Soludo: CBN Has Directed Banks To Dispense Old Notes


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has finally directed commercial banks to dispense old currency notes and to also receive same as deposits from customers, according to Governor Chukwuma Charles Soludo of Anambra State, who is a former CBN Governor.

Daily Trust had exclusively reported how some commercial banks commenced payment of the old naira notes last week.

The Anambra Governor said tellers at the commercial banks are to generate the codes for deposits and there is no limit to the number of times an individual or company can make deposits.

Soludo said the CBN Governor gave the directive at a Bankers’ Committee meeting held on Sunday, 12th March, 2023.

“The Governor, Dr Godwin Emefiele, personally confirmed the above to me during a phone conversation on Sunday night. Residents of Anambra are therefore advised to freely accept and transact their businesses with the old currency notes (N200; N500; and N1,000) as well as the new notes,” Soludo added.

He called on residents to report any bank that refuses to accept deposits of the old notes.

“Anambra State Government will not only report such a bank to the CBN, but will also immediately shut down the defaulting branch.”

Efforts to get the reaction of CBN to Soludo’s claim proved abortive as the spokesman, Isa Abdulmumin, could not be reached.

Sources at the Apex bank told our reporter that there have been several virtual meetings between Emefiele and the bank chiefs leading up to Sunday evening and there are strong indications that the news is true.

The CBN has at the time of this story has not debunked the claim of Governor Soludo.

Kano approves State Anthem Bill


The Kano State Executive Council has given approval for the Kano State Anthem Bill 2023 and its transmission to the State House of Assembly for passage into law.

The KSEC has also approved the State Rural Access Roads Establishment Bill 2022 and the State Roads Funds 2022 Bill.

The State Commissioner for Information and Internal Affairs, Mallam Muhammad Garba, said these on Sunday.

He said, “The Anthem, which has features for which Kano is renowned, that included among other things, inspire and instill deep sense of patriotism, pride and conscious reawakening of virtuous qualities of the founding fathers; passionate objectives of a great sense of macro as well as micro nationalism and pride in the hearts and minds of Kano people.”

According to him, with the passage of the RARA Bill which the council has also given approval for transmission to the State House of Assembly for possible passage and assent by the governor, the agency would undertake construction and rehabilitation of rural roads and water crossing hydraulic structures.

He said the RARA and SRF Bill neither constitute a duplication of already existing road and traffic laws nor were they in conflict with them.

He said if eventually signed into law, the bill would facilitate and improve the socio-economic well-being of the rural populace engaged in agricultural activities.

Gunmen Abduct 9 From Abuja Estate


No fewer than 9 residents have been kidnapped by gunmen at the Grow Homes Estate along Kuchibiyi in the Kubwa area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The gunmen numbering about 20 were said to have stormed the estate around 11:30pm on Friday.

A resident of the community who identified himself simply as Hassan  said that the victims were captured from two separate apartments in the estate.

He added that the incident caused panic in the community.

He said, “Yesterday, (Friday), about 11:30pm, some gunmen in their large numbers came to carry out an operation at Grow Homes Estate along Kuchibiyi. We heard sounds of gunshots and there was panic in the entire community.

“This morning, we went to the estate and learnt that those gunmen were about 20. They moved from one apartment to another, dispossessing residents of their belongings. They also kidnapped at least 9, including children and women from two apartments in the estate.

“They escaped through the bush that links the community to Paze village. The police and the estate security have been searching the bush since morning to see if they could rescue the kidnapped residents.”

When contacted, the spokesperson of the police in Abuja, SP Josephine Adeh, confirmed the incident, saying the police and the estate security were combing the bushes in the area to rescue the victims.

Adeh said, “Upon receipt of the distress call we immediately deployed our men to the scene. The suspects, however, abruptly suspended their operations and took some victims with them into the bush.

“Operatives of the police and the estate security are still combing the bushes in the area to ensure they are rescued.”

She urged residents of the area not to panic but to help the police with credible information that could lead to the arrest of the assailants.

“We urge the residents to remain calm and assist with useful information that could lead to the arrest of these criminals,” Adeh added. Source: PUNCH

Shekarau: Why I Rode In Ganduje’s Car


Former governor of Kano State, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, has cleared the air over his recent meeting with Governor Abdullahi Umar Gnaduje.

Tongues have been wagging since Ganduje accompanied Shekarau to his house after attending funeral prayer for influential contractor, Alhaji Sani Dahiru Yakasai (SDY), at the emir’s palace, on Friday.

While some analysts described the incident as political, others said Shekarau might direct his followers to vote for the All Progressive Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate, Nasir Gawuna, in the coming Saturday’s poll.

However, in an interview with Radio France International (rfi), Shekarau who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and one of the directors of the party’s Presidential Campaign Council in the just concluded election, said the meeting was apolitical.

He said there is cordial relation between himself and other leaders of the state, adding that he often meets with many leaders, including Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigerian People Party (NNPP).

“Honestly, we met because of the death of our common friend, Alhaji Sani Dahiru Yakasai. We met at the funeral prayer which held at the Emir’s palace. Immediately after the prayers, we moved to the graveyard together in his own car. After burying the corpse, the governor held my hand and said he must finish what he has started, that is to take me back to my house.

“So I thanked him and we moved together to my house. There is nothing like politics here. It was just an accident. We don’t have any serious grudges, we respect each other. Just like Kwankwaso, we often meet at airports and we greet and laugh at each other,” he said.

On whether he met the governor behind closed doors, Shekarau said, “Oh do you want us to leave the door open while discussing? We didn’t discuss anything political. We were just discussing the death of this man and how our lives should be.”

He said his door was open for discussion with anybody that comes to him, adding that he would never close his door to any politician who comes around to discuss issues of the progress of the state.

Buhari MUST Obey Supreme Court Ruling On Naira Redesign


President Muhammadu Buhari must be reminded that he risks having his entire government judged only by the resounding failure and debilitating effects of his now unconstitutional naira redesign policy, whatever the original intensions behind it.

The President appears stuck between doing the right thing by back-tracking on his poorly-conceived, badly-implemented and unconstitutional naira redesign and forging ahead with it against all well-meaning advice. As a newspaper, our constitutional duty is to advise or criticise the government, whenever either advice or criticism is warranted. Our advice on this issue, once again, is that there is no shame or blame for the president to back-track on a policy declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land.

We are not alone. Professor Auwalu Yadudu is not only one of Nigeria’s most brilliant legal minds, he is also not known for cheap interventions. He speaks only on the thorniest constitutional matters and even then, does so only with a clarity of purpose for the common good rather than to please the powers that be at the moment, an affliction that often beclouds the judgment of too many of our lawyers and public intellectuals, whether in office or out of it.

Last week, Yadudu sounded almost exasperated when he described as “total contempt of court” President  Buhari’s dallying to issue a clear statement on the unanimous Supreme Court verdict declaring the government’s naira redesign policy unconstitutional. Yadudu said, “it is a brazen disregard and total contempt of court order; not any court but the highest court of the land, and it is the most irresponsible thing for any agency of government or any elected official of government to be so brazen about it.”

And then, more pointedly to the President, he added: “It doesn’t tell well, and my greatest worry is that Mr President has descended into the fray and it will appear that whatever the CBN is doing has his blessing, and this is the worst case of disregard for the rule of law that the president can leave behind. Even when an interim order was given, he (the president) chose to disregard it completely and even to issue his decree as to what note will remain a legal tender and which will not. I think this is the saddest point in the administration of Mr. President that such a disregard of a court order can be made under his watch and with his manifest approval.”

We do not know who else President Buhari is listening to on this issue. But we do know that it is important, even helpful, for a leader to listen not only to the cries of his citizens, but also to well-intentioned voices outside the closed loop of his own government, however harsh or critical those voices might come across.

The reality is that Nigerians are hurting very deeply by the effects of this policy. It may be that those hurting the most are those least able to speak out for themselves, the same category of Nigerians for which the government has the highest obligation to listen to and help. And over the past two months in Nigeria, tons of news reports have shown that Nigerians are hurting badly from the social and economic dispossession wrought by this failed naira redesign policy that has, for more than a week now, been declared null, void and unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. If the government cares to do its research, it would have seen the staggering millions of Nigerians whose businesses, incomes and livelihoods have been decimated by this policy, as news reports daily indicate.

Yet, the point is no longer about the merits or demerits of the policy. The real issue now is constitutionalism. What should a government do when the Supreme Court declares any of its actions or policies as unconstitutional? This is the question now, and there is only one answer under our democratic order. The government must release a statement clearly indicating its compliance with the court’s ruling. This is a matter on which neither the President nor the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has any choice left than to demonstrate their compliance with the law.

Our democratic order is founded on the actionable principle that the three co-equal branches of government will exercise checks over one another on behalf of the citizen. Such a system is not always elegant or convenient for leaders, but it is the best that assures protection for the rights of the citizen, the very heartbeat of a democratic system. And on any matters of law or the constitution, the rulings of the Supreme Court are final, binding on all authorities and take effect immediately, as the human rights activist, Femi Falana stated last week. It is unfortunate—to say the least—that President Buhari would wait this long to show he stands on the side of the law.

Finally, we remind the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) that the quality of their advice to the President depends not only on the extent to which it aligns with the expectations of the suffering and dispossessed Nigerians on this policy, but also on the extent to which their advice is consistent with the law. The Supreme Court of Nigeria has said, unanimously and unambiguously, that the old naira notes remain legal tender until December 31st 2023. So must it be.

NAFDAC, Customs, NDLEA partner on narcotics, drug abuse menace among youths


The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigeria Customs Service and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), have partnered to fight menace of narcotics and drug abuse among youths.

A statement by NAFDAC Resident Media Consultant, Mr Olusayo Akintola in Abuja on Sunday, stated that they all promised to collaborate to fight illicit drug production, trafficking and use, and to curb related organised crime.
The statement disclosed that the pledge was made on Thursday in Lagos at the launch and dissemination of the 2022 Annual Report of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) and Precursors Report 2022.

The statement stated that NAFDAC Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, described narcotics and psychotropic substances as indispensable for the relief of pain and suffering.
She said that they were controlled within the framework of the three international conventions as they possessed abuse liability and produced dependence in users.
Adeyeye said that they were classified, not on chemical nature, but on the potential for abuse and the need for medical use of the substance.
She added that one of the control objectives was to ensure availability solely for medical and scientific uses while minimising the possibility of diversion to illicit channels and abuse.
According to her, the policy NAFDAC is to ensure availability, access and rational use as well as preventing illicit use and abuse.
“The international drug control conventions are thus interpreted to mean improved access to controlled medicines to enable countries to meet their drug needs.

She said that in order to ensure adequate availability of controlled medicines, the agency, in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Health, carried out two quantifications of narcotics and estimation of psychotropic substances and precursors in 2017 and 2019.

Adeyeye said that the results of these surveys provide the evidenced-based estimation of our national annual requirements of these substances and enable the country to develop measures to achieve that delicate balance between access and control.
‘’According to the 2018 National Drug Use Survey, the prevalence of any drug use was 14.4 per cent or 14.3 million people between the age of 15 and 64 years.

“This is comparatively high, compared with the 2016 global annual prevalence of 5.6 per cent among adult population.
“The challenges arising from drug supply and consumption are not restricted to people who use drugs but have wider health, social and economic consequences on the family, community, and country.

“The report revealed that Cannabis is the most commonly used drug, an estimated 10.8 per cent of the population or 10.6 million people had used cannabis in the past year with the average age of initiation of cannabis used among the general population put at 19 years.

‘’Cannabis use was seven times higher among men (18.8 per cent among men against 2.6 per cent of women). The gender gap in the non-medical use of pharmaceutical opioids (such as tramadol) was less marked,” she stressed.

Adeyeye, however, said that Nigeria would not support the trend of legalisation of cannabis for non-medical use, as Nigeria lacked the financial capacity to fight cultivation, production and illegal use of the substance.

According to her, the non-medical use of Cannabis contravenes the United Nations Single Convention of 1961, which classifies cannabis as a highly addictive substance.
She disclosed that the Nigeria Indian Hemp Act as well as the NDLEA Act prohibited the cultivation, production, distribution, sales and use of cannabis and its extracts or derivatives for medical or non-medical purposes.

The D-G commended the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) for the assistance and support to the country in the fight against illicit drug production, trafficking and use, and in curbing related organised crime.

She also appreciated INCB for the support to NAFDAC towards enhanced regulatory control of narcotics and psychotropic substances.
The statement reported Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa, the Executive Chairman of NDLEA, as decrying the upsurge abuse of cannabis.
He decried an upsurge in abuse of cannabis amongst the Nigerian youths with its attendant negative effects on the society.
Marwa disclosed that the NDLEA, in a bid to address the problem, conceptualised the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) launched by President Mohammadu Buhari on June 26, 2021.

The statement said that Marwa was represented by one Mrs Victoria Ekase, and he noted that NAFDAC had been ensuring that controlled drug essential for human survival were provided for use where necessary in line with the requirements of INCB.
He said that NDLEA on its own part, collaborated with NAFDAC in ensuring that the measures put in place to prevent diversion of such medicines and substances to illicit use were adhered to.

According to him, NDLEA has arrested and prosecuted some traffickers of controlled and narcotics substances intended to be diverted to illicit uses.
He noted with dismay that It was quite worrisome that chemicals intended for research and industrial purposes were finding their ways into illicit drug manufacture.

‘’This is the area that NAFDAC and NDLEA need to deepen collaboration to ensure that such unwholesome acts are completely eliminated; the launch of the precursor report will go a long way to complement national efforts in this regard.
Marwa pledged that NAFDAC and NDLEA would continue to collaborate with major stakeholders at all levels to develop an efficient value-chain.
He said that they would continue to collaborate and support system that would ensure access to narcotics and controlled substances for medical and strategic purposes and preventing diversion for illicit use.

‘’I sincerely hope that the global launch of the report will enhance the integration and cooperation amongst stakeholders in ensuring effective implementation for the overall benefit of the society,” he said.

The statement also reported retired Col. Hameed Alli, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, while commending NAFDAC, as saying that NAFDAC and NDLEA had been most wonderful.

Alli, who was represented by Ag. Assistant Comptroller General, ACG, A.N. Dappa, pledged the loyalty and support of the customs service in the task of ridding the nation of illicit drug.
‘’We have always been in partnership, and we will continue to work in close partnership with you,’’ he said.

Dangote graduates 50 trainee truck drivers


The Dangote Articulated Truck Driving School has graduated 50 trainees who have passed through a specially designed and rigorous educational curriculum.

The articulated truck driving school at Obajana in Kogi State was Nigeria’s first and only accredited truck driving academy.

The school was commissioned last year by the former Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Dr Boboye Olayemi Oyeyemi, who described it as a significant step towards taming the menace of auto crashes involving articulated trucks in Nigeria.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, the Divisional Director, Transport (DDT), Mr Ajay Singh, said the new Batch C graduates have only qualified and graduated from classroom instructions, and will further be exposed to practicals through attachments for an additional six months.

Mr Singh expressed assurances that the school will not only bring down the rate of crashes involving articulated vehicles but will also positively impact other road users.

The Director said the ultimate objective was to achieve zero accidents for all subsidiaries in the Dangote Group.

On his part, the Manager, of Dangote Articulated Truck Driving School, Dangote Cement Transport (DCT) Obajana, Mr Daniel Marcus Akuso, said that the intensive training was carried out in collaboration with the FRSC and Fantique Driving Training Centre of South Africa.

According to the Manager of the school, the three months training programme has helped change the orientation of the trainee drivers.

“This is the only articulated truck driving school in Nigeria where the students are paid stipends, trained, tested, certified, licensed, and employed. Our products are not only for Dangote Cement but for all subsidiaries of the Dangote Group in Africa”, Mr Akuso said.

Speaking, Deputy Road Commandant, (OC Instructor) of the FRSC attached to Dangote Driving School, Engr Mukhtar Umar, said his agency plays a significant role in the training and certifying old drivers and newly recruited trainees.

“We teach them defensive driving, road signs, responsibilities of the driver, driving culture, and then certify them”, Engr Umar said.

The Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) Professor Idris Bugaje had said that the NBTE was partnering the Dangote Cement Plc in the execution of the school’s programme.

BVAS Reconfiguration: Options INEC could have adopted


• Nigeria Needs ‘Data-chaos Engineering’ Model —- Uwaje
• Computer Experts Seek Professionals As Technology Observers At Polls
• INEC Advised To Co-opt IT Professionals, Work With NCC, NITDA
• Stress Test On Facilities Recommended Going Forward 

Mixed reactions have continued to trail the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) move to reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) ahead of the Governorship and State Assemblies elections, which was shifted from March 11 to 18.

Recall that the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), sitting at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, had last Wednesday, given INEC the nod to reconfigure the BVAS it used for the presidential and National Assembly elections, owing to several technical issues that emanated from the election.

BVAS is a tech device that allows for the identification and accreditation of voters through fingerprints and facial recognition. IReV is an online portal, where results are uploaded directly from the polling unit, transmitted and made available for public monitoring.

IReV allows members of the public to create personal accounts and monitor uploaded results, increasing the transparency and integrity of the electoral process.

Indeed, against all projections and assurances by the INEC that the Presidential and National Assembly elections would be hitch free, it came out that there were flaws, which many people have blamed the election umpire for.

In 2021, INEC deployed BVAS as a means of overcoming the challenge of over-voting by accrediting voters through fingerprint, iris and facial recognition and eliminating manual voter identification and accreditation. At the time, BVAS was replacing card readers, which had failed to read permanent voter’s cards properly.

Justifying the need for the technology in one of his several meetings ahead of the elections, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had said BVAS would be used to capture the results of the elections and upload them to the portal in PDF format.

He said, “The BVAS confirms that the cards issued by the commission and presented by the voter are genuine and the voter is authenticated using the fingerprint and where it failed, the facial.

“Where both fail, the voter can’t vote. That is a matter of law. After the process is completed at the polling unit, the image of the polling unit result will be taken by the BVAS and uploaded into what we call the INEC Result Viewing Portal where citizens can see polling unit level results as the processes are completed at polling unit level.”

Against Prof. Mahmood assurances and confidence reposed in the BVAS technology, it failed at the last elections.

Several INEC officials and adhoc staff at several polling units during the election claimed that the BVAS device was either not allowing them to upload the results or the network was bad.

To avoid future occurrence of this, INEC has been given the nod to reconfigure the BVAS machine ahead of the March 18 Governorship and State House of Assembly elections.

IT experts, who spoke with The Guardian on this development, however, claimed that INEC had worked in silo and didn’t reach out to tech experts before the election.

The Chairman of Council, Computer Professional Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), Kola Jagun, said he believes INEC has competent hands in the ICT department that can handle things of such, disclosing that the head of the IT department is a member of CPN and fellow of Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) and most of the senior staff of the department are professional members of CPN.

On INEC chairman saying there were technical glitches, Jagun, who said his views are personal and not that of CPN for now, said he believes these challenges normally occur occasionally, especially when you have large volume of data to process with many people wanting to access the data base at the same time.

“I am not too surprised, the only thing INEC should have done was to have made solid arrangements for such glitches. May be lots of stress test were not carried out on the system to know if the capacity was there.

“I remembered that some tests were carried out during the governorship elections in Osun and Ekiti states. Though, we cannot compare those elections with the general elections. In this particular election, we are talking about over 170,000 polling units trying to access the server at the same time unlike those two governorship elections, where it was just within two states and fewer polling units. I believe that INEC has competent staff that can do this job locally.  I assume it is one of those things that happen in IT, especially when you did not carry out enough stress test. So, technical glitches are bound to occur. I learnt that over 96 per cent of the results have now been uploaded. May be network capacity was over stretched at the time of upload last Saturday,” he stated.

Speaking on reconfiguring the BVAS, the CPN chairman said to do a backup usually takes time. “You know, you will have to do a physical backup, take the machine somewhere and work on them. It will be like you are making a replica of that system. So, it actually takes time. The request for more time, I think is okay, because when there is a demand by someone in the future for BVAS data, INEC will give you exactly what was stored in it.

“Reason I supported the request for more time from INEC so that they can do a proper backup of all BVAS machine and ensure they are okay.”

According to him, it is not as if the BVAS machine cannot be configured as it is and used for the next election, “but now that people are going to court, INEC don’t want to give chances to all the records being muddled up. I believe that was reason for the two weeks gap between the presidential election and the governorship elections so that they can do adequate backups. In between, the court gave an order that nobody should tamper with any of the system. I think it is a normal process not that they are trying to do anything bad.

“Let me give you an example, CPN did a project with JAMB. CPN professionals were the one that went round to check the CCTV and others about a year back and that took lot of time… to even move the data to the server was a huge task. It was not something that can just be done anyhow, though not like BVAS. What I am trying to explain is that it takes a lot of time to get those things done, especially when it comes to moving bulky data from one point to another. So, I think INEC is just trying to be careful so that they do not corrupt the data and to avoid them been challenged at the court of law.”

Making reference to what happened in Osun State where there were two sets of Server Information given out, one from PDP and another from APC, Jagun said this might be due to the fact that the servers were not updated at the same time or the backups were not done at the same time and properly.    According to him, to avoid a repeat of such errors, that is why they have asked for more time to reconfigure the BVAS and so, when anybody comes for the result, it will be the same. “Remember Labour Party, APC and PDP all have court orders to inspect the BVAS records, so, to avoid different results from all the inspections tomorrow or in the future, reason for the time to get that done.”

Jagun said INEC has CPN and NCS professionals that are very competent working there, so, you can give it to them to do the right thing, this is not ruling out human errors.

According to him, going by what he has seen so far, INEC has improved a lot because the BVAS accreditation model has reduced the number of illegal voters “because when I went to vote, once the BVAS machine accredits you, it shows you the number you are. For example, I was number 29 in my polling booth, and it showed that I was number 29 accredited person and it showed the number of registered voters in that unit. The BVAS machine came with enough information to guide people at the process of verifications.

“This is the reason the INEC chairman said go to court, because he has done his bid by capturing all needed information. So, those aggrieved can go to court and the needed information will be made available to them.

“The system is there, though I am not saying full proof, but the chances are there that it will reduce rigging to the barest minimum. What the BVAS machine is also doing is to get pictorial evidence, where it captures the image of the result sheet.”

Offering his suggestions, Jagun said when the images are captured, they should be entered directly into the BVAS machine because it becomes easier to transmit the results than transmitting the image because it is heavier and takes more byte unlike when it is just figures.

Going forward, he recommended that CPN Professionals should be co-opted as technology observers at every polling units in future elections.

He said the professionals are not there to operate machines but to observe the way things are done and would be able to assist INEC officials at polling units if they have any difficulty with the machines.

On his part, the Head of Operations, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbolahan Awonuga, said because of the enormous work involved in configuring, it could take weeks to complete, especially as it depends on how many BVAS to be reconfigured, adding that locations are equally different.

Awonuga noted that some people have said that BVAS are android, “just like the phone we use. So, to configure BVAS requires lot of technicalities….you need to update the software, hardware and ensure that the backend too is responding as it should be. It is definitely going to take time. So, it could take the numbers of days required by INEC or even more because it goes beyond just the configuration of system.”

Taken a swipe at INEC, the ALTON chief blamed INEC for not reaching out to technology experts, especially outside its jurisdiction.

“The use of BVAS is technical and technology based. In the body of INEC, there is supposed to be an IT specialist (from outside) there that will advise adequately well. These are part of the issues. They don’t have IT specialist that can advise them. All they have done are were done in house. Most of them are professors (academics). They are using academic eyes to look at technical issues. They should have gone to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) or National Information Technology Development Association (NITDA), and others to seek for specialists that can assist them on the task before them as it relates to technology.

“There are bound to be problems! Before the election proper, ALTON went to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy to say that on election day, let there be no construction work so that there won’t be fibre cuts or other damages that could affect network quality and this was adhere to throughout the country. INEC need to approach the professionals to seek help. One of directors either in NCC or NITDA should have been seconded to INEC to help them on the technicalities.”

According to the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy Advisor and Founder, Jidaw Systems, Jide Awe, said the performance of the BVAS and IReV technologies was mixed. He said these technologies had some uncomfortable lapses in the electoral process, indicating progress on some fronts as well as a deficiency of testing, training, and coordination with relevant stakeholders, including election officials, technology experts, vendors, and security experts.

He said BVAS was successful in verifying and authenticating voters’ identities, ensuring that only eligible voters were allowed to cast their votes, and preventing any attempt at double voting or voter impersonation, adding that BVAS largely met its objective of improving the accreditation and voting process, “however, some INEC personnel faced challenges in using the BVAS efficiently and effectively.”

Awe said IReV was designed as a platform to provide real-time access to election results to the public, however, voters faced challenges in tracking and monitoring the election’s progress and viewing the results as they came in.

“This undoubtedly reduced transparency in the electoral process and could affect public confidence in the electoral process and voter participation, leading to confusion or mistrust among the public,” he stated.

According to him, the transmission of results was the major challenge, saying it appears that the training, testing, and validating of this aspect before the election were inadequate. He said there were also personnel and logistics issues. “For large-scale exercises and projects such as this, top-notch project management is required,” Awe noted.

On INEC’s decision to reconfigure the BVAS, the Jidaw System founder said this depends on the electoral umpire’s assessment of the specific circumstances and requirements.

He said the time needed to reconfigure the technologies depend on the extent of the changes required and the complexity of the systems involved. “For instance, will it involve upgrading or replacing hardware components? The technologies may need to be more robust and scalable to handle the increased volume of data and traffic.

“The changes may require extensive testing and validation to ensure that they are effective and reliable and do not introduce new concerns. It may call for coordination between multiple stakeholders, including election officials, technology experts and vendors, and security experts. The logistics element is also to be considered,” Awe noted.

According to him, it is essential to ensure that any modifications are thoroughly tested and validated before deploying them to avoid any unintended consequences. INEC needs to work with all stakeholders involved in the electoral process to ensure seamless re-configuration, and the election process is transparent, reliable, and credible.

To the Chairman, Mobile Software Nigeria, Chris Uwaje, said the whole issue centres on data, stressing that perhaps the most important challenge before the nation is to recognise and admit that the country is confronted with data chaos, which requires professional data chaos-to deliver the assurances of a trustworthy and acceptable solutions.

Speaking on the reconfiguring of the BVAS, Uwaje said one week represents about six digital months, stressing that digital clock is different from analogue timing! “What I read from the INEC submission is that there were no adequate digital-disaster-recovery plan. How long does it take to reconfigure BVAS and given 24/7 hours digital work state-of-mind, reconfiguring 176,000 BVAS? shouldn’t be a rocket science. I am sure they just remembered to factor in logistics-of things.”

Nigerian doctors practising abroad regretting action, says MDCN


The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria has advised newly inducted foreign-trained doctors to consider practising their medical profession in the country, instead of travelling abroad in search of greener pastures.

The MDCN said many of the doctors who had migrated to other countries are currently regretting their action, given the discrimination they face in the workplace.

The Registrar of the council, Dr Tajudeen Sanusi, said this on Thursday during the induction of 477 foreign-trained medical and dental graduates, comprising 469 medicine graduates and eight dentistry graduates.

He said, “People continue to say that they want to emigrate. If you go out, have a mission. You can avail yourself of the best facilities there in terms of training. But, always remember that there is no other country than your own, and think of coming back. Please, the issue of ‘Japa’ won’t do anybody any good.

“Some of those abroad are already regretting that they ought to have come back. Later in your career over there, when you start experiencing some kind of discrimination, you will know that you have succeeded in wasting your time. We advise that when you go there, always have it in mind that you need to come back home and render care to your people.”

Sanusi also cautioned the newly inducted doctors against participating in medical associations’ strikes.

He said while the doctors have the constitutional right of freedom of association, they are not regarded as members of the Association of Resident Doctors going by the council.

“By the council policy, you are not members of the ARD. However, by the Nigerian constitution, there is the freedom of association, and you can join. But if they call for a strike, don’t join them because your programme is structured and uninterrupted in each of the postings. The moment you interrupt, you will start all over at no cost to the government. That is the implication.

“It is not only for the house officers; it is for doctors as a whole. Yes, a strike is something you can embark on by labour law with prior notification to your employer.

“The fact that you have some in-patients, you already owe them the duty of care. Under no condition must you discharge these patients because you want to go on strike.

“Again, during the strike action, the accident and emergency (unit) must be manned with a duty roster so that any patient in need of your services can be given first aid and asked to go and sort themselves out somewhere. It is not for you to entirely close down the health facility to the public.”

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who was represented by the Director of Planning, Research and Statistics of the Ministry, Dr Ngozi Azodo, lamented the mass exodus of doctors and urged the inducted doctors to render selfless services to patients.

“When people come to you in their most vulnerable state, they know you can help them. Don’t exploit them. Commit today to help your patient, society, and community to the best of your ability for the benefit of humanity. Doctors must care for themselves because if not, they will not be able to care for the rest of humanity.”

Bandits Kill 6, Abduct Many In Fresh Niger Attack


At least six persons, among them a pregnant woman, have been reportedly killed by bandits in copmmunities in Rafi and Wushishi local government areas of Niger State.

Daily Trust also gathered that no fewer than 50 people were also reportedly kidnapped between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.

Residents said before an intervention by both ground troops and air component of the Nigeria Air Force, whom they said engaged the bandits in a fierce gun duel for several hours on Wednesday morning, about six communities had been under bandits’ siege since Tuesday.

Multiple sources told Daily Trust that bandits had held Yakila, Hana-wanka and Kundu communities in Rafi LGA and other communities in Akare axis, Wushishi LGA under siege since Tuesday night up till Wednesday morning.

A resident of Zungeru, a few kilometers from Yakila and Kundu, said the corpses of some of the victims were conveyed on Wednesday morning to Minna, the state capital.

“They (bandits) have been actually operating since Tuesday. And there are casualties because this morning (Wednesday), we saw dead bodies being conveyed to Minna. Among the communities attacked were Yakila and several others around Akare axis.” One of the sources said.

Some residents said some people were killed by stray bullets when the military engaged the bandits in a fierce gun battle that lasted for several hours on Wednesday morning.

Daily Trust gathered that some abductees were caught in the crossfire when bandits used them as human shields.

Phone calls placed to the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, DSP Wasiu Abiodun, indicated he was not reachable. He had also yet to reply to a text message sent to him.

Similarly, the Niger State Commissioner for Internal Security and Humanitarian Affairs, Emmanuel Umar, could not also be reached via phone call. He had also yet to respond to a message sent to his phone.

In another incident, a widow simply identified as ‘matan Boda’ and her two children have been reportedly abducted by gunmen in Beji town in Bosso Local Government Area of Niger State.

Beji is about 20 minutes’ drive from Minna, Niger State capital and commercial hub with a popular Wednesday market.

Daily Trust gathered that the woman was kidnapped at her late husband’s residence around 1am on Wednesday.

A resident said while the widow was being taken away along with some of her tenants and her two daughters, one of the male tenants escaped.

The PPRO could also not be reached for comments at the time of filing this report.