The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has adjourned to May 31, 2017 the hearing of a motion seeking to terminate the charge against a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dele Belgore and a former Minister Of National Planning, Professor Abubakar Suleiman.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Mr Belgore alongside Professor Abubakar Suleiman for alleged money laundering.
Both men were accused of conspiring to take possession of the sum of 450 million Naira, which the EFCC claims forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.
The defence council filed the application seeking to terminate the proceedings on the grounds that the prosecution did not file an affidavit to show it had not completed investigation on the matter.
The prosecution, however, argued that if an application is brought after a plea has been taken as to the validity of a charge, it can be considered alongside the substantive matter.
After listening to both counsels, Justice Reliwan Aikawa agreed that the motion could be heard alongside the substantive matter, and therefore adjourned the matter to May 31.
The Oyo State Government has warned that it will not tolerate any individual, group, investor or organisation seeking to sabotage its Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) drive, saying that whoever conspires to defraud the state government would be made to face the full wrath of the law.
Governor Abiola Ajimobi pronounced this warning through his Special Adviser, Solid Minerals, Hon. Mathew Oyedokun, during a meeting with major stakeholders of mining industries to resolve the revenue collection dispute with Quarries in Oyo State at the Conference Hall, Office of the Head of Service, Secretariat, Ibadan.
Governor Ajimobi said that the state government will not allow the activities of any individual or group to hinder the state in its revenue generation drive, cautioning that any form of harassment or intimidation against revenue officers will not be tolerated.
In his remarks, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Security, ACP Gafar Arowolo (rtd) stated that adequate security measures have been put in place to enhance the implementation of revenue payments to government coffers, advising that all major stakeholders in the state should obey the law of the land as anybody found guilty will be prosecuted.
Similarly, the state government has embarked on a wake-up sensitisation call to both private and informal business sectors in the state on the need to pay their taxes regularly and as and when due.
The Special Adviser to Governor Abiola Ajimobi on Internal Generated Revenue, Mr Biyi Oloko, explained that the sensitisation programme was very essential in order to educate and enlighten the people on the importance of regular payment of tax.
Mr Oloko stressed that: “there are many benefits in paying taxes which include provision of infrastructure, good water supply, provision of health care facilities, good education among others. Regular payment of tax would make the Government fulfill its electoral promises to the people.”
The recent effort, which took place at Challenge, Dugbe and Bodija markets and environs, gave the government officials from the Board of Internal Revenue, the opportunity to educate members of the community from one shop to another on the need to pay their taxes regularly.
The Federal Government has urged Nigerian workers to re-dedicate themselves to the service of the nation, particularly now that the government is embarking on the implementation of the economic recovery and growth plan.
The Minister of Interior, Lt Gen Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau (Rtd), made this known in a statement signed by the director overseeing the office of the permanent secretary, on Friday.
Meanwhile, he congratulated Nigerian workers for their resilience, and hard work, especially to the government of President Muhammad Buhari, even as Monday, May 1, has been declared a public holiday, to commemorate the Workers’ Day celebration.
A former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo has warned foreign nationals and investors doing business in Nigeria to stop undermining the nation’s self-reliance in their business dealings with Nigeria, saying that their dealings should be mutually beneficial.
He was speaking in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital during an interactive session with members of the Indian Professionals Forum, where he sought more trade and economic relations with the two countries
Giving an outlook of the Nigerian economy, the former president expressed optimism that Nigeria is capable of surpassing the 1% national growth, predicted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) an the World Bank if more attention is paid to agriculture sector of the nation’s economy.
”I want to say it as it is, there are some Indian companies who have been doing what they would not have done in their country and that is unfortunate – I hope those of you who are doing the right thing who really make us proud of our association with India will make sure that this type of thing is stopped.
“Such actions not only give Nigeria a bad name, they are also giving India a bad name, they give businesses generally in this part of the world a bad name but we should not allow them to go away with it.
”A situation where Jollof rice is being prepared and shipped to Nigeria is ridiculous to the extreme. If that is done by an Indian company, such company should be condemned, that is not what we want – what we want is something that will really enhance our capacity of achieving what we should be – self reliance and making contributions to the global economy and that, we should be able to do.
”The projection by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank is that we will grow by 1% by this year, I believe that if we do very well in the Agriculture sector during this raining season, we may even do a little bit better than that. So, the outlook for the Nigerian economy is good, it is bright and all of us who are in business with Nigeria must now be prepare to take advantage of the up that is coming to us in Nigeria,” Obasanjo stressed.
In a bid to beef up the capacity of the Nigerian Navy in fighting maritime crime and securing lives along the waterways, the Rivers State Government has donated eight gun boats.
The Governor, Nyesom Wike, has also promised to give 13 special operational boats to the Navy, Army and the Police.
The launching ceremony of the Epenal boats which held at the Federal Lighter Terminal, Onne, Port Harcourt, was attended by the Chief Of Defence Staff, the Chief of Naval Staff, the General Officer Commanding (6 division) and other top ranking officers of the armed forces.
Meanwhile, addressing over 1,150 ratings during their graduation from the Nigerian Navy Basic Training School, the Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Olonishakin charged the new members to be disciplined and apolitical.
With adequate equipment, regular training and capacity building, many are optimistic that the Nigerian Armed Forces can remain a power house for the security of lives and property.
The Oyo State Government has disclosed that measures have been put in place to launch a 50 billion Naira Health Endowment Fund to transform the healthcare sector in the state.
In the same vein, the state government said it has taken delivery of two million dollars worth of medical equipment which would be at the Cardiovascular Center of the State Hospital, Ade-Oyo, Ibadan.
The announcement was made by the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Azeez Adeduntan, at a media briefing after the state’s Executive Council meeting chaired by the governor, Abiola Ajimobi.
Also present were the Commissioner for Information Culture and Tourism, Toye Arulogun and Special Adviser to the Governor on Communication and Strategy, Yomi Layinka.
Adeduntan, however, noted that the government cannot fund the sector alone without support and assistance from the private sector, as well as corporate bodies.
He also stated that it is necessary to stem untimely deaths caused by inadequate medical facilities in the state hospitals as well as unavailability of some drugs.
“In order to have a wholesome transformation of the health sector in the state, the State Executive Council today approved the launch of 50 billion Health Endowment Fund. This is meant to overhaul the sector.
“We must do all within our capacity to provide the needed facilities to curb untimely deaths occasioned by unavailability of the needed drugs and hospital equipment. The fund will take care of these problems that are caused by poor funding due to lack of financial capacity by the government,” he stressed.
He also gave the assurance that the present administration is prepared, despite the negative economic realities, to always look for alternative means of catering for the well-being of the people of the state.
“This equipment arrived in Ibadan yesterday at the State Hospital, Ring-Road, where it will be available for the benefit of the people who visit the cardiovascular center. All these efforts are geared towards making affordable healthcare available to the people of Oyo State as enshrined in the campaign promises of Governor Ajimobi,” the commissioner noted.
The Federal Government says it will soon phase out obsolete trainer aircraft at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this during the handover of the DA42NG aircraft from Interjet Nigeria Limited to the aviation college.
The minister said the acquisition of more aircraft, as well as re-fleeting old ones is a commendable initiative by the college, which was established in 1964.
Meanwhile, the Rector of the college, Captain Abdulsalam Mohammed, noted that the latest aircraft in the fleet was acquired over 15 years ago; a situation which according to him, hampers smooth training activities.
Speaking to journalists, Mr Sirika however, gave the assurance that the Federal Government is committed in implementing the aviation master plan across the country as soon as possible.
A National Committee for Buhari Support Groups (NCBSG) has been inaugurated in the commercial city of Kano, in what seems like an attempt to strengthen the support base of President Muhammadu Buhari which seems to be weakening gradually as a result of challenges of governance.
The new committee is charged with the primary responsibility of identifying various independent groups that worked for the success of President Buhari, and the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a party in the 2015 general elections.
Speaking during the inauguration of the committee at the Coronation Hall Wing of the Kano Government House on Tuesday, APC Majority Leader in the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, who is one of the key drivers of the group, said one of the four cardinal objectives of the committee was to generate support for the administration of the President.
According to him, other objectives of the committee include: “To galvanise the support groups with a view to bridging any communication and support gaps between the government and the citizens of the country.
“To mobilise unwavering support for the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari in its efforts to fight corruption, secure the country, develop infrastructure, create jobs, and bequeath a legacy of socio-political change, and to serve as a platform for coordinating the activities of Buhari Support Groups nationwide.
“To also serve as a vehicle that will continually alert government of economic, political and social initiatives that will enhance policies and action for the benefit of Nigeria and her citizenry,” Lawan said.
Meanwhile, other sources have indicated that the committee is charged with the mandate of generating, as well as updating the database of supporters at the grassroots level.
The database is to cut across support groups and their officers from local government, ward and unit levels, in addition to identifying mobilisers, communicators, change advocates and their appropriate leaders.
People of the Niger Delta are anxious to see how the modular refineries promised by the Federal Government will be implemented.
As they await the take-off, leaders of the region and experts have been looking at the challenge of setting up the refineries by people ravaged by many years of oil pollution and pipeline vandalism.
After over four decades of pipeline vandalism, oil theft and establishment of illegal refineries in the Niger Delta, the Federal Government had announced its plans in order to engage the restive youths of the region as well as beef up the availability of petroleum products for local consumption.
With a combined team of the Navy and the Airforce control, a helicopter fly over view revealed pockets of illegal refineries scattered around the creeks of the Niger Delta and the damage done to the ecosystem by the activities of suspected oil thieves.
According to naval sources, there are over 5,000 creeks in the region and many thousands more of illegal refineries and bunkering sites; a situation that continues to pose great risk to the economic and environmental development of the country.
During an earlier visit to Rivers state, aimed at achieving sustained peace and development in the Niger Delta, the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, gave a picture of the government’s plan to change the narrative.
“We must admit that damage to pipelines and supply facilities is damage to infrastructure and it also affects gas supply. If we are unable to generate gas for power, then all our clamour for better power supply will come to nothing since there will be nothing to distribute.
“One thing that the federal government is committed to doing is changing the narrative of Nigeria, being major a country that exports crude and ensuring that all other sectors contribute their quota to the petroleum sector.
“That is why we will ensure that our refineries are up and running while also encouraging whole (modular) refineries and our fertiliser and petrochemical companies are working,” the VP said.
A Niger Delta youth leader and a former President of the Ijaw Youth Council worldwide, Elvis Donkemezuo, however, made a case for the operators of illegal refineries.
He held the opinion that the government should register the illegal refineries, instead of going after them and incorporate them in the plan for modular refineries.
Meanwhile, a mechanical engineer and an refinery expert, George Nkoyo, gave an analysis of the figures behind establishing modular refineries.
According to him, “it costs about 15,000 dollars to refine one barrel of crude oil, and if you are talking about modular refineries, you are talking about producing 5 to 10 thousand barrels per day. So, it cost about 150 million dollars to set up a refinery. As a business man, you can go to China to make it cheaper for 100 million dollars. So it is not a business for the weak-hearted – Perhaps those clamouring for licence have not taken time to do the feasibility studies.”
Amid several other opinions, the people await the government’s presentation of a blue print for the Niger Delta, with hopes that it will not end at the stage of mere discussions.