The major headlines for mainstream Nigerian newspapers today, Friday, April 20, are focused on the Senate’s response to the theft of its mace by thugs, the recent controversial statement made by President Muhammadu Buhari concerning Nigerian youths and fears over the ability of INEC to conduct credible elections in 2019, following its re-introduction of new polling units.
The Punch is reporting that following the invasion of its chamber and theft of the mace by suspected thugs, the Senate on Thursday, April 19, resolved to summon the inspector-general of police, Ibrahim Idris; and the director-general of the Department of State Services, Lawal Daura.
The lawmakers are seeking to be briefed by the security chiefs on the circumstances surrounding the incident, and the level of their investigations into the crime. The red chamber insisted that the security agencies launch an investigation into the security lapses at the complex of the National Assembly.
In his opening address, deputy Senate president Ike Ekweremadu confirmed the return of the mace which was recovered by the Nigeria Police ahead of the National Assembly’s 24-hour ultimatum.
Vanguard also reports that the inspector-general of police, Ibrahim Idris, and director-general of the Department of State Services, Lawal Daura, was summoned to appear before the Senate and brief lawmakers on investigations into the invasion of its chambers on Wednesday, April 18. The lawmakers vowed that the perpetrators of the act would not go unpunished.
The publication however reports that despite the Senate’s resolution, the man who allegedly orchestrated the attack, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central) was able to secure an injunction to restrain the Police, DSS and the attorney-general of the federation, Abubakar Malami from arresting or detaining him.
The order was given by the chief judge of the high court, Justice Ishaq Bello, following an ex-parte motion filed by Omo-Agege, via his lawyers.
Still on the Senate’s reaction to the mace theft, The Nation is also reporting that following the recovery of the stolen item, the upper legislative chamber resolved to invite police IG and DG of DSS, Lawal Daura, next week to brief it on investigations into the attack.
Rising from a one-hour executive session, the Senate added that it won’t be cowed by the brazen theft.
Deputy Senate president Ike Ekweremadu said: “I want to assure Nigerians that we will never waver in the responsibility they have elected us to shoulder. We will all stand together to defend this institution of the parliament and our democracy. We will never fear to legislate; and we will never legislate out of fear.”
The Guardian is however focused on reactions to President Muhammadu Buhari’s comments concerning Nigerian youths.
According to the publication, the statement credited to the president describing Nigerian youths as being lazy, has elicited angry reactions from eminent citizens and groups across the country.
During a business conference in London on Wednesday, April 18, Buhari was quoted to have said that the youths “do nothing” and want everything for “free” in the oil-rich country.
In his words: “A lot of them (Nigerian youths) haven’t been to school and they are claiming, you know, that Nigeria has been an oil-producing country therefore they should sit and do nothing and get housing, health care, education, free.”
Reacting to the statement, Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti said it was painful that youths who were struggling to make a living under a harsh economy would be described as ‘lazy’ by the president. He called on the youths to show the president that they were not lazy and uneducated, by voting against him in 2019.
Meanwhile, This Day is reporting that as the 2019 general elections approaches, the re-introduction of new polling units by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has led to concerns over the integrity of the polls.
The development has conjured up fears that the ghost of the creation of 30,000 new polling units in the run up to the 2015 elections was resurfacing.
According to the publication, if INEC adopts the format used in 2014 when it attempted to create precisely 30,062 new polling units, with more units allocated to the states in Northern Nigeria than the South, this could compromise the integrity of the 2019 elections.
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