With about four months to the 2019 general elections, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has expressed doubts in the preparedness of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct free and fair elections.
The National Secretary of the party, Shehu Gabam, stated the fears to a team of PREMIUM TIMES editors when he led some officials of the party on a visit Wednesday in Abuja.
“INEC is clearly not prepared for the election” he said.
He said alleged militarisation of Nigeria’s civic space, infraction between police and INEC, the challenge of deployment of materials and the uncertainty around the budget of the electoral body, all cast a pall on the expectation of elections that can support and deepen Nigeria’s democracy.
Mr Gabam said in the light of all these factors, “this election cannot hold, INEC is not prepared”.
The commission’s chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, sometime last month said the lack of discrepancy between the figure of N189.2 billion the commission submitted to the executive and what the National Assembly appropriated shows everything was fine.
Mr Yakubu said the commission does not foresee any form of difficulties in meeting the requirements to conduct the elections.
However, making reference to recent elections in Ekiti, Osun, Bauchi and Katsina states, the SDP scribe said they hint at INEC’s unpreparedness.
“If you look at the recent by-elections we had, in Ekiti and Osun states (governorship) and part of Bauchi and other places, you can see clearly they are not prepared for this election.
“If you look at the way some of the by-elections have been militarised, and the excessive money that was used, you know that they haven’t done their job in terms of sensitisation. The National Orientation Agency, I can’t remember when last I heard of them to sensitise Nigerians on some of these things.
“It is a collective responsibility and also if you look at the conflict and the infractions between what the INEC says and what the police say, who is to report who is guilty, who has committed an offence, you will know that the institution is still suffering from a lot of deficiencies.
“And if you look at the budget itself, vis a vis what INEC has said, that if they have not gotten the resources six months to the election, it is going to affect whatever they are doing today.
“This is a national election, it is not just one or two states that you deploy thousands police and I wonder if the Nigerian government is going to apply to the UN or ECOWAS to deploy troops to Nigeria to monitor this election. Our security agencies are overstretched because of crisis all over the country and I haven’t seen anything on ground to suggest that this election will be conducted under free and fair atmosphere.”
Mr Gabam said there is need for all to come together to face the reality as nothing shows INEC is ready for a free and fair election.
“So for me I will love to encourage INEC to be forthcoming, to be honest, to be transparent. All of us can put heads together, particularly the political parties, to find a way to rescue the situation. So far, they are making us to believe that they will conduct the election, that they are ready for the election, so we will keep on monitoring.”
Alleged Gang rape: Court denies Babcock University student bail
A Babcock University student, James Aguedo has been denied bail by Justice Abiola Soladoye of an Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court.
The student of Babcock University, James Aguedo, accused of involvement in gang-rape of a student of the University of Lagos (Unilag) was reportedly denied bail when bail applications were made.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Soladoye in a ruling on Thursday said Mr Aguedo, 20, did not provide compelling circumstances as to why the court should grant him bail.
“The essence of bail is to ensure the defendant’s attendance at trial. In deciding an application for bail, certain factors must be taken into consideration such as the nature of the charge and the evidence adduced.
“Grant of bail of a defendant in a criminal offence is not automatic, it is at the discretion of the court.
“I am, therefore, of the view that the application before the court has not shown any compelling or exceptional circumstances to warrant the court exercising its discretion in favour of the applicant.
“The application for bail is hereby refused, and the court shall give this case accelerated trial; I so hold,” the judge said.
NAN reports that Mr Aguedo’s counsel, Lawal Pedro, had on March 25 prayed the court to grant him bail to enable him to write an examination at the Babcock University in April.
He also submitted that the undergraduate suffered from ill-health and needed constant medical attention.
“He has a recurring back ailment. We brought not just a medical report but the history because he has been attending an orthopaedic hospital.
“The prison facility is not conducive for him,” the SAN said.
Mr Pedro had attached Mr Aguedo’s school identity card and admission letter to the bail application dated March 13.
Also attached were a National Orthopedic Hospital, Igbobi, Yaba, Lagos, appointment card, history of medical examination and a St Dominic’s Catholic Church’s letter of recommendation.
NAN reports that the student is standing trial alongside Moboluwaji Omowole, 19, Chuka Chukwu, 19, Peace Nwankama, 19 and Osemeka Josephine, 20.
The defendants were charged with serial gang-rape of a Unilag student (name withheld).
According to prosecution counsel, Fehinti Ogbemudia, the defendants committed the gang rape sometime in 2017 within the premises of Unilag.
The alleged victim had on February 26 testified that she was lured by Nwankama who was her roommate to High Rise, a staff quarters hostel, in Unilag.
She said she was gang-raped at High Rise by eight students, and that the sexual assault was video-taped.
According to the alleged victim, she was also blackmailed with the video and further gang-raped on other occasions by the defendants and their accomplices who are now at large.
The five defendants have been remanded in the Kirikiri Prisons since February 26, when they were arraigned.
The case has been adjourned until May 2 for continuation of trial.
Sterling Bank Staff, Olanrewaju Yusuf remanded in prison for N36m fraud
Justice Bello Duwale of the Sokoto State High Court has remanded a Sterling Bank Plc worker, Olanrewaju Yusuf, in prison custody for cheating to the tune of N36 million and issuing of dud cheques.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arraigned Yusuf, who is the Chief Executive Officer, Viclibo Ventures, on five counts bordering on the issuance of dud cheque, criminal breach of trust and cheating.
A complainant, Tunde Akinola, had alleged that sometime in January 2018, Yusuf, who worked with the Sokoto branch of the bank requested a N30 million loan for the establishment of a biscuit and juice production factory with a pledge to pay back the money with 10 per cent interest.
Akinola stated that he rallied round friends and colleagues to raise the money, which he gave to the accused via his United Bank for Africa account on condition that the loan should be paid back by March 2018.
Pursuant to the agreement, Yusuf allegedly issued three post-dated Diamond Bank cheques of N10m each and another for N6m, all of which were dishonoured by the bank on presentation.
Yusuf pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charges.
Counsel for EFCC, S.H. Sa’ad, urged the court to fix a date for commencement of trial and asked that the defendant be remanded in prison custody, but the defence counsel, Ferdinard Okotete, prayed the court to grant his client bail.
Justice Bello, however, ordered that the defendant be remanded in prison custody and fixed April 25, 2019 for hearing of bail application.
The trial judge further granted an interim forfeiture order in respect of the defendant’s property, pursuant to a motion ex parte filed by the EFCC.
Kenyan family sues Boeing over Ethiopia crash over Ethiopian Airline Plane crash
A family of a Kenyan man, who died in last month’s Ethiopia Airlines crash said it is taking the plane manufacturer Boeing to court in the US.
In all, 157 people died when the Boeing 737-Max 8 went down six minutes after take off on a flight from Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, to Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.
The 29-year-old engineer George Kabau was one of more than 30 Kenyans on board.
At a press conference in Nairobi his siblings said they wanted the company to release emails relating to the plane, which has now been grounded, Reuters news agency reports.
“We cannot replace him, and he cannot and shall not be replaced. But we pray that by what is happening, my parents especially and us as his siblings and all other loved ones, can use his demise to ensure safe travel for all,” said Mr Kabau’s sister.
Boeing is facing three other law suits relating to the Ethiopia crash, including from members of the family of a Rwandan victim.
The Ethiopian Airlines plane nose dived several times before it hit the ground, a preliminary report released a fortnight ago said.
Pilots “repeatedly” followed procedures recommended by Boeing before the crash, according to the first official report into the disaster.
Boeing’s boss has admitted for the first time a failure in the jet’s anti-stall system was a factor in the crash.
But the company has not commented on the legal cases.
Denrele Edun shares throwback Photo of how it all started for him
Kim Kardashian & her Lawyer, Shawn Holley honoured for their Prison Reform work
Jussie Smollet facing Night Terrors
Entertainment Icon, John Singleton hospitalised after suffering stroke
Oritsefemi & wife, Nabila celebrate 2nd Wedding Anniversary
Nigeria’s Publiseer To Feature At Katapult Future Fest 2019 in Norway
Chris Brown & Nicki Minaj to go on tour together
Singer, Adele separates from her husband, Simon Konecki
Reno Omokri kisses Michael Jackson’s statue in far away Austria
Troops of Operation Whirl Stroke Neutralise 2 Armed Bandits
News8 months ago
Calm returns at Maiduguri Airport after Soldier’ gun protest
News4 months ago
Video: Fire engulfs Forte Oil filling station at Local Airport in Lagos
Business8 months ago
Photos from Tony Elumelu’s Mother’s 90th birthday party
News2 months ago
Gas Explosion kills six, over 20 trapped at mine in South Africa
News6 months ago
Angola sets to close down unregistered churches
Politics1 year ago
Nigerian judges burdened with too many cases — Ajimobi
Business1 year ago
Jim Ovia pledges ₦250m to Lagos State Security Trust Fund
General8 months ago
‘World’s hottest grandma’ Gina Stewart topless in a Jacuzzi