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PVCs destruction in Nasarawa, Opposition party demands arrest of INEC official allegedly fingered

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By David Odama

LAFIA —THE Opposition Peoples Democratic Party PDP in Nasarawa State has demanded the arrest of an INEC official, Danlami Dardina attached to Awe local government area office for allegedly destroying more than 100 Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) belonging to PDP supporters.

The opposition PDP who accused the All Progressives Congress of conspiring with a staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission to burn and destroy Permanent Voter Cards of its supporters claimed that the unfortunate act was not the first time the electoral officer in Awe LGA was collaborating with APC members in sabotaging the effort of the electoral body in the local government.

Addressing Newsmen in Lafia,
Nasarawa state, capital PDP Public Relations Officer, Ibrahim Hamza alleged that this was not the first time INEC staff, Danlami Umar Dandina, who is the Electoral Officer in charge of the Awe LGA, conspired with some leaders of the APC to burn PVCs of its loyalists in the LGA in order to disenfranchise them in the coming elections.

According to the PDP spokesman,, “The attention of our party has been drawn to the unfortunate and illegal act of the electoral officer of INEC in Awe LGA on his collaboration with some members of the APC to destroy and burn a large number of Permanent Voter Cards belonging to members and supporters of our party, the PDP.

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“The affected eligible voters in the area reported the matter to the police and the suspects who are members of the APC have been arrested and taken to the state Criminal Investigation Department where they agreed to have committed the crime.

“We are calling for the immediate sack of the Electoral Officer. We also want his collaborators to be arrested and prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others. We are urging INEC to ensure that All PVCs illegally given to APC members in the area are withdrawn immediately and handed over to its original owners, and in the case of the destroyed PVCs, INEC should do everything possible to ensure that they are replaced before next months elections.”

According to him, the attention of PDP has been drawn to the unfortunate and illegal act of the electoral officer of INEC in Awe LGA of the state to collaborate with some members of APC to burn a large numbers of PVCs belonging to PDP supporters in his custody.

Hamza said the unfortunate act was not the first time that the electoral officer in Awe LGA was collaborating with APC members in sabotaging the effort of the electoral body in the local government.

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“It’s unfortunate that the electoral officer in Awe LGA has given a large numbers of PVCs belonging to PDP supporters and other political parties to some influential APC members to destroy. They burnt all the PVCs of those they know that will never vote for APC during the forthcoming general elections,” Hamza claimed

Hamza said the party has confirmed the transfer of the case presently to the criminal investigation department of the Nigeria police force in Lafia, Nasarawa state as at yesterday January 26, 2023.

“We call for immediate and thorough investigation and prosecution of the said electoral officer and his culprits to serve as deterrent to others. Destroyed PVCs should be treated as sabotage by the federal government through INEC while the destroyed PVCs should be replaced immediately in order not to disenfranchise the affected members of other political parties and all PVCs given to APC members who are not the original owners be retrieved immediately,” he said.

Reacting to the allegation via telephone, the Spokesperson of the ruling APC, Chief Douglas Otaru denied involvement of APC in the alleged destruction of PVCs anywhere in Nasarawa State.

While describing the opposition PDP as a wounded lion and markers of falsehood who are bent on winning elections at all cost, Chief Otaru challenged the opposition PDP to come up with substantial proves to substantiate their claimed.

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“I do not think INEC as a responsible umpire ready to deliver credible election will collaborate with any political party to destroyed elections materials or to disfranchised electorates”, Otaru stated.

“We in APC are law abiding citizens working to ensure that things are done correctly. We are not responsible for the woes of the opposition PDP in the state, and so they should go out campaign and win election rather than carrying out blame games that would not help them win elections in the state”, APC Spokesman declared.

He warned that the APC would not fold its arms and watch the opposition de-market the party in order to win election in Nasarawa State.

Business and Economy

Nigerian Minister laments low investment in Infrastructure

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By Iyojo Ameh

Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Atiku Bagudu on Friday said the country has not invested enough in infrastructural development.

According to him, several problems been encountered recently by Nigerian are as direct results of under- investment in several multi- dimension infrastructure.

The minister spoke at the National Assembly during an interactive session with the Senate committee on Appropriation under the chairmanship of Senator Olamilekan Adeola.

The minister was invited to provide insight into the N6.2 trillion supplementary appropriation approval for the 2024 budget by the National Assembly as requested by President Bola Tinubu.

Bagudu commended President Tinubu for the political will yo confront the infrastructure deficit by seeking the N3.2 trillion to fund the projects which include the Lagos – Calabar coastal highway, the Sokoto – Badagry highway and the Trans- Sahara highway.

He commended the President for his confidence that the projects when completed will increase economic activities and shore up the nation’s revenue base.

He added that the projects will encourage massive transformation apart from strengthening economic realities.

The minister while trying to douse the agitation of members of the committee on the fate of other deplorable roads and uncompleted roads projects in their various constituents said the federal government has not abandoned any of the ongoing projects.

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Bagudu categorically stated that the government is not giving priority attention to the innovative projects at the expense of other road projects.

He assured that the Federal Executive Council will continue to consider and give financial approval to other roads as funds are available.

The minister though did not give a detailed statement of the supplementary approval, gave a sectoral overview of both the N3.2 trillion of the Renewed Hope Infrastructure Projects and the N3 trillion increase in the recurrent component of the budget.

Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Senator Adeola the government has full capacity to finance the 2024 budget.

He , however implore the minister to make available to the committee a full detail and breakdown of the N6.2 trillion approval as soon as possible.

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Business and Economy

Economy : CBN announces indices on growth and stability …As Senate interfaces with the CBN Gov

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By Iyojo Ameh

The Central Bank of Nigeria on Friday in Abuja , rolled out indices , signaling improved growth and stability of the Nation’s economy.

This is as the apex bank through its Governor , Olayemi Cardoso , assured Nigerians of better days ahead .

Rolling out the growth and economic stability indices during statutory engagement with the Senate Committee on Banking , Insurance and other Financial Institutions , the CBN Governor said : ” The
spread between official and BDC rates has narrowed significantly from N162.62 in January to N47.22 in June 2024, indicating successful price discovery, increased market efficiency, and reduced arbitrage opportunities.

“The stock of external reserves increased to US$36.89 billion as of July 16, 2024, compared with US$33.22 billion at end-December 2023, driven largely by receipts from crude oil related taxes and third-party receipts.

” In Q1 2024, we maintained a current account surplus and saw improvements in our trade balance.

“Our external reserves level as at end-June 2024 can finance over 11 months of import of goods and services, or 14 months of goods only. This is significantly higher than the prescribed international benchmark of 3.0 months, indicating a strong buffer against external shocks.

“The banking sector remains robust and diverse, comprising twenty-six commercial banks, six merchant banks, and four non-interest banks. Key indicators such as capital adequacy, liquidity, and non-performing loan ratios all showed impressive improvements, underscoring the sector’s growing stability and resilience.

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“The equity market has shown impressive performance, with the All-Share Index rising by 33.81 per cent and market capitalization expanding by 38.33 per cent from December 2023 to June 2024, reflecting growing investors’ confidence.

“While we are encouraged by these positive trends, the CBN remains vigilant and committed to implementing policies that support sustainable growth in our financial markets, while maintaining overall economic stability”

He added by assuring the committee members , that required measures and strategies , have been mapped out to confront emerging challenges .

“To combat inflation, we have implemented a comprehensive set of monetary policy measures. These include raising the policy rate by 750 basis points to 26.25 percent, increasing Cash Reserve Ratios, normalizing Open Market Operations as our primary liquidity management tool, and adopting Inflation Targeting as our new monetary policy framework.

“In the area of banking supervision, the CBN has taken decisive actions to ensure the safety, soundness, and resilience of the banking industry.

” Key measures include intervention in three banks, revocation of Heritage Bank’s license, increasing minimum capital requirements, and enhancing AML/CFT supervision.

” We also introduced new frameworks for Cash Reserve Requirements and cybersecurity and prohibited the use of foreign currency collaterals for local currency loans.

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“We are in the process of reviewing the Bank’s micro and macroprudential guidelines to reinforce the resilience of financial institutions in Nigeria to withstand tightened conditions, thus creating a secure and attractive investment climate.

“We have signaled our plans to re-capitalize deposit money banks in Nigeria to improve capital inadequacy and their capacity to grow the economy.

“Our ultimate goal is to create a more stable, resilient, and efficient financial system that can better serve the Nigerian economy, while adhering to international best practices”, he said .

Earlier in his opening remarks , the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Adetokunbo Abiru said the overall purpose of the interaction , ” is to update the commiittee on efforts, activities, objectives and plans of the Bank with respect to monetary policy”

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General News

I’m not a power manipulator —senator Bamidele

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The Senator leader senator Opeyemi Bamidele has dispelled the campaign of calumny against him in some social media not the Citypost and office of the Leader of the Senate,

Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele in a statement from his media directorate says some individuals, either misconstrued the statutory role of the Majority Leader in a democracy or willfully distorted established legislative rules that charged the Majority Leader with the duty of leading the business of the Parliament, including government bills.

The statement reads in parts:

“Senator Bamidele is never a power manipulator, enemy of the people and an obstacle to national peace, as some reactionaries or agents of regressive forces have been peddling in the social media. As a political actor who enjoys vast public trust, he will never or can never act against the core and strategic interests of Nigeria and Nigerians at any level”

“Under Rule 23, the Senate Standing Orders, 2023 (as amended) specifically provides for the Office of the Leader of the Senate, who shall be a Senator duly nominated from the political party with the highest number of seats in the Senate. This is the global best practice, which is not peculiar to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but also to all democracies worldwide”

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“The rule further establishes that the Leader of the Senate shall (a) lead all government bills; (b) lead the business of the Senate; (c) manage the legislative schedule of the Senate; (d) liaise with Committee Chairmen and other functionaries of the Senate and (e) perform such duties as the President may assign to him.

Consistent with the Senate Standing Orders, 2023 (as amended), therefore, Senator Bamidele is under obligation to lead all government bills, a role he has been playing creditably. By implication, he is responsible for sponsoring and promoting government bills originating from the Executive Arm or its ministries, departments and agencies”

“In this light, Senator Bamidele has been able to manage the floor debate on government bills successfully; build consensus across political divides; mobilise support for government bills within the Senate and lead negotiations to gain broader support. Since his assumption of office on July 4, 2023, Senator Bamidele has equally deployed strategies in navigating the complex legislative procedures to advance government bills and coordinated closely with the Executive Arm to ensure that government bills reflect the administration’s policies and priorities”

“Like other principal officers of the Senate, the role of the Leader of the Senate is provided for in the Senate Standing Orders, 2023 (as amended). In Nigeria, particularly, this role has been pivotal in advancing the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR through the National Assembly. And he has played the role well through a combination of strategic planning, negotiation and leadership skills”

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