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Automobile Dealers Association Threatens To Sue Nigerian Custom Service For Sealing Their Business Premises

Peter Okunoren

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A group of Auto-mobile dealers in Lagos State has threatened to drag the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, to court over the unlawful sealing of their business premises.

In a letter to the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, through the law firm of Ubani & Co, the group condemned the September 30, 2019 raid and sealing of their offices by customs officers saying that the action of the Agency was a demonstration of gross irresponsibility, unprecedented impunity and abuse of power.

They maintained that all the cars in their business premises were duly cleared and appropriate duties paid to the federal government.

The group in the letter which was also forward to the Senate President, Speaker of House of Representatives and Attorney General of the Federation, also warned that if their business premises were not opened in the next 14 days with a compensation of N10billion for businesses loss during the period of closure, they would have no other option but to approach the court for redress.

Part of the letter which also serves as a pre-action notice reads:

“We must state here with all sense of responsibility and patriotism that the action of Nigeria custom officers in this regard is a demonstration of gross irresponsibility, unprecedented impunity and abuse of power.

“Though the Nigerian Customs & Excise Management Act gives you the power to examine, mark, seal and take account of any goods …, In this case, you did not examine, mark, seal and take account of the particular vehicles identified as not being properly cleared, but rather sealed up the entire premises without any form of examination or inspection of papers.

” This very act of yours has no protection under the Act, but smacks of impunity, illegality, and flagrant abuse of executive power.

“No law under our law books, including the Customs & Excise Management Act, empowers you to take the steps you have taken in the manner you have taken it.

“The action of the Nigerian Customs is not only lawless but very oppressive. The moment when Nigerian Government agencies elevate the pursuit of revenue above the right and welfare of the citizens, Nigeria is doomed, but God forbid that things degenerate to that level.

“Take notice therefore that you have 14 days from the day you receive this letter to unseal all our Client’s members’ business premises to enable them carry out their lawful businesses as Nigerian citizens.

“Take further notice that you have a period of 30 days from the date you receive this letter to pay a compensation of N10Billion to our Clients for the severe hardship, suffering, embarrassment, loss of business, physical, mental and psychological torture and trauma your arbitrary, lawless and inconsiderate action has caused our clients and their families failing which our Client shall be left with no other option than to seek redress through a competent court of law.”

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We Can Treat COVID-19 Patient In Our State, Akeredolu Boasts

Peter Okunoren

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Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has said that the state is well equipped to treat the only COVID-19 patient it currently has.

Governor Akeredolu said the patient would not be transferred to Lagos State.

Speaking at a world press conference in Akure, Governor Akeredolu said the state’s own Infectious Disease Hospital where the patient is currently admitted has all the needed facilities.

The Ondo Governor urged the people not to be scared as the patient did not leave the premises of a military barrack when he returned from Indian.

Akeredolu stated that the military officer returned from Indian on an official assignment and was placed on self-isolation but developed symptoms on Friday which made his samples to be collected and tested positive.

He said they have begun contact tracing and told those traced to self-isolate in the barracks.

According to him, “We have moved the patient to our Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH). He has been receiving treatment and has been stable.

“If you trace the history of the officer, it leaves us with little or no potential of expansion. The man came in from Indian and on his return placed himself on self-isolation. Whatever it is, all we have to do to prevent the spread has been done with this man being in self-isolation

“We have contained it within a room or the barrack. There was never a time the man left the barrack. Our people have no reason to fear. We want to strengthen our precautionary measures. The school’s closure will remain until further notice. We have suspended public gatherings and social activities that will involve a crowd. We scaled down physical activities at the secretariat. We have to close done our markets. We directed a lockdown of our borders. This became necessary because we discovered a high movement of people from states that closed their borders.

“We have set up a special relief distribution committee. The committee is to purchase and share food through the local government.

“There is no way we can list how many contacts we are tracing. We have a well-equipped facility here in Ondo. We believe it will be enough for us. We will treat people here in our facilities. we pray there will not be any expansion. The module we have adopted is to have isolation centers in senatorial districts.

“If we have the means, we are going to spend millions of naira on palliatives. We are going to reach as many people as possible. There is no cause for fear. We should live a normal life. People should stay more at home.”

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Federal Government Seeks NASS Approval To Establish N500bn COVID-19 Intervention Fund

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, on Saturday, met with the leadership of the National Assembly to intimate it on an Executive proposal to establish a N500 billion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund.

Ola Awoniyi, the Special Adviser to the President of Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in a statement said that the minister held the meeting with the President of the Senate and senior officials of the ministry at the National Assembly Complex in the Federal Capital Territory.

Also in attendance were the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege; Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase, and some principal officers of both Chambers.

The meeting is a follow-up to another one held on March 25 between the National Assembly leadership and members of the Presidential Committee set up for the management of the COVID-19 crisis.

“What we are proposing is the establishment of a N500 billion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund.

“This Fund that we are proposing should be created will involve mopping up resources from various special accounts that the government, as well as the Federation, have to be able to pull this N500 billion,” the minister said.

Ahmed added that in addition to the identified special accounts from where the money would be drawn as loans, the proposed intervention fund would also be sourced from grants being expected and loans from multilateral institutions.

“Our general view is that this crisis intervention fund is to be utilised to upgrade healthcare facilities as earlier identified.

“The Federal Government also needs to be in a position to improve health care facilities not only in the states but to provide intervention to the states,’’ she said.

Ahmed explained to the lawmakers that the Fund if approved, would also take care of special Public Work Programmes currently being implemented by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).

“We know that there will be a need for the parliament to agree and approve the taking of loans from these special accounts and we will be coming back with a proposed bill in that regard that will define what the fund will be used for,’’ the minister said.

Earlier in his remarks, the Senate President said the meeting was in fulfilment of an earlier promise to provide support as the need arises in this time of crisis.

“Just like we told Nigerians when there is need for us to meet or to take legislative action in support of ensuring that the government responds appropriately to development issues and challenges in the country, we will do so.

“This meeting, the second in the series after we shut down the National Assembly for two weeks, is a clear testimony of what we have said.

“Governance requires that we work together, so we want to listen to those things that you have on your side and how we can also play our constitutional role in ensuring that Nigerians continue to benefit from governance.

“And to also see how we are able to weather the storm created by COVID-19.

“Going forward, we need to interact more because very fundamental decisions will need to be taken, and these decisions can only be said to be constitutionally legal if the legislature gives its stamp of authority for the executive to implement and execute.

“I think coming to us for those loans is critical because we are in an emergency and time is of the essence.

“So, we must work as expeditiously as possible to ensure that we place the request before the National Assembly.

“I think time has come for us to redefine the implementation of the Social Intervention Programme, because probably going out to communities to give them N20,000 per person might not be the best way to go.

“It is still an effort, but I think we need a better approach that will be more efficient,’’ Lawan said. (NAN)

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BREAKING: Lagos Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat Tests Negative For COVID-19

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The Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, has tested negative for Coronavirus.

Hamzat stated the result of his status through his twitter handle on Saturday.

He said that the COVID-19 test was not a pleasant experience.

He said that it was important for him to do it because as a leader nothing should distract him from his role at this period.

He thanked all health workers and appealed to the residents of the state to play their role and ended the tweet with the hashtag #StayHomeSaveLives.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a breakdown of the cases by states shows that Lagos now has 109 cases; Abuja- 41; Osun- 22; Oyo- eight; Edo- seven; Akwa Ibom- five; Ogun and Kaduna have four cases each.

Others are: Bauchi- three; Enugu and Ekiti- two cases each, while Rivers, Benue and Ondo States have one case respectively.

(NAN)

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