Fear of Boko Haram attack hits confab

The fear of possible attack of members of the national conference by Boko Haram enveloped the conference on Monday when a delegate, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) said he received a message on his telephone of a possible attack by members of the sect in Abuja this week.Raising a matter of Public Urgency, he asked for the permission of the Chairman of the Conference, Justice Idris Kutigi to read the message.He was granted the permission.The message, which he also sent to our correspondent read, ” News got to us that our enemy is planning something bigger than Nyayan bomb blast between Tuesday and Wednesday in Abuja.“Mind your movement and be careful. The date is still unknown. Please, pass it around to save loved ones.”Some delegates later discussed the issue among themselves, wondering when the bombings would stop.One of the delegate, who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “We are in trouble in this country. Bombings everywhere. When will this stop?“Even here, we don’t know what is going to happen. Things are so bad in the country. Things are so bad.”Only last Thursday, a delegate, Obi Onoliefo had raised the issue of safety of delegates when, having looked at the perimeter wall of the National Judicial Institute, observed that there were no security operatives manning them.He, therefore, called for security operatives to be drafted to the perimeter fences to forestall insurgents from breaking into the premises and causing bloodshed.Meanwhile, delegates began the deliberation on the report of the Political Parties and Electoral Matters, on Monday.The report, which was made available to our correspondent recommended that the Independent National Electoral Commission should stop deleting political parties.While adding that political parties should be allowed to grow, it also said that government should not fund political parties.Some of the recommendations are that, “Political party leadership and administration should be insulated from undue control and interference from chief executives of government at all levels, so that party independence is restored. In so doing.“The wishes of the party members as expressed through their voted will be reflected in the party administration.”The committee also recommended that rather than scrapping of State Independent Electoral Commissions, efforts should be made to strengthen them with a view to making them more effective, as well as improving their credibility.It added that provision should be made for the financial indecent of SIECs by giving them a first line charge in the state’s budget.That issues relating to the composition and administration of SIECs should be activated through a  law of the State House of Assembly.It added that, “State Houses of Assembly,y should legislate the details of the composition and administration of SIECs as well as confirm their members.“State houses of assembly should legislate the tenure of elected local government officials.”On judiciary, it said that Federal High Court should be renamed and redesigned as constitutional court of Nigeria, adding the jurisdiction and powers of the Federal High Court should be transferred to the National Industrial Court.On death or withdraw of a candidate, the committee recommended that where a candidate dies or withdraws from the election, the political party which nominated “that candidate shall submit to the commission the name of the candidate who scored the second highest number if voted at the primaries as the substitute candidate.”It added that where such “a dead or disqualified candidate may have emerged by consensus, fresh primaries should be held to determine the new representative of the party.” (Punch)

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