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Saturday, 2 April 2016

Nigeria Army Denies Protest By Soldiers

RE: ANGRY SOLDIERS BLOCK, RELEASE GOC OVER FOOD, WATER SHORTAGE 
The attention of the Nigerian Army was drawn to a news story on the online page of Daily Trust newspaper titled “Angry soldiers Block, Release GOC Over Food, Water Shortage” written  by Shehu Abubakar. 

While acknowledging that indeed troops that captured the strategic forest of Alagarno,  experienced some logistics problem  that include water shortage, due to some unforeseen circumstances which is normal in war situation, it is not true that the troops behaved in  the manner he stated. If Alagarno is truly inaccessible, how did the gallant troops rout out the Boko Haram terrorists in the forest? The concoction of this story and the release of yet another video by some remnants of Boko Haram terrorists  could be more than mere coincidence. Therefore, one begin to wonder what is the motive behind such false story by the reporter.

For the avoidance of doubt, the Acting General Officer Commanding (GOC), 7 Division, Brigadier General VO Ezugwu indeed visited the troops and also supplied water to them. The GOC did not leave the troops as insinuated. Rather, the troops hailed the GOC for his passion and empathic disposition towards the soldiers. As a matter of fact, he actively participated in clearance operations along Bulablin - Alargano axis with the troops and was with them in their defensive location throughout. 

Consequently, the Nigerian Army wishes to request the retraction of this story by the paper and also enjoin reporters to always cross check their facts before filing their stories. They should also understand that  misinformation by Boko Haram terrorists and their sympathizers greatly assist their evil activities.

The public is urged to disregard the story and continue to support the Nigerian Army in the  fight to end terrorism and insurgency in our beloved country. 
You are kindly requested to disseminate this rejoinder to the public through your medium.

Thank you for your kind cooperation. 

Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman 
Acting Director, Army Public Relations

Red Alert! Ebola Is Back

ebola1

Authorities at a hospital in Monrovia, Liberia have confirmed that the new Ebola case, a 30-year-old woman has died within the last 24 hours.

The head of Liberia’s Ebola response team Tolbert Nyenswah said the woman died on arrival at the Redemption Hospital in the densely-populated New Kru Town suburb.

A swab confirmed she died from Ebola. He said they are investigating the source because this is the first case since Liberia was declared Ebola free for the third time in January.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Ogun State OPC Leader Warns Public On Expelled Members

Press Statement
My attention has been drawn to a news story published in a national daily about a purported meeting by some self-acclaimed leaders of Oodua People’s Congress (OPC).

At the meeting, which allegedly held in Shagamu, Ogun State, the disgruntled people, who have been expelled from the OPC for bringing the name of the organization into disrepute, allegedly said they were going to use ifa to search for a new leader for the OPC.
As a leader and a state coordinator in the OPC for more than a decade, I am in a good position to speak on the matter.

While we have maintained maturity in the handling of the matter up until now, I think it is time that we and all sincere and honourable members of the OPC come out to denounce these people masquerading as leaders. 

It is rather unfortunate that Moruf Salami, the former Kwara State coordinator of the OPC, who was picked by our leader in 2006, Otunba Gani Adams, from the position of a deputy state commandant and made the state coordinator, would now turn around to bite the fingers that once fed.
I think Moruf Salami and his cohorts should come out and tell the world whether he was appointed by ifa when he was made the state coordinator.
 It is indeed funny that he has suddenly realized the important place of ifa in the scheme of things soon after he was replaced by a more competent, vibrant and better qualified candidate, Comrade Oladipo Olayinka who was picked by ifa.

It is also sad that Moruf Salami, who was a state coordinator, has suddenly fallen down the ladder to queue behind another man who was dismissed from the OPC as a local government coordinator . 

According to our sources who attended the meeting, it took the intelligence of the Shagamu divisional police officer to avert trouble. 
The group, because of their lack of vision and leadership, was out to cause violence which would have brought untold hardship on the people, but for the grace of God.

I am aware that, of the 76 persons that attended the meeting, a larger portion of them left unhappy, as their supposed leaders failed woefully to articulate their agenda and vision. 

It may interest Nigerians to note that this is not the first time that people would break away from an organization. In those instances, those people have broken away to form a new organization of their own.

So, why has it been difficult for these people, who have consistently claimed that they are breaking away, to go on and form a parallel organization? Of course, the reason is not far-fetched for people with discerning minds.

The simple reason is that they lack the mental capability to put together the necessary structure to build a successful organization like the OPC. 
Therefore, for them, the only way out is to bring down Otunba Gani Adams, a man they have all, at one time or the other, praised with the best superlatives there are.

I dare them to come out and tell the world what their vision and programmes are if truly they have one. Of course, it is not surprising that they have no ability to come up with anything meaningful, except to be hired thugs for their pay masters, who they also work for as attack dogs.

Meanwhile, I think the time has come to alert well-meaning and responsible Nigerians on the dangers of allying and giving undue recognition to these people. They are a danger waiting to happen and harmful to the society of sane human beings.


Coordinator, OPC,
Ogun State,
Alhaji Adesina Musedik Jimoh

20 Workers Trapped As LASEPA Seals Off CD Factory

This is a save our soul message from over 20 trapped workers of a CD duplicating and manufacturing company Chronotech Nigeria Limited located Amuwo Odofin Industrial Estate following the lock down of the factory early this morning by Lagos State Environment Agency workers (LASEPA).
The surprised workers and the boss of the company Kelvin where shocked to the bones when the security staff of the company informed that LASEPA agents locked down the premises as early as 7am this morning with over 20 staffs locked inside making and restricting others from going into the factory.
As we write, Kelvin, CEO of the company is still in disbelief wondering what the company might have done to warrant such undercover shut down considering the fact that they did not get any form of notification from the agency.
The trapped workers are appealing that the agency should kindly come and set them free.
Updates soon.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Environmental Sanitation Policy Still Stands In Lagos -Steve Ayorinde

LAGOS CLARIFIES POSITION ON ENVIRONMENTAL SANITATION
…Says Policy On Sanitation Stands


The Lagos State Government has clarified reports making rounds on social media that the monthly environmental sanitation in the State has been outlawed, saying that the policy on the monthly exercise has not been reviewed for now.


In a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, the government said the erroneous story which was attributed to the State’s Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare was inaccurate.


Ayorinde said that Dr. Adejare was misquoted out of context when he indicated that the restriction of movement may be dispensed with, he did not in any way suggest that the monthly sanitation had been outlawed.


Ayorinde said, “While Dr. Adejare did meet with journalists today and indicated that the restriction of movement every last Saturday of the month would ultimately be dispensed with, he did not say the monthly sanitation exercise would no longer hold in Lagos.


“The last two sanitation exercises could not hold due to the JAMB examination in February and the Easter celebration in March. Nevertheless, the Lagos state government had always encouraged residents to clean their environment and observe hygienic behaviors, without necessarily having to shut the state down.


“It is the wish of Lagos State government to ensure that every part of the state is clean with wastes properly disposed and this will always involve a concerted effort on the part of the government and citizens alike.


“However, while it may become necessary in the near future to observe this clean-up exercise regularly without having to restrict vehicular movement, we wish to clarify that the monthly environmental exercise is still in force in Lagos State for now”.


AMBODE ORDERS REPAIR OF LAGOS-BADAGRY EXPRESSWAY



Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has ordered the State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC) to immediately embark on extensive repair on the ever busy Lagos-Badagry Expressway so as to improve driving experience of motorists in the area.

Special Adviser to the Governor/C.E.O, Public Works, Engr. Ayotunde Sodeinde, told journalists on Thursday that the Corporation has already mobilised its workers to commence work immediately on several sections of the road.

“Immediately His Excellency, Governor Ambode gave us the directive, we have moved into the area to commence extensive work on the roads. We have been here since Tuesday and work has commenced in earnest,” he said.

He said the repair works will include covering all potholes on the road while the drainage systems will also be given a face-lift.

Sodeinde listed the roads earmarked for repairs to include Iyana Ishasi - Ribamu Bus Stop (both sides), Ketu Bus Stop - Cele Nica, FGC Ijanikan - Iyana Era, ACOED Pedestrian Bridge - Alafia Bus Stop, Former Toll Gate – Ibiye/Morogbo and Pure Water Bus Stop – Magbon (both sides).

Other roads expected to get a facelift include, Ile-Epo Bus Stop – Oko Afo Outward Badagry, Mowo Bus Stop – Elijah Araromi Bridge (both sides), Limca Bus Stop – Mosafejo (both sides), French Village – Low Cost Housing Scheme and Ibereko (both sides).

According to Sodeinde, the repair works on the Lagos Badagry Expressway was in line with the mandate of the present administration to ensure zero tolerance against potholes.

He expressed optimism that when rehabilitation works are completed, it will to a large extent reduce the traffic congestion, assuring that the Public Works gangs will work day and night to on the roads.

“The Governor has said it times without number that he wants all the roads in Lagos to be motorable and free of potholes. He wants the hard life that Lagosians are going through to be alleviated. He cannot stand Lagosians going through hardship due to bad roads.


“You know when the roads are good, it means economic growth, people will be able to move from one part of the state to another, transport their goods without stress, you will notice that even the activities of hoodlums and pickpockets thrive when there is gridlock, as far as gridlock that is being caused by potholes are concerned, we are on our feet to ensure that we put the road in order to reduce the traffic,” Sodeinde said.

SUSPENDED PTAD DG DRAGGED 121 PENSION FRAUDSTERS TO ICPC..PENSION GROUP

A Pension Advocacy group, Pensioners Rights and Protection Alliance (PPRA) has faulted the suspension of the Director-General, Mrs. Nellie Mayshak. 

The Pension advocacy group said that the alleged reasons given for the DG’s suspension was nothing but calling a dog a bad name in order to hang it.

In a statement released Wednesday in Abuja, the Executive secretary of  PPRA, Mr. Sule Adams questioned the haste with which the minister of finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun  suspended the DG without first carrying out a discreet and forensic investigation into the alleged fraud.

“The suspension of Mrs. Nellie Mayshak according to him,came to us as a rude shock not because she is above such disciplinary action, but because we find the process leading to it as gravely flawed and undeserving of a Nigerian who had worked hard since the establishment of PTAD to put smiles on the faces of us, Nigerian pensioners.

“it is an open secret that Nigerian pensioners have borne the brunt of the pervasive corruption in the Nigerian society more than any other group after toiling all through their productive years; PTAD and by extension, Mrs. Nellie Mayshak came to reverse the situation after similar interventionist agencies contributed in worsening the situation in the past.” Says the group

They insisted that the allegations are spurious and unfounded based on what they called their knowledge of the workings of PTAD as according to them, all pensioners’ salaries are paid through the Central Bank of Nigeria to beneficiary’s accounts using the Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS).

They informed also that such payments are tracked through the banks to ensure that every pensioner receives their entitlement immediately they are paid, stressing that it is a known fact that PTAD prepares and submits monthly payroll of pensioners to the office of the Accountant General of the Federation in addition to issuing of payment instruction to the same office which is as adjunct of the federal ministry of finance.

The group therefore wondered why the ministry could now turn around abruptly to deny the agency if there isn’t  much to the suspension order than meets the ordinary eye, even as it restate the need for the president to go deeply into the matter.

Mr. Sule Adams informed that PTAD had saved tens of billions of Naira for the nation through the elimination of over 4500 ghost pensioners and of recent saved another N7billion in 5 months  that otherwise would have disappeared into the pockets of insurance companies and underwriters.

He said it is equally on record that PTAD has a list of 120 pension fraudsters which it had submitted to the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) for investigations while challenging the public to cross check these assertions from the federal ministry of finance and the ICPC respectively.

“It is therefore preposterous to say that the Director General padded the payroll when she has been in the forefront of those fighting against such group.” Mr. Sule Adams argued. 

The group which says it cannot sit back and watch pension administration in Nigeria return to the dogs also disproved the widely reported allegations that the Director General was drawing a whopping salary of N60 million every month  saying Mrs. Nellie Mayshak earns a little over N3million a month which was duly approved for the office by the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission and which it says is about the least among its contemporaries in the public financial agencies such as CBN, FIRS ,ICPC ,PENCOM, NSITF, PPRA,  to mention but a few.

“How can any civil servant allocate salary to his or herself if it is not an attempt to smear the woman by the endemic cabal of fraudsters whom she had fought relentlessly to remove their hands from the till of hapless pensioners?” the group questioned

Concluding, the pension advocacy group marveled at why Nigerians love to pull down their brightest brains informing that Mrs. Mayshak had a distinguished career that spanned Europe, Asia, Canada and Africa before taking the PTAD job and she came highly recommended.

“Mrs. Nellie Mayshak is not just another Nigerian who was fortunate to get a job because of her gender or who she knows, but because of her track record of performance based a reputation built over the years working with different governments and international agencies in public sector reforms. We therefore call on the minister of Finance and indeed the president to see through the gang up against this intelligent and hard-working Nigerian and not just lift the suspension but clear her name through diligent investigation devoid of bias.” The advocacy group admonished.

 

 

Mr. Adams, a retiree from the federal civil service and also an exco member of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners said they the pensioners are now more aware of the management of their pension as regular communication and engagement opportunities are made available to them by PTAD to understand their workings.


Union Bank Unveils Branches with Improved Technology

 In line with its resolve to ensure and exceed customer satisfaction, Union Bank Nigeria Plchas unveiled two more improved branches in Lagos with new technology and superior product offerings. 

 

The new branches, Itire Road, Lawanson branch and Western Avenue branch, both located in Surulere, Lagos, showcased improved technology and superior product offerings aimed at making banking more accessible, simpler and smarter to customers and prospects of the bank.

 

Speaking at the event, the Transformation Director, Union Bank, Mr Joe Mbulu, said the essence of the transformation was to show how far the bank cares for its customers, adding that the transformation of the bank began two years ago.

 

“For us in Union Bank, our transformation is different, in that, it has more depth and more substance. What we’re doing today is just a celebration of what we commenced two years ago.“

 

“Basically, we have looked at the technology; we have a new core banking application, our data centre is new, we have a back-up that is live, and there are not many banks that can tell you that, when they have failure, their current data can switch over. We can do that seamlessly.

“And we have transformed the way our people engage the customers. Our customer service is different and testimonials today attest to that point. So, we have looked at the culture of the bank also; we used to be known as an old people’s bank, but I can challenge any customer out there today to come to Union Bank, they will be awed by the service,” the bank Director assured.

According to Mbulu, Union Bank now has products that address customers ‘needs. Furthermore, he said the bank's governance structure has improved significantly, saying that presently at Union Bank things are done faster and more efficiently.

 

"So, there is a new culture, a new bank, a new way of doing banking which is simple and smarter," he added.

 

Giving more insight into some of the new technological improvements in the bank, the Head of Operations and Technology, Union Bank, Mr Lucky Jayaratne, said beyond the transformation of its physical branches, all the bank's electronic channels have been upgraded.  "We have a new system now, which is much more efficient and simpler to operate. It is capable of doing round the clock and we will not be having any down time. And the same is applicable to our ATMS and PoS machines and also our online banking system,” Jayaratne said.

 

Customers present at the event attested to the improved banking system at Union Bank.

For instance, the Proprietor, Jolibuks School, Lawanson, Mr. Edward Ola, commended the management of Union Bank for their drive towards improved efficiency and customer satisfaction.

 

Also, the Managing Director, Patedy Print Edge Limited, Mr. Pat Uba, assured the bank of continuous patronage, even as he urged members of the public to come onboard in order to enjoy, the simpler and smarter processes at Union Bank. In the same vein, the Managing Director, Agenda Pharmacy Limited, Mr. Ayo Badejoko, commended the management for the innovation and drive to improve the bank.

The Truth About Mahmood Ahmadu- Wole Arisekola

Chairman, Association of Online Media Practitioners of Nigeria, AMPON has expressed his pains over the way and matter some media houses publish stories without proper investigations.

He voiced out his frustrations after a national newspaper published that Mahmood Ahmadu is one of those being investigated over the immigration recruitment that led to loss of lives in the past administration, which he described as total falsehood.

Wole Arisekola said, “Contrary to what was published in the said newspaper, Mahmond is not wanted and is not on the wanted list of Interpol and the Metropolitan Police”.

He went on to say, “Findings by The Street Journal indicated that at no time has the Interpol declared Ahmadu wanted or invited him for interrogation of any kind contrary to reports that he was being sought to answer questions regarding immigration job tragedy”.

Continuing, the AMPON Chairman said, “The national daily which reported sometime in February this year that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had contacted Interpol for the arrest and deportation of Ahmadu, who was said to have colluded with Moro to defraud job seekers millions of naira published their report without proper investigation”.

Investigations by The Street Journal have showed that the story may have been cooked and dished to the Nigerian public to rubbish Ahmadu’s character. In course of investigation, it was found out that Ahmadu freely moves about and is ready to defend himself of any complicity in the immigration scam as being investigated.

Findings have revealed that the firm of Mahmood Ahmadu was a mere consultant to Ministry of Interior when Abba Moro was minister and he was contacted to help in the recruitment exercise without taking any direct part in the collection of money from applicants.

“As it would be recalled, the applicants paid N1000 each through an e-payment platform for their online recruitment exercise into the NIS, there was therefore no way through which Mahmood Ahmadu would been involved in handling money. His job at that time was to offer consultancy services in the best way through which the exercise would sail through without hitches”, Arisekola said.

He said it has come to him as a big embarrassment that some spheres of the Nigerian media would go ahead to publish falsehood and he would like this to be corrected. He urged members to always publish the truth as it stands.  He said he has spoken with the man, Mahmood Ahmadu himself and he knows the truth”. He concluded by saying that he and members shall continue to go after the truth and present them to the public fresh and undiluted.

Ghost Workers: Kwara Begins Verification of Schools

The 
Kwara State government has commenced the verification of schools across the state in its on-going authetication of workers and pensioners across the state. Exercise follows the completion of the first phase which involved the use of Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) to verify workers and pensioners.


According to a issued in Ilorin on Tuesday by the Kwara State Committee on Personnel Database Development and signed by its alternate Chairman, Alhaji Sola Isiaka Gold, the verification of schools' location across the State started on Wednesday and will end on Friday, April 2, 2016.


The timetable also shows that the physical verification exercise for workers and pensioners in Ilorin West LG will hold between April 4 and 6; Ilorin South; April 6-8, Ilorin East; 11-13, Ifelodun; 14-15 and Asa, 18-19 April, 2016.


For workers and pensioners in Edu, Isin and Oyun local governments, the verification exercise will take place on April 20, 21 and 22 respectively. 


Furthermore, workers and pensioners in Patigi will appear for the screening on April 25; Irepodun 26; Oke Ero 27; Ekiti 28; Moro 29. 


While workers and pensioners in Baruten, Kaiama and Offa will have theirs on May 2, 3 and 4 respectively.  


All state pensioners are to appear for the verification exercise between May 5 and 13, while all staff that missed their turn will have a chance to undergo the screening exercise on May 16.

Also, for all staff of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, the verification exercise is scheduled to hold between May 17 and 20. 


The committee explained that the verification exercise is to give the government an accurate picture of the state and Local Government Councils' payroll and ensure that only those properly employed receive salaries and pensions as and when due. 

 

Photos:President Buhari In Washington DC

President Muhammadu Buhari arrives Washington DC to Participate at the 4th Nuclear Security Summit on 31st Mar 2016

 President Buhari being welcomed by Minister of Defence ,Monsur Dan Ali, Minister of Education ,Mallam Adamu Adamu, DG National Intelligence Agency Amb. Ayodele Oke and Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora Hon. Abike Dabiri.

President Buhari being welcomed by Minister of Defence, Monsur Dan Ali, Minister of Education Mallam Adamu Adamu, DG National Intelligence Agency Amb. Ayodele Oke, Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora Hon. Abike Dabiri and DG Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority Prof. L.A. Dim.

Fire Outbreak in Ikom Main Market


Over forty shops worth millions of Naira, have been gutted by fire at the Ikom main market.

The inferno which started at about two am on Tuesday and was attributed to power upsurge from the public power supply could not be contained in spite of frantic efforts by shop owners to put it out.

 

The state fire service station in Ikom, which was contacted for intervention could not act due to complains of lack of facilities to combat the fire.

 

The director general of the state emergency management agency, Mr. John Inaku who visited the scene of the incident described the destruction as serious.

 

Mr. Inaku who said he was there on a rapid assessment of the destruction said efforts would be made by the state government to ameliorate the sufferings of the victims.

 

According to him the burnt shops required total rehabilitation and urged the victims to remain calm. 


One of the victims, Mr. Augustine Chinedu who said he lost virtually all his goods worth millions of naira said it was devastating and urged government to urgently come to his aid.

 

Miss Agbor Okey, a fashion designer said the incidents has put her and the family under trauma as it was the only livelihood of sustenance.

 

Kelechi Anayo, a dealer in traveling bags and boxes lamented that he had lost everything in the shop and wondered what he would do next with his life.

 

In a comment, the chairman of Ikom main market traders union, Mr. Caleb Agwu called on government agencies, NGO’s and philanthropic individuals and organizations to help in cushioning the effect of the disaster.

Obasanjo Romances AFRIMA....Pledges Support


...says AFRIMA IS A UNIFIER IN AFRICA 

As part of the activities to the build-up for the 2016 edition of All Africa Music Awards  (AFRIMA), African Union Commission (AUC) and The International Committee of AFRIMA paid a courtesy visit to the former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, on Friday March 26, 2016 at his residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria.

Obasanjo commended AFRIMA and AUC for unifying Africa through music. He said music was part of African Culture and reiterated the need for music and culture to be commercialised in order to create jobs and reduced poverty among African youths. He implored AFRIMA and AUC not to relent in achieving their objectives and called on brands and governments in Africa to partner with AFRIMA. He recalled similar projects as president like All African Games (COJA 2003) and Festival of Art and Culture in Africa (FESTAC '77) as platforms for promoting African culture and unity that require huge resources to organise. 

He thanked AFRIMA for honouring him with their visit and challenged the AFRIMA Executive Producer to a squash game thereafter. 

Earlier in his opening remark, the President and Executive Producer of AFRIMA, Mr. Mike Dada said, "the meeting and visit was in recognition of the former president as the former Chairperson of the African Union (AU) between July 2004 to January 2006. He is an African global icon, a cultural enthusiast and champion of African renaissance."

He intimated the former president with the objectives of the All African Music Awards, AFRIMA which is mainly to unite Africans through the instrumentality of art, music, culture and entertainment as well as promote and reward upcoming and established talents on the continent.

Said he "AFRIMA remains steadfast to the AUC’s values of promoting African unity and celebrating cultural uniqueness, thereby thanked the former  President for receiving AFRIMA team at his residence and specially invited him to the 2016 AFRIMA schedule to hold in November’.

A giant photo frame for his 79 birthday and Djembe drum were presented to the Former President by the AFRIMA Director of Sponsorship and Communications, Matlou Tsotsesi with the support of the AFRIMA 2015 winner of Best RnB & Soul in Africa, Praiz and Communication Manager,ONE Campaign Africa, Nde Nfodinka (Wax Dey).

The 30-man AFRIMA team that comprise AFRIMA Associate Co-Producer, Efe Omorogbe, AFRIMA jury Member, Mr. Laolu Akins, AFRIMA media Committee member and Mr. Biodun Kupoluyi, AFRIMA Production Manager, Mr. Henry Alade, Entertainment Editor of The Sun Newspaper, Mr.Tosin Ajirire among others were later treated to a scrumptious indigenous food; Amala (Yam flour) with gbegiri soup (cooked mashed coatless beans soup) and ewedu  (smashed jute leaf and melon seed) in Abeokuta.

In partnership with the African Union Commission, AUC, The All Africa Music Awards, AFRIMA, is a music property developed to celebrate, reward and showcase the rich musical culture of Africa, stimulate conversations among Africans and between Africa and the rest of the globe about the great potentials and values of the African culture and artistic heritage for the purpose of creating jobs, reducing poverty, calling attention of world leaders to Africa and promoting the positive image of Africa to the world.

For the 2016 edition of the continental awards tagged AFRIMA 3.0, The AFRIMA 2016 calendar will be formally unveiled in May by the African Union Commission (AUC) and International Committee of The All Africa Music Awards, AFRIMA at the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the African Union Youth Charter. 

BRAITHWAITE FOOTSTEPS WILL REMAIN INDELIBLE IN NIGERIA- AMBODE


…Pays Condolence Visit To Widow, Children

 

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Wednesday paid a condolence visit to the family of late elder statesman and legal luminary, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, saying that his contributions to the emancipation of the masses and constitutional development in Nigeria would remain indelible.

 

Governor Ambode, who visited the family House of the late sage in Victoria Island area of the state in company of some members of the State Executive Council including the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello; Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Samuel Olukunle Ojo, and others, said Dr. Braithwaite consistently fought for the masses throughout his life time, and so deserved to be celebrated for a life well spent.   

 

The Governor, while commiserating with Braithwaite’s widow, Grace and the children, said their father paid his dues, assuring that the State Government will continue to celebrate the ideals he stood for during his lifetime.

 

He said he was following the footsteps of the late Braithwaite in using his position as the Governor of the state to work for the masses and the majority, so as to make life meaningful to the generality of the people.

 

The Governor said: “I want to clearly state here that whatever it is that we are doing even as a government or as a party, they are the things that the late Dr. Braithwaite stood for.  If there was anybody that was always on the side of the masses, such person was the late Dr. Tunji Braithwaite. He believed, confessed and fought for the masses throughout his life time.

 

“No matter the side he was on, the political divide, his message was consistent, constant and he was always thoroughbred and that is why I have come here not only to console the family but to say that everything that I’m also doing is on the side of the masses and is on the side of the majority which he also believed in, which he confessed, which he stood for notwithstanding whatever trepidations or challenges on his way,” Governor Ambode said.

 

The Governor added that he was happy to note that the late Braithwaite also lived a Christian life till the end, just as he recalled his contribution to the upliftment of the body of Christ and advancement of evangelical works.

 

He said: “I was just sharing with Mama (Braithwaite’s widow) some of the legacies that the Braithwaite family put in place in the Anglican Church in Epe and the things they continued to do. My prayer is that wherever he has left his sermons, we the younger generation will continue to take on that and also ensure that the philosophy of what he believed in would not die

.

“I want to console with the rest of the family and they should be assured that the name Braithwaite will never die. I believe strongly that anytime we are reading legal matters or any other issue that relates to constitutionalism in Nigeria, Braithwaite’s side of the story will remain indelible.

 

“Once again, on behalf of Lagos State, I want to say that this is something that thoroughly touched us; we are concerned about it and we would like to take deeper part in whatever you want to do to honour him because this is a great loss to Lagos and this is a great loss of a great man of Lagos and we intend to celebrate him.”  

 

Responding on behalf of the family, the first daughter of the late politician, Dr. Omowunmi Braithwaite thanked Governor Ambode for finding time to commiserate with them in this trying moment despite his busy schedule.

 

LIRS To Start Prosecution of Defaulters From April

TAX ENFORCEMENT AND PROSECUTION OF DEFAULTERS IN LAGOS STATE TO COMMENCE AFTER MARCH 31st DEADLINE

…LIRS enjoins corporate organizations and individuals to comply with the tax laws 


In consonance with Section 82 of the Personal Income Tax Act (as amended), The Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) wishes to formally notify the public of its intention to commence the prosecution of tax evaders and offenders in Lagos State beginning from April 1,2016.

Under the Personal Income Tax Act, a taxable person is statutorily required to file a return of income for the preceding year within 90days from the commencement of every year of assessment (March 31st is the deadline), whilst any employer of labour is required to file all emoluments paid to its employees for the preceding year, not later than 31st of January each year. Therefore any taxable person or corporate organisation who fails to file their tax returns with LIRS by the stipulated date is in breach of the provisions of the law, which is a criminal offence that is punishable under the tax laws.

The LIRS, having put all the necessary machineries in place to ensure the enforcement of the tax laws with effect from April 1, 2016 has warned all erring taxpayers to comply; reiterating that the full weight of the law will be brought to bear on taxable persons who fail to file requisite returns as provided by the law.

While many taxpayers have complied willingly by filing their returns in the last months, It is disheartening to note that in spite of all efforts by the LIRS, a large fraction of eligible taxpayers are still not complying, thereby failing to contribute to the common purse for the common good of all. In the wake of little or no proceeds from the federation account, the focus of the present administration in renewing infrastructure and general development of the State cannot be achieved by the attitude of those who deliberately refuse to discharge their civic responsibility to the State.

Without revenue, all of those things that facilitate our progress as a civilized community will not materialize, if there are no infrastructural developments like roads to get to business sites businesses cannot thrive, if we do not have all the services that government is compelled to offer e.g. security, education, healthcare, and law and order as it is being proffered by the court then we cannot make progress collectively.

LIRS has in the last three months embarked on massive advocacy and enlightenment programmes, taking people through a process of education on the laws bordering on tax administration and the need and benefits of paying their taxes as at when due.

We have gone further to develop various initiatives to ease the methodology of paying taxes in Lagos, starting with thesimplification of our tax payment processes, through the compression of the ‘Tax Form A’ from 6pages to 2 pages, introduction of new payment platforms, e-submission of annual returns, creation of the LIRS hotline (0700CALLLIRS) and help desks in all tax stations, relaxation of requirements for replacement of lost e-TCC among others, all of which are focused on building convenience into the payment of taxes and subsequently promoting voluntary compliance.

We are now going to the next phase, which is enforcement and prosecution, that is taking full advantage of the provisions of the tax laws to apprehend and prosecute tax defaulters.

According to the Executive Chairman of LIRS, Mr. Olufolarin Ogunsanwo, ‘We have a robust database that captures all taxable individuals and firms in Lagos State as well as transactions for the purpose of audit, so there is no hiding place for any tax evader''. He therefore calls on every taxable person in Lagos State to take advantage of the window on or before the March 31st deadline to ensure that his or her tax return has been duly filed.He added that The Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice will through the Rapid Tax Prosecution Unit commence prosecution of tax defaulters in Lagos State without further notice.

LIRS however wishes to thank the good people of Lagos State who have continually supported the administration of His Excellency Mr Akinwunmi Ambode through voluntary and prompt payment of their taxes and reiterate that we will continue to take full advantage of the provisions of the law to prosecute recalcitrant corporate organisations and individuals. It is important to note that all tax evaders and offenders, upon prosecution may be fined or imprisoned or face both as provided in Section 95, 96 and 97 of the Personal Income Tax Act.

 

Heritage Bank Brings Seki Dance To Lagos


WHEN SEKI CAME ON STAGE

It was a night of night glamour and fun as the best of Nigerian culture, fused with the rich cultural heritage of Okirika came on stage last Saturday in Lagos when Heritage Bank sponsored Seki Dance drama before a select audience of arts lovers

Seki, which was an official entry to the 10th anniversary of the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta Georgia, is a collaborative rhythmic agreement of dance patterns of five different masquerade groups of the Okirika clan in the Lower Niger Delta Area of Rivers State.

The Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who was the Special Guest of Honour at the event, commended the bank for the initiative, stressing that SEKI is a good source of entertainment, education and information. The nation, he emphasized, is united by her different cultures and appealed that Nigerians must celebrate their diversity by reinforcing the things that unite them.

Also speaking at the event, Ifie Sekibo, Managing Director of Heritage Bank explained that as a bank that seeks a balance between tradition and innovation, it always respond positively to the rich African tradition through various art forms as a way of promoting cultural diplomacy.

“The name Heritage Bank was born out of a desire to project an essence that fosters a generational mind-set, and is reflected in the unique physical and ideological atmosphere that defines our business, Sekibo said.

Yibo Koko, the Director of the dance drama explained that culture is the totality of a way of life evolved by a people in their attempt to meet the challenges of living in their environment and stressed that SEKI remains a traditional representation and dramatic imitation of the belief system of the Okirika people.

The well attended event which was compered by a Nollywoodstar, Kate Henshawalso saw other nollystars like Richard Mfe-Damijo and others on parade.

 

Ecobank vs Honeywell: Court directs CJ to re-assign case




The Court of Appeal in Lagos has directed Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, to re-assign a winding-up petition by Ecobank Nigeria Limited against Honeywell Flour Mills Plc.

Justice Abimbola Obaseki-Adejumo said justice demands that both sides must be heard. She made no order as to cost.

The justice upheld an appeal by Honeywell against an ex-parte order made by Justice Mohammed Yunusa last December 4.

The company appealed against partial freezing of its accounts following an application by Ecobank’s lawyer Mr Kunle Ogunba (SAN), an insolvency expert.

Justice Yunusa had restrained Honeywell Group's chairman, Dr Oba Otukedo, the company’s directors and subsidiaries from withdrawing from any bank or financial institution.

But Honeywell, through its lawyer Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) sought to discharge the order.

Justice Yunusa, in his ruling, on the application to discharge the order, held that the company could withdraw up to N60million in a month (N15million only per week) pending when the suit was heard and determined to enable Honeywell Group meet its financial obligations.

Dissatisfied with the ruling, Honeywell appealed, insisting that it wants full access to its funds. The suit is sequel to an alleged N3. 5 billion unpaid loan facility which Ecobank gave Honeywell.

Justice Obaseki-Adejumo said Justice Yunusa made the ex-parte order without notice to Honeywell. She said it violated the rules guiding winding-up petitions.

According to her, the rules state that every application in such a petition shall be by motion on notice to the person against whom the order was to be made.

“Justice of the case demands that both side be heard. The ruling of the Federal High Court is hereby set aside. The petition shall be assigned to another judge for necessary action. Parties shall bear their costs,” she held.

Ecobank had also appealed a ruling by Justice Mohammed Idris striking out contempt proceedings initiated against it by Achorage Leisures Limited and its sister company Siloam Global Services Limited, both of which are subsidiaries of Honeywell Group.

They accused the bank of disobeying an earlier directive by the judge that all parties should maintain status ante-bellum, which the bank denied.

Justice Mohammed Idris had last August 10 made an order of interim injunction restraining the bank from publishing the plaintiffs’ name as debtors and ordered parties to maintain status quo pending hearing of the plaintiffs’ suit.

But Honeywell said while the suit was pending, Ecobank filed other suits before other judges in a bid to recover its debt from Honeywell Group and its chairman Oba Otudeko.

Honeywell’s lawyers, therefore, filed Form 48 and Form 49, urging the court to hold the bank in contempt. 

But Justice Idris struck out the contempt proceedings on the basis that no proper service was effected on the alleged contemnors.

Ogunba had argued on appeal that Justice Idris ought to have dismissed the proceedings rather than striking it out (which means it could be re-filed).

But the appellate court upheld Justice Idris’ ruling, adding that “the court cannot dissipate energy on an issue over which it had no jurisdiction.”

In a third appeal, Ecobank had challenged the lower court’s jurisdiction, but Justice Obaseki-Adejumo upheld Justice Idris’ assumption of jurisdiction, adding that there was a banker-customer relationship between Ecobank and Otudeko which vested the judge with jurisdiction.