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INEC, UK, EU, Australia Issue Security Alerts, Warns Against Visiting Nigeria

INEC, PVC
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…..As FG, Police, INEC dismiss concerns

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The European Union (EU) has warned that the 2023 general election might not hold in some parts of the country due to insecurity rocking the nation, adding that the “security climate” was very hostile.

Also, the United Kingdom and Australia have directed their citizens to avoid travel to Nigeria in the latest security advisories issued on Thursday.

Naijablitznews.com recalled that the United States, UK, Canada, Germany, and Bulgaria had in October last year issued terror alerts, warning their citizens in Nigeria to avoid shopping malls, religious centers, hotels, and other strategic locations that could be a target for terrorists.

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But the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal government had dismissed the advisories, describing them as false, and assured Nigerians to go about their lawful business as the country was safe and secure.

And in a fresh travel advisory released on Thursday, the government of Australia asked its citizens to reconsider or outrightly abandon their plans to visit Nigeria.

In a statement, the Australian government said: “Nigeria is scheduled to hold national and state elections between 25 February and 11 March. The risk of election-related violence is high. You should avoid all political gatherings and election-related sites in the lead-up to, during, and after this period.

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“Offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission across the country have already been targeted and should be avoided. Politically motivated murders and kidnappings have occurred, and the threat of further incidents remains high.”

For those planning to visit, the government, through the statement, also asked its citizens to reconsider their need to travel to Nigeria.

“We have reviewed our travel advice for Nigeria and now advise reconsider your need to travel to Abuja,” the statement added.

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The UK government also warned that protests might break out during the election, adding that these protests could turn violent.

The UK government said, “Nationwide elections will take place in Nigeria in February 2023, and there is a heightened risk of protests during this period.

“Political rallies, protests, and violent demonstrations can occur with little notice throughout the country. International news events can sometimes trigger anti-Western demonstrations.”

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Threat To Election Revealed
Also speaking on Thursday, the European Union warned that Nigeria’s security challenges might significantly threaten the forthcoming general elections if not addressed.

The Team Leader, EU Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria phase two programme, Rudolf Elbling, expressed concern about the workability of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in all parts of the country, especially in the rural areas.

He stated that the elections have the potential to create unrest and instability for a country like Nigeria, warning that such a crisis would affect the whole of West Africa.

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Elbing said: “For a country like Nigeria, elections always have the potential of creating unrest and instability for a country the size of Nigeria, and that is a very dangerous thing not only for Nigeria and Nigerians, but for the whole region.

‘’So, the insecurity issue for the last one or two years is of concern for everybody. It’s a concern for every Nigerian because life has changed. You cannot move around as you could; so there is a huge potential for this to impact on the elections.”

The EU official warned that insecurity might prevent INEC from conducting elections in all parts of the country.

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He stated, ‘’This would create a lot of legal implications for the entire process that might disrupt the process. There are a lot of potential legal implications, which subsequently would have a lot of political implication and which would have a lot of potential to disrupt the poll, but of course, you know, logistics is also and always an issue.

“And I’m afraid that the insecurity, again, will add to this problem and complicate issues more. Also, will the election technology hold up? The BVAS is a very promising item, but will it be working everywhere?

“We also have the INEC Results Viewing Portal; all these kinds of things are what we are really looking forward to even as they worked very well in the Ekiti and Osun elections. But again, the security climate, the political climate, which is extremely hostile; how will it affect the acceptance and credibility of elections.”

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We Won’t Disappoint – INEC
Reacting to the concerns, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, disclosed that security agencies had assured the commission that elections would be held in all parts of Nigeria.

He assured that the INEC chairman would not disappoint Nigerians.

Nigeria Is Safe
On its part, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) dismissed the concerns of the European nations.

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In a telephone chat with The PUNCH, the Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said the country is safe, even for the elections.

He added that it wasn’t the first time foreign countries would issue such alerts to their citizens.

“Since this is a foreign relation matter, I wouldn’t like to comment on it. However, Nigeria is safe, and this isn’t the first time foreign countries are giving such alerts to their citizens,” the police spokesman said.

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Politics

Tinubu calls for calm on naira notes, fuel scarcity

Tinubu
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By Francesca Iwambe, Abuja

The All Progressives Congress, APC Presidential Candidate, Chief Bola Tinubu has called on Nigerians to be calm co learning the scarcity of the new naira note.

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He asked the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN not to be “dogmatic” in the deadline fixed for the old Naira notes to stop being legal tender.

In a press statement signed by the APC Presidential Campaign Council Director of Media & Publicity, Bayo Onanuga, Tinubu said, the masses are the ones suffering from the unintended consequence of the CBN demonetisation policy.

While appealing to Nigerians to stay calm, the APC Presidential Candidate further urged citizens to Nigerians to shun all acts that may destabilise the country in the face of the new naira and fuel scarcity that the country is facing.

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He commended the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited for the fuel supply relief being enjoyed in the Federal Capital Territory and urged the company to step up its act to bring relief round the country.

The APC Presidential Candidate promised to unite the country and improve the economy and security if elected.

“This is a challenging period in the life of our country when our people are made to stay on the line for hours to get fuel and even get their own money from the banks.

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“I empathise with Nigerians across the country especially the poor masses who have been made to bear the brunt and pains of the CBN Naira policy and fuel scarcity the most.

“While government continues to work to solve these problems, let’s stay calm, maintain the peace and continue to shun and avoid any act capable of causing civil unrest and disharmony.

“What the opposition and enemies of democracy want is to create a state of national siege and tension that can disrupt the coming general elections and create an atmosphere of strife in our country.

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“We must say no to them. We must be resolute and stand firm to protect our democracy by ensuring we hold our elections in a peaceful and orderly manner.

“I am in this race to bring renewed hope and prosperity to all Nigerians.

“There are no challenges that will be difficult for us as a people to surmount when we stand in unity of purpose.

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“When you elect me, I will work to ensure security, economic prosperity, national unity and cohesion and we will together build a country that will be a source of joy to us all and a pride to every black person everywhere in the world,” Tinubu said.

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Politicians enticing LP members with millions, says Utomi

Labour , Utomi
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A political economist, Prof. Pat Utomi, on Tuesday said that politicians in some political parties were enticing officials of the Labour Party with millions of Naira to facilitate their defection before the presidential election scheduled for February 25.

While blaming politicians for the challenges confronting Nigeria, he said that the country had failed to build real political parties.

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Utomi, convener of The Big-Tent, a coalition of political parties, social movements, and civil society organisations, in support of the presidential ambition of Peter Obi, stated these during the unveiling of the Independent Campaign Council Secretariat of TBT.

According to him, Nigerian youths that were tired of the terrible state of the country, discovered Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, adding that the LP would focus on improving the life of ordinary Nigerians, rather than serving the selfish interest of a few powerful elites.

“The focus of power over purpose has led to transactions of nature where people don’t seem to matter.

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“As we speak, right now, some of those political parties have been paying millions and millions to Labour Party officials to decamp and join them. But they still forget that what we need is a new Nigeria that our children can live in happily without insecurity,” he stated.

While accusing the All Progressives Congress of lacking ideology, Utomi said the party appeared to have only set out to grab power.

He assured that if elected, Obi would move Nigeria from a consuming nation to producing nation.

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Utomi said, “Our country needs to be renewed. It is easy to blame anybody for the problems of Nigeria, but it’s time to forge ahead, look ahead and forget yesterday. The naked truth is that yesterday has been costly, extremely costly.

“The country that was bequeathed to us by our founding fathers was a great country of promise. I am fond of reminding people of 1960.

“Obi talks all the time about going from consumption to production. But we started in 1960 with production.

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“I like to remind people all the time that our founding fathers looked at their endowments and realized that the main reason Nigeria was colonized was the extraction of raw materials to move to Europe. But the colonialists did not bother or try at all to industrialise Nigeria.

“Indeed, at the time of self-government, there were technically two factories in Nigeria.

“However, the pace with which the young men and women who began to take charge in 1956/57 and the speed with which they moved us to production was unbelievable. I believe we can still achieve the same form of transition.

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“Central to the challenge of development that we have is our failure to build real political parties. I believe, that was the beginning of the founding of the APC.

“In the founding of the APC, they focused on grabbing power over purpose which prevented a real political party from emerging and we’ve seen the damages that’s done to Nigeria.”

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Nobody Will Get Buhari’s 1.9m Kano Votes Of 2015 – LP’s Baba-Ahmed

Datti , Obi
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The vice-presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), Datti Baba-Ahmed, has said the over 1.9 million votes President Muhammadu Buhari got in Kano State during the 2015 presidential election will not be won by any one candidate in the forthcoming election.

With 1,903,999 votes, Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) defeated the Peoples Democratic Party’s Goodluck Jonathan who had 215,779 votes in the North’s most populous state.

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“The northern Nigerian votes that were waiting to make up the difference which either of the two other runners-up were hoping to get, [it] turned out that they are not getting it,” Baba-Ahmed said during a live appearance on Channels Television’s special election programme The 2023 Verdict on Tuesday.

“The heavy punchers – Kano, for example – is now a watershed of what its votes used to be. In 2015, the 1.9 million votes of Kano, nobody can aspire to have that which of course Buhari punched Jonathan with the final blow. Nobody is going to get that in Kano.”

The LP vice presidential candidate argued that other battle zones in the North are Kaduna and Katsina.

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Other factors he believed were working in his party’s favour include the rise of the youth in his home state of Kaduna, the increasing awareness of uniting Nigeria, and the non-indigenes all over Northern and Central Kaduna.

“We have pulled a lot of weight beyond the comprehension of the two runners-up,” he added.

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