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Daily Watch – Arson hits INEC offices in Ogun and Osun, Crypto plummets

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says critical election materials were destroyed in an attack on the commission’s local government office in Ogun. The office was burnt in the early hours of Thursday and almost 66,000 uncollected PVCs were destroyed, according to the commission’s spokesman, Festus Okoye. “The resident electoral commissioner (REC) for Ogun state, Dr. Niyi Ijalaiye, reported that our office in Abeokuta South local government area was attacked and set ablaze,” he said in a statement. “The incident occurred around 1.15am when some unidentified persons overpowered the security personnel on duty and set the entire building ablaze. The main building and all the commission’s movable assets in the office were destroyed. They include 904 ballot boxes, 29 voting cubicles, 30 megaphones, 57 election bags, 8 electric power generators and 65,699 uncollected permanent voters cards (PVCs).” Okoye said another INEC facility in Osun was attacked and an emergency security meeting had been called to assess the threat to election infrastructure. With the elections only 105 days away and the commission commencing the movement of materials to its offices nationwide, Okoye says the latest attacks are worrisome. He added that rising incidents of pre-election violence and the use of incendiary language by some politicians were disturbing.

The Federal High Court in Jalingo, Taraba has sacked Senator Emmanuel Bwacha from his legislative seat, for defecting from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC). Bwacha is the Senator representing Taraba South at the National Assembly. He was first elected to the upper house in 2011. The PDP in Taraba State had legally challenged Bwacha’s defection, asking the court to declare the lawmaker’s seat vacant for dumping the party on whose ticket he was elected. Justice Simon Amobeda in his ruling ordered Senator Bwacha to immediately vacate his seat. A separate decision by the same court had cancelled the APC primary that produced Bwacha as the party’s candidate for Taraba’s gubernatorial contest.

The market capitalisation of Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency fell to about $16,300— its lowest level since November 2020. The cryptocurrency price traded 7.5 percent lower on Thursday afternoon, dropping to $16,385 by 11:51 am, according to data from coinmarketcap.com. Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, also dropped by 0.39 percent to $1,180. The total value of the global cryptocurrency market is down 4.8 percent to $824 billion. The entire cryptocurrency industry has been rocked by the financial turmoil of FTX, one of the fastest-growing crypto exchanges in the world. Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange platform by volume, announced on Tuesday that it would acquire FTX, but later backed out of the deal. Binance cited due diligence on the company as well as reports of mishandled customer funds and an alleged US government investigation as its reasons.

Opposition and activist groups in Malawi have called for fresh protests over a worsening fuel crisis and rising living costs. Over the last few weeks, hundreds of people have been spending hours and days at petrol stations as they look for supplies. Malawi’s energy regulator says a severe lack of foreign currency is to blame for the crisis. The country is facing one of its worst economic crises with rising inflation rates that have seen the cost of food skyrocket. In May, the Malawian government devalued the kwacha by 25% to try and stabilise dwindling foreign currency reserves. But the move led to a sharp rise in inflation. Anger over the country’s economic situation has boiled over with protesters demanding President Lazarus Chakwera resigns. Elsewhere, hundreds of thousands of civil servants in South Africa have embarked on a nationwide strike over wages and working conditions. Media reports have described it as the first major strike by public servants in the decade. Members of the Public Servants’ Association (PSA) had for weeks staged lunchtime pickets, but have now decided on a full-scale shutdown in major cities across South Africa. It follows a breakdown in negotiations between the union and the government. The union is holding firm on its demand for a 6% increase in wages, rejecting the government’s final offer of 3%. Services such as the issuing of passports, death certificates and driver’s licenses will be affected.

Source: SB Mintel