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Buhari clocks 78, Tinubu, govs, N’Assembly leaders, others pay homage

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National leader of the All Progressives Party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, state governors, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila and other prominent Nigerians have felicitated with President Muhammadu Buhari on his 78th birthday.

Tinubu, in his birthday message to Buhari, called him a “true patriot who wants the best for the nation.”

He said in the congratulatory statement, “I join with all patriotic and peace-loving Nigerians in supporting your efforts to move Nigeria forward and to find lasting solutions to the longstanding issues that have faced our nation for so long.

“You are a true patriot who wants the best for the nation and I join you in this desire. May Almighty Allah bless these efforts and support us so that at the end of the day we shall overcome and that Nigeria must stand as a prosperous and peaceful nation.”

Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa said the Buhari administration had continued to make progress in some key infrastructure areas, especially the railways and the second Niger Bridge.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Olisa Ifeajika, the governor said, “On the occasion of your 78th birth anniversary on December 17, 2020, I heartily rejoice with you and your family on behalf of the Government and people of Delta State.”

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in a congratulatory message by his Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, said, “You have sacrificed the greater part of your adult life in service of our dear country. Therefore, you deserve to be celebrated.

“Your passion for Nigeria and quest for good leadership in our country made you to contest for presidential election four consecutive times before you were elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015. Your integrity and forthright attitude to governance got you another mandate in 2019.”

Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola noted that despite several challenges bedeviling the country, President Buhari had made remarkable and impactful contributions to the growth and development of Nigeria.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Ismail Omipidan, the governor said: “It is noteworthy to mention that, despite the noticeable challenges confronting our nation, you have made remarkable and impactful contributions to the growth and development of the country. You have been an incorruptible, honest and people-oriented leader.”

Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, said, “As you continue to serve our nation with an uncommon sense of patriotism and unwavering dedication, I thank Almighty God for granting you a life of great accomplishments and abiding fulfilment.

“I have no doubt that as you celebrate your birthday, you will be more concerned about the myriad of challenges facing the nation and how to resolve them to the advantage of our people.”

Senate President Ahmad Lawan noted that President Buhari, in all his years of leadership, had been showing “undeniable commitment to the unity, peace and even development of Nigeria.”

In a statement in Abuja, he added, “From the ongoing massive infrastructure projects across the country, series of programmes targeted at lifting the most vulnerable, like the social investment scheme, to the numerous bold initiatives of his government aimed at diversifying the economy, President Buhari is leveraging his integrity and good standing with the masses to courageously guide Nigeria through a difficult phase into future prosperity.”

Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege emphasised that President Buhari’s purposeful leadership, commitment to the cause of the masses, as exemplified in the people-oriented policies and programmes of his administration, have endeared him to many.

Gbajabiamila said President Buhari deserved to be celebrated at 78, given his commitment to a better Nigeria for the good of the citizens, adding, “Nigeria and Nigerians have gained a lot from your wealth of experience and selfless service to the country and humanity in your 78-year sojourn on mother earth.”

Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, said, “You are a visionary leader and a celebrated anti-corruption crusader in and outside the shores of Nigeria. You are a gift to this nation, and you deserve the best.”

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‘Tax evasion’: Tribunal okays Multichoice’s N8bn deposit, fixes date to hear appeal against FIRS

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The tax appeal tribunal (TAT) has ruled that Multichoice Nigeria Limited met the conditions necessary to prosecute an appeal against the N1.8 trillion tax levied on it by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

 

Multichoice is the owner of the satellite televisions, DStv and Gotv – popular subscription-based platforms in Nigeria.

 

At the hearing in Lagos on Wednesday, the administrative court said it was satisfied that MultiChoice had complied with the directive by depositing N8 billion — as instructed on the provision of the FIRS Act.

 

Paragraph 15(7)(c) of the fifth schedule of the FIRS Act, 2007 requires an appellant to pay 50 percent of the tax paid the previous year plus 10 percent mark-up as security before prosecuting an appeal.

At the last hearing in September, the FIRS had asked the tribunal to discontinue the hearing of MultiChoice’s appeal and enter judgment against the appellant for failure to pay 50 percent of the disputed N1.8 trillion sum under assessment — about N900 billion.

 

But Multichoice Nigeria Limited said it had complied with the directives of the tax tribunal by depositing an amount required by the law with the FIRS, which according to the company, is N8 billion.

 

Both parties had expressed diverse views on the amount expected to pay as security for prosecuting an appeal before the TAT — as stakeholders, including PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), faulted loopholes in the FIRS Act.

 

Reading the ruling, AB Ahmad, the tribunal chairman, dismissed the contention of the FIRS that the deposit made by MultiChoice amounted to non-compliance with Paragraph 15(7) of the FIRS Act.

 

He said the appellant has shown respect to and complied with the tribunal’s directive.

 

The tribunal also dismissed the argument of the FIRS that the security deposit MultiChoice was required to make should cover 10 consecutive financial years — not just that of the preceding financial year, which is 2019.

 

The tribunal agreed with the position of MultiChoice that the relevant provision of the FIRS Act stated the preceding year and not years — as the FIRS had argued.

The tribunal then fixed November 17, 2021, for the commencement of the hearing of the appeal.

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How 16 Army Generals Were Unjustly Eased Out Of Service, Despite Malami’s Interventions

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Nine Major Generals and 7 Brigadier Generals ‘arbitrarily’ sacked by the Nigerian Army in 2016 for not justifiable reasons have been technically eased out of the service, despite interventions of Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

PRNigeria gathered that the affected generals have reached their run out date this year and cannot be reinstated into the military even after the resolutions of the National Assembly (NASS) and several courts ordered their reinstatements which were flagrantly ignored by the Nigerian Army.

 

The affected military generals were among the 38 Army Officers that were compulsorily retired on 9 June 2016 without any cogent reason.

 

The affected officers ‘technically’ eased out of service while waiting for justice are Major Generals F. O. Alli, E.J. Atewe, I.N. Ijioma, L.C. Ilo, T.C. Ude, L. Wiwa, S.D. Aliyu, M.Y. Ibrahim and O. Ejemai.

The Brigadier Generals arere D. M. Onoyeiveta, A.S.O. Mormoni-Bashir, A.S.H Sa’ad, L.M. Bello, K.A. Essien, B. A. Fiboinumama and I. M. Lawson.

Meanwhile, three brigadier Generals: D. Abdusalam, A. I. Onibasa and G.O. Agachi can still be reinstated as they still have active years to serve.

 

Several attempts by Malami, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), to resolve the impasse between the Army Generals and their military authorities were also futile.

 

PRNigeria gathered from credible investigation that the Army Council, then presided by the trio of Mr. Mohammed Mansur Dan-Alli (then Minister for Defence), General AG Olonsakin (then Chief of Defence Staff) and Lt Gen TY Buratai (then Chief of Army Staff) sat and announced the compulsory retirement of the 38 Army officers.

 

The announcement of the compulsory retirement of the 38 officers was made via the media even before the affected officers were eventually informed by text messages of their retirement, sources revealed to PRNigeria.

 

While announcing the compulsory retirement to the media, the Nigerian Army claimed that the 38 Army officers that were compulsorily retired have been investigated and found professionally corrupt in defence procurement and/or election-related offences in the 2015 General Elections.

But one of the sources, with vast knowledge on the case, maintained that none of the 38 Army Officers that were compulsorily retired was ever investigated or court-martialled before their public compulsory retirement.

The source, a senior serving military personnel, who asked not to be named, said: “None of the affected officers was ever at any time before their public compulsory retirement queried, notified of any culpability, or subjected to any military police investigation and none was ever court-martialed – these are the mandatory disciplinary process in the military as recognized by law!

 

“The Army records will show that none of the 38 Army Officers that were compulsorily retired was ever charged with any infraction in accordance with expressed procedures in Armed Forces Act CAP A20 The Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.”

Another source, while confiding in PRNigeria, said that after their public retirement, many of the victimized officers wrote to the Army leadership under Lieutenant General Buratai, asking to be furnished with facts that constitute any alleged offense as stated in their respective letters of compulsory retirement, but regrettably, the Army failed to respond to this simple request over 5 years now.

 

“Some of the affected officers also sent letters of redress to both the Senate and the House of Representatives on the victimization of the 38 Army officers. The Nigerian Congress through their respective Public Petition Committees investigated the matter and were shocked that the Army could not provide any allegation of wrongdoing against the officers whose careers were publicly cut short.

 

“After their respective investigations of the matter, both Houses had admonished the Nigerian Army over arbitrary disengagement of officers without any wrongdoing and due process and warned that such abuse of office would discourage serving officers and soldiers from giving their full commitment to the service of the nation. Both chambers of the National Assembly further recommended the immediate reinstatement of the affected officers.

“The resolutions were duly forwarded to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Chief of Army Staff, but these resolutions of Congress have been completely ignored which indicates a deliberate pattern of abuse against these innocent officers,” he said.

 

Checks by PRNigeria indicates that after the refusal of the Nigerian army to reinstate the officers based on the resolutions of the National Assembly and court orders, Malami, through the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, wrote letters and reminders to the military authorities in October 2019, November 2020 and even in February 2021 seeking clarification “over grave acts of injustice and unlawful compulsory retirement from service Senior Officers.”

In one of the letters, which was also sighted by PRNigeria, Malami reminded the Army Chief that he was yet to receive any response for the initial letter he had sent, in order for him to advise Mr. President appropriately.

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Babagana Kingibe: Nigeria’s unity negotiable

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Nigeria’s envoy to Chad and the Lake Chad basin region, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, says the unity of the country is negotiable.

He stated this at The Sun Newspapers 2020 Awards held in Lagos on Saturday.

According to the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), even the union between a husband and wife is negotiable.

But he told separatist agitators that the land they reside would not be carved out and taken to anywhere else should the country break up.

“I was born in Nigeria. I was groomed in Nigeria. I believe in Nigeria. People of my generation believe in Nigeria. We have no doubt about the fact that we have no option, but Nigeria.”

“However, I think that a few of my colleagues believe that the unity of Nigeria is not negotiable. Of course, it is negotiable. Even the unity of a family is negotiable. Even the constitution of husband and wife is negotiable.

“The moment either parties feels this union is no longer bearable, that he or she will rather go his/her way. You help them to sit down consider their condition after a careful and rational examination of the pros and cons of how to be married that they take the decision which suit them best.

“When we ever say we want to go away, I do not think they realise the going away. It is not that you carve out the piece of land, take it up and put it in other side of Ghana. The piece of land will be here. You will be here. Everybody will be here. And we all want to prosper. My appeal to everyone is, please, let us be respectful of one another. Let us not demonise one another. Let us respect the views of everybody.”

Kingibe, who received the newspaper’s ‘Lifetime Achievement Award,’ advised those seeking to leave Nigeria to consider the implications.

“Are you sure where you are going? Are you sure of the consequence of where you are going? Do you really feel that the grass is greener on the other side?”

“If you do, sit with your partner in respect, in mutual respect, in love if possible, but without demonising your husband or your wife because you will always remain the ex of the other person. But discuss quietly so that even if you separate in the future you can inter-relate with love and respect,” he added.

 

 

 

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