By YUSUF BABALOLA, Lagos  The current yuletide season has witnessed a massive increase in the importation of food items and other goods, including those listed among the 41 items banned by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from accessing the foreign exchange window in their importation. Among the imported products are salt, wheat and soya beans and other items needed by local manufacturers for the production of finished goods. This significant increase during yuletide is the first time since 2016 when the country slid into recession and restrictions were placed on the importation of certain goods by the CBN. Though the yuletide season is usually known for high importation at this time in Nigeria, a highly import dependent country - with over 80 per cent of household commodities imported yearly - can only witness an increase in the trend. However, the increase was credited to the availability of foreign exchange in the hands of...

50,00 Orphans In IDP Camps – Sultan

BY ONUMINYA YUSUF, Sokoto The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, has decried the high number of orphaned children in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps, saying the number was in excess of 50, 000. Sultan, who is the president-general, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), made this comment at the opening ceremony of the 28th National Conference of the Muslim Sisters Organisation of Nigeria, (MSON) with the theme, “Muslim Women and Emerging Challenges.” The Sultan, who enumerated the importance of a girl-child education, said when women were educated and empowered, they and their children were less vulnerable to drug abuse and other anti-social activities. The Sultan, according to a statement by Bashir Rabe Mani, the spokesperson of Senator Aliyu Wamakko, expressed worry over the high number of children orphaned by the insurgency of the North-East, noting that more than 50, 000 hapless orphans were scattered across the various IDP camps in...
By CHIKA IZUORA, Lagos  The House of Representatives Committee on Oil and Gas has issued a two-week ultimatum to 10 indigenous oil companies to remit $250 million oil royalty to the coffers of the federal government. The companies include Aiteo Group, Dubri Oil Ltd Atlas Energy,Oriental Energy Ltd, Express Petroleum, WalterSmith Oil Ltd and Neconde Group. Chairman of the committee, Hon. Jerigbe Agom, said at ongoing probe of unremitted funds in the industry that Nigeria can no longer condone unbecoming acts of the operators which are capable of strangulating the nation’s oil and gas industry. He said that, as part of its mandate to ensure sanity in the nation’s oil and gas industry, his committee would have no other choice than to wield the big stick on the companies that refuse to meet the deadline. Meanwhile, members of the committee berated the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), saying the agency was not proactive enough...
The Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Ambassador Olufemi Michael Abikoye, has hit the ground running since resuming office in Accra in July. AMINA ALHASSAN chronicles his activities, one of which is attending the 7th Ghana- Nigeria Permanent Joint Commission meeting between 18th and 20th October, 2017 to cement and foster both bilateral and multilateral relationships that exists between Ghana and Nigeria. Nigeria and Ghana have over the years, enjoyed good economic and political relations. They also have mutual respect for each other. However, what has happened between July 2017 and now is phenomenal, a plus to President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, which is anchored on positive change. When a professional, who is committed and dedicated, is placed in a position of authority, the people will surely feel the impact and the society will be better for it. The positive results coming from Ghana today is very encouraging and a new dawn, not...
By OLUSHOLA BELLO, BUKOLA IDOWU, KAYODE TOKEDE, Lagos The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Babatunde Fowler has said federal government tax defaulters have until March 2018 to declare assets and income via the  Voluntary Assets and Income declaration Scheme (VAIDS) or face the consequence. Fowler speaking at the media workshop programme in Lagos, recently, said the scheme would change financial profile of Nigeria as more income and declaration of assets will aid government spending in economic development. He said the scheme was a change needed for a commonwealth of every Nigerians, stressing that individuals and corporate companies have started making amendment to the VAIDS. According to him, federal government believed that Nigerians will be truthful in their assets and income declaration, stressing that the tax collector agency is ready to assist in documentation. He called on Nigerians to embrace VAIDS in order to benefit from the forgiveness of overdue interest and...
The federal government yesterday said it would stop giving budget support loan to states that fail to comply with the conditions agreed under the fiscal responsibility plan. Gombe State governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, quoted Finance minister Kemi Adeosun as saying this in her presentation to the National Economic Council. The governor said the Council was updated on the budget support facility loan granted to states in June, July and August, 2017. He said the council was assured that the Federal Ministry of Finance was working on the payment of the September budget support facility. Dankwambo stated, “The minister of Finance informed the council that the budget support facility to states is also based on certain conditions as agreed under the fiscal responsibility plan, but she complained that most states are yet to comply and added that noncompliance will make her ministry stop any further to be given to states that do not comply.” Edo State...
By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah,  Abuja The National Economic Council, yesterday, gave the federal government the go ahead to spend $1billion from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) on the fight against Boko Haram insurgents. Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the monthly NEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. The Excess Crude Account, being money saved from the sale of crude oil above the appropriation benchmark, currently stands at $2.3 billion. It is usually shared among the three tiers of government. Obaseki said state governors who form the bulk of the membership of NEC decided to make the concession to allow the federal government spend the money due to the its impressive effort in the fight against insurgency in the country, especially in the North East. He said, “The NEC also resolved through the chairman of the governors forum to support the effort...
...Speakers mull regional consensus By ADEBIYI ADEDAPO and PAUL UWADIMA, Abuja Three months after the National Assembly transmitted drafts of the 1999 Constitution Amendment to State Houses of Assembly, some houses have commenced debate on the bills. Indication emerged yesterday that the National Assembly sent only 15 bills to State Houses of Assembly for adoption out of the 21 bills adopted by the National Assembly. LEADERSHIP investigation revealed that presiding officers of the National Assembly committed a technical error during voting on the bills and as such, some of the bills could not be transmitted to the state Houses of Assembly. Recall that the National Assembly Constitution Review Committee led by Senate Deputy President Ike Ekweremadu formulated 33 bills for the purpose of the constitution amendment. But at the end of the day, both the Senate and the House of Representatives, in July, separately voted in support of 21 bills, rejected four bills and disagreed...
BY ISAIAH BENJAMIN, Kaduna The National Industrial Court of Nigeria in the Kaduna judicial division, yesterday, granted an order of interlocutory injunction restraining Kaduna State governor , Nasiru el-Rufai, from the planned sack of 21,780 primary school teachers who reportedly failed a competency test meant for primary four pupils. Dakun Rindi Esq and Augustina Joshua (Miss) Esq had, on October 30, 2017,  filed a motion of  notice brought pursuant to order 17  rule 1(1)to (9) and order 22 rule 1 and 2 of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (civil procedure) rules, 2017 and the inherent powers and sanctions of the honourable court as conferred by section 6(6)a 1999 constitution (as amended) in a suit number NICN/KD/53/2017 on behalf of the Nigeria Union of Teachers and Comrade Audu Titus Amba (suing on behalf of primary school teachers in the public schools of Kaduna State) against the Governor of Kaduna State, Attorney...
by Sunday Isuwa, Abuja The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday, announced the registration of 21 new political parties. The registration has now raised the number of political parties in Nigeria to 67. According to INEC,  the decision to register the new political parties was taken at its usual weekly meeting, yesterday. The new political parties are: All Blending Party (ABP), All Grassroots Alliance (AGA), Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP), Coalition for Change (C4C), Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria (GDPN), Justice Must Prevail Party (JMPP) Legacy Party of Nigeria (LPN), Mass Action Joint Alliance (MAJA) Modern Democratic Party (MDP), National Interest Party (NIP), National Rescue Mission (NRM), New Progressive Movement (NPM) and Nigeria Democratic Congress Party (NDCP). Others includes: People’s Alliance for National Development and Liberty (PANDEL) People’s Trust (PT), Providence People’s Congress (PPC), Re-Build Nigeria Party (RBNP), Restoration Party of Nigeria (RP) and...