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Bayelsa’s November 16 election: 10 people beheaded, says Governor Seriake Dickson

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No fewer than 22 people were killed during the November 16 violent gubernatorial election in Bayelsa State.

Making the allegation at an interactive session with reporters in Abuja, the state governor, Seriake Dickson, on Monday said the figure includes 10 people that were beheaded and their bodies mutilated before they were thrown into the sea.

“I just set up a panel of inquiry on the killings during the poll. What took place in Nembe in particular was a massacre. What we saw was a tragedy of monumental proportion,” the governor said.

“So far, 12 deaths were recorded. Their offence was being PDP members and for attending PDP rally. We have not heard the last of the brutality they visited on law-abiding citizens in Nembe.

“They also beheaded, mutilated and actually butchered some citizens of the state. From eye-witness accounts, the people they slaughtered and butchered were close to 10.”

The governor also said going by two judgements of the Federal High Court, the APC had no candidate in the state for the poll.

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He said the PDP would pursue its pre-election cases to logical conclusion.

Dickson pointed out that the state had remained peaceful after the poll because he led the campaign against violence

He said there was no election in Nembe, Southern Ijaw, Ogbia and Yenagoa.

“What happened in Bayelsa State was not an election but a democratic coup. The results were pre-meditated as collation officers were carefully selected. It was the first time the collation officers, who were trained in Benin, were coming to Bayelsa State,” he said.

“These collation officers were guided by the military and protected by the police to rig the poll. In Nembe, militia men took control, thumb-printed ballot papers and returned 80,000 votes for APC.

“In Ogbia, they came up with 50,000 votes which had never been the case in the electoral history of the state. In Yenagoa, the area with the largest votes, they arrested, harassed and shot down PDP supporters. As we are talking, a number of PDP supporters are still in custody.

“Some electoral officers were so angry that they have sworn to affidavits to expose what the military and the police did. They confessed that they sat down and wrote the figures.

“Elections after elections, we will continue to talk about the neutrality or otherwise of the military. The soldiers and the police turned everybody off.

“You need to understand our peculiar terrain. For you to have acceptable election, the security people must behave in an acceptable and professional way. We thought the military and the police will be neutral but they were not.”

Dickson said the battle will shift to the court and election petitions tribunal.

“As of the date of the election on November 16, there were and there will continue to be two judgements of the Federal High Court. As of that date, the APC did not have a valid candidate.

“As lovers of peace and firm believers in democratic process, we have no option than to use the existing legal process/ structure for redress. We will continue the battle at the Federal High Court and the Election Petitions Tribunal.”

 

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Politics

JUST IN: Osun SSG recovers from Coronavirus

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The Osun State Secretary to the State Government, Prince Wole Oyebamiji has recovered from the Coronavirus on Saturday.

A Statement by the Health Commissioner, Dr Rafiu Isamotu noted that the SSG was part of the 22 people that the result returned negative.

It will be recalled that the SSG had about 10 days ago tested positive for the virus.

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Dr Isamotu revealed that by Friday evening, the confirmatory test of the SSG carried out after days of care and treatment returned negative. Similarly, 21 other patients have also tested negative and have all been discharged.

The State, however, announced the discovery of 23 additional cases in the State, saying they were contacts from previous cases in the State.

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The Commissioner appealed to citizens and residents of the State to always observe all the precautionary measures laid down by the State against the spread of the virus.

He also revealed that with the latest development, the number of confirmed cases in the State has risen to 233 with 116 active cases, adding that the State has successfully treated and discharged 110 patients, while seven deaths have so far been recorded.

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Politics

World Trade Organisation: Atiku endorses Okonjo-Iweala

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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has endorsed Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala for the post of Director-General of the World Trade Organisation.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala’s “experience and the enormous related works she has done confirms without equivocation that her leadership shall be a blessing to the WTO and the world,” Atiku said in a tweet on Saturday.

In early June, the WTO had acknowledged Okonjo-Iweala as Nigeria’s nominee for the post.

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The former finance minister was nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The current WTO Director-General, Mr Roberto Azevêdo, has announced he will step down on August 31, 2020.

The nominees for the post, so far, include Mr Jesús Seade Kuri of Mexico and Mr Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh of Egypt, Mr Tudor Ulianovschi of Moldova, Ms Amina C. Mohamed of Kenya, Mr Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijiri of Saudi Arabia and Dr Liam Fox of the United Kingdom.

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Dr Okonjo-Iweala, a world-renowned economist and international development expert, has also be endorsed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

She currently sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, and the African Risk Capacity.

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Nigeria Update

Cancellation of WASSCE will truncate future of Nigerian children – Reps

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The House of Representatives on Friday said the cancellation of the West African Senior Secondary School Examinations [WASSCE] will truncate the future of Nigerian children.

WuzupNigeria reports that the examination, administered by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and held yearly in May, was postponed indefinitely in April after schools were shut down across the country in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, announced during a media briefing on July 6 that the examination will now take place between August 4 and September 5.

But the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, on Wednesday 8 July 2020 at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided by President Muhammadu Buhari cancelled examination, saying he would prefer that “Nigerian students lose an academic year than to expose them to dangers” of COVID-19.

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He added that the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) cannot determine the resumption date of schools for Nigeria.

But the Chairman of the House Committee on Basic Education, Prof Julius Ihonbvare, who made the position of the House known in a statement in Abuja said the announcement by the minister was done without due consultation with relevant stakeholders in the education sector.

He said the Education Minister did not inform the country if his decision was in agreement with other West African leaders or in consultation with the examination bodies, the state governments and other stakeholders in the education sector.

He said:

“The minister also did not also inform the public, if the decision was the outcome of a meeting with all state governments that are in charge of all, but the unity secondary schools that are owned by the federal government.

“The Minister of State, in his usually consultative and participatory approach, had briefed the nation at the COVID 19 Presidential Committee briefing over the airwaves and in an appearance before the House Committee on Basic Education where he assured Nigerians that all steps had or were being taken to ensure full compliance with all COVID 19 protocols.

“This sudden policy reversal is not good for the country. It is bound to create further confusion in the education sector, create disappointment and suspicion among parents, frustrate the students and show to our development partners and Nigerians that the distortions and disarticulations in the sector are only getting worse.

“The reversal also shows that our policymakers may just be adopting a laid-back approach to the need to confront the novel coronavirus rather than taking proactive and creative steps to manage and contain it.

“The House Committee disagrees with the minister and believes that a reconsideration is urgently needed to save our educational system on the following grounds that Nigeria is not the only country expected to write the examination in the midst of Covid-19.

“Nigeria should insist that the examination be based exclusively on the already covered syllabus of schools; the Federal Ministry should not chicken out of its responsibilities but take charge, provide policy direction, engage the states and other stakeholders, while the WAEC should quadruple its invigilators and use all classrooms and event centres to conduct the examination and comply with Covid-19 protocols.”

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