By James Emejo
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Monday said it was not against the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA) or any other protocol which the country is a signatory.
The clarification came against the backdrop of misleading media reports that the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd), was allegedly opposed to the implementation of the agreement.
Ali was reportedly misquoted during his presentation at a public hearing of the Senate Committee on Finance.
But, in a statement issued by customs spokesman, Mr. Joseph Attah, the service pointed out that the CGC had only highlighted the implications of the AfCTA on revenue should the country fail to boost local production in order to curtail dumping.
According to him, all imports from member countries will be duty free when the agreement takes effect, adding that Nigeria must encourage local production and excise duty rather than import duty which will drastically drop soon.
Ali was quoted to have said: “I would rather collect excise duty than import duty because for every import, you are taking money out”.
The statement further decried attempts to link the customs boss to issues of scanners, partial border closure, describing the controversial article as having a “total loss of the understanding of CGC’s presentation.”
It read: “For the avoidance of doubt, the CGC and indeed NCS is not against the implementation of any protocol that Nigeria is a signatory.
“NCS role is to implement and provide input that might help policy formation in the interest of Nigerians.
“We strongly believe that Nigerians have a right to know the implications of ACFTA and actions that must be taken to benefit from it and not becoming a dumping ground for other countries’ goods.
“Twisting and giving it a different narrative relating to import duty is not only dangerous but mischievous misrepresentation that does the nation no good.
“NCS therefore call on Nigerians to discountenance that misleading piece and focus on what we must do to benefit from ACFTA.”
Threat to rig Ondo gov poll: Arrest Kekemeke now, group tells IGP, DSS, NIA
A group, Democracy Action Vanguard, on Sunday, called for the arrest and prosecution of a former chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State, Mr. Isaac Kekemeke, for threatening that the ruling party would deploy armed thugs and federal might to crush the opposition in the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo State.
Kekemeke, one of the APC governorship aspirants who recently reconciled with the candidate of the party in the October governorship election and incumbent governor of the state, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), had in a viral video obtained by SaharaReporters threatened that the ruling APC would deal ruthlessly with the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN).
He had said, “We will use NURTW members and thugs loyal to us (APC) to win this election at all costs. Eyitayo (PDP candidate) is only crying foul that they tore his posters in town. He has not seen anything yet. Governor Rotimi Akeredolu is the only one dealing with him now he has started crying. When the Federal Government arrives the state for the election, he will run away.
Reacting to the video, Democracy Action Vanguard, in a statement signed by its national coordinator, Mohammed Alhassan and made available to newsmen in Abuja, called on the Inspector General of Police, the Department of State Services and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) to arrest, investigate and initiate prosecution proceedings against the APC chieftain and his collaborators without delay.
According to the group, it is brazenly illegal and provocative for a ruling party to threaten violence and the use of federal might to win elections in the country.
The statement said: It is indeed unfortunate that 21 years into the restoration of civil rule, a high-ranking member of APC, a party which got into power through the electoral reforms initiated by the past PDP administration, would turn around to threaten fire and brimstone on the opposition in the desperate bid to win the October 10 poll in Ondo State at all costs.
The threat is in fact doubly unfortunate given the fact that the mindless violence that characterized the 1983 governorship election in Ondo State in Ondo State was one of the major factors that led to military rule and the abolition of the Second Republic, a tragedy for which Nigerians paid dearly.
“Kekemeke must explain APCs plans to intimidate the people of Ondo State and rig the October 10 governorship poll. It is instructive that he mentioned the Kogi State governor, Yahaya bello, while threatening to deal with Eyitayo Jegede in Ondo State. All those mentioned in the video, including Yahaya Bello, should be quizzed.
The verdict of history is clear and if a drop of blood is shed before, during the election, Nigerians should holy Kekemeke, his party and his goons responsible. We invite the security agencies and the international community not to take this threat to unleash mayhem on the good people of Ondo State with levity, the statement said.
Tambuwal Inaugurates Upgraded Investment House, TAJ Bank
In his bid to open up the state’s economy, Sokoto State Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal today inaugurated the upgraded Sokoto State Investment House (SOSIH).
The edifice which also houses the state Internal Revenue Services and Sokoto Geographical Information Systems (SOGIS) is also the operational base of TAJ Bank, an Islamic banking outfit.
Speaking at the occasion, Gov. Tambuwal said SOSIH was reinvigorated as a “company… to compete favorably with its counterparts in other states of the federation.”
“The investment company has continued to engage the right professionals and incorporate best practices so as to attain the fundamental goal of bringing to the fore the economy of the state to global capital, technology and talent through strategic public-private partnership and asset management,” the governor stated.
He also said “the Investment Company secured approval from the National Identity Management Commission to operate as a license provider for the enrollment if Nigerians for the issuance of the National Identification Number (NIN) in a joint venture with Citizens Helpline Passport Consortium.”
This, he explained, would lead to the establishment of Sokoto Social Security Investment Trust Limited “which will serve as a data mining centre and social security access platform in the state;” and, is aimed at providing employment for over 2000 youths in the state.
On SOGIS, Gov. Tambuwal said it was established to promote good governance and efficient service delivery. “The agency which is responsible for the management and administration of land and land related matters in Sokoto state, is also expected to develop and maintain a geospatial data base for the state.
In his speech, the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Saidu Umar, gave kudos to the government for resuscitating the investment building which had existed since 1979.
Special Adviser Media and Publicity to the Governor
Aug. 24, 2020
Southern Kaduna Crisis: SOKAPU Raises the Alarm Over Looming Humanitarian Crisis
By John Shiklam in Kaduna
President of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), Mr. Jonathan Asake, has raised the alarm over the humanitarian crisis among victims of the herdsmen attacks currently staying at various Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps.
Speaking in an interview with THISDAY on Monday, Asake said thousands of people that had been sacked from their communities were taking refuge at IDP camps amidst hash conditions ranging from insufficient food, lack of water, medication, beddings and other basic necessities.
He said those at the camps were mostly women and children who were exposed all forms of disease.
Asake also said “over 33 schools in rural communities in Kajuru, Chukun and Kaura LGAs had long been closed down either as a result of incessant invasions or abductions for ransom.”
He said “There is no doubt, there is humanitarian crisis as many communities had been permanently displaced.
According to him, “over 30 communities in Zangon Kataf, Kauru, Kajuru, Chikun and Kaura had been living in permanent displacement with “over 50,000 people living either at recognised IDP camps or with relations.
The SOKAPU President said further that many people from the affected communities have lost everything and were wondering around the city of Kaduna, begging for food”.
He said, so far, only public spirited individuals and church organisations, have been supporting the camps with relief materials.
“Hunger is staring at the victims of these attacks in the face and we are calling on the federal and Kaduna state governments to urgently intervene.
“These people have been depending on the good will of the public spirited individuals, Nongovernmental Organisations (NGOs) and church groups. The government should show concern for their plight, Asake said.
Meanwhile a Kaduna-based non-government organization, Mishpael Fountain Ministry (MFM), has donated foodstuffs and drugs to the Mercy IDP Camp in Zonkwa, Zangon Kataf LGA.
Making the donation on Monday, Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the NGO, Mr. Levi Hayab said the donation was to help alleviate the hardship being faced by the survivors of the resent herdmen attacks on Southern Kaduna communities.
Hayab said, “the mission of Mishpael is to be the hands, voice, and feet of Christ, reaching out to fractured and vulnerable people.”
He called for collaboration among other NGOs “to help alleviate the plight of those who have become victims of human cruelty.”
Hayab commended officials of the IDP camp, saying “the presence of the camp has brought succour to the traumatised survivors.”
Receiving the donation, coordinator of the camp, Rev. Gambo Waziri, said the victims were surviving on donations from individuals and groups.
He said the continuous insecurity and tension in southern Kaduna, has resulted in people coming and leaving the camp.
Waziri said, of 54 pregnant women registered at the camp, four had given birth, while two lost their babies, and the others received medical attention at the camp.
Ogun govt unveils multiple road projects
The Ogun State government, on Monday, completed the reconstruction of various roads across the state.
This, it said, was in fulfillment of the pledge by the state governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun in July, 2019 to ensure the reconstruction of the roads in the communities hit by floods.
Among the roads completed were the Asafa-Ayegun-Ojofa and Molipa-Fusigboye and Hospital roads in Ijebu-Ode, together with Baruwa Street in Sagamu local government area of the state.
The 1.5km and 1.3km roads were built with the appropriate drainage, to avert a recurrence of tragic floods in the state.
The roads were immediately left open for use by road users who commended the government’s efforts in the development of road infrastructure across the state.
Apart from the roads in Ijebu Ode, work is currently ongoing on Odo Afá road and bridge, Agosasa, in Ipokia local government area of the state; the Awùjalè-Oke Àjé-Stadium road in Ijebu-Ode and the 4.7km Oru-Awa-Ilaporu road in Ijebu North Local Government, which is 75 per cent completed, as well as Oba Erinwole road.
It will be recalled that there was jubilation among residents of Asero and Obantoko communities in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, on last weekend as the Ogun State government completed work on the Fajol-American Junction-Gbonagun road.
The 7.2km road, an alternative route, is designed to reduce the traffic gridlock daily experienced by motorists, okada riders and other road users on the Abeokuta-Ibadan road.
Edo govt pays August salary, pension
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has approved the payment of August salary and pension, restating his commitment to workers and pensioners’ welfare in the state.
In a statement, Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, said the governor gave the directive in line with the standing order for prompt payment of salary and pension obligations to workers.
According to him, “We are glad, as always, to report that August salary and pension have been paid in line with the directive of the governor, whose financial sagacity has kept the state’s economy healthy despite shocks from the internal and external environments.
“Last month, salaries and pension even came earlier because of the Sallah celebrations. Much as this is a statutory duty of government, we must also note that it is a time when a lot of states are in dire straits amid the adverse economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the lull in revenue, due to low crude oil prices.”
APC’s plot to hoodwink voters, stir confusion over Obaseki’s party in hinterlands busted – Osagie
…Gov’s aide urges Edo voters to vote for umbrella
Special Adviser to Edo State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, has said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has busted the new strategy being deployed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to hoodwink Edo people in the hinterlands and stir confusion over Governor Godwin Obaseki’s political party.
Osagie, who spoke with journalists in Benin City, the Edo State capital on Monday, said: “We have been receiving calls from supporters of Governor Godwin Obaseki in the hinterlands who told us that some members of the APC have been trying to deceive them to vote for the APC in the forthcoming election, by lying to them that Governor Obaseki, who is very popular among them, is still in the APC.
The governor’s aide added: “The candidate of the APC, Osagie Ize-Iyamu and his agents think they can manipulate Edo voters by peddling lies. The APC has since conceded to the overwhelming popularity of Governor Obaseki in the streets of Edo and has resorted to underhand tactics, such as they are doing in these communities.
“We call on Edo people, especially those who may be confused about the governor’s political party to vote for the umbrella on election day because Governor Obaseki has since left the APC and he is now the flag-bearer of the PDP.”
He explained that “There are thousands of families in the over 10 coastal communities along the Ovia River, between Edo and Ondo state, who couldn’t send their children to institutions of higher learning until Governor Obaseki intervened in the poor management of Edo State Polytechnic Usen.
“Workers in the polytechnic were owed about sixteen months salary arrears by the former administration, and the institution was as good as dead because parents withdrew their children and wards from there.
“Today, the Department of Mass Communication which was created less than two years ago and a few other departments have over three hundred students, most of them drawn from these communities.”
Osagie noted: “So these parents and their children of voting age have vowed to sustain the ongoing reforms in Edo Polytechnic by voting for Obaseki. It will also interest Edo people to know that there is a staff primary school in the polytechnic for children in these communities, who never had access to schools in their coastal communities until now.
“So members of the APC thought they could go to these communities, lie to them that their popular Governor is still in the APC. The strategy has since boomeranged on them because most of our people in these places, know better and the APC propagandists have fled the communities.”
Edo 2020: Ize-Iyamu’s SIMPLE Agenda Will Empower, Protect Edo Women, says Wife
Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Wife of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Edo State governorship election slated for September 19, Prof. Idia Ize-Iyamu, has assured women of the state of plans in her husband’ Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu’s manifesto, the SIMPLE agenda, to empower and support women with investments in the businesses and protection against abuse.
She gave this assurance while speaking at a campaign rally at Uzebba, Owan West Local Government Council on Sunday.
The professor of dentistry alongside other Edo APC Women leaders including the wife of the Deputy Governorship candidate, Hajia Nana Audu, and the APC State woman leader, Mrs. Betty Okoebor, met with supporters from Owan West, Owan East, and Akoko Edo councils who all declared their support for the APC and promised to vote the party at the polls.
She said Pastor Ize-Iyamu has careful plans to expand the trade and businesses of the women with government support, improve security, especially in rural communities to ensure the protection of women and other residents, and to care for the elderly.
In her words, “we are here to tell you that our governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, will boost your businesses, create jobs for your children, and take care of your welfare.”
“He will also support your farming activities and ensure your markets have water and toilet facilities”
She said being a medical practitioner, she would assist her husband to revamp the health sector of the state if elected.
“Most of our hospitals lack doctors, nurses, drugs; I will contribute my professional experience to ensure that all these are provided in our state government hospitals so that you can access good medical services.”
“I will ensure that elderly people and children with special needs get access to free medical services”.
She says Pastor Ize-Iyamu will address the infrastructure decay in the state, especially in the education sector to improve learning in the state and ensure that children, including those in rural communities, gain access to quality education in conducive environments.
Part of the rally was voter education exercise where the women were shown the right way to cast their votes.
Court Sentences Lovers to Community Service for Fake Kidnapping in Ekiti
Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
An Ekiti State Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Ado Ekiti, has sentenced Olawusi Victor, 18, and Idris Mary ,20, to two weeks community service for stage-managing fake kidnaping with the intent to extort money from the girl’s parents.
The sentences are to be supervised by Ekiti State Judiciary Chief security officer.
Making the pronouncement , on Monday, Chief Magistrate Adefunke Anoma, said: “This again was sadly a sign of high moral decadence in the fabric of our society.”
Anoma also recommended two weeks counseling exercise for both of them to be supervised by the Court Registrar.
She frowned at Mary’s action, saying it smacks of immorality and indiscipline for a girl of her age who is writing an international examination to leave the comfort of her home and went to stay at a guest house for four days.
Idris Mary explained, that she went to her boyfriend at Akure for a fun, but later ran into financial hitch to pay transportation fare to Ado Ekiti
She added that thismade her sent the alarming message of kidnapping to her parents.
During the trial, the prosecutor, Monica Ikebulo, told the court that the act was committed on 9th August, 2020, when they conduct themselves in a manner likely to cause breach of peace by concealing their whereabouts, thereby demanded ransom from Mary’s parents, that she had been kidnapped.
The police later investigated and confirmed that the proclaimed abduction was fake and rounded up the culprits for prosecution.
The Magistrate said the two sentences are to run simultaneously and the culprits are to report back to court at the expiration of the said two weeks.
Gunmen Kill One Abducts Many in Kaduna Community
By John Shiklam in Kaduna
One person was killed while many others, including final year students of a Junior Secondary School were abducted when gunmen invaded Damba-Kasaya community in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna.
The bandits were said to arrived the community on Monday at about 8am, riding on motorcycles.
They were said to have abducted many of the villagers before storming Prince Academy, to abduct Junior Secondary School (JSS3 ) students who were receiving lessons, preparatory for their final exams.
One of the villagers was reportedly killed when they were pursuing the bandits.
Bawa Wakili, a resident of the community, said the bandits came in a large number “like they always do” and were shooting sporadically.
Besides the bandits also destroyed musical and public address system worth thousands of naira in Aminchi Baptist Church, located in the community.
Wakili who lamented the security situation in rural communities said he relocated to Damba-Kasaya a couple of months ago after herdsmen sacked his village -Rumana Gbagyi also in Chikun LGA.
“They abducted many people in the village, then they went to Prince Academy and abducted many of the students who were receiving lessons for their JSS3 exams.
“I cannot say how many people were kidnapped, but they went away with many people” he said.
According to him, “Soldiers who came to the rescue , turned back after some few kilometres, leaving some of the villagers who accompanied them to rescue the victims.
“The villagers, not knowing that the soldiers had withdrawn, kept pursuing the bandits in the bush, the bandits fired at them and one person was killed”.
Mohammed Jalige, spokesman of the Kaduna state police command could not be reached as his mobile phone was switched off.
Chikun is one of the LGAs in Kaduna state, ravaged by bandits. Many communities have been sacked by gunmen suspected to be fulani herdsmen.
Benin Technical College old students applaud Obaseki for repositioning college
…donate learning materials
The Benin Technical College Alumni, England, has applauded the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration for revamping the college, now known as Government Science and Technical College (GSTC), after several years of neglect.
The President of the Alumni body, Mr. Nosa Igbinidu, who was represented by Prof. Deborah Odejimi, gave the commendation during the presentation of teaching and learning materials to the college, in Benin City.
The group donated 10 sets of all-in-one computers with fully installed and licenced Microsoft Office software; industrial photocopier; Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) units and core textbooks to the resource centre of the college.
Igbinidu said the donation of the materials was in line with the group’s policies and objectives and their conscious decision to support the state government in improving the pedagogy and study experience of the students and working condition of teachers and staff of the college.
According to him, “The Alumni body has followed with amazement the transformation of the Benin Technical College into a world class technical and vocational institution by the administration of Governor Godwin Obaseki. It is sad that previous administrations allowed this flagship college to degenerate into a state of disrepair.
“We have noted that for several years the college struggled to fulfill its primary objective as a skills acquisition centre in an era of mass youth unemployment. This is why we commend wholeheartedly Governor Obaseki for providing visionary leadership using technical education.”
Representative of the Commissioner for Science and Technology and Director in the ministry, Mr. Jonathan Ukpebor, expressed appreciation to the old students, adding “We are very delighted to be part of this history-making event. We want to sincerely thank the old students for organising this great event.
“As a government, we have been able to identify the critical roles of professionals and non-governmental organisations in our vision for the college and for this reason we are collaborating with any such group that is working in line with the vision and mission of the governor.
“The old students have been able to add colour to what the state government is doing. I want to reiterate that there is nowhere in the world where education is solely funded by the government, hence the need for such collaborations.”
Representative of the President of the Benin Technical College Alumni, England, Prof. Deborah Odejimi (right) during the presentation of teaching and learning materials to the Government Science and Technical College (formerly BTC), in Benin City.
Shaibu petitions Police, DSS, seeks arrest of Oshiomhole, Ize-Iyamu for arming youths, shooting of 5 others in Ikhin
Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comr. Philip Shaibu, on Monday, petitioned the Edo Police Command and the Department of State Services (DSS) seeking the prosecution of the sacked national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole and the APC gubernatorial candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, for recruiting and arming youths ahead of the September 19, 2020 governorship poll and the death of five APC youths who were shot during the party’s campaign rally in Ikhin, Owan East Local Government Area of Edo State.
Briefing Journalists in Benin City shortly after submitting the petition, Shaibu urged security agencies to take action and bring the duo to book, so that the state can have peace, adding that their desperation for power portends bad omen for the state.
The deputy governor alleged that Oshiomhole is plotting to set the state ablaze in connivance with his party’s gubernatorial candidate, noting that both of them have verifiable history of recruiting armed thugs to prosecute elections.
According to him, “I have to cry out because I know both of them very well, even in the dark; I can clearly identify their hands. I am concerned because if not checked, it portends grave danger for our state, before, during and after the September 19, 2020 gubernatorial election.
“I believe you are all aware of the recent killings in their camp, where five members were mauled down in Ikhin, Owan West Local Government Area of the state.
On Friday, August 14, 2020, the youths gathered in Ikhin to share money after their poorly organised rally in Afuze. A disagreement within them led to the shooting that resulted in the death of five youths. The question here is, who armed the youths to kill themselves? This clearly shows that the APC former national chairman has pushed out so much arms in readiness for the election as they have nobody on ground supporting them.
“I fear for our youths and those from the neighboring states who are being recruited and armed to go kill themselves. I want to advise parents to pay more attention to the whereabouts of their sons and the type of company they keep during this period because these two men don’t care about the safety of lives and property of others but about their personal ambition.”
Shaibu continued: “I don’t believe we should shed blood of these innocent youths because of our personal ambition. I am not just raising false alarm; I know both of them very well like the back of my palm.
“Ize-Iyamu was the one who organised an alleged notorious thug, Shabba and his boys to attack me and my family when I was in the Edo State House of Assembly; these perpetrators are still walking freely in the streets without prosecution.
“Oshiomhole himself organised a deadly attack on Governor Godwin Obaseki, myself and the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu and other top dignitaries during the convocation ceremony in Edo State University, Iyamho.
“The recent allegation against me that I was planning to attack my own convoy is the handiwork of this old man, using one Osa and Odion Idahosa under the guise of a faceless group. These guys have to be arrested and prosecuted; this is a challenge to the police.”
“In view of this catalogue of atrocities committed by Oshiomhole and Ize-Iyamu, I want to urge the security agencies to take action now and bring them to book so that Edo can have peace, otherwise, their desperation and thirst for power portends bad omen for our dear state,” Shaibu noted.