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Osinbajo: Nigeria will Soon Triumph over Kidnapping, Banditry

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– Four clerics killed, 18 kidnapped in Kaduna in five years, says CAN

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday promised that kidnapping, banditry and insecurity generally would soon become things of the past as Nigeria would soon triumph over them.

This is coming as the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State chapter, has disclosed that four pastors have been killed, while 18 others were kidnapped since the banditry began in the state in the last five years.

Osinbajo was Special Guest of Honour at a one-day peace and security summit, organised by Kaduna State chapter of CAN, which held at ECWA Goodnews church, Narayi, Kaduna.

The theme of the summit was entitled, “Nigeria’s Insecurity: The church’s response in the 21st century”.

The Vice President said Nigeria’s socio-economic problems were like that of a woman in a labour room, saying after much pains, there will be celebration by the people when they eventually overcome the hardship.

The Vice President who was represented by the Chaplain, Villa, Pastor Joseph Oluseyi Malomo at the summit,said “we all desired a nation devoid of any form of kidnapping and terrorism.We have heard prophecies of a shining Nigeria, we are longing for the day those prophecies will come to reality. We need to fight the fight of faith because God’s plan for the greatness of Nigeria has not changed, it will surely come. We need to pray for Nigeria.”

“Many are weighed down because of problems they are going through, we must as Christians keep the Altars of God burning with prayers to overcome these problems.
“We must keep faith and see the problems we are going through as bread. God will take us to the promise land of a great nation with great values. We must reject politics of identity and ethnicity. Nigeria is going to be a shining nation, and insecurity will soon end,” he said.

A leader from the Middle Belt and Professor of Theology and social ethics, Prof. Yusuf Turaki, in his remarks on the occasion, alleged that government knew the kidnappers, bandits and other criminal elements in Nigeria.

Turaki who was the keynote speaker, said violence has taken over the country to the extent that every segment of the society was overwhelmed by violence.
He disagreed with politicians who are blaming killings in middle belt on farmers/herders clash, saying it was a deceptive narrative to motives of ” a repetition of Sokoto jihadists war.”

“These are Foreign Fulani who have been allowed to enter Nigeria so that they could help their brothers in Nigeria to kill innocent citizens and wreak havoc on our ancestral lands.These Fulani occupy the lands, carrying AK-47, killing people, destroying communities in the Middle Belt and other parts of the country. And the government knows them, government pays them to destroy ancestral lands. Politicians know the bandits that enter Nigeria, but they will not tell us.”

“Politicians have devised a wrong narrative that is deceptive, saying it is farmers/herders clash in middle belt, if it is clash, how comes Fulani are carrying AK-47 to kill the people. Nigeria is well blessed with intelligent people but they cannot up till today solve insecurity in the country. Something terrible has befallen our country. God, open the mouths of the people, let them speak the truth and die for the truth.”

“What the Fulani are doing now is exactly what Sokoto jihadists did in those old days. They kidnapped and asked people to pay ransom in those days. If you cannot pay, they sold you into slavery or kill you. So, kidnapping is not different from what happened during the Sokoto jihadists’ war. They captured infidels. It is being repeated now in Nigeria,” he said.

Earlier in his remarks, Chairman of the CAN, Kaduna state chapter, Rev Joseph Hayab said four pastors were killed, while 18 pastors were kidnapped since the banditry began in the state in the last five years .

He said that in 2019, CAN published records of kidnappings where it recorded a total of over 500 Christians who had been kidnapped.

”On record, CAN had about 18 pastors kidnapped with four of them killed. Past. Jeremiah Omolara – Living Faith Church, Romi New Extension, Rev. Iliya Anto – Former Vice President of HEKAN Church, Rev. Fr. John Bako Shekwolo – St. Theresa Catholic Church, Ankwa, Kachia Local Government Area and Rev. Hosea Akuchi – Nasara Baptist Church, Guru were killed.”

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Buhari set to address UN General Assembly

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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)

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VAT claim is about fiscal federalism- Lagos State

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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?”

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

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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.

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