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2019: Britain cautions security agencies against intimidating voters

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By Olugbenga Salami

Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Great Britain, on Monday cautioned security agencies in Nigeria against intimidating the electorate while also being impartial before, during and after the elections.

Acting British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Harriet Thompson, who gave the warning in an interview with journalists after she visited the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki at the National Assembly complex, Abuja, said the choice of Nigerians must be allowed to prevail in the elections by all bodies participating in the process.

Thompson spoke 24 hours after the Britain issuing a joint statement with other world’s leading countries on the need for relevant stakeholders in Nigeria to get things right in the next year’s general elections.

She said aside the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, that is expected to be impartial, the security agencies should also be seen to be impartial as well.

According to her, issues surrounding the conduct of the elections and legislative interventions inform of required bills needed for improvement of welfare of Nigerians were discussed during her meeting with the Senate President.

“As far as we are concern, intimidation, vote-buying, that we saw in the recent governorship elections and the violence that we saw around party primaries are worrisome and we are urging all parties to refrain from that.

“We call again on the security agencies to remain impartial and to not interfere in the electoral process.

“We recall the important roles of INEC and they should ensure that these elections are generally fair and will lead to the outcome that the Nigerian people have chosen”, she said.

Thompson further stressed: “We are here at the National Assembly to draw attention to the statement released yesterday (Sunday) by the international community including the UK on the occasion of the beginning of formal campaign season.

“We drew attention to the fact that that as friends of Nigerians and maintaining our resolutely, objective position, we do not support any particular candidate or political party.

“We are strongly in support of a process that will be free, fair and credible, and that leads to the right outcome for Nigeria.

“We look forward to seeing the electoral parties set out their campaign issues and leading to transparent play so that the people of Nigeria can choose the candidates that will be best to them”.

Disclosing further on what transpired at the meeting she said “We met with the Senate President and the Majority Leader of the Senate (Senator Ahmad Lawan) in order to talk about very important legislative business that the National Assembly should undertake even before the elections and with the start of the official campaign period at the weekend.

“We are very pleased to hear from both the leader of the majority and the senate president that there is a great commitment to continue their important work. The bills that we particularly mentioned were the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, the Police Reform Bill, The Company and Allied Matters Act, the Gender Equality Bill and the Disability Bill.

“These are all bills that we believe would make things better for Nigerians, for their rights, for their opportunities and for economic development. So, we are really pleased that they will continue with their works.

Earlier at the meeting, Saraki assured the British envoy of National Assembly’ commitment to passing priority bills despite political campaigns that have started.

He said: “It is very important to emphasise that as far as we are concerned, we will follow through on the key bills. We will continue to work on these Bills, because they are priorities to the 8th National Assembly — these are Bills that were initiated by the legislative arm of government”.

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Metro

FG urged to declare state of emergency on federal roads, Senate tasks

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Disturbed by the deplorable conditions of road networks across the country, the Senate on Tuesday, charged the federal government to declare a state of emergency on all federal roads.
This was as the upper legislative chamber mandated  its Committees on Petroleum (Downstream), Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, FERMA and National Planning to investigate the Petroleum Products Price Regulatory Agency, PPPRA on the non-remittance of five percent user charge pump price of petrol.
Besides, the joint committees were also asked to investigate the non remittance of international vehicle transit charge accruing to FERMA and other established state roads maintenance agency.
These resolutions followed deliberations on a motion sponsored under Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate rule by Senator Geshom Bassey (PDP Cross River South)  who lamented the deplorable state of federal roads in the country.
Presenting the motion, Senator Basset expressed concern that several thousands of lives have been lost to road accidents due to bad and un-motorable roads, while bad portion of roads are safe haven for kidnappers and armed robbers on Nigerian highways.
Supporting the motion, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP Enugu North) said the state of the federal highways are highly deplorable and that urgent attention is needed especially within this budget cycle to do something drastic to address the situation.
Utazi said “and like you prayed that the PPPRA should release the fund for totally provided for FERMA to do  it’s job.
“Mr President, the raining season is just gradually coming to an end and this is the opportunity for FERMA to go and start rehabilitating our roads so that Nigerians can move freely.
“This period is also the time for harvest and in order to ensure that farmers that are in the hinterland get to the appropriate market to get adequate prices for their goods, we  have to make sure the roads are properly done.
“You also know that because we don’t have the rail lines that should be in place, most of the goods and services that we move from one place to the other are done through trucking and if you continue to do trucking, you know that the life span of any  major federal highway may not last long.
“This is a very important motion moved at the most appropriate time to get the desired attention and I’m standing here lending my support and full weigh to get that being done knowing fully well that those of us from the south east are the major complainants of the bad roads in this country and we hope that we get the desired attention from FERMA if  this motion scales through.”
In his remark, President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan said he believe that every part of the country suffers from this problem of deplorable  roads.
He expressed optimism that the  committees mandated to look into the matter will  swing into action and attend to the issue associated with this motion.
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Metro

SAD… Taraba INEC REC is dead

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The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, (REC) in Taraba State, Alhaji Baba Abba Yusuf, is dead.
INEC Secretary, Rose Oriarian-Anthony, said the REC died on Saturday night at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Borno State, where he had been on admission.
She said: “The Independent National Electoral Commission regrets to announce the death of the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Taraba State, Alhaji Baba Abba Yusuf.
“He died last (Saturday) night at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Borno State, where he was on admission for sometime.
He was buried today (Sunday) September 29 2019 at 4pm in Maiduguri.
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Transgender: Sade Adu’s daughter finally becomes a man (PHOTOS)

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Izaak and Mum

Sade’s transgender son has shared a heartfelt message of thanks to the soul singer, as he completes his transition from female to male.

Izaak Theo Adu, born Mickailia ‘Ila’ Adu, has spent the past six months in recovery after undergoing phalloplasty surgery, the reconstructive procedure typically undergone by transgender and non-binary people.

After returning home to his family, Izaak shared a sweet photo of himself hugging Sade, 60, along with a message praising the iconic singer for her unwavering support. In the Instagram post, Izaak wrote: ‘It’s been a long hard road but We did it!! We are coming home!!!! ‘Thank you for staying by my side these past 6 months Mumma. Thank you for fighting with me to complete the man I am. ‘Thank you for your encouragement when things are hard, for the love you give me. The purest heart. I love you so much. Queen of queens ♥️ #mumma #lioness #queen#iloveyou.’

Izaak is Sade’s only child from her former relationship with reggae music producer Bob Morgan.

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