Pro-Moscow rebel faction snubs further cease-fire talks in tense eastern Ukraine

Pro-Moscow rebel faction snubs further cease-fire talks in tense eastern Ukraine

23/Jan/2015  //  262 Viewers

Pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk will not initiate further cease-fire talks with Ukraine and plan to expand battles for new territory, their leader was quoted as saying Friday in warnings that all but ensure fresh confrontations in eastern Ukraine.

It was unclear whether the comments by rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko reflected decisions by insurgents across eastern Ukraine, where fighting began last year between Ukrainian forces and pro-Moscow separatists angered by the country’s Western-leaning policies.

But Donetsk has been at the center of recent clashes that have dealt serious blows to attempts to keep the region’s four-month-old cease-fire from full collapse.

Rebel forces are now emboldened after the partial withdrawal of Ukrainian military units on Thursday from the Donetsk airport, a key battleground.

“There will be no attempts to speak about a cease-fire on our part.” the Russian news service Interfax quoted Zakharchenko as telling a group of university students, specifying that the separatists did not intend to make any more opening overtures to end hostilities.

In response, a Ukraine military spokesman said its forces will observe the lines set by the cease-fire accord reached in September in Minsk despite claims that rebels have waged steady attacks.

“To speak about how realistic these messages are, it’s very difficult,” Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council spokesman Col. Andriy Lysenko told reporters in Kiev on Friday. “Those statements, that they will stop the peace? There has never been a day when they didn’t shell. They shelled less on some days, but it never stopped."

Zakharchenko claimed Friday that the militias were advancing on several fronts, including trying to reach Mariupol in order to control more water resources, according to Interfax.

“We will carry on the offensive up to the borders of the Donetsk region, and if I see a threat coming from the other sides, it will be eliminated,” Interfax quoted Zakharchenko as saying.

The military spokesman Lysenko, in turn, denied that the militias had made real gains anywhere except for the area around Checkpoint 31, a border crossing that Ukraine accused Russian troops of seizing earlier this week.


Elections should be postponed: national security adviser

Elections should be postponed: national security adviser

23/Jan/2015  //  249 Viewers

Abuja - National security adviser said on Thursday that next month's presidential and parliamentary elections should be postponed because not all voter cards had been distributed.

Sambo Dasuki's suggestion came just three weeks ahead of the polling date, during a question and answer session at a conference at the Chatham House international affairs think-tank in London.

"We said (to the Independent National Electoral Commission), look, there is a problem... We still have about 30 million... (voter) cards to distribute," he said.

"Look at the possibility of shifting this thing and doing it when everybody has a card because it doesn't cost you anything, is still within the law and it is safer for all of us.

"So, that is what we are encouraging. They (INEC) keep assuring us that everybody will have his card but I doubt it."

Voting for a new president and parliament in Africa's most populous nation and leading economy has been set for February 14, with gubernatorial and state assembly elections to follow two weeks later.

The run-up to the election has already been clouded by security fears with swathes of the northeast in the control of Boko Haram militants.

INEC has been scrambling for a solution to allow hundreds of thousands of displaced people to vote in the area, which is an opposition stronghold.

INEC said that 68.8 million people have registered to vote so far out of the 170 million population.

INEC spokesman Kayode Idowu told AFP his agency had received no word of any postponement.

"INEC has not received communication on it. As we speak, there is no basis for something like that, because in terms of preparation, we are on course," Idowu said.

"The commission is preparing. PVC (permanent voter cards) are being collected. Those that are remaining, we are sure they will be available for people to collect before the end of the month," he stated.

'Clandestine plot'

The main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) has voiced concern that if voters in the region controlled by Boko Haram are disenfranchised, then the validity of the overall result of the election will be in doubt.

The APC is seen as having its best chance of dumping the ruling party of President Goodluck Jonathan out of power since Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999.

It said that Dasuki's suggestion "has exposed the hitherto clandestine plot by the Jonathan administration to push for the postponement of the polls, using all sorts of cheap tricks".

Any postponement could trigger a constitutional crisis and is "capable of undermining the nation's democracy", the party added in a statement.

The international community should now get a commitment from Jonathan that the elections will take place and that he will respect the result, the APC concluded.

The United States last week urged Nigeria to go ahead with the vote, despite an upsurge in Boko Haram-linked violence, including a massive attack on the northeastern town of Baga on January 3.

Election monitors from the European Union have already arrived in the country, while the political campaigns of all parties and the 14 presidential candidates are in full swing.

'Don't make excuses'

Dasuki, a former soldier, last year unveiled a "soft power" approach to tackling Boko Haram, including measures to prevent radicalisation in the impoverished Muslim-majority north.

The plan was seen as a tacit recognition that the use of military might alone would not end the bloody, six-year conflict.

Since then, there have been repeated complaints from soldiers about inadequate weapons and equipment to fight the better-armed rebels, and reports that many fled in the face of the enemy.

Some, including the APC, have blamed corruption, as a massive 20 percent of last year's $30-billion federal budget went on defence -- the highest since the 1967-1970 civil war.

The government rejects the claims and Dasuki told the London conference that soldiers who made excuses about not being able to take on the insurgents were "a lot of cowards".


Nigeria: Oby Weeps for Nigeria's Lost Empathy

Nigeria: Oby Weeps for Nigeria's Lost Empathy

23/Jan/2015  //  1401 Viewers

Former minister for education Oby Ezekwesili wept for Nigeria on Thursday over its citizens' losing empathy they need to stand as a nation.

She broke down in tears over tragedies suffered by countless Nigerians in the past, from the Civil War to the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls by Boko Haram last April.

"How could we pick up and move on?" she asked.

"All agitations of being marginalised somehow never seemed to have persuaded Nigerians until Jos practically began to go up in smoke."

She said the same lack of empathy characterised the growth of Boko Haram insurgency, which intensified with widespread bombings and the Chibok Girls kidnapping.

"Now our own military repels what started off as ragtag insurgency who, when their effect was not being felt in the whole of Nigeria, expanded their attack."

"The ease with which citizens look away, refusing to be drawn into matters that they consider other people's an acceptance of the Equal Opportunity to Suffer Syndrome."

Speaking on the theme "2015 Elections: How To Make Nigeria The Winner", Ezekwesili said, Nigeria has been winning by successful transitions in the past, but it was time for Nigerians themselves to win.

"It is time for the people to win. In the 54 years of fighting to control power, it is time to change that paradigm," she said.

"Hello to the 70m citizen winners of the 2015 elections. You are more powerful than you look but that only happens when you make informed decisions."


Death of King Abdullah: succession safe, but Saudi Arabia's future is up in the air

Death of King Abdullah: succession safe, but Saudi Arabia's future is up in the air

23/Jan/2015  //  264 Viewers

The confirmation immediately following the announcement of the death of King Abdullah that Crown Prince Salman was to succeed him settled one question in the minds of many in the Middle East.

There had been mutterings that the succession was not secure, and that on the death of King Abdullah, who had managed one of the world's most perplexing countries for two decades, anything could happen.

The new King Salman then went one step further: he confirmed deputy Crown Prince Muqrin as his own Crown Prince and heir.

These statements may have the flavour of a Ruritanian kingdom of another era. That is only fitting, perhaps, for a country which self-consciously retains not only an absolute monarchy but many of trappings of the tribal, religious and traditionalist attitudes of its founders.

But they are also vital for a world that relies both pragmatically on Saudi oil and politically on the influence of Saudi Arabia on the followers of Islam, whose holiest places it controls.

As Crown Prince, Salman, though from a grouping of princes seen as more politically conservative than King Abdullah, will have signed off on recent reforms and other political decisions.

Prince Muqrin is seen as the closest to King Abdullah of all the surviving royal brothers who control Saudi politics. At a relatively youthful 69, he will presumably have some years left to him both as Crown Prince and then King to ensure that his mentor's legacy of gradual - very gradual - reform is honoured and even expanded upon.

Those questions are answered for now: many more mutterings remain.

Despite its apparently monolithic politics, debate about Saudi Arabia's future is more widespread than it appears.

As with everywhere else in the world, globalisation and social media have revealed and encouraged a greater diversity of views and lifestyles in the Kingdom than those outsiders it held at bay for so long - most of the rest of the world - ever realised.

One curious but telling statistic is that the country now has the highest proportion of Twitter users of any in the world. Their tweets reveal an extraordinary and unpredictable melange of hardline Islamists, traditionalist monarchists, liberals, feminists, and many others intent, really, on just having a good time.

With no experience of democracy - or apparent intent to introduce any - it remains unclear how the monarchy plans to channel all these different views.

King Abdullah may have bought time by reversing his previous greater openness and locking up notable dissidents in the light of the Arab Spring, and stepping up beheadings and floggings more generally "pour encourager les autres".

Its oil and foreign currency reserves give it economic breathing space, and its alliance with the West diplomatic breathing space, to come up with some new ideas.

But few believe inside or out that a nation in which a single family sits in power and gilded splendour while many of its people languish in voteless poverty is sustainable in the long run.

King Salman and Crown Prince Muqrin, the latter the youngest son of Saudi Arabia's founder King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud and therefore the last who will be king, have some thinking to do before the next generation of the family follows in their line.


Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and the Presumption of Innocence

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and the Presumption of Innocence

22/Jan/2015  //  179 Viewers

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s defense team wanted to prove that seating an impartial jury in Massachusetts was an impossible task, it could rest its case now. Over four days, the federal judge George O’Toole has interviewed more than three dozen potential jurors who were not eliminated after filling out a written questionnaire, and only a few have emerged as both apparently impartial and open to the possibility of voting for the death penalty, which they must be in order to be chosen to serve. The elimination process is not public until it’s over, but two things are clear: the selection process is behind schedule, and the court may have to take a flexible approach to the standards of impartiality in order to seat a jury.

Earlier this month, thirteen hundred and fifty potential jurors gave written responses to more than ninety questions, describing their experiences and opinions on topics ranging from the Boston Marathon bombing, Islam, and the war on terror to the death penalty and people from Russia and Central Asia. Since last week, O’Toole and both sets of attorneys have been conducting voir dire—the process of questioning prospective jurors. By Massachusetts custom, the judge asks most of the questions, then the lawyers ask a few. The judge eliminates some potential jurors during the process, leaving around sixty. Each side then has the right to eliminate another twenty. Eighteen jurors—twelve voting members and six alternates—will be seated for the Tsarnaev trial, which is expected to last three to four months.

One of the written questions was whether the potential jurors had already formed an opinion about whether Tsarnaev, who is charged with thirty counts in connection with the bombing, is guilty. Most said that they have, and that they believe he is guilty. This opinion alone is not grounds for elimination from the jury pool: the jury is supposed to represent the community, and most of the people of Massachusetts seem to believe that Tsarnaev is guilty. The task before the judge and the lawyers is to ascertain whether the jurors are capable of setting aside their existing opinions in order to fully consider the evidence.

If jurors cannot be expected to believe that Tsarnaev is innocent, there is the question of what the “presumption of innocence” means. On the third day of the voir dire, an argument erupted between the defense and the prosecution about this basic issue. Judy Clarke, one of the defense attorneys, said that the questioning was conflating the presumption of innocence with the concept of burden of proof, and assuming that it was enough for a prospective juror to understand that it was the government’s duty to show that Tsarnaev was guilty. The judge sided with the prosecution, saying that “presumption of innocence” is “a term of art” that does not actually mean presuming the innocence of a defendant.

As it happened, within a couple hours one of the potential jurors questioned whether one could put aside the belief that a defendant is guilty to consider the evidence. “I think it’s hard,” the woman said. “Because if you have a belief in your head … it’s hard to set that aside. I can try to, but I can’t say that it wouldn’t influence my thinking. I don’t know that the brain works that way.” This potential juror had a graduate degree in psychology.

When it comes to the death penalty, seeing past one’s own beliefs and opinions is even more difficult, said the juror, who is opposed to capital punishment. “That one is even harder, because it’s not based on something I’ve heard in the media; it’s based on my personal beliefs. It’s even harder to set aside because it’s one of my lifelong beliefs.” Some of the more deliberative-seeming prospective jurors have engaged in some hedging about capital punishment. They refrained from expressing absolutist positions about the death penalty on the questionnaire, but when asked by the judge whether they could see themselves voting for capital punishment they admitted that, whatever the facts, they could not imagine doing so. Other potential jurors said that they could never vote for life imprisonment because, if Tsarnaev is found guilty, he most certainly deserves to die. These extreme opinions are unsurprising—capital punishment tends to be an all-or-nothing issue—but they do make one somewhat skeptical of the minority who claim to hold no particular opinion on the death penalty or the possibility of applying it in this case.

Some potential jurors have seemed to make an effort to be chosen. Perhaps they are bored with their lives, or hoping to write books, or—and this possibility worries the lawyers on both sides—pretending to be neutral in order to cast a vote either for or against the death penalty. David Bruck, one of the defense attorneys, seemed to come close to accusing a potential juror of faking not only neutrality but also amnesia: she claimed no memory of significant events that followed the marathon bombing. Another woman, whose brother served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and who seemed to want to project her own neutrality, at one point asked if she had given “a bad answer.” She wavered only when Bruck asked whether she was sure that her brother’s military service would not influence her judgment, given that some evidence might indicate that Tsarnaev was motivated by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “When you were asking the question,” she said, addressing the judge, “I felt pretty sure about it, but when you”—Bruck—“are asking the question I’m not so sure.”

More predictably, a number of jurors have appeared to want to avoid being chosen for the long trial. Some have immediately insisted that they could not entertain the presumption of innocence or consider anything but the death penalty. Other answers were less expected. One man said that he lives in a “very testosterone-driven household,” and his roommates were pressuring him to vote for the death penalty. “I would vote for the death penalty, but not because of them,” he said. Tsarnaev smiled at this answer. (It came on the first day of questioning; by day three, he seemed interminably bored.) Another man said that many things had changed since he filled out the questionnaire: for one thing, he had found a “Boston Strong” towel in his house (the questionnaire apparently asked if the potential jurors owned any post-bombing memorabilia); for another, he had found God and could no longer consider capital punishment.

But the biggest problem with the jury pool seems to be that, in Massachusetts, everyone knows someone who was affected by the bombing. One potential juror works for a major sponsor of the marathon and was involved in organizing security for the company’s executives there. Another is a friend of a first responder who ended up on the cover of Time. Several work at hospitals that cared for the wounded, and many of the jurors have a friend or a relative who was at the marathon at the timing of the bombing. One woman broke down crying when she was asked about her personal relationship to the bombing; she lives in the same neighborhood as the family of the eight-year-old boy who was killed, and she walks past the makeshift memorial for him regularly. The moment came late in a long interview, during which the woman spoke about her Peace Corps work and research abroad and the nonprofit organization she runs. The media room, where journalists are watching the conversations on closed-circuit television, breathed a collective sigh of disappointment. “She would have been so perfect!” one reporter said.


Fla. toddler kills self with dad's gun, police say

Fla. toddler kills self with dad's gun, police say

22/Jan/2015  //  200 Viewers

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. - Officials in Florida say a toddler is dead after finding his father's .380-caliber handgun in the family's car and shooting himself.

Pinellas County Sheriff's deputies say Kaleb Ahles, age 2, was in the car in East Lake Wednesday afternoon while the child's parents, Kevin Ahles and Christina Nigro, both 23, loaded boxes as they prepared to move. Somehow, the boy opened the glove compartment, where the father stored his gun.

The parents told deputies they heard a loud pop and ran to the car. The mother performed CPR and the boy was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says the parents won't face criminal charges because no one could punish them more than they'll punish themselves. He called the incident a "tragic situation" where "everything happens the wrong way."

"They took reasonable steps, and you can lawfully keep a gun in a vehicle in the glove box. It was secured in the glove box itself," Gaultieri said, according to CBS affiliate WTSP.

Christie Appoints Emergency Managers for Atlantic City

Christie Appoints Emergency Managers for Atlantic City

22/Jan/2015  //  177 Viewers

 Trying to dig Atlantic City out of "an enormous hole," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday appointed a corporate turnaround specialist as the city's emergency manager, and tabbed the man who led Detroit through its municipal bankruptcy as his assistant.

Corporate finance consultant Kevin Lavin will have broad but still-unspecified powers over Atlantic City's finances and operations. Kevyn Orr, who helped lead Detroit through a financial crisis, will serve as special counsel to Lavin. Christie issued an executive order appointing the men.

But neither would say whether a Detroit-style bankruptcy filing is in store for Atlantic City, calling such talk premature.

"This is urgent; the trend lines for the city are not good," Orr said after being introduced at the third summit meeting Christie convened on ways to help the struggling seaside gambling resort. "The situation is not going to change."

Atlantic City lost four of its 12 casinos last year, and three others are in bankruptcy. The governor said the city's 40,000 residents are groaning under the weight of a $260 million budget, and the local tax rate has doubled since 2010.

Christie's executive order tasks Lavin with preparing a plan within 60 days to "place the finances of Atlantic City in stable condition on a long-term basis by any and all lawful means, including the restructuring of municipal operations and the adjustment of the debts of Atlantic City."

It gives the manager the power to negotiate with anyone affected by those changes and says that "all state and city agencies and employees must cooperate."

Lavin said his biggest task will be getting the many stakeholders in Atlantic City — which include its eight casinos, local and state officials, residents and others — to agree on necessary solutions. He and Orr promised to work with Atlantic City mayor Don Guardian and the City Council, and rejected claims they were engaged in "a takeover" of the city.

Christie said Atlantic City still is not on the right track and needs help with its finances and management.

"I can't wait any longer," Christie said. "We need to take more aggressive action. We are digging out of an enormous hole."

Guardian agreed the city needs to trim budgets and eliminate jobs, saying he has already begun doing so in his first year in office. He said he needs to see exactly what powers the two men will have before commenting in detail on their appointment. But City Council President Frank Gilliam had no such reticence, calling the appointments unnecessary.

"Anytime they usurp our power, we have a problem with that," he said.

The two men would not say what their salaries are or how long their appointments would last. They said they still don't know where they will work each day.

Since the last summit on Nov. 12, Democratic and Republican state officials have advanced differing aid proposals. Democrats led by state Senate President Steve Sweeney want to let casinos make payments in lieu of taxes — called the PILOT plan —and help reduce the city's debt.

Republican Assemblyman Chris Brown opposes the casino program, arguing all Atlantic County property owners should get a tax freeze.

The idea of the PILOT plan is to give the casinos cost certainty while eliminating costly and unpredictable tax appeals that have deprived Atlantic City's treasury of tens of millions of dollars in recent years.

Christie said he is not rejecting any ideas for now, but prioritized the emergency appointments as those that would accomplish the most in the shortest amount of time.

Two dead after small plane crashes into hazardous chemical warehouse

Two dead after small plane crashes into hazardous chemical warehouse

22/Jan/2015  //  209 Viewers

LAKELAND — A small plane crash late Thursday morning killed two people and left a warehouse storage building about eight miles northwest of Lakeland Linder Regional Airport a smoldering ruin.

The two victims were on the plane, a Piper Apache A23, which authorities crashed near 5300 Allen K. Breed Highway just south of Interstate 4 and east of County Line Road.

Officials with the airport said the plane was from Tailwheels Flight School, according to Lakeland Public Information Officer Janel Vasallo.

The warehouse was used as a storage facility for Key Safety Systems, a company that produces safety products for cars, including airbags, inflators, steering wheels, seatbelts and electronics. Lakeland is home to the company's Inflator Technical Center facility.

The crash, which happened just before 10 a.m., required response from fire rescue and hazardous materials teams because of chemicals stored in the warehouse. Firefighters were kept out of the warehouse due to an explosion risk, Vasallo said.

The building contained powdered aluminum and nitroguanidine, chemicals used in making airbags.

"Firefighters are keeping the chemicals wet for now," Vasallo said. "It may take the rest of the day before firefighters can get in the building."

There was no one inside of the building at the time of the crash, Vasallo said.

Shawn Herrington, who was outside the Advanced Auto Parts distribution center on Frontage Road about a mile away, said he saw the plane go down.

"The plane was right overhead and it was sputtering," Herrington said. "Then it started a tumble and was doing circles on its way down. It nose dived into the field. Then we saw smoke. We assumed the worst."


Personal history boosts Hillary Clinton, hurts Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney

Personal history boosts Hillary Clinton, hurts Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney

22/Jan/2015  //  196 Viewers

Washington — The emerging 2016 presidential field is chock-full of familiar names – a Clinton, a Bush, and a Romney. But voter reactions to each one’s “legacy” qualities vary widely. And it’s Hillary Rodham Clinton who comes out on top.

Among registered voters, former Secretary of State Clinton gains both by the fact that she would be the first woman president and from positive memories of her husband’s presidency, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Thursday.

By a 13-point margin, voters are more likely to vote for Clinton because she’d be the first female president rather than less likely, the poll found. Some 24 percent are more likely; 11 percent are less likely. And the presidency of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, is a positive by 8 percentage points, 24 percent to 16 percent.

But for two top potential Republican contenders, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and 2012 nominee Mitt Romney, legacy issues are a drag on their numbers. The fact that Mr. Bush’s father and brother both served as president is a net negative by 25 percentage points – 9 percent positive and 34 percent negative.

In Mr. Romney’s case, his 2012 nomination costs him a net 14 percentage points. Twelve percent of registered voters say they’re more likely to support Romney for that reason while 26 percent say they’re less likely.

“Most registered voters, 57 to 65 percent, say none of these items would be a factor in their vote,” including Clinton’s family legacy, writes ABC News pollster Gary Langer. “But a presidential election is a game of margins, making these views potentially important in the campaign ahead.”

In addition, Clinton beats all Republicans tested in hypothetical matchups by between 13 and 17 percentage points. The poll tested former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

But at this stage in the 2016 race, with no declared candidates, it’s too early to draw conclusions. If Clinton runs, as expected, she is poised to run away with the Democratic nomination. The expected big Republican field is wide open, though Romney’s recent moves toward a third campaign have roiled the establishment wing of the party.

“The potential GOP candidates may be hamstrung by their intramural battle ahead; core Republican support likely will coalesce around the ultimate nominee,” Mr. Langer says.

For now, though, the prospect of a Bush-Romney showdown, in which they compete for many of the same donors, has some Republicans on edge. Bush and Romney are scheduled to meet privately in Utah this week, according to The New York Times.

The meeting raises “the possibility that the two former governors will find a way to avoid competing presidential campaigns that would split the Republican establishment next year,” the Times said, sourcing the report to “two prominent party members.”

Romney was governor of Massachusetts for one term (2003 to 2007), and declined to run again so he could focus on running for president in 2008.

The Times says Bush initiated the meeting, and that it was planned before Romney’s announcement two weeks ago that he might run again.


Plateau deputy governor to leave PDP for APC – Party Official

Plateau deputy governor to leave PDP for APC – Party Official

22/Jan/2015  //  822 Viewers

The Plateau State chairman of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Latep Dabang, has said the deputy governor, Ignatius Longjan, who contested and lost the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, gubernatorial primary has concluded plans to decamp to the APC soon.

The APC chairman disclosed this on Thursday in an interview with journalists, shortly after the inauguration of the party’s gubernatorial campaign team at its secretariat in Jos.

According to Mr. Dabang, Mr. Longjan’s campaign team has joined the party. He noted that a principal member of the Longjan Campaign, John Dafang, has already been made an official in the APC campaign team.

If Mr. Longjan decamps, he would be the third failed governorship aspirant from the PDP to do so.

One of the former gubernatorial aspirants, Rufus Bature, is currently the director general of the APC campaign. He has boasted that he would deliver Plateau to the APC.

Another former gubernatorial aspirant and PDP decampee, Sonny Tyoden, is the running mate to the APC gubernatorial candidate, Simon Lalong.

Mr. Dabang also disclosed that the party had uncovered plans by some people allegedly working for the PDP, to rig the February election in the state.

The APC chairman said the suspected PDP members were collecting people’s permanent voter cards, PVC, data allegedly to distort the cards and make them difficult for INEC card readers to read.

He said the proposed scam was noted in Mikang, Mangu and Barkinladi Local Government Areas and that party had reported the matter to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, through the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC.

He called on INEC to properly investigate the allegations, insisting that it was no longer a rumour and some prominent people were involved.

Mr. Dabang said this would, however, not deter APC from winning their elections.