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Cameroonian rebels kill soldier, policeman, civilian

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Rebel fighters in the Western region of Cameroon have killed a soldier, policeman and a civilian in an attack in the village of Kengwo.

The regional governor, Augustine Awa Fonka, who confirmed the incident, said the rebels attacked an army post in the village of Kengwo on Sunday morning, killing a soldier, a police officer and a motorcyclist in the region that has seen repeated conflict between anglophone separatists and security forces.

Fonka who spoke on the incident on Tuesday, said the assailants believed to be Anglophone separatists also took away weapons belonging to the slain soldier.

The North-West and South-West regions of the Central African country have been engulfed in a five-year conflict between the Ambazonia separatists mainly from English speaking regions and goverment forces.

The Ambazonia rebels have been clamouring for a separate country and had even declared its independence with the conflict claiming over 6,000 people while hundreds of thousands have been displaced and have fled the country.

Metro

Nigeria set to begin passport automation 

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Nigeria’s Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has announced that the automation of the country’s passport application is in its final stages.

In an interview, the minister stated that the automated application was 99% complete and would go live in a week, adding that Nigerians would only need to visit immigration centres to complete their fingerprint biometrics for passports after that point.

Ojo went on to say that Nigerians can upload their passport photos and other supporting documents using the new system from the comfort of their homes.

The minister said: “We gave a date — December 2023. We are 99 per cent done. In fact, we have done the testing and we should be going live in the next week or thereabouts.

“This will ensure that what Nigerians need to do at an immigration centre is just fingerprint biometrics.

“Everything regarding pre-biometrics will be done in the comfort of your homes, including uploading passport photographs and supporting documents.

“They went live about two weeks ago but I saw some errors when they came to do the presentation and I said no. We were talking about balancing national security and convenience.”

Nigeria’s passport system has been characterised by racketeering, logistics failure, and poor due diligence which have frustrated many, home and abroad, in their quest to own their entitlement as Nigerian citizens.

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Nigeria: Former election commission boss calls for total unbundling of electoral body, political party reforms

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The immediate past Chairman of Nigeria’s electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, has called for the unbundling of the electoral body, and review of the process of appointment of future chairmen of the commission.

He said a total unbundling of the commission and a comprehensive review of the processes and procedures for the appointment of the Chairman and Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) were urgently needed.

Jega, who made the call on Tuesday at a town hall meeting in Abuja organised by the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Electoral Matters, stressed that doing so would give the commission some form of autonomy.

Jega also called for a law prohibiting inter-party defections by politicians who took delight in jumping from one party to another, which he says has destroyed discipline and democratic ethos.

“I will recommend the unbundling of INEC because the Commission has a lot on its plate to deal with, a situation which has made it struggle to meet its core mandate,” the Professor of Political Science said.

“Some functions that INEC is currently performing should be given to another body entirely to handle if we want to make progress on our electoral journey.

“If Nigerians truly want to improve our electoral process, there is a need to proscribe cross-carpeting by political actors. The frequency with which Nigerian politicians cross-carpet has become a big source of worry.

“A candidate will be elected on Party A platform and he gets to the office and joins Party B without first resigning and relinquishing the position he or she holds in trust for the electorate. This has destroyed the essence of our democratic ethos.

“It is my humble recommendation that there should be a review of how political parties field presidential candidates. Look at the number of registered political parties in Nigeria and each fielding presidential candidates but at the end of the day, only two or three score significant votes while the majority do not receive any vote.

“If we are serious about our electoral reforms, there must be a threshold for political parties to meet before fielding candidates in presidential elections.

“The rule must be set that parties that failed to secure a certain amount of votes would not be allowed to present presidential candidates. There must be sanity in the polity and we must get it right.

“It is not only a huge waste of human and material resources, it’s absurd to have parties that cannot win a seat in the local council to field presidential candidates in a general election. The Electoral Act and INEC guidelines should be reviewed”, Jega added.

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