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Wike Signs Bills For VAT Collection, Anti-Open Grazing Into Law

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Wike Signs Bills For VAT Collection, Anti-Open Grazing Into Law
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Wike Signs Bills For VAT Collection, Anti-Open Grazing Into Law

Rivers State governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has signed the Open Grazing Prohibition Bill and the Value Added Tax (VAT) Collection Bill as well as the Residents Registration Agency and the Naming and Renaming of Infrastructure Bills into law.

The Rivers State House of Assembly recently passed the four bills into law.

Speaking at the ceremony in Government House, Port Harcourt, Wike stated that it was inimical to development and peace, for any state to condone opening grazing of cattle.

The governor said cattle rearing were agricultural business and the law, which has specified ranching, was so intended in order to stem clash between herdsmen who go to destroy farmland, crops, and having problems with farmers that lead to fighting and killing of themselves.

He said, “It is no longer a story. All of us know what our people have suffered in terms of this open grazing. Today all Nigerians have come to accept the reality that open grazing is no longer fashionable. Even our brothers in the north have agreed that it is no longer fashionable.”

Wike insisted that the judgement of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt had sufficiently addressed the illegality perpetrated by the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) on behalf of the federal government in the collection of VAT in states.

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The governor stated that when agencies of the federal government are allowed to illegally demand and collect taxes meant for states to collect, they strangulate the states financially and turn them to be beggars.

He said Rivers State is standing on the part of history by challenging the illegality of the federal government through the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS).

“Of course, we are all aware that the states have already been strangulated. Most states depend on allocation from federation account. States have been turned to beggars. Hardly will any day pass that you won’t see one state or the other going to Abuja to beg for one fund or the other,” he said.

Wike stated that no campaign of calumny or blackmail on the part of FIRS would make what is illegal to become legal. He dismissed FIRS’ propaganda that 30 states will suffer if some states are allowed to collect VAT.

Wike Signs Bills For VAT Collection, Anti-Open Grazing Into Law

The governor further stated that the concerns should be on establishing whose duty is it to collect VAT and the constitutionality of such position before talking about who is going to suffer or not.

He said, “In this (Rivers) state, we awarded contract to companies and within the last month we paid over N30billion to the contractors and 7.5% will not be deducted from that and to be given to FIRS.

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“Now, look at 7.5% of N30billion of contracts we awarded to companies in Rivers State, you will be talking about almost N3billion only from that source. Now, at the end of the month, Rivers State government has never received more than N2billion from VAT.”

Speaking further, Wike said there are plans already for FIRS to introduce road tax and this is likely to take away more duties from the states, and further emasculate them financially.

The governor said, “Which are the roads? Are they the roads the state government is paying for or the roads federal government has constructed? So, at the end of the day, they have taken over the functions of the state government and the state is left with nothing.”

He stated that the states have been so emasculated that they could barely survive without monthly revenue received from Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC).

Wike further stated that the over bearing attitude of the federal government, impinges on attaining financial autonomy for the legislature and the judiciary, since the states are not allowed to collect due revenues as specified by the country’s constitution.

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The governor said with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) passed and signed into law, there shall be unbundling of NNPC, which means that NNPC remittance to the federation account will be less, requiring every state to look inwards on how to survive.

He thanked the state lawmakers for their courage to have given the bill speedy passage and assured that every area that the law allows the state to collect revenue will be maximised for the survival of the state.

On his part, the speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani described the collection of VAT by FIRS as the worst form of retrogressive tax in any tax regime.

He commended the governor and the state government for challenging the constitutionality of FIRS collection of VAT in states. According to him, the signing of the VAT law will ensure that Rivers’ people are not plunged into extreme poverty.

He said that Nigeria is the only country professing federalism but with a unitary constitution, which is the very opposite of what federalism stands for.

Speaking further, he said the law banning open grazing in Rivers State would serve as both cure to the symptom and the disease of herders and farmers bloody conflicts.

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Newly trained Narcotic Assistants ‘ll strengthen Nigerias anti-drug war – Marwa

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Newly trained Narcotic Assistants 'll strengthen Nigerias anti-drug war - Marwa
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Newly trained Narcotic Assistants ‘ll strengthen Nigerias anti-drug war – Marwa

Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), has said the war against drug abuse and trafficking has gained significant strength with the addition of hundreds of newly trained Narcotic Assistants to the Agencys workforce.

He made the declaration at the official passing out parade and closing ceremony of the training of Narcotic Assistants Course 3, on Saturday, September 25, 2021, at the NDLEA Academy, Kotton Rikus, Jos, Plateau State.

Marwa, Special Guest and the reviewing officer of the parade, represented by the Agencys Secretary, Mr Shadrach Haruna, said: Todays ceremony signposts yet another of the Agencys efforts towards the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) campaign and the total eradication of illicit drugs and their effects in Nigeria. In particular, this training and passing out ceremony aligns with my vision of a well-motivated, visible and proactive workforce that is service-ready to meet the dreams and aspirations of the founding fathers of the Agency and that of the nation in general.

While stating that Narcotic Assistants Course 3 of 2021 is the largest of the cadre and the first-ever course in over 25 years, Marwa noted the process leading to the training started in 2019 but was put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which prevented gatherings and engendered global lockdowns across countries and continents.

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Newly trained Narcotic Assistants ‘ll strengthen Nigerias anti-drug war – Marwa

Gen. Marwa, while stressing that the Agency has lived up to its mandate and the accompanying challenges in the past eight months, reminded the new Narcotic Assistants that they will be joining their colleagues who are already in the field across Nigeria fighting the drug war. The training has prepared you physically, mentally and psychologically for the demanding tasks ahead. You must, henceforth, keep in mind that you are on national assignment in the fight against the drug pandemic, Marwa stated.

Warning of the dangers ahead, the NDLEA boss told the new officers: You are going to be assaulted and tempted psychologically and physically, subtly and brashly by merchants of this nefarious trade. You will be offered money and other forms of gratification. I call on you all to cultivate the will, guts and coping skills required to reject these temptations and allow for effective discharge of your duties.

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The NDLEA Chairman also seized the occasion to remind the new Narcotic Assistants and the public at large that the fight against illicit drug, this time, is not half-hearted and will not be compromised: The Agency more than ever before demands complete loyalty, commitment, sacrifice and dedication from you in pursuit of the nations goal of a drug-free society. Since I assumed office, I have demonstrated in word and in action, a desire to up the ante of Drug Enforcement Administration in Nigeria as well as improve staff welfare and better working conditions for the Agency. It is my aspiration that by the time the current series of Basic Training is completed, the NDLEA will be able to establish offices and presence in all the seven hundred and seventy-four (774) local government areas in Nigeria.

While assuring the new officers of the leaderships resolve to continue to work on improving the welfare, working conditions and environment of the Agencys workforce, Marwa urged them to abide by the ethos of paramilitary service, namely discipline and loyalty. I charge you all to conduct yourselves as well-trained and disciplined men fighting a just war aimed at ridding the country of the drug scourge, he said.

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He concluded his speech with a call to the public to join forces with the NDLEA at safeguarding the country against the drug menace.

We must always keep in mind that it is our society, our children, our youths, our people, our future and our culture that are under attack and in danger of being replaced by the drug culture. Let us together arise in unison against this dreaded monster, said Marwa.

The ceremony, which concluded with an awards presentation to the best performing cadets in eight different categories, was well attended by a cross-section of the public and service institutions, including representatives of the GOC, 3 Div, NA, Federal Road Safety Commission, (FRSC), Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Correction Service, chairman, Senate Committees on Narcotics and Jos North Traditional Council among others.

Femi Babafemi
Director, Media & Advocacy
NDLEA Headquarters, Abuja
Saturday, 25th September 2021

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NDDC donates Special Protection Unit Base for Nigeria Police

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NDDC donates Special Protection Unit Base for Nigeria Police
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NDDC donates Special Protection Unit Base for Nigeria Police

Sets for commissioning, Tuesday

President Muhammadu Buhari will on Tuesday (September 28) commission the Special Protection Unit Base 6 barracks, built and donated by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to the Nigeria Police Force.

The barracks, with 68 fully air-conditioned flats, also comprises a five bedroom commander’s quarters, functional office accommodation, a sentry post, guardroom with armoury and a parade ground.

It is located in the Omagwa area of Port Harcourt, which is the host community for the Port Harcourt International Airport.

Construction of the barracks started several years ago, but was completed early this year as part of the renewed drive by the Commission, under the leadership of the Interim Administrator/Chief Executive, Mr Efiong Akwa, to complete key projects.

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NDDC donates Special Protection Unit Base for Nigeria Police

Speaking last July, Mr Akwa had noted that the apartment complex was meant to provide accommodation to Policemen in the Special Protection Unit (SPU) of the Force.

“The housing units will therefore help to improve security around around and within the Port Harcourt International Airport”, said the NDDC Chief Executive.

In the last two years, NDDC management has worked hard to complete important projects in different sectors of the economy. In addition, it has also donated many amenities and facilities, including garbage trucks and medical equipment to state governments in the region.

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Buhari’s fiercest critics dine with him at Aso Villa – Adesina

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Buhari’s fiercest critics dine with him at Aso Villa – Adesina
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Buhari’s fiercest critics dine with him at Aso Villa – Adesina

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, has said that some of the fiercest critics of his boss, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), dine with him at Aso Rock in Abuja.

He disclosed this in a piece titled, ‘Buhari, FFK, And The Quality Of Mercy’.

According to Adesina, the defection of former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress last week has caused “not a small ruckus” because of his past acerbic comments against Buhari.

He said though Fani-Kayode had said “unpardonable and unprintable” things about Buhari, his family and the APC, the President displayed “mercy” by receiving the controversial ex-minister into the party at the Villa last week.

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The presidential spokesman wrote, “Naturally, a lot of loyal APC members are hopping mad that FFK was readmitted into the party. And not only that, he got back at the highest level. Not at his ward in Ile-Ife, Osun State, but the triumphal entry was at the Presidential Villa, with President Buhari himself as the host.

Buhari’s fiercest critics dine with him at Aso Villa – Adesina

“I understand the umbrage taken against the development by teeming APC supporters. It’s the natural thing to do. But then, having vented spleen, raised dust and almost brought down the roof, the next thing is to isolate the issues dispassionately. With the bile displayed towards President Buhari and his family over the years, how did the man find the grace to have received FFK? How was he convinced? Who did the convincing? What were the extenuating factors? How? When? Why?

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“By agreeing to the readmission of FFK to APC as the leader of the party, and hosting him at the Villa, President Buhari displayed amazing capacity to forgive, to show mercy, and let bygones be bygones. How many of us can do that? Not many.”

“I have worked with the President for over six years. And I have seen amazing things in terms of accommodation and capacity to forgive. I have visited him at home many times in the evenings, only to find at dinner table with him people who had been abusing his forefathers on television earlier in the day.

“This President has a capacity to forgive, and forget. And make peace. That was what he displayed in the case of FFK. Nothing short of divine attribute, which me and you should covet and seek to approximate,” Adesina added.

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