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International Museum Day: FG To Legislate On  Theft Of Antiquities

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The Federal Government will initiate legislation to forestall further theft of the country’s antiquities and other heritage property and enthrone their better management.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday to mark the 2021 International Museum Day.
The international museum day is celebrated on May 18 every year to bring knowledge and information about museums to the people and to introduce museums to the communities.
The theme for this year’s international museum day is: “The Future of Museums: Recover and Imagine”.
The minister said the Bill would be placed before the National Assembly.
He expressed optimism that the lawmakers would give the bill every support and ensure its expeditious passage.
The minister renewed his call for the repatriation of all looted Nigerian artifact  and commended those countries that had heeded the call by returning such antiquities.
He said the campaign for the repatriation of looted artifacts, which was launched by the Federal Government in October 2019 had yielded fruits with the spate of return of stolen Nigerian antiquities from around the world.
Mohammed specifically appreciated the German government and German museums, both of which, he said were in the forefront of repatriating Nigerian antiquities.
Mohammed said Nigeria had caused a claim to be instituted before the UNESCO’s mediation body and the Intergovernmental Committee for the Promotion of Return of Cultural Property (ICPRCP).
He said they requested for the return of an Ife bronze object to Nigeria, marking the first time ever that the country would institute a claim before this international panel.
“The Ife bronze head, which was stolen from the National Museum in Jos in 1987, was acquired by an art gallery owner in Belgium, who is now demanding money from Nigeria before releasing it.
“In January 2020, I met the Secretary of State for Culture of the United Kingdom to press Nigeria’s demand for the release of the said Ife bronze head, which is now being kept in the British Museum,’’ he said.
The minister expressed  hope that the matter would soon be resolved in favour of Nigeria.
“Also, after a vigorous pursuit, the U.S. has approved Nigeria’s request under the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (CPIA).
“The import of this approval is that any cultural property that is 250 years or older can never enter the United States of America from Nigeria, unless with the official imprimatur of Nigeria.
“Such antiquities will be returned to Nigeria from the U.S. border without the need for expensive litigation or diplomatic shuttles,’’ he said,
Mohammed appealed to Nigerians, especially the elite to join the ongoing campaign to repatriate all looted Nigerian artifact.
He thanked the individual Nigerians who had established private museums as well as those who supported the various public museums with their hard-earned resources.
Mohammed also called on the elite to offer support by adopting museums in their neighbourhoods.

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Reps, NDA Commandant Parley Over Bandits’ Attack

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The House of Representatives Committee on Defence, yesterday, met with the Commandant of the Nigeria Defence Academy, Maj-Gen Ibrahim Yusuf, on the bandit attack on the academy.
It would be recalled that the bandits had carried out an audacious attack against the foremost academy and abducted some military personnel at the institution.
Yusuf informed the committee that the military is working to prevent future occurrence of the attack.
The committee, chaired by Babajimi Benson from Lagos State, had an executive session with the commandant to get the details of the attack.
Also, the committee met with the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, to discuss the impact of the recent military agreement between Russia and Nigeria.
It would be recalled that Nigeria and Russia signed a defence agreement which was announced by the Nigerian Embassy in Russia.
The agreement, which is a technical agreement between the two countries, will involve sales of Russian made equipment to Nigeria.
The committee had the session behind closed doors.

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Ember Months: FRSC Set To Inaugurate ‘Operation Show Of Readiness’

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The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), says it is set to inaugurate” Operation Show of Readiness’’ as part of efforts to reduce road traffic accidents during the 2021 ember months.
The Corps Public Education Officer (CPEO), Mr Bisi Kazeem told The Tide yesterday that the operation would involve massive sensitisation campaign ahead of the corps’ annual “Special Patrol’’.
Kazeem said that operation show of readiness followed the review of the FRSC’s 2020 ember months’ performance and the need to break new grounds.
“To achieve this, we have deployed public enlightenment teams to motor parks, Churches, Mosques, town hall meetings and we will use motorcade for awareness where possible.
“From the 2020 review, the corps realised that night travels are prevalent during this time (ember months) with overwhelming negative results.
“Speeding is also known to be responsible for over 60 per cent of crashes.
“As such, the corps will deploy energy to discourage people from indulging in these deadly road use behaviour (night travels and speeding),’’ he said.
Kazeem said that the corps would use Special Marshals, first responders, celebrities, traditional rulers and involve road safety clubs for the special operation in view of the COVID-19 travel advisory.
“Operation zero tolerance to road traffic crash carried out annually by the FRSC is also part of strategies to reduce crashes aside the maiden operation show of readiness,’’ he said
Kazeem said during the exercise, visual acuity test/screening for drivers would be conducted as well as free safety checks on vehicles.

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VAT Bill Scales Second Reading At Ogun Assembly

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A bill for a law to impose and charge Value Added Tax (VAT) on certain goods and services, provide for administration of the tax and for related purposes yesterday scaled second reading at Ogun State House of Assembly.
 Clerk of the Assembly, Mr Deji Adeyemo, read the bill for the first time during plenary session in Abeokuta, while the Majority Leader, Mr Yusuf Sherif, moved the motion for the second reading which was seconded by Mr Ganiyu Oyedeji.
 While opening debate on the bill, Mr Olakunle Sobukanla, the Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, noted that the bill was an avenue for the state to generate more revenue for its development.
 Sobukanla added that the more internally generated revenue by the state, the more infrastructure development in all sectors of the state.
 In his submission, Oyedeji explained that collection of VAT would allow the state to generate more revenue and meet needs of the people.
 The lawmaker stated that the people’s needs included fixing of bad roads and the construction of new ones, provision of healthcare facilities among others, which all required finance.
 Other lawmakers who spoke supported the quick passage of the bill, saying that it would boost the socio-economic development of the state.
 They noted that passage of the bill would be a financial restructuring and a form of redistribution of internally generated revenue.
 In his response, Mr Olakunle Oluomo, the Speaker of the house, commended the lawmakers for the deliberation, adding that the VAT law was needed in the state for more economic development.
 The speaker committed the bill to the House Committee on Finance and Appropriation for further legislative actions.
 Also during yesterday plenary, the Ogun State Anti-Corruption Law 2021, scaled first reading.

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