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RVHA Passes Land Use Prohibition Extortion Bill

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The Rivers State House of Assembly, yesterday, passed into law, the state land use prohibition extortion bill 2010 with the lawmakers unanimously abolishing bush entry and marching ground levies charged by land owners in the state.

Other levies abolished are the youth development levies, burial levies, community Development Committee levies, consultation levies as well as fencing levies.

The passage of the bill followed a unanimous adoption of the  House committee report on land, Housing and Urban Development.

The chairman, House Committee on Land, Housing and Urban Development, Hon Lucky Odili told the lawmakers that the various stakeholders who participated in the public hearing lauded the good intention of the bill.

Hon Odili hinted that the participants had urged the legislators not to abolish the bush entry as it is part of the custom of the people.

The lawmaker also revealed that the participants were worried that the proposed abolishment of the marching ground by the drafters of the bill would amount to total destruction of their tradition.

However, during the debate on the committee’s report, some lawmakers okayed the abolishment of marching ground and bush entry levies in the state.

Contributing, Hon Henry Ogiri (Abua/Odua), Golden Ngozi Chioma (ELGAII), Ibani Ikunyili Owaji (Andoni), Tamunosisi Gogo Jaja ( Opobo/Nkoro) and Hon Isaac Kamalu (Eleme) observed that the bill intends to correct “mischievous acts” going on in the state.

The lawmakers stated that the bill would address the issue of multiple taxation charged in the course of developing land, as well as doing business in the state.

The state legislators noted that the multiple taxations charged on land development by land owners and communities have hindered development in the state, adding that with the passage of the bill into law the state is now safe for investors to do business.

The lawmakers disagreed with the sentiments expressed by some of their colleagues that the bill would exterminate the various culture and tradition of the people of the state, saying that the bill would enhance development in the state.

In his own contribution, Hon Ogbonda Jones urged the House not to abolish bush entry in the state.

Hon Ogbonda averred that bush entry has been an age-long tradition and customary practice among the people of the state in the course of land business transactions, adding that such practice varies from one community to another.

The Speaker of the House, Rt Hon Tonye Harry who presided over the sitting put the House into vote, where 19 lawmakers voted for the abolishment of marching ground, bush entry and other levies charged in course of development of land in the state, while one lawmaker voted against.

The Speaker while ruling on the matter, said that with the majority votes in favour of the abolishment, the bill is to be passed into law.

Hon Harry warned that anybody who pays money as marching ground while buying  or developing land in the state would be punished as violator of the law, just as anybody who demand for such levies from a prospective land buyers or land developers.

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Ogoni Youths Give FG 14 Days To Fix East-West Road

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No fewer than 400 youths under the aegis of Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF), yesterday, staged a peaceful protest at the Eleme axis of the East-West Road, giving the Federal Government 14 days ultimatum to mobilize to site and fix the road or have economic activities in the area grounded.
The protesters, who carried various placards with inscriptions to press home their demands, trekked from Akpajo Junction to Refinery Junction in Eleme LGA, chanting solidarity songs to register their discontent over the neglect of the road.
Addressing newsmen during the protest, President General of the Ogoni Youth Federation, Comrade Legborsi Yaamabana, said it was regrettable that the road, which was a major route to the economic hub of the nation, has remained in a deplorable state, only becoming a death trap that has terminated the lives of innocent Ogonis.
Yaamabana, who described the mass action of the youths as a ‘warning protest’, said if the contractors handling the road were not immediately mobilized to site, then, the youths will have no option than to shut down all economic activities in the area.
He said, “we cannot continue to watch our people being killed on daily basis by tankers because of the poor state of Eleme axis of the east west road, we are calling on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency fix the road and save our people from untimely deaths as a result of the sorry state of the road, the only bridge on the road at Aleto has collapse but nothing is being done to avert the disasters faced by our people daily”.
Yaamabana also called on the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to constitute a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission to address the development needs of the Niger Delta region, noting that the use of interim management for NDDC was “diversionary, self serving and not in the interest of the development of the Niger Delta region”.
The OYF president general also called on the Federal Government to exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa and his compatriots who were extra-judicially murdered by the late Gen Sani Abacha military junta, and given post-humours honour as martyrs of democracy in Nigeria, while the ideals of justice they stood for should be upheld.
Also speaking, the immediate past secretary of the Ijaw Youth Council, Eastern Zone, Comrade James Tobin, who joined the protest in solidarity, decried the neglect of the East—West Road by the Federal Government, and called the immediate fixing of the road to save the teeming road users from untold pains and death.

By: Taneh Beemene

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Rising Prices Push 7m Nigerians Below Poverty Line -World Bank

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The World Bank has said that rising prices pushed about seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020.
This was contained in a press statement titled, ‘Critical reforms needed to reduce inflation and accelerate the recovery, says new World Bank report,’ released by the World Bank’s Senior External Affairs Officer of Nigeria, Mansir Nasir.
The press statement was released, yesterday, in line with the latest World Bank Nigeria Development Update.
It was acknowledged that the Federal Government “took measures to protect the economy against a much deeper recession” but it was recommended that certain policies should be set for a strong recovery.”
The statement read, “The NDU, titled ‘Resilience through Reforms,’ notes that in 2020, the Nigerian economy experienced a shallower contraction of -1.8 per cent than had been projected at the beginning of the pandemic (-3.2 per cent). Although the economy started to grow again, prices are increasing rapidly, severely impacting Nigerian households.
“As of April, 2021, the inflation rate was the highest in four years. Food prices accounted for over 60% of the total increase in inflation. Rising prices have pushed an estimated seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020 alone.”
Quoted in the statement, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, identified some of the challenges faced by the country and recommended a way forward.
“Nigeria faces interlinked challenges in relation to inflation, limited job opportunities, and insecurity.
“While the government has made efforts to reduce the effect of these by advancing long-delayed policy reforms, it is clear that these reforms will have to be sustained and deepened for Nigeria to realise its development potential,” Chaudhuri said.
Also quoted is the World Bank Lead Economist for Nigeria and co-author of the NDU, Marco Hernandez, who also gave a recommendation.
“Given the urgency to reduce inflation amidst the pandemic, a policy consensus and expedite reform implementation on exchange-rate management, monetary policy, trade policy, fiscal policy, and social protection would help save lives, protect livelihoods, and ensure a faster and sustained recovery,” Hernandez said.

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Inflation Dips To 17.93% In May, NBS Confirms

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Nigeria’s inflation rate dropped to 17.93 per cent in May, 2021, from 18.12 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed this in its monthly Consumer Price Index report released, yesterday.
The drop in the headline inflation in May was the second consecutive month this year.
The report indicates that the consumer price index (CPI), which measures the inflation rate increased by 17.93 per cent (year-on-year) in May, 2021, which is 0.19 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in the preceding month.
According to NBS, food inflation dropped in the same month from 22.78 per cent recorded in April, 2021 to 22.28 per cent in May, 2021.
The report reads, ‘‘All items less farm produce which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 13.15 per cent in May, 2021, up by 0.41 per cent when compared with 12.74 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
‘‘The highest increases were recorded in prices of pharmaceutical products, garments, shoes and other footwear, hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments, furniture and furnishing, carpet and other floor covering.
‘‘Others include, motor cars, Hospital services, fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment, cleaning, repair and hire of clothing.
“Other services include personal transport equipment, gas, household textile, and non-durable household goods,” the NBS added.

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