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Flights from Cologne, Dusseldorf airports resume after strikes

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Last Updated on July 18, 2023 by Fellow Press

Flights resumed at Cologne-Bonn and Dusseldorf airports on Tuesday after workers returned from 24 hours of industrial action over pay.

At Düsseldorf airport, the strike ended at around 3 a.m. (0200 GMT), said Verdi spokesman Peter Büddicker.

He did not expect any further restrictions for passengers.

At Cologne-Bonn airport, staff resumed work at 6 a.m., according to a spokesperson, who added there could be delays while backlogs cleared.

Almost every flight was cancelled at the airports on Monday, due to the one-day strike called by the Verdi and Komba trade unions.

While 136 departures and arrivals were planned in Cologne-Bonn, only two took place – a flight to and from Vienna.

The airport would otherwise have expected around 15,000 passengers on Monday.

The strikes were part of larger industrial actions amid negotiations for public sector employees at the federal and local levels, as well as the nationwide negotiations for aviation security employees.

Unions are demanding 10.5 per cent more income, or at least 500 euros more per month.

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Court to deliver judgment in suit seeking use of TVCs to vote, March 10

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Last Updated on July 18, 2023 by Fellow Press

The Federal High Court, Abuja has fixed March 10 to deliver judgment in a suit filed by two aggrieved Nigerians seeking the use of Temporary Voter Cards, (TVCs) in the general elections in the absence of the Permanent Voter Cards, (PVCs).

Justice Obiora Egwuatu fixed the date on Tuesday after parties adopted their final written addresses and made brief adumbration to convince the court on their positions.

Arguing on behalf of the plaintiffs, Mr Victor Opatola told the court that should the court rule in their favour, the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) needed no special technology to allow people use their TVCs to vote.

He said this was because the content of the TVC was the same as the content of the PVC.

He said the only difference was the plastic used for the PVC adding that the BVAS required only a thumbprint or facial recognition so with the TVC, an eligible voter could also be allowed to vote.

He also said that judging from the just concluded elections where TVCs were used at some polling units, it was clear that the use of TVCs was possible.

Opatola prayed the court to grant the prayers of his client

For his part, counsel to INEC, Mr Abdulaziz Sani urged the court to dismiss the plantiff’s originating summons as an unnecessary suit.

According to Sani, no TVC was used anywhere in Saturday’s election as alleged by the plaintiffs.

The senior lawyer also told the court that all the claims of the plaintiffs had been debunked by facts provided.
He reiterated that the suit should be dismissed as unnecessary.

Having heard all arguments, Justice Egwuatu fixed March 10 to deliver judgment.

The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN), reports that INEC had repeatedly held that only eligible voters with the PVCs would be allowed to vote in the 2023 presidential, governorship and parliamentary elections.

NAN also reports that the plaintiffs, Kofoworola Olusegun and Wilson Allwell in the suit filed on Feb. 8 and marked FHC/ABJ/CS/180/2023, are asking the court to determine “Whether by the true construction and interpretation of section 10(2), 12(1) and 47 of the Electoral Act 2022; Section 77(2) and 132(5) of the 1999 constitution (as amended), and bearing in mind that the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) machine introduced by INEC only needs the thumbprint and/or facial recognition to accredit a voter;

“Whether a person whose name appears in the electronic format in INEC’s central database and manual, printed paper based record or hard copy format of the register of voters and has been assigned a Voter’s Identification Number (VIN), can be said to be entitled to be accredited to vote with his/her TVC in the general election to be conducted by the defendant.

“Whether such a person can, as a consequence of the defendant’s inabilities, actions and omission be disenfranchised of the right and entitlement to vote in the 2023 general election.

The plaintiffs asked the court to grant the following reliefs should the questions be answered in their favour.

“A declaration that the plaintiff, having fulfilled all necessary legal requirements to register and having consequently been captured in it’s central database and manual, printed paper based record or hard copy format of INEC’s maintained register of voters, the plaintiff are entitled to vote using their TVC in the 2023 General Elections.

“An order compelling INEC to allow the plaintiff to vote using the TVC issued by INEC, the plaintiff having been duly captured in the national register of voter’s database.

“Any other order, the court may deem fit for all other Nigerians who are like the plaintiffs and have not gotten their permanent voter’s card, as the court may deem fit.

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FG cautions Obasanjo not to truncate electoral process

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Last Updated on July 18, 2023 by Fellow Press

The Federal Government has admonished former President Olusegun Obasanjo not to truncate the 2023 general elections with his inciting, self-serving and provocative letter on the polls.

The admonition is contained in a statement issued on Monday in Abuja by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

The statement was made available to the media by Mr Segun Adeyemi, the Special Assistant to the President (Media) Office of the Minister.

Mohammed said what the former president cunningly framed as an ‘appeal for caution and rectification was nothing but a calculated attempt to undermine the electoral process and a willful incitement to violence.

The minister expressed shock and disbelief that a former president could throw around unverified claims and amplify wild allegations picked up from the streets against the electoral process.

“Though masquerading as an unbiased and concerned elder statesman, former president Obasanjo is in reality a known partisan who is bent on thwarting, by subterfuge, the choice of millions of Nigerian voters,’’ he said.

Mohammed recalled that the former president, in his time, organised perhaps the worst elections since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule in 1999.

According to the minister, Obasanjo is the least qualified to advise a president whose determined effort to leave a legacy of free, fair, credible and transparent elections is well acknowledged within and outside Nigeria.

“As the whole nation waits with bated breath for the result of last Saturday’s national elections amid unnecessary tension created by professional complainants and political jesters, what is expected from a self-respecting elder statesman are words and actions that douse tension and serve as a soothing balm.

“Instead, former president Obasanjo used his unsolicited letter to insinuate, or perhaps wish for, an inconclusive elections and a descent into anarchy.

“He used his time to cast aspersion on electoral officials who are unable to defend themselves, while surreptitiously seeking to

dress his personal choice in the garb of the people’s choice. This is duplicitous,’’ he said.

The minister reminded the former president that organising elections in Nigeria is not a mean feat.

He said the process was not a mean feat considering the fact that the voter population of 93,469,008 in the country was 16,742,916 more than the total number of registered voters, at 76,726,092, in 14 West African nations put together.

Mohammed said that the process was not a mean feat considering the deployment of more than 1,265,227 electoral officials, the infusion of technology to enhance the electoral process and the logistical nightmare of sending election materials across the vast country,

The minister said INEC was availing itself creditably, going by the preliminary reports of the ECOWAS Electoral Observation Mission and the Commonwealth Observer Group, among other groups that observed the elections.

“Therefore, those arrogating to themselves the power to cancel an election and unilaterally fix a date for a new one, ostensibly to ameliorate perceived electoral infractions, should please exercise restraint.

“They should allow the official electoral body to conclude its duty by announcing the results of the 2023 national elections.

“After that, anyone who is aggrieved must follow the stipulated legal process put in place to adjudicate electoral disputes, instead of threatening fire and conjuring apocalypse,’’ he said.

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