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INEC Insists On E-Transmission Of Results Without Recourse To NCC – Politics

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it does not need the approval of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to transmit election results electronically.

 

It argued that the decision by the National Assembly to subject its constitutional power to conduct elections to the NCC was absolutely unconstitutional.

 

Recall that during the debate on Section 52(3) of the Electoral Amendment Act Bill (which deals with electronic transmission), by lawmakers, they had asked the electoral umpire to seek the approval of the NCC before going on with e-transmission of results.

 

Speaking at the Commission’s third quarterly meeting with media executives, yesterday, in Abuja, National Commissioner and Chairman, Electoral Operations & Logistics Committee, Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, said rather than seeking NCC’s approval, the electoral body has the constitutional mandate to impose duties on NCC to achieve the electronic transmission of results.

 

Ibeanu was responding to a poser from the Editor-in-Chief of The Guardian, Martins Oloja, on INEC’s constitutional power regarding the rules regulating it activities on election matters.

 

“That is absolutely unconstitutional. You cannot ask INEC to seek the approval of another agency of government to transmit result electronically when actually INEC has power to impose duties on NCC to achieve electronic transmission of results.

 

“I completely agree that in the context of underscoring the independence of the Commission, Section 160 of the Constitution has done everything it needs to do. What is left is for INEC to use the power it has under the constitution to achieve its aim,” Ibeanu said, while quoting relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution.

 

MEANWHILE, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and INEC have called for the amendment of the Electoral Act to provide stiffer penalties against violators of rules on election expenses.

 

This was disclosed at a forum on ‘Strengthening Accountability Networks Among Civil Societies in Nigeria’, yesterday, in Abuja.

Executive Director, CISLAC and Head, Transparency International, Nigeria, Mr. Auwal Rafsanjani, expressed concern over the overbearing influence of money in some recent elections. He said checking undue influence of money in politics would prevent subversion of the people’s will.

He said: “The laws are in place and we should regulate how money enters politics. We seem to have so much money in politics that it seems to erode the power of our institutions.

“It is sad that the laws are ignored outright because some people think they are above the law. But we cannot flourish as a democracy, if the rule of law is ignored and there is no set of guidelines to regulate how we behave.”

On his part, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said sanctions against violators of directives on party finances and election expenses are relatively mild.

He said this accounts for the disdain exhibited by parties and candidates towards the law. He said sanctions must include increase in fines and prison terms for leaders of defaulting parties.

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Sudan military declares state of emergency after coup, shuts down internet

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Sudan’s military leader has declared a state of emergency across the country and dissolved its transitional cabinet, which is seen as a huge blow to the country’s already fragile transition to democracy.

Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan made a televised announcement on Monday as thousands of pro-democracy protesters flooded the streets of the capital Khartoum, and its twin city of Omdurman, after soldiers arrested several government officials.

Among those detained on Monday is Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. He was moved to an undisclosed location after refusing to issue a statement in support of the coup, said the information ministry, still apparently under the control of Hamdok’s supporters.

The military also raided the television and radio headquarters and shut down the internet. The capital’s airport has been also closed, together with some of the city’s roads and bridges.

At least 12 people have been wounded so far in the protests that have been called by the pro-democracy coalition born out of the uprising which put an end to the 30-year long rule of Omar al-Bashir.

In his announcement, Burhan said that the military will continue the process towards democracy, but dissolved the sovereign council, a joint military and civilian body created to run the country since al-Bashir’s removal.

“We have started our path towards the state of freedom and peace but some political powers are still trying to maintain everything in their hands, without giving attention to political, economic and social threats,” he said.

Al-Burhan said the military will appoint a technocratic government to lead the country to elections, set for July 2023.

But he made clear the military will remain in charge.

“The Armed Forces will continue completing the democratic transition until the handover of the country’s leadership to a civilian, elected government,” al-Burhan said.

The move came just before the military was supposed to hand leadership of the country’s joint military-civilian administration to civilians next month.

The information ministry called his speech an “announcement of a seizure of power by military coup”.

Tensions have been rising for weeks between Sudan’s civilian and military leadership over Sudan’s course and the pace of the transition to democracy.

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Sudan: UN condemns military takeover, PM detention

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The United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has condemned the military coup in Sudan, and called for the release of the prime minister and other officials.

He said this in a tweet Monday

In a military takeover on Monday morning, Sudan’s armed forces dissolved a governing council that included civilians and detained the prime minister and other civilian officials, endangering the country’s transition to democracy.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, his wife and members of Sudan’s cabinet were detained and taken to an undisclosed location.
In a security alert posted Monday, the US Embassy said it “has received reports that armed forces are blocking certain areas in and around Khartoum” and “internet in Khartoum is non-functional.”

Guterres said the UN would “continue to stand” with the people of the country.

“I condemn the ongoing military coup in Sudan. Prime Minister Hamdok & all other officials must be released immediately. There must be full respect for the constitutional charter to protect the hard-won political transition. The UN will continue to stand with the people of Sudan.”
An aide and office director of Sudan’s now-arrested Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok told CNN that the premier was aware of army plans and was under pressure to dissolve the government.

The adviser, Adam al-Hireika, said that he visited Hamdok on Sunday evening where he discussed the current state-of-affairs.

Hamdok had just met with army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who declared the coup on state-TV on Monday.

“I say he was cautiously optimistic that there was an opening for agreement, but I think the military side wanted him to dissolve the government and he insisted on not unless there is a process and there is an agreement between political parties,” he told CNN’s Becky Anderson.
“This morning, when I heard about what happened I went to the PM’s residence, he is my boss and friend. I went to his residence unfortunately he wasn’t there. His wife and him were taken to an unknown destination by soldiers,” he added.

Burhan said in a statement that power-shared council and government were dissolved and declared a state of emergency after a balanced power-sharing agreement with the civilian component “became a conflict” over the past two years, “threatening peace and unity” in Sudan.

“What, General Burhan mentions in his address, actually what most of a lot of it was agreed between the two parties, but as the PM stood very strongly against dissolving the government without a process. I think that was the biggest issue of contention,” Hireika said.
Hireika warned of a civil war in Sudan if there was a return to military rule. “
“Well, I think the bigger picture, a return to military rule will mean more civil war in Sudan and instability in the region as a result,” he added.
Amnesty International calls on Sudan authorities “to respect human rights” following military takeover
From CNN’s Mohammed Tawfeeq
Amnesty International has urged the authorities in Sudan “to respect human rights” following the arrest of the country’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other officials in an apparent coup.
“We are concerned by the escalating tensions in Sudan following the reported arrest of the Prime Minister and other civilian leaders and the imposition of an internet shutdown,” Amnesty International said in a post to Twitter on Monday.
Amnesty International “calls on the authorities in Sudan to respect human rights—including the right to life, right to freedom of association, expression and assembly, both offline and on the internet. The right to peaceful protest must be respected, now more than ever.”
General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan’s armed forces, dissolved the power-sharing Sovereign Council and transitional government, saying in a televised statement that an “independent and fair representative government” would assume power until one is elected in 2023. Burhan also announced a state of emergency across Sudan.
Several articles of the constitution were suspended and state governors were removed, Burhan said.
Those arrested by “joint military forces” include various civilian ministers of Sudan’s transitional government and members of Sudan’s sovereign council, the Information Ministry said. CNN could not independently verify the Information Ministry’s claims, however family members said the Minister of Information was one of several senior officials detained.
Protesters who opposed the coup have taken to the streets in the capital Khartoum and have faced gunfire near the military’s headquarters, according to the information ministry.

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Boko Haram attacks Yobe military base, three soldiers injured

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Three soldiers were wounded on Saturday when Boko Haram insurgents attacked a military base at Katarko village in the Gujba Local Government Area of Yobe State.

The reportedly insurgents drove into Katarko village in about 10 gun trucks and attacked the military formation.

They were said to have engaged the security operatives at the base in a gun duel.

The Cable reports that troops of the Nigerian Army, who repelled the attack, alongside airstrikes by the Nigerian Air Force, were said to have killed many of the insurgents.

However, a precise number of fatalities had not been ascertained as of the time of filing this report. It was only gathered that three soldiers were injured in the attack.

“Two to three soldiers were injured and have been taken to hospital in Damaturu for treatment,” the source said, adding, “Many Boko Haram members are also feared dead. They were struck by foot soldiers and air support.”

 

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