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Another INEC office set ablaze — second in a week

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Ohafia LGA of Abia state has been set ablaze.

Festus Okoye, INEC spokesman, said in a statement that the incident occurred on Sunday night.

This is happening a week after one of the commission’s offices in Akwa Ibom was razed.

There is no known cause of the fire incidents yet which are suspected to be caused by hoodlums attacking the commission’s facilities.

Okoye said although there are no casualties in the latest fire incident in Abia, all electoral materials and office equipment were destroyed.

He said the attacks could affect the ongoing expansion of voter access to polling units, resumption of the continuous voter registration (CVR), pending bye-elections and ultimately the 2023 General Election.

“The latest incident in Abia State is one too many. These facilities are national assets, which must be protected. Accordingly, the Commission is convening an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) next week to discuss this disturbing trend,” he said.

“Meanwhile, the Commission wishes to reassure Nigerians that all activities in relation to the ongoing expansion of voter access to Polling Units and preparations for the resumption of CVR as well as all scheduled elections will proceed as planned.”

This is not the first attack on INEC’s facilities in Abia in recent times.

Five months ago, on December 13, its LGA office in Aba south was completely burnt down while that of Arochukwu LGA was vandalised in October 2020.

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Soyinka: Nigeria on the edge, Buhari must take urgent action

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Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, says Nigeria is on the “edge”, and asked President Muhammadu Buhari to move beyond mere talk, and take urgent action to set the country on the right path.
He said the President should stop exuding false confidence and speak like a leader ready to take action concerning the country’s challenges.
Last week, Buhari spoke, in two recorded interviews and a national broadcast, on challenges facing the country, stating that his administration was committed to ensuring growth and improved security.
Soyinka on Arise Television programme on Monday said the problems of the country could be addressed with the right actions by the leaders.
He said, “First of all, he should start talking to people like a leader — and a leader who is awake to the realities of the situation. Then, let us see actions being taken.
“I’m tired of hearing things like ‘you will see differences in a few weeks’ time’. We are tired of that. He’s got to put his cards on the table and take people into confidence.
“He’s got to stop exuding a false confidence, because that kind of confidence is totally false. It is not based on realities, and we’ve got to see an acceleration of actions to retrieve this nation from the very edge.
“It is no longer a problem of the people,; it is a problem of leadership, because the people have shown themselves ready to act, to save their own community.”
Soyinka also said the national assembly and the 36 state governors were not doing enough, considering their constitutional responsibilities.
He said, “Members of NASS are not doing enough. If you study the constitution very carefully, you will realise that they have certain powers which they haven’t touched
“There are certain areas they can compel this government to act the way it should, and that applies especially to governors — the governors themselves are too timid.”
He warned Nigerians to stop spreading fake news, stressing that it is a way of distorting constructive narratives that could help the people.
Soyinka said, “I appeal to people to stop putting words in my mouth. If you think you can pressure me to speak by stealing my identity and putting words in my mouth on social media, you are wasting your time. Not only that, you are acting in a distorting way.
“At this sensitive time, I must warn Nigerians to stop playing around with such serious issues, otherwise they are going to lose the kind of support they have from people like me.”

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Surrender and seek forgiveness, Army tells B’Haram insurgents

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The Nigerian army has called on Boko Haram insurgents to drop their arms, “seek forgiveness and reconciliation”.

General Officer Commanding (GOC), 7 Division, Nigerian Army, AA Eyitayo, made the call on Sunday at an event organised for journalists by the army in Maiduguri, Borno state capital.

Eyitayo said Boko Haram insurgents are in a state of disarray, following the recent military onslaught against them.

He asked the insurgents to surrender and take advantage of the opportunity to be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.

The brigadier-general, who is also the commander sector 1, operation Hadin Kai, asked the media to enlighten the insurgents about the call for them to “shun violence”.

“We are not here for bloodletting, nobody is happy that people are dying,” the GOC said.

“Some of them (insurgents) are listening to the media so it is good for us to appeal to them through the media to shun violence, turn up to seek forgiveness and reconciliation.”

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BREAKING: Bennett replaces Netanyahu as Israel’s prime minister

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Israel has elected Naftali Bennett its new prime minister after its parliament narrowly voted in favour of a new coalition government, ending Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s historic 12-year rule.
Sunday’s vote, passed by a 60-59 margin, ended a two-year cycle of political paralysis in which the country held four elections.
Bennett, a former ally of Netanyahu turned bitter rival, will preside over a diverse and fragile coalition comprising eight parties with deep ideological differences.
Netanyahu remains head of the Likud party and will hold the post of opposition leader, according to a report obtained Sunday evening.

Netanyahu reportedly sat silently during the vote.
And after it was approved, he was said to have stood up to leave the chamber, before turning around and shaking hands with Bennett.
Netanyahu, wearing a black medical mask, then sat down in the opposition leader’s chair.
Minutes later, Bennett was sworn into office, followed by members of the new cabinet.

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