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Nigeria is geared towards free, fair 2023 elections, lawmakers tell ECOWAS Parliament

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Nigeria is geared towards delivering a free, fair, and credible election in 2023.

This was made known at the presentation of the Nigeria country report by the Nigerian delegation at the ongoing Second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja.

Presenting the Country report, Hon Lynda Ikpeazu, said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reaffirmed its determination to conduct a technology-driven election, that will prevent any form of human errors, which were seemingly the case in the past.

“It is noteworthy, that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) has been successfully deployed in the 2022 off-season gubernatorial elections in Ekiti and Osun states.

“Thus reigniting the hope of Nigerians for a credible 2023 general elections.

On the security, the lawmaker said the situation is currently stable as revealed in the third quarter security data which shows a decline in security incidents.

Ikpeazu however noted that Nigeria is still experiencing some security challenges but the reduced incidents have been linked on one hand to the Federal government’s approval of 2.6-billion-naira intervention.

She said that there have been unprecedented increase in the frequency of strategy meetings by the National Security Council, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, geared towards designing and implementing a sustainable security framework.

“In recent months, there have been reduced security incidents in the country. This is linked on one hand to the Federal Government’s approval of N2.6 billion for the purchase of security equipment.

“And on the other hand, to improved tactics, techniques and procedures by security forces especially in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

“Also, there is increased inter-service and inter-agency synergy and better cohesion between national and multinational security forces.

As a result, there has been noticeable reduction in security incidents in the North-east and North-west, particularly in states constantly under attack by the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’adati wal-Jihad (JAS).”

On the Economic Situation, the country report revealed that Nigeria is slowly recovering from the combined impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian-Ukraine war, insecurity and natural disasters.

According to Ikeapzu, despite the challenges the Nigerian economy recorded a 3.54 per cent growth in the second quarter (Q2) of 2022, which is a 0.43 per cent increase from Q2 of 2022.

Ikpeazu in the report said that the redesign of the higher denomination of the Nigerian currency by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was a bid to mop-up excess cash in circulation, arrest inflation, curtail counterfeiting.

She noted that with the progressive exercise, the CBN is confident that the measure will help recall more than 85 per cent of its total monies outside the vaults of banks.

she said that the measure was also taken to stifle access to monies used as ransom by terrorists and kidnappers in the country.

On the Human Rights Situation, the report revealed that the Federal Government is working assiduously to alleviate the human rights situation posed by nagging security incidents and the flooding disasters.

“Over 3.2 million people in the country have been affected by the floods that has resulted in at least 600 fatalities as of 3rd November 2022.

“The widespread flooding has destroyed over 300, 000 homes and rendered about 1.4 million people homeless, thus increasing the already high number of internally displaced persons within the country.

“All hands have been on deck to assist victims of the flooding disaster as the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), state governments and humanitarian partners have been responding to critical needs,” Ikpeazu stated.

On the implementation of community text, Nigeria in her country report revealed that so far, Nigeria has remitted a total sum of over Hundred Million Dollars to the ECOWAS Commission.

Ikpeazu said that the Government of Nigeria remains committed to fulfilling her financial obligations to ECOWAS, and is making arrangements to pay up the balance for the year.

Responding to concerns by some Members of the Parliament on the massive migration of Nigerian Health workers abroad which is causing a brain drain to the system, Hon. Haruna Mshelia defended the situation.

Mshelia said that the government has put in place mechanisms to improve the health care sector noting that some of the doctor return to Nigeria to establish good privatehospitals with high technology equipment.

This, Mshelia, explained will end medical tourism in the country.

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