​Kaduna revenue agency develops strategies to generate N60bn IGR in 2021

The management and staff of the Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service (KADIRS), have developed strategies to generate N60 billion Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) target for 2021.

The Executive Chairman of KADIRS, Dr Zaid Abubakar made this known in an interview on Saturday, at the end of a two-day meeting in Zaria to develop the strategies.

Abubakar told Newsmen that Gov. Nasir El-Rufai has directed KADIRS to ensure that the IGR for 2021 was higher than the allocation to the state from the Federation Account.

He said that the state government had pegged an IGR target of N51 billion in 2021, adding that the KDIRS management ambitiously increased the target to N60 billion.

“This ambitious target will put all of us on our toes so that if we did not meet the N60 billion target, we will at least generate N55 billion, higher than the N51 billion of state’s target for the year.

“Our goal is to see that the IGR contributes more than 60 to 70 per cent of the state annual budget. This is a long-term plan but I believe if we are consistent with our approach, we will get there.

“This is why we are here to see what strategies we can develop to ensure that the expected revenue is collected and even surpass the target.

“This means that the public will begin to see a lot of field activities geared toward ensuring that all expected revenues are collected,” he said.

The KADIRS boss said that the agency would also carry out massive sensitisation and advocacies through available communication channels and community mobilisation for people to pay expected taxes as their civic responsibility.

He called on all taxpayers to voluntarily comply and pay all expected taxes when due through designated banks.

The state has over the years witnessed a consistent rise in IGR; from N13.6 billion in 2015 to N23 billion in 2016, representing a 69.8 per cent growth.

The IGR also increased to N26.9 billion in 2017 and was further raised to N29.4 billion in 2018.

On taking over the management of KADIRS in 2019, Abubakar led the agency to generate an unprecedented IGR of N44. 2 billion in 2019 for the first time surpassing the N41.7 targeted for the year.

Demolition of Intruders’ Structures: Why Arewa Youths Hail El-rufai over Eye Centre Land

Kaduna State Governor Mallam Nasir Ahmed El’rufai yesterday directed the execution of the 2011 court judgement which ordered for demolition of all illegal structures on National Eye Centre’s land.

The Governor through the Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Authority (KASUPDA) this morning pulled down structures illegally acquired from some dubious host community members in compliance to the Court ruling which find the defendants guilty of criminally intruding selling and in some cases buying Federal Government properties belonging to National Eye Centre.

The quagmire that has characterised the National Eye Centre Land as a result of dubious persons who invaded and sold off part of Eye Centre land has lingered over a decade with litigations and violent threats from intruders.

Recall that, the perennial land tussle orchestrated by these land grabbers with the tacit collusion of some greedy members of the host communities who were compensated and resettled by the Federal Government at the point of acquiring the land for the Hospital, it’s a case of these people eating their cake and wanting to have it back. They keep intruding on National Eye Centre’s land beating the imagination of others that anyone would fight Government’s genuine intention to make available an Eye Hospital of International standard and size.

As these illegal structures goes down rational thinkers within and outside the host communities have continued to thank Kaduna State Government for its timely intervention stressing that most of such illegal structures were completely abandoned giving shelter for kidnappers and armed rubbers who taumented the area for years.

Speaking with a 79 years old Landlord of Asalamaleku settlement who pleaded anonymity for security reasons said ” I knew the story of National Eye Centre back then when General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida gave compensation of that land to most of my brothers whose lands were taken for National Eye Centre. Few of them told their children while others hide the compensations they collected from Government from family associates even their children didn’t know how much they collected. So you see, most of these boys that have intruded to sale off Eye Centre Land had benefited directly or indirectly from the first compensation, whether their parents or elder brothers or uncles gave them such monies or not Government can not compensate you twice on one piece of Land. Funny enough some of them are still alive.”
“Today kidnappers and arm rubbers will have no hideout to terrorise our people, because when Eye Centre Management won the court case and was to dislodge these intruders, most of them abandoned their building projects.”

Also speaking, the Chairman Arewa Youth Movement for Good Governance Kaduna State Chapter, Comrade Ibrahim Ahmadu hailed Governor Nasir Ahmed El-rufai for the demolition exercise stressing it was long overdue.
According to him, “how can people who were given compensation for two consecutive times still be laying claim to National Eye Centre Land. Most of them notoriously started farming on the land after compensation, from there they started selling the land to unsuspecting people , in 20111, National Eye Centre Management dragged them to court and got judgement against them they quickly begged and asked for time to leave, but instead, they continued selling and threatening National Eye Centre staff.”

“Honestly, the execution of this court judgement is long overdue those people are even a security threat to the people living around there. We support El’rufai’s demolition of such illegal structures that seeks to deprive us good health and I call on all Kaduna Youth to shun the planned protest as this will put the Arewa Youth Movement in bad light. We all know the worth of National Eye Centre.Permit me to assure the National Hospital of our readiness as Arewa Youth to rise in defence of it by every means available under the law.”

“We called on Kaduna State Government to prosecute Airtel Telecommunication Company for breaking into National Eye Centre fence and erecting it Mast without any notice to the Hospital, I tell you airtel won’t do that in the Western or Eastern part of Nigeria but because in the North our people can be loose so they feel, any thing goes.” Ahmadu added.

With this latest development the time is ripe for the Hospital to work for the next generations where population explosion will no dout put pressure on existing facilities.

The hospital must after solidifying it fence to protect it against future intruders must vigorously review it master plan to give hope for future generation, the national Eye Centre’s master plan is ideal.

Recall that, the need for adequate number of highly skilled Ophthalmologists and Ophthalmic nurses need not be over emphasized. This, including the fact that the Hospital is the Apex training Institution for eye care in Nigeria makes the need for a post graduate Medical school imperative. The School will expectedly address the herculean task of continuously training Ophthalmologists known in everyday parlance as eye doctors to meet the demand of rising number of Nigerians who yearn for eye care services. The Postgraduate Medical School is one key component of the National Eye Centre’s Master Plan and estimated to admit two hundred students.
Given the flow of visitors to National Eye Centre vis a vis the challenge of accommodation, the National Eye Centre’s Master Plan have a Grade 1Guest house for visitors and others. With her original land space, the hospital plan included a 100 rooms guest house .
The plan also included hostels for 200 Postgraduate Medical Students and 500 Post Graduate Nursing and Paramedical Students. With evolving technology the Hospital needs a CT Scan Suite and other facilities which though are not in the original plan are imperative for best practices in line with today’s global trend in eye care. All these require massive land space which, in the wisdom of Government, was provided for in acquiring land mass for the Hospital. In addition the plan provided for various categories of Staff quarters which only a small percentage of the total is presently on ground. A standard Staff School is also in the plan. As at today, only the Core Hospital Complex, a small percentage of the Staff quarters, Mosque and Chapel all in the original plan is in place.

​Maina: Ndume regains freedom after 5 days in prison

Respite came the way of the Senator representing Borno South, Ali Ndume, on Friday, as the Federal High Court in Abuja, granted him bail after he had spent five days in prison custody.

The lawmaker was remanded in Kuje Correctional Center by the court last Monday, following his failure to produce the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, whom he stood surety for.

Maina is answering to a 12-count charge alongside his firm, Common Input Properties & Investment Limited, over their alleged involvement in money laundering, to the tune of N2billion.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, alleged that Maina equally stole over N14billion from the federal pension account, using names of fake pensioners and non-existent biometric contracts.

The agency told the court that the ex-Pension reform boss used fictitious names to open and operate various bank accounts, as well as recruited his relatives that were bankers to operate fake bank accounts through which illicit funds were channelled, adding that he used part of the stolen funds to acquire landed properties in Abuja.

Meanwhile, Maina had since September 29, refused to attend his trial, a development that led the trial court to remand his surety, Ndume, in prison custody.

The court said Ndume should either produce Maina for the continuation of his trial, or forfeit the N500million bail bond he signed on behalf of the Defendant.

Alternatively, the court directed the sale of Ndume’s property situated at Asokoro in Abuja to raise the N500m it said should be paid into the Federation Account.

Justice Abang held that the lawmaker should remain in custody pending the fulfillment of any of the conditions, even as he gave the Prosecution the nod to try the Defendant in absentia.

However, following an application Ndume filed from prison, the court, on Friday, okayed his release on bail pending the determination of the 12 grounds of appeal he lodged before the Court of Appeal in Abuja to challenge the forfeiture proceeding the EFCC initiated against him.

Justice Abang said his decision to grant the bail application was based on the fact that Ndume “has been of good behavior and conduct”, and always submitted himself to the authority of the court, not withstanding his schedule of duties as the Chairman of Senate Committee on Nigerian Army.

The court however dismissed Ndume’s contention that his continued detention would occasion hardship to both the Senate and the Nigerian State.

Justice Abang held that the lawmaker ought to have taken into account the gravity of the charge against Maina, before he deposed to an affidavit on May 5, wherein he pledged to always ensure his availability for trial or forfeit the N500m bail bond.

Though the trial Judge described Ndume’s pending appeal as “incompetent”, he said the peculiar circumstance of the case and the Applicant’s respect for the court as an institution, was enough to sway judicial discretion in his favour.

Justice Abang held that the trial court had the requisite jurisdiction to grant Ndume’s bail application since the record of appeal in the matter was yet to be compiled and transmitted to the Court of Appeal.

Consequently, the court ordered him to produce a surety who must be a respectable person that is resident within the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

According to the court, the surety must be an owner of landed property in Abuja, with evidence of ownership.

It ordered Ndume to deposit his International Passport to the Chief Registrar of the court pending the determination of his appeal.

More so, the court held that Ndume must sign an undertaking that he would within 10 days, compile and transmit the record of proceedings to the Court of Appeal.

Ndume had in the application he filed through his lawyer, Mr. Marcel Oru, described Maina’s action that led to his detention as “highly despicable”.

He had on October 19, told the court that he only met Maina once in his life before he decided to stand as his surety, being the lawmaker that represents his constituency.

The lawmaker said he was pressurized to stand surety for the Defendant by three former governors he met at the Kuje Correctional Center when he went to visit Maina after he was reported sick.

He said: “As a senator serving him (Maina), his family, wife, mother, and uncle appealed to me to stand as a surety.

“I went to prison to confirm for myself whether he was actually sick and the prison officers told me that he was actually sick and appealed to me to be his surety so that he could have access to medical attention.

“Orji Kalu when he was in prison then, Joshua Dariye, former Governor of Taraba, Rev. Jolly Nyame, all appealed to me in the prison to assist him.

“It took me eight months my lord to take that decision. In fact, I have to be given an indemnity by his uncle; signed by me, him, and a lawyer that Maina would always be in court.

“This is one of the professional hazards we face as lawmakers, representing the good, the bad, and the ugly.

“If I was not a serving senator, I wouldn’t have a course to stand as surety,” Ndume added.

He decried that Maina who claimed to be ill, recently released a video clip that went viral on social media, concerning his state of health, but refused to make himself available.

“I am helpless before you my lord. I appeal that such innocent citizens like me holding a public office for over one million people should not be subjected to this,” Ndume pleaded.

Though EFCC opposed his bail application, Justice Abang granted it, even though he held that it failed on many other grounds.

​No agreement yet to suspend strike ― ASUU

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU has denied a news report that it agreed to call off the ongoing strike after meeting with the Government negotiation team led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige on Friday.

The Federal Government at the meeting at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Labour and Employment reportedly increased its offer for Earned Allowances EA to university based unions and funding for the revitalization of public universities from N65 billion to N70 billion.

There was news report that ASUU has given an indication that the meeting, the strike which started since March would soon be called off after a meeting with the leadership of union and its organs.

According to the report, the university teachers agreed to call off the strike after the government pledged to pay N40 billion for Earned Allowances and N30 billion for the revitalization of the university system bringing the total payment to N70 billion.

It was further reported that the Government agreed to settle the arrears of salaries of the lecturers before December 31.

The report also noted that ASUU was expected to report the agreement to its organs and then communicate their decision to the government after which a date for the calling off of the strike would be announced.

It quoted a source within the university union, that ASUU insisted that the agreement to call off the strike should not be announced until it has been approved by its members.

But ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, has denied knowledge of any agreement to call off the strike, stressing that at the meeting, it was only agreed that union should convey Government message to their organs and get back to Government.

Prof. Ogunyemi, said : ” I am not aware of that. All I know is that we had a meeting and we are going to report to our members. But I don’t know about suspension of strike.”

However, a source in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, said that after the meeting, the Minister, Senator Ngige, who described the meeting as “fruitful,” added that the government made a proposal to ASUU which it would take back to its members.

Ngige told reporters after the meeting that, “Many issues were discussed at the meeting including salary shortfall, the payment system and revitalization of the university system. I am positive that all the issues would be resolved at our next meeting.”

Friday’s meeting was about the seventh time both sides have met to resolve the issues in contention since the university union embarked on strike on March 23.

After the meeting of last Friday November 20, Government agreed to exempt ASUU members who had not enrolled in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and put them on the Government Integrated Financial and Management Information System (GIFMIS) pending when ASUU’S preferred payment platform- the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) will be approved.

ASUU had consistently rejected IPPIS, stressing that it will erode the autonomy of the university system.

​No plan to sack workers, Obaseki assures

Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has assured that no worker in the state will be sacked as a result of ongoing reforms to reposition the civil service for optimal performance and efficient service delivery.

He gave the assurance during an interactive session with civil servants who are undergoing training at the John Odigie Oyegun Civil Service Training Academy in Benin yesterday.

The governor disclosed that the ongoing reform was aimed at strengthening and retooling the civil service, bestowing the workers with tools and skills that stand them out so as to ensure efficiency, productivity and drive sustainable development.

He reassured that no civil servant will lose his or her job but rather they will be trained and introduced to technology to enable them deliver efficient services to Edo people and contribute their quota to the development of the state.

He said, “The priority of my administration is re-tooling the Civil Service with the aim of strengthening it to deliver efficient services. If you want government policies to succeed, you must strengthen the people and institutions that have the constitutional responsibility to ensure the delivery of those services.

“We are undertaking reforms to make the public and civil service of the state to be one of the strongest, if not in the sub-continent but in Nigeria.

“We are training our civil servants to enable them to do their job well. We need to bring in more people into the civil service and make sure that they are clear on what they will be doing when hired.”

“Government can’t deliver services to its people if the civil servants who are supposed to help the government are not properly trained. These facilities have been built and people brought in to train our workers, making them understand what their challenges are and redesign the system to make it work better”.The training will be a continuous one, exposing civil servants to technology and bringing in more people into the service.

“The average age in our civil service is about 45 years. We need to bring in younger people to reduce that because in the next five to seven years, 50 per cent of the people in the service will be retiring and we don’t want to wait till then to bring in these people. Let’s bring in younger people now, who the older workers will pass on some of the experience to”.

On her part, Chairman, Edo State Civil Service Commission, Princess Ekiuwa Inneh, thanked the governor for institutional reforms in the civil service as well as the prompt payment of salaries, which she said, “has become a motivating factor for Edo State Government workers.”

She said the state’s civil service was aging, with many of the workers cropped in the middle and at the top levels, noting, “this is as a result of people exiting through natural processes like death, retirement and upward mobility with no corresponding recruitment over the years.”

“Even if we recruit 1,000 persons to level 8, it will take some time before they mature and grow. We are robbing minds with the governor on how to fill some of these positions.”