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Insecurity: Group stages ‘North is healing’ rally in Kaduna, supports Buhari

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A group, Coalition of Northern Activists for Peace, leading some protesters hit Kaduna streets on Monday, declaring that the region was not “bleeding” but in a healing process.

Acknowledging there was a spate of insecurity across the North over the years, the group insisted that the killings, maiming, kidnapping were all politically motivated by enemies of the region.

They said the killings were a result of over twelve years of challenges which the current regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), is frantically working towards addressing.

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In what they described as a peaceful rally in support of President Buhari and the security agents’ efforts to address the security challenges across the region, the protesters with the hashtag: “#Northishealing”, carried banners inscriptions such as
“No to patriot in the day and terrorists at night,” “Stop sponsoring terrorists in Bauchi, Sokoto, Kaduna and Zamfara states,” “Stop sponsoring evil against those you elected to protect,” “We proclaim and support healing in Northern Nigeria,” “Let killing ends with 2021,” “We are crossing over with healing in Northern Nigeria,” and, “We say no to people who are clerics in the day, bandits and politicians at night,” among others.

The Kaduna State Convener of the CNAP, Prince Zubairu Mukhtar while addressing newsmen, said the rally was organized in appreciation of the substantial efforts of the Buhari regime and the security agencies in addressing the challenges that have bedevilled Northern Nigeria.

He argued that they are not unaware of the thousands of lives that had been lost to insecurity in the region, “we can see frantic efforts of the security agencies in curtailing the activities of bandits, terrorist and cyber propagandas that have been terrorizing most northern parts of the country.”

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Mukhtar said, “The North has over time been in the spotlight with issues of insecurity specifically banditry, terrorism and cyber propaganda. We all know for certain that the issues at stake require a multi-stakeholder approach, which is necessary considering the dynamics of the issues that have affected the socio-economic well-being of the peaceful and loving people of Kaduna State and indeed Northern Nigeria.

“It is a known fact that the past twelve years have been challenging, especially with the havoc caused by the activities of the Boko Haram insurgent group and other militant organisations in States like Borno, Yobe, Katsina, Bauchi, Plateau and our dear Kaduna State. It is indeed a statement of fact that the actions of these criminal elements brought sorrow, tears and blood in a most barbaric and condemnable manner.

“As concerned stakeholders in Northern Nigeria and Kaduna State, we cannot feign ignorance to the issues affecting our state and the region, which by all indications are politically motivated. This is incognizant that successive Governments attempted to address the issues. However, their best wasn’t good enough, so much so that we feared that Armageddon had come.

“However, the present administration’s actions towards addressing the issues in Northern Nigeria have been noteworthy despite the array of conspiracies against it. We knew that it was equally a daunting task, for it would not be business as usual. We knew that the promoters of bloodshed in Kaduna and indeed Northern Nigeria would fight back vigorously. And they did, but to no avail, because we have a president who has displayed an unalloyed Leadership, commitment to leaving Nigeria better than he met it.

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“Today, my comrades, we are all witnesses to the notable efforts of our security agencies in curtailing the activities of bandits, terrorists and cyber propaganda that have been terrorising most northern parts of the country including Kaduna State.

“Their operational strategies have indeed yielded positives, and we are all witnesses to the heavy casualties suffered by these non-state actors due to the proactive approach developed and employed by the heads of the security agencies in Nigeria.

“We also encourage other critical stakeholders in Northern Nigeria to it as a challenge that the peace building process in Northern Nigeria is sustained towards achieving the overall objective of peace and tranquillity.”

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Kidnapped Plateau monarch freed, troops arrest two suspects

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A traditional ruler in Plateau State, Da Gyang Balak, who was kidnapped by gunmen, has been rescued by troops of .

had reported that Balak, who is the paramount ruler of Vwang District in the Jos South Local Government Area of the state, was abducted on Sunday while driving home close to the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru.

It was learnt that the kidnapped monarch was freed on Monday night.

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The Military Information Officer of Major Ishaku Takwa, confirmed the release of the traditional ruler in a statement on Tuesday.

Takwa said, “Immediately the incident was reported, the Commander, Operation Safe Haven, Major General Ibrahim Ali, placed the troops of Sector 6 deployed in Riyom on red alert to go on hot trail of the perpetrators.

“Consequently, the troops, in conjunction with other security agencies, vigilance groups and hunters, conducted clearance operation in the mountainous region of Sabon Gida Kanal, Gero and Dahol general areas. Two suspects were arrested at an abandoned building during the operation.

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“This development led to the release of the paramount ruler by his abductors. He has been reunited with his family.”

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We’ll forward amended Electoral Act bill to Buhari this week – Lawan

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Eniola Akinkuotu, Friday Olokor and Leke Baiyewu

The President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, has expressed hope that the National Assembly will pass the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill on Wednesday (today) and present it to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for assent this week.

Lawan disclosed this in an interview with  State House correspondents on Monday after a meeting with the President at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

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He, however, said that if the “cleaning process” took more than a day to complete, then it would be represented to Buhari early next week.

He said, “By the grace of God, tomorrow both chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives, will pass the bill. And I hope that by the end of the week, the bill could be brought back to Mr President for his assent.

“I hope that but one thing I’m sure by the grace of God is we are passing the bill, the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2010, tomorrow, Wednesday in both chambers, and we are happy that at the end of the day, we have been able to narrow down our differences and arrive at the very patriotic resolution that our country must have a new electoral law that will guide the 2023 general elections in the country, and Nigeria would have everything to benefit from this law.

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“And for us in the 9th Assembly, the Electoral Act Amendment Bill is one of the primary legislative agenda that we wanted to deal with in the 9th National Assembly, and to the glory of God Almighty Allah by tomorrow (Wednesday), we will be able to pass that bill for Mr President to consent to it.

“I hope that the cleaning process will not take more than a day. But if it does, then it has to be early next week. But I’m very optimistic that there is not much to clean up because normally, when we pass a bill like this, it goes to the legislative drafting unit of the National Assembly.”

Earlier, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, specifically said on Tuesday that the electoral bill, from which the President withdrew assent, would be reworked and passed on Wednesday, and subsequently resent to the President.

“I remain convinced that the proposal for direct primary elections is valuable for building accountability in our political system.  But we must not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good.

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“Therefore, the House will reintroduce the amendment this tomorrow (Wednesday).  And we will work quickly to address the mitigating concerns, pass the bill and send it back to His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari for assent,” Gbajabiamila said.

Buhari had vetoed the electoral bill over the restriction of political parties to direct primary, insisting on the direct, indirect and consensus options.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives had suspended action on the bill till resumption on Tuesday, after the Christmas and New Year break.

Gbajabiamila, in his opening address, restated the benefits of restricting political parties to direct primary while criticising the parties for lacking comprehensive membership registers.

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According to him, a strict direct primary option would have forced the parties to have a documented register.

He partly said, “Unfortunately, that bill did not receive presidential assent, and it is unlikely that it will in its current form.  Now, we have to choose between sticking to our guns regarding the provision to mandate direct primary elections for political parties or reworking that provision to save the rest of the bill.

“Now let it be clear to all that our only objective in introducing that provision was to strengthen the foundations of our democracy so that it works for all of our nation’s people.  The process by which political parties nominate candidates for election is essential, perhaps even just as important as the general election itself.

“A primary nomination process that deprives the majority of party members of the opportunity to choose who represents them in the general elections is susceptible to bad outcomes and ought to be fixed.”

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The Speaker noted the argument by some Nigerians that political parties do not have proper registers of their members, which was a reason to reject the direct primary option.

“Nonetheless, it is disappointing that the failure of political parties to adequately document their membership is being used to not give the Nigerian people the power to fully participate in our nation’s politics,” said Gbajabiamila.

Gbajabiamila also decried the errors said to have been discovered in the bill, noting that the version transmitted to the President was different that the one being scrutinised by the public.

The Speaker said he had, however, set up a technical committee to review the legislation which is expected to report back by Thursday.

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Gbajabiamila subsequently called for an executive (closed-door) session which lasted about 20 minutes.

The Senate, however, held its executive session before plenary.

Emerging from the session, Lawan said, “The Senate postponed discussions on the consideration and response of Mr President on the Electoral Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill to enable us to consult with our counterparts in the House of Representatives and consult our constituents.”

Electoral Amendment bill:

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In a related development, INEC has said the passage of the contentious Electoral Act Amendment Bill will determine its preparation for the 2023 polls.

Yakubu bared his mind in Abuja during the first quarterly meeting of INEC with political parties in 2022.

According to him, the commission is looking forward to the speedy passage of the bill.

He said that the commission would release the timetable for 2023 elections immediately the President signs the bill.

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“On the Electoral Amendment Bill currently before the National Assembly, the commission is encouraged by the Senate President’s assurance to give priority attention to the bill when the National Assembly reconvenes from its recess today, and the commitment by the President to assent to the Bill as soon as the issue of mode of primaries by political parties is resolved.

“We look forward to a speedy passage of the bill, which is crucial to our preparations for future elections. As soon as it is signed into law, the commission will quickly release the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general elections based on the new law”, Yakubu said.

The INEC chairman said 2022 would be a very busy year for the commission and the political parties, with the 2023 general election just 396 days away, adding that all the critical preparations must be concluded this year.

On the Continuous Voter Registration, Yakubu said that as at Monday January 17 a total of 8,260,076 eligible Nigerians commenced the online pre-registration, completed the registration physically or applied for transfer to new voting locations, replacement of their Permanent Voters’ Cards or updated their voter information records as required by law.

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