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Again, US to the rescue in ensuring free, fair election as Ondo Polls beckon

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Again, US to the rescue in ensuring free, fair election as Ondo Polls beckon

United States authorities has reiterated its commitment towards ensuring a free, fair and transparent voting process in the Ondo State governorship election.

Just before the Edo State Governorship election the US had slammed a visa ban on alleged election Riggers in the Kogi/Bayelsa Governorship election last year in November.
That intervention many analysts believed was responsible for the outcome of the election that was deviod of so much violence and rigging.
Speaking on the issue the US said,
“We reiterate our hope that all participants in the democratic process, including the INEC, political parties, and the security services, will take concrete steps to ensure a peaceful election that reflects the will of the people of Ondo,” US embassy in a statement.
The Ondo State governorship election takes place on Saturday, October 10.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in August released the final list of candidates and political parties contesting the governorship election.
Ondo State governor Rotimi Akeredolu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is seeking election alongside 16 other candidates.

The US, however, “urged all stakeholders to continue to work toward free, fair, transparent, and peaceful elections in Ondo State.
“The United States remains committed to the U.S.-Nigeria partnership as we work together to achieve our mutual goals of peace and prosperity for the citizens of both our countries.”

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UNESCO says access to information is a matter of life and death post COVID-19

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UNESCO says access to information is a matter of life and death post COVID-19

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has indicated that the menace of Coronavirus pandemic in the last six months has more awareness on the importance of ensuring access to reliable and accurate information and knowledge

The representive of the regional director UNESCO Regional office abuja Mr Salifou Abdulahi, spoke on Monday at the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) 2020 held st NCCE building Abuja.

He harped on the importance of making information accessible through building of more inclusive, sustainable knowledge societies, trust and saving lives.

He said,
“This is the message of the international Day for Universal Access to informatmn (IDUAI), focusing on the key role that access to information plays in taking forward the Sustainabie Development Agenda.

“The international Day for Universal Access to Information was proclaimed on 15 October 2019 at the 74th UN General Assembly to be held on 28 September. “Initially the UNESCO General Conference designated the day on 28 September 2015, to raise awareness of the importance of universal access to information. “This year, the overall theme is ‘Saving Lives, Building Trust, Bringing Hopes”, focusing on the right to information in times of crisis and on the advantages of having constitutional, statutory and policy guarantees for public access to information through and beyond the COVID19 crisis.
He observed that Universal access to information means that everyone has the right to seek, receive and impart knowledge.

This right he said is an integral part of the right to freedom of expression. “The media plays a vital role in informing the public about issues at interest and it relies much on the ability to seek and receive information.
informed citizens can make informed decisions, and the prerequisite of access to information is a cornerstone to pluralistic, equitable, open and inclusive knowledge societies.

He said the past six months of COViD~19 Pandemic in 2020 has shed light on the importance of ensuring access to reliable and accurate information and knowledge in the days and age of uncertainty as information itself is a matter of life and death, adding that the role of media and information literacy and open access is powerful instruments for mitigation of crises.
“In this time of evolvement in the media landscape, it has been witnessed that policy dialogue, the application of advanced technology, youth engagement, cultural diversity muitilingualism, and gender narratives and discourses are all involved. 

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US Visa ban sparks diplomatic row

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US Visa ban sparks diplomatic row

The visa ban slammed on election Riggers in Nigeria by the United State of America  is already sparking what looks like a diplomatic row between the two countries as the Nigerian Government has taken exception to the affront.

The Nigerian government through its foreign affairs ministry said it considers it disrespectful to the Sovereignty of the country for any foreign country to apply punitive measures such as visas restriction on its citizens.
In a statement issued by Mr Ferdinand Nwonye, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday in response to the recent announcement of the U.S. and the United Kingdom to impose visa restrictions on those who undermine electoral processes.
The Nigerian Government said it was committed to providing all necessary logistic, financial and security support to the electoral process.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to state that the Nigerian government has taken note of the concerns of some of our partners, especially the U.S. and UK governments regarding the elections in Edo and Ondo States.
“They have also expressed their intentions to take punitive measures against those who decide to, in what they termed as, undermine democracy.
“It is important to highlight that the responsibility for the conduct of elections in Nigeria solely resides with the Independent National Electoral Commission and State Independent Electoral Commissions.
“The Federal Government, and especially the President, is committed to providing all necessary logistic, financial and security support to the electoral process.
“The President has continually urged all parties and contestants to peacefully conduct themselves before, during and after the elections, and supported patriotic non-governmental initiatives such as the Abdusalami Abubakar-led Peace Committee.
“Furthermore, it should be noted that there are ample provisions in our laws to sanction violators and perpetrators of electoral violence and fraud.
“It would be considered disrespectful of the sovereignty of Nigeria for any outside authority to sit in judgment over the conduct of our citizens and apply punitive measures such as visa restriction, unilaterally.
“While we appreciate the support and encouragement of our international partners such as the EU, we urge our equally valued partners such as the UK and U.S. to cooperate with our relevant agencies,” the government said.
The government called on the partners to support security agencies by providing them whatever concrete evidence of observed misconduct to allow our laws and regulations to take their course.
The Nigerian government also expressed solidarity with the government and people of the U.S. as regards their forthcoming election, which it hoped would be free from interference and violence.

This was coming after theKogi State Government in a protest letter expressed its disappointment with the US Government for meddling in the affairs of Nigeria like a self appointed police of the Globe.

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COVID-19: Hajj 2020 to be performed by only residents of Saudi Arabia

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COVID-19: Hajj 2020 to be performed by only residents of Saudi Arabia

To contain the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus Saudi Arabian authorities said only residents of the country will be permitted to undertake the annual Hajj pilgrimage next month.
The disease has already infected over nine million and killed over 405, 000 people worldwide.

“It has been decided that Hajj for this year (1441 H/ 2020 AD) will be held whereby a very limited number of pilgrims from various nationalities who already reside in Saudi Arabia would be able to perform it,”

The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said in a statement, that the decision is taken to ensure Hajj is performed in a safe manner from a public health perspective while observing all preventative measures and the necessary social distancing protocols to protect human beings from the risks associated with this pandemic.
This the statement said is also in accordance with the teachings of Islam in preserving the lives of human beings.
A few countries had earlier announced their withdrawal from the pilgrimage this year.
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, withdrew from the pilgrimage this month after pressing Riyadh for clarity, with a minister calling it a “very bitter and difficult decision”.

Malaysia, Senegal and Singapore followed suit with similar announcements.
Many other countries with Muslim populations — from Egypt and Morocco to Turkey, Lebanon and Bulgaria — have said they are still awaiting Riyadh’s decision.
In countries like France, faith leaders have urged Muslims to “postpone” their pilgrimage plans until next year due to the prevailing risks.
The hajj, a must for able-bodied Muslims who can afford it at least once in their lifetime, represents a major potential source of contagion as it packs millions of pilgrims into congested religious sites.

Only residents of Saudi Arabia will perform Hajj 2020 – Official

To contain the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus Saudi Arabian authorities said only residents of the country will be permitted to undertake the annual Hajj pilgrimage next month.
The disease has already infected over nine million and killed over 405, 000 people worldwide.

“It has been decided that Hajj for this year (1441 H/ 2020 AD) will be held whereby a very limited number of pilgrims from various nationalities who already reside in Saudi Arabia would be able to perform it,”

The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said in a statement, that the decision is taken to ensure Hajj is performed in a safe manner from a public health perspective while observing all preventative measures and the necessary social distancing protocols to protect human beings from the risks associated with this pandemic.
This the statement said is also in accordance with the teachings of Islam in preserving the lives of human beings.
A few countries had earlier announced their withdrawal from the pilgrimage this year.
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, withdrew from the pilgrimage this month after pressing Riyadh for clarity, with a minister calling it a “very bitter and difficult decision”.

Malaysia, Senegal and Singapore followed suit with similar announcements.
Many other countries with Muslim populations — from Egypt and Morocco to Turkey, Lebanon and Bulgaria — have said they are still awaiting Riyadh’s decision.
In countries like France, faith leaders have urged Muslims to “postpone” their pilgrimage plans until next year due to the prevailing risks.
The hajj, a must for able-bodied Muslims who can afford it at least once in their lifetime, represents a major potential source of contagion as it packs millions of pilgrims into congested religious sites.

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