NASS approves N143Bn instead of N164Bn as EU diplomats hail Rivers INEC for prompt action

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National Assembly Joint Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is said to have recommended N143 billion for approval for the commission’s preparation for the 2019 general elections.

This is in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s request on July 11 when he requested the legislators’ approval of N242 billion for the elections.

According to online news reports, the president had said that N164.10 billion of the funds was urgently needed to enable the arrangements for the elections to commence, while the balance of N78.34 billon would be provided for in the 2019 Budget.

The president had in his letter of request explained that the urgently needed N164 billion would be allocated as follows: INEC, N143.51 billion; Office of National Security Adviser, N3.86 billion and Department of State Services (DSS), N2.90 billion.

Others are Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, N1.85 billion; Nigeria Police Force, N11.46 billion and Nigeria Immigration Service, N530.1million.

Chairman of the joint committee, Sen. Suleiman Nazif, told newsmen at the end of the committee’s meeting in Abuja on Monday that the committee had adopted the president’s allocation of the funds, especially as needed urgently.

Consequently, the committee directed Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to re-present the budget on Tuesday to reflect the new figure.

 EU

But, said to be worried by the violence that marred the Port Harcourt State Constituency 3 Election, Ambassador of Ireland to Nigeria, Sean Hoy, has called on the FG to take steps to ensure that elections are conducted within the ambit of the rule of law.

Similarly, the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Ketil Karlson, declared measures must be placed on ground by the relevant authorities to check a repeat of the electoral violence on August 18, 2018 at the Port Harcourt State Constituency Three.

Both ambassadors spoke at the Government House Port Harcourt after a meeting with the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.

Ambassador of Ireland to Nigeria, Sean Hoy said: “We must always follow the rule of law. Because election without the rule of law  is not good.

“And it is not good for good governance “.

The Irish Ambassador noted that they were in Rivers State to participate in a programme organised by INEC to improve youth participation in elections.  He said: “We emphasised that the youths must register to exercise their right to vote”.

The EU Ambassador commended INEC  for the action it took after the violence during the Port Harcourt State Constituency Three Election. “We have commended the work of INEC. They have taken an important step and stance on the Port Harcourt State Constituency Three Election.

“Measures should be taken so that we don’t see similar events in the future elections coming up in February and March next year “, the European Union Ambassador said.

He expressed concern about the violence during the Bye-Election.

Responding, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike said it was embarrassing that elections could not be conducted in just 8 wards, saying nobody prays for a repeat of the ugly situation.