President Buhari To Launch Micro Pension Plan

As part of the initiatives to bring financial inclusion to all working Nigerians, President Muhammadu Buhari will launch the Micro Pension Plan (MPP) on Thursday March 28,2019 at the State House in Abuja.

The plan which is an initiative of the National Pension Commission (PenCom) is aimed at the provision of pension services to self-employed persons in the informal sector and employees of organisations with less than 3 staff.

The informal sector constitutes an estimated 69 million work force in the country and represents an estimated 88 per cent of Nigerian workers that lack pensions and safety nets for their old age.

The goal of the Commission is to achieve coverage of 30 million people in the informal sector by 2024.

The formal launch is the official flag off of the plan and attests to the objective of the current administration to provide ample opportunities for financial inclusion and economic stability for more Nigerians in the informal sector.

This initiative gives the self-employed Professionals, Entertainers, lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs, artisans and casual workers opportunity to save for pension.

The launch signifies the commencement of activities that will culminate to the full implementation of the MPP.

Accordingly, the National Pension Commission and the pension operators will continue the education and sensitization of the public through robust campaigns across traditional, social and digital media while Registration of Contributors will follow in subsequent months.

The National Pension Commission remains committed to good corporate governance and high ethical standards that will ensure the success of the Micro Pension Plan.

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Court Orders EFCC To Charge Ubani, Ex-senator By March 28

The FCT High Court, Apo, on Tuesday ordered the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to charge an Abuja-based lawyer, Monday Ubani and a former Senator, Christopher Enai to court or release them on bail on or before March, 28.

Justice Silvanus Oriji , gave the order after listening to the submissions of the applicants in an ex-parte motion filed by their counsel Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN).

The judge also in alternative granted bail to the applicants in the sum of N50 million with two reasonable sureties, who must must be civil servants on level 15.

The court had also ordered that the applicants must deposit their international passport.

Ozekhome, counsel to the applicants, in the motion exparte prayed the court to order the EFCC to grant the applicants bail on self-recognizance or liberal terms pending arraignment.

He also prayed an order of the court to direct the EFCC to immediately release the applicant on bail pending formal arraignment of applications before a court.

He also prayed  an order of the court  directing the  respondent whether by themselves, their  agents ,employee, operatives, detectives, investigating officers to produce the applicants before a court on next adjourned date of this matter.

The Senior Advocate also stated that the applicants have been detained beyond the constitutionally provided limit by the EFCC.

Ubani, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Ikeja branch and Enai, ex-senator representing Bayelsa were invited and detained by the EFCC operatives on March, 19.

The applicants were detained for standing as sureties for Ngozi Olejeme, who once served as the Chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund from 2009 to 2015.

They are yet to be charge to court by the EFCC.

NAN

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Abuja Lawyer Sues Lai Mohammed Over Alleged ‘False Claims’ Against Onnoghen

An Abuja based lawyer, Johnmary Jideobi, has filed a suit against the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, over an alleged ‘false’ claim he made on the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, that he ran a suspicious transaction running into dollars.

Premium Times reported that the suit, which was filed by the plaintiff has Mr Mohammed as the defendant.

According to Mr Jideobi in the suit, the minister made reckless statements.

“I know as a fact that the Defendant was extremely reckless in levying an accusation of gargantuan magnitude against the country’s highest judicial office and had no reason to believe in the truth of his assertion of traces of suspicious transactions running into millions of dollars to the suspended CJN’s personal accounts.

“I know as a fact that obvious lies the Defendant peddled against the Honourable Justice Onnoghen Nkanu Walter Samuel was aimed to destroy him thereby making a caricature of the country’s highest judicial office and turning the entire Judiciary of a nation into a laughing stock,” Mr Jideobi added.

The plaintiff wants the court to determine the following:

“Whether or not upon a dispassionate reading and complete understanding of Rule 1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007 [enacted by the General Bar Council pursuant to the Legal Practitioners Act] vis-à-vis the affidavit of the Plaintiff, the Defendant has failed to maintain a high standard of professional conduct and engaged in conducts unbecoming of a legal practitioner.

“Whether or not upon a dispassionate reading and complete understanding of Rule 1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007 [enacted by the General Bar Council pursuant to the Legal Practitioners Act] vis-à-vis the affidavit of the Plaintiff this is not a deserving case for this Honourable Court to refer the Defendant to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee for disciplinary action?

“Upon the determination of the above question, the plaintiff is, therefore, seeking a court declaration, that upon a dispassionate reading and complete understanding of Rule 1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007 [enacted by the General Bar Council pursuant to the Legal Practitioners Act] vis-à-vis the affidavit of the Plaintiff, the Defendant has failed to maintain a high standard of professional conduct and engaged in conducts unbecoming of a legal practitioner.

“A declaration of this Honourable Court that upon a dispassionate reading and complete understanding of Rule 1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007 [enacted by the General Bar Council pursuant to the Legal Practitioners Act] vis-à-vis the affidavit of the Plaintiff this is a deserving case for this Honourable Court to refer the Defendant to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee for disciplinary action.”

Consequent upon this, Mr Jideobi is seeking an order of court “committing the Defendant forthwith to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee [LPDC] for proper disciplinary action”.

He also seeks a public apology from Mr Mohammed.

“An order of this Honourable Court commanding the defendant to write a letter of apology and address same to the Body of Bencher reversing himself on the false allegation he laid against the Honourable Justice Onnoghen Walter Samuel and cause same to be published on two National Dailies within Seven (7) days from the date of the delivery of judgment herein and consequently file [at the Registry of this Court] an affidavit of compliance with the said publication attached.”

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Appeal Court Sets Aside Zamfara APC Primaries That Produced All Candidates

Sokoto division of Court of Appeal has set aside the primaries of the All Progressives Congress that produced the state assembly, national Assembly and governorship candidates in Zamfara State.

Led by Justice Tom Yakubu, the three-man panel set aside the Zamfara State High Court judgement affirming the candidacy of all APC candidates.

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Osun Election: APC Rejects Tribunal’s Verdict

The All Progressives Congress in the State of Osun has rejected the verdict of the Election Petition Tribunal that declared Ademola Adeleke the winner of the 2018 governorship election in the state.

In a statement signed by the Osun APC director of publicity, research and strategy, Kunle Oyatomi, APC cast doubts on the verdict, noting it will not hold water when contested.

“The verdict cannot stand superior legal scrutiny. Therefore we will appeal against it,” the statement said.

The Osun State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja Friday has declared Ademola Adeleke winner of the September 22 election.

Chairman of the three-man tribunal Ibrahim Sirajo, said in the ruling that the rerun election that held on September 27 was illegal.

The tribunal said Adeleke won the election at the first ballot on September 22, and the rerun that INEC devised to reach a final conclusion a week later was illegal.

INEC had declared the September 22 election inconclusive because the margin between the PDP and APC, 353 votes, is less than the number of registered voters, 3,498, in the seven polling units where elections were cancelled.

The APC candidate in the election, Oyetola,who was declared the winner after the rerun, APC and INEC had filed their notices of preliminary objection against Adeleke and pdp’s petition on the grounds that the petition is incompetent adding that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the petition.

The objections filed by Gov Oyetola, APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was dismissed by the tribunal.

Sirajo, held that the objections were misconceived and struck them out

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Supplementary Election: Police To Restrict Movement In Plateau

The Deputy Inspector of Police, DIG, Taiwo Lakunu, says there would be total restriction of movement in Plateau during the supplementary election scheduled to hold on Saturday, March 22.

DIG Lakunu, who is in the state to supervise the supplementary election made this known during a lecture for police personnel ahead of the election in some parts of the state.

While commending the police for the success achieved in the last election, the DIG said that no stone would be left unturned to ensure that adequate peace ans security was maintained during the election.

He said the decision was to ensure that there is no breakdown of law and order .

DIG Lakunu explained that no form of election thuggery on election conduct would be tolerated and adequate security would be deployed to various polling units to ensure order.

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Delta Assembly Passes FOI Bill

The Delta State Freedom of Information Bill (FoIB) was Thursday passed by the state House of Assembly.

The passage of the bill followed the consideration of the report of the Joint Assembly on the Delta State Freedom of Information Bill at a Committee of the Whole following a motion moved by the Majority Leader, Hon Tim Owhefere, and seconded by Hon Reuben Izeze.

Reporting progress, the assembly Speaker, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, who presided over plenary, said the members resolved at the Committee of the Whole that having gone through the bill, the assembly should suspend the rules and pass it.

Thereafter, the Majority Leader, Owhefere, moved separate motions for the assembly to suspend orders 77,78 and 79 and take the third reading to enable the assembly pass the bill.

The motions were seconded by Honourable Samuel Mariere and Kennedy Daubry, and adopted through a voice vote.

The Speaker, while thanking members for their support in the passage of the bill, said the bill would enhance the principles of democracy as the people will now have access to information.

The state Freedom of Information bill is for a law to make public records and information more freely available and provide for public access to public records and information.

The bill is also meant to protect public records and information to an extent consistent with the public interest and the protection of personal privacy, protect serving public officers from adverse consequences of disclosing certain official information without authorisation and establish procedures for the achievement of those purpose and for related matters.

ThisDay

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MAN Cautions FG Against VAT Increment

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on Thursday said the proposed VAT rate increment was unfriendly to the manufacturing sector.

The Director-General of the association, Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir, made the remarks in Lagos, in spite of the rebuttal from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on the issue.

Ajayi-Kadir also said the proposed VAT increment did not take into cognisance the prevailing times and ongoing government efforts to re-invigorate the economy.

The director-general said that as plausible as the recommendation to increase VAT looked, implementing it at this time would boomerang.

According to him, the timing is inappropriate, especially at a time when the minimum wage of N30,000 was just agreed upon.

“This can send the wrong signals that the government is insensitive to the plights of the low- and middle-income earners, who are clearly in the majority.

“MAN still wishes to state the implication of carrying out such policy, if the alleged proposed increase in VAT is anything to go by.

“It will be seen as a typical case of government simply taking back what was given with the right hand through the National Minimum Wage with the left hand, through the increase in VAT,” he said.

Ajayi-Kadir urged the Federal Government not to increase VAT at this point in time, but to consider the implementation of the other tax specific recommendations.

He also advised the government to continue to ramp-up support for the manufacturing sector in the best interest of the over 200 million Nigerians.

The director-general said that the Nigerian economy would be in a more vulnerable state if VAT should be increased now.

He said that the burden of the tax would be shifted to the Nigerian consumers that were already struggling.

In addition, Ajayi-Kadir said the economy would certainly experience demand crunch, inventory of unsold items would soar, the profitability of manufacturing concerns would be negatively impacted, many factories would witness serious downturn or wound down operations.

This would also worsen the already high unemployment position in the country.

According to him, this is above 23 per cent, as Nigerians currently employed by manufacturing concerns and other businesses may join the reserved army of unemployed and further bloat the unemployment rate.

“MAN as a strategic stakeholder in the nation’s development agenda appreciates the need for government to generate more revenue to fund its developmental initiatives amidst declining revenue from oil.

“However, the government should tread with caution in the drive for improved revenue for the following reasons.

“The economy just recently exited recession with the fragile growth rate of less than two per cent recorded in 2018 and should be delicately managed.

“The precarious macroeconomic condition of the country requires palliatives that will improve investment and not higher tax burden.

“The prevailing high lending rate, double digit inflation, low per capita income, high unemployment rate and a low 1.91 per cent growth rate, amidst 2.6 per cent population growth rate that is already cumulatively limiting competitiveness, can be further worsened.

“Any increase at this time will not be in sync with the standard practice that expects the administration and implementation of VAT to be effected in a manner that distortion and possible adverse effect on the economy is minimised or avoided.

“An increased VAT will spur a spontaneous increase in inflation rate occasioned by increased prices of goods and services, ” he said.

Ajayi-Kadir decried the unfair comparison of VAT rate in Nigeria with other countries in Africa, stating that the macroeconomic dynamics and the level of competitiveness in these countries were not the same with the country.

In addition, he said the fact that many states of the federation also had other consumption taxes like VAT currently being levied on businesses should call for circumspection.

“There is no doubt that VAT is an important revenue source to the government for running the affairs of the country.

“However, the principle of a good tax system is predicated on payment convenience, otherwise it could boomerang, leading to crowding out of businesses; more misery to the citizens and even lesser revenue to the government.

“The high PCI and National Minimum Wage countries like South Africa, China and the likes are able to adequately offset the impact of high VAT on growth and wellbeing of the populace,” he said.

Ajayi-Kadir proposed that ideal tax policy should be such that took into cognisance, the status of the economy.

“An ideal VAT policy for Nigeria should take into account, the current profiles of Nigeria’s Per Capita Income (PCI), National Minimum Wage (NMW); and Global Competitiveness.

“PCI and NMW will help highlight what will be the implication of upward review of VAT on the already depleted wellbeing of the majority of Nigerians.

“While Global Competitiveness will present insight on the impact of such review on the real sector, particularly the manufacturing sector.

“Conversely, given the low Nigeria’s PCI, NMW and Global competitiveness, any increase in VAT at this time, will further depress consumption, industrial production and wellbeing of Nigerians.

“In MAN’s previous position and recommendations, the association had advised the government to widen the tax net rather than increasing the rate to meet the growing need for more revenue to address the development objective of the country.

“There is also the need to harmonise taxes/levies/fees payable by businesses, so as to attract more investments that will translate to higher productivity, and more tax revenue for the government in the medium and long term,” he said.

NAN


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National Assembly Election Tribunal Gets Three Petitions In FCT

The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in the FCT has received three petitions from aggrieved candidates who were not satisfied with the conduct of the Feb. 23 National Assembly election in the territory.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the petitioners, are candidates from National Conscience party (NCP), Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) and the All Progressives Congress, are challenging the results of two senatorial and one House of Representatives seats as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

NAN reports that out of the three petitions, one was filed by the NCP candidate, Mr Fisayo Makanjuola against Sen. Philip Aduda, Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) and INEC as respondents.
The second petition was filed by a candidate of the PDM, Ekechi Chinyere against INEC, Sen. Aduda and the PDP.

Mr Amanda Pam and APC filed a petition against Hon. Micah Giba, PDP, INEC and REC.

NAN reports that the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, constituted the FCT National Assembly election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja.

The constitution was pursuant to paragraph 133(3) a and b of the Electoral Act as amended.

The tribunal is located at the FCT High Court, Apo, Abuja

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Kano Police Arrest 1800 Political Thugs

The Kano State command of the Nigerian police force says no fewer than 1,800 political thugs were currently in prison across the state, awaiting trial.

The state Police Commissioner, Mr Wakili Muhammad, disclosed this in Kano at a one-day meeting with stakeholders for the promotion of peaceful conduct of the governorship supplementary elections in the state.

The town hall meeting was organised by the National Peace Committee in collaboration with the Kano Peace Committee targeted at ensuring peaceful conduct of the governorship re-run on Saturday.

The commissioner, represented by ACP Abubakar Zubairu, said the suspects were apprehended during the Presidential and National Assembly elections as well as the Governorship election.

He said Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) and Area Commanders in Kano state had already been directed to arrest all those who tried to cause violence before, during and after the re-run.

Muhammad maintained that the police command had put in place adequate security measures to ensure that the election was peaceful and devoid of violence.

 He noted that the Force Headquarters had deployed additional security personnel to the state to enhance security during the election.

The commissioner advised youths to shun politicians who were bent on using them to cause violence, adding no politicians worth their salt should resort to use of violence.

In his remarks, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Prof Riskuwa Arab-Shehu, said the commission had received all the necessary election materials for the conduct of the re-run.

The REC, who was represented by the Assistant Director, Public Affairs, Alhaji Lawal Mohammed Garba, commended the committee for organising

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Senator Ojudu Condemns Punch Over Fake News

Contrary to the false publications by Punch online that the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo has suspended his Tradermoni tour, the Senator representing Ekiti Central and also the Special Adviser to the President on Political matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu has openly debunked the rumor currently being circulated by the media house.

According to him, “this is falsehood, a man (Professor Osinbajo) who for three months traveled round the country campaigning, in the course of which he was involved in helicopter crash, went through an election which is not even over as there are supplementary elections in six states this weekend”.

“Mr President has also made him the coordinator of a Committee to audit all the projects embarked upon by this administration and yesterday he and the President were in the Federal executive Council meeting from 9.00am till 6.00 pm and you are condemning him for not going to the market”, he stated further.

Senator Ojudu also noted that, “Some other men would have gone to seek rest in some far away land, this we have asked him to do and he said there is so much to do here”.

While stressing on the selfless nature of Prof Yemi Osinbajo, he said “Be rest assured that Osinbajo will never abandon the people, whether in the market, on the street or on the farm.It is who he is, the caring academics , pastor and politician”.

Finally, Senator Ojudu condemned the Punch newspaper for pushing out a false narrative and also losing its credibility over time as they’re now recently more involved in propaganda.

He said, “Our Punch, the Punch we adore is becoming something else. May our gold not rot”.

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Ganduje Distributes Delivery kits To Expectant Mothers In Kano

Kano State Government has distributed over 10,000 Delivery Kits worth N150 million to Pregnant Women in the State.

The distribution exercise covered 15 Local Government Areas with each package containing basic items needed during and after delivery.

The State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje disclosed this on Thursday, during the launch of the distribution of the Free Delivery Kits to 2,000 expectant mothers at Gama Primary Health Centre, where the re-run will be held in Nassarawa Local Government Area.

Dr. Ganduje, represented by his deputy, Dr. Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna stated that the present administration has given priority to free Maternal care for the protection of mothers and children.

“Today’s Programme is a continuation of the Kits distribution exercise whereby 2,000 women beneficiaries are going to collect delivery Kits containing items needed for by every pregnant Women” he stated.

Ganduje disclosed that the administration had organised 18 Months training programme on Midwifery after which the trainees were posted to rural areas to assist in ensuring safe delivery.

According to the Governor, about 1,936 midwives were given special training on how to address contemporary challenges of the profession, adding that the government had equally procured tricycles for conveying pregnant Women to health facilities in their localities.

He noted that the government also conducted free eye treatment across the state, adding that the exercise which took place at Isa kaita Primary Health Care centre, where over 150 people benefitted, has recorded a huge success.

He pointed out that over 3,000 people with eye problems also received free medicine and eyeglasses.

Gov. Ganduje assured the people of his administration’s commitment to continue to execute more projects meant to improve their wellbeing.

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