Gov Ambode Commends Corp Members For ‘Excellent Contributions’ To 2019 Elections

The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, has commended the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) for its excellent contributions to the success of the 2019 election.

Ambode gave the commendation in a message to the Swearing-in of the 2019 Batch “A” National Youths Corps members posted to Lagos.

Governor Ambode was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Relations, Mr. Jimoh Yusuf.

The Governor said that the conduct of the National Youths Corps members used as INEC ad-hoc staff during the elections was quite commendable.

He urged the new Corps members to to build on the achievements of the National Youths Corps, NYSC, as they commence the one year mandatory national service.

He urged them to be of good conduct during and after the orientation course.

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We Will Expand Tradermoni, N-Power, School Feeding, Others – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has stated that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government will expand Social Investment Programmes including TraderMoni, N-Power and Home Grown School Feeding Programme.

Speaking at the 11th Bola Tinubu Colloquium themed: ‘Work For People’ at the International Conference Centre, Abuja on Thursday, he assured Nigerians of better times.

Prof. Osinbajo explained that at the Next Level many Nigerians will benefit from the programmes introduced by the federal government.

“We are talking again about our Social Investment Programmes (SIPs). At the Next Level, we will, of course, expand our Social Investment Programme; at the moment, the programme is the biggest of its kind anywhere in the African continent. 

“In our school feeding programme, we are feeding every day, 9.2 million children in public schools across 26 states.

“That programme is important not just from the point of view of providing nutrition for many of the young people in public schools, many of whom come from very poor parents and may not be assured of a decent meal a day.

“It is a very important programme for us also because of the multiplier-effect on agriculture and also in the distribution of the products and also those we employ as cooks.

“The same is true of our TraderMoni programme, a component of our Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), where we are giving money to the bottom of the trading pyramid in Nigeria.

“It is a programme of the Bank of Industry where we give loans of N10, 000 to petty traders through their mobile phones and they get N15,000 when they pay back, then N20,000 and more up to N100,000.

“The same is true of our MarketMoni which we give to traders in cooperatives. So far, we have over a million TraderMoni beneficiaries and about 500,000 MarketMoni beneficiaries and we intend to expand the scope of that.

“We also intend to expand the scope of our N-Power programme which is our job scheme for young people. Young graduates coming out of school and some non-graduates.

“At the moment, we are engaging 500,000 of these young people and we pay them every month. Most of them have devices/tablets that contain training materials in enhancing their viability skills and also helps them to provide services to people who require them. 

“We intend to expand the programme; we must expand the programme because 1.7million people come out of school and are looking for jobs every single year, we are able to bridge that gap by engaging 500,000 of them as soon as they come out of school.  

“So, the Next Level promises to be exciting, though a bit challenging as possibly as where we are coming from. But as the President has said repeatedly, we have no other focus but the progress of this country. And we will ensure that step-by-step, we get to where it is that we promised to take the country. 

“I want to say to you all that the Next Level is for all of us and I urge that all of us cooperate to take us to this Next Level,” he said in his speech.

So, on behalf of the President, Muhammadu Buhari whom I represent here today, I want to wish Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, happy birthday and to thank you all for making out time to come to this event.

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Customs Seizes Goods Worth Over N50M

The Kano/Jigawa Nigeria customs Area Command, says it has impounded over 1500 bags of foreign rice along side other contraband items valued at over N45 million.

 Area comptroller, Nasir Ahmad stated this while Displaying the seized goods  to journalists at the Kano Area Command headquarters.

He said that 20 vehicles worth N7.2 million were used as means of transporting the seized items.

The Area comptroller explained that over 260 jerry cans of foreign vegetable oils valued at N3.7 million were intercepted at various locations, adding that 25 bags of foreign sugar were also seized valued at N412,510.

He said  the command has also impounded 20 used exotic vehicles at various boarder locations and now in detention awaiting the owners to come forward for clearance.

Ahmad maintained that the various contrabands that were impounded were intercepted at Miltara road, Gumel boarder in jigawa, Bello road, Katsina Road, Babura, Achilafiya, Zaria road and Maigatari border in Jigawa state.

He warned smugglers to desist from these illegal business and find another means of livelihood that any one caught will face the wrath of the law.

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Excitement Greets Arrival of EcobankPay Zone In Lagos Island Markets

It was excitement and fun at Oluwole Market, Lagos Island, as Ecobank Nigeria launched its innovative digital payment solution, EcobankPay zone in the market on Wednesday. 

Traders and market leaders that spoke at the event were filled with commendation for Ecobank for introducing EcobankPay zone to their markets, stressing that it would bring ease of transactions in Lagos Island generally.
Speaking on behalf of the market leaders, the Head of the Market Women (Iya Oja), Oluwole Plaza Market, Chief Mrs Josephine Onwudiwe,  EcobankPay zone couldn’t have come to the market at a better time, stressing that the digital payment solution would go  long way to boosting activities in all the markets on the Lagos Island.

Speaking on behalf of the market leaders, the Head of the Market Women (Iya Oja), Oluwole Plaza Market, Chief Mrs Josephine Onwudiwe,  EcobankPay zone couldn’t have come to the market at a better time, stressing that the digital payment solution would go  long way to boosting activities in all the markets on the Lagos Island.

Chief Onwudiwe who traced a long relationship between Ecobank and the traders thanked Ecobank management for selecting Oluwole market for the launch, stating that she would personally ensure all the traders in the market adopt and maximize the opportunity provided with the EcobankPay zone.

“On behalf of the traders in this market, I wish to thank Ecobank for bringing this payment technology to this market. I will personally ensure all of us in this market utilize this opportunity.”

In her testimonial on Ecobank Xpress point , Mrs Adunny Danmole attested to the benefits of the services, urging traders in the market and people living in the community to embrace the EcobankPay zone and other products of the bank.

According to her, since she enlisted as a Xpress point merchant of the bank, her business has received major boost, urging Ecobank to spread EcobankPay to all the major markets in the country

Speaking at the launch, Executive Director, Commercial Banking, Carol Oyedeji reaffirmed the bank’s commitment to ensure Nigerians get quality banking transactions and good business dealings at market locations. She emphasized that the digital payment zone will further boost easy and convenient transactions in the market place.

“The EcobankPay initiative would deepen financial inclusion in the community and specifically aid business transactions between merchants and clients. EcobankPay’s unique offering is that anyone from any bank in Nigeria can pay with MasterPass, mVISA and mCASH with any phone by scanning QR code or using USSD”. She noted.

Mrs Oyedeji called on the traders and other people living around the market to embrace the innovative pay zone. She explained that customers and non-customers of the bank who patronize the market will now have quick access to the bank’s digital payment offerings, as it would remove the stress and boredom associated with delays in paying for goods in the market.

“The Lagos Island markets are dear to our heart. Today we bring good news to traders in this popular market and others that live in this vicinity. EcobankPay will make transaction simple and easy. It will create payment convenience for good and services and growing various businesses across the country. You do not need to be a customer of Ecobank. If the person that wishes to buy goods is coming from a bank that has mVisa and wishes to pay, the same QR Code would accept mVisa payment and vice versa. That creates convenience for the merchants. The QR Code is much cheaper than having a point of sale (PoS).” she noted.

EcobankPay is free to set up as the shop owner only needs his/her QR code and phone for notifications to start receiving quick and easy payments. EcobankPay, a special merchant QR Code product of the Pan African Bank, enables customers make seamless payment for goods and services across the three major payment platforms without the use of plastic cards.

For the merchants, the beauty of the EcobankPay is in the cost of setting up, as the shop owner simply prints the QR Code on a paper and can stick it anywhere and do not run any risks.
It would be recalled that the Bank had launched similar pay zones in Alaba International market and Amu market, Mushin.

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More Millionaires To Emerge In UBA Wise Savers Promo

As part of UBA’s commitment to support the savings culture in Africa, the bank is rewarding its loyal customers for saving towards their goals.

So far, twenty customers have been rewarded with N1.5 million each has since the promo began in September 2018.

At the second draw happening in April, 20 lucky savers will also win N1.5 million each. The draws take place every quarter and there is still a chance for 60 lucky people to win.

The wise savers promo is open to both new and existing customers of the bank who make a N10,000 monthly deposit into their savings accounts for 3 consecutive months before each draw date. Alternatively, they can make a one-time deposit of at least N30,000 to be saved for 90 days before each draw date. The promo will run all through 2019 and a total of 80 people will become millionaires.

Speaking at the official launch of the promo, the Head, Retail Liabilities, Tomiwa Sotiloye explained that the promo is part of the bank’s promise to put customers first and reward their saving efforts. “We continue to encourage people to have a saving culture to help meet their needs and better prepare them for a rainy day”

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Pope To Visit 3 African Countries In September

Pope Francis will visit the African countries of Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius in early September, the Vatican announced on Wednesday.

The Vatican said that during the Sept. 4-10 visit Francis will visit the capitals: Maputo in Mozambique, Antananarivo in Madagascar and Port Louis in Mauritius.

In a national address, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi said his country invited Francis last year and that the pontiff accepted “in principle, as long as his health allowed.”

This will be the second papal visit to the southern African nation since John Paul II visited 30 years ago, helping the country on a path to peace and reconciliation, Nyusi said.

A civil war raged in Mozambique from 1977 to 1992.

Now the country is trying to recover from a devastating cyclone earlier this month that the president has said may have killed as many as 1,000 people. Authorities on Wednesday announced the first confirmed cases of cholera, complicating response efforts for nearly 2 million people that the United Nations says are in urgent need of aid.

“The pope’s visit to our country encourages us to proceed with determination to overcome our everyday problems,” Nyusi said. “We hope this visit acts as a moment of inspiration and encouragement in the Mozambicans’ struggle to … rebuild a prosperous, united and peaceful nation.”

The pope’s visit comes shortly before Mozambique holds general elections in October.

The Indian Ocean island nation of Madagascar is one of the world’s poorest countries, according to the World Bank, with more than two-thirds of its 25 million people living in extreme poverty.

The tiny Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius is one of Africa’s richest countries based on per capita income, and it is seen as one of the continent’s most stable nations.

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Court Grants PDP, Atiku Permission To Serve Petition On Buhari

The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Wednesday granted permission to the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to serve their petition challenging the outcome of the February 23, 2019 election, on President Muhammadu Buhari through substituted means.

A three-man bench which sat in a “pre-hearing session” of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, granted the request contained in the petitioners’ ex parte application that Buhari, who is the second respondent to the petition, be served through any senior official or an officer of the APC at the party’s secretariat in Abuja.

Granting the ex parte application, Justice Abdu Aboki, who led the panel and delivered the lead ruling, said “it is in the interest of justice” to grant the prayers in the petitioners’ application.

The petitioners’ lead counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), had earlier moved the application.

The petitioners had on March 18, 2019, filed their case to challenge the Independent National Electoral Commission’s declaration of Buhari and his party, the APC, as the winner of the election.

The INEC, Buhari and the APC are the first to the third respondents respectively

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Ogun Flood Victims Get Relief Materials

The Ogun State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, in collaboration the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, has provided relief materials to affected flood victims in Abeokuta.

The Director,Ogun SEMA,Mr Olufolarin Ige explained that the exercise was the third in the series of distribution of relief materials to victims of the flood, pointing out that fish farmers that reportedly lost their fishes to the flood were part of the beneficiaries. 

He said that the beneficiaries estimated at 785 persons were shortlisted from the pool of victims in SEMA’s assessment list after the flood incident occurred. noting that the gesture from the Federal government would go a long way in giving succor to this category of victims. 

The Director advised residents to heed government’s warning regarding indiscriminate dumping of refuse in drainages, adding that such act was one of the main causes of flooding.

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Gov Bagudu Receives Certificate Of Return, Vows To Improve Standard Of Living

Kebbi state Governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, has said that his administration would remain committed to introducing policies and programs to improve living standard. 

Bagudu said this shortly after receiving his Certificate of Return from the
National electoral commissioner in charge of Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara state, Hajia Amiens Zakari.

The governor charged people to continue to maintain peace and unity.

The State Deputy Governor Alhaji Ismail Yombe Dabai and twenty five elected state Assembly members collected their certificate of return .

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VAT Designed To Support Poor Nigerians – Fowler

The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Tunde Fowler, has stated that Value Added Tax (VAT) is primarily designed to support poor Nigerians and not to create hardship for them, as it is charged on consumption and capacity to consume.

The FIRS boss made the clarification in Lagos at the weekend at the maiden edition of the Nigeria Tax Outlook (NTO) Stakeholders Roundtable Series organised by Nigeria Taxpayer Hub.

He noted that the revenue generated from VAT is channeled towards assisting the poor by providing basic amenities.

“When you don’t consume certain categories of goods and services, you are not liable to pay VAT charges on those items.

VAT is not charged on all medical and pharmaceutical products. It is not charged on basic food items. It is not charged on books and educational materials.

It is not charged on baby products, fertilizers, locally produced agricultural and veterinary medicine. VAT is not charged on farming machinery and farming transportation equipment,” he explained.

He equally explained that VAT is not charged on all exports, plant machinery and goods imported for use in Export Processing Zones and free trade zones, provided that 100 percent production of such company is for export.

According to the FIRS boss, other services exempted from VAT are medical services, services rendered by community banks, mortgage Institutions, plays and performances conducted by educational institutions as part of learning and all exported services are exempted from VAT.

Fowler also clarified what he told the Senate Committee on Finance last week, saying what he called for was an increase in the number of Nigerians and companies paying VAT and not a 50 per cent increase in VAT rate.

He also called for a reduction in Companies Income Tax (CIT) rate for small businesses so as to improve compliance.

“Some people got it a bit wrong. Let me clarify some things. I understand that some people misunderstand what the VAT is.

“VAT is a consumption tax. If you don’t have money to purchase certain categories of goods and services and you don’t consume them, then VAT is not your problem. VAT is used to assist the needy.

“VAT provides support for the needy, not a hardship on them. Eighty-five per cent of VAT collected is shared among states for them to provide free education, free health services, provide basic amenities among others,” he stated.

He added that if countries like United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, which are rich in oil resources would be laying emphasis on taxation, Nigeria should also emulate them.

At the event, experts in tax practice, administration and tax consultants from KPMG, Pedabo, Deloitte, Ascension, PwC, Anderson Tax, Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS), Drudge among others pointed ways forward for tax practice in Nigeria.

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Police Most Corrupt Institution In Nigeria – Survey

A new public survey released by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has adjudged the police as the most corrupt institution in Nigeria.

The SERAP entitled “Nigeria: Corruption Perception Survey”, listed high levels of corruption in public institutions in the country since 2015.

Of the five major public institutions surveyed, the police emerged as the most corrupt, with officials of the power sector identified as the second most corrupt in the country.

Other public institutions identified as corrupt were the judiciary, education and health ministries. According to the survey, the level of corruption has not changed in the last five years.

“A bribe is paid in 54% of interactions with the police. In fact, there is a 63% probability that an average Nigerian would be asked to pay a bribe each time he or she interacted with the police. That is almost two out of three,” read a statement Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP deputy director, issued on the report.

Akin Oyebode, chairman of the panel which released the report, said the development of a people is almost “inversely proportional to the level of corruption”.

“Nigeria is looked upon as a giant of Africa. Yet Nigeria could not conduct free, fair and credible elections,” he said.

“It is a smear on the image of Nigeria. If we do away with selective enforcement and condonation of corruption, we will build and live in a better society. Corruption is a refined form of stealing. The politicians are stealing our common patrimony.

The survey carried out between September and December, covered the police, judiciary, power, education and health sectors to assess the state of corruption in law enforcement and public service provision.

“From the analysis of the anti-corruption legal and institutional framework in Nigeria, the following cross-cutting issues emerged: there is lack of political goodwill to consistently enforce the different anti-corruption laws; inadequate funding for the various anti-corruption agencies; weak public support and/or ownership of anti-corruption initiatives; poor clarity of roles between various anti-corruption agencies; and public perceptions of politicisation of corruption arrests and prosecutions,” the report read.

“Bribery experiences were interrogated and recorded in the key sectors of education, health, the police, judiciary and power. Data analysis was conducted under five different and interrelated variables. There was a 63% probability that an average Nigerian would be asked to pay a bribe each time he/she interacted with the police.  The likelihood of bribery in the power sector stood at 49%.  With the chances of encountering bribery at the judiciary, education and health services standing at 27%, 25% and 20% respectively.”

The police were the most adversely ranked on this indicator. For every 100 police interactions reported by the respondents, there was a bribe paid in 54 interactions. The prevalence levels stood at 37% in the power sector and 18% in education,17.7% in the judiciary and 14% in the health sector.

Fifty-one percent of the individuals who paid bribes to the police and 35 percent to the power sector believed this was the only way to access the services sought from the institutions. The ranking of the education sector and the judiciary was less adverse with 16 percent perceiving bribery as the main avenue of accessing services in the institutions, and health services recording 13 percent

The police and judiciary had the largest proportion of total bribes paid at 33 percent and 31 percent respectively. Bribes paid for education, power and health services accounted for 19 percent, 10.9 and 5 percent respectively of all bribes reported.

The average amount of bribe paid by the respondents was highest among those who paid to the judiciary at about Naira 108,000 (US$ 298). All the other institutions ranked lower on this variable with Naira 12,253 and 11,566 reportedly paid to the police and education sectors, and Naira 6,462 and 5,143 paid for health and power services respectively.

In 2017, the World Internal and Police Security Index rated Nigeria Police force as the worst in the world.

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Man To Die By Hanging For killing Girlfriend In Ondo

An Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure has sentenced a man, Chukwudi Onweniwe, to death by hanging for killing his undergraduate girlfriend two years ago.

Onweniwe, had strangulated his girlfriend, Nifemi Adeyeoye, an HND student of Rufus Giwa Polytechnic to death in Owo, Ondo State.

After reviewing the case, the presiding judge, Justice Ademola Bola, found Onweniwe guilty of murder and sentenced him to death by hanging.

The convict was charged on four-count charge bordering on endangering life, abduction, rape and murder.

The prosecutor, Jumoke Ogunjebi, who filed the charge on February 20, 2017, called five witnesses, including the mother of the deceased, to testify against the convict.

The convict abducted Nifemi and took her to a farm near Alayere, Ogbese, raped her and then snuffed life out of her by strangulating her to death.

Nifemi’s mother, who testified before the court, said her daughter had told her she was going to visit her friend on the fateful day.

According to her, she did not know the convict though he was said to be her daughter’s boyfriend.

Besides, the bereaved mother said she did not see her daughter again until policemen invited her to come to the mortuary to identify a corpse whether it was her daughter.

Two motorcyclists who saw the duo together on that day also testified in the case and one of them told the court that he carried them to a spot in town.

Delivering his judgement, Bola said Onweniwe was arraigned before the court on May 22, 2017 and he had entered a “not guilty” plea when the four-count charge preferred against him was read to him.

The judge said that an autopsy was carried out by Dr. Pelemo of Ondo State Specialist Hospital, Akure.

Pelemo, which revealed abnormal state of the deceased’s neck and fracture of the skull.

He explained that it suggested that the deceased had been attacked by an object with a blunt edge which led to her death.

The police witness, Inspector John Aderibigbe, said one of the motorcyclists who testified in the case had come to report the suspicious movement of the convict and the deceased at the police station.

He explained that the case was later transferred to the Special Anti-Cultism Squad in Akure.

The judge said the convict had confessed to the officers of the squad according to the testimony of one Ayoola Famoriyo and had taken his team to the spot where he hid the corpse of the deceased.

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