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Former President Jonathan Loses Elder Sister

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From Mike Tayese, Yenagoa

Madam Obebhatein Jonathan, elder sister to former President Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has passed on.

She died on Thursday at  the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State after a brief illness at the age of 70.

A statement signed by Jonathan’s media office noted that the deceased popularly known as Amissi was a retired teacher, businesswoman, a mother and grandmother who lived a dedicated life of service to God and humanity.

“She was a devout Christian, a virtuous woman and a role model to many within and outside her community,” the statement stated.

The statement indicated that burial has been scheduled for Tuesday 16th Feb, stressing that the details of the funeral rites would be announced by the family.

The deceased is survived by three children, siblings, including Dr Goodluck Jonathan and her mother Mama Eunice Afeni-Jonathan.

NEWS

Borehole Drillers Seek Expatriate Levy Review

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The Borehole Drillers’ Association of Nigeria (BODAN), has urged the Nigerian Government to reconsider its decision on the Expatriate Employment Levy (EEL), as it poses a threat to the survival of the drilling sector.

BODAN President, Mr Francis Uzoma, told newsmen on Monday that the decision has prompted many foreign drilling companies to consider relocating to other countries.

The Expatriate Employment Levy mandates an annual fee for organisations employing expatriate workers, requiring $15,000 (£12,000) for a director and $10,000 for other employees.

This move, according to the Federal Government aims to encourage foreign companies to increase the employment of Nigerian workers.

Uzoma said the federal government should reconsider the decision by reviewing the mandated levy to be more considerate in line with current economic realities.

According to him, its members, especially the foreign investors have been worried about the new decision saying it was not beneficial to continue to operate in the country.

“I just came out from a meeting with my members and they have expressed concern about the new law which mandates organisations employing expatriate workers to pay $15,000 for a director and $10,000 for other employees.

“These companies have already indicated their intentions to leave the country, many of them are Indian and Asian drillers.

“There are predictions of massive job losses, affecting mainly Nigerian workers and would contribute to unemployment.

“We are calling for total review of this annual levy as the one-month window given for payment is not tenable and would affect the economy.

“Without such reconsideration, there’s a risk of drilling companies relocating to neighboring countries, as they have expressed dissatisfaction and unfavorable business conditions”.

These effects, he added include potential repercussions on the borehole sector, hindrance to knowledge transfer, and limitations on equipment and technology use.

He stressed the potential retaliation from foreign investors, particularly Nigerians in diaspora, highlighting the importance of considering the policy’s impact.

He mentioned his intention to write to the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, outlining the adverse effects of the policy on the economy.

NAN recalls President Bola Tinubu’s cautionary statement during the recent launch of the EEL handbook, where he warned against using the levy to obstruct potential investors.

He highlighted the government’s expectations to enhance revenue and promote indigenisation, emphasising the objective of balancing employment opportunities between Nigerians and expatriates.

Tinubu clarified that the government’s aim is to narrow wage gaps between expatriates and the Nigerian labor force.

Also, it is to simultaneously foster increased employment opportunities for qualified Nigerians within foreign companies operating in the country. (NAN)

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Cambodia Arrests 2 Foreigners for Smuggling 2.27 kg Narcotics

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Cambodian customs police at the Phnom Penh International Airport said they have arrested two South Korean nationals for an attempt to smuggle 2.27 kg narcotics to South Korea.

The duo, a man and woman, were caught Sunday night while they checked in for a ZA215 flight bound for Seoul.

The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia said in a news release on Monday.

In their body searches, our customs officials found many packs of drugs wrapped around their waists, the news release said.

“As a result, some 1.29 kg of crystal methamphetamine and 0.98 kg of ketamine were seized from the two suspects’ possession.’’

The Southeast Asian country has no death sentence for a drug trafficker.

Under its law, someone found guilty of trafficking more than 80 grammes of illicit drugs could be jailed for life.

According to the country’s Anti-Drug Department (ADP), Cambodia nabbed 3,899 drug-related suspects, including 106 foreigners, in 1,659 cases from Jan. 1 to March 3, 2024.

According to the report they confiscated a total of 2.79 tonnes of narcotics.

Most of the seized drugs were ketamine, crystal methamphetamine, methamphetamine tablets, heroin, ecstasy, and cocaine. (Xinhua/NAN)

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NEWS

Police Raid Criminal Hideouts, Arrest 18 Street Urchins In Kano

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The Police Command in Kano State has arrested 18 street urchins for allegedly conspiring to attack innocent members of the general public.

The Commissioner of Police, Mr Usaini Gumel, made this known in an interview in Kano on Monday.

Gumel said “the suspects are members of an unlawful society poised to launch unprovoked attacks on innocent members of the public.

The street urchins, the CP said, were arrested at some crime prone identified locations, criminal hideouts and black spots in the metropolis

He listed the areas to include: Mazaunar Tanko, Dandishe, Kofar Dan Agundi, Kofar Mata, and Filin Idi.

Others are Kofar Na’Isa, Kwanar Diso, Kukar Bulukiya and Dorayi Babba.

He said that items recovered from the suspects during on the spot search conducted on them included dangerous weapons and some dry weeds suspected to be marijuana.

Gumel said that all the suspects would be properly screened, profiled and after conclusion of investigations prosecuted in court.

“More sting operations would be conducted to ensure that the state remains safe for all residents,” he added. (NAN)

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