SERAP Begs US to Sanction Perpetrators of Electoral Violence
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the US President, Mr Joe Biden, to exercise his powers to place visa sanctions on Nigerians found perpetrating electoral violence.
It said this was in “pursuant to the Presidential Proclamations 7750 and 8697 and the Immigration and Nationality Act to ban Nigerian officials, politicians and other perpetrators and sponsors of violence during the just concluded elections.”
SERAP also urged Mr Biden to “use the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act to block or revoke the visas of anyone suspected to be responsible for cases of intimidation, harassment and violence during the elections, and to impose asset freezes and property sanctions on them and their families.”
The letter followed reports of election-related intimidation, harassment and violence in several states, including in Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Gombe, Lagos, Edo, Ogun, Osun, Rivers, and Rivers, and Taraba states, and Abuja.
In the letter dated February 25, 2023, and signed by SERAP deputy director, Mr Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “The imposition targeted sanctions against suspected perpetrators and sponsors of election-related violence in Nigeria would promote accountability, end impunity, and deter human rights violations.”
SERAP said, “Applying the presidential proclamations, Global Magnitsky Act, and Immigration and Nationality Act as recommended would be very helpful to the efforts to stop further violence before, during, and after elections, facilitate free and fair elections, and encourage the people to exercise their right to vote.”
“The recommended travel bans, asset freezes and property sanctions should also cover anyone who may perpetrate and sponsor violence and human rights crimes during the postponed elections in 141 polling units and the governorship elections scheduled for March 2023,” it added.
SERAP noted that, “Applying these instruments would also end election-related intimidation, harassment and violence, and facilitate equivalent visa bans, asset freezes and property sanctions in other globally desirable locations as well.
“Such sanctions would not violate due process and presumption of innocence principles, as long as the reasons for the sanctions are communicated to those that may be affected. The imposition of travel bans, asset freezes, and property sanctions is a preventive and not punitive measure.”
“According to our information, the Presidential and National Assembly elections which took place today across the country were characterized by cases of election-related intimidation, harassment, and violence in many states. There are reports of loss of lives, injuries, and disruption of the voting process in many states.
“Armed thugs also disrupted elections in several states of the country, including in Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Gombe, Lagos, Edo, Ogun, Osun, Rivers, and Taraba states, and the Federal Capital Territory.”
“Armed thugs snatched ballot boxes, took away election materials, broke chairs, and dispersed voters in several areas of in Kogi State, including in Anyigba Dekina towns. Thugs also reportedly attacked polling units in polling units in Niger, Delta, and Katsina states, stealing at least eight BVAS machines.”
“Presidential and national assembly elections were postponed in 141 polling units in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State, because of incidents of election-related intimidation, harassment, and violence.”
“A pregnant woman identified as Ruth Osah, and a member of a local security outfit, Mark Orduize, were allegedly killed at a polling unit in the Ubimini community, Emuoha Local Government Area of Rivers State. One person was reportedly killed in Taraba State.”
“Armed thugs also injured two voters in Akwa Ibom State before carting away a Bi-Modal Voter Accreditation Machine System machine for units 11 and 12 at the Oniong West Ward I in the Onna Local Government Area of the state.”
“Thugs also reportedly snatched ballot boxes and voting materials at the Oredo Ward 4 Unit 42 on Butcher Street, Benin, Edo State, and chased away the polling officials. Political thugs also destroyed 24 ballot boxes in at least eight polling units in Abuja.”
“On Dipolubi Street in the Surulere area of Lagos, a woman, Efidi Bina Jennifer, was allegedly stabbed by thugs at the polling unit. A polling unit outside the Oba Elegushi Palace at Ikate in Eti-Osa, Lekki, was also reportedly attacked by thugs, who carted away ballot boxes and chased away electoral officers,” the group claimed.
Tinubu’s Vast Experience An Asset for Good, Effective Governance—Buhari
By Adedapo Adesanya
President Muhammadu Buhari has joined many Nigerians to celebrate the President-elect, Mr Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on his 71st birthday today, Wednesday, March 29, 2023, saying his vast experience as a politician will help achieve effective governance.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, the President joined “members of the President-elect’s family, especially his wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, business partners and political associates in celebrating the recently elected president who is expected to lead the country from May 29.”
Full of praise, he said his successor, endeared as Asiwaju, is “heralded with many years of experience and achievements in the private and public sectors, which prepared him for the historic win on February 25, 2023.”
The statement noted that President Buhari believes, “Asiwaju’s warmth, friendliness and generosity has set the pace for a network of friends, home and abroad, that will shape his presidency with the requisite expertise to guide the economy and consolidate on the investments of past leaders, particularly in people-first development and infrastructure.
“As the President-Elect prepares to take over the mantle of leadership at 71, the President affirms that his political pedigree from the ’90s, active role in party politics, being elected Senator and later Governor of Lagos State, and diligent involvement in structure of leadership at the Executive and Legislative levels for many years, will serve as an asset for good and effective governance.
“President Buhari prays for the wellbeing of Asiwaju and his family,” the statement added.
On March 1, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced that Mr Tinubu won the 2023 presidential elections as he scored 35 per cent of 24.97 million votes cast, beating Mr Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP).
The two main opposition parties had already rejected the results before the final count, saying the electoral commission failed to follow its own law in transmitting and announcing results.
Both parties have also filed separate cases in the courts.
Lagos, eTranzact Collaborate to Curb Unregulated Development
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Lagos State Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with eTranzact, a foremost fintech company, to sanitise and regulate activities of setbacks and Incidental Open Spaces (IOS) and ensure physical orderliness in the state.
Signed by the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, the agreement will help curb unregulated development, manage setbacks and open spaces and improve the beautification of the environment in Lagos state.
The MoU will strengthen the partnership between Lagos State Planning and Environmental Monitoring Authority (LASPEMA) and eTranzact.
This collaboration will allow eTranzact to deploy an integrated technology solution for data collection, management, and digitization of revenue collection processes from the informal business players operating on the setbacks and Incidental Open Spaces (IOS) in Lagos State to regulate setbacks/IOS and enhance the State Internally Generated Revenue.
Speaking during the signing of the MoU held at the state secretariat in Alausa, Ikeja, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr Omotayo Bamgbose-Martins, represented by the Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on e-GIS and Planning Matters, Mr Olajide Babatunde, said the initiative was a public-private partnership that would yield a good result hence the need to take care of the environment.
He said the MoU is for accountability and in the interest of the general public in Lagos State, as well as improving the internally generated revenue (IGR) of Lagos State.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of eTranzact, Mr Niyi Toluwalope, said his organisation was partnering with Lagos State Government for social development, noting that the project would develop solutions on data, enumeration, reordering setbacks, putting incidental open spaces in an orderly manner, among other benefits.
He said: “eTranzact is a premier technology solutions company in Nigeria. Today we are partnering with the Lagos State Government and LASPEMA for the enumeration and data management of the occupants of the setbacks and incidental open spaces within the City. We are licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to provide this service.
“The Lagos State Government has taken this laudable initiative to identify the setbacks, enumerate the people on these setbacks, do the necessary data capture, and manage the entire setback infrastructure in the State so that it is structured, following the proper model for setbacks, improves beautification, improves transparency within the environment and ensures that our critical urban infrastructure is well laid out properly to ensure Lagos functions as a major critical landmark with global recognition.
“We are committed to partnering with the State government to build a beautiful and prosperous Smart City for all. As Nigeria’s Super Fintech Choice, eTranzact is committed to providing payment technology support for all public and private stakeholders.”
Also speaking, the General Manager of LASPEMA, Mr Daisi Oso, said the agency was saddled with addressing challenges that were associated with managing and regulating all activities on setbacks so as to ensure orderliness while leveraging technology.
He said the agency is saddled with the deployment of drones for mappings, collaborating with other ministries, departments, and agencies on urban development to improve security and order in the use of land in tandem with the state’s developmental plans to enhance social and political sustainability of businesses.
Ayu Steps Down as PDP Chairman, Damagum Takes Over
By Dipo Olowookere
The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Iyorchia Ayu, has stepped down from the position and has been replaced by the Deputy National Chairman of the party for the northern region of the country, Mr Umar Iliya Damagum.
A statement issued on Tuesday by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Hon. Debo Ologunagba, confirmed this development.
It was disclosed that Mr Damagum would be the acting chairman of the country’s main opposition party, pending the determination of a case in court.
Recall that on Sunday, the executive of the PDP in Igyorov Ward of Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State suspended Mr Ayu for alleged anti-party activities.
He was accused of working against the success of the party in Igyorov Council Ward, and failed to “pay his Annual Subscription Fees as provided under Section 8 (9) of the constitution of the PDP 2017 (As Amended).”
“Further investigation also revealed that he did not vote during the Governorship and State Assembly Elections held on March 18, 2023.
“It was also discovered that most of his closest allies worked for the opposition party, the All Progressive Congress, APC, and hence, the abysmal performance of the PDP in Igyorov Ward.
“In view of the foregoing, we hereby pass a Vote of No Confidence on Dr Iyorchia Ayu and suspend him as a member of our party with immediate effect. The suspension takes effect from March 24, 2023,” the Ward Chairman of the PDP, Mr Kachi Philip, and the secretary, Mr Vangeryina Dooyum, announced while addressing journalists.
Today, the national spokesman of the party said Mr Ayu stepped aside from the position during the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP on Tuesday in Abuja, after the NWC acknowledged “the order of the Benue State High Court dated March 27, 2023 with regards to the chairmanship position of our great party.”
“After a careful consideration of the court order and in line with Section 45 (2) of the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017), the NWC resolved that the Deputy National Chairman (North), Umar Ililya Damagum, assumes the national chairmanship of our party in acting capacity with effect from today, Tuesday, March 28, 2023.
“The NWC charges all leaders, critical stakeholders, teeming members and supporters of our great party to remain calm and united at this critical time,” the statement said.
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