Buhari Signs Bill Mandating Tinubu To Appoint Cabinet In 60 Days


President Muhammadu Buhari has signed 16 constitutional amendment bills into law.

Among the bills is the one which mandates the President-elect and governors-elect to submit the names of ministers or commissioners to the Senate and State House of Assembly within 60 days of taking the oath of office.

The bills signed into law include financial independence for state houses of assemblies and state judiciary;  bills seeking to remove railway, prison, electricity from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent list, among others.

The assented bills will soon be published in the Official Gazette of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The assented Constitutional Alteration Bills are:

  • Bill to change the names of Afikpo North and Afikpo South Local Government Areas
  • Bill to change the name of Kunchi Local Government Area
  • Bill to change the names of Egbado North and Egbado South Local Government Areas
  • Bill to correct the name of Atigbo Local Government Area
  • Bill to correct the name of Obia/Akpor Local Government Area.
  • Bill to provide for the financial independence of State Houses of Assembly and State Judiciary
  • Bill to regulate the first session and inauguration of members-elect of the National and State Houses of Assembly.
  • Bill to delete the reference to the provisions of the Criminal Code, Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Act, Criminal Procedure Code or Evidence Act
  • Bill to exclude the period of intervening events in the computation of time for determining
    pre-election petitions, election petitions and appeals
  • Bill to provide for the post-call qualification of the Secretary of the National Judicial Council.
  • Bill to delete the item “prisons” in the Exclusive Legislative List and re-designate it as “Correctional Services” in the Concurrent Legislative List.
  • Bill to move the item “railways” from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent Legislative List
  • Bill to allow States to generate, transmit and distribute electricity in areas covered by the national grid.
  • Bill to require the President and Governors to submit the names of persons nominated as Ministers or Commissioners within sixty days of taking the oath of office for confirmation by the Senate or State House of Assembly.
  • Bill to correct the error in the definition of the boundary of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
  • Bill to require the Government to direct its policy towards ensuring the right to food and food security in Nigeria

The President also assented to 3 other bills to wit: The Nigerian Institute of Leather and Science Technology Act, The Nigerian Institute of International Relations Act, and The Federal Medical Centers (Amendment) Acts.

There was nationwide outrage when, in 2015, Buhari assumed office and failed to appoint ministers in six months.

On Wednesday, President-Elect Bola Tinubu had spoken about his cabinet, saying he would appoint competent persons across the country.

Court orders INEC to paste, transmit Saturday’s poll results electronically


A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to electronically transmit the Saturday’s governorship and house of assembly’s election results in accordance with its regulations and guidelines.

Justice Obiora Egwuatu, in a judgment, also ordered the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) to upload a scanned copy of the EC8A to INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) immediately after the completion of all the polling units voting and results’ procedures in Akwa Ibom.

The judge further directed the commission to conspicuously paste the publication of its result posters EC60(E) at polling units after completing the EC8A result sheets in the state.

He equally ordered INEC to enforce the observance and compliance of Section 27(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 in the distribution of electoral materials during the conduct of the polls in the state by engaging the services of independent, competent, and reliable logistic companies who are non-partisans or known supporters of any political for the distribution of electoral materials and personnel.

Egwuatu held that since the electoral umpire averred in its filed affidavit that it was aware of its responsibilities under the law and had not failed to carry them out, granting the prayers sought by the applicants would not do any harm to the commission but instead, energise its performance.

He gave the judgment following a suit filed by the Labour Party (LP) and its governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom, Uduakobong Udoh, including 13 state’s House of Assembly candidates for the March 18 elections.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the applicants, in the originating summons marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/334/2023 dated and filed on March 15 by their lawyer, Moses Usoh-Abia, had sued INEC as sole defendant.

The applicants, who sought seven reliefs, prayed the court for an order of mandamus compelling INEC and all its agents to comply with and enforce the provision of Clause 37 of the Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of the Saturday’s governorship and house of assembly elections in Akwa Ibom.

They also prayed the court to mandate the presiding officers of all polling units to conspicuously paste the publication of result posters EC460(E) at the polling units after completing the EC8A result sheets.

They sought an order of mandamus compelling the commission to mandate the presiding officers of all polling units in the state to electronically transmit or transfer the result of the polling units, direct to the collation system and use the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) to upload a scanned copy of the EC8A to INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) immediately after the completion of all the polling units voting and results procedures.

They said this was in compliance with the provision of Clause 38 of the guidelines for the conduct of the polls.

My confidence in INEC gone, hope now on judiciary, says Obi


• NNPP: We‘re studying reports, will go to court soon
• Atiku denies withdrawing petition, slams APC for endorsement shopping
• 2023 polls: International Alert launches national dialogue to curtail violence

Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, has described the last round of general elections as an exhibition of motion without movement in the nation’s political trajectory, being the worst in its history.

He, however, expressed utmost confidence in Nigeria’s judiciary despite many controversial rulings on some matters. Obi, speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise programme yesterday, said his confidence is drawn from the fact that the Justices are Nigerians and are aware of how bad the situation has been in the country.

“They, the Justices, desire a better Nigeria for themselves and their children and that can only come through doing the right thing and telling the people the truth on any situation.

“For me, I have no cause to doubt the courts. It’s we the politicians that are bent on corrupting every aspect of our national life.” Obi, however, berated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over its failure to transmit results of the presidential election in real-time via its portal, saying the conduct of the exercise has downgraded the country.

“We have seen probably what I consider the worst election in our recent history because of the Electoral Law of 2022, which gave so much hope and the huge expenditure we put into technology,” the former Anambra State governor said.

“All these happened despite the humungous amount budgeted for the election. Do you know what it means to spend over $1 billion? So, there was so much that was promised and then we went back to what it used to be. For me, that is very devastating.” Obi reiterated his earlier position that what INEC declared is false, pointing out that he’s challenging the process and the declaration.

“My trust in INEC has evaporated with what they did on February 25, setting out a rule for the election and abandoning it in the middle of the game.”
The LP candidate, who has challenged the declaration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as winner of the exercise, is, however, optimistic about getting justice.

ANOTHER opposition party, the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), has reiterated its rejection of the results released by INEC that declared Tinubu as winner of the February 25 presidential election.

According to the party, it was brainstorming with its legal team gathering the necessary information and evidences with a view to coming up with the next line of action, just as it stressed that it would meet up with the stipulated time to file against the declared results in line with the 2022 Electoral Act as amended. He said the party would meet up with the seven days left for all parties to file their cases.

Addressing newsmen yesterday in Abuja, NNPP National Chairman, Prof. Rufai Ahmed Alkali, said: “We are still talking to our lawyers and they will advise us on the way forward. We are gathering details of the results from polling units to polling units. Our lawyers should know what we need to do. We don’t do grandstanding,” he said.

MEANWHILE, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has denied reports that its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has withdrawn his petition against the February 25 election.  

In a statement by its national publicity secretary, Debo Ologunagba, PDP said it was shocked by “mischievous report claiming that PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku, have withdrawn the petition filed against INEC, APC and Tinubu at the Presidential Election Tribunal.”

PDP clarified that: “On Monday, March 13, the legal team of Atiku, led by J.K Gadzama (SAN) was in court to move a Motion Exparte, seeking orders directing INEC to allow us observe/participate in the process of sorting out the ballot papers used for the presidential, Senatorial and House of Representatives elections conducted on February 25, across the country. 

“On Tuesday, March 14, our legal team had a conference meeting with the legal team of INEC, and the Commission gave its assurance to cooperate with our team during the inspection and sorting of ballot papers, and to provide election materials needed to file our petition.

“On Wednesday, March 15, our legal team returned to court to inform the court of the resolution reached with INEC and formally discontinued the Motion on Notice.”

Atiku has further lambasted the presidential campaign organisation of the ruling APC for shopping for endorsements and begging United States President, Joe Biden, to call to congratulate Tinubu.

APC PCC Director of New Media, Femi Fani-Kayode, had taken to Twitter to say that although the U.S. State Department had congratulated Tinubu, there was a need for Biden to add his voice as both the U.S. and Nigeria shared a historic relationship.

“Yes, the American State Department and the American Ambassador to Nigeria both congratulated Asiwaju. For this, we are eternally grateful, and it reflects a measure of respect. However, it’s time for Joe (Biden) to pick up the phone and add his voice. We are a big nation: we deserve no less,” Fani-Kayode tweeted.

Responding in a statement, however, Atiku’s Special Assistant on Public Communication, Mr. Phrank Shaibu, said Fani-Kayode’s remarks were evidence of desperation.

Shaibu described Fani-Kayode’s action as appalling, even as he called on Tinubu and his team to stop forcing foreign countries to recognise the “sham election conducted by INEC.”

He added: “After being the beneficiary of the worst and most fraudulent election in the history of Nigeria, Tinubu and his ilk are now running from pillar to post, begging Western powers to recognise Tinubu. This is the height of desperation.”

Atiku’s aide advised Tinubu’s campaign team to save their strength for the legal challenge in the coming weeks rather than beg the US President to recognise his tainted mandate.

FOLLOWING discordant tunes trailing the outcome of the presidential election, a peace-building organisation, International Alert, has launched a new initiative to promote national stability, dialogue and reduce violence around the elections.

The Country Director of International Alert, Paul Nyulaku, while speaking at the project launch yesterday in Abuja, noted that the 2023 election held amid intense rivalry and tension between the three major parties, adding that the religious and cultural background of the candidates have divided the electorate.

He said though the direct post-election violence has not reached the levels seen in previous elections, with the results being contested, experts fear that a trigger event could lead to more violence.

He pointed out that International Alert in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and National Early Warning Center of the Office for Strategic Preparedness and Resilience (OSPRE) is launching an initiative to promote national stability, dialogue and reduce violence around the 2023 elections in Nigeria.

10 killed, others injured in fresh Southern Kaduna attack


Uba Sani urges security agencies to fish out perpetrators

Ten persons have been reported killed in a fresh attack on Langson, Zangon-Kataf Local Council of Kaduna State.

At the weekend, 17 persons had been confirmed killed in attacks at Ungwan Wakili and neighbouring communities of Zangon-Kataf.

Chairman of the local council, Francis Sani, confirmed the latest attack, to journalists, in Kaduna on telephone.

The Guardian gathered that the attackers invaded the community around 9.00p.m. on Tuesday, shooting sporadically to scare residents.

The attackers reportedly looted a shop in the area before the police challenged them.

Appealing for calm, Sani urged government to deploy more security personnel to stop the persistent attacks.

Also speaking on the attack, the National President, Atyap Community Development Association (ACDA), Sam Achie, passed a vote of no confidence in some security operatives deployed to the area to protect life and property.

Achie lamented the silence of government on the attacks, urging the government to match words with action by arresting the perpetrators.

The ACDA president also commended the Mobile Police in Langson community, who were said to have repelled the attackers, even as he called on the people to continue to be at alert to protect their communities against the oppressors, who are bent on taking their ancestral land.

Meanwhile All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate for Saturday’s election in the state, Sen. Uba Sani, has called on security agents to fish out the perpetrators.

He expressed deep pain over the attack, asserting that the cycle of attacks on innocent lives must be broken.

In a statement, yesterday, Sani called for decisive action against murderous elements terrorising the state.

While condemning the incident, the senator stated: “Security agencies must move into action to fish out the perpetrators of these heinous crimes. Such elements have no place in a decent society like ours. The inability of security agencies to fashion effective strategies to degrade or decimate these terrorists and bandits rendered most of our communities desolate.

“The full weight of the law is hardly brought to bear on criminal elements. Our people watch helplessly as criminal elements hold sway in many communities. This must not be allowed to continue.”

He noted security as a key plank of his manifesto.

“If, by the grace of God, I get the people’s mandate, I will work with security agencies to restore peace to Kaduna communities,” he added.

Kaduna Govt releases N920m for payment of pensions, gratuities


The Kaduna State Government has released N920 million for the settlement of outstanding pension liabilities, death benefits of deceased civil servants and gratuities.

This is contained in a statement issued by the Executive Secretary of Kaduna State Pension Bureau, Prof. Salamatu Isah, on Wednesday in Kaduna.

She said that the amount covered batch 54 for the state and local government retirees and death benefits.
Isah said that the payment would be in the old ”Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS)”.

The executive secretary further disclosed that the state pensioners and retired civil servants would get N400 million, while their counterpart from the local government service would receive N520 million.

Isah further explained that the payment which is under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), would be done by the Pension Funds Administrators (PFAs).

“Such savings, known as Accrued Rights, are the retirees’ entitlements paid to PFAs instead of individual beneficiaries,” she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ODS is the pension scheme that was in effect in Nigeria until 2007 when it was replaced with the CPS as stipulated in the Pension Reform Act (PFA) 2004 and 2014.

Under the DBS, the total pension obligation is borne by government as against the CPS where the accumulated pension at retirement is based on a pension plan in which an employer/employee contribute in varying percentages to build a retirement fund for an individual.

Under the CPS, the pension fund exists from the onset and payments can be made as at when due unlike the DBS which is wholly dependent on government treasury for funding.

Slow compliance despite CBN order, banks ration old notes


• Business owners, traders defy CBN, reject old N500, N1,000
• CBN silent on returned banknotes, warehoused cash
• Residual notes amount to drop in ocean, analysts insist
• NIBSS: ePayment recorded series of failed transactions in February
• HURIWA charges CBN to disburse old, new notes to banks

The silence of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the trillions of naira it mopped from the financial system continues to cast doubt on the possibility of achieving sufficient naira circulation in the near term, after Monday night’s directive urging banks to comply with the Supreme Court ruling extending the validity of the old banknotes to December 31, 2023.

The statement came days after some banks had started issuing the old notes in their vaults. Some of the banks, The Guardian learnt had exhausted the residual notes in their possession before the CBN directive – a reason majority have none to give as at yesterday when the regulatory directive took effect.

Insider sources disclosed that some bank chiefs used the Supreme Court ruling to release the ‘stranded’ cash in their possession, while they rejected deposits of same old notes.

The Guardian was informed that bank chiefs were already worried about what to do with the notes they collected at the height of the crisis without a clear directive from the regulator.

“The issue was that some banks collected some deposits in old notes at the time CBN was not forthcoming with clear instructions on the proceeds. The court ruling provided an opportunity to dispose of the cash,” the source said.

The Guardian had, after the Supreme Court judgment, reported that CBN was still in possession of a reasonable volume of the old notes but would require sufficient time to sort it for distribution for onward re-issuance.

Apart from a viral and uncomfirmed YouTube video of supposed shred bags of naira, there is no official validation that a part or the entire volume sucked from the system had been destroyed.

The latest official statement of the apex bank on the issue vaguely said the old notes remained legal tenders alongside the new series. There was nothing in the statement that indicated how the bank intends to plug the hole to bring the situation to normalcy.

The CBN spokesperson, Dr. Isa Abdulmumin, was not forthcoming on the returned old notes and whether they would be re-issued in the meantime, as calls and messages were not attended to at press time.

Commercial banks, who have also been jolted by the recent bank failure in the United States, are mindful of a possible run on the banks as soon as substantial cash flows into the system. The lenders, it was learnt, are simulating different levels of scenarios of cash calls and strategising on how they could be prevented.

David Adonri, an economist and stockbroker, said the fear of bank run is real and that the only way it could be prevented is by issuing cash in excess of N3.2 trillion, the volume of currency in circulation before the naira redesign programme commenced.

“The way it is, whatever CBN issues going forward would amount to pouring water into a basket. People have suffered much, and they would go on a withdrawing spree, not to spend but to store in their houses. That would further hurt the circulation of whatever amount the banks give out,” Adonri noted.

A financial inclusion/wealth management expert, CEO of SD&D Capital Management Limited, Idakolo Gabriel Gbolade, said the naira crisis should not have reached an unbearable height before government’s intervention, adding that it is unthinkable for a democratically-elected government to watch its citizens suffer for months.

He explained that the scar of the crisis would be felt in the economy for a long time. “The state of the economy is worsening and is compounded by the delayed intervention towards implementing the Supreme Court’s ruling. The scarcity of new notes shouldn’t have reached an unbearable height before President Buhari and CBN’s response,” he stated.

DATA obtained from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) indicates that the usage of e-payment gateways recorded a 41.29 per cent month-on-month increase. Cashless payment gateways were used 901.46 million times in February, up from 638 million in January.

Despite an increase in usage, the total value of cashless transactions fell in February, indicating that the number of failed transactions increased due to poor network infrastructure.

This is contrary to the expectation that the naira redesign policy will increase electronic transactions in the country.

Since 2020, NIBSS has not updated its efficiency platform portal, which displays the number of failed transitions and other data, making it difficult to report the number of failed transactions. As the major payment switch in the country, NIBSS records cashless transactions from the Nigeria Instant Payment System and Point of Sales terminals. In February, the total NIP (instant payments) fell to N36.79 trillion from N38.772 trillion in January.

Despite the scarcity of naira witnessed in February, data from NIBSS revealed that the value of PoS transactions grew from N807.16 billion in January to N883.45 billion in February.

Usage of mobile transfers, which serve as the primary payment gateway for many Nigerians, soared by 69.87 per cent from 108.14 million times in January to 183.69 million times in February.

While usage grew drastically, transaction value only grew marginally by 7.88 per cent from N2.37 trillion in January to N2.56 trillion in February. This mirrored the experience of many Nigerians in the month, who had to grapple with multiple failed mobile transactions.

MEANWHILE, it’s a slow compliance on the streets as business owners, traders and transporters in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), yesterday, defied CBN’s directive hours after the apex bank’s announcement.

It was gathered that residents of Abuja were still rejecting the old notes. Salisu Mohammed, a trader in the UTC Area market, confirmed that he rejected the old notes.

“No one is collecting the old N500 and N1,000 notes as I speak to you. If other traders do not collect the money, do you expect me to do so? I have rejected some customers today who came buying with old currencies,” he said.

Okechukwu Okereke, a taxi driver, said he is yet to come to terms with CBN’s announcement on acceptance of the old notes.

“As for me, I am not receiving the money. I heard depositing it at the bank is difficult, so what is the need? Only customers who have the new notes will board my vehicle,” he said.

Commercial banks in Utako, Jabi, Wuse and Abuja city centres were crowded with customers, as has been the case since the beginning of the naira crisis two months ago.

Prof Godwin Oyedokun, a lecturer of Accounting and Management at Leads University Ibadan, said Nigerians’ compliance with CBN’s decision might take some time, while Dr Muda Yusuf, Director, Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), urged the apex bank to embark on massive awareness campaign on its latest directive.

RESIDENTS of Ilorin, Kwara State capital, reacted variously to Monday’s directive of the CBN. While majority described the directive as a good development, others said it will only impact positively if vigorous sensitisation and public enlightenment campaigns are carried out by CBN to restore confidence of the people who have been traumatised by the naira crisis.

Musa Ayinla, a lawyer, said the situation will improve if banks dispense enough old notes to cushion the effects of the hardship Nigerians have gone through over the naira scarcity. He further complained that Point of Sale (PoS) operators are not helping the situation with exorbitant charges they impose on cash withdrawals.

A retired civil servant, Shola Adeshina, who also described the announcement as a positive development, urged banks to make the old notes available if there are not enough new notes for circulation. He particularly sympathised with people in rural areas where there are no banking services, wondering about the negative effect of the crisis on rural economy.

In Ebonyi State, despite CBN’s directive, residents and business operators have refused to collect the old notes.

Check by The Guardian showed that apart from the difficulties in accessing both new and old notes, PoS agents were exchanging N1000 for either N1400 or N1500.

Traders in Makurdi and other parts of Benue State were still wary of accepting the old notes yesterday. At the Gboko rice mill, traders avoided the old notes like a pariah.

When The Guardian went round banks in Makurdi, crowd of desperate people laid siege to the gates of the banks.

THERE was relief in Rivers State as banks commenced across the counter payment of old notes to customers. Different branches of various banks were seen paying old notes to customers willing to accept them.

However, disbursement was still being rationed according to the discretion of officials of the various banks. None of the banks was paying the new notes along with the old.

At the Mile 1, Diobu, Port Harcourt area, a first generation bank was paying a maximum of N20,000 to each customer, while another bank paid maximum of N5,000. Others refused to disclose their limits, only offering to say that they were paying the old notes.

It was discovered that no Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) of any of the banks was dispensing cash. This now diverted the crowd that usually gather at the ATM points into the banking halls.

Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has slammed CBN over its tardiness and insensitivity to the plight of millions of Nigerians, whose lives have been strangulated economically in the last three months due to the naira redesign policy.

HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said beyond CBN’s reluctant compliance notice with the Supreme Court order of March 3, Emefiele should immediately release old and new naira notes into circulation to ease the suffering of ordinary Nigerians, especially those in the informal sector and in rural areas, who have no idea of digital banking.

FG Finally Confirms Census Will Hold In May


The Federal Government has confirmed that the 2023 population and housing census earlier scheduled for March 29 will now hold in May 2023.

Daily Trust had exclusively reported that the exercise had been shifted till the last month of the Buhari administration in office.

A staff member of the commission, who did not want his name in print, had confirmed the postponement to Daily Trust.

“The census will hold now from May 3 to 7 and it is a recommendation that has been submitted to the President. He is going to approve it anyway but it is yet to be decided,” he had said.

While briefing State House reporters after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information, confirmed that the postponement had been ratified.

He said the decision was necessitated by the rescheduling of the gubernatorial election to March 18.

The minister said council approved the sum of N2.8 billion for the National Population Commission (NPC) to procure some software to be used for the conduct of the census.

    “There was a memo presented by the National Population Commission, seeking for some software to allow them conduct the census in May this year. I believe because of the reschedulement of the elections, they cannot commence the census as scheduled.

    “They sought Council’s approval for a contract to procure software for the census at the sum of N2.8 billion,” he said.

    This is the first census which would hold after 17 years.

    Daily Trust

    Buhari Swears In Reappointed ICPC Board Members


    President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday swore in seven reappointed board members for the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other related offences (ICPC).

    The brief swearing-in ceremony was done before the commencement of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

    Those sworn in were Justice Adamu Bello (retd) Katsina State, Hannatu Mohammed (Jigawa State), Olubukola Balogun (Lagos State) and Obiora Igwedibia (Anambra State).

    Others are Dr. Abdullahi Saidu (Niger State), Yahaya Umar Dauda (Nasarawa State) and Grace Chinda (Rivers State).

    The President is currently chairing the federal cabinet meeting.

    Obi’s Lawyers Begin Inspection Of Election Materials


    Lawyers of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, on Monday, commenced the inspection of election materials used for the February 25 presidential election as directed by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.

    The LP’s lawyers as well as their People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) counterparts met with the Independent National Electoral Commission’s lawyers in Abuja Tuesday.

    It would be recalled that the Court of Appeal in Abuja had granted the requests of PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar; LP’s Obi’s and that of the president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the APC to inspect the election materials used during the presidential poll.

    A report submitted yesterday to INEC by the three parties’ lawyers indicated that the LP’s team began the inspection on Monday.

      Speaking on behalf of INEC’s lawyers, Tanimu Inuwa, SAN, said the commission had forms Ec8d (summary of results) of each state and FCT, Ec8da (national summary) and Ec8a.

      He said the BVAS and backend report of over 11,000 pages was being finalized and that the result sheets and ballot papers were in the various states, not at the INEC headquarters.

      He suggested that a timeline for visitation for all parties be made for ease and the persons appointed to inspect be limited.

      He said the CTCs and photocopies of the document would be made available.

      Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN, representing the PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, said his team would also commence the inspection of election materials today.

      He said representatives of PDP in various states had gone to the INEC offices for inspection but were denied access because the headquarters had not given the go-ahead.

      He said the PDP, in addition to the documents requested, would need the report of the offline and online logs and server from February 25 to March 1 and the phone numbers used on each BVAS.

      On his part, Babatunde Ogala, SAN, representing the APC, said all parties should henceforth inspect the documents together in the spirit of transparency and a joint committee of all parties should be made to come up with a schedule for the inspection.

      But LP’s Livy Uzochukwu, SAN said the LP and the PDP petitioned, while APC was responding, hence the timelines were different and the petitioners should be treated with priority. 

      Gadzama said the LP and the PDP had a lot in common and had more challenges than the APC.

      He also said that limiting the number of people allowed to inspect was not realistic because of the burden placed on the petitioners.

      He demanded that a message be sent to the INEC in various states to allow inspection.

      The meeting agreed that the PDP and the APC could commence inspection immediately; while the LP, having started the inspection, would continue from where it left off.

      Tinubu consoles Kano traders over market fire


      The President-elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has sent out a message of sympathy and consolation to traders affected by the recent fire outbreaks in Kano State.

      In a statement released by his media office on Tuesday signed by Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, Asiwaju Tinubu bemoaned the inferno which affected a section of Singa Commodity Market in the city on Monday, a few days after similar incidents in two other markets.

      The President-elect described the incidents as disturbing setbacks for the traders and the economy of the state.

      “I am disturbed to learn of the horrific fire incident which consumed dozens of shops at the Singa Market in Kano. Coming just days apart from similar incidents at Kurmi and Rimi markets in the same city calls for serious concern.

      “My heart goes out to those directly affected by these unfortunate incidents and indeed the people and government of Kano State.
      I also commiserate with the leadership of Kano business community over this painful experiences,” he said.

      The president-elect called on the authorities concerned to get to the roots of the rising cases of market inferno around the country and offer support that would cushion the losses sufffered by the affected traders.

      Abdulaziz Abdulaziz
      Office of the President-elect
      March 14, 2023