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BREAKING: INEC To Reschedule Elections In Lagos, Rivers, Anambra Over Violence and Ballot Box Snatching Allegations

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The Independent National Electoral Commission, on Saturday, said that it would reschedule elections in some parts of Rivers, Anambra and Lagos States where there were cases of violence and ballot box snatching.

The commission which specifically mentioned the National Assembly elections in Rivers State, also acknowledged the challenges of smart card readers, saying they have been resolved.

INEC Commissioner and chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, while giving an update on the ongoing elections, said where the malfunctioning of smart card readers were not resolved before the closing of elections, voting will continue the next day.

He said, “We received reports of violence and ballot box snatching which took place in Akokotoro and Bonny LGAs in Rivers State; and some parts of Lagos and Anambra states. We are waiting for the reports, we have told the Resident Electoral Commissioners in the states to submit reports. So long as the poll is didn’t commence, it is assumed that there was no voting.

“So, elections in these areas, especially in areas related to the House of Representatives and Senate didn’t take place and the date for the election will be decided later after we receive reports from INEC officials on ground.”

The commission also said that most of the challenges association with smart card readers were resolved on time.

Okoye also threatened that any INEC official who deliberately refused to make use of the smart card readers would be prosecuted because that action contravened the electoral guidelines and provisions of the Electoral Act.

He said, “It was made clear that the use of smart card reader is mandatory. Therefore any official of the commission who will deliberately refuse to use the smart card reader will be subject to prosecution.

“The challenges of smart card readers have been resolved. But where they are not resolved before the closing of elections, the election will continue the next day.”

He also explained that all the unused ballot papers will be cancelled immediately after election.”

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‘I’m Not Owing Workers Any Dime’ —- Yahaya Bello Speaks After Election Victory

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Kogi State Governor-Elect, Yahaya Bello, on Tuesday, rubbished claims that he was owing salaries, stressing that such were “lies.”

Bello said his administration met salary backlog owed workers in the state, but insisted that his administration was not owing workers.

The governor-elect, who said this while featuring on Channels Television, also alleged that thugs of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, stabbed a resident after he was declared the winner of Saturday’s election.

Bello also alleged that the wife of his deputy was also shot after he emerged winner of the election.

He said: “All these reports of me owing salaries are lies. Past governors of Kogi State were owning salaries starting from Audu to my immediate predecessor. Kogi state is not owning any dime at the state level, what is left is the ten percent from the previous government.

“As for El-Rufai kneeling, he was begging that Kogi people should forgive Bello for ensuring security and ensuring the state was peaceful and not because he could not pay salaries.”

On the claim of people being killed during the election, Bello said: “After I was declared winner, a PDP thug stabbed somebody and ran into the house of their women leader but he was caught and dealt with.

“My deputy governor-elect’s wife was shot at but thank God she didn’t die, the police are looking into it and would bring the culprits to book.”

Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had on Monday declared Governor Yahaya Bello of the All Progressives Congress, APC, winner of the Saturday’s governorship election in the state.

INEC’s Returning Officer in the state, Prof. Ibrahim Garuba had declared Bello winner after polling 406,222 votes to defeat his closest rival, Musa Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who scored 189,704 votes.

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Falana Seeks Death Penalty For Corrupt Politicians

Peter Okunoren

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Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, has asked the National Assembly to make laws that will pronounce the death penalty for corruption perpetrated by politically exposed persons.

Mr. Falana while reacting in a statement to the hate speech bill currently debated by lawmakers described it as an encroachment on the legislative autonomy of the state governments.

A bill to establish a National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech, sponsored by Senator Abdullahi Sabi, was introduced on the floor of the Senate on November 12 and has generated reactions across the country.

The bill proposes that any person, who commits an offense deemed as hate speech, shall be liable to life imprisonment and where the act causes any loss of life, the person shall be punished with death by hanging.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), explained that the National Assembly has no power to exercise such power because Hate Speech is not covered in the Exclusive Legislative and Concurrent Legislative Lists.

“Since we are operating a federal system of government the supreme court of Nigeria had declared in a number of cases that the national assembly lacks the constitutional powers to make laws outside its legislative competence, which are by implication residual matters meant for the houses of assembly of the states. Certainly, the hate speech bill is an attempt to encroach on the legislative autonomy of the state governments.

“However, it is pertinent to point out that the Penal Code and Criminal Code applicable in the northern and southern states respectively, have made provisions for hate speech because it is a state offence.

“Hence, the house of assembly of each of the state has enacted laws against incitement, false accusation, sedition and criminal defamation.”

Mr Falana decried the move, urging the sponsors of the bill to uphold the decision of Nigeria’s founding fathers who created a constitution that guarantees freedom of speech.

“The decision of the founding fathers of this present constitution which guarantees freedom of speech which must include freedom to criticize should be praised and any attempt to derogate from it except as provided in the Constitution must be resisted. Those in public office should not be intolerant of criticism. Where a writer exceeds the bounds there should be a resort to the law of libel where the plaintiff must of necessity put his character and reputation in issue.

“Finally, while the leaders of the national assembly may want to advise the legislature in each of the states of the federation to review the applicable penal statutes to review the provisions on hate speech we are compelled to urge the few bloodthirsty legislators in the national assembly to amend the anti-graft laws to provide death penalty for grand corruption perpetrated by politically exposed persons to the detriment of development in the country.”

He added that even though the bill is sponsored by a member of the House of Representatives, it has been adopted by the Buhari-led Federal Government.

He maintained that the constitutional validity of the Bill will be challenged in the Federal High Court if it is passed by the national assembly and assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.

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Thugs On Rampage In Kogi, Burn PDP Woman Leader Alive In Her Home

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Hours after Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State was announced the winner of the November 16 election, on Monday, thugs believed to be working for a popular party burnt alive the Woman Leader of Wada/Aro Campaign Council of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ochadamu Ward, Mrs. Acheju Abuh.

She was burnt alive in her home.

Chanting solidarity and victory songs, the thugs, according to neighbours, arrived at her house around 2:10 pm, “surrounded the place, poured petrol all over the house and set it on fire”.

They ensured that the woman never escaped from the house while it was burning.

Some neighbours said they watched in hiding as the thugs set the house on fire.

One of them said: “She tried to escape through a window but was prevented by the burglary-proof.

The thugs were also shooting in the direction of all the windows and doors so that she would not escape from the fire.

“She was shouting inside but there was nothing we could do as many of us could not go outside to challenge the thugs. We tried calling the police, but nobody responded. She was screaming inside until her voice could no longer be heard. When the thugs saw that the house was almost burnt to ashes, they left, shooting”.

Spokesman and Head Communications, Wada/Aro Campaign Council, Faruk Adejoh-Audu, confirmed the killing.

He said it was unfortunate that the woman was killed in a gruesome manner for no reason at all.

He appealed to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, to ensure the arrest of the killers.

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