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THE STATES

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FCT
The President of Nigeria Union of Journalists
(NUJ), Mr Mohammed Garba, has called for improved funding of government owned media organisations.
Garba made the appeal when he paid a courtesy call on  the Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Mr Ima Niboro.
He said adequate funding was necessary for the media to discharge their functions effectively, especially as the country prepared for the 2015 general elections.
According to him, proper funding of the organisations is also needed for balanced reportage.

Jigawa

The Village Head of Chai-chai community in Dutse
Local Government Area, of Jigawa State has commended the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN), an NGO, for constructing borehole and classrooms in the area.
Muhammad made the commendation at the inauguration of the projects in the Community Primary school in  Chai-Chai, Dutse.
He said that the provision of the borehole would enhance access to safe drinking water among people of the area.
He said that both the pupils and members of the community would benefit from the facility.

Kaduna

The Kaduna State Government, said it has awarded
contract valued at N100.9 million for the upgrade of electricity infrastructure at the Kaduna Dry Port.
The Commissioner for Rural and Community Development, Alhaji Abdullahi Ahmad, stated this in Kaduna at a ceremony marking the commencement of the project.
The project involves the construction of a 300KVA-Transformer sub-station, procurement of a 250KVA generator and construction of a generator house.
Ahmad also said that the money would be used to upgrade street lights in the port located at the Inland Containers Terminal, Kaduna.

Kano

The Kano State policing outfit, Hisba Board, said it had arrested 52 young women and men for allegedly engaging in prostitution and other immoral acts in Kano metropolis.
The board’s Director-General, Dr Abba Sufi, made the disclosure in an interview with newsmen in Kano.
He said those arrested were made up of 27 females and 25 males, adding that they were apprehended at the railway station and behind Magwan Water Restaurant in Kano metropolis.
The arrest was made following a raid by members of the board, he noted.

Kebbi

UNICEF has commended Kebbi State government for
paying its N158 million counterpart funding to curb malnutrition in the state in two years.
The UNICEF officer in-charge of malnutrition, Mr Stanley Okechukwu, made the commendation when he visited Gov. Saidu Dakingari of Kebbi State in Birnin Kebbi recently.
He also commended the state government for ensuring the treatment of 100,000 malnourished children and enabling the treatment of 600,000 more children against child killer diseases within the period.
Okechukwu described the efforts to fight such diseases as highly commendable and assured that UNICEF would sustain its support to the state.

Kwara

A housewife, Yetunde Afolabi of Osere area of
Ilorin, has prayed an Ilorin Area Court to dissolve her five-year-old marriage with Kunle Afolabi, because he publicly humiliated her.
Yetunde, 30, told the court that her husband was fond of tearing her clothes, making her naked before beating her in public, just to humiliate her.
She told the court that her husband was also fond of calling her names like “prostitute, dirty pig, and shameless person” in public.
“My husband has ridiculed me and soiled my personality to the extent that I am ashamed of moving freely in my neighbourhood,” she said.

Nasarawa

Governor Umaru Al-Makura of Nasarawa State
has said that in spite of his Deputy, Mr Damishi Luka, defecting to PDP, he will accord him his right as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.
Al-Makura made the statement in Lafia when commissioners in his cabinet paid him a solidarity visit at the Government House.
“Damishi Luka remains my Deputy and I am duty bound by the constitution to accord his office all its dues and entitlements,” Al-Makura said.
He, however, described “the defection as a tip of the iceberg of an onslaught orchestrated against the present administration in the state.’’

Niger

The Northern States Governors’ Forum has en
joined Christian faithful to use the Lenten season to pray to God for solutions to the socioeconomic and security challenges confronting the nation.
The Chairman of the Forum, Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger, made the call on behalf of the group in Minna, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Malam Danladi Ndayebo.
Aliyu urged Christian faithful to conduct themselves well during the season in order to maximise the spiritual and physical benefits inherent in the season.
He said that good intentions, prayers and firmness of purpose in the pursuit of good deeds were pre-requisites for reaping the benefits of the holy season.

Ondo

To achieve  the 35 percent affirmative action on fe-
male  representation in governance, the Ondo State Government has urged women to participate  actively in  politics.
The Ondo State Commissioner for Woman Affairs and Social Development, Yemi Mahmud-Fasanmi, made the call in an interview with  newsmen in Akure.
“I urge the woman folk to come out;  they should not fold their arms and be expecting good turnout in terms of their participation in politics.

Osun

The Osun State government said that it would spend
N2.6 billion on the ongoing rehabilitation of its water works at Ede town.
The General Manager of the Water Corporation, Mr Gbenga Owojuyigbe, disclosed the amount when the House of Assembly Committee on Water, Environment and Sanitation visited the corporation in Ede.
Owojuyigbe said the government had earlier spent N424 million during the first phase of the emergency rehabilitation of the water works.

Plateau

The Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has been charged
to create a curriculum that would help the youth think ‘outside the box’ instead of looking for paid jobs.
The charge was made in Jos by Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, Chairman of ITF Governing Council, and Minster of State for Defence, at the 2013 Merit Award ceremony of the Governing Council.
“What we need is creativity; we, in the ITF must create a Nigerian dream that everybody will latch onto,” he said.
He said that President Goodluck Jonathan had already provided the right platform for creativity, adding that the Fund needed to be known internationally.

Sokoto

Sokoto State Zakkat and Endowment Committee has
facilitated the treatment of 526 mentally-ill persons at the Federal Neuropsychiatry Hospital, Kware, in February.
The Chairman of the committee, Alhaji Lawal Maidoki, who disclosed this while disbursing N56.5 million as donations to physically challenged persons in Sokoto, said N914,000 was spent on their treatment.
He said only 16 of the patients were admitted at the psychiatric hospital while the rest were out-patients coming for drug administration and counselling.

L-R:  Chairman of the occasion, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, representative of the  governor of Rivers State, Mrs Ibim Semenitari,  representative of Chief of Army Staff, Brig.-Gen. Olajide Lalaye and  Chairman, Board of  Peoples Media Limited, Malam Wada Maida, at the  Peoples Media Limited  conference in Abuja, last Thursday. Photo: NAN.

L-R: Chairman of the occasion, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, representative of the governor of Rivers State, Mrs Ibim Semenitari, representative of Chief of Army Staff, Brig.-Gen. Olajide Lalaye and Chairman, Board of Peoples Media Limited, Malam Wada Maida, at the Peoples Media Limited conference in Abuja, last Thursday. Photo: NAN.

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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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