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Special status: Lagos seeks one percent Consolidated Revenue Fund allocation

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Should Lagos State’s demand for special status, being Nigeria’s business hub, sailed through, it will get one per cent allocation from the federation account.

Justifying its special status demand, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the state has multiplying effects on the Southwest region and the country.

The governor made the request at the opening of a two-day Southwest zonal public hearing on the review of revenue allocation formula organised by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) at Lagos Continental Hotel, Victoria Island.

According to Sanwo-Olu, the revenue sharing formula should be 34 per cent for Federal Government, including one perc ent for Federal Capital Territory (FCT); 42 per cent for states; 23 per cent for local government areas and one per cent for Lagos State (Special Status).

He said the proposal should replace the prevailing revenue allocation formula of 52.68 per cent (Federal Government), 26.72 per cent (36 state governments) and 20.60 per cent (774 local government areas).

In a memorandum on the Review of Revenue Allocation Formula he submitted to the RMAFC, Sanwo-Olu declared that “allocating one per cent (Special Status) for the state and allowing the three tiers of government to share 99 per cent in a new revenue sharing formula is very straightforward, self-justifying and in no way controversial”.

The governor argued the review of the revenue allocation formula was long overdue, stating the best way to guarantee national progress and development is by paying attention to sub-national development because the national is a summation and a reflection of the sub-national.

Besides, Sanwo-Olu said the call for special status was recognition of its huge financial commitments to infrastructure and provision of basic amenities for the increasing population of its residents, as well as its preeminent contribution to the national coffers.

He said the call, which has been re-echoed at different fora and at various levels and tiers of government, cannot be over emphasised, especially against the backdrop of the current economic situation of the country, the aftermath of the last year’s #EndSARS protests and the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, for which Lagos has been the national epicenter.

He said: “Our demand is a sharing formula that is just, fair and equitable; reflecting the contribution of stakeholders to the common purse; and also one that enhances the capacity of state and local governments to deliver high-quality services and the full dividends of democracy to the greatest number of our people.

“Lagos State is no doubt the nation’s commercial capital, and population center. The level of funding required to service the State’s social and public infrastructure is so significant that it will be difficult for the State to bear the burden for much longer under the present arrangement.

“I should say that it will actually be unfair to expect the state to bear this heavy burden on its own. It is therefore necessary to give due consideration to all the variables that support our advocacy for a special status.

“The call for a special status for Lagos is not a selfish proposition; it is in the best interest of the country and all Nigerians, for Lagos which accounts for about 20 per cent of the national GDP and about 10 per cent of the nation’s population to continue to prosper.

“Lagos is more than just another state in the Nigerian federation. There is no tribe in the country that has no significant stake in Lagos State.

”As the former capital of the country for 77 years (compared to the 30 years that Abuja has been the Federal Capital Territory), Nigeria’s largest metropolis still bears the heavy brunt of being home to all Nigerians; irrespective of age, class, gender, religious affiliation or tribe.

“There are several statistics that shows the number of people that comes into Lagos every day, however, there are clear indications that most of these people migrate with the intention to make Lagos their new home and in pursuit of personal dreams due to the opportunities the city-state seemingly possesses, and this portends additional responsibilities on the government.

“Additionally, Lagos still harbors a huge number of federal establishments which could not be moved to Abuja.

“These include military cantonments and barracks, police, customs, immigration, civil defence, prisons, road safety and security/intelligence establishments.

“There are several reasons to justify the call for a special status for Lagos apart from the aforementioned factors, and by extension, a review of the revenue allocation sharing formula.”

Governor Sanwo-Olu also said that it would be unfair to leave the state to bear the burden of the massive destruction it experienced by the State during the #EndSARS protests hijacked by hoodlums and the COVID-19 pandemic without assistance from the centre.

“This month marks one year after the massive destruction experienced by the State in the violence that accompanied the hijacking of the EndSARS protests. Public buildings were burnt down, and historical infrastructure destroyed.

“Although we have put that experience behind us and forged ahead, the reality of this unfortunate incident remains with us; resources that should be committed to other areas of need are now being used for the restoration of these public facilities. It will be totally unfair for Lagos State to be left alone to bear these huge expenses without assistance from the centre.

“COVID-19 pandemic is another issue that has once again, supported the justification for Lagos to be accorded the privilege of a special status. As much as this affects the entire country, it is a fact that the degree of havoc caused by this virus differs from state to state.

“Lagos was the epicentre for this virus, the same way it was for the Ebola virus some years ago. The management of these unforeseen occurrences comes with huge responsibilities and financial commitments on the part of the state government.”

The governor commended the Chairman and members of RMAFC for taking a bold step, which he believed will “result in a fundamental alteration of the current revenue sharing formula, in favour of one that is truly fair and equitable, and that takes into full consideration the specific and more pragmatic fiscal contexts of the sub-national governments of the federation.”

RMAFC chairman Elias Mbam said a review of revenue allocation formula was necessary for fairness, equity, justice.

He said that the commission had started the process of reviewing the subsisting vertical revenue allocation formula in line with changing realities.

Mbia said: “The last review of the revenue allocation formula was in 1992. Since then, a lot of socio-economic changes have occurred, hence, necessitated the need for a review to reflect changing realities.

“RMAFC by virtue of paragraph 32(b) ,part 1 of the third schedule to the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) is empowered ‘ to review from time to time the revenue allocation formula and principles in operation.

“This is to ensure conformity with changing realities, provided that any revenue formula which had been accepted by an Act of the National Assembly shall remain in force for a period of not less than five years from the date of commencement of the Act.”

He said the commission had called for memoranda from stakeholders, including Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s), academia and the general public.

The RMAFC boss lauded Sanwo-Olu for accepting to host the hearing and commended the governors of Ogun , Osun , Oyo, Ondo and Ekiti for their active participation.

The Nation

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Lai Mohammed insists no proof protesters were killed at Lekki tollgate

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Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said there is no proof that any protester was killed at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos in October 2020 during the #EndSARS protest.

Some soldiers on October 20, 2020 were said to have opened fire on protesters in an attempt to disperse them allegedly leading to the death of many.

Mohammed, who addressed a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, described the 2020 event at the tollgate as a “phantom massacre”.

“Today marks the first anniversary of the phantom massacre at Lekki tollgate in Lagos, which was the culmination of an otherwise peaceful protest that was later hijacked by hoodlums,” the minister said.

The minister also said, “At earlier press conferences, I had called the reported massacre at the tollgate the first massacre in the world without blood or bodies.

“One year later, and despite ample opportunities for the families of those allegedly killed and those alleging a massacre to present evidence, there has been none: No bodies, no families, no convincing evidence, nothing. Where are the families of those who were reportedly killed at the toll gate? Did they show up at the Judicial Panel of Inquiry? If not, why?”

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Adebanjo leads Afenifere chieftains on visit to Tinubu

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Chief Ayo Adebanjo, leader of Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has led other chieftains of the body on a visit to national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, at his home in Lagos.

Others on the visit are Chief Supo Sonibare, Oba Olaitan Oladipo, and retired Assistant Inspector General of Police, Tunji Alapini.

The visit came a few days after Tinubu returned from a medical trip to the United Kingdom where he underwent knee surgery.

The Punch reported that the last time Tinubu and Adebanjo met was in April when the former Afenifere spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, died.

Prior to the visit, Adebanjo had told PUNCH Online interview programme, The Roundtable, that the reason why Tinubu had been silent on the herdsmen crisis was that he felt President Muhammadu Buhari would make him his successor.

In another interview with SUNDAY PUNCH, Adebanjo stated that Buhari won’t hand over power to Tinubu, adding that they were both deceiving each other.

He said, “I have said it openly before and I would say it again that Buhari is deceiving Tinubu and Tinubu is deceiving Buhari. I’m an old man and I’m a funeral candidate already, so quote me. If Tinubu contests the primary in APC today, he will fail.”

Adebanjo then advised Tinubu and other APC members from the South-West to leave the party in the interest of Yorubaland.

 

He said, “I have always told them, from Tinubu downwards, that it’s better they save themselves speedily. I’m talking to all of them, that in the interest of Yorubaland and the country, they should get out of the carcass they call APC. I made a public pronouncement that they were a conglomeration of incompatibles. It’s on record. I said it then and I’m still saying it now; if they don’t save themselves early enough, then they are ready for a disaster.”

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COVID-19

Kaduna gives civil servants 12-day ultimatum on COVID vaccine

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The Kaduna State Government has given all civil servants in the state 12 days to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or be barred from office.

The ultimatum was announced in a statement issued on Tuesday by Muyiwa Adekeye, spokesman for the state governor, Nasir el-Rufai.

According to him, all civil servants are expected to be vaccinated by October 31, after which they would be denied entry into government offices if they failed to comply with the directive.

“The Kaduna State Government will from 31st October 2021 require compliance with COVID-19 protocols, especially facemasks and vaccination, for access to its offices,” the statement said.

“The Ministry of Health has since commenced the vaccination of all civil servants, and this is expected to be completed by 31st October 2021. All civil servants are required to be vaccinated by that date.

“Visitors to government offices will need to present their vaccination cards. Given the limited supply of vaccines that are currently available, visitors that have not yet been vaccinated will, in the interim, be permitted entry upon presentation of evidence of registration with the state Ministry of Health for the purpose of vaccination, while wearing their facemasks.”

Adekeye said the decision was taken following a review by the Kaduna COVID-19 task force, and urged residents to ensure strict adherence to the protocol for preventing the spread of infections.

According to the statement, Amina Mohammed-Baloni, Kaduna commissioner for health, has also asked residents to register at the nearest primary health centres for vaccination “so that the relevant authorities can easily contact them as more Covid-19 vaccines become available”.

The development comes weeks after Edo began its ‘no vaccination, no entry’ campaign, which bars unvaccinated civil servants from entering government offices.

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