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Protest rocks Abuja over Presidential election

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.US condemns violence, voter intimidation in Lagos, Kano, others

.Recent polls proof of Nigeria’s voter vibrancy, maturity — Buhari

.Hoodlums set High Court ablaze in Ebonyi

.Ogun police fire gun shots to disperse PDP protesters

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Obiora Ifoh, Abuja,  and Michael-Azeez Ogunsiji , CLEMENT NNACHI /ABAKALIKI

Protests have broken out in the Federal Capital Territory over the controversial Presidential elections which produced Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the President-elect.

 

The protesters believed to be members of the Labour Party assembled at the Unity Fountain, Abuja to express frustration over the way the Independent National Electoral Commission conducted the elections.

 

The protesters who were all dressed in black displayed placards with various inscriptions to show their anger against the electoral umpire.

 

The protesters urged President Muhammadu Buhari urgently intervene to save Nigeria from collapsing.

 

“We stand for Justice, we fight for a new Nigeria,” “President Buhari keep your promise,” “Democracy not INECcracy” who owns Nigeria? INEC, Let Nigeria win, Why Can’t We Have Free and Fair Elections? Nigeria Not For Sale, We Fight for Justice,” their placards read

The United States says it is deeply troubled by the disturbing acts of violent voter intimidation and suppression that took place during the March 18 polls in Lagos, Kano, and other states.

 

In a statement on Tuesday, the US said members of the U.S. diplomatic mission observed the elections in Lagos and elsewhere and witnessed some of these incidents first-hand.

It said that the use of ethnically charged rhetoric before, during, and after the gubernatorial election in Lagos was particularly concerning.

 

The full Statement read, “Nigeria carried out the second round of its electoral process with gubernatorial and state assembly elections on March 18.

 

“The United States is deeply troubled by the disturbing acts of violent voter intimidation and suppression that took place during those polls in Lagos, Kano, and other states.

“Members of the U.S. diplomatic mission observed the elections in Lagos and elsewhere and witnessed some of these incidents first-hand.  The use of ethnically charged rhetoric before, during, and after the gubernatorial election in Lagos was particularly concerning.

 

“We commend all Nigerian political actors, religious and community leaders, youth, and citizens who have chosen to reject and speak out against such violence and inflammatory language, affirming Nigerians’ commitment to and respect for the democratic process.

 

”We call on Nigerian authorities to hold accountable and bring to justice any individuals found to have ordered or carried out efforts to intimidate voters and suppress voting during the election process.

“The United States likewise will consider all available actions, including additional visa restrictions, on individuals believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process in Nigeria.

 

“Following the February 25 national elections, the United States joined other international observers in urging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to improve voting processes and technical elements that experienced flaws in that voting round.

 

“The March 18 elections appear to have had significant operational improvements, as polling stations generally opened on time and most results were visible on an electronic viewing platform in a timely manner.

 

“The United States renews its call for any challenges to election results to go through established legal processes, which must not be interfered with.  We further call for Nigeria’s people to work together as they participate in and continue to strengthen the country’s vibrant democracy.”

 

 

Recent polls proof of Nigeria’s voter vibrancy, maturity — Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari says, given the chance of a free and fair election as well as non-interference as was witnessed on February 25th and March 18th elections, Nigerians have proved to be capable of deciding who leads them without anyone telling them what to do.

 

President Buhari who expressed satisfaction with remarkable passion towards democracy exhibited by Nigerians through the choices they made in the Presidential, National Assembly and the subsequent Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections, said Nigeria’s democracy has truly matured.

 

“People are realising their power. Given the chance of a free and fair vote, nobody can tell them what to do. I am unhappy that some candidates lost in the election. But I am inspired by the fact that voters were able to make their own decision, to decide who won and who lost. With the currency change, there was no money to spread around but even then, I told voters to take the money and vote according to their consciences.”

 

President Buhari who was speaking at a farewell meeting with the outgoing United States Ambassador, Mary Beth Leonard at the State House in Abuja, said he was completely satisfied with his own role in the election process staying above it, without meddlesomeness or any form of interference.

 

The President commended the outgoing Ambassador for the enormous achievements recorded in Nigeria-US relations in the three-and-half years she had been here.

 

He chronicled a number of challenges faced by Nigeria as the country strives to unite our diverse communities and achieve national development and expressed his appreciation of the way the United States is able to hold together as a nation. He expressed the hope that Nigeria will continue to make progress in building a nation out of our different and competitive communities. He added that he enjoyed working with the Ambassador and wished that she had more time to serve here.

 

In an answer to a question posed by Ambassador Leonard, President Buhari said he planned to be a “big landlord” back at home, working his farms and tending his more than 300 animals. “I am eager to go,” said the President.

 

In her remarks, the American Ambassador said she was happy with the progress made in Nigeria-US relations in these three-and –half years, specifically citing the recent institution of a five-year visa regime between the two countries; active collaboration in security and the supply of military hardware including war planes and the soon-to-come fighter helicopters; and also cooperation in the health sector to fight HIV and Covid response, giving assurances that US will continue to assist in the strengthening of Nigeria’s health sector.

 

Ambassador Leonard expressed her gratitude and that of the US government in the continuing role of the President in ensuring regional security and strengthening of democracy as a system of government, citing his strong response against the recent surge of coups-d’état in West Africa as worthy of commendation.

She expressed hope that even as he is preparing to leave, there are still a few more things the President could do, among which she mentioned, the urgent need to remove fuel subsidy, according to a statement by  Garba Shehu. Senior Special Assistant to the President, (Media and Publicity)

.Hoodlums set High Court ablaze in Ebonyi

 

In another development ,Ebonyi State High Court located in Owuttu, Edda,  Afikpo South Local Government Area, has been set ablaze by suspected hoodlums in the early hours of Tuesday.

 

In a telephone interview,  the Registrar of the Court Mrs Oluchi Uduma, said that the incident occurred at about 2am in the morning.

 

*This morning around 2am, I started hearing some youths chanting war songs around the court premises*

 

*That was when the hoodlums went into the place and set the court ablaze*

 

The Registrar disclosed that when alarm was raised, people came out and tried to put off the inferno

 

According to her,the matter has been reported to the police, no arrest has been made

 

Confirming the incident, the Chairman of Afikpo South Local Government Area , Hon Chima Ekumankama, described the incident as unfortunate.

 

It’s very unfortunate, the Local vigilante is really assisting to ensure safety of lives and property

 

Fortunately, as there were doing that, someone called and told them that there was an issue at the Central School

So they went there, just for them to come back,  this guy’s launched attack at the High Court, put the place in fire,  we have reported the matter to the police

 

The Commissioner of Police is aware, all  necessary moves towards getting  the culprits have been put in place

 

 

.Ogun police fire gun shots to disperse PDP protesters

 

However, in Abeokuta, There was heavy gunshots as security operatives engaged members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during a protest at the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

 

Hundreds of members of the PDP, led by their governorship candidate, Ladi Adebutu had stormed INEC office in the state to submit a petition, demanding re-run elections at polling units where elections were cancelled on Saturday.

 

The protesters who were chanting anti INEC songs were armed with placards with inscriptions such as: “INEC should save our democracy”, “INEC betrayed the people of Ogun”, “Electoral fraud will not stand”, INEC should respect people’s wish”, “INEC should stop being biased” and “Ogun election was inconclusive, INEC correct yourself”, among others.

 

But, the protesters were denied access into INEC by heavily armed security operatives.

 

The security operatives, comprising military personnel, policemen and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) shot sporadically into the air to disperse the protesters.

 

Addressing journalists at the entrance of the INEC office, Adebutu insisted that, they would not leave until officials of the electoral commission attend to them.

 

Adebutu said, the party had submitted several protest letters to the commission demanding the review of the results of the Saturday’s election and re-run where elections were either cancelled or disrupted.

 

He said, it was regrettable that, security agencies were being used against the wish of the people, warning that the development could degenerate into another #Endsars protest.

 

Adebutu said, “We are here to protest, but unfortunately we have been confronted by the Nigerian Army, shooting sporadically to the air, in the hope that they will disperse us, but we are resolute, we are going to stay here until we are addressed by officials of INEC.

 

“Our contention is that the measures by which other states have been treated and they are allowed to have venoms, Ogun State should be measured in the same vein.

 

“Adamawa has runup, similarly, Kebbi has runup, why is Ogun State being denied runup? We are not particular about whatever interest is guiding this, we are only asking for our rights.

 

“We have submitted several letters protesting this decision and we are asking that these gentlemen allow us access to INEC to submit an additional letter, but unfortunately we don’t understand what is happening, rather than allow us access, they are shooting sporadically in the air in the hope of scaring us away and we are not going to be scared Bea sue this is our fundamental human right …a democratic process, please beg them we don’t want another #Endsars, we don’t want another bloodshed in Ogun State, please beg them for us. It is our right that we should protest and exercise our rights.

 

“We are entitled to runups by all the rules that govern this election, we must exercise and protest to INEC that Ogun State deserves runups, allow us admittance to see the authority’s concern.”

 

 

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