YIAGA boss: NCC lied to National Assembly, Nigerians on telco network coverage

YIAGA Africa

A Civil Society group, Yiaga Africa’s Executive Director, Barrister Samson Itodo, has accused the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) of deliberately lying to the National Assembly and Nigerians that there is not enough telecommunications network coverage in the country to warrant electronic transmission of election results by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

He also said that by that singular unpatriotic act, NCC succeeded in preventing NASS from endorsing e-transmission of election results which the majority of Nigerians are demanding to deepen the nation’s democracy.

Speaking on African Independent Television (AIT) breakfast programme Kakaaki on Thursday, alongside a member of Federal House of Representatives, Honourable Awaji Abiante (Rivers state), Itodo insists that there is enough network coverage in Nigeria contrary to NCC stand.

Said he: “It’s so shameful that NCC in this era of our national development went to the National Assembly to lie that there is no network coverage across the country. NCC lied and this unfortunate thing to do by the Commission.

“And for the National Assembly to buy such ridiculous argument by NCC was regrettable.

NASS has also by their attacks on e-transmission shown that they don’t care much about the growth of democracy in Nigeria. In fact, the democratic space in Nigeria is fast narrowing instead of expanding”.

Itodo, the Convener of the ‘Not Too Young To Run’ movement with a background in Law and who holds Postgraduate degrees in Law and Public Policy, has therefore called on the NASS 7-Member Conference Committee set up by Senate on Wednesday to include e-transmission of election results in its recommendations.

Also, speaking on the same topic, Hon. Awaji Abiante said the federal lawmakers are equally working on the relevant sections of the Electoral Laws which will protect INEC in its quest to sanitize Nigeria’s electoral processes.

According to him: “some of us in the National Assembly who mean well for Nigeria are pushing to give INEC the legal power to carry on with the introduction of various electronic devices to achieve free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria.

“We don’t want INEC to be cajoled to betray Nigerians in court like it did in the 2019 Presidential Election Tribunal and the Courts when it denied that it has no Server anywhere in the world. We want INEC to be protected by the law going forward”.

Newsmen report that Senate on Wednesday set up a 7-Member Conference Committee during plenary, with intent to harmonise positions between it and the House of Representatives on Electronic Transmission of election results in Nigeria.

Recall, earlier in the year, both chambers passed the bill for third readings, however, the 2010 Electoral Act [Amendment] Bill 2021, differed on provisions of clause 52[3] which deals with electronic transmission of election results.

With this discrepancy in focus, the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, in line with legislative practices and procedures announced the 7-man Conference Committee before the commencement of plenary on Wednesday.

Legislators selected include: Senators Yahaya Abdullahi (APC Kebbi North); Kabiru Gaya (APC Kano South); Ajibola Basiru (APC Osun Central); Danjuma Goje (APC Gombe Central).

Others are, Uche Ekwunife (PDP Anambra Central); Sani Musa (APC Niger East); and Mathew Urhoghide (PDP Edo South).

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