Rivers Govt. To Begin Streamlining Of State Revenues

Rivers Govt. To Begin Streamlining Of State RevenuesRivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has stated that his administration will plug all revenue loopholes to ensure that it has the financial resources to execute pro-people projects as well as curb multiple taxation.

The governor declared this during a meeting with private medical proprietors at the Government House, Port Harcourt.

He explained  that  if 50 per cent  of  the  state’s  revenues  are collected  through the  right channels  and processes, the state would develop  faster.

He condemned cases of multiple taxes and levies which according to him, are not being remitted to the state government coffers, as agents were said to connive with some government officials to divert generated revenue.

The governor said that all revenue would be streamlined, especially as tax payers  are required to pay into a single account that would be easier to monitor.

Furthermore, he also gave a directive that private hospital owners should not pay the multiple levies, pending the conclusion of the streamlining of taxes.

While reiterating his determination to make his impact felt across the state, Wike however noted that the ‘Pay As You Earn’ taxes should still be paid.

In response, the Rivers State Chairman of the Nigerian Private Doctors, Dr Henry Sota commended the governor for always consulting with the private doctors on key issues.

He then went ahead to thank the governor for the Private Hospitals Loan Scheme which was introduced to help the private doctors improve their health facilities.

Osun Farmers Praise Aregbesola Over Continued Support

Osun Farmers Praise Aregbesola Over Continued SupportThe Governor of Osun, Rauf Aregbesola has received a warm applause for being forthright on the implementation of policies designed to revamp the agriculture sector in the state.

The praise was coming from members of the Osun state chapter of Cassava Growers Association of Nigeria, while they presented their position paper to the State House of Assembly Committee on Agriculture.

The association commended the state for being the bulwark of support to the needs of farmers in the state since assumption of office.

Presenting the paper, the Chairman of the Association, Dr David Ogunsade, described agriculture as the only surviving alternative to dearth of revenue from crude oil production in the country.

He stressed the need for more support from governments, stakeholders and other interested groups to enhance agricultural productivity, capacity, as well improve on the youth’s endorsement and participation in farming.

Ogunsade said government must provide the enabling environment that would further enhance micro-credit facilities to farmers most especially the peasant farmers in the country.

He however saluted Governor Aregbesola’s administration for establishing what he described as a robust and mutually beneficial partnership with the association which according to him, had re-positioned the agricultural sector in the state.

Furthermore, he stated that the government of Osun had done well in boosting the welfare and morale of farmers through its prompt interventions as part of efforts to realising the state’s potentials in agriculture.

Calling for modern agricultural practices to improve on the agricultural productivity in the state, Ogunsade said no effort must be spared by all at building a capacity that would encourage farming through the provision of ultra-modern facilities to farmers.

According to him, for rapid growth in the sector, modern agricultural practices must be encouraged while interest-free loans must be introduced to farmers.

He implored the state not to relent on its goal at turning the state to food basket of the nation.

“Our moribund agricultural infrastructures like cassava processing industry, cocoa processing industry, palm oil production industry among others, must be resuscitated so as to meet the needs of the people and help the state to be self-sufficient in food production.

“We want our Governor to do more in reviving all the cassava processing industries across the state so as to further increase on our cassava production capacity,” he added.

In response, Chairman of the Osun State House committee on Agriculture and Food Security, Mr Gbadebo Abdullahi, said government would continue to support the association in realizing its goals.

He then urged the farmers to always fulfil their obligation by refunding all credit facilities provided by government in order to enable others to benefit.

Abdullahi also tasked the farmers to seek other avenues to improve on their production and quality.

He assured them that the government would do its bit and they should also do theirs while maintaining unity.

Another member of the committee, Mr Israel Aloba, in support, called on the members of the association to cooperate with relevant agencies in the realisation of their dreams, saying this would help fast track their job and make the state the hub of cassava production in the country.

Group Slams 15 Oyo Monarchs Over Injunction Against LCDA Allocation

oyo-stateA socio-cultural group, Oyo Development Initiative (ODI) has condemned action by 15 Baales to stop the allocations of the 33 LGAs in Oyo.

According to the group, the action of the Baales to contest the legality of some Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) has put local government administration in Oyo state in a limbo.

In a statement by the group, the Coordinator, Dr. Adesola Okanlawon stressed that while it believes that the case is already in court and some comments on it might lead to contempt, it is however expedient to highlight the implications of the court order on the citizens and development of the state.

“The plaintiffs in the suit might not have thought deeply about the implications of their action. They have issues with four LGAs and some of the newly created LCDAs. We believe they should have sought an order affecting the four disputed local governments in order not to jeopardize the welfare of the entire state.

“Perfection belongs to God and no individual can claim to be perfect.  Government itself knew that there could be imbalances in the creation of LCDAs as established in 2001. Hence, the establishments of a petition review committee.

“These perceived imbalances should therefore not lead to the hardship for larger section of the state.  The LCDAs will no doubt enhance grass-root development and bring even distribution of dividends of democracy to the communities in the state.

“It is to be noted that the action of these Baales will affect salary payment which was not regular before. It will also impact negatively on the development at the grass-root and by extension, the general welfare of the people. In short, their action has multiplier effects and everyone in the state will bear the brunt.”

The group appealed to the state government to seek every legal means to speedily resolve the impasse, saying that it is only those who do not want grass-root development that will be against the creation of LCDAs.

“It now behooves on the state government to do the needful in order to get the injunction vacated as soon as possible.

“This act will make the people insinuating that the Oyo State government is behind the court case to prevent the conduct of LGs election, to have a rethink that the government has nothing to do with the interim injunction,” the group stated.

Trump Chooses Neil Gorsuch As Supreme Court Nominee

Trump Chooses Neil Gorsuch As Supreme Court Nominee U.S President, Donald Trump has nominated Colorado Federal Appeal Court Judge, Neil Gorsuch, for the country’s supreme court.

If confirmed by the Senate, the 49-year-old would replace the vacancy left on the court by the late Justice, Antonin Scalia.

While Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, says he has “very serious doubts” about the nominee, Trump on the other hand feels Gorsuch has a “superb intellect, an unparalleled legal education, and a commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to text”.

“Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline, and has earned bipartisan support,” Trump said.

During the election campaign, the President also revealed that his nominee had been picked from a shortlist of 21 choices.

The court has the last legal word on many of the most sensitive U.S issues, from abortion to gender to gun control.

Crime Fighting: Enugu Government To Train Tricycle Riders

kekeIn a bid to fight crime and strengthen security in Enugu state, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has made known his plan to train tricycle riders and offer financial logistics support for their services.

This, he believes would enable them work hand in hand with other security agencies to put an end to attacks by hoodlums in the state.

Speaking at a security meeting with the tricycle riders, the governor said members of the association would be trained in the area of crime prevention, detention and identification and apprehension of criminal elements.

Chairman of the Tricycle Riders Association, Mr Benjamin Ejiofor, told the governor that the group members are victims of insecurity in the state even as they are committed to contributing immensely to its Internal Generated Revenue.

“Your excellency, our members are constantly victims of armed robbery assassination and menaces of all sorts when going about their normal businesses,” he stated.

Ugwuanyi in response, then called on the group to be part of the administration fight against crime.

He said members would be given financial support for their services after the training and security officers would be appointed in that regard, to liaise with the association to ensure that its objectives are achieved.

Furthermore, he stated that “it is for this reason that we have decided to formally engage you the tricycle riders in a scheme that will enable you work hand in hand with security agencies in areas of crime prevention detection as well as identification and apprehension of criminal elements in the state.

“In as much as this is a call of duty on you as citizens, we have decided to train you free of charge.

“Officers from security agencies will be appointed to liaise with you on daily basis in order to ensure that objectives of this initiative are fully realised.

“I count on your cooperation in this task as I reiterate our commitment to ensure you go about your business without undue molestation or harassment.”

Some members of the association have also expressed optimism over the fact that if well implemented, the exercise would indeed improve their standard of living.

 

49 Escapee Inmates Re-Arrested In Imo state

49 Escapee Inmates Re-Arrested In Imo state49 out of the 58 inmates that escaped from the Imo State High Court premises on January 27, have been rearrested and returned to prison.

This was disclosed by the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Prisons Service, Mr Ja’afaru Ahmed, during a visit to the Chief Judge of Imo state.

Mr Ahmed who described the incident as unfortunate, however stated that the service would ensure that the situation does not repeat itself.

The State Governor, Rochas Okorocha had last week, promised a reward of five million Naira to anyone with useful information on the whereabouts of Henry Chibueze, also known as ‘Vampire’.

He was among the 58 inmates who had escaped, and is said to be standing trial for heinous crimes that include kidnapping.

Eyewitness said the gunmen, over six of them, had found their way into the court premises shortly after the inmates were conveyed to court for hearing of various suits filed against them.

The gunmen opened fire on the security operatives and inmates at the court premises shooting sporadically into the air for over 10 minutes leaving several people wounded.

According to the eyewitness, the gunmen were able to whisk away Chibueze, whom they described as a “notorious criminal and kidnapper” who has been in prison since July 2015.

Lawmakers Urge Buhari To Fast Track Confirmation Of Onnoghen As CJN

Lawmakers Urge Buhari To Fast Track Confirmation Of Onnoghen As CJNLawmakers from Cross Rivers State in the National Assembly have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to without further delay, send the name of Justice Walter Onnoghen to the Senate for confirmation as the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

The move according to them, would not only be in line with section 231 of the Nigerian constitution as amended, but would also follow the established tradition of the judiciary where succession is based on merit and seniority.

The Lawmakers believe that the President’s delay in sending the letter, without any lawful or constitutional cause, has led to a perception of ethno-regional prejudice.

The caucus, made up of all the senators and House of Representatives’ members in the National Assembly, have therefore come to a conclusion that the President’s decisive action on the matter would reassure Nigerians that anyone can aspire to be in any position in the country.

One Dead As Boko Haram Ambush Police In Borno

One Dead As Boko Haram Ambush Police In BornoA police man has died with another one injured by bandits while on patrol around Kubuwa village in Damboa local government of Borno state.

According to a statement issued by the Police Public Relations Officer Borno state command, the men were ambushed in a police patrol vehicle from the Biu Area Command on investigation duty to Maiduguri, at about 10:30 pm on Tuesday.

The affected policemen have been taken to the Damboa General hospital and the injured policeman is responding to treatment.

Tuesday’s ambush was the second in two days as a military convoy had been attacked on Saturday along the same Damboa road with casualties from both the military and civilian side.

Earlier on the same day, a suicide bomber had detonated an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at the Dalori quarters in Maiduguri, killing two people.

Illegal Importation Of Arms: Nigerian Customs Arrests Four Officers, Others

Illegal Importation Of Arms: Nigerian Customs Arrests Four Officers, OthersAssistant Comptroller and Acting Spokesman of the Nigerian Customs, Joseph Attah, has revealed that four Customs Officers as well as the importer, clearing agent and a driver, recently involved in the illegal importation of arms, have been arrested.

On Monday, 661 pump action rifles, had been confiscated by the Force in Lagos.

Giving details of what happened, the Assistant Comptroller said: “It is unfortunate that some Custom Officers and some Nigerians will want to connive and bring this kind of deadly cargo into the country.

“Immediately the weapons were discovered, they held the clearing agent and they went to arrest the importer. We also have the motor boy that was taking the consignment to the destination.

“We understand that they were heading to somewhere around Festac.

“Four Customs Officers have already been cooling their heels in our cell, they have made useful statements and there would be consequences.

Explaining further, he said: “As you know, we have our Customs Intelligence Unit all over our terminals, seaports, airports borders and all that – they keep tabs of what is happening.

“Officers of the Federal Operations Unit (FOU), received a tip off as they were actually on information patrol.

“They never knew that it was this deadly, what was suspected was that maybe it was a case of false declaration, under payment and all that.

According to him, the tip off raised suspicion which led them to intercept the container at the Mile 2 area of Lagos, after which it was brought to the FOU, Ikeja.

“Their suspicion became heightened when the clearing agent was invited for examination and he kept dillydallying – Even when he showed up, he deliberately showed up towards evening time when it would become nearly impossible to examine a 1 : 40 feet container.

customs
Customs officers inspecting the consignment after seizure

“The OC in charge, insisted that this container will be examined in the presence of the clearing agent – eventually, that was done and behold, they discovered this,” Attah told Channels Television.

According to him, the container was actually intercepted on January 22, while it was examined on the 27th.

Policing The Police

As to whether the arrested officers were really in the know of the content of the container, the Customs boss said “investigation will reveal all that”.

Reacting to comments that considering the rigorous nature of the clearing process at the ports, such incidents should not be heard of, Mr Attah defended that:

“Custom officers are human beings, importers are human beings, clearing agents are human beings and when you are dealing with human beings, you are bound to have one or two out of a hundred or a thousand, who are willing to compromise or they are lazy, they don’t do due diligence or a combination of all.

“The fact remains that the Nigerian Customs Service are aware of the fact that there may be some of us who would be willing to compromise or would not be committed or dedicated to their functions enough; that is why we have the intelligence unit, Federal Operations Unit and others.

According to him, the idea is to counter-balance and police the police.

“Just as we have one or two bad custom officers, we have a whole lot more who are ready to insist that the wrong must be corrected and that is why we have these seizures,” he stated.

Need For Technology

Highlighting some of the areas in which more development is needed so as to curb the illegal importation of arms, the Customs boss stated the need for technology.

He mentioned the need for scanners at the borders, among other things.

Anambra Goes Digital As Govt. Completes State Aerial Mapping

Anambra Goes Digital As Govt. Completes Aerial Mapping Of StateAs part of efforts to digitise Anambra, the state government has disclosed the completion of the aerial mapping of the state.

In the documents presentation ceremony at the Executive Chamber of the Government House, Awka, the contracting firm, Aeroprecisa, handed over the 2,450 square kilometers Multi-Spectral Aerial Photography of the entire state to the Governor, Willie Obiano.

According to them it is a working document for the development of the state in terms of proper mapping, land management and infrastructural planning and designing of the entire state.

The Chief Executive Officer of the contracting firm, Mr Karmal Azar, during a presentation to outline the essence and benefits of the project, said that the entire project which was done at a high resolution of 10 centimeters was geared towards the digitising the entire state.

Furthermore, he stated that it would help to give accurate area mapping, encourage land management, provide digitized security, as well as initiate proper infrastructural planning and designing of the state.

“It is very useful to know if I am trying to come out with a new development project; what communities am I addressing with that project, how will it help, which part of the state are being served, how many percentage of the people are in demand of this.

“Every single building in the state will have eight digit numbers that can be given to the postal service or can be given to the police for anyone who says I’m living here, this building must have eight digits, and the police can come there and locate you with no qualms.

“So, given that we are able to identify your vicinity, we digitize it and after that, we create a program that will assign to each of them a unique idea or a unique postal code that will be used so that we know where people are.”

The highly elated governor, receiving the documents, expressed happiness that the pictorial project was successfully completed under his watch, maintaining that it would be an indispensable document to successive administrations and as for the present administration, it would be a propelling tool for enhanced development of the state in the areas of infrastructure, security, agriculture among others.

“It will help us to do so many things, proper planning, designing old houses, identifying flood plains upfront, it will help us immensely in area of security because we will be able to number all the houses in Anambra and of course with their coordinates.

“It is a great tool that you cannot quantify the value, so we are immensely grateful for this great job and this is the nucleus for the development of Anambra state as a whole and it is a tool every administration in Anambra state will find very useful.

“I am happy that under my administration we are able to achieve this and we have set the pace, first, for the development of Awka capital territory and then of course the development of Anambra state as a whole,” Obiano further stated.

The formal presentation of the documents and certificate formed the high point of the event as the governor assured residents that the state would work to train government officials in the ministries and agencies to ensure accurate execution of projects in line with the specifications in the aerial photographs as well as in the Geographic Information System, (GIS) for the benefit of the state.

Pope Francis Celebrates Rain-Soaked Mass In Kenya

popePope Francis has celebrated a huge mass at a university campus in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.

Crowds waited in the rain at the University of Nairobi sports ground, since the early hours of Thursday. More than one million people were expected to attend the mass.

Pope Francis made a plea for traditional values, saying “the health of any society depends on the health of its families”.

Earlier, the Pope urged Kenyans to work for peace and reconciliation on his first trip as pontiff to Africa, amid a rise in militant violence.

He arrived in Kenya on Wednesday, the first stop on a three-nation tour.

Gunman Kills Two, Injures Seven In Louisiana Cinema

Louisiana cinemaA lone gunman has killed two people, injured seven others before shooting himself inside a crowded movie cinema in Lafayette, Louisiana, on Thursday evening.

The gunfire erupted during a 7 p.m. show of the film “Trainwreck” and took place almost three years to the day after a massacre at a cinema in Aurora, Colorado, that killed 12 people.

Lafayette Police, said two people died in the hail of bullets before the 58-year-old suspect killed himself with a handgun, as officers rushed to the scene shortly after 7:30 p.m.

“There were about 100 people inside the cinema at the time of the shooting,” a police official said.

Seven people were wounded with injuries ranging from non-life-threatening to critical.

A witness, Tanya Clark, told Sky News that she had been buying popcorn when a group of people ran out of the cinema telling everyone to run.

She added: “I thought it was just teenagers playing a little prank, you know, and then I saw a whole other bigger group coming out screaming the same thing”.

“And then we saw a lady with blood all over her leg. I just grabbed my child and ran”.

Authorities said they knew the gunman’s identity but were not releasing his name during the early stage of the investigation. They offered no immediate motive and did not disclose any clues they might have found.

Police officials said that bomb-sniffing dogs had alerted on a backpack inside the cinema and that they had also signalled “suspicious” items inside the suspect’s car. A robot was being used to probe the vehicle further.

Investigators also headed to the gunman’s home. His body remained inside the cinema several hours later. None of the victims, who were described as ranging in age from teens to early 60s, were immediately identified by authorities.

Witnesses said the gunman abruptly stood up in the darkness of the cinema about 20 minutes into the movie and began shooting.

Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal, said: “There’s no good reason why this type of evil should intrude on the lives of people who are just out for entertainment.”

“As governor, as a father and as a husband, whenever we hear about these senseless acts of violence it makes us both furious and sad at the same time”.

Jindal added that two of the wounded victims were teachers and one of them managed to pull a fire alarm in the cinema after being shot.