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Rapist begs for forgiveness, says ‘action not concluded before my arrest’

30-year-old water vendor caught defiling a nine-year-old girl in Adamawa State has pleaded for leniency on the grounds that he had not “concluded” his act before he was apprehended.

The suspect, Mohammed Babangida, who was paraded by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) on Friday, told newsmen that he was a first offender, and that he regretted his act.

“This is my first time of doing this thing and I didn’t even ‘conclude it’ when my door was knocked, forcing me to stop.

“I want to beg for forgiveness as a married man with children, based in Bauchi; I don’t want this shameful thing to wreck my family.

“The whole thing started some days ago when the girl begged me for N50 to buy cake, claiming she was hungry, which I gave her.

“Another day, she also begged for money and I gave her N20, she again came to my house and I gave her N50 and we entered the room,” Babangida narrated.

Speaking earlier on the arrest of the suspect, the State Commandant of NSCDC in Adamawa, Alhaji Nuraddeen Abdullahi, said Babangida was apprehended in Damare Ward of Yola town, following a report from residents of the ward.

He said that the victim had been taken to the Yola Sexual Assault Referral Centre for treatment and compilation of needed evidence to prosecute the suspect.

“The suspect will be charged to court for prosecution after the intervention and advice of the Director Public Prosecution,” Abdullahi said.

The commandant, who expressed concern over incidents of rape of minors, urged the public to do away with the culture of silence by reporting such incidents for necessary action.

“Our command has a Humanitarian and Gender-Based Violence Unit, which statutory duty is to handle this type of cases.

“We are always ready to handle this type of case and, therefore, urge the public to always speak out on rape and other gender-based violence,” Abdullahi pleaded.

Journalists don’t like having sex, lawyers hardest to please in bedroom, research finds

Latest research findings have shown that of all the professionals, journalists have been found to be less sexually active, as the majority of them don’t have time for sexual activities, while lawyers are said to be the hardest to be pleased by their spouses in the bedroom when making love.

Hence, if your sex life leaves much to desired, your job may be to blame, the new survey says.

According to the survey by Lelo UK, it said 2,000 men and women were asked about their sex lives, as well as their occupation.

At the other end of the scale, journalists, it was said, appear to have the least sex, with one-fifth of respondents claiming they only have sex once a month.

Likewise, the survey also revealed that lawyers are the hardest to please in the bedroom, with 27 per cent admitting to faking an orgasm every time they have sex.

An expert at LeloUK, the organisation that conducted the research, Kate Moyle, said: “Even within groups such as professions where there is a lot of similarities, we have to consider that there is a huge amount of individual differences impacting people’s sexuality and sex lives.

An expert at Lelo UK, the organisation that conducted the research, Kate Moyle, said: “Even within groups such as professions where there is a lot of similarities, we have to consider that there is a huge amount of individual differences impacting people’s sexuality and sex lives.

“However, what we may expect are some trends, for example, the level of physical activity in a career such as a farmer, rather than someone in an office setting may impact levels of fitness and energy.

“The lifestyle factors of our jobs such as flexibility of working hours and the environment are also likely to have an impact on all our lives not just our sex lives

But on the final analysis, the results revealed that farmers have the most sex, with over 33 per cent claiming to have sex at least once a day.

Farmers were closely followed by architects, with 21per cent of the architects spoken to said they have sex once a day, followed by hairdressers, 17 per cent of whom said they have sex once a day.

Another fuel tanker catches fire in Onitsha

 

Just a day after a fire ignited by a crashed tanker killed at least three persons in Onitsha, another fuel tanker Friday morning also crashed and caught fire in the commercial city of Anambra State.

The incident occurred on the Enugu-Onitsha expressway around 3 a.m.

However, no lives were lost in the incident.

A witness, Chiedu Beluchi, said the vehicle fell and spilt its contents believed to be petrol into the drainage which quickly spread to the surrounding area.

“Around 3 a.m we heard shouts of ‘fire,’ ‘fire’. I thought it was our building. When we rushed out it was at Enugu-Onitsha express. A tanker laden with fuel fell on the express exactly in front of a filling station,” Beluchi said.

Unlike Wednesday’s incident where the Anambra State Fire Service failed to show up with their fire fighting equipment, Beluchi said the firefighters quickly put out the fire.

“This time, Anambra State Fire Service came swiftly and before 4:30 a.m the fire had been put out and stopped from causing havoc in the residential area.”

Another resident, Ada Igwe, however said the fire destroyed some cars parked on the street around the area.

“The fuel tanker fell this on the Onitsha Enugu expressway opposite Bessoy filling station and burst into flames which entered Omagba Phase 2 and burnt some cars parked along the drainage line,” she said.

“This time around, the fire service responded well after they were contacted by my men,” the police chief said.

Wednesday’s fire incident continued to elicit reactions from across the state.

The senator representing Anambra North District, Stella Oduah, in a statement, said she will donate three fire trucks to help in fire fighting in the state.

“Sequel to my statement yesterday where I promised to look into ways of ameliorating the plight of victims in yesterday’s fuel tanker inferno, I have decided on the following steps:

“Wounded victims are encouraged to go to the Saint Charles Borromeo Hospital & Holy Rosary Hospital, Waterside where arrangements have been put in place to receive and treat them for free”.

“I shall be making a donation of three fire trucks to the Federal Fire Service in Onitsha to ensure they are better equipped to avert future occurrences like this”, Mrs Oduah said.

The lawmaker also said she would work with SMEDAN to develop access to soft loans and grants for the affected youth to help get them back on their feet.

“I shall be working with my colleagues to explore the legislative option on the need to regulate the movement of heavy-duty trucks on our Trunk A roads to prevent such calamities from ever happening again,” she said.

Also, the senator representing Anambra Central District, Uche Ekwunife, commiserated with the victims of the fire disaster.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Kingsley Ubani, the lawmaker described the incident as sad and unfortunate.

“What is most saddening is that the incident which took lives and destroyed goods worth millions of Naira came at a time when most citizens are struggling to earn a living”, she said.

Ms Ekwunife said Ochanja market, which was most hit by the incident, is a major source of revenue for the state.

She urged the state government to take proactive steps to curb the incessant fire outbreaks in the state.

She called for public places such as markets and malls to be provided functional fire stations to ensure swift reaction to fire outbreaks.

Buhari: Nigeria will prosper if we get infrastructure right

President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria will get better if needed infrastructure is put in place.

In a series of tweets on Friday, the president said good infrastructure will lead the country towards prosperity.

He reiterated his commitment to providing infrastructure, saying it will be a priority of his administration.

“I firmly believe that if we get infrastructure right in Nigeria, our roads, rail, ports; Nigerians will mind their businesses, many people will not even care who is in government. A country like ours, full of entrepreneurial energy and potential, will prosper,” he tweeted.

“This is why Infrastructure will continue to be one of our primary focus areas. We must & will rewrite the story, for this dear country of ours. I wish we had even more resources,and we are working on this, but we are doing our best within the resources currently available to us.”

Muhammadu Buhari

@MBuhari

I firmly believe that if we get infrastructure right in Nigeria, our roads, rail, ports; Nigerians will mind their businesses, many people will not even care who is in government. A country like ours, full of entrepreneurial energy and potential, will prosper.

Muhammadu Buhari

@MBuhari

This is why Infrastructure will continue to be one of our primary focus areas. We must & will rewrite the story, for this dear country of ours. I wish we had even more resources,and we are working on this, but we are doing our best within the resources currently available to us.

729 people are talking about this

On Thursday, Buhari approved the sum of N10 billion as intervention fund or the rehabilitation of Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu state said his administration will continue to prioritise infrastructural development in the country despite limited funds available.

Don’t associate Christ with criminality, CAN warns MURIC

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has asked the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) to desist from associating criminality with Christ.

While condemning the abduction of nine children in Kano state, Ishaq Akintola, director of MURIC, had said: “kidnapping for Christ is disgusting, nauseating, wicked and reprehensible. Kidnappers have taken over the house of God. The phenomenon of kidnapping for Christ has now rented the air. We are shocked to our marrows.”

Reacting in a statement in Kaduna, Joseph Hayab, chairman of CAN in the northern region, said there is nothing like kidnapping for Christ.

He described the statement of the MURIC director as “irresponsible, derogatory and provocative.”

“Criminals abound in everywhere and in every religion, for MURIC to say a crime was perpetrated for Christ, is sheer mischief aimed at provoking Christians,” he said.

“How could rational, sane and educated person, associate the action of criminals to a religion? There are many instances where Christian girls were abducted, forcefully converted to Islam and married off by criminals in Northern Nigeria. In some of these cases, the police either refused to act, or turned blind eyes.

“Will it be right to accused all Muslims for the action of such criminals? The answer is no.

“A particular group which belongs to a particular religious group has always been alleged to be responsible for the rampant kidnappings and banditry across the country, especially in the north, will it be right to say that they are committing the crime to promote their tribe or religion?

“We also have the case of Leah Sharibu who is still being held by Boko Haram insurgents for refusing to denounce her Christian faith and convert to Islam. No Christian has associated Muslims with such criminal acts.”

Hayab said CAN is willing to work with the people of Kano to ensure that the kidnappers are brought to justice.

“If we have any witness against the culprits behind the abduction, we will join hands with the people of Kano to testify against him or them in court,” he said.

“There is nothing like kidnapping for Christ. This evil kidnapper or child trafficker, knowing that he did not carry away the children for religion gave them new tribal names, MURIC should note.

“CAN northern states, therefore, condemned anybody carrying peoples children away and supports security agencies to investigate the matter and prosecute the culprits. Abduction of children is a criminal offence. MURIC can call whoever is found doing that whatever name they like, but don’t associate criminality with Christ.”

 

Gunshots as police, IMN members clash again in Abuja

The police have dispersed a demonstration of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).

The IMN members came out in their numbers on Friday to protest the continued incarceration of Ibraheem el-Zakzaky, leader of the movement.

They held black and red flags while chanting songs.

But some police officers fired tear gas canisters and gunshots in the air to disperse the procession.

The incident took place along Sultan Abubakar road in Wuse zone 2, Abuja.

El-Zakzaky has been in detention since December 2015. He was arrested after IMN members clashed with soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna state.

Despite different court rulings ordering his release, the IMN leader and Zeenat, his wife, have remained in the custody of the government.

The IMN members are planning to hold their annual Arbaeen trek on Saturday.

The Arbaeen trek is held in commemoration of the murder of Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad.

 

 

Onitsha fire: Igbo group urges Obiano to resign, demands arrest of Anambra Commissioners

A socio-political organization, Igbo National Council (INC), has called on Anambra state Governor, Willie Obiano to immediately resign from office over his alleged arbitrary negligence and gross ineptitude that has caused the Igbo race a monumental, colossal and irreparable human, political and economic damage.

This followed the fuel tanker explosion that occurred at Upper Iweka, Onitsha in Anambra state on Wednesday, which led many injured and killed.

The Igbo group made this known in a press statement issued on Friday by its President, Chilos Godsent and the Publicity Secretary, Victor Bienie Emenike.

According to the Council, “Investigation revealed that the inferno was, as a result of bad spots at upper-Iweka along Onitsha – Owerri road which caused a petrol tanker carrying fuel (PMS) to fall, resulting to outburst of fire that destroyed the entire livelihood of over two hundred thousand Nigerians.

“We note that the said bad spots at upper – Iweka along Onitsha – Owerri road cannot cause Anambra State Government more than two million (N2,000,000.00) to repair.

“We call on the Anambra State House of Assembly to commence an impeachment process against Gov. Willie Obiano if he fails to voluntarily resign before October 23rd, 2019.

“The INC also call on the Commissioner of Police Anambra State Command to immediately arrest and prosecute the Anambra State Commissioner for Works – Engr. Marcel Ejiofor and Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment – Mr. Don Adinuba respectively for willful violation of their oath of office, lies, negligence and ineptitude in the discharge of their duties as Commissioners.

“The Igbo National Council (INC) join all well-meaning Nigerians to commiserate the victims of the Ochanja – Onitsha fire outbreak that resulted to the loss of over five lives including a woman and her child, destruction of over forty residential houses and over five thousand (5,000) shops worth over two hundred billion Naira in less than four hours”.

FRSC announces closure of another section of Lagos-Ibadan expressway

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has announced a partial closure of another section of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

Clement Oladele, Ogun sector commander of FRSC, disclosed this in a statement on Friday.

He said the measure is necessary to enable Julius Berger Nigeria PLC begin rehabilitation work on the 1.3 kilometers stretch of the expressway from Magboro to PUNCH.

He said the section of the road will be partially shut to traffic from October 21, 2019, to January 31, 2020.

On September 2, there was a partial closure of the Lagos end of the expressway for the ongoing reconstruction work on the 600-meters stretch between Ojodu Berger and the beginning of Kara bridge.

This has worsened the traffic situation on the road known to be one of the busiest in the country.

Some residents of Ogun working in Lagos have lamented over how a journey which should not take more than 30 minutes end up taking hours while some religious organisations have temporarily relocated as a result of the partial closure of the road which is supposed to end on November 1.

In his statement, Oladele said the forthcoming rehabilitation will cause a temporary diversion of the Lagos bound traffic to the Sagamu carriageway.

“This temporary diversion of traffic will transfer the Lagos inbound traffic to the same carriageway conveying traffic outward Lagos,” he said.

“Thereby making both the traffic inward and outward Lagos accommodated on the same section of the expressway within the 1.3 kilometers stretch of the road from Magboro to Punch in Ogun state.”

The sector commander advised motorists to take note of the development and plan their trips by allotting more time to their trips in view of the construction work.

He also warned those who do not have regards for the law, saying: “Motorists are also enjoined to observe lane discipline and avoid driving against traffic, as violators risk impoundment of their vehicles and liable to payment of N50,000 naira traffic fine.”

Mexican security forced to release El Chapo’s son as gunmen overwhelm troops

Mexican security forces were on Thursday forced to release one son of jailed drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman arrested earlier in an operation that triggered intense fighting.

Heavy gunfire rocked Culiacan, a city of 750,000 people, in sustained clashes that left blazing vehicles strewn across the street and sent terrified residents running for cover.

Security Minister Alfonso Durazo confirmed the arrest of a man identifying himself as Ovidio Guzman, one of the sons who assumed partial control of the notorious cartel run by their father until he was extradited to the United States in 2017.

Images carried on Mexican television showed army and police personnel under assault by men armed with heavy weapons.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said his security cabinet was holding a meeting and would soon give further details on the situation.

He later on announced that Guzman had been released as criminal gunmen outnumbered soldiers that had arrested him.

The situation became very difficult and many citizens were at risk,’’ Lopez Obrador said at a news conference in Oaxaca in the south of the country.

“The capture of a criminal cannot be worth more than people’s lives,’’ he added.

Sources in the Sinaloa state government speaking on condition of anonymity said police officers had been wounded.

They also said an unknown number of inmates had escaped from the Aguaruto prison in Culiacan amid the chaos.

The battle broke out in the afternoon near the state prosecutor’s office, when masked gunmen blocked Mexican security forces after the arrest.

The state government said it was “working to restore calm and order in the face of the high-impact incidents that have occurred in recent hours in various points around Culiacan.”

It called on residents to “remain calm, stay off the streets and be very attentive to official advisories on the evolving situation.”

Gunmen blocked roads and highways around the city into the evening, bringing the capital to a standstill.

“El Chapo,” 62, was sentenced to life in prison in July for trafficking hundreds of tons of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana into the United States over the course of a quarter-century.

However, his Sinaloa cartel remains one of the most powerful in Mexico.

Guzman’s extradition unleashed an initial period of instability in the group, as Ovidio and his brother Alfredo waged war with cartel co-founder, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, for control, leaving a trail of bodies in their wake.

But the situation has since stabilized into a reluctant truce.

Guzman, whose nickname means “Shorty,” was rearrested in 2016 after a brazen prison escape — the second of his career.

He is considered the most powerful drug lord since Colombia’s Pablo Escobar, who was killed in a police shootout in 1993.

After being convicted in a New York court, he is now serving his sentence in the notorious ADX federal maximum security prison in Colorado, nicknamed the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.”

JUST IN: Kogi Assembly impeaches Deputy Gov

The Kogi state House of assembly has impeached the embattled Deputy Governor, Elder Simon Achuba.

His impeachment followed the submission earlier in the day the report of the committee set up by the state chief judge, Justice Nadir Ajana to investigate an allegation of gross misconduct against the former deputy Governor.

The leader of the house,Hassan Bello Abdulahi representing Ajaokuta state constituency who announced the decision of the house said that Achuba stands impeached after careful consideration of the reported of the John Bayasea committee submitted earlier on Friday.

He said that the report was received ,studied and deliberated upon upon and a unanimous decision was arrived at to impeach him and “he therefore stands impeached”

The seven man committee headed by John Bayeshea submitted the report to the Speaker, Kogi state House of Assembly, Mathew Kolawole on Friday in a brief ceremony after which the house went into a closed door session where the report was considered and deliberated upon

The committee was set up in August following allegations of gross misconduct levied against the Deputy Governor when he accused the state Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello of withholding his salaries and imprests since 2017,an allegation denied by the government during hearing by the committee.

The Director General, Media and Publicity to the Kogi state Governor, Kingsley Fanwo also accused the embattled Deputy Governor, of attempting to set the state on fire.

He said that the Deputy Governors interview on a national television saying that the Governor was orchestrating violence was an incitement against the Governor and the Government of Kogi State.”

We have difficulty servicing debts, says FG

Barely 24 hours after the International Monetary Fund advised Nigeria to increase tax to raise more revenue, the Federal Government on Thursday said its low revenue was affecting its ability to service debts and fund day-to-day recurrent expenditure.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, during an interview with journalists on the sidelines of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund meetings in Washington DC, United States, noted that although Nigeria did not have a debt problem, she said, “underperformance of our revenue is causing a significant strain in our ability to service debt.”

She also justified the $3bn loan the country was seeking from the World Bank, saying the money would be used to finance the power sector.

A quarter (N2.5trn)of N10.3trn budget President Muhammadu Buhari presented to the National Assembly on October 8 would be spent on debt servicing.

While the Federal Government voted N4.88trn for non-debt recurrent expenditure, only N2.14trn was allocated to capital projects in spite of the huge infrastructural deficit in the country.

The finance minister, Ahmed, however, said the fresh $3bn loan Nigeria was seeking from the World Bank would be spent on reforms in the power sector.

The Debt Management Office had said that the nation’s total public debt rose by N3.32tn in one year to N25.7tn as of the end of June 2019.

The Federal Government owed N20.42tn as of June 30, 2019 while the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory had a total debt portfolio of N5.28tn.

In 2017, the revenue target was N5.08tn out of which N2.7tn was realised. The Federal Government’s revenue projection for 2018 was N7.16tn out of which only N3.96tn was achieved. In 2019, the Federal Government’s projected revenue was put at N6.98tn. As of June this year, about N2.04tn had been realised.

The Deputy Chief , Monetary and Capital Markets Department, Evan Papageorgiou, had at a press conference during the meeting in the United States on Wednesday said, “While Nigeria has a large exposure to domestic debt, it is important to effectively manage those risks associated with debts incurred in local currency.

He said, “Local currency borrowing could be preferred in some cases but it is not a panacea. The guiding principle is prudent debt management. Local currency flows have been more volatile ad Nigeria was not an exception to that. Nigeria has a large exposure to domestic debt particularly from Central Bank bills.

“And then as we understand the Central Bank bills, there are a lot of higher redemption and more roll-overs going forward. So managing those risks, particularly with respect to local currency debt managing debts and behaviour of non-resident debt is very important.”

Also at the press conference, the Assistant Director, Fiscal Affairs Department, IMF, Mrs Cathy Pattillo, had said Nigeria needed a comprehensive reform to increase non-oil tax so as to get funds to build infrastructure and human development.

Justifying the $3bn loan from the World Bank, Ahmed who is leading the Federal Government’s delegation to the meeting, said she would be holding further discussions with the management of the bank to present how the fund would be disbursed for the power project.

The World Bank had in September disclosed that the Federal Government of Nigeria was seeking a loan in the region of $2.5bn.

The Vice President for Africa, Hafez Ghanem, disclosed this in an interview with Bloomberg in Abuja. He added that in the past year, Nigeria received $2.4 bn.

On Thursday, the minister said based on the plan of the Federal Government for the power sector, the loan would be used for the development of transmission and distribution networks to enhance delivery of electricity.

Ahmed also said the loan would be used in addressing some of the challenges that the country was facing in the power sector.

She said, “There is a proposed $2.5bn to $3bn facility for the power sector development programme in Nigeria and this will include development of the transmission networks and the distribution networks as well as removing the challenges that we currently have in the electricity sector.

“We are going to have a full meeting to discuss the power sector recovery programme and back home we have been working a great deal with the World Bank to design how this programme will be implemented.

“So we have an opportunity now to have a direct meeting with the leadership of the bank and to tell them the plan we have and how much we need from one to five years.”

The finance minister explained that the government would be pushing that the $3bn facility be disbursed in two tranches of $1.5bn each.

When asked to comment on concerns being raised by the IMF about Nigeria’s debt which stands at N25.7tn, the finance minister insisted that Nigeria did not have a debt problem.

She said what the government needed to do was to increase its revenue generating capacity in order to boost the revenue to about 50 per cent of Gross Domestic Product.

She said with Nigeria’s current revenue to the GDP ratio standing at just 19 per cent, its underperformance is significantly straining government’s ability to service its debt obligation.

The minister said, “Nigeria does not have a debt problem. What we have is a revenue problem. Our revenue to the GDP is still one of the lowest among countries that are comparable to us. It is about 19 per cent of the GDP and what the World Bank and the IMF recommend is about 50 per cent of GDP for countries that are our size. We are not there yet. What we have is a revenue problem.

“The underperformance of our revenue is causing a significant strain in our ability to service debt and to service government day-to-day recurrent expenditure and that is why all the work we are doing at the ministry of finance is concentrating on driving the increase in revenue.”

When asked why the Federal Government decided to increase the revenue projection in the 2020 budget to N8.9tn at a time when government revenue performance was less than 60 per cent, she said a lot of measures were being put in place to correct the problem.

For instance, in expanding the revenue base, Ahmed said VAT increase had been proposed, adding that other streams of revenue such as excise duties on carbonated drinks were being introduced.

The minister said, “The fact that our revenue is underperforming is not an excuse to bring down our revenue that is required to fund the national budget.

“In 2018, our revenue performed at the level of 58 per cent. Half year 2019, our performance moved up slightly to 58 per cent. But that is not an excuse to reduce the revenue. Because it means we are all sanctioning underperformance.

“So we have to push the agencies. We have to push ourselves to meet those targets. Those targets are not designed by the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the agencies proposed those targets.

“But we sit down with them and interrogate them. For example, the NNPC has a production capacity of 2.5 million barrels per day.

“In 2019, they wanted a target of 2.5 million barrels per day but we insisted to be prudent and scaled it down to 2.3 million. And the performance is 1.98 million effectively including 100,000 per day that is used to settle cash call earnings but the capacity is there.

She added, “So why should we not be looking at what do we have to do to make sure the capacity utilisation is attained.

“Why do we want to reduce it because we are underperforming? We are lucky that crude oil in 2018, out-performed the budget because we budgeted $60 per barrel and we ended up with an average of $67 per barrel.

“Otherwise, if we had lower prices, the 55 per cent performance wouldn’t have been achieved.”

She said going forward, what the government would do was to make sure the agencies that have responsibility to generate revenue actually generated the revenues.

On the issue of border closure, she said the action was taken because the Federal Government was not getting the right cooperation with neigbouring countries.

She said going by the fact the Nigeria had signed onto the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, there was the need for government to ensure that those bilateral agreements with other countries were respected.

She added, “We have over the years committed to some alliances and bilateral agreements but our neigbours are not respecting those bilateral agreements and at this time when the President has signed Nigeria up to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

“It becomes more importantly for us to make sure everybody complies with the commitments that are made.”

She said over the years, the practice where goods were smuggled into Nigeria from neigbouring countries had done lots of damage to the Nigerian economy.

Also in Washington, the minister said the Federal Government would be implementing what she described as a “bold and audacious” reform to increase revenue to finance developmental programmes.

Ahmed, who spoke on the topic “Strengthening domestic revenue mobilization,” explained that with numerous complex issues at hand, Nigeria must do things differently “which requires robust, tough, well-coordinated and multi-faceted reforms.”

She said Nigeria when compared with its peers was lagging behind on most revenue streams including VAT and excise revenues.

The minister said the country did not only have one of the lowest VAT rates in the world but weak collection method.

She added that there were a lot of incentives and deductions that further constrained the fiscal space and reduced the hope of stimulating growth of industries.

She said, “The key question is why do we keep performing poorly? And what can we do differently this time to effectively turn around without any relapse even in successive governments?

“Simply put, we have very low effective tax rates, archaic tax laws that are not evolving at commensurate pace with businesses, leakages in our revenue collection systems, low tax compliance rates and poor tax morale to mention a few.

“With numerous complex issues at hand, Nigeria must do things differently which requires robust, tough, well-coordinated and multi-faceted reforms.”

Speaking on some of the reforms that would be implemented to grow revenue, she said the Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative which was launched last year would be reviewed

On what would be different this time with the SRGI, she said, “This time round, there are performance targets with consequences for non-performance including the members of the cabinet.

“For example, I have signed to deliver the 15 per cent revenue to the GDP in a performance contract and this will be cascaded down to heads of revenue generating entities to align them with our mission of turning around revenues. We are in the process of developing a second version of the SRGI.”

“The SRGI 2.0 will be informed by data so we are able to better allocate resources and focus on the high impact initiatives as revealed by analysis.

“In tune with the fourth industrial revolution, we want a technological led reform. For example, in a bid to leverage available big data in our public sector domain, Project Light House is driven centrally at the Ministry of Finance to provide intelligence to the FIRS, state tax authorities and other revenue collecting agencies.”

“On the customs front, we are in the process of developing our national single window.” On tax laws, she said the Federal Government had submitted a finance bill alongside the 2020 budget proposal to the National Assembly for consideration and passage into law.

The finance bill, according to her, will promote fiscal equity by mitigating instances of regressive taxation; reform domestic tax laws to align with global best practices; and introduce tax incentives for investments in infrastructure and capital markets.

She added, “The draft Finance Bill proposes an increase of the VAT rate from five per cent to 7.5 per cent. As such, the 2020 Appropriation Bill is based on this new VAT rate. The additional revenues will be used to fund health, education and infrastructure programmes.

“As the states and local governments are allocated 85 per cent of all VAT revenues, we expect to see greater quality and efficiency in their spending in these areas as well.

“Additionally, our proposals also raise the threshold for VAT registration to N25m in turnover per annum, such that the revenue authorities can focus their compliance efforts on larger businesses thereby bringing relief for our Micro, Small and Medium-sized businesses.

“The VAT reform is meant to improve Nigeria’s VAT as a share of the GDP in Nigeria which has declined from one per cent in 2010-2013 to 0.8 per cent in the last four years (2015 – 2018).”

She put the country’s efficiency of VAT collection, at 0.2 per cent adding that this was well below the African regional average of 0.33 per cent.

The inefficiency in VAT collection, the finance minister stated was partly due to challenges in tax administration system.

She also said this reflected the high level of items currently exempted from VAT, including the consumption of basic food, pharmaceuticals and educational items.

She also said, “Our objective is to be able to harness the existing revenue streams that we have by ensuring that enforcement is effective to expand the tax base and also to identify new revenue streams that we can add to expand the revenue base,” she said.

“So in expanding the revenue base, we have proposed the increase of VAT but there are also other revenue streams that we are looking at and some of them include the introduction of excise duties on carbonated drinks but there is a process to doing these things.”

FG, NLC reach agreement on minimum wage

The Federal Government and organised labour on Thursday finally agreed on the percentage increase on the consequential adjustment in workers’ salaries as a result of the new minimum wage of N30,000.

As the meeting reached an advanced stage, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, tweeted from the venue that both parties had reached an agreement, but he did not give details.

The tweet read, “After some delicate negotiations (with both ministers as conciliators), the government and labour have finally reached an agreement on the consequential adjustment of other wages following the implementation of the enhanced minimum wage of N30,000. We are working on the communiqué.”

In a statement, the President of the Trade Union Congress, Quadri, and the Secretary General, Musa-Lawal Ozigi, confirmed the peace pact, commending the Federal Government and labour for their patience while the National Minimum Wage negotiations lasted.

The statement read, “We commend the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, and her team for their sincerity. Though they argued that the government could not afford to meet our earlier demand of N30,000 minimum wage across board because of the economic situation in the country, we made them understand that some people could not be more Nigerian than others. If we are tightening our belts, government should also do so.”

The secretary of the JNCSNC, Alade Lawal, also confirmed the figure to our correspondent through a text message after confirmation on what was agreed with the FG was sought from him.

Lawal had earlier told our correspondent that the parties had reached an agreement on the wage crisis.

He said both parties agreed on 23.2 percentage increase for workers at grade level 07; 20 per cent for those at grade level 08; 19 per cent for workers at grade level 09; 16 per cent for those on levels 10 to 14; and 14 per cent for workers at grade levels 15 to 17.

The meeting was still going on as of the time of filing this report (12.56am) on Friday.

JUST IN: Fuel tanker burning on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

A fuel tanker was seen burning along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway on Friday morning.

According to a Twitter user, Jojo Amiegbe, who shared the video of the burning tanker on the social media platform, the tanker was burning just before Redeemed Camp on the Lagos-bound traffic side of the road.

In the video, the presence of emergency services was not seen.

The Federal Road Safety Corps has confirmed the tanker fire.

This is the third fire incident involving tankers this week.

Details later.

Jojo Amiegbe@JojoAmiegbe

Tanker burning at Lagos Ibadan Express way, en route to Lagos before Redeemed.

If you’re driving on that route, best be careful.

Fire fighters, assistance needed.

Embedded video

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FAAC: FG, States, LGAs share N693.529bn for September

The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) on Thursday in Abuja, shared a total of N693.529 billion to the three tiers of government for the month of September, 2019.

The N693.529 billion comprised revenue from Value Added Tax(VAT), Exchange Gain and Gross Statutory Revenue in the month.

A communiqué read by the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) Ahmed Idris, confirmed that the gross statutory revenue for the month of September was N599.701billion.

The amount was less than the N631.796 billion received in the previous month by N32.095 billion.

For the month, gross revenue of N92.874 billion was generated from VAT as against N88.082 billion distributed in the previous month, indicating an increase of N4.792 billion.

According to the communique, N0.954 billion was also realised from Exchange Gain for the month.

A breakdown of the allocation showed that from the total revenue of N693.529 billion shared, the Federal Government received N293.801 billion, the States received N186.816 billion, and the Local Government Council received N140.864 billion.

The Oil Producing States shared N51.532 billion as 13 per cent derivation, while the Revenue Generating Agencies received N20.517 billion as cost of revenue collection.

The communique also stated that in September 2019, revenue from Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) and Company Income Tax (CIT) decreased while Royalties, Import and Excise Duties and Value Added Tax increased considerably.

However, the AGF said that as at Oct. 17, the balance in the Excess Crude Account was $323.692million.

Some Nigerians can’t recite the national anthem, says Lai Mohammed

Lai Mohammed, minister of information, says some Nigerians cannot recite the national anthem.

Mohammed spoke on Thursday in Abuja at the public presentation of the “Mindshift Advocacy for Development Initiative”, a campaign for value-reorientation and attitudinal change among Nigerians.

The minister, who was represented by Samuel Soughul, a director in the ministry, said as patriotic citizens, Nigerians are expected to love everything associated with the country.

He explained that “change begins with me” is not just a slogan but a “value-orientation campaign”.

“I think we are making progress. I won’t say all, there are few bad eggs in our society that are forming the clog in the wheel of our progress. Let’s start from basics,” he said.

“If you love your country, you must love anything that is associated with your country. You love your country and you love your countrymen, you love the paraphernalia of the state.

“The national anthem, some of us cannot read, cannot recite, cannot write. Is it the currency of the country, Naira, that we abuse? Is it the constitution that we do not obey its provisions? We have a lot to say but the future is still bright.

“In 1976, there was a desire by Prof. Felicia Adewole to come up with a contract for citizens to sign with their country, Nigeria, and she made a draft which was proved right. That is what we have today as a national pledge.

“By following that pledge, we will not have turbulence around our homes, we will not need bullet-proof vehicles, we will be our brother’s keeper.

“Now, President Muhammadu Buhari, having viewed this with concerns launched a value-reorientation campaign ‘Change begins with me’. This campaign is not a slogan and it should not be associated with party slogan as such. It is a patriotic slogan and campaign – a value-reorientation campaign.

“What it means is that the change we want should start with us instead of pointing accusing fingers.”

Sylvanus Nsofor, Nigeria’s ambassador to the United States, was unable to recite the national anthem during his screening at the national assembly in March 2017.

The then 82-year-old retired judge was nominated as a non-career ambassador by the president. He reportedly told the senate that there was no way he would recite the national anthem.

“Why should I do so?” he reportedly said. “You should have sent me a syllabus.”

Thereafter, the senate rejected his nomination because of his old age and his inability to respond to some issues raised.

“Although he was calm at the screening, he looked frail and tired. His responses to issues raised were not answered or devoid of details and mostly satirical,” the senate had said.

However, the president renominated him and he was later confirmed as an ambassador.

Magu says EFCC considering rehabilitating ‘Yahoo boys’

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it is considering rehabilitating internet fraudsters, better known as Yahoo Yahoo boys.

Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the agency, made this known while delivering a paper entitled, ‘Strategic change administration and innovation to curb corruption in Nigeria’, at the third all administrators national conference of the Chartered Institute of Administration, in Lagos, on Thursday.

He said internet fraudsters can be useful to the agency in the future, adding that they will be rehabilitated.

Magu said the EFCC is collaborating with ECOWAS member-states to ensure that cross-border criminals are prosecuted.

“So if you carry money from Nigeria and escape to Ghana, we will just call the men in Ghana and say, ‘arrange this man and keep him for me’,” he said.

“This is what the Yahoo-Yahoo boys like to do. But we are planning to rehabilitate them because they can be useful to us in future.”

The acting chairman said increase in the agency’s zonal offices from seven in 2009 to eighteen in 2018, made the EFCC secure 614 convictions between January and September.

He also said the agency invested in its human capital by training more personnel in a bid to fight corruption across the country.

On Monday, operatives of the EFCC arrested 94 alleged internet fraudsters in a raid at a nightclub in Osogbo, Osun state capital.

One month to election, mass resignation hits Dickson’s cabinet in Bayelsa

At least 10 members of the cabinet of Seriake Dickson, governor of Bayelsa state, have resigned.

Their resignations come barely a month to the state’s governorship election scheduled to hold November 16.

Among those who resigned are Markson Fefegha, commissioner for mineral resources; Ombu Napoleon, senior special assistant to the governor on community development; Iniruo Ipogi, special assistant on student affairs; Stephen Diver, special adviser on inter-party affairs; and Natus Zebakame, special adviser on culture.

In his resignation letter dated October 2, Fefegha said he decided to quit the cabinet “after a period of deep reflection”.

Fefegha, who had been serving in the administration since 2012, said his exit from Dickson’s government will take effect from Friday, October 18, 2019.

Describing himself as one of the “first eleven” in the cabinet of Dickson, Fefgha blamed his exit on “political uncertainty and other reasons personal to me”.

He added that “as the Holy Book says; there is a season and a purpose for everything under the heaven.”

Fefegha is the first commissioner to leave Dickson’s cabinet since political appointees defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the governorship election.

In another letter dated October 16, Napoleon whose resignation appears most recent, said his reason is personal.

On Friday, the governor had appointed 60 aides which he said would “help his government finish well.”

CBN to continue to apply monetary policy tools to control Inflation

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it will continue to apply monetary policy tools to control the rising inflation.

The CBN made the promise in its 2018 financial stability report signed by its Governor, Godwin Emefiele which was released on Thursday.

Inflation increased to 11.24 per cent in September 2019, according to the latest inflation report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

According to the NBS  report , inflation rose by 0.22 per cent points, higher than the 11.02 per cent recorded in August and 11.08 per cent for July 2019.

The bank explained that its commitment was necessary following anticipation of increase in inflation in the coming months.

The report indicated that the apex bank would continue to intensify efforts at strengthening the existing synergy between the fiscal and monetary authorities.

According to the report, this will help to ensure policies are complementary in engendering growth and development.

The bank said the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate sustained its upward trend, largely driven by strong performance in the non oil sector.

The bank also attributed the GDP’s growth to government’s efforts at diversifying the economy and boosting alternative revenue sources.

“The CBN will continue to implement programmes towards supporting the real sector to ensure that the economy remains on a steady trajectory of recovery towards the achievement of its growth projections.

“The report recalls that the bank maintained its non-expansionary monetary policy stance in the second half of 2018 to rein in inflationary pressure,” the report said.

Meanwhile, the bank noted that the potential risks to the stability of the banking system was as a result of high exposure to the oil and gas sector.

The CBN added that though cyber-crime and trade tensions remained.

The report stated that the apex bank had implemented appropriate policies and regulatory measures to significantly minimise the impact of such risks on the Nigerian financial system.

I’m not quitting APC, says Obaseki

The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has reaffirmed that he has no plans to leave the All Progressives Congress (APC) for another political party.

The governor spoke when he received members of the Godwin Obaseki Support Group (GOSG), during a courtesy visit at Government House in Benin City on Wednesday.

“If a handful of individuals start misbehaving and feel we will leave the party for them; they will be the ones to leave,” he said.

Obaseki described the APC as a party for the youths and the next generation, adding that his administration is focused on infrastructural and institutional reforms that would stand the test of time.

“This is a government of real change, which is concerned about youths and the future. This government has performed beyond people’s expectations and we are proud of the things we have done so far.”

Obaseki commended the GOSG for supporting his administration, urging members of the group to intensify their activities in the state and collaborate with other groups with the same ideology.

The governor urged the group to collaborate with the state government in the campaign to kick out thuggery in the state.

Earlier, the Director-General of the group, Henry Idogun, said the group was formed during the 2016 governorship election to bridge the information gap, which existed on the governor’s profile.

“The group was happy with the developmental strides of the Obaseki led-administration which include massive and sustained infrastructural development and deep-rooted institutional reforms, noting that the award presented to the governor by the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) was well-deserved as the governor has made Edo State a reference point in transforming education in the country.”

Idogun said GOSG exists to add value to governance and leverages the party machinery and other relevant stakeholders in the areas of voters’ education and mobilisation, creation of more polling units and election monitoring.

He added that members of the group, numbering over 18,000, are in support of the second term bid of the governor.

Sex toy shop assault: Police tender another CCTV footage against Abbo

The police have tendered another CCTV footage against Elisha Abbo, senator representing Adamawa north.

Abbo was arraigned at a magistrate court in Zuba, on a one-count charge for allegedly assaulting a woman at a sex toy shop in Abuja.

At the resumed hearing on Thursday, James Idachaba, prosecution counsel, informed the court that they have retrieved another CCTV footage that captured the incident and that they intend to tender it as additional proof of evidence.

He also informed the court that the second prosecution witness was in court to testify.

However, the witness could not testify because Adegbite Adeniyi, Abbo’s counsel, applied for an adjournment.

He said they had just been served with the additional proof of evidence and he would need time to study it.

“The law gives us the right to be given time to go through such proof of evidence before the case can continue,” he said.

Idachaba did not object to the application for adjournment.

Abdullahi Ilellah, the magistrate, adjourned the case till November 19 for continuation of trial.