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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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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