The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned that this year’s general election faces a serious threat of cancellation if insecurity is not properly tackled. INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, represented by the Chairman Board of Electoral Institute (BEI), Prof. Abdullahi Abdu Zuru, gave the warning at the Validation of Election Security Training Resources in Abuja on Monday. “Consequently, in preparations for the 2023 general elections, the commission is not leaving anything to chance in ensuring that intensive and extensive security is provided for election personnel, materials and processes. This is particularly significant to the commission given the current insecurity challenges in various parts of the country and the fact that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members constitute the core of the Polling Unit Election officials. Moreover, if the insecurity is not monitored and dealt with decisively, it could ultimately culminate in the cancellation and/or postponement of elections in sufficient constituencies to hinder the declaration of election results and precipitate a constitutional crisis. This must not be allowed to happen and shall not be allowed to happen,” Yakubu said.
Two police officers were shot by Yoruba Nation agitators in the Ojota area of Lagos State during a rally on Monday, Lagos State Police Command spokesman, Benjamin Hundeyin. He added that the injured officers were receiving treatment. Channels Television also reported that a yet-to-be-identified male adult was killed in a clash between the agitators and the police in Ojota. Commuters ran for safety in the heat of the pandemonium which broke out on Monday morning. A source told the broadcaster said the protesters hit the streets to state their Yoruba Nation demands amongst others and the police came out to curtail them, leading to a clash. In a statement, Hundeyin said the agitators were disrupting social and commercial activities in the area under the pretext of the rally. “Four suspects have been arrested and investigations have commenced,” the statement read in part. Meanwhile, the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams denie media reports that members of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) were involved in the clash. Gani in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Aderemi, said the Ojota rally came as a surprise, adding that none of his members was part of the crisis.
Airtel Africa has announced that its Nigerian subsidiary, Airtel Nigeria has acquired fourth-generation (4G) and fifth-generation (5G) spectrums from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for a cumulative price of $316.7 million. Simon O‘Hara, Airtel Africa’s secretary, made this known on Monday in a corporate filing on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) website. The telco said it purchased 100 MHz of spectrum in the 3500MHz band and 2x5MHz of 2600MHz from the NCC for a gross consideration of $316.7 million, “payable in local currency”. “This additional spectrum will support our investments in network expansion for both mobile data and fixed wireless home broadband capability, including 5G rollout, providing significant capacity to accommodate our continued strong data growth in the country and exceptional customer experience,” the statement read, adding the development underpins their “growth strategy by enabling the launch of higher speed connectivity to enhance customer service and accelerate digitalisation for consumers, enterprises and the public sector.”
The Somalia-based al-Shabab extremist group has denied having contact with the Somali government after the country’s deputy defence minister claimed that the extremists had for the first time asked to negotiate. An unnamed al-Shabab official with the group’s media unit told a pro-al-Shabaab website in comments that “there is no talk between us.” Last Saturday, Deputy Defence Minister Abdifatah Kasim told journalists in Mogadishu that “al-Shabab requested to open negotiations with the Somali government, but there are two groups within al-Shabab.” He said Somali members of al-Shabab “have a chance to open up negotiations, but those foreigners who invaded our country have no right for talks. The only option is to return to where they are from.” Kasim added that the terrorists “must follow the government’s instructions, reintegrate with their society, or face the Somali National Army in the front lines.” It was the first time Somalia’s federal government had claimed the extremist group had requested talks.