Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega, has advised against the appointment of Lauretta Onochie as a commissioner of the electoral body.
He said the controversy surrounding her nomination is not good for the integrity of elections she may oversee, if she is confirmed.
Many Nigerians have opposed the nomination on the grounds that Onochie is partisan and a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
But when she appeared before the senate screening committee on Thursday, Onochie said contrary to public claims, she does not belong to any political party.
Commenting on the saga, Jega said it is likely that any election she supervises that involves the APC will “still generate controversy”.
Speaking during an interview on Politics Today on Sunday, Jega advised President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw her nomination.
He said: “This kind of controversy is really avoidable. Any person who generated such a controversy, the appointing authorities should be careful because you don’t want to appoint anybody that can raise suspicions or doubts or can lead to a loss of trust of the electoral management body.
“I’m sorry to say that from some of the documents that I have been privileged to see, both about her British citizens and the very active participation in a political party up until 2019, you will try to avoid appointing such people into an electoral commission — because it can generate controversy.
“To be honest, the president can also withdraw that nomination. After all, there are so many women with credibility, with capacity, competence in both Delta and across Rivers, so why bring someone that will generate controversy and raise suspicions about the intention of the appointment.”
Jega also criticised the move by the national assembly leadership to block the proposed electronic transmission of election results.
He said denying INEC the opportunity will be counterproductive and will undermine future elections.
Jega said: “When one looks at the draft of the electoral bill currently in circulation, which the national assembly hopes to pass before they go on recess, with regards to utilisation of technology, there is a very contradictory provision there. While they permitted INEC to use electronic voting, they now said provided that INEC does not use electronic transmission of results. It is really counterproductive.
“Electronic transmission will ensure that the traditional fraudulent activities of changing results from the collation centres will now be things of the past, so it is very important that our lawmakers recognise how important it is.
“And frankly, not permitting electronic transmission of results will even create an impression that the legislators are afraid and unconcerned about the integrity of results.”
LSSTF’s Balogun Tours EPAIL Facility, Commends Management for Contributions to Security
The Executive Secretary/CEO of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF), Dr. Abdurrazaq Balogun, has paid a visit to the Equipment and Protective Applications International Limited (EPAIL) mega factory, with the Chairman/CEO of EPAIL expressing delight at the Fund’s visit while conducting his guest on a tour of the facility.
During the visit, the ES witnessed the production of security equipment such as armored hard body for vehicles, ballistic plates, helmets, vests, etc. from scratch using locally sourced materials. A test was also conducted on one of the locally made crowd dispersal water cannon and other crowd control equipment.
Speaking on the visit, Balogun said: “The security challenges in the state continue to increase as a result of the harsh economic situation in the country hence the visitation which was in furtherance of the Fund’s commitment to continue to source for and provide the required equipment and home grown state of the art security gadgets and technological solutions that meet international standards, fit for our terrain and useable by security agencies to combat crime in the State.”
The LSSTF CEO also commended EPAIL Nigeria for its outstanding work and contributions in the area of security, noting that “The importance of a strong and formidable security outfit cannot be overemphasized as it is one of the hallmarks of a thriving society. As we approach the 2023 general elections, it is critical that we strengthen our security agencies to enable them proactively combat crime and maintain law and order in the State, therefore we call on our donors to do more by way of contributions in cash or kind to the Fund towards improved security in the State in our collective self-interest”.
Subsequently, the Chairman of EPAIL thanked the Executive Secretary of the Fund for his visit and pledged his continuous support to the Fund.
Many Feared Killed As Explosion Rocks Kano
Many are feared dead after an explosion on Aba Road in the Sabon Gari area of Kano State.
While details of the blast are still sketchy as of the time of filing this report, visuals from the scene showed that many buildings, one of which is suspected to house a primary school, were affected.
One of the videos that surfaced online also showed injured schoolchildren being moved from the scene of the incident.
Parents were also searching for their children.
One of them was heard shouting “my children”.
Meanwhile, the Kano State Commissioner of Police, Sama’ila Dikko, has clarified that gas and not a bomb exploded in the state on Tuesday morning. He made the clarification during his visit to the scene of the incident.
Dikko, who spoke in Hausa, also confirmed that four persons were dead.
News of Closure of Ogui, Trans-Ekulu Stations Fake – Enugu Police
The Enugu State Police Command has said that the news making the rounds in the closure of Ogui and Trans-Ekulu police stations is fake, urging the public the disregard the false publication.
A statement by the Command’s PPRO, ASP Daniel Ndukwe, and made available to the National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP), quoted the Commissioner of Police, Abubakar Lawal as describing the story as not just unfounded, and a figment of the publisher’s imagination, but also a misinformation targeted at creating panic among peace loving citizens of Enugu State.
The statement also expressed the CP’s resolve to continue to “deliver the statutory mandates of the Nigeria Police Force in the State, including ensuring that Police Stations remain opened to members of the public and maintain robust crime detection/prevention patrols and visibility policing of their assigned areas of responsibilities.”
CP Lawal therefore, urged the “general public and residents of Enugu State in particular, to disregard such untrue publications and continue to promptly report security situations and criminal activities to Police Stations nearest to them, noting that Police Stations in the State remain open to the general public on a twenty-four hour a day, seven days a week (24/7) basis.”