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Allow eligible prison inmates to vote during elections, Senate urges INEC   

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INEC Logo and Chairman
INEC Logo and Chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu
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The Senate has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to allow duly registered and eligible prison-electorates to exercise their franchise during all general elections in Nigeria.

This was even as it called on the Electoral body to determine the status of the inmates that are constitutionally and legally qualified to be registered as eligible voters and should vote at elections.

The chamber also urged the Commission and relevant agencies to carry out voter’s enlightenment in all prisons in Nigeria, to educate the inmates of their rights and necessity to exercise their franchise in general elections.

It further called on INEC and all relevant agencies to update register of voters to take into account the prison population for the purpose of elections.

The Senate also urged the Commission (INEC) in collaboration with the Nigeria Correctional Service to locate Voting Centres at Custodial Centres across the country to be used for voting.

These were resolutions reached by the Senate following a motion sponsored by Senator Patrick Abba Moro (Benue South).

The motion was entitled, “The prerogative of Prison Inmates to vote in general elections in Nigeria: statutory, Inalienable and non-negotiable.”

Senator Abba Moro, in his presentation,  said, “The Senate Notes that certain human rights are inalienable and come naturally with the birth of the individual. One of such rights is that of citizenship. Incarceration though is one of the legal grounds of depriving a person or an offender in custody of certain rights, the right of citizenship cannot at any point be taken away;

“Notes further that Citizenship as encapsulated under the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended) comes with many defined rights and civic responsibilities, one of which is the right to vote in general elections;

“Notes again that there are certain persons in prison custody awaiting trial, undergoing trial or awaiting conviction for one offence or the other whose right to vote and citizenship remain sacrosanct;

“Notes that being a Prison inmate is not impediment to the Prisoners’ registration and voting rights as enshrined under Section 24 of the Electoral Act, 2022 and denying prison inmates access to the electoral process constitutes an infringement of their rights as Citizens of Nigeria as provided under Section 25 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) which confirms the definition of who a Citizen is as well as Section 12(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 (as amended) which spells out who qualifies to vote; and

“Considers that the number of inmates in various prisons nationwide which is put at over 68,000 and the Statistics of those awaiting trial who in the eyes of the law are presumed innocent until found guilty, it is forthright and just that such persons be allowed to exercise their franchise and any attempt by an individual or agency to deny inmates of their right to vote is unconstitutional, illegal, unlawful, null and void.”

Meanwhile, the Senate on Tuesday stepped down consideration of a report on the Proceeds of Crimes (Recovery and Management) Bill, 2022.

The report was by the Joint Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes; and Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, while calling for the report to be stepped down, said doing so would allow for robust contributions by lawmakers who were absent during the sitting.

He disclosed that the report would nevertheless be considered tomorrow (Wednesday) during plenary.
 

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Tinubu off to France

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APC Presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu
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Presidential Candidate and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asíwájú Bola Ahmed Tinubu, travelled out of the country early Monday morning after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa.

He is off to Paris, France to hold some important meetings.

The APC standard bearer is expected back in the country shortly.

Earlier before his departure, he attended the public presentation of a book titled ‘Mr. Speaker’ and launch of legislative mentoring initiative in commemoration of the 60th birthday of Speaker of House Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

On June 8, Asiwaju Tinubu emerged the Presidential candidate of APC for the February 25, 2023 election at the party’s presidential primaries/national convention held at the Eagle Square, Abuja.

After the election, he immediately embarked on a series of thank you and reconciliation visits to those who contested against him at the party’s primaries including the seven aspirants who stepped down for him.

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Justice Olukayode Ariwoola Takes Oath Of Office As Acting CJN

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President Muhammadu Buhari shakes hands with the acting CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, during an inauguration ceremony held at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja on June 27, 2022.
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Justice Olukayode Ariwoola of the Supreme Court on Monday took the judicial oath of office as the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).

President Muhammadu Buhari administered the oath of office to Justice Ariwoola during a swearing-in ceremony held at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Ariwoola, 62, takes over from the outgone CJN, justice Tanko Muhammad, is expected to serve in an acting capacity till further confirmation by the National Judicial Council (NJC).

While taking the judicial oath, he swore to be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Government of Nigeria, as well as defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Justice Muhammad had resigned as the Chief Justice of Nigeria on Sunday night, citing ill-health as the reason for his decision.

This led to the inauguration of Justice Ariwoola – the next most senior justice of the Supreme Court at the time of Justice Muhammad’s resignation.

Until his resignation, according to reports, the immediate past CJN was seriously ill.

News of his resignation broke barely a week after 14 justices of the Supreme Court wrote to him to lament the dilapidated state of affairs in the apex court.

In the leaked letter, the justices alleged that Justice Muhammad failed to address the issues raised despite drawing his attention to them.

They had complained of a lack of residential accommodation and vehicles at the court, alleging that the former CJN was gallivanting with his ‘spouse, children and personal staff’ while not allowing them to travel with an assistant on foreign trips.

But these allegations were denied by an aide to the former CJN.

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Africa News

Christian Pilgrimage Not Wasteful – FCT-CPWB Boss

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The Director, FCT Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Dabara Audu has said that those describing the Christian Pilgrimage to the Holy Lands of Israel and Jordan as a jamboree do so because they don’t know what the exercise entails and therefore cannot relate with the level of spiritual upliftment it brings to the Pilgrims and Nigeria as a country.

Speaking to News men after the completion of the pilgrimage exercise for the first batch of the 2021 main Christian pilgrimage and the 2022 Easter pilgrimage to Israel and Jordan Mr. Dabara said the spiritual impact of the exercise brings about a new experience for Christians who can now relate well with biblical and scriptural occurrences that will further strengthen their faith in Christ for the uplifting of Nigeria as a country.

In his words, “. It is very unfortunate for anyone to say pilgrimage is a jamboree. Anyone that says it’s a jamboree does not know what pilgrimage is. I want to believe that anyone that wants to embark on a pilgrimage must have heard of the pilgrimage sites and must have read about it and given birth to some useful information that it is a life-transforming exercise.
” we have received testimonies from the people that have gone there in the past. In this journey that has just finished, we have gone to so many sites, and in some cases, I have gone to those places more than four times, and still, there are new testimonies each time I visit those places, and that is what the scripture is all about.

” Pilgrimage is about the scripture being brought alive to any serious Christian and it’s a way to work out our salvation. For any serious Christian, pilgrimage is part of working out your salvation and I am sure a lot of us today even as we hear testimonies, their spiritual lives are being promoted and this will have an impact on the families of the pilgrim, their villages, towns where they come from and on Nigeria as a whole.”

Speaking on this year’s Pilgrimage which was the first of its kind as Nigerian pilgrims visited Holy Places in Israel and Jordan, The Director said it was an opportunity for Christians to relate better with biblical occurrence and to be able to visit those sites not minding that some of those places are now in more than one country.

” It is a very good experience for us all, those that have been going to Israel alone before now did not have opportunity to visit the holy sites in Jordan like the River Jabok where Jacob wrestled with and angel and his name was changed to Israel, and the mount Nebo where Moses was shown the promise land by God before he was taken.

” Gadara a mountain where Jesus Casted out unclean spirits from a man into swines was another very historic location in Jordan, not forgetting the place where John the Baptist was beheaded and his head given in a tray for herods maid dancer. all this are beautiful and very significant places in the life of any serious Christian. so I can tell you that this year’s pilgrimage to Israel and Jordan is a blessing in more than one way to us.”

” The way I see it, starting the pilgrimage to combine the two nations of Israel and Jordan, I did not see myself as an ordinary person, I know the hurdles the children of Israel had to go through as recorded in the scripture, so if the original people that made these journeys did not find it easy I don’t expect that anyone will find it easy because each pilgrimage has a story and revelation behind. God used some of these places to build endurance, perseverance and patience . the children of Israel were able to go through to the promised land, in the same way, this journey from Nigeria to Israel and Israel to Jordan, was not expected to be easy, but I want us to understand that behind the pilgrimage is also the feeling of the suffering, and in this case the suffering that refines. it brings out the true nature of any Christian. like it is said in the Bible Gold passes through Fire to be able to come out pure at it is, so Gold is not pure until it passes though fire. ”

When asked how he would rate the first batch of the 2021 main Pilgrimage and the 2022 Easter Pilgrimage, Dabara said
” We are grateful for the completion of the first batch of the 2021 main pilgrimage and the 2022 easter.
we landed in Israel successfully and now we are at the Jordan end of the movement, there is nothing, no one was sick to the extent that we cannot go out, there is no accident in any way and so far no one has absconded.
At this point, I will take this year’s pilgrimage as a very successful one, we have more than 200 pilgrims and no one absconded so we are bold to say that it was successful.”

He therefore Used the medium to appeal to those that have taken part on the pilgrimage to show good examples as they go back to the larger society after these period of reflections and visitation of biblical sites in the holy lands of Israel and Jordan.

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