The main headlines of mainstream Nigerian newspapers of Wednesday, February 20, revolve around the disagreement between the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and President Muhammadu Buhari over death penalty as punishment for ballot box snatchers.
The front page news of Punch carries the report of the disagreement between the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the presidency over the capital punishment to be meted on ballot box snatchers as suggested by President Muhammadu Buhari.
On his part, the INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, on Tuesday, February 19, in Abuja maintained that the electoral body will stick to the Electoral Act which “states that persons who snatch election materials are liable to a prison term of two years or maximum fine of N500, 000.”
Yakubu further remarked: “The position of the commission is that all violators of the Electoral Act should be punished according to the provisions of the Electoral Act.”
Still on the issue, Vanguard reports that the Nigerian Army, in response to President Buhari's order, has said that it will act only in accordance to the constitution.
The acting director of the Nigerian Army public relations, Colonel Sagir Musa, stated: “The Nigerian Army has made it sufficiently and consistently clear that none of its personnel will be involved in political campaigns, escort of VIPs for political missions and above all, aiding or supporting any political party as has been circulated in noticeable media platforms.
“Although, a detailed release had been released, the need to further make the position of the Nigerian Army clearer is therefore imperative. Our Rules of Engagement and Code of Conduct have not assigned any political role to the Nigerian Army in this regard.
“Nigerian Army’s involvement starts and ends with the provision of peaceful and secured environment for the conduct of 2019 general election."
From the political angle, The Guardian reports that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has advised security agents in the country to disobey the president's order on ballot box snatchers.
Concerning the president's order, the national chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, on Tuesday, February 19, said: “The agenda of that directive is to scare away voters and agents that we have directed to defend their votes, so as to give way to military-protected political thugs to come into the polling booths and implement their result replacement strategy.”
Secondus said any security officer who obeys the order would be doing so at the risk of facing the full weight of the law, adding that only the constitution can take care of ballot box snatchers.
Moving away from the president's controversial order, The Nation reports that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has detained one Uyi Giwa-Osagie for allegedly laundering about $4 million. Giwa-Osagie is said that to be one of the allies of Atiku Abubakar, the flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
His detention came after an intelligence report on a suspicious transaction by a Bureau De Change operator. On the issue, the EFCC source said: “A BDC operator was intercepted for shipping $2million from Abuja to Lagos for suspected money laundering.
“Upon interception by our detectives, the BDC operator admitted that Uyi Giwa-Osagie actually paid the Naira equivalent of $4million into his account in exchange for hard currency.
“We invited Uyi for interrogation on Monday and Tuesday. Our detectives have also conducted a search of his home. Some useful documents were retrieved. Investigation is, however, still in progress.”
Ahead of the rescheduled elections, President Muhammadu Buhari, as This Day reports, on Tuesday, February 19, urged Nigerians to turn out fully and support their desired candidates during the Saturday, February 23, presidential and National Assembly polls.
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In a viral video released by the presidency in Abuja, President Buhari said: “I want to commiserate with millions of Nigerians who either travelled hundreds of kilometers to cast their votes or put so many things on hold in order to cast their votes last weekend but couldn’t do so. I thank you for your commitment. I appeal to you not to lose hope in our electoral system.
“I ask you not to allow the unexpected postponement of the elections by INEC to prevent you from exercising your civic rights."
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