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Elections: Corps members authorised only to handle BVAS – INEC

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The National Youths Service Corps are the only authorised election officers to handle the Bimodal Voter Authentication System during the election.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu stated this when he visited the training centre of the Presiding Officers and Assistant Presiding Officers I, II, and III in Abuja on Saturday.

Yakubu said the Commission cannot rely on its workforce for the conduct of a credible and peaceful election, hence, the need for mobilisation of the NYSC members.

The INEC Chairman tasked the Corps members to be loyal to Nigeria and Nigerians and not political parties.

He also told them that on no account should they leave the BVAS in the custody of another, adding that the Corps members are going to be tracked.

Yakubu explained “Nigeria is fortunate to have young citizens like you. There is no way INEC can conduct elections without the NYSC. You are simply indispensable in the conduct of elections in Nigeria. We cannot conduct elections with our workforce alone.

“So we have to rely on you and other categories of staff. But you are going to operate at the most important level of the electoral system; at the polling unit levels because that is where citizens go and vote. All of you will swear an oath of neutrality. Your loyalty is to Nigeria and Nigerians and not to any political party or any candidate. You will be the INEC Chairman at your polling unit. You are the King at the polling units.

“You are the only ones that will handle the BVAS at polling units on election day. Take this job seriously. We are tracking you as well so that we can know who is holding which BVAS. Do not give this BVAS to someone else.”

When asked if the election will hold amidst protests over naira scarcity, the INEC Chairman said “The protests happening in the country is a security matter. This is an issue that we are going to discuss with the security agencies.

“As you know, we have our own role clearly cut out and others too have theirs. The most important thing is that we are working together and they have assured us they will secure the environment for the election to take place.”

After visiting the training centre, the INEC proceeded to the International Conference Centre for inspection.

Explaining what activities to take place at ICC, Yakubu stated “We will perform basically three activities in this ICC.

“First, there is a hall that will serve as a media centre for national, and international observers and media organisations. We will also have our own briefing with observers on Tuesday.

“The other hall will serve as the Collation Centre for the Presidential election and then beside the hall, it will be our Situation Room where we deploy our platforms; INEC Citizens Contact Centre.”

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Reps seek more financial investment for federal teaching hospitals

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The House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Health Institutions, Amos Magaji, has called for a sustained financial investment in the federal teaching hospitals across the country.

He said this will be in line with the Renewed Hope agenda of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration for the betterment of the citizenry.

Magaji disclosed this during an oversight visit of members of his committee to the Federal University of Health Sciences Teaching Hospital, Otukpo.

He stressed the need to allocate more funds in health sector, considering the primary responsibility of health institutions in the country.

Magaji appreciated the Chief Medical Director, CMD, and his management staff for showing interest in the growth of the teaching hospital, considering the tremendous achievements recorded within a period of one year.

He assured that he would work with his members to ensure that more funds are made available to develop the needed infrastructure including the medical equipment to meet up with the expectations of the people.

“We are glad to be in Otukpo today to see things for ourselves. We don’t want to depend on second hand information on the true condition of the Federal University Teaching Hospital Otukpo,” he said.

He assured the management of full support of the Federal House of Representatives as appropriate incentives would be given through interface with other critical stakeholders in Abuja.

The committee chairman enjoined the staff, whom he described as foundation staff to work as team despite the working condition, “we have seen how the environment is looking and we will continue to monitor the progress.

“So, as foundation staff, you all have the opportunity to write your name in gold.”

While welcoming the committee, the CMD, Prof Silas Ochejele, appreciated the federal government for the establishment of the teaching hospital in Otukpo which has drastically changed the medical services narratives in the state.

Ochejele thanked the House of Representatives Committee on Health Institutions for the pains to come down to Otukpo and believed that the visit has made them to see things themselves, which would go a long way in repositioning the hospital for the betterment of the people.

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JUST IN: Helicopter carrying Iran’s President crashes

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A helicopter carrying Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, has been involved in an incident while he was visiting neighbouring Azerbaijan, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on X on Sunday according to CNN.

“Some of the president’s companions on this helicopter were able to communicate with Central Headquarters, raising hopes that the incident could have ended without casualties,” it added.

It is unclear what the exact status is of Raisi’s helicopter, CNN reports.

The helicopter was part of a convoy of three helicopters. Two of those helicopters were carrying ministers and officials who arrived at their destination safely, according to Tasnim.

“Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Al-Hashem, Tabriz’s Friday Prayer Imam, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were also reportedly on the helicopter with the president,” Tasnim said on X. BREAKING: Helicopter carrying Iran’s President involved in an accident

A helicopter carrying Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, has been involved in an incident while he was visiting neighbouring Azerbaijan, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on X on Sunday according to CNN.

“Some of the president’s companions on this helicopter were able to communicate with Central Headquarters, raising hopes that the incident could have ended without casualties,” it added.

It is unclear what the exact status is of Raisi’s helicopter, CNN reports.

The helicopter was part of a convoy of three helicopters. Two of those helicopters were carrying ministers and officials who arrived at their destination safely, according to Tasnim.

“Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Al-Hashem, Tabriz’s Friday Prayer Imam, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were also reportedly on the helicopter with the president,” Tasnim said on X.

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NDDC to unveil 92 projects worth N84bn

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The Niger Delta Development Commission said it would commission 92 infrastructure projects valued at over N84 billion across five states in the region in the next two weeks.

This is according to a statement by the Director, Corporate Affairs, NDDC, Mr. Pius Ughakpoteni, made available to our correspondent in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, on Sunday

“With a forward-looking, innovative and result-oriented roadmap, the commission is well-equipped towards ensuring a holistic and sustainable development of the Niger Delta into a region that is economically prosperous, socially stable, ecologically regenerative and politically peaceful,” adding that the NDDC’s management “would explore means of reducing recurrent expenditure, while focusing on completing capital projects.

“And in the light of the above, NDDC, will in the next two weeks, commission 92 infrastructure projects executed at a cost of N84 billion across the nine mandate states in the region,” the statement partly read.

The projects include the 25.7 km Ogbia-Nembe Road which creates a road link to the ancient city of Nembe. For the first time in living memory, the 9.15 km of pre-fabricated vertical drains on the swamp and seven bridges are also among the star projects in the area.

These projects executed at the cost of N24 billion, cut the traveling time to Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital from 3 hours on dangerous water routes to 45 minutes and also opened up 14 communities for development.

Also slated for commissioning are the 132KV Transmission Line and I32KV/33KV sub-station electrification project, executed at a cost of N8.3bn to optimise power supply to Local Government Areas in the southern part of Ondo State.

The project covers the construction of 45km double circuit 33KV feeder lines from Omotosho Power Station (Hook-up point) to Okitipupa and two 30MVA, 132/33KV injection substations with breakers, gantry and substation automation. It also includes the construction of a 3-bedroom semi-detached bungalow as service quarters.

The capacity of the power station is optimised with the provision of 2 x 60MVA, 132/33KV transformer and other ancillary works at Okitipupa injection sub-station, rehabilitation of 35km 33/11KV transmission from Okitipupa-Igbokoda-Ugbonla and environs and the construction of 1km rigid pavement.

The electricity project will complement the Federal Government’s effort in the power sector development by improving power supply to Okitipupa, Igbokoda and other neighbouring communities in Ondo South Senatorial District, with direct value chain in small and medium scale industries, job creation and consequently engender growth and development in Ondo State.

Ughakpoteni also noted that in Akwa Ibom State, the NDDC will commission the 6.87 km Iko-Iwuochang road in Akwa Ibom South (Eket) Senatorial District of the state.

In Abia State, the commission will unveil the Obehie to Oke Ikpe road reconstructed at a cost of N3.5bn, among others.

Other projects for commissioning during the event include roads, electrification, a police station, health centres and school blocks.

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