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Herders defy southern states’ ban on open grazing

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It seems to be business as usual for some herders in parts of the southern states especially in the rural areas, as they continue to graze their livestock in the open despite the ban on such activities.

Reports from our correspondents across the states suggest that little has changed in the way herders have been grazing their cattle , goats and rams since the take-off of the ban on September 1.

The only exception so far is Ondo State where the State Security Network – Amotekun – on Thursday arrested three herdsmen and 56 cows for allegedly violating the anti-grazing law.

The suspects were arrested at Iwara, a community in Ikare Akoko, headquarters of Akoko North East Local Government, after allegedly destroying a farmland.

The Commander of Amotekun Corps, Chief Adetunji Adeleye, confirmed the arrest and vowed that the law would be enforced across the state.

He asked leaders of herders’ associations to educate their members on how to conduct themselves without creating conflict.

The arrested persons were fined for their actions.

The Seriki Hausa Akungba Akoko, Alahaji Idris Jumil Ismaila, thanked the governor of Ondo State for allowing them to settle out of court and promised to get herders comply henceforth.

It was gathered that herders in the rural areas of the Southwest,Southeast and Southsouth are going about their business unmolested.

A resident of Anambra State, Dr Elo Aforka, told The Nation that the pronouncement of Governor Willie Obiano on the ban was insufficient without a proper law.

“The only way to run a society is by law. Any civil society is run by law and not by utterances,” Aforka said.

He alleged that clashes between the cattle breeders and communities in the state persist and the people are yet to see the ban implemented.

Another social commentator in the state, Emma Okafor, told The Nation that the impact of the ban on open grazing had not been felt in Anambra State

He said the governor was expected to present a bill to the State House of Assembly, based on the agreement reached by the 17 Southern governors, yet, he refused to act.

Information and Public Enlightenment Commissioner, C -Don Adinuba, had earlier told The Nation that the government inaugurated a committee to ensure harmony between herders and locals.

The leader of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, Alhaji Gidado Sidikki, corroborated the government’s claim.

A farmer in one of the rural communities in Awka North Local Government Area of the state said herders still encroach on farms.

But the 62-year old woman, who does not want her name mentioned, said harassment from the herders has reduced a bit, compared to two -three years ago, adding that the herders still move around the state with their cows.

The situation is not different in Abia State where a law banning open grazing is already in place.

Asked why violators had not been arrested, the Chief Press Secretary of Governor Ikpeazu, Mr. Onyebuchi Ememanka, said the Police, Abia State Command should explain to the public why they have been unable to enforce the law on anti-grazing as signed into law by the governor of the state.

A resident of the state, Mr. Ohaeri Stephen, said the Police should ensure compliance with the law.

Many herders exit Ebonyi

Investigation showed that a large number of herders relocated from Ebonyi State before the take- off of the ban on open grazing and following two attacks on residents of Ohaukwu and Ishielu local government areas earlier in the year.

A resident of Onicha Local Government Area, who gave his name as James, said the herdsmen were a terror in the area.

“They raped women, attacked and killed people and destroyed farmlands. They contributed to the increase in food prices as many farmers suffered poor yield due to the destruction caused by cattle.”

Ban has restored calmness, says Bayelsa govt

Bayelsa State Information, Orientation and Strategy Commissioner Ayibaina Duba, says the enforcement of the anti-open grazing law passed on March 10, 2021 has been effective and restored calmness in the state.

“Since we started enforcing the anti-open grazing law more than six months ago, we have not had the

– The Nation

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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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TCN lost N1.7bn to Borno vandal activities in nine months – Minister

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The Transmission Company of Nigeria says it has lost N1.7 billion in nine months owing to the destruction of electricity infrastructure in Maiduguri, Borno State. Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu, stated this on Thursday at a town hall meeting in Maiduguri.
He said the TCN made the revenue loss from January to September this year.
Aliyu, who was represented by TCN Chairman, Sule Abdulazeez, said the loss recorded was on vandalised electricity lines at an average of 740 megawatts per day.
The minister added that in one month, TCN lost an average of N139 million on the wheeling charges and energy lost in the area.
He said a total number of eight 330Kv towers had been brought down by insurgents in Damaturu and Maiduguri within the period.
The minister said an average cost of reconstructing each tower is about N110 million, translating to about N880 million.
“Five towers were successfully erected and stringing completed on Sept. 17, awaiting energisation before the insurgents brought down another two sets of tower (1193 and 1194) at Auna village the next day September.
“Six towers in Oronta village in Abia state were brought down by vandals in Umuahia, while ten drums of aluminium conductors were carted away disrupting erection of a new tower.
“Also, the Escravos to Lagos pipeline was blasted by vandals disrupting gas supply to over six power generating stations in the western part of the country in 2016.”
As a way forward, the minister recommended executing embedded generation such as the proposed NNPC 50MW gas plant, solar farm, and wind farm in Maiduguri.
Maiduguri and environs have been cut off from public power supply since January as a result of the destruction of power infrastructure by terrorists.

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