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INEC to Announce Elections Programme on Friday



INEC-PVC- Investors King
  • INEC to Announce Elections Programme on Friday

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced the registration of 23 new parties ahead of the 2019 general election.

The number of registered parties is now 91. Before the parties announced yesterday, there were 68 political parties.

INEC has extended the deadline for the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise by two weeks. The registration, which was scheduled to end on August 17, will now be suspended on August 31.

INEC will on Friday give parties the go-ahead to kick start electioneering processes.

The decisions were reached at the weekly INEC management meeting, chaired by the commission’s boss, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.

Announcing the decision reached at the end of the meeting through a statement, Mohammed Kudu Haruna, national commissioner and member, Voter Education & Publicity Committee, said the new parties scaled through the rigorous screening.

According to him, 144 applications were received from which 23 were certified to have met the criteria for registration as parties.

The statement reads: “The commission approved the registration of 23 new parties. It received 144 applications from political associations seeking registration as political parties. After a rigorous process of evaluation in accordance with the Constitution and Electoral Act, which included assessment of the constitutions and manifestos of the intending parties and verification of membership of their executive committees and offices, the 23 associations met the requirements and so have been registered as political parties.

“This brings the number of parties to 91 and will be the last round of registration of parties until after the general election on February 16, 2019. This suspension is in line with Section 78 (1) of the Electoral Act, which requires applications for registration as a political party to be concluded latest six months to a general election.

“The newly registered parties will receive their Certificates of Registration from the Commission on Thursday, August 16, 2018 at the commission’s headquarters.”

On the issuance of Notice of Elections, he said: “On the 9th of January 2018, the commission issued the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 General Election. The first of 14 activities in that timetable is the issuance of Notice of Election, which is scheduled for Friday, August 17, 2018 in accordance with Section 30 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended). This activity kick-starts the countdown to the 2019 general election.”

On extension of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), INEC said: “In order to have enough time to clean up the provisional register and print the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) in good time for the general election, the commission, after consultation with stakeholders, decided to suspend the exercise with effect from August 17, to resume after the elections. However, many Nigerians have appealed to the commission to extend the exercise. Consequently, the commission has decided to extend the CVR to August 31. The exercise will continue in all the designated registration centres everyday, including weekends, but excluding public holidays, between 9am and 5pm.”

Haruna said 12, 139,061 million new voters have been added to the voter register in the new dispensation, which started on April 27.

He told the public that the ongoing collection of PVCs will not end with the CVR exercise. “Collection of PVCs will continue until close to the general election.”

The 23 parties and their acronyms are: Advanced Alliance Party, AAP; Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party, ANDP; African Action Congress, AAC; Alliance for a United Nigeria, AUN; Alliance of Social Democrats, ASD; Alliance National Party, ANP; Allied People’s Movement, APM; Alternative Party of Nigeria, APN; Change Nigeria Party, CNP; Congress of Patriots, COP; Liberation Movement, LM; Movement for Restoration and Defence of Democracy, MRDD; Nigeria Community Movement Party, NCMP; Nigeria for Democracy, NFD; Peoples Coalition Party, PCP; Reform and Advancement Party, RAP; Save Nigeria Congress, SNC; United Patriots, UP; United Peoples Congress, UPC; We The People Nigeria, WTPN; YES Electorates Solidarity, YES ;Youth Party ,YP and Zenith Labour Party, ZLP.

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EFCC Declares Former Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello, Wanted Over N80.2 Billion Money Laundering Allegations



Yahaya Bello

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has escalated its pursuit of justice by declaring former Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, wanted over alleged money laundering amounting to N80.2 billion.

In a first-of-its-kind action, the EFCC announced Bello’s wanted status in connection with the alleged embezzlement of funds during his tenure as governor.

The commission, armed with a 19-count criminal charge, accused Bello and his cohorts of conspiring to launder the hefty sum, which was purportedly diverted from state coffers for personal gain.

The declaration of Bello as a wanted fugitive came after a series of failed attempts by the EFCC to effect his arrest.

Despite an ex-parte order from Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court, Abuja, mandating the EFCC to apprehend and produce Bello in court for arraignment, the former governor managed to evade capture with the reported assistance of his successor, Governor Usman Ododo.

This latest development shows the challenges faced by law enforcement agencies in holding powerful individuals accountable for their actions.

However, it also demonstrates the unwavering commitment of the EFCC to uphold the rule of law and ensure that justice is served, irrespective of the status or influence of the accused.

In response to the EFCC’s declaration, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, issued a stern warning to Bello, stating that fleeing from the law would not resolve the allegations against him.

Fagbemi urged Bello to honor the EFCC’s invitation and cooperate with the investigation process, saying it is important to uphold the rule of law and respect the authority of law enforcement agencies.

The EFCC’s pursuit of Bello underscores the agency’s mandate to combat corruption and financial crimes, sending a strong message that individuals implicated in corrupt practices will be held accountable for their actions.

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Concerns Mount Over Security as National Identity Card Issuance Shifts to Banks



NIMC enrolment

Amidst the National Identity Management Commission’s (NIMC) recent announcement that the issuance of the proposed new national identity card will be facilitated through applicants’ respective banks, concerns are escalating regarding the security implications of involving financial institutions in the distribution process.

The federal government, in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS), introduced a new identity card with payment functionality, aimed at streamlining access to social and financial services.

However, the decision to utilize banks as distribution channels has sparked apprehension among industry stakeholders.

Mr. Kayode Adegoke, Head of Corporate Communications at NIMC, clarified that applicants would request the card by providing their National Identification Number (NIN) through various channels, including online portals, NIMC offices, or their respective banks.

Adegoke emphasized that the new National ID Card would serve as a single, multipurpose card, encompassing payment functionality, government services, and travel documentation.

Despite NIMC’s assurances, concerns have been raised regarding the necessity and security implications of introducing a new identity card system when an operational one already exists.

Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, President of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, questioned the rationale behind the new General Multipurpose Card (GMPC), citing NIMC’s existing mandate to issue such cards under Act No. 23 of 2007.

Ogunbanjo highlighted the successful implementation of MobileID by NIMC, which has provided identity verification for over 15 million individuals.

He expressed apprehension about integrating the new ID card with existing MobileID systems and raised concerns about data privacy and unauthorized duplication of ID cards.

Moreover, stakeholders are seeking clarification on the responsibilities for card blocking, replacement, and delivery in case of loss or theft, given the involvement of multiple parties, including banks, in the issuance process.

The shift towards utilizing banks for identity card issuance raises fundamental questions about data security, privacy, and the integrity of the identification process.

With financial institutions playing a pivotal role in distributing sensitive government documents, there are valid concerns about potential vulnerabilities and risks associated with this approach.

As the debate surrounding the security implications of the new national identity card continues to intensify, stakeholders are calling for greater transparency, accountability, and collaboration between government agencies and financial institutions to address these concerns effectively.

The paramount importance of safeguarding citizens’ personal information and ensuring the integrity of the identity verification process cannot be overstated, especially in an era of increasing digital interconnectedness and heightened cybersecurity threats.

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Israeli President Declares Iran’s Actions a ‘Declaration of War’



Israel Gaza

Israeli President Isaac Herzog has characterized the recent series of attacks from Iran as nothing short of a “declaration of war” against the State of Israel.

This proclamation comes amidst escalating tensions between the two nations, with Iran’s aggressive actions prompting serious concerns within Israel and the international community.

The sequence of events leading to Herzog’s grave assessment began with a barrage of 300 ballistic missiles and drones launched by Iran towards Israel over the weekend.

While the Israeli defense forces managed to intercept a significant portion of these projectiles, the sheer scale of the assault sent shockwaves through the region.

President Herzog’s assertion of war was underscored by Israel’s careful consideration of its response options and ongoing discussions with its global partners.

The gravity of the situation prompted the convening of the G7, where member nations reaffirmed their commitment to Israel’s security, recognizing the severity of Iran’s actions.

However, the United States, a key ally of Israel, took a nuanced stance. President Joe Biden conveyed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that, given the limited casualties and damage resulting from the attacks, the US would not support retaliatory strikes against Iran.

This position, though strategic, reflects a delicate balancing act in maintaining stability in the volatile Middle East region.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian cautioned against further escalation, emphasizing the potential for heightened tensions and provocative acts to exacerbate the situation.

In response to the escalating crisis, the Nigerian government issued a call for restraint, urging both Iran and Israel to prioritize peaceful resolution and diplomatic efforts to ease tensions.

This appeal reflects the broader international consensus on the need to prevent further escalation and mitigate the risk of a wider conflict in the Middle East.

As Israel grapples with the implications of Iran’s aggressive actions and weighs its response options, President Herzog reiterated Israel’s commitment to peace while emphasizing the need to defend its people.

Despite calls for restraint from global allies, Israel remains vigilant in safeguarding its security amidst the growing threat posed by Iran’s belligerent behavior.

The coming days are likely to be critical as Israel navigates the complexities of its response while international efforts intensify to defuse the escalating tensions between Iran and Israel.

The specter of war looms large, underscoring the urgency of diplomatic engagement and concerted efforts to prevent further escalation in the region.

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