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THE STATES

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Bauchi
The District Head of Bakaro in Bauchi State, Alhaji Nura
Jumba, has commended an advocacy group, Journalists Against Polio (JAP), over their proactive initiatives which led to reduction of polio cases in the state.
Jumba, who made the commendation on Saturday in Bauchi said the activities of JAP in the state had in the last five years led to eradication of the scourge, especially in 2012, when it was declared free of polio.
He said, “I want to thank JAP for being very proactive in their contributions that ensured that the problem of polio eradication in Bauchi State was successful. “The district and village heads were all under the directive that we should do anything within our powers to see that this programme of eradicating polio in Bauchi State succeeds. The international donors brought in money to see that we eradicate polio not only in Bauchi State but in Nigeria as whole,” he said.

Borno
The Borno State Government said last Saturday, that it
would maintain its status of a polio-free state this year.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Salma Kolo, stated this at the launching of the Polio Immunisation Plus Day campaign in Maiduguri.
Kolo said that government would also strive to enhance the quality of life of women and children through its free Maternal and Child Health Care Services.
She also said that the state government had in the last two years laid a solid foundation for enhancing health care delivery. Speaking at the launch, Mrs Shettima advised women in the state to take advantage of the free health care services by visiting hospitals regularly.
Shettima, was represented by the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Hajiya Inna Galadima.

FCT
The Deputy Senate President, Mr Ike Ekweremadu, has assured Nigerians that the ongoing electoral reform by the National Assembly would yield an improved electoral system.
A statement issued by Special Adviser (Media) to Ekweremadu, Mr Uche Anichukwu, said in Abuja on Wednesday that the assurance was given in his democracy day message to Nigerians.
Ekweremadu said the the ongoing reforms would soon be concluded to further consolidate the country’s democracy and prepare the nation adequately for the 2015 general election.
“Fifteen years of unbroken democratic rule is something to be proud of, especially for a country with our kind of history. “We also have every reason to be proud of what we were able to achieve in the 2011 general election following the widely applauded electoral reforms,” it said.

Gombe
Vice President Namadi Sambo and House of Representa
tives Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, last Saturday, urged Muslims to live in peace with one another and adherents of other faith.
Sambo and Tambuwal, who made the call at the 28th Maulud (birthday) of the late Senegalese Islamic Scholar, Sheikh Ibrahim Inyass, in Gombe, urged Muslims to continue to pray for peace, unity and development of the country in particular and the world in general.
He urged Muslims to emulate the good virtues of the late Islamic scholar as well as those of Prophet Mohammed.
Also, Tambuwal said peace was inevitable for the development of any society, adding that Muslims should pray for peace, unity and development of Nigeria.

Kano
Fage local government council of Kano State has
pledged to eradicate all child killer diseases in the area. The Interim Management Officer of the council, Alhaji Hayatu Musa, made the pledge last Saturday at the launching of the 2014 4th round of polio immunisation in the area.
Musa said that the council would not relent in its efforts at ensuring healthy children and mothers in the council area and  commended traditional rulers in the area for their contribution to the polio eradication campaign.
Nasarawa
The Nasarawa State Government has expressed its readi
ness to collaborate with the Federal Government to fight insurgency.
Governor Tanko Al-makura, who made this known at the 40th anniversary celebration of the Emir of Lafia, Alhaji Mustapha Agwai, in Lafia, on Saturday, said the collaboration became imperative because of the security challenges facing the state and some parts of the country.
According to him, the activities of insurgents have negatively affected our lives and the socio-economic development of the country.
“Peace is the panacea required for the development of any society. No society or nation can experience meaningful development in an atmosphere of rancor, violence and confusion. I want to assure the people of my administration’s readiness to collaborate with the Federal Government, security agencies, traditional and religion leaders to fight insurgency in the country for the benefit of all,” Al-Makura said.

Niger
Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger last Saturday urged
Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), to prevail on past leaders of the country to help curb insurgency rocking the Northern region.
Aliyu, who is the Chairman, Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF), made the call at the maiden convocation of the Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida University, Lapai, Niger.
He expressed the hope that security challenges in the Northern states could be surmounted in the next three months and  insisted that with concerted efforts from prominent Nigerians, the unbearable situation in the North would soon be a thing of the past.
The governor, who is also the visitor to the university, urged tertiary institutions in the country not to limit instructions of students to academics alone.
The Chairman of the university endowment fund, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, announced that the fund was yielding results.

Ondo
The Ondo State House of Assembly last Wednesday, ex
tended the tenure of 18 local government caretaker chairmen by six months.
The motion for the extension was moved at plenary by the Majority Leader in the Assembly, Mr Ifedayo Akinsoyinu. Akinsoyinu also represents Ondo West Constituency II in the Assembly.
The motion was seconded by Mr Banso Adeyinka, who represents Akoko North-West Constituency I.
Akinsoyinu said the motion for the extension followed the request from the governor for the extension of the tenure of interim caretaker chairmen in the state.
He said the extension of the tenure of the chairmen became imperative given its expiration on Wednesday.
Oyo
A former Minister of Sports and Special Duties, Prof.
Taoheed Adedoja has suspended his 63rd birthday anniversary celebration because of the continued abduction of some school girls in Chibok, Borno.
In a statement, he issued in Ibadan on Saturday, the former minister said that he would focus on prayers for the release of the students.
“As I turn 63, it is very disturbing that some of the children from Chibok that we are supposed to be celebrating with are still being held captive by the Boko Haram group. “In view of the agony and pains being experienced by the girls’ parents, guardians and Nigerians in general, I have suspended the usual activities relating to my birthday.

Plateau
Women and children were worst hit by the twin explo
sions that rocked Terminus Market in Jos, on Tuesday afternoon, the wife of Plateau governor, Mrs Talatu Jang, has said.
Jang, in a statement issued by her Press Secretary, Akila Kasham, said she was deeply saddened by the incident noting that  the incident took place at a time considerable progress had been made in the peace building process.
She described the incident as “a heartless, evil minded attack by agents of darkness,’’ saying their action was a clear demonstration of the height of man’s inhumanity to man.
Jang condoled with the families that had lost loved ones and wished the injured a quick recovery and also appealed to Plateau residents to cooperate with the authorities and law enforcement agents by providing any useful information that could lead to the arrest of those responsible.

Yobe
The Yobe State Government said on Friday, that it raised
one million assorted tree seedlings for the establishment of shelter-belts across the state to combat desertification.
The Commissioner for Environment, Alhaji Idi Gubana, announced  in an interview  in Damaturu, the state capital, that the shelter-belts are to serve as wind breakers to reduce the effects of winds that cause erosion, leading to the desert moving further into the hinterlands.
He said the state government was collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Environment to implement the Great Green Wall Programme aimed at establishing orchards and tree plantations to serve as shelter-belts, adding that government has provided land for the Green Wall project.
Gubana said the ministry had evacuated refuse dumps in the five major towns to check water stagnation and outbreak of diseases, and intensified sensitisation campaigns against illegal felling of trees, bush burning and arbitrary disposal of refuse, adding that the efforts were yielding positive results.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo (left), discussing with President Goodluck Jonathan at the funeral service of former Lagos Governor, Sir Michael Otedola in Lagos last Friday. Photo: NAN

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo (left), discussing with President Goodluck Jonathan at the funeral service of former Lagos Governor, Sir Michael Otedola in Lagos last Friday. 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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