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INEC Delays Trial Of 197 Electoral Offenders

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The Independent National Electoral Commission is yet to prosecute 197 electoral offenders months after the 2023 general elections, The PUNCH gathered.

 

The commission had on May 2, 2023, said it would prosecute the 215 case files handed over to it out of the 774 persons arrested for various electoral offences by the Nigeria Police Force during the 2023 polls.

 

The commission said it was partnering with the Nigerian Bar Association, which offered pro bono legal services for the effective prosecution of the electoral offenders arrested during the 2023 general elections.

However, a top INEC official, who spoke to our correspondent on Monday on the condition of anonymity, noted that out of the 215 files received by the commission, 197 cases that are electoral offences would be handled by INEC and the NBA.

Among the various grounds of arrest were dereliction of duty, criminal conspiracy, disorderly conduct at the election, possession of weapons, destruction of election materials, political thuggery, electoral violence, snatching of ballot boxes, and stealing of sensitive election materials, among others.

He clarified that the remaining 18 case files, including murder, were returned to the police as they did not fall under electoral offences.

The source stated, “There are 197 NBA lawyers handling the 197 electoral offenders’ cases.

“The remaining 18 cases were returned to the police because they did not fall squarely under electoral offences provided by the Electoral Act, 2022.”

The official also noted that about 19 cases that relate to financial crimes would be handled by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission legal officers and that of INEC.

He stated, “These 19 cases were investigated and compiled by the EFCC. They are not part of the cases forwarded by the police.

“The commission has only one case file forwarded to INEC by the ICPC.”

However, he further admitted that the INEC had yet to commence prosecution as the members of the NBA appointed to handle these electoral offences were yet to be issued letters of instruction by the commission.

He said, “The commission is yet to commence prosecution. It is hoped that the letters initiating the NBA lawyers to start the prosecution would be issued this week.”

The source also added that there may be a likelihood of more electoral offences from the off-cycle polls scheduled for November 11 in Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo states.

When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, promised to get an update on the cases and provide a response later. He had yet to do so as of the time of filing this report.

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Breaking news: Minimum Wage: Labour rejects FG’s N54,000 offer

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The organised labour has rejected the Federal Government N54,000 new minimum wage proposal.

 

According to reliable source, the meeting on the ongoing negotiations on new minimum wage has been adjourned till Wednesday after the organised labour.

 

Media report has it that the Federal Government upped its offer from its earlier proposed N48,000 to N54,000.

Tuesday’s meeting came as a result of the walkout staged by members of the organised labour following the proposal of N48,000 as minimum wage by the Federal Government during last week’s meeting.

During that meeting, the OPS had also proposed N54,000 while labour insisted on its N615,000 living wage demand.

Our correspondent who spoke to sources who attended the follow-up meeting on Tuesday learnt that the Federal Government upped its offer from N48,000 to N54,000.

“Well, during the meeting, the government increased its offer from N48,000 to N54,000. However, labour rejected that offer and the meeting has been adjourned till Wednesday,” a source who asked not to be named said.

When asked if the government’s side was showing any sign of seriousness, the labour leader said, “No seriousness at all. Even state governors did not show up. Those who represented them, like Bauchi and Niger states, did not have the mandates to speak on their behalf.

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Real Madrid’s goalkeeper shares recovery insights after two injuries

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Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has opened up about his recovery journey following two serious knee injuries.

 

Courtois said, “In August, I cried because the worst thing that can happen to you in football is a cruciate ligament injury. When I returned home, I said that I was going to work hard and come back stronger. That was my idea from the beginning: to stay positive, fight, never give up, and push my limits.

 

“Many thought my season was over, but I knew it wasn’t,” Courtois told Marca.

Recall that for most of the current season, Courtois missed out due to two injuries: a cruciate ligament tear and a meniscus injury. In his absence, first-choice goalkeeper was Chelsea’s loanee Kepa Arrizabalaga, and later, he faced competition from Andriy Lunin.

Upon his return, Courtois played in 3 La Liga matches, keeping clean sheets in all of them. In the last game against Alaves, the Belgian made 10 saves.

Earlier, it was reported that Courtois’ recovery from injury will be featured in a documentary series.

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