COAS orders investigation into state of army detention facilities

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Legbaja, has ordered an investigation into the state of all Nigerian Army detention facilities across the nation. A statement by the Director, Army Public Relations, Maj.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, said that the order was in response to the recent protest by some detained personnel at the 8 Div. Garrison detention facility in Sokoto State. He described the Sokoto incident as 'quite unfortunate and an embarrassment to the sound administrative efforts of the COAS'. 'The COAS wants to determine whether it was an isolated incident or widespread situation in similar detention facilities,' the statement said. Nwachukwu said that while the service regretted and had gleaned some lessons from the incident, it would not condone the manner the inmates expressed their purported grievance. He added that mutiny and conduct prejudicial to service order were grievous misconducts, adding that the Sokoto incident epitomised such. 'The army will go ahead to implement the COAS d irective to look into the state of all army detention facilities as detainees' lives also matter. 'The service shall not shy away from appropriately sanctioning the soldiers involved in the unruly behaviour in its Sokoto detention facility, for failing to exhaust all available options to channel their complaints to the appropriate authorities. 'If it is discovered they did and nothing was done, necessary administrative actions will be taken against anyone found to have failed to discharge his/her duties effectively. 'While the Service is mindful of its subjective oversight engagements by statutory bodies, it remains primarily a responsible, self-regulating professional body. 'The army wants to ensure that every detainee, including those found guilty of aiding terrorists, kidnappers, and bandits, and awaiting confirmation of their sentences, is accorded a decent life until judgment is confirmed and executed.' This commitment, according to him, underscores army's dedication to upholding professional standa rds and maintaining a just and fair system. 'The Nigerian army appreciates all Nigerians for their concern and support. We pledge to remain focused on the drive to defeat security challenges facing the nation in conjunction with sister services and other security agencies,' he added. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Don’t replace humanity with artificial intelligence, Kaigama advises Nigerians

Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, has advised Nigerians against allowing Artificial Intelligence (AI) to replace the human person in the society. Kaigama gave the advice in his sermon on Sunday, in commemoration of the 2024 World Communication Day, held at St Joseph Pastoral Area, Dakibiyu, Jabi, Abuja. The archbishop said that rather than reject AI, the technology should be embraced and used to retain Nigeria's shared humanity. 'We must not reject the new developments; but we must not embrace them in a manner that it will take away our humanity and reduce everything to machine and technology. 'Let us be careful in the use of technology, let us not become proud that we have all the answers and replace God. It is foolish to do so. 'We should be careful, even though everything God has created is good and God intends that those things he created should serve us. 'Let us not become proud and arrogant and tend to replace God with these things He Himself has created; let us not succumb to that temptation and that is the essence of the world communication Sunday,' he said. Kaigama particularly advised the youths to ensure proper use of the social media by communicating what is good, honourable and noble at all times. He further called on Nigerians to use the social media to preach peace and enduring love in their respective communities and beyond. 'In whatever we do, let us communicate love and peace in a manner that will bring progress and not to create confusion as we see during election. 'Let all our actions be inspired by ethics and morality; enough of politics riddled with corruption, do not exclude morality from politics, governace and from everything we do. 'Things must rotate around the principle of morality. 'I pray that God will help us in our country, guide our leaders to conduct the affairs of the nation with the fear of God,' the prelate prayed. In his remarks, the Director of Communication of the archdiocese, Rev. Fr. Patrick Alumuku, advised against the use of A I as standard or tool to train children in the communities. He said that though AI has many answers, it may not be able to give a human and emotional answer required to train the next generation. The cleric said that AI should not be elevated to a point where it will replace human wisdom and reduce human beings to mere mathematical figures for algorithms. 'Let us use our heart in our relationship with others, our hearts is more important in the use of this great innovation known as AI,' he said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

APC group lauds Wike’s security initiatives in FCT

The Confederation of All Progressives Congress (APC) has commended the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike's security initiatives to ensure a safe territory. Its Director-General, Prof. Kailani Muhammed, gave the commendation at a news conference in Abuja, Muhammed said the FCT had become a safe haven where residents could afford to sleep with their two eyes closed. 'I am using this opportunity to commend the strong partnership between the FCT Minister and the FCT Commissioner of Police, Benneth Igwe, for their efforts against insurgents and other related crimes in the Capital City. 'We encourage them not to relent, but maintain and even improve on the template. We advise other state governments to emulate the FCT Minister's leadership quality and result oriented mechanism.' The director-general said that Wike, in less than one year in office, had transformed the FCT into a haven with a lot of ongoing road projects, and some security initiatives. He said some of the achievements inc luded the rehabilitation of 135 roads completed at almost 90 per cent. 'The minister has exempted the territory from the Treasury Single Account (TSA). This will allow for efficient use of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and stimulate the growth and development of the FCT. 'The establishment of FCT Civil Service Commission as directed by President Tinubu within the short period, is also a laudable achievement,' he said. Muhammed commended the FCT minister for executing streetlight projects to light up every part of Abuja. He said that the FCT Women Affairs Secretariat, under the leadership of Wike, disbursed N10 million grants to 20 women farmers in the territory. According to him, the grant is under the First Lady, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu's Renewed Hope Initiative's (RHI)'s Women Agricultural Empowerment programme. He added that the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) had also inducted desk officers to improve service delivery across FCT public primary and secondary schools. He added that t he move was part of ongoing efforts to deliver quality services to residents of Abuja. 'The FCT minister is planning to provide specialised care and support for children in vulnerable situations, particularly those with disabilities. 'The overall goal of the initiative is to revamp interventions related to child protection and combating violence against children. 'This includes efforts to align local laws with international standards, particularly those outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),' APC group boss said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

95% of small businesses should be off tax – Oyedele

The Federal Government is working on a system that will provide tax relief to 95 per cent of the informal sector of the economy in the country. Mr Taiwo Oyedele, Chairman of the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee, said this at the closing session of the committee on Sunday in Abuja. He said this would be achieved through the exemption of businesses earning N25 million a year or less from the various taxes hindering their progress over time. ''So, we think that 95 per cent of the informal sector should be legally exempted from all taxes; withholding tax, company income tax, even payee on their staff. ''We're using data to inform our decisions. Currently, if you earn N25 million a year or less, you don't have to pay company income tax, you don't have to worry about VAT. ''We think that the informal sector are people who are trying to earn legitimate living, we should allow them be and support them to grow to a point where they can then have the ability to pay taxes,' he said. Oyedele sai d the new reforms being proposed would focus on the top 5 per cent of that sector, the middle class and the elite for taxes. He said the committee was drafting the laws to effect the necessary changes in the fiscal policy and tax reform ecosystem of the country. According to the chairman, the new laws will ensure that reviews become sustained by all governments coming in, adding that: 'we don't want this whole effort to go down the drain, after one or two years.' On compliance, he urged all stakeholders to fully cooperate with the government in implementing a new fiscal and tax policy that would be used for the general good of the citizens. ''We think that the days of being above the law in paying taxes are over. The same thing we're saying to our leaders, whether they are elected or appointed. ''We think they have to lead by example by showing that they have paid the taxes, not only on time, but correctly to the lawful authorities as contained in the various laws,' he said. He said explained that some of the taxes complained about by Nigerians were those already in the constitution, which the committee had looked at and called for their review. Oyedele said the committee report would be made to pass through the normal process of legislation in order to give it the full legal backing. ''So, our expectation is, as we progress now from ideation, proposal to implementation, you'll see less and less of those issues and then you'll see harmony in the direction of the fiscal system. ''Not only in the number of taxes we collect, you will also see an improvement in how those monies are being spent. ''In terms of priority of spending, in terms of the efficiency of spending and in terms of focusing on what impacts on the lives of majority of our population that live in multi-dimensional poverty,' he said. Oyedele added that the committee had been working with the sub-nationals and the local government councils in its task of harmonising the taxes into a single digit in the country. ''So, we're convinced, and th at's what the data tells us, that the right path we need to follow, is the path where we repeal many of these taxes, harmonise whatever is left. ''We think we can keep that within single digit across local government, state and federal government combined, and then improve the efficiency of collecting those taxes. ''We are also very convinced that we need to increase the threshold of exemption for small businesses, for low income earners because if you can't make ends meet, the last thing you want is someone asking you to pay tax. ''We think in fact, when our nation gets to the level we need to be, we should be able to even add money to those who have very little or nothing,' said Oyedele. At the ceremony, Vice-President Kashim Shettima restated President Bola Tinubu's commitment to revitalise revenue generation in the country. 'Our aim remains the revitalisation of revenue generation in Nigeria, while sustaining an investment-friendly and globally competitive business environment. 'Contrary to speculat ions in some quarters, we are not here to frustrate any sector of our economy but to create an administrative system that ensures the benefits of a thriving tax system for all our citizens,' he said. He said the dynamics of the nation's fiscal landscape prompted the Tinubu administration to pause and reconsider the direction it was going. 'I am confident that both the Federal and State Governments stand ready to ensure the effective implementation of your reform proposals. 'We shall provide the institutional framework to guarantee the adoption of the consensus of this committee, aligning them with our economic agenda,'said Shettima. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Businessman slams N5bn alleged defamatory suit against journalist, others

A businessman, Alhaji Ibrahim Egungbohun, has filed a N5 billion suit against a journalist, Fisayo Soyombo; Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) and Arise Media Group, over allegations bordering on defamation. Egungbohun, in a suit field by his lawyer, Bola Aidi, SAN, before the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, also sought a N10 million cost of instituting the matter. In the writ of summons marked: FCT/CV/2286/2024 and filed on May 3, the claimant sued Soyombo, FIJ and Arise Media Group as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively. Egungbohun, a Nigerian Customs licensed agent, is the Chief Executive Officer of IBD Impex Ltd, a company which is into clearing and forwarding of goods, construction, agriculture, real estate and oil and gas. In the suit, he sought 'a declaration that the claimant has been defamed by the 1st and 2nd defendants through the various libelous posts and innuendos made by the 1st and 2nd defendants on their X handles @fisayosoyombo and @fijnigeria. 'A declaration that the claimant has been defamed by the 1st and 2nd defendants through the libelous publications made by the 1st and 2nd defendants on the 2nd defendant's blog fij.ng in the article titled 'Undercover as a Smuggler' published on 21st February 2024. 'A declaration that the claimant has been defamed by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants through the libelous publication/broadcasting made by the defendants on the 3rd defendant's television programme 'THE MORNING SHOW' broadcasted on 24th February, 2024. 'An order of this court for retraction of the libelous statements and tendering of public apology by each of the defendants to the claimant, to be published by the 1st and 2nd defendants on their X handles; @fisayosoyombo and @fijnigeria and on the 2nd defendant's blog fij.ng, and to be published/broadcasted by all the defendants in the 3rd defendant's television programme 'THE MORNING SHOW.' 'An order of this court restraining the defendants from any further defamatory publications (including the use of innuendos) a gainst the claimant on their X handles, website, TV programmes or any other means of publication. 'The sum of N5,000,000,000.00 (Five Billion Naira) as general damages. The sum of N10,000,000, 000.00 (Ten Million Naira) being the cost of instituting this Suit.' In his statement of claim attached to the suit, Egungbohun, who hails from Ogun, said he is a socialite and also the owner of IBD International Hotel in Ogun. According to him, his hard work, integrity, dedication and tenacity has given him business goodwill among well-meaning Nigerians and has enabled him to establish business and personal relationships with top Nigerian businessmen and politicians. He averred that sometime in February 2024, Soyombo began a calumny of defamation against him through his X handle page; @fisayosoyombo. He alleged that on Feb 21, Soyombo posted and shared on his X handle page a defamatory article titled: 'Undercover as a Smuggler' and published on the FIJ's blog wherein he was tagged a smuggler. The claimant further alleged that the said article had a subcaption: 'Popular Socialite Arrested For Gun Running, Ibrahim IBD Dende Regains Freedom.' He said in the article, they alleged that, 'The status of the founder of the hotel, Ibrahim Dende Egungbohun, more commonly known as IBD Dende', as ILARO'S BIGGEST SMUGGLER, has been helped by his proximity to power, coupled with the influence he has amassed with his wealth. ',..Beyond the LAUNDERED IMAGE of him in the media, however, the real Dende HAS BEEN ARRESTED FOR SMUGGLING MULTIPLE TIMES; but on each occasion, he emerged unscathed. He is that connected. ',..Dende used to import Turkey, but he subsequently SMUGGLED GUNS and his cover was blown… Dende also SMUGGLED CARS, his patronage transcending the political class. 'As he entrenched his interests in the SHADY TRADE through the years, he started to build a legion of foot soldiers to perfect the DIRTY WORK on his behalf. 'Some of those boys whom Jide knew personally were bringing in high-value automobiles STASHED WITH AR MS AND AMMUNITION ON DENDE'S BEHALF when they were apprehended in 2018.' Egungbohun averred that the defamatory and character assassinating posts made against him by the defendants are permanent in nature. According to him, permanence of the publication means that the claimant's good name and reputation has been smeared for life by the libelous posts of the defendants. He said he would rely on all electronic generated evidence mentioned in his statement of claim and would rely on and tender a Certificate of Compliance in line with the provision of the Evidence Act during trial. The matter is yet to be assigned to a judge as at the time of filing the report. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Foundation unveils ‘No-Code Web Programme’ for job growth in digital economy

The Engr. Gbenga Komolafe Education Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation, has launched its 'No-Code Web Development' Scholarship Programme. This initiative aims to empower individuals with essential digital skills, preparing them for success in today's economy and fostering job creation opportunities. The Convener of the foundation, Mr Gbenga Komolafe, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the 'No-Code Web Development' programme is an integral part of the foundation's extensive Digital Economy Strategy. 'In today's dynamic and rapidly evolving environment, the demand for digital proficiency has never been more critical. 'Recognising the diminishing significance of traditional barriers such as coding expertise, the foundation is committed to creating accessible pathways for individuals to enter and thrive in the technology industry. 'The No-Code Web Development' programme will furnish participants with the tools and knowledge required to design and launch high-caliber websites without the nece ssity of coding. 'Through the utilisation of user-friendly platforms and drag-and-drop interfaces, participants will cultivate the skills to materialise their creative visions, whether in the form of personal portfolios, e-commerce platforms, or online blogs. 'With the No-Code Web Development initiative, our aim is to democratise access to digital skills, and empower individuals from diverse backgrounds to capitalise on the opportunities in the digital era to create jobs' Komolafe said. He further explained that technology has the potential to revolutionise lives and propel economic advancement, stressing that in addition to the 'No-Code Web Development programme', the digital economy strategy encompasses an array of initiatives intended to foster digital literacy, entrepreneurship, and innovation. He emphasised that ranging from coding bootcamps to mentorship programmes, the Foundation remained steadfast in its dedication to supporting individuals at all stages of their technology career journey. 'The ' No-Code Web Development programme' is set to commence on June 1 and welcomes individuals of all ages and backgrounds. 'Prospective participants are encouraged to visit http://egkefoundation.org.ng/ for additional information and to register for the upcoming sessions', he said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

FG establishes institution on innovative studies for culture, history

The Federal Government has introduced the Nigerian Academy for Cultural Studies (NACUS) as a specialised institution to train individuals for innovative studies and development of Nigerian culture and history. Chief Biodun Ajiboye, Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), disclosed this in a statement by his media aide, Caleb Nor, on Saturday. Ajiboye said this was to encourage cultural renaissance. He said the specialised academy would be known as the nation's citadel of cultural training. He said the institute had been approved and accredited by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) to run the programme and award National Diploma in Cultural Administration and Human Resources (NDCAHR). According to him, the Postgraduate Diploma programme is in affiliation with the Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK). 'Already, the accreditation and affiliation have provided an opportunity for certification of individuals who have obtained Diploma to proceed for hig her education in cultural studies. ' While using the Academy's Postgraduate Diploma in Cultural Administration to enroll for their Master's degree. 'According to the Minister of Art, Culture and the Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa, the institution will be situated in four geographical locations of Nigeria with campuses in Abuja, Northern Zone, Southern Zone and Eastern Zone.' Ajiboye said that process was currently ongoing to sensitise the Head of Service of the Federation to ensure that such certificates emanating from the academy were employable in the civil service. He noted that the certificates would also be honoured for cultural workers, entrepreneurs, hotels and tourism agencies among others. Ajiboye said that the rebranding and elevation of the institution, known as the training school of NICO, to a full-fledged higher institution for cultural education and training, was a clear indication that the President Bola Tinubu's Renewed Hope Agenda had come to fully recognise culture. He said the admi nistration had also realised the need for cultural renaissance to take the center stage in its policy making processes. 'The nation has seen the need to incorporate adequate cultural content in our school curriculum both in the primary, secondary and tertiary education systems. 'What this means is that once we are able to shed off the foreign cultural antecedents, that we have inadvertently imbibed over the years, we will then begin to realise the importance of our innate cultural essentialities. 'These essentialities will confer on us as a people, a great dose of originality, thereby paving way for adequate cultural identity,' he said. He said that no nation could attain a state of national identity without cultural identity. 'This first specialised institution to teach culture-NACUS- is a bold step and innovation of the Tinubu administration. 'With the approval of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and the consent of the Federal Ministry of Art, Culture and the Creative Economy, it is h ere on note that the government of Nigeria will begin to view culture as an important element in Nigerians' daily lives.' Ajiboye explained that the move to rebrand the institution was one of the biggest efforts by the Tinubu-led administration to ensure Nigerian youths were made proficient and prominent in issues of entertainment and fintech. He said this would also ensure the creation of job opportunities through the nation's cultural heritage. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

OAAN honours Babagana for sanitising outdoor advertising in FCT

The Out of Home Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN), has honoured Dr Babagana Adam, for sanitising outdoor advertising in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Adam was the Director, Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage (DOAS), from May 2019 to March 2024 when he was appointed Permanent Secretary, Health Services and Environment Secretariat, FCT Administration. The National President of the association, Mr Sola Akinsiku, said during the award ceremony and dinner in Abuja on Saturday, that Adam was honoured for outstanding and exemplary leadership in outdoor advertising. 'Since the creation of DOAS, I think we have about three to four directors, but he merited the award; he brought professionalism; he brought truthfulness; and he brought dignity to the profession. 'We started with a fight and had to report him to the National Assembly. We stood our grounds; he stood his ground. 'In the course of time, he understood us better, and we later found out that some of the decisions he took were a lso helpful to the promotion of outdoor advertising in FCT,' he said. He added that Adam was also honoured because he did not abuse power. 'He is hard working, works under pressure and delivers. If he disagrees with you, you will know why he disagrees with you,' he said. Mr Emmanuel Ajufo, the immediate past President of the association and Chairman, Dinner and Award Organising Committee, said that Adam changed the landscape of outdoor advertising and made the business better. 'When he came in as head of DOAS, all manner of people who are not professionals were putting up billboards indiscriminately. 'He reordered that process and brought some sanity to the industry. That alone, is a wonderful thing for us. He is very firm but fair to everybody. 'We need people like him in the industry, in fact, in this country for us to move forward. Everything is not about money, integrity is very very critical, and the man is filled with integrity. 'What we have done is just to reward hard work and to use him as an example to others,' Ajufo said. Similarly, the Chairman of OAAN, North Central and Abuja, Mr Haruna Ahmed, said that Adam helped to standardise the practice of the profession in the FCT. 'When somebody does something that everybody adjudged to be good and the person leaves the stage, it is good to honour that person,' Ahmed added. Also, the acting Chairman, FCT Internal Revenue Service, Mr Haruna Abdullahi, described the awardee as a man with a passion for public service. Responding, Adam, said it was the second time that the association had honoured him, and expressed joy and gratitude for the recognition. He described the award as a validation, appreciation, and acknowledgement of an excellent and beneficial working relation between DOAS and the association. 'So, it tells you: treat people nicely and they will treat you better. I was a regulator; I was hard on them, but I also understood their challenges and was helpful to them. 'We have removed illegal billboards in FCT, we cleaned the city and made tremendous progress in making the city look beautiful. 'Cities are like sitting rooms. If you keep them clean and you remove all nuisance, they will look beautiful,' he said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria