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2019: Help track campaign funds, INEC begs EFCC

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  • Commission decries high rate of vote buying

 

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (EFCC) has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to help it track sources of campaign finances by registered political parties and their candidates. The commission also decried high rate of vote buying by political parties and their candidates at polling centres during election.

The Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) stipulates the amount of money political parties and their candidates could spend on electioneering. The Electoral Act pegs the maximum campaign expenses by a presidential candidate of a political party at N1 billion; governorship candidate has a spending limit of N200 million while senatorial and House of Representative candidates are supposed to spend N40 million and N20 million respectively.

And for individual or corporate entity contribution, the Act stipulates that not more than N1 million should be donated for a candidate’s campaign. No candidate is permitted by the Act to receive foreign donation to finance his or her campaign. But INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, told acting EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, that this provision of the Act was observed in breach by politicians. Yakubu, who was speaking when the EFCC Chairman visited INEC headquarters in Abuja yesterday on a courtesy visit, said it is the right of Nigerians to vote for their leaders, which must be upheld by INEC.

“The Electoral Act places limit as to the amount parties and individuals can spend on elections, and also the amount that friends of candidates and parties can contribute in any election. “We will like the EFCC, which has both the mandate and the capacity to track and trace sources of fund to work very closely with us so that we can operate within the limit of the law.

“Our democracy can never be on sale and it must never be on the open market, and I believe that by working very closely with the EFCC, we can achieve that,” Yakubu pleaded. He also expressed worry on the recent trend of open votes buying at polling stations during elections. According to him, candidates and parties storm polling stations with sacks of money to induce voters. “Votes of citizens should determine who wins in an election. Our democracy must never be on sale at the open market. It is the will of the people that should determine who wins.

“Therefore, Mr. Chairman, we look forward to be working very closely with the EFCC to ensure that open vote buying will not be tolerated by the commission. And we don’t want the 2019 general elections to be determined by the amount of money people have,” he said. The INEC Chairman, however, assured that the commission would remain an unbiased umpire. His words: “We will not work for any candidate or party; we will not work against any candidate or party. “We are here to work for Nigerian people, and on Election Day, the votes they cast will determine who wins or loses the election.”

He also pledged to collaborate with the EFCC, noting that 205 INEC staff indicted by the EFCC for their role in the 2015 general elections were interdicted by the INEC management. Yakubu regretted that the commission lost 85 of its staff last year as a result of stress and pressure of work. “In fact, as we speak, one of our staff from the commission’s secretariat had a stroke yesterday (Wednesday), and he is in the intensive care of our hospital. “But we will continue to do what we have sworn to do in the interest of this country, irrespective of what the pressure is,” he assured.

The EFCC Chairman stated that the commission was prepared to work with INEC, and called on the people to register so as to exercise their civic duties during elections. Magu said every Nigerian has the responsibility to join the fight against corruption, describing corruption as a disaster, which has done too much damage to the country. “We are ready to collaborate and work with the INEC. “We are all Nigerians; all of us have equal responsibility in fighting corruption. Corruption is the worst enemy of Nigeria,” he said.

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JUST IN: Police arrest Fulani herdsmen militia’s informant in Benue

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The Benue State Police Command has arrested a man suspected to have fed armed Fulani herdsmen with information that led to the attack on police troop at Ayilamo in Logo location government area last Monday where two police officers were killed.

This is as journalists who were at the premises of the command were not allowed to speak with the accused to obtain more information from him.

Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni disclosed this while parading some suspects at the police headquarters Makurdi said the suspect was apprehended during a preliminary investigation into the matter which shows that residents of the community divulged information to the attackers.

Mr. Owoseni stated that in a recent recovery operation embarked upon by the police, an AK 47 rifle was recovered from an attacker who died in the operation while one suspect was arrested.

The police boss condemned the killing of two officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corp (NSCDC) in a fresh attack at Kaseyo close to Gbajimba in Guma local government area of the state.

Owoseni said information on the attack at kaseyo was still sketchy as the police and Civil Defense were still comparing notes to get the details of the attack.

The Police boss lamented that it was unfortunate that such an attack would take place as recently two units of police was deployed to the area close to Gbajimba to keep the security of the area.

He warned that no one should stand on the way of the police as they were ready to use all legal and lawful means in ensuring that peace return to the state to encourage those displaced return to their homes.

The Commissioner of Police reiterated that his men would never be cowed by anyone who wants to make the state unsecured and called for the cooperation of everyone in the state as the police cannot overcome the challenges without the cooperation of the people of the state with credible information.

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Herdsmen attacks: Emulate Trump, close all borders –CAN to Buhari

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The Chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Apostle Alexander Bamgbola has blamed the nation’s porous borders for the series of violent attacks by alleged herdsmen and the dangerous Boko Haram sect, and the general insecurity situation across the country.

Bamgbola, who spoke in an interview with New Telegraph on the sideline of an inter-faith dialogue held in Lagos on Tuesday, said for Nigeria to overcome her insecurity challenges, the Federal Government must be bold enough like the American President Donald Trump and close all illegal routes to the country.

The event was the fourth edition of the International Conference on Love and Tolerance with the theme; Countering Violent Extremism.” It was organised by an international Foundation- UFUK Dialogue.

According to Bamgbola, who doubles as the Co-Chairman of the state’s chapter of the Nigerian Inter-religious Affairs Council, whether as herdmen or as Boko Haram, he was sure that those disrupting the nation’s peace are non-Nigerians, saying Nigerians he knows are not only peace-loving but also tolerant and humane.

He said; “Nigerians are people of peace and so the people who are not giving us peace in Nigeria, substantially, are non-Nigerians.

“Yes, we have problems in other parts of the country including the Niger-Delta for instance, but you see dialogue taking place. But when these people started since the days of Maitasine and Boko Haram, we can confirm they are non-Nigerians.

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JUST IN: Buhari In Closed-Door Meeting With Security Chiefs, Osinbajo

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President Muhammadu Buhari is currently in a meeting with the nation’s Service Chiefs at the presidential villa in Abuja.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Minister of Interior, Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd), Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama and the Minister of Defence Mansur Mohammed Dan Ali are also in attendance.

Also in attendance is the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), as well as the Comptroller General of Immigration.

The Director Generals of National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Department of State Services (DSS), and the Inspector General of Police are also at the meeting.

The meeting may not be unconnected with the current security challenges in the country, particularly, the continued attacks by suspected herdsmen in parts of the country, especially the north-central states.

President Muhammadu Buhari has come under severe criticism over his handling of the security challenge.

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