Amid increased calls that election results should be transmitted electronically, the Senate on Tuesday bowed to pressure and gave the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the sole power to determine the mode of transmission of results. This followed the reversal of the Senate’s earlier decision that INEC may consider the electronic transmission of results “provided national [network] coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure” by the Nigerian Communications Commission and approved by the National Assembly. Under a new amendment of Clause 52 (2) of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, the Senate resolved that “voting at an election and transmission of results under this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Commission, which may include electronic voting”. The move was part of decisions taken by the Senate when it passed a bill to re-commit some clauses in the Electoral Act Repeal and Re-Enactment bill which was earlier passed separately by the Senate and House of Representatives. Presenting a motion for the changes before the Senate, Majority Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, said after a critical examination of the Bill by the Senate Committee on INEC, some fundamental issues were observed which required fresh legislative action. He listed the clauses that required action as 43, 52, 62, 87. Section 87 deals with the method of primaries – direct or indirect – to be adopted by political parties. In a debate with divided lawmakers, Senator Adamu AlIero argued in favour of direct primaries, saying that it will strengthen and deepen democracy and will make the electoral process transparent. However, Senator Smart Adeyemi disagreed, arguing that indirect primaries were better for the country because the majority of party members are illiterate and “will need enlightenment” if they are going to be asked to come out and vote. He added that indirect primaries are cheaper to conduct. After the debate, the majority of lawmakers voted in favour of direct primaries and it was adopted by the Senate.
Veteran actor Chiwetalu Agu, who was arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS), has regained freedom. The Nation reported that Chiwetalu Agu was first arrested by the Army on 7 October around Upper Iweka in Onitsha, Anambra State for adorning a Biafra outfit while distributing bread and other items to the poor, before he was later picked up by the DSS in the evening of that day. The National President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Ejezie Emeka Rollas, in a statement, said the association was able to secure the release of Actor Chiwetalu Agu from the custody of the DSS. Ejezie, in the company of a colleague, a senior special Assistant on Military Affairs and Inter-Governmental Relations to the AGN President Steve Eboh, received Agu at the DSS office, Abuja The elated veteran actor, who was in the company of actress Monalisa Chinda and another colleague, thanked God for surviving the ordeal. He commended AGN for its relentless efforts in securing his release from detention. The army had accused Agu of soliciting support for the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra. He was subsequently handed over to the DSS who transferred him to Abuja for investigation and prosecution.
The Zamfara House of Assembly has suspended two lawmakers, Yusuf Muhammed and Ibrahim T. Tukur Bakura, for having links to various bandit groups in the state. Yusuf Alhassan Kanoma, representing Maru North, had raised a motion on the allegation. Mr Kanoma said the two lawmakers had rejoiced over the kidnapping of the speaker, Nasiru Magarya’s late father, adding that they were also involved in the kidnapping of Muhammad Ahmad, a member of the assembly representing Shinkafi constituency. Mr Magarya approved the outright suspension of the two members in his ruling on the subject, and asked the chairman of the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges, Kabiru Hashimu Dansadau, to investigate the allegations and report back to plenary. The assembly announced on Tuesday that the lawmakers would remain suspended pending the outcome of investigations into the allegations that have been levelled against them. In a statement by the assembly’s spokesperson, Mustapha Jafaru Kaura, Bakura and Muhammed were asked to “appear before the House Committee on ethics and privileges in conjunction with security agencies that are assigned by law to investigate them.”
The top United Nations top court on Tuesday ruled largely in favour of Somalia in its dispute with Kenya, setting a sea boundary in part of the Indian Ocean believed to be rich in oil and gas. A new boundary drawn by the International Court of Justice mostly followed a line proposed by Somalia, attributing to it several offshore oil blocks claimed by Kenya. The revised maritime border along the exclusive economic zones for the continental shelves of Somalia and Kenya “achieves an equitable solution”, Judge Joan Donoghue said. Kenya, which did secure some territory beyond the Somalia proposal, had failed to prove there was an established sea boundary between the states, which would have given it a greater portion of the disputed territory, the court found. The ruling comes after Nairobi last week said it had revoked recognition of the court’s jurisdiction. No one for Kenya was officially present either in court or via video link. Somalia filed the case in 2014 at the United Nations’ highest court for disputes between states. The case at the ICJ, also known as the World Court, concerned a boundary dispute over more than 100,000 sq km (nearly 40,000 sq miles) of seafloor claimed by both countries.