The Independent National Electoral Commission is considering making the National Identity Number a precondition for registering voters when the continuous voter registration exercise commences in a few weeks. Media reports quote an unnamed INEC national commissioner who was not authorised to speak on the matter, as saying that the NIN would help tackle the challenges of underage voting, alien voting and other challenges associated with registration. The official said a final decision would soon be reached on his issue, highlighting the fact that the permanent voter card was only supposed to be in use for a maximum of 10 years, while adding that most countries rely on a national database and not the Permanent Voter Card for voting. He said, “The NIN is the ideal. When we want to begin the continuous voter registration, we may consider it because ordinarily, a national identity card is what should be used for voting. When the PVC was introduced, it was meant to be in use for 10 years and the assumption was that within those 10 years, the national identity card would be in use by a majority of Nigerians. “I can tell you that the NIN will be one of the preconditions for registration when the CVR starts. We are trying to harmonise all databases.” When contacted for an official response, the Director, Voter Education and Publicity, INEC, Nick Dazang, said he could not say for sure if the NIN would be a precondition for registration, adding that meetings were still ongoing. 

Zamfara Governor Bello Matawalle responded to allegations made by a former local government chairman, that he supplied vehicles to bandits in the state. Alhaji Abubakar Maradun, who served as chairman of Maradun Local Government Area, said the governor supplied Hilux vehicles to bandits which they used to attack innocent residents. He said the bandits used two of the vehicles in an attack on Janbako community which led to the death of ten people. Reacting to the allegation, the Special Adviser to Governor Bello Matawalle on Media and Publicity, Alhaji Zailani Baffa, described it as wicked. He, however, admitted that the Governor did donate vehicles, but only to the security agencies in the state. He said, “These vehicles were duly distributed to all security agencies in the state under the supervision of the Inspector-General of the Nigeria Police. “The beneficiaries included the military, the police, the customs and excise, the immigration services, the NDLEA, the NSCDC, the FRSC, among others.” He described the allegation as “a display of quackery and sheer mischief targeted at disabusing the minds of law-abiding and patriotic citizens of the state.”

The Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, on Wednesday, condemned President Muhammadu Buhari’s position on the directive of Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu asking unregistered herdsmen to vacate state government reserves within seven days. The group in a statement by its spokesman, Mr Yinka Odumakin, said the government had again shown its non-pretence as representing the Fulani interest above other ethnic groups in the country. Akeredolu had issued the ultimatum on unregulated herding on Tuesday, while also banning underage grazing, night grazing as well as the movement of cattle within the cities and highways. But a swiftly released statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu called for restraint on the matter by both the state government and the Fulani communities. Afenifere said, “The Fulani criminals have caused untold hardships in Ondo State and other Yoruba towns and cities in recent time and only an irresponsible government that wants to behave like our Federal Government will continue to fold its arms. “Are Ondo forest reserves under the Ondo State Government or the Federal Government and Miyetti Allah? We agree with the Ondo State Government that the insensibility of Garba Shehu violates the corporate existence of Nigeria.” Afenifere added that all “true-born Yoruba” should stand behind Akeredolu “in these trying times for him to do all within the law to rid Ondo forests” of what the group called “criminals.”

ULesson, an edtech startup based in Nigeria that sells digital curriculum to students through SD cards, has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding. The round is led by Owl Ventures, which closed over half a billion in new fund money just months ago. Other participants include LocalGlobe and existing investors, including TLcom Capital and Founder Collective. The financing comes a little over a year since uLesson closed its $3.1 million seed round in November 2019. The startup’s biggest difference between now and then isn’t simply the millions it has in the bank, it’s the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its entire value proposition. ULesson launched into the market just weeks before the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic. The startup, which uses SD cards as a low-bandwidth way to deliver content, saw a wave of smart devices enter homes across Africa as students adapted to remote education. “The ground became wet in a way we didn’t see before,” founder and CEO Sim Shagaya said. “It opens up the world for us to do all kinds of really amazing things we’ve wanted to do in the world of edtech that you can’t do in a strictly offline sense,” the founder added. Similar to many edtech startups, uLesson has benefited from the overnight adoption of remote education. Its positioning as a supplementary education tool helped it surface 70% month over month growth, said Shagaya. The founder says that the digital infrastructure gains will allow them to “go online entirely by Q2 this year.” It costs an annual fee of $50, and the app has been downloaded more than 1 million times.