The Federal Government realised N51.3 billion from telecommunications sector in the first three months of this year, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has disclosed.
The amount constitutes remittance by the telecoms regulator into government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) in the first quarter.
In a statement released yesterday, NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the remittance was in compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007 (FRA 2007).
The payment, according to him, represents “Payment on Account” in respect of operating surplus of N44 billion and N7.3 billion spectrum assignment fee collected, both of which are due to the Federal Government as at April 30, 2019.
According to the FRA 2007, such payments are to be made every year after preparation of Audited Accounts.
Specifically, Section 22, Sub-section 1 of the Act states that, “Notwithstanding the provisions of any written law governing the Corporation, each Corporation shall establish a general reserve fund and shall allocate thereto at the end of each financial year, one fifth of its operating surplus for the year.”
Section 22, Sub-section 2 of the Act states further that, “The balance of the operating surplus shall be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federal Government not later than one month following the statutory deadline for publishing each Corporation’s Account.”
Aside from remitting the operating surplus, Section 17, Sub-section 3 of the Nigerian Communication Act (NCA, 2003) also stipulates that spectrum assignment fees generated shall be remitted 100 per cent to the Federal Government.
The Section states that, “the Commission shall pay all monies accruing from the sales of Spectrum under Part 1 of Chapter VIII into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).”
Commenting further, Danbatta said the commission had taken the initiative to be making payments on account as it generates revenue.
The EVC noted that through effective regulatory oversight by the commission, telecommunications sector has witnessed phenomenal growth since 2001, making it an enabler of economic growth and development.
“To date, telecoms industry has positively impacted all the sectors of the economy including banking, healthcare, commerce, transportation, agriculture, education and so on, with increased quarter-on-quarter contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” Danbatta added.
For instance, latest data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that the telecoms industry contributed 10.11 per cent to Nigeria’s GDP in the first quarter of 2019.
This represents a 0.92 per cent increase from the first quarter of last year. This year’s first quarter contribution is also 0.26 per cent more than the figure (9.85 per cent) recorded in the last quarter of 2018.
“From 2001 till date, telecoms investment has increased tremendously from $500 million to over $70 billion, just as the commission intensifies measures aimed to further facilitate investment growth in telecoms infrastructure to drive the economy, especially through the licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos). We are also working with necessary stakeholders across all levels of government to address identified impediments to investment drive in the sector,” Danbatta said.
Danbatta, while providing latest data on the industry to underscore the impressive growth already recorded in the industry, said “in the 21st Century, access to pervasive broadband is a game changer for any economy.”
He stated that as at May this year, there were over 173.6 million active mobile lines across mobile networks, corresponding to a teledensity of 90.98 per cent. Internet subscriptions during the month stood at 122.6 million up from 119 million in April.
FIRS: PDP wants probe of revenue collections since 2015
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the National Assembly to hold a public hearing into revenue collections in the country by the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) in the last four years.
The party also told the lawmakers to take urgent steps to recover the alleged stolen funds and channel such to projects that have direct bearing on the welfare of Nigerians.
PDP, in a statement Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said variance in the remission of taxes by the FIRS further confirmed its stance that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) Federal Government is neck-deep in corruption and looting of the nation’s treasury.
The party added that the discoveries have vindicated it of alleged underhand dealings and frittering of monies collected as taxes in the last four years.
According to the statement, Nigerians were not deceived by the desperation by agents of the presidency to cover its complicity by seeking the sack of the Executive Chairman of FIRS, Babatunde Fowler.
It noted that a critical study of the leaked correspondence from the Chief of Staff to the President, Malam Abba Kyari, to the FIRS Chairman at the wake of the revelations of financial discrepancies, betrayed the alleged complicity of the cabal in the presidency.
Insecurity: DSS moves to check nuclear threats
The Department of State Services (DSS), has begun moves to frustrate the use of nuclear technology for malicious purposes by non-state actors in the country.
According to the secret service, unless urgent steps were taken in that direction, terrorists, kidnappers, separatist agitators and other elements have the tendency to recruit students, workers in public and private sectors, to undermine the security of the country, using the available nuclear materials.
Conmandant of the National Institute for Security Studies (NISS), Mr. Ayodele Adeleke, made the disclosure Monday at a workshop in Abuja.
Adeleke said the choice of participants from the military, security, intelligence, para-military as well as ministries and agencies of government, was a deliberate decision to imbue them with expertise in insider-risk reduction among others.
The workshop, which was organised by the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, in collaboration with the NISS and other partners, had the theme, “human reliability implementation”.
Alleged extortion: Joint enforcement team arrests 42 FRSC officials, agents – ICPC
Thirty seven officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), and five of their suspected agents, have been arrested for alleged extortion of motorists in parts of the country.
The officials were arrested by a joint inter-agency team comprising the ICPC, FRSC ans well as the Department of State Services (DSS), operating in Kaduna, Bauchi, Abia, Rivers, Kogi and Ogun states.
Spokesperson for the ICPC, Mrs. Rasheedat Okoduwa, who made the disclosure in a statement Monday, said the joint team was established following complaint of extortion made by FRSC’s management against officials.
“A Joint Inter-Agency Team led by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has arrested 37 officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) for allegedly extorting money from motorists on Nigerian highways.
“The Team, comprising officials of ICPC, FRSC and the Department of State Services (DSS) also arrested five persons said to be agents of the corps officials in a sting operation carried out simultaneously in the six geo-political zones.
“The Team struck on Friday 16th August, 2019, following the receipt of a complaint from the management of the Corps of massive extortion of money from motorists on the highways by its patrol teams.
“The FRSC management had, in the complaint to the Commission, observed that incidents of extortion were rife in the six states of Kaduna, Bauchi, Abia, Rivers, Kogi and Ogun.
“Based on this, the ICPC-led Team went into action and identified the notorious spots in each of the aforementioned states to include Aba in Abia State; Ahoada, Ajaokuta, Itori, Torro and Gwantu in Rivers, Kogi, Ogun, Bauchi and Kaduna States respectively,” Okoduwa said.
Police seal off Lagos venue where Soyinka, Falana, others to speak on insecurity
The police on Monday sealed off the venue of a symposium where Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, Femi Falana (SAN) and other speakers where to address the state of insecurity in the country.
The programme organised by a group known as Coalition for Revolution (CORE) was billed to hold at 46, Ibijoke street, Oluyole Bus-stop, Oregun, Lagos.
It has as its theme: “Democracy, State Repression and the State of insecurity in Nigeria”.
However, when New Telegraph showed up at the venue, police vans were seen at strategic locations around the venue preventing people from entering.
Falana, who is present at the venue, has been seen discussing with the policemen, ostensibly to find out why they are being prevented from holding the programme.
Ekweremadu: Kalu debunks shelving medical check-up in Germany
Chief Whip of the Senate, Dr Orji Kalu, has described as unfounded, social media reports that he suspended his planned medical check-up to Germany because of what happened to Sen. Ike Ekweremadu.
Kalu disclosed this in a telephone interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
Only recently the former deputy senate president was physically assaulted in Germany at the weekend by some members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Ekweremadu was invited as a speaker/special guest of honour at the 2nd Annual Igbo Cultural Festival in Nuremberg, Germany.
Kalu said that since the Senate commenced its recess, he has been in his country home, interacting with his constituents.
“I have been in my country home interacting with the people and settling disputes. The news that I suspended by planned medical check-up in Germany was not true.
“I was invited by Igbo group in Spain to attend their function, I could not go because of the interaction with my constituents.’’
Kalu had described the action of the IPOB members as uncivilised, unacceptable and barbaric.
The former Abia governor urged Igbo people to respect their leaders at all levels.
He noted that the only way the South-East zone can be prosperous was by embracing dialogue, peace and unity.
Kalu also urged the Embassy of Nigeria in Germany, the German Government and appropriate authorities to bring the perpetrators of the ugly incident to book.
He said: “After watching a viral video of the physical attack on the former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweramadu, I was not only disappointed, but irritated and disturbed with the action of some members of IPOB.
“The assault on the senator is a slap on Igbo leaders regardless of age, party affiliation and religion.
“The perpetrators of the uncivilised act must face the wrath of the law.
“Sen. Ekweramadu is not only one of the Igbo leaders, but also a prominent Nigerian and as such should be accorded due respect by all and sundry at home and abroad.
“For the South-East to move forward, the people of the zone must embrace dialogue as a way of resolving pertinent issues and eschew violence.”
Kalu appealed to Igbo people across the globe to be law-abiding and good ambassadors of Nigeria.
Sudan’s ousted President Bashir in court for corruption trial
Sudan’s ousted President Omar al-Bashir has arrived in court in the capital, Khartoum, for his trial on corruption charges.
There’s heavy security around the courthouse.
After he was ousted in April, millions of dollars in cash were allegedly seized from his house.
Bashir’s trial opened last month, but had to be postponed following the death of his mother, reports the BBC.
Police, soldiers deploy in Zimbabwe as opposition challenges protest ban
Soldiers and police deployed in large numbers in Zimbabwe’s second city Bulawayo on Monday to enforce a ban on an anti-government demonstration, as the country’s main opposition party sought to overturn that decision in court.
The street protest was the second called in four days by the Movement for Democratic Change’s (MDC), which accuses President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of repression and economic mismanagement.
Authorities had also banned Friday’s gathering in Harare, intended as the launch event of a nationwide protest movement. The MDC called it off, saying it aimed to avert bloodshed after police there rounded up its followers and dispersed them with batons and water cannon.
In a similar show of force in Bulawayo, an MDC heartland, authorities prohibited the march on Sunday and on Monday sent soldiers in trucks into the centre of the city and nearby townships, bolstering police who patrolled on foot and lorries, witnesses said.
Businesses remained open and residents circulated as normal in the city, however.
David Coltart, an MDC senator from Bulawayo and lawyer, called the ban “clearly unconstitutional and unjust”, and told Reuters the party had lodged a court appeal that city magistrates would hear on Monday morning.
The MDC protest movement is rooted in Zimbabwe’s worst economic crisis in a decade, and viewed as a test of Mnangagwa’s willingness to tolerate dissent in a country tainted by a long history of repression under Robert Mugabe, its ruler for nearly 40 years.
Anger is mounting over triple-digit inflation, rolling power cuts and shortages of U.S. dollars, fuel and bread – bringing back memories of the hyperinflation of a decade ago that forced Zimbabwe to ditch its currency, reports Reuters.
APC: Attackers of Ekweremadu are irresponsible elements
… Says they were supported by PDP
Johnchuks Onuanyim, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has described the attackers of the former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu as “irresponsible elements” being supported by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
According to the ruling APC, the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), who attacked Senator Ekweremedu on Saturday in Nuremberg, Germany, had been supported by PDP against the ruling party.
In a statement issued in Abuja by the National Publicity Secretary of APC, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, the party called on all to condemn activities of criminals everywhere and at whatever form.
APC condemning the attacks on the former Deputy Senate President, said: “Those involved in the despicable actions and the organisation they represent are unworthy in character. No Nigerian should be assaulted in the manner Senator Ekweremadu was. It is an indecent action and it is below the acceptable standard of behaviour expected of our citizens whether in Nigeria or abroad.
“It is, however, regrettable that some of the people and organisations who had offered these irresponsible elements open support in the past are raising their voices now. It would be recalled that the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its leaders chose to play politics over a matter that called for collective patriotic actions when IPOB raised a terror group in the South East. It is clear that PDP and its other short-sighted co-travellers who were the main cheerleaders of IPOB owe this country an apology. IPOB hid under regional identity to perpetrate criminality having recruited some misguided elements and miscreants.”
Speaking on the opposition political party, APC said: “Are we surprised by the PDP’s hypocritical reaction to the unfortunate attack on Senator Ekweremadu? No! The PDP and their leaders have acted true to type. This is what happens when politicians become myopic and allow narrow sentiments becloud their sense of judgement.”
Calling on all Nigerians to be responsive to security issues, the APC said: “We all have a responsibility to collectively rise against evil wherever we find it and in whatever guise it appears. We hope lessons have been learnt from this unfortunate incident.”
Ohanaeze youths warn IPOB against attack on Igbo leaders
hanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide, yesterday warned members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) against further attack on Igbo leaders.
The group was reacting to attack on former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu by IPOB in Germany at the weekend.
Ohanaeze youths condemned the attack and urged IPOB to stop assaulting Igbo leaders.
In a statement issued in by Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide, the Igbo youths said Ekweremadu’s attack was contrary to Igbo norms and values and should be condemned vehemently by all.
It reads: “We condemned vehemently the introduction of mob action against Igbo leaders, as this is a wrong precedence that should be condemned. We believe that there are likely more targeted Igbo leaders on their lists, who may face the consequences of failed leadership in the South-East but Ekweremadu’s assault is contrary to Igbo norms and values and should be condemned vehemently by all stakeholders.
“From intelligence report, Revolution has begun in Igbo land, Igbo leaders should be careful, they are no longer safe across the globe, this assault on Ekweremadu was to test run on what is likely to happen to other marked leaders, if this ugly trend remained unchecked, it will be bring doom to Igbo leadership.
“We call for cease fire on violence against Igbo leaders, but urge that South-East political leaders to find a means to make peace with between all the stakeholders in the South East, especially the youths and agitators.”
Crisis rocks Ondo community over upgrade of monarch
major crisis broke out at the weekend in the oil-rich Aboto in Ilaje Local Government of Ondo State over the upgrade of Chief Behiah Idiogbe as Alaboto of Aboto by the state government.
Sources in the town said there was a breakdown of law and order in Aboto community following the upgrade of Idiogbe from being chief to the status of the monarch of the coastal community.
The source said youths in the community who have been protesting the upgrade of Idiogbe who they alleged is not from that community to the status of a monarch threatening to blow up the bridge linking the community to other parts of the state if the decision is not reversed by the government.
The State Executive Council had effected the upgrading of Chief Beniah Adeola Idiogbe from Oloja of Aboto to the position of Alaboto of Aboto in Ilaje local government area of the state.
The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Donald Ojogo said the request for the upgrade had been approved by the State Executive Council 12 years ago, adding that the present government came in and decided to effect the upgrade.
This announcement, sources in the community said had led to the burning of houses and government projects.
The lawyer to Aboto community, Prince Idowu Mafimisebi who confirmed the crisis in the community said the former administration of late Olusegun Agagu in 2007 erroneously announced the approval of Idiogbe as the Alaboto which led to a bloody crisis leading to the death of some persons and razing of many houses in the community.
The lawyer alleged that many indigenes of the town have fled the town for safety since Thursday when the announcement was made by the government.
The statement appealed to the state government to call its foot soldiers to order and allow peace to reign in Aboto community.
Mafimisebi said Agagu’s administration immediately reversed the decision then having discovered it was wrongful. He said the community already has an approved monarch who was selected by the kingmakers.
The statement by Aboto community read ” It is an anathema that a government led by a SAN had to toe the line of a wrongful decision of a previous government made 12 years ago which was reversed consequently after the loss of lives and properties.
“Although correspondences have been sent to the present government through a letter dated July 8 and another one on August 14 to the effect that selection has been done for our client, while the commissioner for local government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Attorney-General and Ilaje local government chairman affirmed that the selection of Prince Oyetayo Ofoaye was done in accordance with the Chieftaincy law of Ondo State.
“The Amapetu of Mahin who has been restrained by Ilaje District Council and a court of competent jurisdiction since 1957 from meddling with Aboto land not being a community under him cannot make a person an Oloja over such a community, and it is, therefore, impossible to upgrade a person made an Oloja through an incompetent authority”.
However, Ojogo insisted that Alaboto’s elevation had been approved almost 12 years ago, emphasizing that some encumbrances had delayed the pronouncement.
Ojogo said” The process is what we met on ground and government felt justice must be served. It is not a fresh process; state executive council gave approval for Alaboto’s elevation since 2007, but was not effected by the previous administration”.
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