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INEC Conducts Lagos Supplementary Poll Saturday

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Lagos State on Thursday met with various security agencies in the state to ensure successful supplementary election in Ajeromi-Ifelodun Federal Constituency on Saturday.

INEC Spokesman, Femi Akinbiyi, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) after the meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) that the commission was ready to conclude the exercise.

NAN reports that the meeting, held at the INEC Office, Sabo-Yaba, had representatives of various security outfits including the Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in attendance.

Others at the meeting were representatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the Department of State Security (DSS), the Nigerian Army, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

Mr Akinbiyi said the security agents had given assurance that there would be safety of men and materials for the election.

He said: “The commission is fully prepared for Saturday April 27 supplementary election in Ajeromi-Ifelodun Federal Constituency.

“Today, we held an Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) meeting on the issue, and at the end of the meeting, they (security agencies) assured the people of the affected area that there is going to be adequate security of men and materials for the elections.

“As such, people in the constituency should come out en masse and vote for the candidate of their choice,” Mr Akinbiyi told NAN.

According to him, the supplementary election becomes imperative due to the margin of lead between the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and that of the All Progressives Congress in the February 23 election.

“As a result of the court order that directed the commission to release the result of the election conducted on February 23, the commission declared the result on April 17 and the election was declared inconclusive.

“This was because there were anomalies, over voting and non-compliance to the use of smart card readers in some polling units in the area.

“We have 71 polling units where the elections were cancelled for reason of over voting and violence,” he said.

These, he said, cut across eight registration areas (Wards), with the total registered voters in the affected areas being 43, 660.

According to him, the materials for the poll are in the custody of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and will be retrieved on Friday for onward movement to the constituency, then to the Registration Area Centres (RACs).

“We will retrain some of the ad hoc staff that will be engaged for the poll same Friday at the RACs. The smart card readers that will be used for the area have been reconfigured,” the Public Relations Officer said.

According to the commission, the affected areas are: Ward 02, Awodi Ora with three polling units; Ward 03, Wilmer with six polling units; Ward 04, Olodi with one polling unit and Ward 05, Tolu with 27 polling units.

Others are: Ward 07, Ojo Road with two polling units; Ward 09, Alaba-Oro with two polling units, Ward 10, Mosafejo with 18 polling units and Ward 11, Temidire 2 with 12 polling units.

The PDP candidate, Rita Orji polled 31, 982 votes, while Kolawole Taiwo of the APC scored 28, 758 votes in the result declared by the commission for the February 23 election.

The difference between PDP and APC is 3,224.

(NAN)

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Nigeria Outlines Nine Focal Areas to Guide Foreign Policy in Next Four Years

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Nigeria has identified nine priority areas that would guide its foreign policy actions in the next four years.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, made this known in Abuja while briefing members of the diplomatic corps on the priorities of the Nigerian government.

The priority areas include building a striving sustainable economy; enlarging agricultural output, food security and export; as well as attaining energy sustenance and power.

Others include expanding transport and other infrastructural products; expanding business growth entrepreneurship and industrialisation; expanding access to quality education, affordable healthcare and productivity of Nigeria; enhancing social inclusion, reducing poverty; fighting corruption; as well as improving governance and security for all.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in the first term of the present administration, the government’s priority was in three key areas, namely: fighting corruption, tackling insecurity, and job creation.

He said Nigeria’s foreign policy would henceforth be realistic in terms of reflecting the domestic reality of putting “Nigeria First”.

“We promote within the African Union (AU) good governance, democracy, and protection of human rights.

“We are not in any kind of conflict with any country in the whole world and we have excellent relations with every member state of AU and UN.

“We believe firmly that peaceful coexistence and security are pre-conditions for economic development and prosperity.

“We believe that the UN and multilateralism are forces for good.

“We strongly support the UN, although we call for its reform especially to increase the number of its permanent members in its security council to include at least three African countries with veto powers,” he added.

The minister said more funds should be made available for UN peace-keeping operations.

Mr Onyeama, who said that the UN was doing a great job across many countries of the world, urged countries to continue to abide by UN resolutions, not choosing which ones to respect and which not to respect.

He condemned the use of force for the settlement of disputes and expressed strong support for institutions such as the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court for International conflict resolution.

He said international trade and economic diplomacy were the main focus of “our foreign policy.”

“We have to expand our trade; we have to innovate; we have to industrialise in order to lift our people out of poverty.

“We are striving to increase bilateral trade with all your countries very often within the framework of a bilateral commission.”

The minister disclosed that the ministry was building an online business machine portal to promote and facilitate cross-border trade.

According to him, global climate action has posed a lot of threat to lives.

He said the Lake Chad which had been a major source of livelihood for more than 30 million people, had shrunk by 90 per cent due to climate change.

He noted that irregular migration has been condemned and possible measures have been put in place to address it.

On border closure, the minister said the issue would be resolved very soon and that it would be a win-win situation for stakeholders.

He thanked the diplomats for their support and assured them of the Nigeria’s continued support.

(NAN)

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Buhari Embarks on First 2020 Foreign Trip, Departs for UK Today

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President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja on Friday for London to participate in the inaugural UK-Africa Investment Summit holding on January 20.

The President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement in Abuja on Thursday, said the event would be hosted by the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

The organisers said the event is expected to bring together African leaders, international business chief executives and heads of international organisations “to create new partnerships that will deliver more investments and jobs” to the benefit of people and businesses in African countries and the United Kingdom.

“Apart from highlighting new perspectives on UK-Africa Partnership for Prosperity, issues of Sustainable Finance and Infrastructure; Trade and Investment; Future African Growth Sectors and Clean Energy and Climate, are expected to dominate presentations and discussions during the Summit.

“With the expected take-off of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in mid-2020, the London investment summit will provide Nigeria with the opportunity to project itself as a leading investment destination for new industries.

“In addition, the summit will deepen Nigeria-United Kingdom investment ties post-Brexit given that Africa currently represents just two per cent of British trade activity, with Nigeria accounting for only 10 per cent of that total,” Mr Adesina stated.

He further disclosed that the Nigerian delegation to the investment meeting will showcase what the federal government had done through policies and legislation to improve the investment and business climate in the country.

While in the United Kingdom, the presidential aide said, Mr Buhari will meet with the Head of the Commonwealth, Prince Charles in Glasgow, Scotland.

“The president and his delegation will also have bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Johnson as well as heads of multilateral organisations,” he added.

He said the president would be accompanied to the Summit by Governors Yahaya Bello, Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya and Okezie Ikpeazu of Kogi, Gombe and Abia States, respectively.

Also on the presidential entourage are the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.

Others include the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.

Mr Buhari is expected back in Abuja on Thursday.

(NAN)

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Power Grid Collapses Twice in Two Hours, Worsens Nationwide Blackout

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The nation’s power grid collapsed twice in two hours on Thursday, worsening the blackout being experienced by consumers in parts of the country.

The grid, which is being managed by government-owned Transmission Company of Nigeria, has continued to suffer system collapse over the years amid a lack of spinning reserve that is meant to forestall such occurrences.

The TCN announced that a system disturbance occurred at about 12.34pm on Thursday, affecting some parts of the country.

“As at 1:10pm, supply was restored to Abuja and most parts of the affected areas. The TCN is still working to completely restore and stabilise the nation’s grid,” it said.

Ikeja Electric and Eko Electricity Distribution Company, two of the nation’s distribution companies, had earlier on Twitter informed their customers about the cause of the outage in Lagos.

“Dear customer, the outage you’re experiencing is due to a system collapse of the grid which occurred this afternoon at 12.36hrs. All parts of IE’s network are affected. Efforts are ongoing to restore the grid. Kindly bear with us,” Ikeja Electric said.

The Disco, in another tweet two hours later, said another system collapse was recorded at 2.15pm, adding that restoration efforts were ongoing.

Total power generation in the country stood at 4,236.3 megawatts as of 6am on Wednesday, according to latest data from the Nigerian Electricity System Operator.

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