Ogun Govt Officials Disrupt Trader Moni Disbursement

The planned disbursement of Trader Moni Scheme for petty traders Lafenwa Market in Abeokuta, Ogun State has been disrupted by suspected agents of the State Government.

Officials compiling the names of prospective beneficiaries at the stall of the Iyaloja, Alhaja Ramotalai Olatunji were forcibly dispersed by government agents.

The Trader Moni scheme is one of the National Social Investment Programmes of the federal government to support petty traders and encourage financial inclusion.

Details later…

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DSS Issues Disclaimer For Ex DG Lawal Daura

The Department of State Services (DSS) has issued a disclaimer for former Director-General Lawal Daura who was sacked in 2018, after mounting a blockade of the National Assembly.

In a statement on Tuesday by spokesman Peter Afunanya, the secret service agency warned that “any person or group that further engages him or his representatives/associates does so at their own peril”.

The service also debunked notions that Daura still remotely controlled its affairs.

Daura was sacked on August 7, 2018 by acting President Yemi Osinbajo, after sending hooded servicemen to block the National Assembly, an action that provoked national and international outrage.

Mr. Daura, 65 years old, was appointed by President Buhari on July 2, 2015.

President Buhari later appointed in September 2018, Yusuf Magaji Bichi as Daura’s replacement.

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Just In: President Buhari In Crucial Meeting With Service Chiefs, Others

President Muhammadu Buhari is currently meeting behind closed doors with the Service Chiefs including the National Security Adviser, NSA, and the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu at the State House, Abuja.

Also at the meeting are the Minister of Defence, Dan Monsur-Alli, Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, the Director General of Department of State Service (DSS) Yusuf Bichi and some other security heads.

The State Governors at the meeting who are mostly from the north include the Borno State, Kashim Shettina, Kaduna State, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, and Adamawa State, Jubrila Bindow.

Also present is the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha.

The agenda of the meeting was yet unknown but sources told Chronicle NG that the issue of ballot snatching is on the cards.

The meeting may also not be unconnected with the alleged killing in a Kaduna community at the eve of the botched Presidential and National Assembly elections and the perhaps the forthcoming elections.

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Declaring Maina Wanted ‘Unlawful’ – Court Tells EFCC

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has stopped the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from declaring the chairman of defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, wanted.

In a judgement delivered on Monday, Justice Guwa Ogunbanjo described the action of the anti-graft agency to declare Maina wanted as unlawful.

Mr. Maina had in a suit filed on September 5, 2018, prayed the court to determine whether the EFCC can lawfully exercise powers of declaring him as “wanted” on its official website or any other media platform, or by harassing him.

In addition, the former pension boss sought an order of perpetual injunction to restrain the commission from further harassing him or declaring him wanted in relation to the particulars and subject matter of this suit.

He prayed the court to order the EFCC, both jointly or severally, its staff, agents, privies, representatives, and any other person or related affiliates under whatever name or guise, to forthwith stay clear and remove his picture, name, references, addresses, details and other particulars from the wanted list published on the EFCC official website or any other related platform where ever it may be.

After counsels in the matter argued their briefs, Justice Ogunbanjo gave an order of perpetual Injunction restraining EFCC and its affiliates or related bodies from further declaring Maina ‘wanted” in relation to subject matter of the suit.

He also ruled that the action of placing Maina as “wanted” was unlawful, as it was an infringement on his fundamental human rights.

The judge said it was done without an order of a court of competent jurisdiction, as stipulated by sections 41 and 42 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.

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Report: Polls Shift: INEC Chairman, Yakubu, Compromised

There are indications that the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has been compromised in respect of conducting the 2019 general elections, impeccable sources have revealed.

The revelation came on the heels of the postponement of the elections by a week from Saturday, February 16 based on logistical challeges allegedly faced by the electoral commission occasioned by bad weather and sabotage.

However, there are misgivings and dissatisfaction within tjr political circle as there are accusations and counter-accusations between the two leading political parties – All Progressives Congresss (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

But the head of the commission may be acting a script as people in charge of relevant agencies responsible for INEC logistics have denied the logistics claim, saying the nation’s weather was good days to the scheduled day of the elections and the airports were ordered to operate 24 hours in order to deliver critical electoral materials across the country.

The Minister of State for Transportation (Aviation), Hadi Sirika and the leadership of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) have all put a lie to the INEC chairman’s claim of bad weather as one of the reasons for the election postponement.

Also, Prof Yakubu has been acting alone within the INEC structure, thereby sidelining the most experienced National Commissioners – Mr Lekki and Hajiya Amina Zakari – while working with a close knit group that has be compromised by the opposition.

“Professor Ibeano is said to be closely coordinating with Professor Chidi Odinkalu and indeed, the six-point plan of the INEC chairman was never discussed within INEC or with his commissioners,” one of the sources revealed.

It also been discovered that since the stakeholders meeting pf last Saturday, the chairman is yet to meet his team as the national commissioners were at home on Sunday despite efforts to keep the situation room open.

Insider sources confided in our reporter that the INEC chairman is working against the ruling APC, saying that the logistics issue and trying to hold elections without adequate preparations were designed to suppress APC votes and it took the insistence of some national commissioners, who are disposed to the fair conduct of the polls, to ensure the postponement was done in order to demobilise saboteurs.

“Initially, their goal was to force elections with shoddy logistics and announce results with high degree of low turnouts from APC strongholds.

“Interestingly, the INEC chairman has been sitting at the Abuja Airport since Friday. No one knows what he is clearing and for what. It means there is a possibility that alternative election materials are being cleared as all clearings have been concluded since and INEC is not using Abuja airport as major incoming hub. Indeed nothing can be done at airport that can’t be done elsewhere under these circumstances,” another source said.

Meanwhile, Prof Yakubu’s express pronouncement on Saturday that there is no more campaigns by the political parties is another cause for concern, as there are indications that it might be a kind of fait accompli regarding the election results.

“If he (INEC chairman) is not compromised, why will he do that? Campaigns can only stop 24 hours to the elections as specified by the Electoral Act. So, why he is going against the law if there is no deal with some people against others,” he added.

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Security Agencies Uncovers PDP’S Vote Buying Plan

Reports say that security agencies have discovered the plan by opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to deploy $3million (N1.8billion) to each state to induce voters.

The party is reported to have also co-opted former members of staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recruit loyal ad hoc staff for the elections.

Also, a member of the National Peace Committee, a body headed by former Head of State Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, has also discovered to be in the work plan of PDP.

The Nation reported that the cash was remitted before last Saturday’s postponement elections.

It reported that most state chapters were finding it difficult to change the dollars to naira because of the surveillance on Bureau De Change operators by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of State Services (DSS).

Also, the agencies have intercepted alleged compromise of some officers of INEC, policemen and other security agents in some states.

The intelligence report, including the alleged implication of a former top official of INEC, may be presented to the chairman of the electoral commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, by the security agencies.

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Revealed: How Saraki Masterminded Election Postponement

It has been revealed that the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki masterminded the postponement of the Presidential elections.

In a desperate move, Saraki is reported to have warned the INEC Chairman that if he was not going to furnish him with slots to nominate persons to sensitive INEC positions he would frustrate the passage of his budget.

A source close to the INEC Chairman disclosed that the National Assembly deliberately refused to touch INEC’s budget up until November 2018, knowing that his budget was to be sourced from borrowed funds.

“This plot was masterminded by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki to perfect the rigging plans of the PDP, either by having his way with his nominees or by delaying the elections and frustrating INEC.” the source revealed.

It is recalled that funds were not disbursed until December 2018, this made things difficult for INEC which had to import some of its electoral materials.

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Election Postponement: APC To Resume Campaign Till Thursday

Aftermath of the postponement of the general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has said it will resume campaign nationwide.

National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomole, stated this today at a meeting of the party’s Caucus meeting in Abuja.

Recall that INEC had warned against the continuation of campaign after announcing postponement.

Oshiomhole, however said that the electoral management body does not have the power of making laws and cannot on its own amend the law by asking parties not to campaign after shifting the election.

He said the APC and its members nationwide will continue in their campaign till Thursday this week as provides for by the Electoral Act and will be prepared to meet the commission in court.

He also accused the commission of failing to take concrete action against some of its officials accused of taking side with certain political parties.

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Election Postponement: A ‘Rude Shock’ Says Wike

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has described the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the general election as a rude shock to the country.

The governor, at a church service on Sunday in Port Harcourt, called on the international community to continue to put pressure on the authorities to do what is right in the interest of the nation.

Describing himself as a member of the “Nigeria Must Be Better” group, Governor Wike called on Nigerians to come out with renewed determination to participate in the polls on February 23 and March 9.

“This week you are coming in, come with all amount of energy and say, ‘truly Nigeria must be better,” the governor admonished his audience.

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Gunmen Kill Four NDLEA Officers In Ondo

Unknown gunmen have shot dead four officers of the Ondo state command of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at a checkpoint near Ifon area on Owo/Benin City Road.

The incident occurred on Sunday evening at the checkpoint located at lkaro/ Sabo axis of the Owo/Benin City highway.

The gunmen numbering three and suspected to be Indian hemp dealers, came on motorcycle with AK 47 rifles and shot five NDLEA officers on duty at the checkpoint, but one of the agency’s operatives escaped from the scene.

Confirming the incident, the NDLEA Commander in Ondo state, Mr Haruna Gagara said no arrest had been made, but disclosed that the agency with other security agents were on the trail of the suspected criminals.

The Commander lamented that the gunmen also set ablaze the NDLEA official vehicle at the scene and escaped with the deceased service rifles.

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INEC Meets Over Ban On Campaign

Following the opposition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) ban on electioneering during the one week extension of poll, the commission will meet today to review the restriction.

INEC, according to its national chairman’s Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, would meet to review its position and decide whether or not to reopen campaigns.

The two leading parties have argued that the commission’s restriction has no basis in law.

The PDP also alleged that fresh facts have confirmed that officials of the federal government and the APC have been sabotaging INEC in a well-orchestrated plot to engineer staggered presidential election, contrary to simulated stance by the presidency and the party’s National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole.

The main opposition party also urged the electoral body to rescind its decision on the suspension of campaigns by political parties, a position backed by the Director of Strategic Communications of the ruling party’s Presidential Campaign Council, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, who described as illegal, the decision of INEC not to allow political parties to engage in further campaigns, despite the postponement of the presidential election to Saturday.

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Statement By President Buhari On The Postponement Of General Elections By INEC

I am deeply disappointed that despite the long notice given and our preparations both locally and internationally, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) postponed the Presidential and National Assembly elections within hours of its commencement.

Many Nigerians have traveled to various locations to exercise their right to vote, and international observers are gathered.

INEC themselves have given assurances, day after day and almost hour after hour that they are in complete readiness for the elections. We and all our citizens believed them.

This administration has ensured that we do not interfere in any way with the work of INEC except to ensure that all funds were released to the commission.

We now urge INEC to ensure not only that materials already distributed are safe and do not get into wrong hands, but that everything is done to avoid the lapses that resulted in this unfortunate postponement, and ensure a free and fair election on the rescheduled dates.

While I reaffirm my strong commitment to the independence, neutrality of the electoral umpire and the sanctity of the electoral process and ballot, I urge all political stakeholders and Nigerians to continue to rally round INEC at this trying national moment in our democratic journey.

I, therefore, appeal to all Nigerians to refrain from all civil disorder and remain peaceful, patriotic and united to ensure that no force or conspiracy derail our democratic development.

I have decided to move back to Abuja to ensure that the 14.00 hrs meeting called by INEC with all stakeholders is successful.

Muhammadu Buhari

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