Connect with us

News

Southern governors call for urgent national dialogue

Published

on

Governors of the 17 southern states have joined those clamouring for the convocation of a national dialogue “as a matter of urgency.”

They took the position at their meeting in Asaba, the Delta State capital on Tuesday, which was attended by 13 governors and two deputy governors who represented their governors. Two governors, Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun), who is in Saudi Arabia for the lesser hajj, and Ben Ayade (Cross River) were absent.

It was the first such meeting since the President Muhammadu Buhari dispensation. Hitherto, the governors met along their geo-political groups.

Other decision taken include the need for “urgent and bold steps” to restructure the country; the need for President Muhammadu to address the nation on the growing insecurity in the country and how he plans to arrest it and the enforcement of the ban on open grazing in the South, including preventing movement of cows “on foot” from the North.

The communiqué of the meeting was read by Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, who was nominated by his colleagues after the session which lasted for one hour, 30 minutes between 1.30 and 3pm.

They recommended that in deference to the sensitivities of the various peoples of the country, there was a need to review appointments into Federal Government agencies (including security agencies) to reflect federal character as Nigeria’s overall population is heterogenous.

The communiqué said the governors “agreed that the progress of the nation require that urgent and bold steps be taken to restructure the Nigerian federation, leading to the evolution of state police, review of revenue formula in favour of sub-nationals and creation of other institutions which will legitimately advance our commitment to and practice of true federalism.

“The meeting recommended that in view of widespread agitation among various people for better inclusiveness in existing governance arrangements, the Federal Government should convoke a national dialogue as a matter of urgency.”

The meeting further resolved that open grazing be banned across Southern Nigeria, due to the menace posed by armed herders and its impact on food security.

It added that the Southern States would enforce the ban on open grazing, including cattle movement by foot and urged the Federal Government to support willing states to develop alternative livestock breeding systems.

They vowed to keep the unity of Nigeria on the basis of equity, justice and peaceful co-existence.

The communiqué also resolved to foster cooperation among the Southern states.

It expressed concern over the gridlock on the Oshodi/Apapa expressway in Lagos and the chokehold it has exerted on the nation’s economy, being the sole outlet from Apapa Wharf.

The governors recommended the activation and establishment of ports in other states of the federation to create new jobs and promote socio-economic activities in the country.

The governors expressed concern on the economic implications of another lockdown on the country, and suggested greater coordination and cooperation between Federal and state governments in evolving strategies for dealing with the pandemic.

Also yesterday, the Federal Government outlined some measures it has adopted to halt the security menace.

National Security Adviser Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Lucky Irabor and Inspector General of Police Baba Usman gave an insight into some of the new measures.

They spoke at the end of the third meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) – the third in 11 days  – presided over by President Buhari.

Monguno said the President had given directive on how to deal with enablers of crime and the need to find quick response with a view to mitigating the growing threats to society.

He added: “Specifically, issues of drug abuse as propellants for crime, how to make the criminal justice system much more effective, as well as looking at issues of unemployment, which of course, the Federal Executive Council had given an approval, through previous memos on how to get 100 million people out of poverty, that was also discussed. Then, again, the lack of an effective crime reporting system.

“Again, the President has given direction on how to make these things effective. Already, the NCC has been given certain instructions on how to deal with this, but Council has agreed that the level of insecurity in the country, especially in the last one month, is something that has to be addressed with the immediacy that it requires.”

Acting IG Usman, said President Buhari had approved new security measures for combating the situations in the Southeast and Southsouth regions.

Baba, who like the NSA refused to disclose details of the new instructions and plans for combating the situations, however, appealed to the public to assist the security in achieving success.

“We have some measures which we have outlined and have been approved by the Council and we’ll see how we can change the narrative within the quickest possible means to restore law and order and restore peace in that area”, he said.

Gen. Irabor said Council had been briefed on the activities of the armed forces so far and had considered their various needs.

“No doubt, far-reaching decisions were made. The Council was pleased with the actions and of course, the prayers that were made, which Council has also graciously undertaken to look into.

“These, of course, have to do with manpower development, training and equipment issues, and thankfully, the glow on my face should, of course, give you an indication as to the graciousness of the National Security Council, in relation to the briefings that we’ve given in this regard and I believe that going forward, we shall be translating that and it will have some great impact on the security disposition across the country”, he said.

Latest News

Buhari set to address UN General Assembly

Published

on

President Muhammadu Buhari is set to address 76th Session of the high-level General Debate of the UN General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York on  Friday, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

The Nigerian leader would deliver his address around 9am (around 2pm Nigerian time) to other world leaders during the morning session.

Buhari will speak to the theme of the Assembly and other global issues.

The theme for the 76th session is, “Building Resilience Through Hope – To Recover from COVID-19, Rebuild Sustainably, Respond to the Needs of the Planet, Respect the Rights of People and Revitalise the United Nation’’.

Friday’s session will also include speeches by leaders from The Gambia, South Sudan, Republic of Benin, Senegal and Germany, among others.

The Nigerian leader has participated in some bilateral meetings with a number of leaders of other countries’ delegations and heads of International Development organisations.

Buhari has met with the President of Burundi, Evariste Ndayishimiye, held meeting with Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organisation and also attended the UN Food Systems Summit.

The Nigerian leaders also held a bilateral meeting with Her Majesty, Maxima Zorreguieta, Queen of The Netherlands and participated at hybrid High-Level event, tagged “Transformative Actions for Nature and People”.

In addition, the President delegation had participated in other high-level meetings such as the Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action on Reparations, Racial Justice and Equality for People of African Descent.

The delegation is also attended High Level Plenary Meeting to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, among others. (NAN)

Continue Reading

Business

VAT claim is about fiscal federalism- Lagos State

Published

on

Lagos State government on Thursday said it has a strong case in its demand to collect the Value Added Tax (VAT).

It said its claims were also about fiscal federalism.

The state said VAT collection would neither impoverish other states nor would the process be cumbersome.

Commissioner for Information Strategy Gbenga Omotoso, who spoke on ‘Your View’ on TVC, said: “Lagos has a solid case in the ongoing legal dispute as the crux of the disagreement is about equity, justice and fairness.

“Whichever way it goes, it will also enrich our jurisprudence and enhance the way we see and relate to the law.

“No matter what, Lagos will always stand for true fiscal federalism.”

The commissioner noted that the volume of air, sea and road transport activities in Lagos puts pressure on the state’s infrastructure.

He added that additional revenue from VAT would facilitate infrastructure development for faster movement of goods and services, as well as economic growth for the benefit of Lagos and other states since prices will fall.

On the demand for a special status for Lagos, Omotoso described Lagos as a ‘giant that carries most of the burden of Nigeria on its shoulders and the engine-room of the nation’s financial and business activities.

“Lagos must be empowered to play this role to the benefit of Nigerians”, he insisted.

Omotoso noted that other states can partner with Lagos to generate more revenue or resources by taking advantage of its huge population and massive market to sell their agricultural produce and other products, while profits realised therefrom would be repatriated to create more wealth for farmers and other producers in such states.

According to him, Lagos almost became an orphan following the movement of the Federal Capital Territory to Abuja in 1991, resulting in modest support from the Federal Government.

He was confident there would be resources for more infrastructure and facilities in transportation, health, education, e.t.c, that will benefit Lagosians and others who troop in every day if the state is allowed to collect VAT.

Omotoso added that the state will sensitise residents concerning its position on the debate.

Also yesterday, Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel said states were entitled to collect VAT.

He was a guest on Arise TV News ‘Morning Show’ aired to mark the state’s 34th anniversary.

According to him, it was wrong for the Federal Government to collect and share revenue from VAT because it is generated from businesses and activities in states.

Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, yesterday asked all taxpayers to continue remitting VAT to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

She said in an advertorial: “The ruling of the Court of Appeal employs all taxpayers in all the states to continue to collect VAT on behalf of the government in compliance with the VAT Act.”

But, Emmanuel said despite the huge oil and gas investments in the state, Akwa Ibom receives a paltry N2 billion from VAT.

He backed his Rivers and Lagos states counterparts, Nyesom Wike and Babajide Sanwo-Olu, both of whom have signed their VAT bills.

Emmanuel said: “If my brother state has gone to court, it is the same principle that we stand on. I think we are all in the same bucket, the same basket.

“All the 36 states do not need to join at the same time. Today my brother in Rivers State has gone far enough.

“I think the case has gone to the Appeal Court and there is also a stay of execution.

“Let me allow the rule of law. But for states saying they do not need VAT, maybe they do not know the hidden treasure in VAT.

“If today I sell a house in Uyo, or any other person sells a property, the value is enhanced because of the good roads, electricity, security and water I have created, and the value I have added to the property. Why should the VAT on the property not come to me 100 per cent?

“Just look at the money I have spent on capital projects in the first quarter put at N143 billion, if you take 7.5 per cent of that, why should all not come to me?”

Continue Reading

Business

No going back on mega protest at UN Headquarters – Yoruba Nation, others

Published

on

Self-determination agitators operating on the platform of Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination (NINAS) have vowed to go ahead with the grand finale of its one-million-man freedom march at the United Nations headquarters in New York, the United States on Friday.

The grand finale of the march coincides with the ongoing UN Assembly where President, Muhammadu Buhari, is expected to address the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly on Friday.

Akintoye in a statement, on Thursday, made available to The Nation by NINAS Director of Communications, Maxwell Adeleye, accused the Federal Government of sponsoring a counter-protest at the United Nations Headquarters tomorrow.

He alleged that the Nigerian Government has started hiring black foreigners living in the United States of America with $500 per head to stage a Pro-Buhari and One Nigeria March opposite the United Nations Headquarters.

Akintoye vowed that the will of the people would prevail no matter how the Federal Government tries to scuttle the NINAS Grand Finale March.

Apart from Akintoye, the Secretary-General, Tony Nnadi, who represents the Lower Niger Congress and Prof. Yusuf Turaki, who represent the Middle-Belt Movement at NINAS have also jointly called on the UN to take urgent step to prevent Nigeria from descending into chaos.

NINAS, which described the 1999 Constitution as a fraud against the people of South and Middle-Belt, having been “enacted without the consent of the people,” demanded the conduct of a regional referendum so that the indigenous people can decide on their nationhood, among others.

All the indigenous people of the South and Middle-Belt in the United States and Canada have been urged to troop out in large number tomorrow.

Continue Reading

Trending