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Arabinrin Aderonke: A strong force to be reckoned with in the Presidential Transition Council

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Arabirin and Asiwaju

The Executive Director of FAME Foundation and award-winning journalist, Aderonke Ogunleye-Bello has been appointed as the Representative of the President-elect on Media and Publicity Sub-committee of the Transition Presidential Council.

She remains one of the patriotic and unapologetic fans of President-Elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Shortly after the former Lagos State governor was announced as the winner of the 2023 Presidential polls by INEC, the energetic activist wrote on her Twitter @aderonkew wall: “Tinubu will not give you assignments and sit down to watch. Tinubu is Mourinho, Klopp, and Guardiola in one person. He is a technician, tactician, strategist, and serial winner. He is reliable and will deliver the trophy of success and good governance. Congratulations, Nigerians……”

Despite being a journalist of repute, gender rights advocate, and sports development enthusiast, she took the responsibility of tackling fake news attempting to discredit the president-elect.

She could be described as one of the most versatile APC social media influencers with an interest in ensuring renewed hope in the country. Her Twitter page is a weapon of response to wailers, especially the ‘Obidients’ who are purveyors of fake news.

Recently, Aderonke confidently affirmed that the President-Elect will select at least 35% of women into leadership positions in the country following the number of women listed in the transition committee.

This followed Tinubu’s announcement of the Executive Director of Nigeria Export-Import Bank, Stella Okotete; APC National Women Leader, Dr. Betta Edu; and Zainab Marwa-Abubakar, daughter of the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (retd.), in the Transition Committee ahead of the May 29 inauguration.

Aderonke is a fighter and could be described as a strong woman in the midst of millions of active men. A multi-tasking woman of many parts with rare managerial skills and an unquenchable knack for success. Also, a regular facilitator of women’s empowerment across the country.

Her appointment as one of the sub-committee members of the Presidential Councils defines her level of capacity in handling issues.

Her responsibility on social media in addressing facts shows her class of Renewed Hope.

Arabirin Aderonke occupied the space of media when she boastfully declared her undying passion for the President-elect who is taking the oaths of office in a few days.

A fluently spoken Aderonke said: “I’m a woman and one of the reasons I stand for Asiwaju is because of his position for women. I support anybody that stands for women to get the necessary support, the needed freedom, empowerment, and mentorship. I can say to you that I am impressed and convinced that Asiwaju will take women along in his government,” she declared.

This declaration and support has taken Arabirin Aderonke a step further in becoming one of the true face, bold and vibrant women in the Presidential Transition Council.

Opinion

Understanding The Tinubu Tax Reforms

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A recent investigation has revealed that President Bola Tinubu’s minister, Geoffrey Nnaji, possesses a fraudulent national service

It is slightly more than one year into the President Bola Tinubu administration and like many other countries across the world, Nigeria is going through a cost of living crisis.

This has for some time led to hues and cries over some of the reforms introduced by the administration, chief among which are the fuel subsidy removal and the unification of multiple exchange rates.

But one issue that many Nigerians especially those in the opposition have not stopped talking about and are literally shouting to the rooftop over, is that of taxation especially against the President’s vow to improve on the country’s tax revenue.

It is almost normal to see social media posts suggesting that President Tinubu had since assuming office been introducing new taxes or increasing existing ones.

Opposition politicians are also known to have jumped into the fray with claims of multiple taxations which are largely political and untrue.

There is however history to these untrue claims and this has to do with how as governor of Lagos State between 1999 and 2007, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu caused a quantum leap in the state’s Internal Generated Revenue (IGR).

President Tinubu had variously said he inherited a miserly IGR of N600m when he assumed office in 1999 and snippets from Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) data have shown that the state’s IGR in the same year was N14.6bn.

By the time Tinubu was leaving office in 2007, the figure had risen to N83.02bn with a monthly average of N6.9bn. So technically between 1999 and 2007, the state’s IGR growth rate stood at 468.63 percent, showing a considerable increase when his successor, Babatunde Fashola was assuming office.

Between then and now, there have been a lot of write ups on how the then Governor Tinubu leveraged on technology to re-engineer the tax collection system and also reformed financial structure to make it happen.

Subsequent administrations in the state have since been building on that template and today, Lagos has an IGR that can easily compete and is indeed competing favourably with that of many African countries

But President Tinubu has constantly been called names for that feat by those who have no understanding of the length he went to broaden the tax net in Lagos as well as modernize tax collection in the state.

And when, soon after assuming office, he pledged to improve on tax collection at the centre and build on the reforms of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, it did not come as a surprise that many uninformed Nigerians, mainly in the opposition, latched on a poorly edited ten seconds footage from the 2019 Bola Tinubu Colloquium to spread false narratives about his intentions.

Shockingly, even a Professor of Mass communications in an American University, Farooq Kperogi, who prides himself as a thorough individual was one of those who fell for that gimmick but luckily, fact checking agencies have conveniently proved him and other naysayers wrong.

Now to understand the sort of tax regime the President has in mind, it would be necessary to follow the trend of the work being done by the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms led by a renowned Tax expert, Taiwo Oyedele since it was constituted in 2023 with a one year timeline to conclude its task.

Clearly President Tinubu has no intention to toe the path of his brother President, William Ruto of Kenya who initiated a finance bill that nearly tore the East African country apart before it was withdrawn.

Rather than increase taxes or introduce additional ones, President Tinubu and his team, from the Oyedele-led committee to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), have been systemic in demolishing tax barriers affecting business growth even as they set their gaze on a higher tax collection level.

In one of his public engagements, Oyedele said: “We propose to repeal many of these burdensome taxes, harmonize the few that are justifiable, and digitize the collection process with multiple channels including USSD to drive efficiency, reduce leakages, and promote accountability.

It is a huge task considering that the Tinubu administration is eyeing a tax to GDP ratio of 18% by 2026 up from the current abysmal level of 10.86%

But in the midst of this, the Committee has identified 60 official taxes and 200 unofficial ones across the country which the government plans to shrink to 9 in line with the Presidential directive for a single digit tax system.

As part of the ongoing fiscal policy and tax reforms, a new withholding tax regime has also been approved which will amongst others exempt small businesses with an annual turnover of N25m or less from paying withholding tax.

The new policy has since taken effect from July 1 2024 and according to the man overseeing the tax reforms, manufacturers and farmers would be exempted while businesses operating on low margins, would benefit from reduced withholding tax rates.

There are however indications that the new withholding policy which replaces the one that had been in place since 1977 is one of five draft Executive Orders on tax matters that President Tinubu is rolling out.

And now that the committee is set to wrap up, a Finance bill would be sent to the National Assembly in due course to codify a new tax regime for the country that is almost certain to take effect from January 1 2025.

Interestingly, those who have over the years flew the kite of Tinubu the tax master are silent about the creative tax initiatives while others are still not letting go of false narratives but any unbiased observer of the polity can easily see that the President is proving naysayers wrong by taking steps to reduce multiple taxes.

And if what the President has been doing in recent times on the issue of tax is anything to go by, it is safe to say that he will go down in history as a tax reformer by the time he completes his tenure in office.

Source: Independent.ng

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Opinion

Crude Oil Theft: Why govt can’t stop Lagos, Abuja cartel — PANDEF, N-Delta leaders, activists

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LEADERS and activists in the South-South region said the massive networks of the “big players”, who steal the nation’s crude oil in politics

LEADERS and activists in the South-South region said the massive networks of the “big players”, who steal the nation’s crude oil in politics, and the oil industry have made the government, which lacked political will, powerless in halting their activities over the years.

The stakeholders, speaking to Saturday Vanguard, on the backdrop of the recent claim by the former governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Seriake Dickson, that the “big players” behind crude oil theft reside in Abuja, Lagos, and other world cities, alleged that these big oil thieves enjoy protection from the government.

They interrogated the ill-starred partnership between the government and International Oil Companies, IOCs, stating that the cloudy arrangement constrains proper metering of the oil fields and crude oil exports.

Big oil thieves in govt, NNPCL, not N’Delta – PANDEF
The Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, which is the mouthpiece of the traditional rulers, leaders, and people of the Niger Delta said the government has been unable to win the war against oil theft because those involved were part of the government. The spokesman of PANDEF, Hon. Ken Robinson said: “This is the position that PANDEF has repeated severally. We have re-echoed it that highly placed Nigerians, elements in the military, and officials in the oil industry in collaboration with international syndicates were perpetrating the oil theft in the Niger Delta. What is involved in the process of crude oil theft is demanding for the ordinary Niger Delta people. What our young people do in terms of these local refining of crude is bucket thief.

They are bucket thieves. It is insignificant compared with what these people, who do not want Nigeria to prosper, and the Niger Delta people to benefit from their God- given resources, take out of the country. There are international connections with people highly- placed in this country. The former governor of Bayelsa State is right when he said these people reside in Lagos, Abuja and other world capitals. They also live in other parts of Northern, Southern and Eastern Nigeria and across the country. They are not people of Niger Delta.

They have reduced the Niger Delta to a state of struggle. Niger Delta people are struggling for survival while billions of dollars are being stolen from their land. Their environment is being devastated and our young people are resorting to criminality, which ordinarily is not part of us. It is the level of people involved that has made it difficult for the government to stop it.

For instance, there are interests in the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL). The oil theft is not just about those who siphon, there is also official theft. There is even under declaration of what is taken out of the country, because as we speak, with the level of technology, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should be in his office and have a system before him, indicating the amount of crude produced daily. He does not need someone in the NNPCL towers to tell him the daily produce. He should be seeing it. If it is loaded, there should be a tracking system. Those things are not being employed because even officials are under declaring what they make. Individuals make billions of dollars out of Niger Delta oil.”

Govt should question security agencies- Obiuwevbi, ex-DESOPADEC board member
A former commissioner on the board of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, Chief Ominimini Obiuwevbi, said: “There is nowhere in Nigeria that is not being policed. In the upland, we have the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Police Force and the Nigerian Security Civil Defence Corps. In the coastal areas, we have the marine police, navy and army.

If there is oil theft, government should ask those in charge of policing the various areas. Oil cannot be stolen and taken away without passing through routes such as waterways and roads, so the government should look inwards and ask the appropriate authorities to do their job. Those stealing oil are not locals; locals cannot market crude oil. The multinationals buy crude oil and locals do not have contact with them.”

According to renowned environmental activist and executive director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Dr Nnimmo Bassey, “It has always been known that oil is stolen in the Niger Delta at industrial scale, and that is possible because the thieves have deep connections in the industry, politics and enjoy levels of protection.

We recently heard of an oil company’s contractor implicated in oil theft and illegal refining. That was just a confirmation of what is common suspicion. Oil is stolen and exported through sea-going vessels. How do those ships enter and exit Nigerian waters? It has been impossible to stop the pillage because of the intricate power web of players in the criminal rings.

“Moreover, the regulatory environment is conflicted due to the joint venture arrangements where the government and the polluters are in partnership. That partnership could contribute to the lax security in the system. What do we mean by this? The partnership enthroned the oil companies as the operators, and they determined how much crude was extracted and exported. The opaque system disallows adequate metering of the oil fields and promotes deviant behavior from diverse actors. On the other hand, the government, which is the regulator, is interested only in oil rents, not the people or the environment.”

Way out
“The solution includes rejecting the usual claims of sabotage, which allows the oil companies to be less proactive in securing their facilities or accounting for their ecological misbehavior. Secondly, there should be a focus on remediating the highly damaged environment and decommissioning abandoned oil wells, including the first oil wells drilled in the 1950s. Thirdly, there has to be a halt to opening up new oil fields as that expands the scope of oil theft. Finally, there must be a way to track oil that moves from Nigeria into the international markets. That way, the volumes of illegally shipped oil would be detected and the criminals would be apprehended and adequately sanctioned.”

Officials colluding with oil thieves – Okaba, INC president
Responding to why it was difficult for the government to prosecute the seeming oil gang sabotaging the nation’s national economy through existential oil theft, the President of Ijaw National Congress, INC, Professor Benjamin Okaba said, “The simple reason is that the leaders are benefiting from the big boys behind oil theft.

Besides the ineptitude of the government, corruption is systemic in Nigeria. It is endemic. The big boys are known by the government but they cannot be prosecuted. The leadership may be a beneficiary of these big boys in one way or the other. Who knows what role they play during elections, and this appears to be a way of compensating them.

The Bible says that the kingdom of darkness cannot fight itself. The government must take responsibility. And in taking responsibility, the president must go after whoever is behind oil theft in the Niger Delta. Taking responsibility means dealing with whoever is sabotaging the nation’s economy through oil theft without caring whose ox is gored. The Nigerian government must take priority over personal interest. Taking such a decision, the president must be able to sacrifice personal interest over national interest”.

Professor Okaba said he was shocked when the federal government urged Nigerians to make more sacrifices in the face of the present economic predicament, wondering, “What more sacrifice does this government want? How can a government that is spending billions to renovate a vice president’s house, planning billions to buy another presidential jet, and more billions to buy exotic cars for lawmakers, ask Nigerians to make more sacrifices? The INC president wondered why those big boys, arrested or fingered in the past for oil theft were not prosecuted. He urged the federal government to tender unreserved apologies to the Ijaw youths, who have been “erroneously” accused of being involved in oil theft.

“Oil theft is a big commercial business that involves billions of naira to buy vessels and barges. How can the poor village boys afford the money to get involved in such a capital-intensive business? We have called for apologies to the youths of the Ijaw ethnic extraction of the Niger Delta region. The accusation is misplaced. Go after the big boys and apologize to the Ijaw youths. That has been our call over the years”, he added.

The government lacks the political will to act (Nwoko, ex-A-Ibom A.G
A former Attorney-General of Akwa Ibom State, Uwemedimo Nwoko, SAN, who accused the government of not having the political will to address oil theft, said the government would remain eternally blind to the issue because of interests and big people involved in the business. He told Saturday Vanguard at Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom State that: “If the government decides today to stop crude oil theft, it will not continue.

Therefore, it requires political will, it requires strength of character on the part of the leadership of the government of Nigeria. Unfortunately, the government lacks the political will to do it, so we live with it. The issue of crude oil theft in Nigeria is a big business, and big people are involved.

The truth is that the government will remain blind forever because of the interests involved. The problem with Nigeria is that the government of Nigeria has developed the character over the years of seeing only what they wanted to see, and not being able to see what they do not want to see. So, what the distinguished Senator Seriake Dickson said is very true.

“It will be difficult to imagine that the Niger Delta youths are the ones behind the theft of oil with 30,000-ton vessels that come in from outside Africa. The vessels stand in the high sea, the same sea as the Nigerian Navy. The Customs and DSS intelligence teams are watching, and the Army Amphibious Battalions and Brigades are watching. With all these government agencies and apparatus watching over the sea, can some 30,000–40,000-size vessels come in, carry oil, and leave, and they cannot see it?

“And if you call the Army now that their men are involved, they will say, ‘No, do not mention us, it cannot be.’ If you call the Navy and the DSS, they will say the same thing. But what are the gate watchers doing? How come they cannot easily identify those who are behind oil theft?

Sen Dickson playing to the gallery —Wills, lawyer
Legal practitioner and Co-Convener, Embassara Foundation, an Ijaw think-tank for good governance, Iniuro Wills, asserted: “Seriake Dickson has been in high echelons of the government for almost 20 years. He was a former attorney-general of Bayelsa State, then Member of the House of Representatives. Afterward, he was governor of Bayelsa State for eight years and has been a senator for four years.

If he cannot name names or could not apply the various official powers he has been vested with the power to combat the grand economic and environmental crime of oil theft, there is no need to play to the gallery over such a serious matter that has not only damaged the national economy, but has also joined to destroy the environment of Niger Delta communities and threatened in advance, the lives of entire generations still coming. Our privileged political class should get serious and stop playing games with our people’s lives”.

The government is hypocritical – Ekerefe, an ex-IYC spokesperson
Ex-spokesman of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide and national leader, Niger Delta Advocacy Group-New Era Movement, Ebilade Ekerefe, said: “It is no longer news that crude oil theft in commercial quantity is carried out by a network of organized international syndicate, in cohort with corrupt government officials, and security chiefs in the country.

This is an established fact that cannot be challenged. However, rather than go after this criminal network, the government is only diverting the attention of the public by accusing Niger Delta indigenes of economic sabotage.

To justify this claim, they kill and maim our people. They destroy our environment and ecosystems and ransack our communities in the guise of looking for oil thieves and suppressing our voice when the real thieves live in opulence in Abuja, Lagos, and other parts of the world. The government is not sincere about the war against crude oil theft. All the alleged apprehended culprits by the Tantita security outfit have not been prosecuted and found guilty.

This is so because those arrested in these vessels are mostly forerunners of syndicates, who milk our nation’s oil resources dry. It is a sad commentary, I must say. Therefore, seeing a state leader like Sen. Henry Seriake Dickson re-echo crude oil theft as carried out by “big players” is a vindication of my earlier position that the military, NNPCL, and multinational oil majors are all involved in this larceny of monumental proportions.”

A whole web of complications (Ovo, Warri resident)
A resident of Warri in Delta State, Mr Philip Ovo, however, declared, “To exonerate any ethnic group from illegal bunkering activities in the Niger Delta to me is out of place. Some security operatives, locals and influential Nigerians are in it.

The Senator has talked about branding stolen crude oil at the international market as a solution, there is nothing wrong with trying it. The government should be more assertive and enforce the law on anyone caught in illicit oil bunkering. It is not enough to destroy vessels arrested for stolen crude; there should also be thorough prosecution of those arrested.

Vessel owners could deny knowing that they were used for illegal bunkering activities. It is a whole web of complications. The whole thing rests with the government. If the government is decisive against illegal bunkering, it will stop.

I recall that the government of former Head of State General Sanni Abacha worked very hard on illegal bunkering operations. And his crusade recorded much success. President Bola Tinubu can use his approach as a guide.

No determination to go after the real oil thieves—Justus, UNICAL don
A University of Calabar professor, Eke Justus, told Saturday Vanguard, “The issue of oil theft is a long-standing one in our political history and economic narrative. The real oil thieves, like Dickson stated, which is not a revelation but a known issue, are the big fish in Abuja. Lagos and somewhere outside this country.

First, procuring the equipment and acquiring ships to siphon or drill oil are not carried out by the man-on-the-street but a mega-buck business by the so-called big men. We have heard stories of high-ranking military officers’ involvement, businessmen and top politicians colluding with foreigners to cart away millions of barrels of oil.

The government knows these people, but most times, political intricacies stop them from acting. Until there is the will to go after the real oil thieves, the situation will remain the same. As for culprits caught in the past, you can recall when they directed that any ship arrested with illegal oil should be set on fire. What happened when one of those ships was set on fire, hell was let loose.

Please, these issues are not hidden; it is a constant decimal and if nothing drastic is done by arresting the real perpetrators, the situation will go on.”

Source: Vanguard

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Opinion

How student loan will work, by NELFUND

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How student loan will work, by NELFUND

The Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) has erased doubts about how the Student Loan Scheme would work following the review of the Loan Act by the National Assembly. The agency also cleared the air concerning claims that the loan is for children of the elite. DAMOLA KOLA-DARE reports.

The Tinubu Administration brought smiles to the faces of students with the introduction of the Student Loan Scheme, which would ensure access to quality education for all. When the announcement was made, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) stated that it was a veritable platform to curb and reduce dropout rates in universities and other tertiary institutions.

The President on April 3, signed the Student Loans (Access to Higher Education) Act (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill, 2024, into law.

The assent was sequel to the separate considerations by both the Senate and the House of Representatives of the report of the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund.

The Act empowers the Nigeria Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) to provide loans to qualified Nigerian students for tuition fees, charges and upkeep during their studies in approved public tertiary institutions and vocational and skills acquisition establishments in the country.

The revised Student Loan Act 2024 was created to remove financial barriers and make education more accessible to students, regardless of their economic background.

The primary sources of funding for NELFUND include a percentage of taxes, levies and duties collected by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Immigration Service and Nigerian Customs Service, amounting to one per cent of their total revenues.

The fund will also receive contributions from the profits generated by the government’s natural resource exploitation, education bonds, endowment fund schemes and donations from individuals and organisations.

The loans cover tuition, fees, and maintenance costs, while repayment process starts two years after the beneficiary completes the NYSC programme and also dependent on if he or she secures paid employment.

The agency noted that over 90 per cent of federal institutions had also collaborated with the fund.

The registration for the programme commenced in May with 1.2 million students in federal tertiary institutions nationwide starting the first batch.

‘Loan not for children of elite, repayment dependent on employment’
In a telephone chat with The Nation, Nasir Ayitogo dismissed claims that the loan scheme is for children of the elite. He said the reviewed Act had taken out all encumbrances. He said disbursement will be according to the new session of each institution.

The NELFUND spokesperson said latest figures on registration will be made public in due course.

“The loan is open to all students across the country. Once they have their UTME registration number, NIN, BVN, they are good to go. Once they fulfill all the requirements, they are qualified. Your data needs to be sent by your school for verification. Then, NELFUND will credit the institution for the ‘institutional fee’, while the upkeep stipend will be sent to the student account.

“After two years, if a beneficiary does not have a job, or source of income, he or she is not obliged to pay. However, as soon as the beneficiary starts working, he can pay. The organisation where such beneficiary is working will have to remit 10 per cent of the employees’ earnings to a dedicated account provided by the agency,” he said.

‘Approval of immediate disbursement underscores President’s dedication’
NELFUND at its inaugural board meeting last month (June 26), under the leadership of Mr. Jim Ovia, approved immediate disbursement of loans to successful applicants, marking a milestone in its mission to support students with financial aid.

Also present at the meeting were the management of the fund led by the Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Akintunde Sawyerr and representatives of member organisations.

The fund will soon pay out N35 billion in fees and monthly upkeep allowances to 70,000 applicants who are already successful in their loan applications.

The successful applicants were drawn from the pool of 120,000 applicants who sent in their applications as of Friday, June 21.

The successful candidates have been advised to check their dashboards on the agency’s portal to know the status of their applications.

According to multiple sources within the agency, the various applicants will have their fees charged by their institutions paid directly into the institutions’ bank accounts.

State universities not left out
Students of federal institutions were the only ones initially billed to benefit from the loan scheme. After the portal was launched on May 24, the Federal Government announced that state-owned universities would also benefit with their registration to commence later.

In line with its mandate to ensure access to higher education, Sawyerr noted that the fund will begin accepting applications from students attending state-owned tertiary institutions starting from late last month. He said the date was tentative as it depended on the timely submission of student data by the institutions.

“We request all state institutions to submit their student data immediately to facilitate a smooth and seamless application process,” he added.

While it was expected for state-owned institutions to commence application on June 25, it was put on hold by the management of NELFUND for the next 14 days.

A statement by Ayitogo noted that the postponement was necessary due to the failure of several state-owned institutions to upload the required student data and fee information to the NELFUND Student Verification System (SVS).

According to him, only a limited number of state-owned institutions have successfully completed the data submission process since inception.

“The Management of NELFUND hereby announces a 14-day postponement of the application process for student loans for state institutions due to low data submissions.

“This decision was necessitated by the failure of several state-owned institutions to upload the required student data and fees information to the NELFUND Student Verification System (SVS).

“To date, only a limited number of state owned institutions have successfully completed the data submission process. These include 20 state universities out of 48, 12 state colleges out of 54 and two state polytechnics out of 49,” the statement said.

NELFUND noted that the extension will provide additional time for state institutions to comply with the data submission requirements, adding that incomplete or incorrect data submission would lead to outright disqualification.

Ayitogo explained that submitting incomplete or incorrect data will cause delay in application processing and may result in the disqualification of affected students.

“This extension will provide additional time for state institutions to comply with the data submission requirements and ensure their students can benefit from the Federal Government student loan scheme.

“This includes JAMB numbers, matriculation numbers, admission numbers, full names, level, faculties, departments, duration of programme, fees and gender of all eligible students.

“Incomplete or incorrect data submissions will result in application delays and potential disqualification for affected students,” the spokesperson said.

‘NELFUND out of bounds to corruption’
Sawyerr in an interactive session with journalists in Lagos said the fund will not be mismanaged. He stressed that it is for indigent children, who need unfettered access to education. He said NELFUND will be accountable as every penny goes of the fund will be channelled into the education of the underprivileged.

The NELFUND boss, who called for the support of stakeholders, noted that it was imperative to be transparent, adding that everyone should ensure the programme works.

He said: “This is a life-changing opportunity in the country.This money is coming from taxes. It is a redistribution of wealth to empower. One percent of taxes is used to fund education.

“This loan programme is the most important programme in the country today. NELFUND is out of bounds to corruption. It is for children, it is not open to pilfering or theft.

“We have come here to report ourselves to make ourselves accountable to Nigeria, to ensure the money is judiciously used. And NELFUND will make it happen. It is important we hold ourselves accountable in this country.

“Every penny of the money should go into the education of the underprivileged. I am against people stealing from children. We want eyes on it now; that’s why we are engaging civil society organisations. We should make it work for the sake of disadvantaged children out there.”

Students seek creation of jobs to ease repayment
Students, parents and other stakeholders hailed the Federal Government for its commitment to making education accessible for all.

The National Association of Nigerian Students(NANS), the National Association of University Students (NAUS), students in universities across the country and parent body, National Parent Teacher Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN) said the loan scheme was an avenue to create a great future for students.

NANS Senate President Akinteye Babatunde Afeez praised the Federal Government for the initiative and urged students to take the opportunity to ease their current educational expenses to pave the way for future financial stability. He told them to recognise the programme as a valuable tool to facilitate their educational aspirations, and not to misuse or mismanage it.

The National Association of University Students (NAUS), in a statement by its National Security Director, Ayobami Eruobami, hailed government for “a significant milestone” in its government’s commitment to making education accessible for all Nigerian students.

Also, Deputy National President of the National Parent Teacher Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN), Chief Adeolu Ogunbanjo, expressed delight about the initiative, noting that the good thing about it is the student upkeep stipend.

“It is a nice idea and a good one from government. Access should be simplified as best as possible,” he added.

Speaking on how to make it work for students, Abdulkareem Jamiu, a student at Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto (UDUS), expects a longer duration for repayment. He said some people may not even use the school certificates to secure jobs after graduation, adding that they may venture into business so the government should be patient until the graduates get a source of income. Emmanuel Oluwadola, a 400-Level student of Mass Communication at Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, described the loan scheme as an investment.He urged government to address economic hardship and unemployment to make repayment easy.

Source: The Nation

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Opinion

The Nigeria tax boss with the ‘steeze’

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Steeze is a growing slang in Nigeria known for expressing the personality of a person’s fashion style, aura, and confidence. In the case of

By Arabinrin Aderonke

Steeze is a growing slang in Nigeria known for expressing the personality of a person’s fashion style, aura, and confidence. In the case of Nigeria’s tax boss, Dr. Zacch Adedeji, he exudes all.

The Tax Boss brings a unique blend of charisma, style, and determination to his role as the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). His leadership is marked by a confident and modern approach to transforming Nigeria’s tax administration.

Dr. Adedeji is known for his passion for using technology to improve tax matters. Since taking office, he has achieved remarkable progress in integrating advanced technology into the tax system. His initiatives have streamlined tax processes, enhanced transparency, and made it easier for taxpayers to comply with tax regulations. By leveraging technology, the tax boss has not only improved efficiency within the FIRS but also increased revenue collection, showcasing his commitment to modernizing Nigeria’s tax administration.

He has introduced some interesting tax-related mantras to simplify taxpayer communication. Phrases like “We will tax the fruit, not the seed,” “We will tax prosperity, not poverty,” and “We will tax the profit, not the investment” encapsulates his philosophy of fair and growth-oriented taxation.

These mantras aim to convey that the FIRS’s goal is to support economic prosperity without imposing undue burdens on individuals and businesses. Dr. Adedeji’s clear and relatable messages have helped build trust and understanding among taxpayers in Nigeria.

At the helm of the new FIRS structure, Dr. Adedeji has prioritized people-centricity, effectiveness, efficiency, cohesiveness, data-driven approaches, adaptability, and cutting-edge innovations. He emphasizes that paying taxes is not just an obligation but an investment in a brighter future for all Nigerians. Under his leadership, FIRS is committed to simplifying tax processes and maximizing revenue collection to support national development. His vision is to create a tax administration that is responsive, transparent, and supportive of the nation’s economic growth.

A rare leadership skill that shows empathy towards taxpayers and relevant stakeholders. His words were also, “tax collectors are like gardeners that need to water the flowers to keep it green, flourishing and growing, ” and taxpayers are not criminals but partners in economic progress and prosperity.”

In every aspect of his work, Dr. Zacch Adedeji exemplifies steeze. His confident and stylish approach to leadership transforms Nigeria’s tax system, making it more efficient and fairer.

He is setting new standards in tax administration, ultimately contributing to Nigeria’s economic prosperity.

Arabinrin Aderonke is an Award-Winning investigative journalist, 2016 finalist, CNN African Journalism Award. She currently serves as the Technical Assistant, Broadcast Media at the Federal Inland Revenue Service.

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Opinion

Osimhen: FINIDI GEORGE AND AN ỌMỌ OJÚKÒRỌ́LÁ RÍ

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Osimhen fires back at Finidi’s comments on national team commitment

I am writing under the ASSUMPTION that Coach @FinidiGeorge_FG said he could not be begging @victorosimhen9 to play for Nigeria. ASSUMPTION.

If that were to be the case, then @victorosimhen9’s outburst tells me (me) everything I need to know about his attitude to the appointment of Coach Finidi.

The outburst which has gone viral and created a lot of talking points has seen @victorosimhen9 in PR overdrive. Hungry sports journalists with very limited vocabulary betraying their obvious lack of intelligence lapping up Victor like the puppies they are(I am trying to be nice).

Who is @FinidiGeorge_FG ? Someone whose shoes @victorosimhen9 can never lace, not in this lifetime at least. Victor will need two lifetimes to better Finidi and another two to best him. He is a far cry from the quality Finidi was and will never achieve what Finidi has achieved.

Coach Finidi is considered to be one of Nigeria’s greatest wingers, Finidi was a physically strong and tall player who was known for his deceptively rapid pace, accurate crosses and efficient dribbles. He was also known for his accurate free kicks. Finidi was not only known for his technical abilities, but he also possessed a unique footballing brain and solid dribbling skills. He was not called Finito for nothing. he was an elite Athlete.

Nigeria had always been a country of “almost” (as in the 2006 movie Apocalypto) when it comes to qualifying for the World cup. Until October 8, 1993, in an away match that we needed a win or at worst a draw. Finidi’ s decisive goal in the first half secured our first ever qualification to the world cup. We had a better goal difference than Ivory Coast.

@victorosimhen9 on the other hand had the chance to be decisive against @GhanaBlackstars in what could have been his first world appearance. He instead chose to showboat and lost our closest opportunity of playing at the Qatar hosted world cup.

When another legend who had experience in decision making pointed this out, the lout lashed out at the legend supported by @AsisatOshoala . This Legend had won the @Olympics gold medal for Nigeria in Men’s football. His decisive goal lead a resurgence that saw us make history as a nation in Atlanta ’96. @victorosimhen9 and @AsisatOshoala called him an Àgbàyà Ìsọ́nu a derogatory word used for foolish older members of a society. It was painful but again hungry journalists praised them both.

Finidi would go on to score against Greece at the @FIFAWorldCup . That team is regarded as Nigeria’s Finest till date. He appeared in two @FIFAWorldCup for Nigeria reaching the Round of 16 on each occasion.

Victor has not appeared in any World cup for Nigeria how much less scoring at that stage.

Finidi won the AFCON in ’94, runner up medals in 2000, Third places in 1992 and 2002. A consistency that belies the greatness of Finidi and that team.

Osimhen’s lackluster performance saw us finish 2nd at AFCON 2024 to a team we beat in the group stage. His PR team of hungry journalists praised his “work rate”. His outing was a disaster. He missed more chances than anyone else accounting for 70% of offside calls in our games.

We wait for his first AFCON win.

In club Football Finidi not only won the @eredivisie thrice (1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96), he is a double invincible!

His team won the @eredivisie without losing a single match in the 94/95 season. They also won the @ChampionsLeague same year without losing a single game on their way to the Finals. He was described as “a mercurial foreign talent” alongside @papilokanu and Litmanen. @papilokanu will go on to win another Invincible at @Arsenal making him a triple Invincible. Finidi also won the @UEFA Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup.

Was @victorosimhen9 even conceived then. He was born AFTER Finidi had qualified us to our second consecutive @FIFAWorldCup.

Something Osimhen may do the exact opposite- ensure we do not qualify two times consecutively!

Finidi was the best because he played with the best. The list of the @ChampionsLeague 94/95 final players reads like the who is who in world football. His diagonal pass to @overmarsmarc11 catalyzed a string of moves before 18-year-old substitute @PatrickKluivert , scored the winning goal. A team with Greats like @EdgerDavids , @Frankdeboer_ , @vdsar1970, @cleranceseedorf , @frankrijkaard2 and our own @papilokanu .

Osimhen has a @SerieA winner’s trophy. Not two. How much more three.

@AFCAjax was competing at the top season in season out while Finidi was there so much so that they made it to a second consecutive @ChampionsLeague final losing to the Old lady @juventusfcen under controversial circumstances.

Finidi’s after retirement career is also filled with Highlights. He was Director of International football for @RealBetis . He was our Interim coach when we beat @GhanaBlackstars 2-1 after 18 years of trying to beat the black Stars.

Osimhen lost to the @GhanaBlackstars at Home!! Costing us the World Cup ticket.

Finidi was head coach for @EnyimbaFC . Guess what? He won the 9th title for @EnyimbaFC in @officialABAT Lagos. That was his first title as a coach!

A player with a career to die for and a successful Coach is who that lout is cussing and cursing. Someone Osimhen cannot touch his boots. Hungry Journalists have elevated players with money to the point where the players believe the hype.

Osimhen is a good player in his own right, but even at the peak of his career with social media and all, he has not done enough to enter the hall of fame of the greatest Nigerian Players. Real Heros who fought for the shirt and country. The Odę́gbàmís, the Keshi’s,the Okochas, the Yekinis, the Okechukwus, the Wests, the Lawals, the Rufais, the Amunikes, the Babayaros, the Taiwos,The Martins, the Ògèdèngbés, the Ikpebas, the Nwankwos.

They had issues with the corrupt and toothless @thenff ( then NFA) yes, but they oozed so much class that they’ll never rant like some deranged animal because they heard a rumor. They will never publicly cuss a senior colleague how much more a national coach!

it is preposterous!

I know what Victor’s problem is.

In Yorùbáland where I come from, we call people like him Ọmọ ojúkòrọ́lá rí.

When they somehow (usually by a combination of talent and luck) get some money in their account, the louts in them put on quite a show. His other brother is Portable. Massively talented but fame and fortune is drawing “surprise” eyebrows for them. It can be intoxicating.

To Finidi, please know that thousands of us hold you in very high regards. Your accomplishments cannot be denied. You shined like a million stars. Nothing has diminished you in our eye, nothing can. We appreciate and respect our elders and heroes.

You rank in our hearts second only to the likes of Professor Akínwándé Sóyínká. Your entire ’94 team united a bruised and battered nation reeling from the aftermath of an annulled election.

Pay no heed to this lout. He is very insignificant and just showed the world his background never left him.

I hope the @NGRPresident takes the MON and MFR away from him before he disgraces us any further. His likes do not deserve such national Honour.

@victorosimhen9 Àjànàkú kọjáa, o ni mo rí nkan fírí, táa ba r’erin ká sọ pé a r’erin.

Finidi is not your mate.

 

By: Ayowande Adelemo

 

Osimhen really really fumble 💔

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Opinion

President Tinubu: The Nigeria’s goal-poacher 

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FULL TEXT: President Bola Tinubu’s national broadcast on 2024 Democracy Day

By James Odunsi, Texas, USA

I can beat my chest to say that history will remember the current Nigeria President Bola Tinubu over his tough decisions in ensuring a future of brightness and hope for the youths in the country.

It’s very obvious that Nigerians are hungry and angry with this administration of Tinubu but should we have said Tinubu should have run the government the way others have been patching the economy? In actual fact, what would Tinubu stand to gain in all these policies implementation? Will these policies have advantage on the personal life of the president?

For the record, Tinubu is one of the richest person in Africa either politically or business wise, all these policies can’t in anyway added to his wealth. His level of intelligence made him the president of the most popular black nation in the world. During his election, nobody could have believed that Tinubu would be president until the result was announced. You can call it rigging or fraud, but the official results were announced by the authorities.

All these policies are his election campaign, the same way other political Jagannath making the same promises, but the unfortunate thing is that most Nigerians don’t understand the agenda behind Renewed Hope. Tinubu is not ready to let Nigerians suffer, NO.

For real, there are economy sabotage from different angle, this inflation is 40% fake. These are handwork of political desperados who believed becoming president is a must, and some tiny hole in a circle. Grounding Nigeria economy is a no go area to hit Tinubu, but unfortunately the man has remain a democrat, but as time goes on when he will be pushed to the wall, there would be nemesis.

Finally, this is to remind all the wailers that the City Boy is the ruling guy in Aso Villa, and Nigeria economy is coming back fully and sustainable.

 

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