Connect with us


/">

BIG STORY

Nigeria Nears Total Collapse, FG’s Tactics Of ‘Aggressively’ Denying Buhari’s Policies Responsible Would Lead To ‘Collective Suicide’ —- Wole Soyinka

Avatar

Published

on

Elder statesman and playwright, Prof Wole Soyinka, has said the country is more divided as never before under the current regime of Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd).

Soyinka, in a statement signed from his Autonomous Residence of Ijegba, Idi-Aba Estate, Abeokuta, Ogun State, on Tuesday titled, “Between ‘Dividers-in-chief’ and Dividers-in-law,” said though not a fan of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, he embraced the responsibility of calling attention to any accurate reading of the country.

Soyinka said the Federal Government’s tactics of “aggressively” denying that Buhari’s policies and conduct were responsible, would lead to “collective suicide.”

In a statement titled: “Between ‘Dividers-in-chief’ and Dividers-in-law,” Soyinka said former President correctly read the state of the nation.

Obasanjo, last week said the Buhari administration had made Nigeria the headquarters of poverty.

The former president blamed the country’s current state on poor management of the nation’s diversity.

But the Presidency, returned the salvo, describing Obasanjo as Nigeria’s “Divider-in-chief.”

Soyinka also said it was obscene to shed any tear for terror gang leader (Terwase) Akwaza, known as Gana”.

He said: “Still on security, any tear that is shed for the arch-bandit and multiple murdered Akwaza known as Gana is an obscenity.

“Tears of trepidation are falling fast and furious over the conduct of an army that eliminates a captive in cold blood, side-tracking the rationality of professional investigations and legitimate pursuit of felons and other enemies of society.

“The issue here is not one of the appropriateness of a policy of Amnesty – that constitutes a larger debate in its place. The issue here – and a critical one – is that a Wanted Man, on his way to surrender, has been killed in cold blood.

“I read yesterday that the Army has followed this up with a demand for the bounty earlier placed by the Benue State governor on the head of the wanted man. However, all reports so far indicate that he was on his way to surrender?

“And so, is this bounty demand a joke? An end then to such gallows humour! And certainly not now, not while the nation is freshly reeling from the latest horror of the targeting of unarmed Road Safety officials, gunned down in cold blood in their commuter bus, and the mass kidnapping of survivors.

“Shall we presume that the surviving casualties of routine duty rosters are also nation-dividers if they scream out for protection and deplore a breakdown in the entire security architecture of the nation?”

The elder statesman and playwright suggested that if the Presidency was rankled by the voices of individual critics, perhaps, the time is ripe for a “Nation Survival Conference” where everyone could share thoughts on, ideas, and solutions to the country’s problems.

Soyinka said: “I am notoriously no fan of Olusegun Obasanjo, General, twice former president and co-architect with other past leaders of the crumbling edifice that is still generously called Nigeria. I have no reason to change my stance on his record.

“Nonetheless, I embrace the responsibility of calling attention to any accurate reading of this nation from whatever source, as a contraption teetering on the very edge of total collapse.

“We are close to extinction as viable comity of peoples, supposedly bound together under an equitable set of protocols of co-habitation, capable of producing its own means of existence, and devoid of a culture of sectarian privilege and will to dominate.

“The nation is divided as never before, and this ripping division has taken place under the policies and conduct of none other than President Buhari – does that claim belong in the realms of speculation?”

According to Soyinka, inequity reigns in the country, and solutions to the nation’s problems are being trivialized by the Buhari administration.

He said: “Again and again voices are raised to urge the dismantling of a crude, militarised centralist contraption – repeatedly exposed in illegalities — and substitute a more efficient governance system, decentralized, providing broader access to opportunities.

“All such efforts are turned into opportunities for legislative junketing and budget padding. Legislators watch with indifference in this day of human advance, as individuals are sentenced to hang for expressing their views on the relative apprehension of religious avatars, not a squeak emerge from such lawgivers.

“Pedophiles and cross-border sex traffickers are honoured in the act, granted immunity on cooked-up alibis of religion. Is this nation a theocracy?

“Nigeria is a suppurating slaughter slab, and it boggles the mind that supposedly wise and lettered men, sheltering under any religious mandate, would go into a solemn huddle to ‘legitimately’ augment the toll of mindless killings that now plague the land.

“Presumably, the ongoing ‘national security’ persecution of Obadiah Mailafia is a sign of national unity? I invite our marionettes to read deeply into history. Oh, excuse me, history has been banned from learning structures, so look not for history books! However, straightforward, first-hand testimonies abound, exposing structural flaws, deceits, and conspiracies against this presumptive national edifice.”

BIG STORY

Dangote, Adenuga, Rabiu Make Africa’s Top 10 Billionaires’ List

Avatar

Published

on

Aliko Dangote of Nigeria is Africa’s richest person and has maintained this position for straight 10 years, according to the 2021 Forbes’ Africa Billionaires List released on Friday.

Also, Mike Adenuga of Globacom, and Abdulsamad Rabiu of BUA Group, both Nigerians, made it to the list as the 5th and 6th richest persons in Africa respectively.

Forbes stated that in Africa, as elsewhere in the world, the wealthiest came through the pandemic just fine.

It stated that the continent’s 18 billionaires were worth an average of $4.1bn, 12 percent more than a year ago, driven in part by Nigeria’s surging stock market.

“For the tenth year in a row, Aliko Dangote of Nigeria is the continent’s richest person, worth $12.1bn, up by $2bn from last year’s list, thanks to a roughly 30 percent rise in the share price of Dangote Cement, by far his most valuable asset,” Forbes stated in its report.

The list named the second richest person in Africa as Nassef Sawiris of Egypt, whose largest asset was a nearly six percent stake in sportswear maker Adidas.

At number three was Nicky Oppenheimer of South Africa, who inherited a stake in diamond firm DeBeers and ran the company until 2012, when he sold his family’s 40 percent stake in DeBeers to mining giant AngloAmerican for $5.1bn.

It said the biggest gainer this year was another Nigerian cement tycoon, Rabiu.

“Remarkably, shares of his BUA Cement Plc, which listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange in January 2020, have doubled in value in the past year,” the report stated.

That pushed Rabiu’s fortune up by an extraordinary 77 percent, to $5.5bn, adding that Rabiu and his son together own about 97 percent of the company, giving the company a tiny public float.

It stated Nigerian Stock Exchange required that either 20 percent or more of a company’s shares should be floated to the public, or that the floated shares were worth at least N20bn, about $50m, describing it as a paltry sum, to be sure.

“A spokesman for the Nigerian Stock Exchange told Forbes that BUA Cement meets the second requirement,” the report stated.

It added that while some got richer by the billions, two from the 2020 list of Africa’s richest dropped below the $1bn mark.

In fact, the only two women billionaires from Africa had both fallen off the list.

Forbes calculated that the fortune of Folorunsho Alakija of Nigeria, who owns an oil exploration company, dropped below $1bn due to lower oil prices.

It said Isabel dos Santos, who since 2013 had been the richest woman in Africa, was knocked from her perch by a series of court decisions freezing her assets in both Angola and Portugal.

It stated that the 18 billionaires from Africa hailed from seven different countries.

South Africa and Egypt each had five billionaires, followed by Nigeria with three and Morocco with two.

Altogether they were worth $73.8bn, slightly more than the $73.4bn aggregates worth of the 20 billionaires on last year’s list of Africa’s richest people.

 

Continue Reading

BIG STORY

No Confirmation Yet On When Pfizer Vaccine Will Arrive Nigeria—– Health Agency

Avatar

Published

on

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency says there is no definite date for when the 100,000 doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines will arrive in Nigeria.

The NPHCDA, however, said the vaccines would most likely arrive in February, adding that government officials, vulnerable persons, and health workers would be the first to get them

The Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, said this during an interview with Bloomberg published on Thursday

The Federal Government had in December stated that the vaccines would arrive by the end of January.

Last week, however, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 shifted the date to February but did not give the specific date.

However, speaking to Bloomberg, Faisal said Nigeria was waiting for confirmation from COVAX which is an initiative backed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organisation, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

On when the vaccines would arrive, he said, “We are waiting for final confirmation from COVAX on when the first doses will arrive,” adding that the “most recent indication is they are expected in February.”

The WHO had last week warned again a “me first attitude” in the distribution of vaccines.

It remains unclear why government officials some of whom have no pre-existing conditions, are being placed on the priority list.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control says it supports the Federal Government’s decision to reopen schools for the second term of the 2020/2021 academic session because the benefits of having children in school outweigh the risks of transmission of COVID-19.

The Director-General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, gave the reasons at the Virtual Plenary Session and Annual General Meeting of the Paediatric Association of Nigeria in Lagos on Friday.

The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the theme of the event was, ‘Child survival in Nigeria amid COVID-19 pandemic: Issues, challenges, and way forward’.

He noted that the current data and statistics for the welfare of children in Nigeria was sad and troubling and that having them stay out of school would further aggravate the situation by denying them what they require to have healthy and productive lives.

The director-general said Nigeria had the highest number of out-of-school children; nearly 31 million children under the age of five and about half of the population under the age of 15.

He added that 10.5 million children were currently out of school and the closure of schools may result in 10 million being out of school forever.

He added, “You can see why some decisions around school reopening are so difficult to make by the government; how do you balance the need to control this pandemic versus the other requirements children need to live healthy and productive?

“This pandemic is threatening efforts to prevent major causes of child morbidity and mortality, and threatening the small gains we have made over many years in a very difficult context that is ours.

“If things get out of hand, we may and we will consider this condition but we all understand that the lockdown had a huge impact on children.”

Earlier, the NCDC boss said the worst outcome of the virus had spared children because its manifestation in them was less severe, often asymptomatic, and often not clinically significant to visit the hospitals.

“Just 10 percent of our cases have been confirmed in children and one percent deaths. The few deaths that occurred in children were likely to have happened to them through morbidity that led to deficits in coping with the virus,” he said.

Ihekweazu called for collaboration among governments, schools, and parents to effectively protect children from contracting the virus.

Continue Reading

BIG STORY

Despite Paying High Taxes, Nigerians Still Provide Water, Electricity For Themselves —– Akinwumi Adesina

Gbemileke Ajayi

Published

on

Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), has condemned a situation where Nigerians do not enjoy basic infrastructure that should be provided by the government despite paying taxes.

Speaking at the ‘First National Tax Dialogue’ organized by the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Adesina said Nigerians are among the top implicit taxpayers in the world. Implicit taxes are levies that are borne but are neither seen nor recorded.

He said residents provide their own electricity, road, security, water, among others, adding that the government must rise to its duty rather than allowing citizens to bear such burdens.

“We must also distinguish between nominal taxes and implicit taxes — Taxes that are borne but are not seen nor recorded. Truth be told, Nigerians pay one of the highest implicit tax rates in the world — way higher than developed countries,” he said.

“Think of it: they provide electricity for themselves via generators; they repair roads to their neighborhoods if they can afford to; there are no social security systems; they provide security for their own safety, and they provide boreholes for drinking water with their own monies. That is incredulous in itself. Boreholes are not the way to provide water in the 21st century. Every household should have pipe-borne water!

“Take for example that 86% of small and medium-sized enterprises in Nigeria spend $14 billion annually on diesel for generators. Nigeria’s companies lose on average 10% of sales because they do not have access to reliable and affordable electricity.

“Governments, over time, have simply transferred their responsibility to citizens. When governments or institutions fail to provide basic services, the people bear the burden — a heavy implicit tax on the population.”

He said Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth declined in 2020 by 2.1 percent, the worst in two decades, while the cumulative loss to Africa’s GDP is estimated at $173-236 billion for 2020 and 2021, respectively.

“The (Nigeria) economy shrunk by 3% in 2020 on account of falling oil prices and effects of the lockdowns on economic activity. The pandemic has impacted on budgetary balances and increased debt burdens,” he said.

“Nigeria’s Debt-to-GDP ratio will push debt service payments beyond more than 60% of federally collected revenues. With shrinkage in oil revenues, debt service payments pose the greatest risk to Nigeria.

“To put a human face on the pandemic effects, we estimate that 28-40 million people in Africa are projected to fall into extreme poverty, and 30 million jobs would be lost due to the pandemic.

“We project that Nigeria’s economy is poised to recover to the growth of 1.5% in 2021 and 2.9% in 2022, according to the African Development Bank’s soon to be released African Economic Outlook.”

Adesina said building back will require a lot more resources, adding that taxes form a significant part of government revenue.

He urged the federal government to focus on corporate taxes and ensure full compliance.

The AfDB president added that small and medium enterprises should be supported through tax exemptions or tax deferments.

“It is crucial to ensure that the tax base expands. Given that over 60% of Nigerians are in the informal sector, priority should be to support measures to move a large part of this from informal to formal sectors,” he said.

“The Government should focus a lot on corporate taxes, and ensure full compliance. But it is important to ensure that such taxes do not discourage investments.

“Profit shifting, base erosion, and tax avoidance by multinational corporations form a huge part of “Africa’s missing taxes”; and account for a large share of the over $60 billion illicit capital flows that Africa loses annually.

“If a company works in Nigeria, benefits from Nigeria, it should pay taxes in Nigeria. Small and medium-sized enterprises should be further encouraged and supported, as they are the lifelines of earnings and the creators of jobs. Tax exemptions or tax deferments can be used to support their growth.”

Continue Reading

Most Popular