive assurances of the progress the commission is making and challenges (if any) being encountered. They are security, campaign finance, technology, the Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) and assurances that their votes will count on Election Day.
“On security, the commission has said repeatedly that it is an area of concern. The commission has the responsibility to conduct elections. However, securing the environment for the deployment of personnel and materials as well as the peaceful conduct of elections is a shared responsibility involving the security agencies, the political actors and their supporters, the media and all other critical stakeholders.
“The perennial insecurity in the country is a source for concern. This existing challenge is compounded by the unfortunate incidents of attacks on campaigns, rallies and processions across all political parties.
“Although the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 and the Commission’s Regulations and Guidelines for Political Parties are clear, the commission has found it necessary to remind political parties, candidates and their supporters on the provisions of the law and their responsibilities.
“Accordingly, on Thursday, November 24, 2022, the commission will release a summary highlighting the legal provisions governing the conduct of political rallies, processions and campaigns. This will be uploaded to our website and social media platforms.
“Beyond the provisions of the law, the commission held an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in the wake of the recent condemnable attacks on our Local Government offices in Ogun and Osunstates. Far-reaching resolutions were arrived at, including the deployment of joint security teams to our facilities nationwide.
“Beyond that, the Inspector General of Police summoned an extraordinary meeting with leaders of political parties on the imperative of peaceful campaigns. We will continue to follow up on that bold step in our engagement with political parties and other critical stakeholders.
“Turning to campaign finance, the commission is determined to tackle the matter frontally. Areas of violation include party and candidate expenditure beyond what is provided by law and the diabolical practice of vote buying at polling units on Election Day. Here again, the commission will on Thursday (yesterday), publish a summary of the guidelines on finances and election expenses of parties and candidates.
“Beyond that, we are mobilising every national institution with the responsibility for tracking and combating the illicit flow of funds as well as the broadcast and print media regulatory agencies to confront the problem head-on. The details of this will be unveiled shortly.
“On technology, the Electoral Act 2022 requires the commission to deploy technology on Election Day for voter accreditation and the upload of polling unit results to the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal. These processes will be achieved through the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS). I wish to reassure Nigerians that the BVAS has come to stay as the only means of voter accreditation.
“There will be no incident form on election day. Results from polling units will be uploaded to the IReV portal in real-time. Nigerians will view the results as they are uploaded.
“For the last two years beginning from August 2020, the commission has published results direct from polling units in 105 off-cycle Governorship and bye-elections in real-time and the results can still be viewed on the IReV portal.
“The 2023 General Election will not be different. There is no truth in any insinuation to the contrary. This should put to rest the erroneous notion that Nigerians will not have the opportunity to view polling unit results uploaded by Presiding Officers in real-time on Election Day.
“On the collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) for fresh registrations in 2022 as well as applicants for transfer to other polling units and the replacement of damaged or lost cards, we wish to assure Nigerians that the commission will soon release the timelines and procedure for the collection of PVCs.
“With the ongoing display of the register for claims and objections, the commission considered it appropriate to conclude the process so that the cards will not be in the hands of ineligible registrants who may attempt to use them during the election.
“We understand the anxiety of Nigerians to collect their PVCs and appeal for a little patience as we speedily conclude the necessary safeguards for a transparent process. The cleaning up of the voters’ register is critical to elections. We have been transparent in making the register available both online and manual copies in 9,583 locations nationwide (8,809 Wards and 774 Local Government Areas) for scrutiny by citizens as required by law.
“The voters’ register is the largest database of citizens in Nigeria. Like all databases of this size, it cannot be perfect. However, the commission believes that Nigerians are the real owners of the voters’ register.
“They are therefore in a best position to point out ineligible persons on the register, including deceased persons that will help the commission to improve on this critical national asset. I want to reassure you that based on the observations made by Nigerians; we will dutifully clean up the register ahead of the election.”
Similarly, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called on all media organisations in Nigeria to avoid the ‘breaking news’ syndrome in their reportage as the 2023 general election draws nearer.
The National Chairman of the commission, Prof. MahmoodYakubu, made the call in Bauchi, yesterday, during a one-day capacity-building programme for journalists on conflict-sensitive reporting and the 2023 general election.
Organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and INEC, the programme was for journalists in the North Eastern part of the country.
Yakubu, represented by AlhajiNasir Mohammed, said that the tendency for the ‘breaking news’ syndrome could result in dishing out unverified or not properly processed information to the general public.
He said the media must be circumspect in casting headlines and avoid sensational headlines “because sometimes, people look at the headlines and draw conclusions without looking at the body of the report.
“The media must avoid deliberate falsehood. They must also avoid tilting of stories towards religious, zonal and ethnic narratives,” he said.
Yakubu assured that INEC would continue to partner with the media not only as key stakeholders in the electoral process but also as a veritable tool for combating misinformation, fake news and malicious falsehood in society.
Also speaking, the National President, NUJ, Chief Chris Isiguzo, represented by the National Secretary of the union, Mr ShuaibuLiman, said if there was going to be a Third World War, it would start from social media.
He added that as media professionals, journalists need to be careful about carelessly jumping on the bandwagon of emergency journalism which thrives in canvassing support for the political parties of their sentiments using social media.
“Journalists must avoid hate journalism and fake news as these evils can destroy a society.
“The advent of multimedia technology has changed the pattern and flow of communication, globally and since journalism is in the business and practice of communication, it has also impacted people tremendously”, he said.
Also, a human rights lawyer, EffiongInihebe, has disclosed that the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System(BVAS), an electronic means of reading Permanent Voter Cards(PVCs) and accreditation of voters, would guarantee free and fair elections in 2023.
Inihebe made this known on his official Twitter handle while reacting to the comment credited to the All Progressives Party Congress (APC), Chairman AbdullahiAdamu, stating that Nigeria is not ready for the use of BVAS.
Reacting to Adamu’s comment, Inihebe said: “The enemies of democracy and credible elections are unveiling themselves in the most shameful way. Adamu is telling us that they are scared of BVAS. Clearly, election riggers are terrified. If INEC succumbs to this evil agenda, we can kiss free and fair elections in 2023 goodbye.”
The Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, Chairman MahmoodYakubu, a week ago, assured Nigerians that there is no going back on the use of the BVAS and Result Viewing Portal (IReV) for the forthcoming elections.
The BVAS was used in the Ekiti and Osun elections which took place on June 18 and July 16, 2022, respectively.

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NAFDAC Alerts Nigerians To EU Ban On Dex Soap

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The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has alerted Nigerians on the ban on Dex Luxury Bar Soap (No 6 Mystic Flower), by the European Union (EU).
The notification is contained in a public alert with No. 012/2024, signed by NAFDAC Director-General, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, and issued to newsmen in Abuja yesterday.
“The product does not comply with the cosmetic products regulation; it also contains Butyphenyl Methylpropional (BMHCA), which is prohibited in cosmetic products due to its risk of harming the reproductive system.
“It also causes harm to the health of unborn children and may cause skin sensitisation.
“It is as a result of the defective nature of the product that the EU banned it.
“The products is not in NAFDAC database; importers, distributors, retailers and consumers are to exercise caution and vigilance within the supply chain,” she said.
NAFDAC boss urged marketers and consumers to avoid the importation, distribution, sale and use of the product, stressing that product’s authenticity and physical condition must be carefully checked.
She enjoined members of the public in possession of the product to discontinue sale or use, and submit stock to the nearest NAFDAC office.

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Communities, Volunteers Ready To Face Upcoming Floods – Red Cross

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The Country Manager of the British Red Cross in Nigeria, Karsten Voigt, says communities and volunteers are ready to face the challenges expected with the upcoming floods.
Voigt said this at the sidelines of the 56th Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS), Lagos Branch.
The Tide’s source recalls that the British Red Cross donated resilience items to some communities in December 2023, to help mitigate the effects of flooding.
The items included cash, rain boots, rain coats, mosquito nets, handheld flashlights, solar powered lights with radio, USB chargers and a bridge to link the communities.
The communities that benefited included Agboyi 1, Agboyi 2, Agboyi 3 and Odo Ogun in Kosofe Local Government Area of the state.
Voigt said the Red Cross had measured the impact of the project in the communities and noticed that a lot of progress had been made.
According to him, apart from the cash and items given to the communities, simulation exercises have also been carried out to prepare the volunteers ahead of the floods.
“We have seen that people used the cash to address immediate needs they have after floods.
“Many households have used part of the cash to build up businesses.
“The solutions we have given to them are not only addressing their immediate needs after the disaster but actually building family income for their future,” he said.

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Nimet Forecasts Three-Day Sunshine, Thunderstorms

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The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted sunshine and thunderstorm from Monday to Wednesday across the country.
NiMet’s weather outlook released yesterday in Abuja, forecasts sunny skies on Monday with a few patches of cloud over the northern cities and prospects of thunderstorms over parts of Taraba later in the day.
According to the forecast, sunny skies with patches of clouds are expected over the North Central region with prospects of morning thunderstorm over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasarawa, Kogi and Kwara States.
“Later in the day, isolated thunderstorms are anticipated over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Kogi and Benue States.
“The southern region is expected to be cloudy with spells of sunshine with prospects of morning thunderstorms over parts of Oyo, Ekiti, Ogun, Ondo and Lagos States.
“ In the afternoon/evening periods, isolated thunderstorms are expected over parts of Enugu, Ebonyi, Abia, Ekiti, Ogun, Imo, Oyo, Ondo, Edo, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Rivers, Lagos and Bayelsa States,” it said.
NiMet also anticipated sunny skies on Tuesday with few patches of cloud over the northern states with prospects of isolated thunderstorms envisaged over parts of Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba and Kaduna States during the afternoon and evening hours.
It envisaged the North Central region to be sunny with patches of cloud during the morning hours.
The agency also envisaged isolated thunderstorms over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kogi, Benue, Kwara and Niger States, later in the day.
“Cloudy atmosphere with intervals of sunshine is expected over the inland and coastal areas of the South, with chances of morning thunderstorm over parts of Cross River, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Rivers States.
“In the afternoon/evening periods, isolated thunderstorms are anticipated over parts of Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Imo, Anambra, Enugu, Abia, Oyo, Edo, Delta, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Rivers and Bayelsa States ,” it said.
It predicted a sunny atmosphere on Wednesday, with patches of cloud over the northern region, during the forecast period.
“Sunny skies with patches of clouds are expected over the North Central region with chances of isolated thunderstorms over parts of Plateau, Kogi, Nasarawa, the Federal Capital Territory and Benue States, during the afternoon/evening periods.
“ Cloudy atmosphere with intervals of sunshine is expected over the inland and coastal areas of the South with prospects of thunderstorms over parts of Anambra, Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi and Abia.”
Other states to experience cloudy atmosphere, are “Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Ogun, Oyo, Cross River, Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Delta and Bayelsa States, later in the day.”
NiMet urged the public to take adequate precaution as strong winds might precede rains in areas where thunderstorms were likely to occur.
The agency also urged airline operators to get updated weather reports and forecasts from its office for effective planning in their operations.

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