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Hard Times For Akpabio As Cousin Joins Kinsmen, Political Leaders To Reject Senator, Accuse Him Of Causing Violence In Akwa Ibom

Peter Okunoren

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Over 500 stakeholders, political leaders and party executives from Senator Godswill Akpabio’s local government, Essien Udim, have accused the former governor of unleashing violence and terror on them during the last governorship and State Assembly elections in the State.

The stakeholders led by Prince Ukpong Akpabio(Cousin to Senator Akpabio) in a world press conference held at the NUJ secretariat Uyo on Thursday, alleged that the senator masterminded and executed the militarization of the electoral process witnessed in the area.

A communique signed by the stakeholders and leaders and read by Barr Imo-Owo Okpokpo reads, “Essien Udim people condemned in strong terms the various electoral offenses and irregularities masterminded and perpetrated by Senator Godswill Akpabio and his cohorts in which almost all the election process in the area was marred by unlawful militarization, rigging and assault on INEC electoral officers.

”Among the atrocities committed by Senator Godswill Akpabio include carting away of electoral materials and INEC ad hoc staff in all the units of the 11 wards in the area, with the help of military men with armoured vehicles to the residence of Barr Ibanga Akpabio.”

They claimed that one Supol Idorenyin Akpabio of SARS in company of other policemen shot at people indiscriminately, detained and maimed PDP supporters on the directives of Sen Akpabio.

They further claimed that, “Senator Godswill Akpabio with his cohorts apart from assaulting INEC staff also beat and machete some PDP faithful to the point of unconsciousness”.

The stakeholders and leaders of Essien Udim maintained that in units where elections were not duly conducted, PDP won overwhelmingly and they have their result sheets intact describing any other result as fake and do not represent the votes of the electorates of Essien udim local government area.

They rejected the published results so far released by INEC in the state and equally condemned the cancellation of results in nine wards in the council area.

Essien Udim people used the forum to admonish Senator Godswill Akpabio to desist from further advertising of “his declining and dwindling political status through various press interviews as such will continue to deepen his failing image. We have totally rejected him as a people”.

They commiserated with the Corps members and other INEC staff who lost valuable items as a result of the allege mayhem ”perpetrated by Senator Godswill Akpabio,” stressing that Akpabio is still bent on killing some PDP stakeholders even as the elections are over.

They restated their hope on INEC’s capacity to correct as well as address the election anomalies with her avowed commitment to conduct a free, fair and credible elections in the country.

However, in a previous press conference held by Senator Akpabio, he alleged that the violence witnessed in Essien Udim during the elections was perpetrated by members of the PDP.

He insisted that APC won overwhelmingly in his local government and other local governments but the INEC in collusion with the PDP-led state government upturned the results against his party, APC.

Akpabio said he has facts and evidences to back his claims at the tribunal when the time comes.

BIG STORY

BREAKING: Fire Ravages Katangowa, Lagos Market [PHOTOS]

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An early morning fire has engulfed Katangowa Market in Agbado/Oke-Odo Local Council Development Area, along the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway on Monday.

The fire outbreak which started around 3.15am destroyed the entire stretch of fairly used clothes’ shops opposite the Central Mosque in the market.

As of the time of filing this report, men of the state fire service and officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency were on the ground to put off the fire.

Also on the ground are policemen from the Okeodo Divisional Headquarters to prevent the looting of unaffected shops.

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Stay Away From Duty Posts, NASU, SSANU Direct Varsity Workers As Strike Begins

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Academic activities will be paralyzed in the universities across the Federation from today as the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Educational Institutions and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), have issued a directive to all their members to stay away from their duty posts from Monday.

The unions, under the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of NASU and SSANU, also warned their branches that the strike is “total and comprehensive” and that “no form of concession or internal arrangement should be made with management,” during the strike.

The directive was dated 16th August 2019 and signed by the General Secretary of NASU, Comr Peters Adeyemi and the National President of SSANU, Comr. Samson Ugwoke.

The directive which was addressed to all branch chairmen, Joint Action Committee of NASU and SSANU, also warned that any defaulting branch would be sanctioned.

They were directed to fully mobilize their members and ensure full compliance, as the leadership would not hesitate to sanction any defaulting branch.

In the first phase, the directive said the strike will last for five days, as a result of government failure to attend to their demands after the expiration of the 14-day ultimate earlier issued to the government. The Ultimatum ended on Sunday.

The Ultimatum read: “Following the expiration of the 14 day ultimatum given to the Government and its failure to show firm commitment towards resolving the following issues: Payment of Earned Allowances; University Staff Schools matter; Renegotiation of 2009 Agreements; you are hereby directed to embark on a five (5) day strike effective from Monday, 19th to Friday, 23rd August 2019.

“Be informed that the strike is total and comprehensive for the five days. No form of concession or internal arrangement should be made with management while all members must be directed to stay away from their duty posts.

“Kindly recall the decision of the National Executive Councils of the two unions to the effect that Branches that default in compliance should be sanctioned.

“The National leadership shall not hesitate in this regard. You are hereby directed to fully mobilize your members and ensure full compliance.”

(Nigerian Tribune)

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Presidency Queries FIRS Boss Babatunde Fowler Over N12.6Trillion Tax Collection

Peter Okunoren

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The Presidency appears displeased with the taxes the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has collected in the last three years.

This is despite the fact that the FIRS generated the largest revenue in the nation’s tax history when it collected N5.3 trillion in taxes in 2018 and is targeting N8 trillion in 2019.

The Presidency conveyed its displeasure at the FIRS’ collection efforts in a query issued to the Executive Chairman of the FIRS Mr. Tunde Fowler by the Chief of Staff to the President, Alhaji Abba Kyari.

The query circulating in the social media titled: “Re: Budgeted FIRS Collections and Actual Collections”, reads: “Your attached letter (FIRS/EC/ECW/0249/19/027 dated 26 July 2019) on the above subject matter refers.

“We observed significant variances between the budgeted collections and actual collections for the period 2015 to 2018.

“Accordingly, you are kindly invited to submit a comprehensive variance analysis explaining the reasons for the variances between budgeted and actual collections for each main tax item for each of the years 2015 to 2018.

The query marked “Restricted” added that “we observed that the actual collections for the period 2015 to 2017 were significantly worse than what were collected between 2012 and 2014. Accordingly, you are kindly invited to explain the reason for the poor collections.”

Kyari directed Fowler “to respond by 19 August 2019.”

The development has raised questions over the propriety of the query, given that there is no Minister for Finance and the query did not come from the Permanent Secretary of the ministry.

In January 2019, Executive Chairman of the FIRS, Mr. Tunde Fowler, announced in Lagos that the Service broke its collection records by generating N5.3 trillion from taxes collected and is targeting N8 trillion for 2019.

According to Fowler, the N5.320 trillion collection is considered to be the highest revenue ever generated by FIRS in history.

The highest in FIRS was N5.07 trillion generated in 2012 under Ms. Ifueko Omoigui.

Fowler said “FIRS’ generation of N5.3 trillion is significant as it was at a period when oil prices averaged $70 per barrel. Oil price was at an average of $100 to $120 per barrel between 2010 and 2013.”

In realizing this milestone, the FIRS boss noted that the non-oil component of the N5.320 trillion is N2.467 trillion that was (53.62 percent), while the oil element of the collection was N2.852 trillion (46.38 percent). From audit alone, the FIRS collected N212,792 billion from 2,278 cases with a huge reduction in audit circle.

In spite of this achievement, Tunde Fowler lamented that “while we have been steadily increasing revenue collection over the years, our cost of collection has actually been going down. In 2016, we collected N3,307 trillion, in 2017 we collected N4,027 trillion and in 2018 we collected N5,320 trillion.

“Meanwhile, the cost of collection as a percentage of actual taxes collected has been reducing; in 2016 it was 2.6%, in 2017 it was 2.49% while in 2018 it was 2.14%.” The FIRS is entitled to 4% cost of collection.

He added: “The Service has been making tremendous efforts in also increasing the amount of non-oil revenue it collects. The non-oil collection has contributed 64.99% in 2016, in 2017 it contributed 62.25% and in 2018 it contributed 53.62%.

“This represents the government’s focus on increasing non-oil sources of revenue and the diversification of the Nigerian economy.”

(The Nation)

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