Yobe: EU condemns abduction of school girls

Following the reported abduction of school girls in Dapchi, Yobe state, the European Union (EU), has said that the incidence is an attack on humanity.

In a statement by the EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ray, made available to Daily Sun in Abuja by the Delegation of the European Union to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the EU said “Targeting children and abducting young girls as they seek to attend school is an attack on our common humanity.”

However, the EU expressed its solidarity with the affected families and the people of Nigeria.

“The girls deserve freedom and a chance to shape their own future.

“The EU remains committed to supporting the Government of Nigeria in its fight against terrorism and all forms of criminality,” the statement read.

The EU further said “We stand resolute to continue our humanitarian and development work, including the rights and protection of girls.”

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2 dead in Sokoto during attempted prison break

The Sokoto State Police Command confirmed two deaths and one hospitalised Thursday, February 22, following a confrontation between hoodlums and Prison officials in Sokoto metropolis.

Police spokesperson Assistant Superintendent Cordelia Nwawe said some group of miscreants attacked the prison van while transporting inmates to court.

Nwawe said the hoodlums succeeded in stopping the vehicle on Sultan Abubakar road and attempted to set the inmates free.

She said two of the hoodlums lost their lives while one sustained injury, adding that some weapons were recovered from the scene.

The PPRO added that a Deputy Commissioner of Police was detailed by State Commissioner of Police to investigate the matter and that the Command would provide further details on the incident.

Meanwhile, the Public Relations Officer of Nigeria Prison Service in Sokoto, Umar Faruk, said the inmates have been successfully taken back to prison custody.

“The 18 awaiting trail inmates were successfully escorted back to safe custody in the prison and security beefed up in and around the facility,” he said.

He added that the Command appreciates the support of other security agencies in the state, assuring the public of that all prisoners have been securely interned.

Court strikes out ex-Naval staff reinstatement’s suit

The National Industrial Court, Abuja, has struck out the suit instituted by Enoch Iliya against the Nigerian Navy, seeking reinstatement and payment of his entitlements since 2015, when he was forcefully retired.

Iliya, who was a Petty Officer in the Nigerian Navy served as a Radio Supervisor at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) Kaduna, until his alleged forceful retirement.

Delivering judgment, Justice Sanusi Kado, said the suit did not satisfy the conditions stipulated by the Public Officers Protection Act Section 2 (a).

The Section of that Act states that any counter-action against public officers should be instituted within three months of action.

Kado said the suit which was instituted in September, 2017 failed to meet the three months requirement.

According to him, a period of more than two years has elapsed from the date of the alleged forceful retirement of the claimant.

The claimant had sought for reinstatement and payment of his salary and entitlements from the day he was retired till now.

The claimant had also alleged that he was sent on compulsory retirement based on a trivia excuse not known to Military Law.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the Chief of Naval Staff had argued that the applicant was sacked because he absented himself from military duties.

He submitted that Iliya was absent from work without leave or pass leading him to also be absent from an essential passing-out-parade of a course he underwent.

The claimant counsel, Mr Bala Gwadah said his client was brought before a court martial and had been demoted as part of disciplinary action in 2009 for that offence.

Gwadah argued that hinging his client’s compulsory retirement in an offence for which he was punished amounted to injustice.

(NAN)

UNAIDS deputy chief, accused of sex assault, to step down

The deputy head of UNAIDS, accused of sexually assaulting a female colleague but cleared of wrongdoing by an internal United Nations probe, announced his decision to step down on Friday.

Luiz Loures “has communicated his wish to the UNAIDS executive director not to seek the renewal of his position,” the agency said in a statement.

Loures, a Brazilian national, “will end his term as deputy executive director at the end of March 2018,” it added.

UNAIDS spokesman Mahesh Mahalingam told reporters in Geneva that Loures’s decision had no connection to the allegations against him, noting the findings of the internal UN probe.

A junior female colleague filed a formal complaint alleging that Loures sexually harassed her beginning in 2011 and sexually assaulted her in a lift at a Bangkok hotel in 2015, where UNAIDS was hosting a major conference.

The internal probe conducted by the World Health Organization’s Office of Internal Oversight Services (IOS) said there was insufficient evidence to support the allegations.

But activists and a legal expert have questioned the credibility of the investigation, insisting that important circumstantial evidence was not taken into account.

UNAIDS chief Michel Sidibe was faulted by the IOS for trying to settle the dispute quietly even as an official probe was underway.

Loures’s decision to step down comes a day after UNICEF’s deputy director Justin Forsyth resigned from the UN children’s agency following complaints of inappropriate behaviour towards female staff in his previous post as head of British charity Save The Children.

AFP

Presidential Amnesty Programme still on course – Boroh

Retired Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh, Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), says the amnesty office is determined to actualise its mandate of empowering youths in the Niger Delta region.

Boroh, also the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, stated this in an interview with the Newsmen on Friday in Abuja.

He said that money appropriated for the programme is usually channelled towards payment of monthly stipends, funding of tertiary education for students under its scholarship among others.

“PAP receives its funding from the National Budget as appropriated by the National Assembly.

“All its disbursement whether for monthly stipends, school fees, in-training-allowances and payment of contractors or staff allowances are done through the Treasury Single Account (TSA), and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“In specific case of the beneficiaries, they all have personal bank accounts to which all their entitlements are paid.

“The bank verification number in the country ensures that no individual can have more than one number, which indicates that an individual should be not be able to collect another beneficiary’s allowance,” Boroh explained.

He said that there had been increasing demands on the office, especially by youths in the region for employment, training and empowerment lately.

Boroh said some of the youths applied for scholarship to study in tertiary institutions, and assured them that efforts were being made to ensure that their dreams of acquiring education were attained even abroad.

The Coordinator added that some youths even demand for infrastructure development including provisions of roads, schools, health centres, and decent housing among others in their communities.

He, however, said that it was not part of PAP’s mandate to provide such facilities as it had no appropriation for such.

Boroh pointed out that the mandate of the office is to cater for the beneficiaries who took the Presidential Amnesty proclaimed by late President Musa Yar’Adua administration, to ensure their sustainable reintegration into the society for peace and stability in the region.

He explained that the mandate given to the office was to cater for 30,000 ex-militants, who embraced the programme on or before Oct. 4, 2009 deadline for them to drop their arms.

The Presidential aide, however, alleged that some politicians were colluding with youths in some Niger Delta states to stage protest demanding for payment of non-existing housing allowances to ex militants among others.

“The payment of housing allowance to ex-militants, an entitlement paid at the inception of the programme as Transitional Safety Allowance, has not gotten any budgetary provision since I assumed office”, he said.

The Coordinator said the activities of those youths and the many others claiming to be ex-militants were putting pressure on the office.

Boroh said that the office had discovered that the youths who were not part of the amnesty programme were colluding with corrupt political agents working in the Niger Delta to claim that they were beneficiaries of the programme.

“And worse still, their very unpatriotic actions give the amnesty programme bad publicity and expose it to unwarranted attacks; we have challenged the nation’s security agencies to help stem this ugly tide,” he said.

The presidential adviser added that majority of those calling for his removal as Coordinator of the amnesty programme did not belong to any of the known defunct militant camps in the region.

INEC will cancel election in any troublesome ward – REC

The Independent National Electoral Commission says it will cancel elections in wards with irregularities.

Prof. Francis Ezeonu, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Imo State, said elections in areas where ballot boxes were seized or where voting was marred by any violence would be voided.

The electoral commissioner said this on Friday while carrying out sensitisation campaign in Aboh Mbaise Local Government area of Imo.

He said INEC was prepared for free and fair elections devoid of violence and intimidation and urged stakeholders to cooperate with the commission to achieve this objective.

“INEC will not accept results in areas where ballot papers or boxes are carted away by hoodlums or any group or individuals. Election in that area will be cancelled.

“What INEC needs is cooperation from members of the community.

“If INEC does not receive cooperation of people in the communities, things will not be okay. I advise politicians and stakeholders to play by the rules and play good politics,” he said.

Ezeonu reiterated the commitment of INEC to conduct credible polls in the forth coming general elections.

He urged politicians to always ensure their followers enjoyed dividends of democracy to pave the way for their re-election.

(NAN)

Embrace new tax payment system, Lagos tells hoteliers, event centres

Lagos State Government yesterday urged hoteliers and event centres’ owners to embrace the new tax payment system.

The government made the call during the launch of a new regulation for the fiscalisation of the Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Tax Law, and charged stakeholders in the hospitality industry to embrace the initiative designed to put efficient machinery in place to enhance collection process and ensure compliance.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting at Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja, to sensitise owners of hotels, restaurants, bars and event centres in the state on the new regulation, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said automation of the system was introduced to address the high level of under-payment and non-remittance of what is due to government. He, however assured it would be a win-win situation for all parties.

Ambode, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Idiat Adebule, said it is important for stakeholders to play their part in scaling up taxation, being one of the ways government is able to fund its activities and implement projects and policies for the overall benefit of the people.

“As progressive partners in the development of our state, we solicit your co-operation and support at actualising this noble initiative.

“All hoteliers, event centre proprietors, restaurant and bar owners must allow the integration of their systems along with the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) server to facilitate the monitoring of consumption tax transactions and remittance of same to the state.

“We must be alive to our responsibilities by paying taxes to ensure the development of our state,” he said.

The governor said since his assumption of office, conscious efforts have been made to invest in infrastructure, and that more funds were required to enable government actualise the objective of providing adequate infrastructure and services for residents, a development he said necessitated the need to embrace the fiscalisation of the consumption tax regime.

He said despite harsh economy, the 2017 budget of the state performed at 82 percent with N503.7 billion total generated revenue representing 78 percent performance, while total recurrent expenditure stood at N281.33 billion representing 72 percent and N387.60 billion capital expenditure representing 76 percent performance.

He said though a lot was achieved in that regard last year, to enable the government achieve the target for 2018, the commitment of residents and business owners is necessary, especially in payment of their taxes.

Besides, the governor said the LIRS has been mandated to work with the office of the Attorney General to ensure tax defaulters are brought to book.

Earlier, LIRS Chairman, Mr. Ayo Subair, said the deployment of the fiscalisation system in the hospitality sector is a further demonstration of the resolve of the government to embrace global best practices in its administration of the state.

He said under the new regime, all the collecting agents would benefit from the high level of transparency the system will bring to their operations in respect of recording of sales as they will have access to all transactions as they occur, irrespective of their locations.

Also, Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade, said despite the improvement in the ease of doing business ranking, Nigeria is still behind in tax payment ranking, a development he said brought about the new fiscalisation regulation.