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Abia Targets N9.7bn IGR, This Year …Engages Revenue Consultant

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The Abia State Government has contracted collection of its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to a private financial consultant, Infiniti Segment LTD.

Abia State Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning, Ezeogo Jones Udeogu, made this known to newsmen in his office in Umuahia, Tuesday, adding that the Infiniti Segment LTD, a reputable company that has done well in revenue generation in Lagos and Imo states, has been approved to commence work since February 1, 2010.

He said the firm was expected to generate more than N1 billion monthly for the state.

The state expects to generate N9.7 billion from IGR this year as contained in the 2010 budget estimates still before the House of Assembly.

The firm is expected to introduce a system of new revenue collection which would be based on Abia State Government Electronic Banking System of Revenue Management, which uses automated revenue receipts (ARR) and machine readable tax clearance certificate (TCC).

The Commissioner said that the consultants have a year probation period after which they would be assessed and if they fail to meet the set target, they would be disengaged, adding that their fees would be based on the excess of the target for each month.

The commissioner said that henceforth, everything concerning revenue generation for the state government would now be handled by the new consultant.

According to him, the new system would help curtail printing of fake receipts and tax documents by unscrupulous persons as well as check fraudulent government officials who collude with bank officials to defraud the government.

The South East facilitator of the revenue agency, Prince Obinna Nwawuike, said the firm would embark on enumeration of tax payers among government workers and residents in the state, adding that enlightenment programme would be carried out among members of the public. He maintained that the new system would not cost government extra money.

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Police Brutality: You ’re Unfit To Serve Nigerians, Gbajabiamila Blasts NPF

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, says the House would not stand by while police brutalise and kill innocent Nigerians, insisting that those who indulge in the shameful act do not deserve to serve the country in such capacities, because they could not protect lives and property of citizens.
The Speaker said this at the public hearing conducted by the House Committee on Police Affairs on enhancing the police force for better service delivery.
The new assertion is coming in the wake of crisis engulfing Sagamu, Ogun State where operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) allegedly killed Kazeem Tiamuyu (Kaka).
The anger over the alleged killing has turned to protests which have claimed more casualties.
The Speaker, in his speech, said the police are the closest to the people, but turn their brutality against them.
“More than any other institution of the State, it is the police force that relates to the citizens daily. In many communities across Nigeria, the Police Force is the only representative of the Nigerian state, and the connection between our citizens and the state is often defined by their interactions with the Nigeria Police.
“It is unfortunate and entirely unacceptable that the relationship between the police and many of these communities is now defined by fear, mutual antagonism and an absolute loss of faith in the ability of the police to protect and to serve.”
Gbajabiamila also blamed the situation on the failure of recruitment, welfare and training of police.
“We will not achieve much of substance if we shy away from confronting the failures of recruitment and training, remuneration and welfare, responsibility and accountability that have left us with a national police force that is too often unfit for purpose.
“We can no longer stand for this, and we will not. This House of Representatives has a responsibility to speak for our citizens and we will continue to do so even when it is inconvenient.”
The hearing was attended by the Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammed Maigari Dingyadi.
Similarly, the bill to confer immunity on the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives has scaled second reading despite opposition.
The bill also seeks to confer immunity on presiding officers of the state Houses of Assembly to shield them from prosecution when they are occupying their offices.
The bill sponsored by Hon Segun Odebunmi was considered, yesterday, and passed through second reading despite opposition from members.
The Presiding Officer, Hon Femi Gbajabimila, initially expressed reservation on presiding over the debate to prevent conflict of interest.
Gbajabimila said the bill should be tweaked to state that the current presiding officers will not benefit from it.
He, however, did not step aside as support for the bill came cross party lines.
“If it’s on presiding officers, I cannot preside on this bill; there is a conflict of interest. If the bill is on subsequent presiding officers, you should put a futuristic commencement date,” he said.
Leading the debate on the bill, Odebunmi said that, “in spite of the uninterrupted concentration required for carrying out effective legislative duty, this institution has suffered serious distractions in the past.
“Either genuine or not, such distractions have had serious negative impact on quality of legislation, as well as discouraging presiding officers of the legislative institution’s at national and state levels from taking the bull by the horn or take certain critical decisions when necessary for fear of unknown.”
In his contribution, Hon Sergious Ogun, rejected the bill, and called for the removal of the immunity clause preventing prosecution of the Executive.
Ogun said: “Where we are today in our democracy, many are asking that we remove the immunity of the President and governors. I don’t think we need such as a parliament. I think we need to lift the immunity of the president. If we have a judiciary that is working, there is any reason why we cannot have president or governor going to jail.”
The Minority Leader of the House, Hon Ndudi Elumelu, also opposed the bill, arguing that there are more pressing issues, such as insecurity which the House ought to pay more attention to.
“What is important is provision of security to our people; our people are desirous of good life, our people are being killed. In Isala, people were killed, when we are bringing the bill on immunity, the bill is coming at a wrong time. Just as you are saying that you do not want to benefit yourself. What are we saying or doing that we should have immunity for the presiding officer? I know you very well; you do not care if you are probed. This will send the wrong signal. This is wrong, and I totally disagree.”
However, the Majority Leader of the House, Hon Ado Doguwa, who is also the chairman of the House Committee on Constitution Amendment, led the support for the bill.
The Deputy Minority Leader, Hon Toby Okechukwu, the Chief Whip, Hon Muhammed Monguno, the Chairman of Committee on Rules and Business, Hon Abuabakar Fulata, also supported the bill.

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Gov Wike Says Nigeria sliding Because Judges Fear To Discharge Duties

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has declared that Nigeria is sliding because judges are afraid to function in line with their oath of office.

Speaking during a courtesy visit by the National Association of Women Judges, South-South chapter yesterday, Governor Wike stressed that judges must always uphold the law.

He said: “The problem with Nigeria today is because people are afraid to say the truth. Judges are afraid.  They don’t want to be identified.  That is why the country is sliding down.”

He regretted that Nigerians have allowed the country to degenerate so low.

Governor Wike charged Judges not to allow themselves to be intimidated by any other arm of Government.

“Whether you like it or not, people will accuse you.  So, you must go ahead to do what is right.

“Whatever you do, people will accuse you. You must understand the oath of office that you took,” he said.

He said that the judiciary must defend itself from irrelevant accusations from other arms of Government.

The Governor noted that judiciary should not allow the Executive and Legislative Arms of the to muzzle them.

Earlier, the Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Adama Iyaye-Laminkara, had said that the judges were in the state for a workshop organised by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime.  She said that the workshop would help the judges to administer justice.

She said women judges from the Six South-South States were in Port Harcourt for the conference.

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Insecurity: Why Buhari Must Resign, Nwabueze Explains

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Elder Statesman, Prof Ben Nwabueze, SAN, has picked holes in the comments of Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, that President Muhammadu Buhari would not resign over the security challenges of the country.
Describing reasons given by the minister for Buhari’s non-resignation as “untenable,” the legal icon asked: “In a situation of worsening insecurity threatening the lives and property of all of us and where President Buhari has bluntly refused to resign for reasons quite untenable, what alternative is left for the country to save itself?
It would be recalled that two days ago, the minister had said: “Mr President will not resign”, because “he has the overwhelming mandate of Nigerians to preside over the affairs of the country till the expiration of his tenure in May, 2023,” in response to calls on the president to quit.
But picking holes in Lai Mohammed’s comment, Nwabueze, in a statement, yesterday, said: “The reason given is untenable on two main grounds. First, the so-called overwhelming mandate derived from the February, 2019 presidential election is disputed by the – European Union Election Observation Mission Report; International Republic Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI); in their final report; the Coalition of NGO’s Report; and the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDC)” Post-Mortem Report.
“The Nigerian people themselves are not deceived by the rhetoric of overwhelming mandate.
The reason given by the Hon. Minister is untenable more because it ignores the obvious fact that the worsening incidents of insecurity as aggravated by the everyday and continuing holocaust of killings by Fulani herdsmen, by kidnappers, bandits, armed robbers and cultists not to mention the slaughter of thousands by Boko Haram terrorists is a post February, 2019 presidential election phenomenon.
“Aggravated insecurity occurring after the election could not have been mandated by the votes of the people cast at the said election. If anything, the votes cast at the election are a clear repudiation of the claim of mandate based on them.
President Buhari’s blunt refusal to resign, which is accompanied by the equally blunt refusal to change the service chiefs, raises the issue as to what alternative is left for the Nigerian people in order to save themselves from the scourge of insecurity that threatens them with ruination.
“I venture to suggest that a Government of National Unity composed of the candidates of the political parties, with significant votes at the February, 2019 presidential election, and headed by a person chosen by them, may be the alternative for us. The details of such arrangement will need to be worked out and will require compromises on all sides.”

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