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Tinubu To Buhari: Print More Naira Notes, Suspend VAT For Now

Gbemileke Ajayi

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All Progressives Congress National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, says Nigeria’s health care system cannot withstand a coronavirus pandemic on the scale of America and Europe.

He, therefore, called on the government and the citizens to do everything to curb the spread of the virus in the country.

Tinubu said this in a statement he wrote in commemoration of his 68th birthday on Friday.

The former Lagos State governor said, “The public health care systems of developed nations have been overwhelmed by this virus. They are running out of equipment and healthy doctors.

“Our public health care system is much smaller and less equipped than those in Europe and North America. We cannot afford to put undue pressure on our system because it cannot bear the great weight of a pandemic.

“Thus, it is incumbent on us to thoroughly implement and obey social safety and distancing techniques so that we halt the spread of the disease and keep hospitalisation to the barest possible minimum.”

Tinubu asked the Federal Government to print more naira notes to save the economy from collapse even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to bite harder.

The APC chieftain said the United States Federal Reserve had printed more dollars bills to boost the economy.

He said Nigeria could also do the same.

Tinubu added, “Already, the price of oil has fallen to less than $30 a barrel. This will bring a dollar shortfall. This does not, however, necessitate a corresponding shortfall in public sector naira expenditures.

“The US controls dollar issuance. We control naira issuance as is our sovereign right. Just as America has used its sovereign right to issue its currency to stave off economic disaster, so too may Nigeria issue naira for the same purpose.”

Tinubu also asked the Federal Government to stop collection of the Value Added Tax immediately.

Recall that the government of the President, Maj.Gen Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had last month increased VAT from five per cent to 7.5 per cent.

However, Tinubu said the government must reduce the sufferings of Nigerians by introducing tax cuts while the Central Bank of Nigeria must reduce interest rates

He wrote, “Government should announce a tax credit or partial tax reduction for companies or firms. VAT should be suspended for the next two to four months. This will help lower import costs and protect against shortages.

“We need to protect the people from food shortages and high prices. As such, we must quickly improve farm-to-market delivery of agricultural produce. Also, government should initiate a crash programme to decrease spoilage of agricultural produce by construction of storage facilities in local marketplaces in and around major cities and towns throughout the country.”

The APC leader asked all Nigerians to unite against the pandemic, adding that experience had shown that the virus neither respected social class, ethnicity nor religion.

He, therefore, said this was not the time to play politics.

Tinubu added, “The rich cannot bargain with the disease or pay it off. It neither reads bank account statements nor is it intimidated by them. The poor, likewise, are subject to it for it has no mercy nor cares about one’s prior or present hardships. Neither does it seem to study geography.

“Northerners and southerners are equally its prey. It will attack those who pray at the altar in the church as well as those who face the Qiblah when praying in the mosque. To corona, we are all the same. Thus, to fight corona, we must treat each other the same, as brothers and sisters in one national family under one Heaven. For we are of one blood; this crisis is a stark warning that we must begin to act in consonance with that common humanity.”

BIG STORY

BREAKING: Ogun Politician Buruji Kashamu Dies Of COVID-19

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Buruji Kashamu, a former senator from Ogun state, has died of complications from COVID-19. 

Kashamu, who represented Ogun-East senatorial district between 2015 and 2019, died at First Cardiology Consultants, Lagos.

The hospital is the same facility where a former Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi; and the President’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, died.

It was learnt that Kashamu, who had diabetes and high blood pressure, was admitted at the hospital for over a week before giving up the ghost.

Confirming his death, a former lawmaker, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, said the deceased would be sorely missed.

Murray-Bruce wrote on his verified Twitter handle, “I have just lost my good friend of forever to COVID-19. Until his death, Sen. Buruji Kashamu and I were inseparable. He died today at First Cardiology Consultants, in Lagos. May his gentle soul rest in peace. I pray his family and loved ones the fortitude to bear this heavy loss.”

Kashamu, who was the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2019 election, was facing extradition for alleged drug trafficking before his death.

See tweet by Murray-Bruce;

I have just lost my good friend of forever to #COVID19. Until his death, Sen. Buruji Kashamu and I were inseparable. He died today at First Cardiology Consultants, in Lagos. May his gentle soul rest in peace. I pray his family and loved ones the fortitude to bear this heavy loss. pic.twitter.com/OJGIt0VK3n

— Ben Murray-Bruce (@benmurraybruce) August 8, 2020

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Failed Contracts: NDDC Asks Senator Nwaoboshi To Refund N2.5bn Within Two Weeks

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The Niger Delta Development Commission has demanded refund of N2.5bn from Delta North Senator Peter Nwaoboshi for contracts his companies allegedly failed to execute.

However, the names of the errant firms were not disclosed in the letter addressed to the lawmaker.

The commission asked Nwaoboshi to refund the money within two weeks.

The letter dated July 5 signed by the Director, Legal Services of the NDDC, Peter Okoro, asked the senator to pay back the money meant for the supply of plastic chairs and desks for primary and secondary schools in the Niger Delta region in 2017.

It read, “Instead of supplying the chairs and desks to the Commission’s warehouse in Port Harcourt or to any of the NDDC offices in the nine Niger Delta states, the items were supplied to a warehouse described as Akuede Akwis’ located at Benin Expressway, Okpanam, before Wichetech Aluminum Company.”

According to the letter, the lawmaker’s firms were paid to supply the plastic chairs and desks to schools in Delta North Senatorial District, including desks and benches to selected schools in the Niger Delta.

The NDDC noted, “Despite having fully paid for the 2017 contracts for the production of chairs and desks, the items have not been supplied to the commission.

“The resultant effect is that the commission and the Niger Delta region have been deprived of the use of the desks and chairs.”

The NDDC spokesperson, Charles Odili, confirmed the authenticity of the letter.

Matter in court, unsigned letter not delivered to me –Nwaoboshi

But Nwaoboshi in a statement by his media aide, Awele Onokwai, on Friday, said the matter was already before a competent court of law and that he had yet to receive a copy of the letter purportedly addressed to him from the NDDC.

Nwaoboshi described the letter as fake as it was not officially addressed or signed.

He also said that the letter did not link him to any of the contracts.

The statement read in part, “Our attention has been drawn to the purported subject matter above, credited to one Peter Claver Okoro, Esq, posing as the Director, Legal Services of the Niger Delta Development Commission and we make bold to state the following:

“That the purported matter is sub judice as it is already before two law courts of competent jurisdiction in Nigeria, wherein, Distinguished Senator Peter Nwaoboshi sued the NDDC, Mr Charles Odili and relevant newspapers for defamation of character.

“The purported letter addressed to the Senator Peter Nwaoboshi was written on the 5th of July 2020 and as of today, 7th of August 2020, the said letter has not reached Senator Peter Nwaoboshi – either in person or office or by substitution.

“The purported letter, unlike any formal letter emanating from a recognized government Ministry, Agency or Department is not signed, therefore, can easily be denied.

“Nowhere in the contents of the purported letter was it stated that the contractor is directly linked to Distinguished Senator Peter Nwaoboshi.

“Nowhere in the purported letter was it stated that the warehouse, where the plastic chairs were domiciled, belongs to Distinguished Senator Peter Nwaoboshi.”

Nwabaoshi, his colleagues in the National Assembly and some former ex-governors have denied being contractors to the NDDC.

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BIG STORY

Union Bank’s Edu360: The Search For The Next Robotics Legend Is On!!!

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Next Robotics Legend is an initiative designed by Edu360, Union Bank’s education platform, in collaboration with Awarri, a pan-African technology company, to infuse Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the education of the Nigerian child. This stems from the realization that the solutions to some of our most complicated problems as a nation lie in the education of our children today.

This first-of-its-kind robotics training and competition for students aged 11 to 16 will focus on identifying and nurturing young potential inventors and creators who will receive the necessary training to solve some of the challenges facing the Nigerian society with the aid of robotics and AI.

To enter, take a 30-second video of your child telling us what they like about robots. Upload on www.edu360.ng and fill the accompanying consent form. 25 of the most creative and passionate entries will be selected to participate in robotics training.

At the end of the free training programme, participants will be required to identify a need in their community, and apply the skills learned to proffer a solution. The student with the best solution will be admitted for a mentorship program with Awarri, the advanced AI and robotics company owned by Silas Adekunle – top international robotics engineer renowned for creating the world’s first intelligent gaming robot.

Schools are not left out! To ensure the sustenance of the initiative, Edu360 will partner with four secondary schools by providing robotics toolkits and training for their teachers to enable them to include robotics in their curriculum.

Entries will be received from August 7th to 21st, 2020.  Visit  www.edu360.ng for more information.

#NextRoboticsLegend

Terms and conditions apply.

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