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BREAKING: Heavy Tension As Militants Plan Fresh Attack In Lagos, Ogun

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Niger Delta Militants

Despite the military air and land raids in July 2016 and the demolition of some shanties in the creeks, intelligence reports indicate that militants based in the South-West are planning fresh attacks in Lagos and Ogun, with schools as specific targets.

The Sun reports that the threat from the militants is top on the agenda of a meeting by South-West governors, who are reportedly scheduled to meet in Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital on Monday.

It would be recalled that the militants widely known to be notorious for vandalising Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipelines, decided to extend their criminal activities to kidnapping and robbery.

As far back as 2013, they successfully invaded banks in Lekki, Festac and Ikorodu areas of Lagos in broad daylight, till they were curbed and some of their top commanders either killed or arrested. Thereafter, they concentrated their efforts on kidnapping and robbing houses close to the creeks.

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COVID-19 Can’t Truncate Nigeria’s Democracy, Electoral Process — INEC

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mahmood yakubu inec

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has assured that the nation’s democracy and electoral process cannot be truncated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Commission therefore insisted that all elections will go on as scheduled despite the Coronavirus scare, adding that “while the Commission takes the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, our democracy and electoral process cannot be truncated for this reason, particularly because health authorities have advised on measures to protect the public from the virus, including all those involved in elections.”

The Commission also disclosed that it will conduct the Bayelsa Central, Bayelsa East, Imo North and Plateau South, as well as other bye-elections ahead of the two major Governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States.

Outstanding bye-elections include Nasarawa Central State Constituency, Cross River North Senatorial District, Nganzai and Bayo State constituencies of Borno State and Bakori State constituency of Katsina State.

INEC National Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, who gave the hint in his remarks during the maiden virtual meeting with States Resident Electoral Commissioners, stated that “the Commission has directed the RECs for the nine States where the bye-elections will hold to begin preparations in earnest”.

He added that, “the same time, we are also studying reports of recent elections conducted under the COVID-19 pandemic”,

According to Yakubu, “it is my pleasure to welcome you to this historic meeting. This is the first time the Commission is holding a formal meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners without anyone of you leaving your States of deployment. I am glad that all the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) are connected to this meeting.

“I must quickly add that with today’s virtual meeting with you, the deployment of communication technology will increasingly become the dominant means of information dissemination within the Commission in particular and the management of the electoral processes in general, including future engagement with stakeholders”.

He continued that, Today’s meeting is holding against the background of the global health challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in which no country around the world is unaffected. Our country’s national effort to combat the pandemic is coordinated by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on whose request the Commission has made available a number of vehicles from our fleet to support the emergency response.

“The majority of these assets were deployed to Lagos, Kano and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) which have so far recorded the highest number of reported cases in the country.

“Like every national institution in Nigeria, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our activities. For instance, further engagement with the National Assembly and stakeholders on electoral reform as well as the conduct of some off-season elections had to be suspended because of the global health emergency. Happily, the PTF has issued Guidelines on protective measures for the gradual restoration of normalcy nationwide. On that basis, the Commission recently released its own policy on conducting elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commission is convinced that electoral activities can resume but in full compliance with the advisory issued by health authorities.

“Consequently, the end of tenure Governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States scheduled for 19th September 2020 and 10th October 2020 respectively will proceed as planned. Already, some of the registered political parties have notified the Commission of the dates for their party primaries leading to the nomination of their candidates for the two elections.

“While the Commission takes the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, our democracy and electoral process cannot be truncated for this reason, particularly because health authorities have advised on measures to protect the public from the virus, including all those involved in elections.

“In addition to the two Governorship elections, the Commission is also making preparations to conduct nine legislative bye-elections. Already, vacancies have been declared by the Senate President in respect of four Senatorial Districts (Bayelsa Central, Bayelsa East, Imo North and Plateau South). Similarly, the Speaker of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly has declared the seat for Nasarawa Central State Constituency vacant. Information reaching the Commission also indicates the existence of vacancies for the Cross River North Senatorial District, Nganzai and Bayo State constituencies of Borno State and Bakori State constituency of Katsina State.

“The Edo and Ondo Governorship elections as well as the five Senatorial and four State Assembly bye-elections are spread across nine States of the Federation involving a cumulative number of 62 Local Government Areas (LGAs); 687 Registration Areas (RAs); 9,149 Polling Units (PUs) and 6,454,950 registered voters. Put in the context of our sub-region, the number of registered voters for these off-season elections is equivalent to holding General Elections in Liberia, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone and Cape Verde put together. Full delimitation details for the elections have been uploaded on our website and social media platforms.

“The Commission is determined to hold some of the bye-elections ahead of the two major Governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States to enable us test run and fine-tune our modified processes in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Already, the Commission has directed the RECs for the nine States where the bye-elections will hold to begin preparations in earnest. At the same time, we are also studying reports of recent elections conducted under the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in places such as Mali and South Korea, for any lessons that will strengthen our processes and protect all those involved.

“At this meeting, we will receive the input of our RECs to the new policy with particular reference to its implementation in the areas of recruitment and training of ad hoc staff, logistics for the deployment of personnel and materials, the conduct of party primaries and nomination of candidates, the submission of the names of polling agents by political parties, the accreditation of observers and the media, the security of the electoral process, polling unit management and the collation and declaration of results.”

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Nigeria Reports 553 New COVID-19 Cases, Highest Single-Day Infections

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A graphic published by the NCDC on May 30, 2020, displaying the nation’s COVID-19 statistics.

Nigeria witnessed a spike in COVID-19 cases on Saturday, recording more than 500 new single-day infections for the first time.

The new cases were confirmed by the specialist agency, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Twitter.

This takes the country’s total infections to 9,855, out of which 2856 have been discharged with 273 losing their lives.

Data from the NCDC showed that the cases were spread across 14 states and the FCT, with Lagos accounting for the highest number of infections for the day with 378 cases.

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Nigerians Will Now Pay N50 Stamp Duty On Electronic Receipts

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Nigerians will now pay stamp duties on all forms of electronic notifications acknowledging receipts of funds.

This includes SMS and messages on any electronic platform such as emails and Whatsapp messages.

This is according to a circular that was signed by FIRS’ Executive Chairman, Muhammad Nami, as seen on the tax agency’s website. Part of the circular said:

“Any electronic receipt for, or electronic transfer of, money deposited with any bank or with any banker in any type of account of an amount from N10,000 upwards shall attract a singular or one-off duty of the sum of N50.

“Stamp duty upon receipt (written, printed or in electronic form) for transactions between corporate bodies or between a corporate body and an individual, group or body of individuals, which amounts to N10,000 and above, shall be denoted by payment of N50 per receipt to the service.”

The FIRS circular also stated that stamp duties will be paid on “POS receipts, fiscalised device receipts, Automated Teller Machine (ATM) print-outs.”

The circular went further to categorically state that all receipts, either printed or electronically generated, or any form of electronic acknowledgement of money transactions, will attract the stamp duty of N50.

The agency also clarified that it is the only body authorised to collect such duties because “the Federal Inland Revenue Service is the only competent authority to impose, charge, and collect duties upon instruments specified in the schedule to this act if such instrument relates to matters executed between a company and an individual, group or body of individuals.”

The instruments subject to charge, as listed in the circular, include; fixed duty instruments such as Power of Attorney, Certificate of Attorney, Proxy forms, Appointment of receivers, Memorandum of Understanding, Joint Venture Agreements, Guarantors form, Ordinary agreements and Receipts; and Ad-valorem instruments such as Tenancy or lease agreements, legal mortgage or debentures, Sales agreements and Deed of assignments.

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