Below are the headlines found on The Guardian Online Newspaper for today, Wednesday, 14 March, 2018.

Wed, 14 Mar 2018
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday disclosed the withholding of assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2018, heightening tension in the political drama that could determine the outcome of next year’s general election.The National Assembly had on February 14, 2018 passed the amendment, which re-ordered the sequence of the election, making the National Assembly first and the presidential last. It argued that the move was done to boost democracy.

Buhari’s letter, which was read on the floor of the upper chamber by Senate President Bukola Saraki, noted that the sequence is contrary to the constitutional provision that accords full autonomy to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).Some legislators who criticised the bill, as passed by the Senate, are currently facing disciplinary action before the chamber’s ethics committee for imputing false motives to the chamber’s intention.

The Senate, however, has not dropped any hint on its next line of action. Its spokesman, Aliu Sabi Abdullahi, told The Guardian that since the letter has been read to senators, it would form part of votes and proceedings to be approved today (Wednesday). “The Senate will subsequently decide on how to handle the letter and other related matters,” he said.

Captioned, “Presidential Decision To Withhold Assent To The Electoral Amendment Bill 2018”, Buhari’s letter states: “The amendment to the sequence of elections in Section 25 of the Principal Act may infringe upon the constitutionally guaranteed discretion of the Independent National Electoral Commission to organise, undertake and supervise elections provided in Section 15 (A) of the third statute to the constitution.”

It notes: “The amendment to Section 138 of the Principal Act to delete two crucial grounds upon which an election may be challenged by candidates unduly limits the rights of candidates in elections to a free and fair electoral review process.”

The third reason for rejecting the bill reads: “The amendment to Section 152 (3)-(5) of the Principal Act may raise constitutional issues over the competence of the National Assembly to legislate over local government elections.”It remains to be seen whether the two chambers of the National Assembly would be able to muster the required votes to override the president’s veto.

Section 58(5) of the constitution states: “Where the president withholds his assent and the bill is again passed by each House by two-thirds majority, the bill shall become law and the assent of the president shall not be required.”

The last time a veto was quashed was in 2000 when the National Assembly established the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Bill as an Act.When the Senate approved the sequence last month, its chamber turned rowdy, as senators, perceived to be Buhari loyalists, protested. Abdullahi Adamu (APC, Nasarawa), a former Nasarawa State governor and Chairman of the Northern Senators’ Forum, led the dissenters.

Faulting the adoption of the controversial election sequence clause, they claimed the inclusion of Section 25 (1) was targeted at President Buhari. They contended that the action of the National Assembly breached the constitution, which they claimed empowered only INEC to fix dates for elections. They also alleged that the process was rushed to achieve predetermined motives.

“Considering the strategic importance of the bill, it does not need to be rushed. So many members of the committee did not sign. We need to know why they did not. I believe that the content of the bill is not fair. We need to be fair. Why the rush? I will not be part of it,” Adamu said.

Wed, 14 Mar 2018
Members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch yesterday protested against the increase in the Land Use Charge (LUC) law in Lagos State.The lawyers during the protest marched from the Bar Centre of the Ikeja High Court to the Governor’s office in Alausa, Ikeja, carrying a banner and various placards with inscriptions lamenting over the law.

Led by the Chairman of the Lagos NBA, Adesina Ogunlana and joined by other leaders of civil societies and non-governmental organisations, they charged Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and the lawmakers to suspend the application of the reviewed LUC.

During the long walk, they shared handbills to motorists, market women and other passersby as they sang solidarity songs.Inscriptions on the placards include: “Stop killing justice in Lagos,” “No to hike in Land Use Charge, LUC, CDHR,” “The country is hard enough don’t add to it.” Others are: “Developing Lagos to megacity and kill Lagosians with Pharaoric taxes,” “No to taxes without consultation,” “Lagosians commit suicide daily, stop this hardship.” among others.

The NBA Chairman, Adeshina Ogunlana who faulted the enactment of the law, tasked the government to rethink and review the land use charge and other obnoxious charges in the state.He said: “ The Land Use Charge is still a shock to many of us. While many people are still committing suicides daily due to hardship, it is so sad that the state government is contributing to what the people are going through.

“Our purpose is to communicate our grievances. We have a letter for the governor and we have anticipated that the Lagos Assembly will be more accessible than the office of the governor.”“Even the said law was passed without wide and proper consultations, the legislation actually usurps the power of the local government.”

The group said the law would cause hyper inflation in food, transport, accommodation, among others things for Lagosians.A letter titled, “Call for a re-think and review of the land use charge tax, all other excessive taxes, levies and charges in Lagos State,” was handed to the Commissioner for information and strategy, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, because the governor and the speaker were said to be unavailable.Addressing the protesters, the Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, represented by the Majority Leader, Sanai Agunbiade assures them of a redress.He also encouraged the public to always attend public hearings, stressing that that is where all bills are opened to debate before they are passed into laws.

“The purpose of public hearings is to take the input of members of the public. There is no public hearing that we do that is not advertised in national newspapers for stakeholder’s input.“We expect more people to attend public hearings and contribute their quota. The governor is a listening person and what affects one person affects all. Necessary steps will be taken. We represent the people and the governor is also there to serve the people,” he said.

Wed, 14 Mar 2018
The main opposition, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, and former Minister of State for Defence, Dr. Olu Agunloye, have tackled President Muhammadu Buhari over his remarks on Monday in Makurdi that he was unaware that the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, did not relocate to Benue State in the heat of the killings as ordered by him.

The PDP said the President had inadvertently admitted that he was running an “inept, incompetent, disorganised and uncoordinated administration.” It added that Buhari’s explanation on the IGP was also an admission that he had handed over power to a “cabal that neither sought for votes nor was elected by Nigerians.” 

The party contended that the “President has irredeemably indicted himself and such unpardonable slipshod attitude to governance is directly responsible for his government’s wrecking of the nation’s once robust economy as well as other woes that have befallen our nation in his almost three years in office.”

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP advised the All Progressives Congress (APC) and supporters of the President to take their minds off the Aso Villa ahead of the 2019 elections “now that their leader and sole candidate has practically admitted his incompetence to run an effective government as desired by Nigerians.”

The party criticised the President for trying to pass the buck to the IGP, a development which it said, further exposed “his lack of direct commitment and concern towards the wellbeing and security of Nigerians.”

The statement reads in part: “Nigerians have completely lost hope in President Muhammadu Buhari and his incompetent administration. By stating that he was unaware that the IGP only spent 24 hours in Benue State, Mr. President has confirmed that he has not been effectively monitoring the handling of the security situation of our nation. This places a huge question mark on the regular assurances issued from the Presidency on security. 

“For our party, PDP, the expression of President Buhari has once again vindicated our position that our nation has been placed on autopilot cruise with a cabal pretending to be managing our affairs.

“Indeed, Nigerians need to know what exactly did President Buhari, as the Commander-in-Chief, do when he realised that the IGP did not carry out his orders? We demand a direct answer from the Presidency.”In a statement yesterday, the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, said only God knows how many instructions the President had given that were never complied with.

Wed, 14 Mar 2018
Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike has raised the alarm over a ploy by some opposition politicians to set up illegal vigilance groups to clash with the State Neighbourhood Watch. He alleged the move was aimed at ensuring that the Nigeria Police ban the new security outfit.
But the All Progressives Congress (APC) has urged the Federal Government to prevail on Wike not to sign the Neighbourhood Safety Corps Bill as passed by the state House of Assembly on February 15, 2018 as it violates the exclusivity of firearms to the Federal Government.

APC chairman Davies Ikanya, said it was imperative to stop Wike from signing the bill because it authorises the Neighbourhood Watch to carry arms, enter, search and arrest citizens without warrant.

Wike told the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone Six Calabar, Usman Abubakar, who visited Government House, Port Harcourt yesterday that the Neighbourhood Watch was strictly a security outfit that would support security agencies with intelligence to enhance security in the state.

The governor said the Neighbourhood Watch was fashioned in line with the Lagos State security agency, adding that the outfit had come to stay and only a court of competent jurisdiction could stop its operations.

While explaining that the government had acquired six gunboats for the state police command to help it fight criminals on the waterways, he cautioned against the politicisation of security operations, as such actions could be detrimental to the country’s stability.

He, therefore, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the police to work towards the successful conduct of the 2019 general elections, adding that the police should not be used to arrest members of the opposition ahead of the poll.

Responding, Abubakar said the command was fashioning out ways to reduce cultism, kidnapping and violent crimes in the zone.He appealed to stakeholders to work with the police to reduce crime ahead of the 2019 general election and urged all groups to come to a roundtable to work for peace, as the police would not tolerate lawlessness.

Wed, 14 Mar 2018
As a collection of monologues based on true-life stories of Nigerian women, aimed at challenging social, cultural, and political norms that limit the potential and contribution of women, Hear Word! Naija Woman Talk True provides excellent opportunities for Nigerian and African women to celebrate themselves. 

Wed, 14 Mar 2018
Undoubtedly, discussions and commentaries on the Nigerian economy have in recent times become dissonant and cacophonous; indeed, some sort of 'babel', leaving the public in more bewilderment and obfuscation. As has been observed in several fora, the economy and economics are among those subject matters on which.... 

Wed, 14 Mar 2018
A Federal High Court in Lagos has adjourned till May 22, hearing on the warrant of arrest case against the Chief Executive Officer of Innoson Motors, Innocent Chukwuma.The adjournment was at the instance of Chukwuma's counsel, McCarthy Mbadugha. 

Wed, 14 Mar 2018
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has expressed willingness to partner with the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to refloat a National Shipping Line.The Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside who disclosed this during the official visit of the Director General of the BPE.... 

Wed, 14 Mar 2018
The World Health Organization (WHO) has added a mysterious, yet-to-exist new malady to its list of nine diseases that may cause a worldwide epidemic.As if Ebola, Zika and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are not enough to worry about, the WHO has added a mysterious, yet-to-exist new malady.... 

Wed, 14 Mar 2018
The group said it was backing Dankwambo because it wanted the country's future president to be a scholar 'with a high level of educational qualification and cerebral development, with the capacity for sound judgment based on experience from acquired multi-disciplinary training. 

Wed, 14 Mar 2018
Twenty-five people have been killed at Zirshe Dundu in the Kwall District of Bassa Local Government Council of Plateau State.The attack by suspected herdsmen came on Monday night as the villagers prepared for the burial of four persons hacked to death on Saturday.... 

Wed, 14 Mar 2018
The Senate is worried that most international treaties and conventions entered by the Federal Government over the years do not have the force of law.The upper chamber yesterday said the action was contrary to the provision of the law and insisted, ' no treaty between the Federal Government and any country shall have the force of law..... 

Wed, 14 Mar 2018
Former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Ike Shorunmu has advised Plateau United goaltender, Dele Ajiboye to work harder in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) and convince national team coach, Gernot Rohr that he deserves another chance in the Russia 2018 World Cup bound team. 
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