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Anambra Guber: INEC to Secure 6,000 Locations

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Anambra Guber

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

For the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said over 6,000 locations would be protected for the exercise.

According to the commission, the deployment for the election will also involve the movement of huge consignments of sensitive and non-sensitive materials to the 21 Local Government Areas of the state, 326 Wards or Registration Areas, and 5,720 polling units.

The chairman of INEC, Mr Mahmood Yakubu, said this on Tuesday during an emergency meeting of the inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) held at the agency’s conference room in Abuja.

He disclosed that these measures will also include the deployment of 26,000 officials for the electoral exercise of which will mostly include members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and university students.

Recalling the attack on the agency’s state office in Awka, which led to the loss of lives and destroyed properties, including the damage of all the non-sensitive materials assembled for the election, Mr Yakubu said that the officials will need to be reassured of their personal safety for the forthcoming exercise.

“From the reports, we have received, the stated goal of many of the attackers is that the governorship election scheduled for 6th November 2021 must not hold. This is worrisome for the commission.

“We are deeply concerned that specific electoral facilities and materials could once more become targets of attack. Recall that in May this year, our state office at Awka was attacked and all the non-sensitive materials assembled for the election at the time were destroyed.

“In addition, our store, collation centre, and the main office building were either totally or substantially damaged. The commission also lost several vehicles to be used for the election.

“Happily, we have almost fully recovered from that attack. The destroyed buildings have either been completely repaired or are nearing completion and we have fully replaced the materials destroyed.

“This rapid recovery has only been possible because this is an off-season election. We have sourced some of these materials such as the 326 electric generators and vehicles destroyed in the attack from neighbouring States. However, should we again lose vital materials and facilities, the ongoing preparations will be adversely affected,” the INEC boss said.

He thereafter reiterated the determination of the commission to proceed with the election as scheduled, adding that it is implementing two more activities on the Timetable for the election in the next few days.

According to Mr Yakubu, the register of voters will be presented to political parties in Awka on Thursday, October 7, 2021, the same day the final list of candidates for the election will be published.

“We are confident that at the end of this meeting, we will firm up on specific measures necessary to further guarantee the safety of all persons involved in the election from the voters, election officials, observers, media organizations, and the security of election materials,” he added.

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We’re Yet to Receive Formal Report of Sylvester Oromoni’s Death—Police

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Sylvester Oromoni

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Lagos State Police Command on Saturday night said it was yet to receive a formal report of the death of one Sylvester Oromoni, a 12-year-old student of Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos.

The death of Master Oromoni has been trending online for the past few days and the video of his painful death sparked reactions after it was reported that he was bullied in school and allegedly forced to swallow substances believed to have eventually killed.

The incident forced the Lagos State government to shut down the school indefinitely for investigation.

On Saturday night, the spokesman for the Lagos Police Command, Mr Adekunle Ajisebutu, a chief superintendent police (CSP), said though none of the parents or the school has formally filed a report on the matter, the command has swung into action to get to the root of the matter.

According to him, “the Commissioner of Police, upon hearing about it instantly, directed the Divisional Police Officer, Maroko Division under whose jurisdiction the place of incident is to immediately visit the school to carry out an initial investigation into the incident.”

“This directive has been carried out as an investigation into the case has since commenced. However, in view of the seriousness of the case, the Homicide Section of the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, has also been directed to take over the investigation of the case immediately,” he added.

“Members of the public, particularly the deceased’s bereaved parents, friends and relatives, are assured that the Lagos State Police Command has deployed all available human and material resources at its disposal to unravel the circumstances surrounding the sad and unfortunate incident,” the police image-maker for the command stated.

“While a diligent investigation is ongoing, members of the public are advised against taking the law into their own hands. They are also enjoined to refrain from comments that could jeopardize the investigation,” he appealed.

Concluding, Mr Ajisebutu said, “The Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu, while commiserating with the bereaved family, has equally assured that the outcome of police investigation would be made public in due course.”

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Adisa Receives Media Friendly State Lawmaker Award

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Media Friendly State Lawmaker

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

For his contributions to the infrastructural development of his constituency and outstanding achievements as a lawmaker, the member representing Afijio constituency in the Oyo State House of Assembly, Mr Seyi Adisa, has been given the Media Friendly State Lawmaker Award.

The award was conferred on the state legislator by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State Council during its press week at the Press Centre, Iyaganku, Ibadan.

Chairman of the NUJ Oyo chapter, Mr Demola Babalola, disclosed that the award was in recognition of Mr Adisa’s outstanding performance as a lawmaker, who has excelled in his calling as well contributed to the development of society.

He said his contributions to the development of his people, communities in his constituency and his senatorial district of Oyo North are laudable.

“You are given this special award of exemplary performance and also awarded as the Media-Friendly State Lawmaker of the Year in Oyo state because we believe you deserve it,” he said.

While receiving the award, Mr Adisa declared his appreciation of the gesture, saying “big thanks to the Oyo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) for this special recognition and Award of Exemplary Performance that also doubled as an Award for the Media-Friendly State Lawmaker of the Year.

“I do not take this for granted.”

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We Will Defend Free Press in Nigeria—US Government Assures

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Free Press in Nigeria

By Adedapo Adesanya

The United States government has promised to do everything possible to defend free press in Nigeria, which it said remains vital to democracy and good governance.

The American government expressed this with a partnership, through its Embassy, with the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) for the first of the six media-focused Town Halls and Workshops in Lagos on Thursday.

The event will also take place across the country in the next several months.

The capacity-building programme will provide a forum for over 200 participating Nigerian editors and leaders of the independent press to discuss and share best practices and to also hear from the United States government.

Experts on topics such as journalistic standards, identifying bias, and conducting fact-based investigative reporting to better inform the Nigerian public will be provided.

Delivering keynote remarks at the opening programme in Lagos, the US Ambassador, Mrs Mary Beth Leonard discussed the challenges faced by Nigeria and other democracies across the world and highlighted democracy’s greatest strength: the ability to improve upon and reinvent itself.

She quipped that when belief in democracy, good governance and elections are restored, Nigerians will want to be a part of that system and will defend it.

Ambassador Leonard noted, “Our hope is that in this forum today is that you will lead and serve as catalysts for further discussions on countering disinformation; increasing transparency; solution building; and encouraging media literacy and their contribution to a democracy that is accountable to its people.”

The US government is committed to initiatives that build media capacity in Nigeria, she added.

According to her, for years, the US Mission has funded partnerships that promote Nigeria’s democratic governance, unity and stability by improving government transparency and accountability, the rule of law, free and professional media, as well as civil society capacity and engagement.

On his part, the General Secretary of NGE, Mr Iyobosa Uwugiaren, said, “At the end of the project, we expect to see a pool of Nigerian editors, senior journalists and media managers, who will be galvanised and committed to the highest ethical standard and to take robust actions towards this.

“Editors who will be committed to the promotion and protection of the right to an independent press, freedom of expression and deepening democratic space; and constantly projecting issue-based governance in defence of the mass of the Nigerian people.”

The Town Halls and editor workshops are supported through a grant from the US Embassy’s Public Affairs Section in Abuja to the NGE.

In addition to Lagos, the programmes will take place in Kano in January 2022, then Yola, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Enugu will follow in subsequent months.

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