The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has warned members of the Public to desist from further congratulatory messages for its executive Chairman in all forms of publicity.
The anti-gravity said it has observed the increasing number of messages published in the print media by groups and individuals, congratulating Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa on his well-deserved appointment as the Executive Chairman of the Commission but want such to stop immediately
While appreciating the open exhibition of affection and solidarity which may be salutary in its cultural milieu, the Commission said, “it is however inauspicious at this point in time and gradually turning into a distraction”.
According to a statement issued by Wilson Uwujaren, Head, Media & Publicity, “Mr. Bawa is assuming the leadership of the EFCC at a time of great challenge and he desires to hit the ground running.
“What he needs from well-wishers and indeed all Nigerians, is support and prayers, and more importantly, credible information that will further the work of the Commission.
“He therefore appeals to all his admirers and well-wishers who might have the intention of demonstrating their love and support for him through paid newspaper advertisement to desist”.
“Instead channel such resources to more worthy causes, such as making donations to Orphanages and Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camps” the statement said.
INSECURITY: Kwara, Oyo Govts Parley To Fight Insurgency To Stand Still.
The Governments of Kwara and Oyo states has announced their resolve to set up an interstate working team, to dispassionately address security challenges and come up with solutions to be worked on by both state Governors.
Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Tuesday led a delegation of state officials, traditional rulers and security commanders to Ibadan for a joint security meeting with his Oyo State counterpart Seyi Makinde and top officials of the southwestern state,
In a statement by Rafiu Ajakaiye, the CPS to Kwara State Governor said, “The meeting focused on the recent security breaches involving herders and local communities in Oyo State, the influx of displaced herders into Kwara State and the attendant socioeconomic and security issues”.
“There is a need for political leaders to act fast to drown the voices of non-actors who spread hate messages, and a need for the two states and traditional rulers across border communities to share intelligence while security agencies do joint patrols to curb criminal activities.
Ajakaiye said that the initiative, which is part of the efforts of the administration to douse tension over the recent influx of herders into the state, is meant to further protect lives and properties.
It would be recalled that both Kwara and Oyo States share boundaries across many communities where the bandits can easily move from one village to another to perpetrate their evils and return back without detention.
The meeting, which took inputs from the traditional rulers and security commanders, also discussed the prospects of the National Livestock Transformation Programme of the federal government ending the decades of open cattle grazing and the perennial herders-farmers’ clashes and a need for leaders to stand firm and speak with one voice for peace and national unity.
The leaders observed that states bordering one another ought to collaborate and devise ways to tackle security challenges and foster economic cooperation’s without relying entirely on the federal government.
Reading the resolution at end of the closed doors meeting, the host governor Engr Seyi Makinde said, “We held a joint security council meeting and we acknowledged the efforts of our security agencies and thanked them for the work they are doing for the country. We do appreciate them and we encourage them to do more”.
“We acknowledged the fact that non-state actors are getting upper hands in communicating and spreading hatred within the country and we asked our leaders to speak with one voice, especially at the Nigerian Governors’ Forum. We have to be firm. We have to be decisive in dealing with security challenges the country is faced with.
“We have also noticed the fact that our intelligence gathering efforts have to be deepened. Some of the situations that we faced recently showed that we were only able to react instead of being able to act before those issues erupted and this is due to intelligence failure. The meeting noted that we should deepen our intelligence gathering efforts”, he revealed.
He said, “Our traditional rulers in border towns of Oyo and Kwara states are encouraged to come together in fostering unity and exchange of information. With that, our security agencies will be able to proactively deal with the situation instead of being reactive”.
“We agreed that a more detailed working team is to be set up between Oyo and Kwara States. Issues to be addressed will have wider national ramifications. Asking some people to leave Oyo State has created issues in Kwara State with internally displaced persons now spread across Kwara State. They are in 13 villages across seven local government areas of Kwara State with its attendant challenges of maintaining those individuals”, Makinde disclosed.
The Oyo Governor’ remarked, “So, a working group is to be set up to dispassionately address those challenges and come up with solutions and the governor of Kwara State and myself will be able to resolve those issues.”
The Kwara team comprised House of Assembly member Ahmed Saidu Baba; Secretary to the State Government Professor Mamman Saba Jubril; former Special Adviser on Special Duties Yinka Aluko; and Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Security Muyideen Aliyu.
Others are the state’s Commissioner of Police; Brigade Commander, Nigeria Army, Sobi; Director, Department of State Service; Commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps; the Director National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency; and the Comptroller, Nigeria Immigration Service in Kwara State.
The Emirs of border communities Okuta, Ilesha Baruba, Yashikra and representative of the Emir of Gwanara were also in attendance.
NDLEA Recovers 27 rifles in Niger State, Destroys Five Hectares Of Cannabis Farm In Ondo State
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has recorded another tremendous discovery as its operatives in Niger State Command recovered 27 new rifles from two suspects during a routine stop and search operation in Kontagora area of the state.
The suspects; Danjuma Auta, 35, and Daniel Danrangi, 25, both male and from Dirin Daji, Sakaba Local Government Area of Kebbi State were arrested along Kontagora – Zuru road, Niger state on Monday night.
The agency Commander in Niger State, Mr. Aloye Isaac Oludare who disclosed this said, the duo were arrested with 12 locally fabricated AK 47 rifles and 15 locally fabricated pistols. The rifles were concealed in a white sack while on a motorcycle to an unknown place when they were arrested.
“Kontagora where the weapons were seized is about 107 kilometers from Kagara, a town in Niger State where there have been mass abductions of women, children and secondary school students in the last one month”, he revealed.
According to him, “Preliminary investigation shows that the fabricator of the weapons resides in Kamfaninwaya, not far away from Kontagora, while one of the pistols is fully loaded. The suspects and the weapons will be transferred to the Nigerian Police Headquarters, Minna for further investigation and prosecution of the suspects”.
In another operation, the agency Director, Media & Advocacy, Mr Femi Babafemi, in a statement revealed that operatives of NDLEA, Ondo State Command have raided Ita-Ipele and Ipele forests, Owo LGA of Ondo State.
“During the operation, Six suspects, namely; Stephen Ikechukwu, 38; Stephen Friday, 32; Austin Osadebe, 58; Friday Paul, 29; Adebayo Raphael, 25 and John Pius, 45, were arrested.
“A total of 41kgs of Cannabis Sativa and 6kgs of Cannabis Seeds were recovered during the operation, while a total of five hectares of Cannabis farm was located and destroyed on the order of the Ondo State Commander of the Agency, Mr. Haruna Gagara”, the statement added.
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu has said that the lack of improvement in Nigeria’s electoral process is largely hinged on poor access to polling Units which causes cases of inconclusive elections in Nigeria.
Yakubu made this known during a presentation on the state of voter access to polling units in Nigeria before a joint committee of the National Assembly in Abuja.
He revealed that although polling units are crucial to the national democratic system, access to these polling units in Nigeria is currently in crisis.
According to the INEC Chairman, since 1996 no enhancement or increment has been made to polling units resulting in badly overcrowded units, prone to electoral violence, unhealthy for voters and officials of INEC.
In his presentation, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, while underscoring the need for the creation of additional Polling Units across the country, said the current configuration of 119,973 Polling Units was established by the defunct National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (NECON) in 1996.
According to him, “the problem of voter access to Polling Units has far reaching implications for the quality of elections and democracy in Nigeria.
It is tied to a most fundamental aspect of democratic governance which is the right to vote.”
He explained further that previous attempts by the Commission to expand voter access to polling units resulted in the creation of “Baby units” to serve the rapidly growing Federal Capital Territory in 2007.
He added that, “in 2014, in the buildup to the 2015 general election, the Commission proposed the creation and distribution of additional 30,027 new polling units.
Also, within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, INEC notes that it is necessary to decongest polling units to minimize overcrowding and reduce the long distances voters travel often in overcrowded means of transport in order to vote during elections.
Yakubu also noted that, there is an urgent need to increase the number of polling units to meet you with the current number of registered voters that have increased overtime.
The last time new polling units were established in Nigeria was 25 years ago 1996, this was done by the defunct National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (NECON). There were 120,000 polling units to serve a projected population of about 50 million voters in Nigeria at that time.
Nigeria’s current number of registered voters according to INEC is 84,004,084 and is expected to rise after the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) ahead of the 2023 General Election.
In response, leadership of the National Assembly assured INEC that the National Assembly will support the commission completely and fully with whatever it takes to provide a convenient and more conducive environment for voting.
The President of the National Assembly, Senator Ahmad Lawan, also assured Nigerians of the full support of the National Assembly especially in the area of creating new polling units. According to him, the creation of more polling units across the country would facilitate ease of access and enable registered voters exercise their civic rights of participating during elections.
He said: “Let me assure the Chairman of INEC and, indeed, Nigerians, that the National Assembly will support INEC fully, completely and wholly in ensuring that we provide a better voting environment for our citizens.
“Whatever it takes, we will do so because democracy is about participation by the people, and voting is probably the most important thing a citizen could do to decide who leads him or her.
“Therefore, to provide a more convenient, safe and secured environment for voters is one thing that the National Assembly would always do to support INEC.
“And, we have supported INEC many times, whether through budgeting or other engagements that will facilitate the work of INEC, therefore, this one is a request that we should not even hesitate to grant. So, you have our support.
The Senate President, who underscored the need for more eligible Nigerians to participate during elections, charged politicians, political parties and Civil Society Organizations to mobilize registered voters ahead of the forthcoming General Elections in 2023.
Business support including furlough and the VAT cut for hospitality firms will continue “while lockdown persists”, the business secretary has said.
With Covid restrictions set to end by June at the earliest, Kwasi Kwarteng told the BBC it was important not to “crush” any potential recovery.
Ahead of Wednesday’s Budget, Rishi Sunak said he would protect jobs using the “full firepower” at his disposal.
But he also promised honesty about what was need to “fix” the public finances.
He faces a potential row with some Conservative MPs if he imposes tax increases, amid warnings they could stifle economic growth. And Labour is urging him to abandon the planned council tax rises in England.
In his statement to MPs, the chancellor will commit the government to doing “whatever it takes to support the British people and businesses through this moment of crisis”.
He is set to extend the £20-a-week top up to universal credit for six months to help struggling households, a government source told the BBC.
Other support is expected to include £408m for museums, theatres and galleries in England to help them reopen when Covid restrictions ease and £150m to help communities take over pubs in danger of closing.
He is also expected to set out his plans to tackle the huge hole in the government’s balance sheet – caused by the high levels of borrowing and debt built up during the pandemic and the hit to tax revenues from the closure of many sectors of the economy.
“Once we are on the way to recovery, we will need to begin fixing the public finances – and I want to be honest about our plans to do that,” he is expected to say.
The Budget comes at a very difficult time for businesses and government finances.
But the prime minister’s “roadmap” for easing Covid restrictions says the final legal limits on social contact and business activity will end no earlier than 21 June.
Asked on BBC Breakfast if the job support scheme would continue, Mr Kwarteng said the chancellor had “already indicated that we will be extending furlough”.
And he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think it’s a fairly good assumption that, while lockdown persists, there will be additional support.”
He added: “It’s really important that we don’t crush the recovery before it’s happened and… in order to keep people’s jobs going… to keep companies going, we need to continue providing support.”
Mr Kwarteng said there would “perhaps be an extension” of the reduced – 5% – rate of VAT for the hospitality sector, also due to end in 31 March.
If vaccines continued to be rolled out “efficiently” and the roadmap was followed, there was “every chance that the economy can bounce back”, he argued.
“We can see strong growth at the end of 2021, and that will be the best way to deal with the growing deficit or to try and reduce it,” Mr Kwarteng said.
Mr Sunak is reportedly planning to increase corporation tax to as much as 25%, from the current 19%, to reduce pressure on public finances.
But some Conservative MPs, including former Brexit Secretary David Davis, say this would impede recovery and are warning they will resist this or any similar moves. They have been told they risk expulsion from the parliamentary party if they vote against the Budget.
Mr Sunak said the culture sector, employing 700,000 people, would be a “significant driver” in any recovery.
He is expected to put an extra £300m into the £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund, with England’s museums and cultural bodies also receiving £90m to keep going until they can open their doors on 17 May at the earliest – plus £18.8m provided for community cultural projects.
The chancellor will also use his Budget speech to deliver a £150m Community Ownership Fund so communities can bid for up to £250,000 to save pubs and sports clubs in danger of going out of business.
But former Conservative leader Lord Hague wrote in the Daily Telegraph that, after 12 months of heavy public borrowing to pay for furlough and other schemes, “at least some business and personal taxes” would have to rise.
For Labour, shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds used a speech on Monday to argue that now was “not the time” for tax rises, but signalled she could support an increase in corporation tax in the future.
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