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THE STATES

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Adamawa

The Adamawa State Government has announced the arrest of an employee in its Ministry of Education who has been fraudulently collecting a monthly salary of N6 million.

The Head of Service, Alhaji Othman Mohammed, who made the announcement while inaugurating the audit committees for the local government staff, said the fraud was discovered before the recent introduction of e-payment for the workers.

He challenged members of the committees to do a thorough job, particularly in ascertaining whether workers were properly paid the salaries due to them.

“You need to verify that a worker placed on level six or seven is not receiving something higher than his director.

Bauchi

Ningi Community in Ningi Local Government Area of Bauchi State, has petitioned against some officials of the state government over alleged diversion of vehicles donated to it by the Canadian Government.

The community alleged that the vehicles were donated to the community for health care projects, claiming that they were diverted for personal use by the officials.

The petition, last Wednesday, was addressed to the state government and copied to the Commissioner of Police, Mr Ikechukwu Aduba.

The vehicles allegedly diverted were three Toyota Hilux vans, which the Canadian Government donated to the community during the administration of Governor Adamu Muazu.

Borno

The first batch of 500 pilgrims from Borno who performed the 2011 Hajj in Saudi Arabia, returned home on Wednesday.

The pilgrims, who looked healthy, arrived at the Maiduguri International Airport with their luggage.

They arrived on board a Kabo Air Boeing 747 aircraft at the early hours of Wednesday.

The pilgrims were mainly from Kala Balge, Gamborou Ngala, Dikwa, Abadam, and Gubio Local Government Areas.

Some of them who spoke to newsmen, expressed satisfaction with the performance of the Borno Pilgrims Welfare Board (BSPWB).

They prayed to Allah to accept their supplications during the pilgrimage in the Holy Land.

One of the pilgrims, Fugo Goni, expressed gratitude to Allah for a successful and hitch- free exercise.

FCT

The Minister of Youth Development, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, has ordered the management of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to stop posting new corps members to Borno and Yobe States.

A statement by his Senior Assistant on Media, Mr Julius Ogunro, in Abuja quoted the Minister as directing that no new corps members under the current Batch “C“ should be posted to the two states, while those already posted there would be redeployed to Benue and Nasarawa for orientation.

He, however, promised that corps members would be posted to all states of the federation except Borno as soon as they concluded their orientation programme in Benue and Nasarawa respectively.

Kaduna

Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC) President Abdulwaheed Omar in Kaduna has called on the Federal Government to urgently resolve the country’s security challenges.

Omar who made the call at the opening of the NLC’s 10th Harmattan School for 2011, expressed concern over government’s laxity in addressing the security problems in the country.

The NLC president also decried the non-implementation of the new minimum wage, which had been signed in July, warning that failure to honour the agreement could provoke a general strike and mass protests.

Omar accused the government of deliberately devaluing Nigeria’s currency in order to devalue the N18,000 national minimum wage.

He added that government’s insistence to hike fuel prices by 120 per cent was capable of worsening the economic plight of the citizenry.

Katsina

The Director of Agriculture in Malumfashi Local Government Council of Katsina State, Alhaji Balarabe Yusuf has cautioned residents of the town against indiscriminate felling of trees for firewood.

Yusuf told newsmen in Malumfashi, Katsina State that there was the need for collective efforts to protect the environment.

He described indiscriminate felling of trees as one of the major human actions detrimental to environmental sustainability.

The director said that through joint efforts between individuals, communities, institutions and organisations, the desired impact of team work to check desert encroachment would be achieved.

Yusuf said that the local government council had engaged 500 youths, on casual basis, to plant 30,000 tree seedlings this year, and called on the communities in the area to protect the trees.

Kebbi

INEC has appealed against the nullification of the election of Governor Saidu Dakingari (PDP) of Kebbi at the Court of Appeal in Sokoto.

Counsel to INEC, Mr Adegboyega Awolomo (SAN), made this known in a statement in Birnin Kebbi.

Our correspondent recalls that the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal on Sunday nullified Dakingari’s election following a petition by Alhaji Abubakar Mallam (CPC).

INEC holds that the tribunal erred in law by making a case against the commission.

According to the statement, INEC is seeking the setting aside of the judgment or decisions of the tribunal and dismissing the petition as one without merit.

Kwara

The Kwara State Government plans to establish an agency responsible for the formulation and implementation of its local content policy.

News of the plan is contained in a letter entitled: Kwara State Content Developer Agency Bill, 2011, sent to the Kwara State House of Assembly by Governor  Abdulfatah Ahmed in Ilorin on Thursday.

In the letter read by Speaker Rasak Atunwa, the governor said the agency would ensure the utilisation of human and material resources and services available in the state in all contracts involving government or its agencies.

According to him, the agency will boost government’s efforts at human capital development and economic transformation of the state.

He urged the assembly to give the bill early consideration with a view to passing it into law.

Atunwa directed the Clerk of the House to prepare the bill for first reading tomorrow.

Lagos

The Center For Health Education Population and Nutrition (CHEPON) on Tuesday said that the nutritional status of our primary school children was worrisome and had a direct relationship with their cognitive development.

Executive Director of CHEPON Prof. Tola Atinmo  said this at the Teachers’ Training Workshop and launch of Healthy Kids Global Programme for primary schools in Lagos State, organised by Nestle Plc.

“It is disheartening to note that many parents do not bother much about what these pupils consume on daily basis once they provide them with money, usually between N10 and N50 daily.

Ogun

Many applicants have besieged the Governor’s Office in Abeokuta, to ascertain their employment status.

The applicants who were on November 2 and 3, interviewed by the state’s Civil Service Commission, were asked to return for their employment letters on November 16.

However, some of them who spoke to newsmen on conditions of anonymity, expressed surprise that their names were not out as promised by the commission.

Another applicant, who also spoke anonymously expressed surprise at the inability of applicants to access the commission’s web site.

Sokoto

Governor Aliyu Wamakko of  Sokoto State has called on Nigerians to continue to live in peace with one another to ensure the smooth implementation of the on going Federal Government reforms.

Wamakko told newsmen in Sokoto last Wednesday that successful implementation of the reforms would ensure the nation’s political growth.

He urged Nigerians to tolerate and understand one another, irrespective of tribe, religion and political differences for peace to reign.

Zamfara

The Community and Social Development Project (CSDP) has disbursed more than N 272 million to 39 communities in Zamfara for the execution of various development projects.

The CSDP General Manager, Alhaji Garba Muhammad stated this last Wednesday in Gusau in an interview with newsmen.

Muhammad said that the projects were executed in the last two years in the areas of education, health care, rural water supply, feeder roads and skills acquisition programmes.

He explained that the communities had contributed 10 per cent of the total cost of the projects in their area, while the World Bank provided 90 per cent of the remaining fund.

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95% Of Small Businesses Should Be Off Tax – Oyedele

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The Federal Government is working on a system that will provide tax relief to 95 per cent of the informal sector of the economy in the country.
Mr Taiwo Oyedele, Chairman of the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee, said this at the closing session of the committee on Sunday in Abuja.
He said this would be achieved through the exemption of businesses earning N25 million a year or less from the various taxes hindering their progress over time.
‘’So, we think that 95 per cent of the informal sector should be legally exempted from all taxes; withholding tax, company income tax, even payee on their staff.
‘’We’re using data to inform our decisions. Currently, if you earn N25 million a year or less, you don’t have to pay company income tax, you don’t have to worry about VAT.
‘’We think that the informal sector are people who are trying to earn legitimate living, we should allow them be and support them to grow to a point where they can then have the ability to pay taxes,” he said.
Oyedele said the new reforms being proposed would focus on the top 5 per cent of that sector, the middle class and the elite for taxes.
He said the committee was drafting the laws to effect the necessary changes in the fiscal policy and tax reform ecosystem of the country.
According to the chairman, the new laws will ensure that reviews become sustained by all governments coming in, adding that: “we don’t want this whole effort to go down the drain, after one or two years.”
On compliance, he urged all stakeholders to fully cooperate with the government in implementing a new fiscal and tax policy that would be used for the general good of the citizens.
‘’We think that the days of being above the law in paying taxes are over. The same thing we’re saying to our leaders, whether they are elected or appointed.
‘’We think they have to lead by example by showing that they have paid the taxes, not only on time, but correctly to the lawful authorities as contained in the various laws,” he said.
He said explained that some of the taxes complained about by Nigerians were those already in the constitution, which the committee had looked at and called for their review.
Oyedele said the committee report would be made to pass through the normal process of legislation in order to give it the full legal backing.
‘’So, our expectation is, as we progress now from ideation, proposal to implementation, you’ll see less and less of those issues and then you’ll see harmony in the direction of the fiscal system.
‘’Not only in the number of taxes we collect, you will also see an improvement in how those monies are being spent.
‘’In terms of priority of spending, in terms of the efficiency of spending and in terms of focusing on what impacts on the lives of majority of our population that live in multi-dimensional poverty,” he said.
Oyedele added that the committee had been working with the sub-nationals and the local government councils in its task of harmonising the taxes into a single digit in the country.
‘’So, we’re convinced, and that’s what the data tells us, that the right path we need to follow, is the path where we repeal many of these taxes, harmonise whatever is left.
‘’We think we can keep that within single digit across local government, state and federal government combined, and then improve the efficiency of collecting those taxes.
‘’We are also very convinced that we need to increase the threshold of exemption for small businesses, for low income earners because if you can’t make ends meet, the last thing you want is someone asking you to pay tax.
‘’We think in fact, when our nation gets to the level we need to be, we should be able to even add money to those who have very little or nothing,” said Oyedele.
At the ceremony, Vice-President Kashim Shettima restated President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to revitalise revenue generation in the country.
“Our aim remains the revitalisation of revenue generation in Nigeria, while sustaining an investment-friendly and globally competitive business environment.
“Contrary to speculations in some quarters, we are not here to frustrate any sector of our economy but to create an administrative system that ensures the benefits of a thriving tax system for all our citizens,” he said.
He said the dynamics of the nation’s fiscal landscape prompted the Tinubu administration to pause and reconsider the direction it was going.
“I am confident that both the Federal and State Governments stand ready to ensure the effective implementation of your reform proposals.
“We shall provide the institutional framework to guarantee the adoption of the consensus of this committee, aligning them with our economic agenda,”said Shettima.

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138.9m Nigerians Need Interventions Against Tropical Diseases -WHO

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Data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that 138.9 million Nigerians require interventions against Neglected Tropical Diseases.
This is according to the latest epidemiological and programmatic data for 2022, which were gathered, compiled, and analysed in 2023, and obtained from the WHO on Saturday.
The body also said NTDs are endemic in Nigeria as it ranks first in the African region and second globally after India.
WHO defined NTDs as a diverse group of conditions of parasitic, bacterial, viral, fungal, and non-communicable origin, noting that there are more than 15 NTDs in Nigeria.
The report stated, “They prevent children from going to school and adults from going to work, trapping communities in cycles of poverty and inequity. People affected by disabilities and impairments caused by NTDs often experience stigma within their communities, hindering their access to needed care and leading to social isolation.
“Nigeria is endemic for several NTDs. The only disease eliminated was dracunculiasis (Guinea-worm disease) in 2013. The population requiring interventions against NTDs was approximately 138.9 million in 2022, ranking first in the African region and second globally after India.
“This includes 138.9 million requiring treatment for lymphatic filariasis through mass drug administration; 48.7 million requiring treatment for soil-transmitted helminthiases through mass drug administration; and 43.5 million requiring treatment for onchocerciasis through mass drug administration.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Government had in 2023 said it would eradicate NTDs in the country by 2027.
The Director of the WHO Global Neglected Tropical Diseases Programme, Dr Ibrahima Fall, said, “With a renewed focus on strategic priorities addressing advocacy for action, partnership, costing and accelerated implementation, technical gaps including research and development and leadership.
“We must intensify our collective action to address the deep-rooted inequalities that fuel the transmission of NTDs in the populations where they persist.”

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NDLEA Intercepts Three Trailer Loads Of Opioids, Others, Arrests Suspects

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Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have intercepted three trailer loads of opioids, comprising 3,450,000 pills and 344,000 bottles of codeine syrup.
The agency said the illegal drugs at Abule Ado in Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State, last Thursday.
The NDLEA Director, Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, disclosed this in a statement, yesterday, adding that three suspects were also arrested in connection with the seizure.
The statement partly read, “The multi-billion naira consignments were loaded into two 40-ft container trucks and another 20-ft truck at the AML bonded terminal, Abule-Osun, near the International Trade Fair complex before heading to a large warehouse at Abule-Ado, where NDLEA officers eventually arrested the suspects and recovered the opioid consignments on Thursday, May 9, 2024.
“Those arrested include the warehouse agent, Cosmas Obiajulu, 51; Ridwan Balogun, 25, and Banjo Tayo, 30, both drivers of two of the trucks, while the third driver jumped off to escape arrest.”
The statement also revealed that in Ekiti State, a 75-year-old grandpa, Jibril Audu, was arrested on Friday with 7.5 kilogrammes of cannabis at Oke-asa village, Ijero-Ekiti, during a raid operation, while a 70-year-old grandma, Tikwase Nytor, was nabbed with 15.6 kilogrammes of the same substance on Thursday during a raid operation at Achusa and International Market Road, Makurdi, Benue State.
“It also stated that in a separate operation on Tuesday, NDLEA operatives arrested a suspect, Nwankwo Ejike, in the Coker area of Lagos, where 100 litres of codeine syrup were recovered from him, while 60 litres of the same substance were seized from one Clinton Akinye in the same area on the same day.
The statement added, “Not less than 37.5kg of cannabis sativa loaded in a Toyota Camry car was recovered from another suspect, Adegbola Segun, 47, when the car was intercepted at Mile 12 area of Lagos on Monday, May 6th.
“Another consignment of opioids consisting of 59,106 pills of tramadol and different quantities of codeine syrup and Rohypnol being taken across the border to Garua, Cameroon, was intercepted by NDLEA officers on Monday, May 6th, along Mubi-Yola Road, Adamawa State.
“Two suspects linked to the drugs: Abubakar Auwal, 39, and Adamu Abubakar, 25, (a.k.a. Bamanga), a trans-border trafficker who was to take the consignment from Mubi across to Cameroon, were promptly arrested.”
Similarly, NDLEA officers in Edo State were reported to have raided the Iguiye forest in Ovia North East LGA on Saturday, “where a total of 11, 636.185 kg of cannabis was destroyed on three farms measuring 4.654474 hectares, while an additional 188kg of the same psychoactive substance was recovered, and a suspect, Itah Nyong, was arrested during the overnight operation.”
In the statement, the NDLEA Chairman, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Marwa commended the officers for their efforts and pledged continued collaboration with local and international partners to combat drug trade in Nigeria.

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