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Oshiomhole Vows To Jail Tax Defaulters

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Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole has warned that tax
defaulters in the state risk prison sentences, saying government will no longer
treat them with kid gloves.

Oshiomhole, who gave the warning in Benin at the plenary of
the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) held at the St. Mathews Anglican
Cathedral said that while the poor and low-income earners were willing to pay
their taxes, those who could easily afford to pay preferred to flout the tax
law.

“In Edo, we have tried to emphasise that we must reinvent
the concept of tax. We must properly manage the taxpayers’ money.

“Today, the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) is
on strike over the issue of tax. The tax issue is a federal law not made by me.

“Those people who believe that because they are working in
sensitive places is an excuse to evade tax need a rethink.

“If a sick person is brought to the hospital, the fact of
his being sick does not preclude the person from paying for his treatment,’’ he
said.

Oshiomhole noted that he had on some occasions paid the
medical bills of indigent patients at the UBTH, who were treated but were not
discharged because they were unable to settle their bills.

“If you can detain the poor on account of being unable to
pay for his treatment, who are you not to pay tax?

“We have also at one point sealed the PHCN and PPMC offices
for tax evasion.

If motor mechanic and Okoda rider pay their tax, then, there
is no reason why a federal agency would think that because they come from
Abuja, they would not pay their tax.

“It is very fashionable in Nigeria for people to spend N50
million on weddings, N100 million on birthdays and even much more to celebrate
the dead.

“But for such persons, to pay even five per cent as tax, he
is not ready to pay.

“In such a situation, it is better to send them to prison,
just to remind them that the prison is not meant for only the poor. The prison
is meant for those who break the law.’’

He expressed regrets that 52 years after independence, the
people were getting poorer and attributed this to the quality or absence of
good governance.

According to him, the state must create good environment for
the people to operate. If the politicians try to divert attention, the church
must stand on the side of truth.

“In Edo State, we have tried our best, first to regain our
self-confidence that Edo State is viable, and we have made some modest efforts
to halt the drift and restore hope.

“But what we have done is nothing compared to what we need
to do to get to the level that we deserve.’’

Earlier, the Chairman of the state chapter of CAN, Rt. Rev.
Peter Imasuen, said that 2012 plenary was tagged: “Fostering Good Governance”.

“Good governance is all about accountability and
transparency. Despite increasing democracy and stability in sub-Saharan Africa,
corruption and conflict remain serious barriers to ending extreme poverty,’’ he
said, adding that the nation’s multifarious woes were effects of bad governance
over the years.

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Niger Delta

Edo Varsity Donates Health Centre To Community

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The Edo State University, Uzairue has donated a primary health centre to Ivioghe community in Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the project was inaugurated by the Deputy Governor of Edo, Philip Shaibu, on Tuesday.
Shaibu, who was represented by the Acting Chairman, Etsako East Local Government, Dr Samuel Mathew, praised the institution for initiating and funding the project.
“I am always overwhelmed when I see such gestures, an indication that the institution is thinking about the welfare of others,” he said.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Emmanuel Aluyor, said the comprehensive health centre is made up of consulting rooms, wards and other medical facilities to cater for patients.
“The medical and dental council, as part of the condition for the training of our medical students, stipulated that we establish a comprehensive health centre to be used for rural posting of our medical science students.
“This singular fact necessitated the establishment of this health centre today.
“I want to especially thank the host community and the Ivioghe community for donating the vast land this health centre is sited,” he said.
The VC disclosed that with the inauguration of the centre, the institution had commenced one week free medical care to take care of minor surgeries and treat patients from the host community and its environs.
“It gladdens my heart that the comprehensive heath centre recorded its first delivery of a bouncing baby just yesterday,” he said.
The President-General of Oghe Okughe Development Union, Dr Sunny Akhamiokhor, thanked the university for the gesture.
“I want to thank the management of Edo University Uzairue for the wise decision to site the health centre in our town.
“I want to assure you that our people shall give their maximum support and cooperation to staff and students that will be posted to the health centre,” he said.
He, however, called on the state government to deploy more teachers to the primary and secondary schools in the community.
Akhamiokhor assured that the community would continue to cooperate with the institution and the state government in order to attract more development to the community.

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Niger Delta

Group Lauds Emmanuel For Entrenching Peace

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The National Chairman, Maintain Peace Movement (MPM), Mr Emmanuel Enoidem, has commended Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom for entrenching the peace culture in the state since he assumed office.
Enoidem made the commendation at the inauguration of the Steering Committee of the Federal Capital Territory Chapter of the group, held at Akwa Ibom House, on Monday in Abuja.
According to Enoidem, there is no fear of kidnappings, unlawful killings and other security challenges in the state.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that Gov. Emmanuel Udom has entrenched peace in Akwa Ibom and we will continue to support him by promoting peaceful coexistence in the state.”
He also applauded the governor for transforming the state from a Civil Service state to an industrial and economically viable entity.
Enoidem said the the governor, since assumption of office in 2015, initiated laudable projects that enhanced the infrastructure of state and encouraged the setting up of many industries.
Similarly, he hailed the governor for establishing the state-owned airline which had been defined in the nation’s aviation industry.
Earlier, the Liaison Officer, Akwa Ibom State, Abuja, Mr Edwin James, said Akwa Ibom under Gov. Emmanuel is enjoying so much peace, a condition that leads to sustainable development anywhere, anytime.
“I feel proud to see that Akwa lbom indigenes even in the diaspora also share the sentiment of Gov. Emmanuel in building a peaceful and united Akwa Ibom where development and investment can thrive and flourish.”
On his part, Mr Emmanuel Inyang, Special Assistant to Akwa Ibom Governor on Grassroots mobilisation in Abuja and 19 Northern States, said that the Governor, since assumption of office, has ensured that there is no discrimination in every segment of the state.
“So everybody now has that sense of belonging. He assented to a law which will treat anyone caught involved in any illegal group will be treated as a criminal.”
Also, the newly-inaugurated Coordinator of the FCT Chapter of MPM, Mr Usenekong Akpan, assured that the chapter would strive to promote the philosophy of the movement with a sense of commitment and total loyalty.
“It is expressly clear, that we have embraced the MPM philosophy with awesome joy and we are set to carry into our future this precious light of peace with common belief, purpose, passion, dedication and enthusiasm.”

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Niger Delta

Edo NMA Appeals To Agrieved Health Workers To Assume Duty At Stella Obasanjo Hospital

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The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Edo State branch, has appealed to health workers in Central Hospital, Benin, who are temporarily relocated to Stella Obasanjo Hospital, Benin, to assume duty there.
The Chairman of the branch, Dr Harrison Omokhu, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday.
The Edo State Government has said that it has “relocated” and not “demolished” the over 100-year-old Central Hospital Benin, with a view to transforming it.
The affected health care workers have however kicked against their relocation to Stella Obasanjo Hospital, Benin.
Omokhu urged the affected workers to be patient with and partner the state government, pending when plans were made to build a new hospital.
“The siting of central hospital is strategic; the Executive Governor is well aware of these important facts.
“So I do not think His Excellency is moving the central hospital on a permanent basis.
“I think it’s a temporary thing to enable him to put more befitting structures on ground.
“Those buildings are very old and dilapidated and need urgent attention which I think the governor is doing,” he said.
Omokhua said that there was no new central hospital as speculated in some quarters, adding that the staff were only being relocated temporarily for work to be done in the hospital.
“I believe after that, they will be returned back. Not all the staff of the central hospital have been relocated.
“Departments like Obstetrics and Gynecology were not moved.
“Others have been relocated temporarily to the new hospital beside the central hospital – Edo Specialist Hospital and Stella Obasanjo Hospital – located off Sapele road,” he added.

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