INEC registers 14.5m new voters ahead of 2019 election


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has placed the total number of newly registered voters as 14,551,482 ahead of the 2019 general election.The Chairman of the Commission, Mahmood Yakubu made the announcement during the Commission’s third quarterly consultative meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) at INEC’s Headquarters, Abuja.

“At the end of the exercise, a total of 14,551,482 new voters were registered. If this figure is added to the existing register of 69,720,350 voters, it means that the nation now has a voter population of 84,271,832,” Yakubu said.

“The Commission is also processing 769,917 requests for intra and inter-State transfers as well as 1,178,793 requests for replacement of lost, damaged or cards with misspelt names or incorrect personal details of voters as required by law,” he added.

The INEC Chairman further stated that the figure may reduce after the Commission filters the register to rid it of multiple registrations with the current figure representing about 21 per cent increase on the existing register.

Yakubu also disclosed that INEC has printed a total of 16,500,192 Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) for those registered in 2017 and delivered them to States for collection.

While the PVCs for 2.7 million voters registered in the first quarter of 2018 have also been printed and will be delivered to the States in the coming week.

He added that as part of its efforts aimed at ensuring that citizens got their PVCs with minimum inconveniences, INEC has collaborated with the Nigerian Telecommunications Commission (NCC) to send bulk SMS to citizens for the collection of their PVCs.

The commission chairman also talked on the issue of vote buying during elections and other election malpractices, Yakubu assures total preparation of the body to curb such illicit acts as elections approach.

“We are working on a multi-faceted approach to the menace of vote-buying and other sundry electoral malpractices. We will introduce changes to the election-day administration of our polling units, in addition to the electronic tracking of our sensitive materials. We are discussing with the security agencies on a more vigorous enforcement of the law against voter-inducement. Furthermore, we are working with the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) and other stakeholders on voter education and sensitization,” he stated.

Yakubu, therefore, assures the people of Osun that will be having their governorship elections in September 22nd, that their votes only will count and the commision will not give room for any malpractices.

The CVR exercise, which began on 27th April 2017 was suspended on 31st August.

British Airways hacked with details of 380,000 bank cards stolen

British Airways said that the personal and financial details of customers making bookings between August 21 and September 5 had been stolen in a data breach involving 380,000 bank cards.

The almost two week long hack did not involve travel or passport details, the airline said, adding that it had launched an urgent investigation into the theft of customer data.

“The personal and financial details of customers making bookings on our website and app were compromised,” it said. “The breach has been resolved and our website is working normally. We have notified the police and relevant authorities.”

BA said the breach took place between 2158 GMT on August 21 and 2045 GMT on September 5 and that around 380,000 payment cards were compromised.

BA advised anyone who believed they may have been affected to contact their bank or credit card provider and follow their recommendations.

In terms of compensation, BA said they would be in touch with customers “and will manage any claims on an individual basis.”

“We are deeply sorry for the disruption that this criminal activity has caused,” the airline said.

It said customers due to travel could check in online as normal as the incident had been resolved.

BA customer Daniel Willis, 34, who booked a flight on Monday with the airline, said he had not been contacted by the airline despite being affected by the data breach.

“I’ve not heard anything from them on this and I’ve just had to cancel the card I used. They’re a shambles,” he told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Another BA customer, Stephanie Jowers, said she contacted the airline hours before the hack was announced to query a suspicious charge on her account but was not informed it could have been compromised.

“I asked repeatedly for an explanation. None was given,” she told the Daily Telegraph.

Past IT issues 
The National Crime Agency said: “We are aware of reports of a data breach affecting British Airways and are working with partners to assess the best course of action.”

The NCA is set up to tackle the most serious and organised crime posing the highest risk to public security in Britain.

BA apologised in July after technology issues caused dozens of its flights to and from London Heathrow Airport to be cancelled.

The airline said the problem was down to an incident with an IT system.

And in May 2017, British Airways suffered a major computer system failure triggered by a power supply issue near Heathrow which left 75,000 customers stranded.

IAG, which owns British Airways and Spanish carrier Iberia, said last month that first-half profits more than doubled.

Earnings after taxation flew to 1.4 billion euros ($1.6 billion) in the first six months of 2018 compared with 607 million euros a year earlier, IAG said in a results statement.

The London-listed group, which is also the owner of Irish airline Aer Lingus and Spanish carrier Vueling, added that total revenues swelled three percent to 11.2 billion euros.

BA announced last month that it will halt flights to Tehran in September, citing low profitability as the US reimposes sanctions on Iran.

Ortom appoints Benue’s first female Head of Service

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has appointed Veronica Onyeke as the new head of service.

According to the governor’s chief press secretary, Terver Akase, she is the first female head of state in Benue, since the creation of the state in 1967.

Mrs. Onyeke hails from Ogbadibo Local Government Area of the state. Prior to her present promotion, she was a permanent secretary in the office of the Deputy Governor.

Onyeke takes over from Engineer George Ede who is to proceed on retirement.

FG ‘deliberately corrupting Osun Voters’ With Trader Moni – Oby Ezekwezili

A former Minister of Education and co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) Group, Oby Ezekwezili, on Friday accused the Nigerian Government of “deliberately corrupting the elections in Osun” by launching the Trader Moni scheme in the state three weeks before its scheduled governorship elections.

“The Federal Government either failed to be Ethically Circumspect or in fact Deliberately decided to CORRUPT the Elections in Osun by handing out Cash to Traders on the heels of the State Elections,” Ezekwezili tweeted on her Twitter page.

“Such behaviour after the Grand Corrupting of Voters in Ekiti is REPREHENSIBLE,” She added.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on September 3, 2018, launched the programme, TraderMoni, in Osun targeting 30,000 traders and artisans in the state.

Osinbajo said the TraderMoni is a micro-credit scheme to cater for ultra-micro enterprises.

According to him, it is meant to reinforce the Federal Government’s commitment to bridge the credit gap and empower Nigerians at the grassroots.

“The policy of the Federal Government is to support businesses, not just big business but particularly small, medium-sized businesses and micro businesses. The whole idea is that we want to ensure that we give whatever support whether it is cash, advice or even registration to all of our small and medium enterprises” Osinbajo said during its launch in Benin late July.

The Federal Government budgeted N300,000,000 to empower traders in Osun, and the loan is expected to be repaid within six months, after which the traders can access higher amounts.

Morocco says over 50,000 migrant crossings to Europe foiled

Moroccan authorities have so far this year foiled 54,000 bids by illegal migrants to cross to Europe, the official MAP news agency reported Friday.

It said that authorities had dismantled 74 “criminal networks” linked to people smuggling and seized 1,900 boats over the same period.

The North African country — a key route for sub-Saharan Africans trying to reach Europe via Spain — has launched an operation targeting people smugglers.

In July, hundreds of migrants forced their way into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta by violently storming a heavily fortified border fence with Morocco.

Ceuta and Melilla, Spain’s other tiny territory in North Africa, make up the European Union’s only land borders with Africa.

Spain has become the main entry point for migrants arriving in Europe, after Italy and Greece.

More than 35,000 migrants have arrived in Spain by sea and land so far this year, according to the International Organization for Migration.

MAP did not give the nationalities of the migrants prevented from crossing to Europe or specify what action was taken.

According to the interior ministry, 230 suspected people smugglers — Moroccans and sub-Saharan Africans — have been put on trial since the start of 2018.

Buhari returns to Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday night returned to Abuja after attending the Forum on China and Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing.

During the six-day visit to China, Buhari held bilateral talks and witnessed the signing of some agreements between Nigeria and China in the areas of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the economy.

He also participated in the High-Level Dialogue between Chinese and African leaders and business representatives.

At the FOCAC meeting, Buhari expressed the appreciation of ECOWAS member states for China’s increasing investment in the sub-region with the aim of building a prosperous and shared future.

He noted that China was the largest investor in the sub-region in both private and public sectors, covering areas, such as infrastructure development in energy, agriculture, mining and healthcare.

According to him, China also provides significant assistance in emergency humanitarian aid and response to climate change for Africa.

Buhari at the FOCAC Round Table on Tuesday, attended by African leaders and Chinese President Xi Jinping, said Nigeria’s partnership with China through FOCAC had resulted in the execution of vital infrastructure projects worth over five billion dollars.

Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, who was part of the president’s entourage to China, reported that
Buhari won the crucial support of Jinping, for Nigeria’s aspiration to build the 3050 Megawatts Mambilla hydro-power project.

He revealed that Nigeria and China also signed the agreement of 328 million dollars for the Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone Phase II (NICTIB II) project.

The concessional loan agreement between Galaxy Backbone Limited and Huawei Technologies Limited (HUAWEI) was signed by Nigeria’s Minister of Finance Kemi Adesoun and Wang Xiaotoa, Director-General, International Development Agency of China.

The presidential aide disclosed that Nigeria and China also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR).

In Beijing, Buhari also received assurances from the Joint Venture Partners handling the 3050 Megawatts Mambilla Hydro-power Plant of which arrangements had reached advance stage for the commencement of work early in 2019.

Buhari received the assurance when he was briefed on time lines for the commencement of work at a meeting with Prof. Lyu Ze Xiang, the President of CGCC, the company handling the project.

The president, at separate meetings with prospective Chinese investors on the sidelines of FOCAC, assured existing and prospective Chinese investors of high-level support for their investment plans in Nigeria.

The president, at an interactive session with the Nigerian community in China on Saturday, had given assurance that as “a beneficiary of free and fair elections, I’m not afraid of a credible process in 2019.’’

To this effect, the president reaffirmed his commitment to making sure that the 2019 polls would be free, fair and credible.

Buhari pledged that Nigerians eligible to vote in the general elections would be allowed to freely elect candidates of their choices.