TOP 10 NEWS MAKING THE ROUNDS IN NIGERIA TODAY WEDNESDAY
1. FG Removes Excise Duty for Telecoms Services
The Federal Government has announced the removal of excise duty for telecom sub-sector of Nigeria’s Digital Economy Industry in line with the recommendations of the Committee it constituted to review the applicability of the duty to the telecom sector which is considered already overburdened with taxation and sundry levies.
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, disclosed this on Tuesday at a press briefing organized to provide updates on the status of the 5 percent excise duty, whose applicability to the telecom sector was objected by the Minister in August 2022, following which President Muhammadu Buhari suspended its application to the telecom sector and set up a Presidential Review Committee on Excise Duty in the Digital Economy Sector.
Pantami, who is the Chairman of the Committee, specifically set up for the purpose of reviewing the proposed excise duty in the telecom sector, said the Committee had carried out its national assignment and accordingly submitted its report to the President, justifying why the sector should be exempted.
The Minister said the Committee’s submissions can be summed up in three arguments put forward to justify why additional burden in form of taxes or any level should not be imposed on the telecom sector to prevent a reversal of the important contribution the sector is making to the growth of the Nigerian economy.
2. Arrest MC Oluomo Before Discussing Reconciliation – Atiku Tackles Tinubu
The Presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has dismissed Bola Tinubu’s call for healing after a violent election as the height of hypocrisy.
Recall that the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, had on Tuesday condemned the violence that marred the governorship and state assembly elections on Saturday, urging those affected to rise above their difference for national interest and unity.
The former Lagos governor condemned the physical and verbal assaults committed against voters during the elections, saying it was unacceptable and antithetical to democratic ethos.
He further noted that the diversity and togetherness, his government engendered in Lagos is what he plans to bring into the national governance so that everyone with the strength in diversity can attain their full potential.
But reacting in a statement Atiku’s Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu commended the United States Government for condemning the violent and ethnically charged election in Lagos State.
Atiku’s aide described Tinubu’s statement as an after-thought and hypocritical garbage.
He said it was curious that Tinubu was talking about reconciliation after his minions attacked Igbo voters in Lagos in order to give his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) advantage during the governorship election.
Shaibu said Tinubu had continued to protect transport hooligans, politicians and even traditional leaders in Lagos who were seen on video threatening non-indigenes.
3. Naira Notes: CBN Governor, Emefiele Insists On Cashless Policy
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele has hinted that Nigerians would have to adapt to the new cashless policy regime.
This he stated on Tuesday during a press briefing in Abuja at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting.
While apologizing for challenges he called isolated cases in the use of the various e-payment platforms, the CBN governor insisted that the cases were being resolved.
Emefiele said the glitches been experienced will soon become a thing of the past.
4. INEC Speaks On Distorting Governorship Election Result In Abia State
The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has debunked the report accusing its Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu of attempting to violate its guidelines and consequently distort the governorship election result in Abia State.
An online news platform (Not World Family Digest), had quoted the Returning Officer as alleging she was being forced to do the wrong thing.
The INEC Returning Officer In Abia State and Pastor in RCCG, Nnenna Oti, further alleged that Mahmood gave her instruction on the result collation, she, however, insisted that the mandate of the people must stand.
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Reacting to the publication, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, in a statement said the only communication sent to the State Returning Officer was the commission’s directive suspending further collation of results.
He noted that the report of Mahmood giving another instruction to the Retuning officer is false and members of the public should disregard it.
5. Soludo Asks Tinubu To Release Nnamdi Kanu, Says Anambra Is APGA
Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra state has, in a congratulatory message to the President-elect, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, called for the release of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
In a press statement issued by his Press Secretary, Christian Aburime, Soludo, while commending Tinubu for his victory at the recently concluded Presidential election in the country, aked the former Lagos State governor to release Kanu immediately after his swearing in, if the Biafra agitator has not been released before then.
According to the former Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Nnamdi Kanu’s presence is needed around the table as an important stakeholder in discussions about healing and sustainable peace in the South East geopolitical zone.
Soludo also congratulated newly elected governors, urging all of them to work together, under the auspices of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), in pursuit of national common good.
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6. Peter Obi Demands Conduct Of Fresh Presidential Election, Ask Tribunal To Cancel Polls
The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the February 25 elections, Peter Obi has demanded fresh conduct of the 2023 presidential election.
This is as Obi requests the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) to cancel the February 25 polls and order the conduct of a new one.
It was learnt that Obi and LP filed their petition early on Tuesday, with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Bola Tinubu, Shettima Kashim (vice president-elect) and their party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) listed as respondents.
The Labour Party flag bearer among other prayers to the court also asked that the tribunal located at the Court of Appeal in Abuja “to determine that all the votes recorded for” Mr Tinubu “in the election are wasted votes, owing to the non-qualification” of the president-elect and Mr Shettima.
He also argued that Tinubu “at the time of the election was not qualified to contest the election.”
The petitioners, represented by a team of lawyers led by Livy Ozoukwu (SAN) want the court to hold that “at the time of the presidential election held on 25 February 2023,” Messrs Tinubu and Shettima “were not qualified to contest the election. “
The petitioners equally want the court to hold that the 2nd respondent (Tinubu) having failed to score one-quarter of the votes cast at the Presidential Election in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, was not entitled to be declared and returned as the winner of the presidential election held on 25 February 2023.
7. Senate To Probe Why President Buhari Didn’t Sign 19 Constitutional Review Bills
The Senate has disclosed that it has set up a committee to probe the reason why President Muhammadu Buhari refused to assent to 19 out of the 35 constitution review bills transmitted to him by the National Assembly.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan on Tuesday made this disclosure when the plenary resumed after the March 18 governorship and state assembly break.
Lawan, who appreciated the president for assenting to the 16 other bills, especially those that bothered around the independence of state legislatures and the judiciary said the committee is to look into why the president did sign the other 19 bills.
The senate president noted that the Upper chamber will engage with the Presidency to understand why the remaining 19 bills were not assented to.
It would be recalled that the president had last week signed into law 16 constitution amendment bills out of the 35 bills transmitted to him by the ninth National Assembly.
8. Tukur Mamu: FG Slams Ten Counts On Ex-Terrorist Negotiator
The Federal Government has charged former terrorist negotiator Tukur Mamu with ten counts, including funding terrorism.
Mr. M.B. Abubakar, the Director of Public Prosecution for the Federation, signed Tukur Mamu’s charges, Naija News gathered on Tuesday.
The office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) on behalf of the FG presented Mamu for arraignment before Judge Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court in Abuja.
Mamu was arrested on September 6, 2022, while en route to Saudi Arabia for the Lesser Hajj and detained at Cairo International Airport before he was brought back to Nigeria.
He was charged with soliciting cash from the train attack victims’ relatives on behalf of Boko Haram militants in various amounts and currencies.
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According to reports, he received $420,000 from the kidnapped victims’ families and another N21,000,000 from several other railway attack victim families. In addition, he is charged with breaking the Terrorism Prevention, Prohibition Act’s rules by hiding terrorism funds at his Kaduna home.
When the charges were read to him, he refuted all of the accusations.
The Federal Government requested a date for the start of his trial, but the defendant’s attorney petitioned for bail.
9. CBN Raises Interest Rate To 18% Amidst Surging Inflation
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) voted for a rise in the benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points to 18% on Tuesday.
The governor of the apex bank, Godwin Emefiele, disclosed the new development while reading the communiqué of the second MPC meeting of the year.
According to him, the committee voted to keep the asymmetric corridor at +100 and -500 basis points around the MPR.
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Emefiele, while speaking to pressmen after the two-day MPC meeting explained that the slight hike is to prevent the effect of inflation and other economic issues.
The CBN boss said, “The MPC committee voted to raise the MPR by 50 basis points to 18%, retain asymmetric corridor at +100 and -500 basis points around the MPR.”
However, it was gathered that speculation before the end of the meeting was that the CBN and the MPC might not increase lending rates due to its following effects.
However, since April 2022, when it was 11.50 %, it has continued to increase and now it’s at 18%.
10. INEC Should Have Declared Kano Election Inconclusive – Says APC’s Gawuna
On Tuesday, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in Saturday’s Kano governorship election, Nasir Gawuna, said that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should have declared the exercise inconclusive.
Gawuwa stated this during a chat with newsmen.
The APC candidate, who was in the company of party leaders, said it was astonishing that with the same election, 16 of the House of Assembly elections were held the same day and the same conditions were declared inconclusive by INEC.
INEC declared Abba Kabir Yusuf of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) as the winner of the Kano governorship contest with over one million votes on Monday.
Yusuf defeated the incumbent Deputy Governor and APC flagbearer, Gawuna, who polled over 890,000 votes.