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THE STATES

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Bauchi

The Chairman, Bauchi State Sports Council, Alhaji Tanimu Sa’idu, has commended Team Bauchi to the 18th National Sports Festival, saying that it performed well, in spite of late preparations.

Sa’idu told newsmen in Bauchi that both the council and the state government were impressed with the athletes’ 18th position on the final medals table.

“The contingent deserves commendation because it has performed well, in spite of late arrangements and preparations for the festival.

 

Borno

The Borno State Government has announced the award of a N95 million contract for the rehabilitation of the state School for the Blind in Maiduguri.

Alhaji Usman Durkwa, the Commissioner for Religious Affairs, told newsmen that the exercise was in line with the policy of the present administration to provide welfare for persons with disabilities.

He said the contract would include the provision of bedding and furniture, special text books, brail computers and other special teaching aids.

He said that the contract would also cover the supply of equipment for the teaching of the deaf and other disabled persons in the school.

 

FCT

The Chairman House Committee on INEC, Mr Jerry Mamwe, has called on the Budget Office to understand the workings of INEC with a view to attracting more funds for the organisation.

He made the call in an interview with The Tide in Abuja.

Mamwe said that the call became imperative because INEC had had its budget slashed by 40 per cent in spite of its enormous responsibility to the nation.

“It is so unfortunate that the executive is not seeing election as a process; rather, it sees it as an event and this cannot move INEC forward.

 

Kano

Commercial motorcycle operators in Kano say that they are recording low patronage because of the prevailing harmattan haze and cold in the area.

Some of the motorcyclists told newsmen that the weather condition had adversely affected their business and income.

Aminu Wada, one of the motorcyclists operating on Hadeja Road, said that the severe weather had forced him to stop operating in the early hours of the day.

“Since the turn of the season, customers no longer patronise us; they now prefer to board taxis and buses, especially in the morning,’’ he said.

 

Katsina

The Katsina State Government has expended N300 million on community development projects under its Community and Social Development Project (CSDP) scheme in the past three years.

The state’s Commissioner for Lands, Alhaji Nasidi Danladi, made the disclosure in Katsina on Tuesday at a training workshop for 300 Local Government workers, organised by the CSDP.

The CSDP which replaces Local Empowerment and Environmental Management Project (LEEMP), is aimed at assisting local communities in infrastructure development.

 

Kwara

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has presented relief materials worth millions of naira to flood victims in Kwara.

The materials were presented by the NEMA Zonal Coordinator, Mr Ishaya Chinoko, to the Special Adviser, Emergency and Relief Services to the Governor, Alhaji Musa Abdullahi.

The items included over 200 bags of rice, 350 mattresses, clothes and food items.

Chinoko said the items were provided to meet the immediate needs of the victims in the five affected council areas.

 

Nasarawa

The Nasarawa State Commissioner for Education, Mr. Hussaini Abubakar, has said the government will check the increasing cases of quack in the teaching profession.

At a sensitisation workshop organised by the Teachers’ Registration Council (TRC) in Lafia  Abubakar, said the infiltration of non-professional teachers into the profession in the state would not be allowed to continue.

The commissioner, who was represented by Hajia Zainab Abdulmumuni, the Permanent Secretary, said: “Teaching is just like any other profession in the country, so anyone who love teaching as a career must have the necessary qualification.’’

He commended TRC for living up to its mandate and expressed the hope that the registration of professional teachers by the council would help in repositioning the profession like others.

 

Niger

A former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, has expressed worry that the insecurity in the country was affecting the nation’s economy, especially its Northern part.

Abubakar made the remark in Minna after his inauguration as the Chairman of the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University Lapai Endowment Fund board of trustees by Gov. Babangida Aliyu of Niger.

He said the north was hard hit by the problems of insecurity that its once popular night economy had been sent into comatose, adding: “there is no more night economy’’.

He said carnage, destruction of public property and loss of innocent lives were having negative effects on the national economy and therefore should be stopped.

 

Ogun

The Ogun State Ministry of Health has announced it would establish four ambulance points at strategic places to reduce deaths on the highways.

The points are Mowe-Ibafo axis, Odeda-Ibadan Road, Olorunda-Imeko Road and Oni in Ogun Waterside.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Olaokun Soyinka made the announcement in Abeokuta, while defending his ministry’s budget for 2013, before the state legislators.

Soyinka said that it was part of government’s effort to further safeguard lives and to make the accident victims to get prompt attention.

 

Ondo

The European Union will no longer allow timber products from Nigeria into the its markets as from March 2013, according to a Nigerian official.

The Deputy Director of Forestry, Federal Ministry of Environment, Mr. Oye Adedoyin revealed this  in an interview with newsmen in Akure.

Adedoyin was in the Ondo State capital to attend a Federal Department of Forestry-sponsored workshop tagged “Survey and Study on Timber: Flows to identify the extent of illegal logging in Nigeria.”

 

 

Oyo

The Chairman, Oyo State branch of Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), Chief Joseph Ojediji said that members of the group planted about 400,000 hybrid cocoa seedlings.

Ojediji told our correspondent in Ibadan that the last time seedlings were provided free to farmers in the state was two years ago.

“ Two years ago, we got about 1.5 million seedlings from the government, this time around, we got about 400,000 while we got nothing during the last planting season,’’ he said.

He said the Abiola Ajimobi administration in the state had improved its relationship with cocoa farmers in the state, adding that his members really appreciated the free seedlings distributed to farmers.

 

Plateau

Some residents of Jos and Bukuru in Plateau are now rushing for second hand clothing and other materials for the Christmas.

Residents were seen purchasing assorted materials from second hand clothes dealers for the Christmas at the Terminus, Katako and Bukuru markets, our source said.

The survey revealed that the second hands clothes market was patronised in preference to the new clothes and boutiques because of the assorted materials, which could be purchased cheaply.

The survey showed that the residents were motivated to patronise the second hands clothes due to the paucity of funds because of non-payment of majority of the workforce at the grass-roots level of government in the state.

 

Taraba

The Chief Judge of Taraba, Justice Josephine Tuktur, has appealed to state governors to grant financial autonomy to the judiciary for effective service delivery.

Tuktur told our reporter in Jalingo that the autonomy of the judiciary would improve service delivery and help in prison decongestion.

“I want to appeal to state governors to grant financial independence to the state judiciary.

“If a budget is made for the judiciary and promptly released, most of the challenges in the system that delay service delivery will be tackled and quick dispensation of justice will strive,” she said.

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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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