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THE STATES

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Adamawa

The Commissioner of Information in Adamawa, Alhaji Abdurrahman Jimeta, has described the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Adamawa as “a dead party” that did not know how to mount an opposition to government policies and programmes.

Abdurrahman, who was reacting to ACN allegation that the state PDP led government has not delivered and was living on borrowed time, said the people of Adamawa knew better.

Abdurrahman said the past administration of Boni Haruna, who is now the state ACN leader, constructed only 300 classrooms in eight years whereas Gov Murtala Nyako who spent four years now had built 4,000 classrooms.

“We have awarded contract for the construction of road networks, transformed agriculture through the introduction of commercial agriculture to empower the people alongside other numerous projects.

“On issues of security and workers salaries ACN is trying to play politics with the issues; everybody knows security is a general problem and that Adamawa is far better in the North East if you talk of security problems.

Bauchi

Some residents of the area marked for the construction of the proposed Bauchi International Airport have accused the government of not compensating them for their lands.

A representative of the residents, Alhaji Musa Ibrahim of Durum Ward, told newsmen in Bauchi on Wednesday that in 1982, some government officials visited the area and wrote down their names.

Ibrahim said that none of the land owners had been paid, adding “We urge the government to tell us who was paid the money in our community so that we can confront him’’.

Also speaking, Malama Hadiza Umar, who said she was representing her mother, said the family had not received any compensation and urged the government to assist them.

“I am here to represent my mother because she is very old and unable to be here; we are asking the good government of Bauchi State to please pay us the compensation,’’ she said.

FCT

President Goodluck Jonathan  has said  the happiness and aspirations of many families across the world had been dampened by natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods.

Jonathan made the statement at the 39th World Congress on Military Medicine in Abuja.

He listed the natural disasters as earthquakes and landslides in Haiti, China, Spain, India, Turkey as well as floods in Brazil, Philippines, Colombia, South Africa, South Korea and Thailand.

The President was represented on the occasion by the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal, Oluseyi Petinrin.

“There is no gainsaying that many nations in the world are presently grappling with problems of emergencies and natural disasters. The earthquakes and landslides that occurred in 2011 in Haiti and China as well as those in Fukushima, Spain, India and Turkey.

Gombe

The Emir of Pindiga in Akko Local Government  Area of Gombe State, Alhaji Adamu Yakubu has helped in resolving the problem of resistance among the people to polio vaccines in two districts.

Yakubu told newsmen on Sunday in Pindiga that he with the assistance of traditional rulers and opinion leaders in the districts, including Kashare, were able to re-orient the people to participate in polio immunisation.

He attributed the problem of resistance by the people to communication gaps between the traditional rulers and their subjects.

“We organised awareness campaigns several times in this emirate in order to reach out to the people and we were able to make them understand the importance of immunisation.

Jigawa

The Economic Adviser, Cross River State Planning Commission, Dr  Ndem Ayara, has urged state governments to make laws that will establish State Planning Commissions and Bureau of Statistics.

Ayara gave the advice in Dutse on Monday in an interview with newsmen in Dutse, the Jigawa State capital.

He said that a law establishing the Commissions should make the governors as the chairmen of the commissions to ensure effective implementation of the plans.

“First of all, you need a law that establishes the state planning commission which will put the governor as the chairman.

“The second is that the backbone of planning is statistics and also we need to have law for your state bureau of statistics and those two laws in Cross River State have been passed,” the economic adviser  said.

Kebbi

The Kebbi Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) has banned the collection of any form of levy by heads of Primary and Junior Secondary Schools (JSS) in the state, an official has said.

Alhaji Sodangi Diggi, the Secretary of the Board, told newsmen in Birnin Kebbi, on Tuesday, that the state government had declared all levies illegal.

“Education at those levels are free and no one should collect any form of levy.“

He warned that violators of the new directive would be penalised.

Kogi

Ahead of the December 3 governorship elections in Kogi, INEC on Monday warned its officials against receiving “strange gifts” from any quarter.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, gave the warning in Okene at a two-day training programme for supervisory presiding officers recruited for the election.

He advised them to exercise self-caution, saying that desperate politicians would attempt to reach out to them before and during the election.

Jega urged the officers to partner with INEC to deliver a free and fair election in the state, saying that the perception of the commission as a credible electoral umpire must be sustained.

The INEC Chairman, who was represented at the event by the national Commissioner in charge of training, Prof. Lai Olurode said the commission intended to improve on the standards achieved in the April elections.

Kwara

The Sector Commander of the FRSC in Kwara, Mr Yusuf Salam, said 17 lives were lost, while 20 persons were injured in motor accidents in the state during the Eid-el-Kabir festival.

Salam told newsmen in Ilorin on Tuesday that most of the accidents were as a result of careless and reckless driving.

He said the command had taken measures to ensure that the rate of accidents were drastically reduced during the Christmas.

“The corps will improve on its efforts and enforcement level. We are introducing more mobile courts to ensure that people violating traffic rules are instantly brought to book.

“During the period, we will encourage the use of rest areas. We will encourage road users, especially motorists, the drivers, at least, when they travel for long period, to rest.

Lagos

Speaker of the House of Representative, Aminu Tambuwal, on Saturday in Lagos defended the inauguration of a Constitution Review Committee by President Goodluck Jonathan.

The committee was charged with the responsibility of advising the President on the amendment of the 1999 Constitution.

Tambuwal made the defence while fielding questions with journalists at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Lagos.

He described the setting up of a committee by Jonathan on constitution review as highly proactive in the dynamic Nigerian polity.

Ogun

The prevailing under-development in Nigeria’s rural communities has been identified as a major threat to the country’s national security.

The Commandant General, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Dr Ade Abolurin  made the observation in Abeokuta on Monday at the commencement of the 2011 Press Week of the Ogun State Chapter of the NUJ.The theme of the event is “Democracy and National Security”.  Abolurin spoke on “Grassroots Development: a Prerequisite to National Security’’.

The NSCDC boss said that information had shown that many of the apprehended terrorists and hoodlums were people who migrated from rural areas to the cities for better living conditions.

Abolurin stressed that there were sub-standard living conditions in the grassroots, due to inadequate provision of electricity, bad roads, poor transportation system and a lack of health facility.

He noted that the situation had resulted in poor health, high infant and maternal mortality, high level of disease, low level of education, chronic poverty and high rate of rural-urban drift.

“The fact that life in the grassroots is nasty and brutish further leads to petty thievery and drug abuse among the adults and youths.

“Many of the youths in the grassroots migrate to the urban areas to get better life, but because many of them are not academically suited for jobs in the urban areas, their life styles are not better than what they are at the grassroots,” he noted.

Osun

The Osun Government is to recruit caterers and food vendors for its elementary school feeding and health programme, known as ‘O-Meal.’

The Operations Officer of the programme, Mrs Olubunmi Ayoola said in a statement in Osogbo on Monday that Gov. Rauf Aregbesola had pledged to improve the programme, which was introduced by his predecessor, retired Brig.-Gen. Olagunsoye Oyinlola.

Ayoolasaid the state government was prepared to re-organise the programme to ensure that it had the desired impact on the school system.

She said arrangements had been concluded to recruit candidates, who possessed the Ordinary National Diploma in Catering and Hotel Management, as caterers and food vendors.

According to the statement, applicants must also possess at least the West African School Certificate (WASC) or General Certificate of Education (GCE) in Home Economics.

Although the number of those to be recruited was not stated, job seekers have started to submit applications for employment under the ‘O-Meal’ Programme.

The programme is expected to cover all elementary schools in the 30 local government areas of the state.

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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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