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Reps Reconvene to Address Youth Bills

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has said that the House will reconvene plenary to address youth-related bills this week.

Gbajabiamila made the announcement on Saturday in Abuja, at a national strategy retreat organised by the Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF) of the National Assembly.

The retreat was titled, “Rethinking Youth Development in Nigeria”.

Gbajabiamila said that the retreat was coming at a time of a new and intense wave of restiveness sweeping across every part of our country.

The Speaker said that there is a large majority of young people who are tired of the way things are going.

He said the youth want to see rapid and progressive change in the structure of the country and in the practice of democratic government.

“We all know the House suspended plenary to consider the Budget which is a yearly thing we do to give time to pass the budget to maintain our January to December budget cycle.

“But I do intend to reconvene the House to consider a couple of very important things that will affect Nigerians such as the Electoral Law, the PIB and more importantly the Bills that are already in the system concerning the development of the youth.

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“So we will hopefully by next week take one or two days to consider those bills and others.

“I will also want to encourage the young parliamentarians that we will give you all the support necessary.

“You will agree with me that many times when we talk about the constitution, the makeup of Nigeria when we talk about the structure, when we sing the National Anthem, when we talk about the pledge, we always refer nostalgically to our founding fathers.

“Many of them were not even fathers at that time, they were extremely young in their 20s.

“So I think it is time we stopped making reference only to our founding fathers or let those references be few.

“But let’s start talking about our modern fathers and mothers, those of us here the young people out there, this is your time, this is your moment, it is important that we seize it,” he said.

Gbajabiamila said the lawmakers should consider an amendment in the Constitution to the definition of Federal Character.

According to him, when we talk about Federal Character within the context of appointments, infrastructure and the rest of it in the Constitution, Federal Character as it is, is limited to where you are from, like your ethnicity.

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“I think it is time that we expand the definition of Federal Character because the character of a Nation is not just based on your tribe.

“It is based on religion, it is based on where you are from, it is based on your sex, it is based on your age.

“So when you are talking about Federal Character you look at all those things and they are what make up the Federal Character.

“You talk about so so percentage of women, percentage of youth, that is the true meaning of Federal and I think that is what should be reflected in the constitution,” he said.

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VAT War: Lagos, Rivers Lose First Round to FIRS

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Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu
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The Court of Appeal in Abuja has denied the Rivers and Lagos state governments of the rights to collect Value Added Tax (VAT) in their respective states.

The court said the oral application for the restraining order against the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) adopted by the states’ legal team, was not acceptable.

A three-man panel of the court, led by Haruna Tsanami, directed the lawyers representing the two states to file a formal application in place of an oral application.

The FIRS had appealed against the judgement of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt empowering the Rivers State government to collect VAT.

The Tsanami-led panel had last Friday ordered parties to the case to maintain status quo, which appeared to be the decision both Rivers and Lagos tried to overturn yesterday.

The court had also adjourned till Thursday for the hearing of an application by Lagos state, not yet officially a party to the suit, to be joined as a respondent to the FIRS’ appeal.

Emotion ran high after Rivers and Lagos legal teams prayed for the restraining order against FIRS at yesterday’s proceedings.

The lawyers on the two sides of the divide had tense back-and-forth arguments over the request for restraining order.

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Rivers and Lagos legal teams, led by Ifedayo Adedipe and Moyosore Onigbanjo, prayed for what they described as “preservative order” restraining the FIRS from collecting VAT and sharing the proceeds to states pending the determination of the substantive appeal.

“My Lords, the appellant (FIRS) collects VAT and shares amongst states of the federation.

“Therefore, if it is not stopped from doing so, and the court finds its action unconstitutional, it will be difficult to recover the VAT proceeds that must have been shared to the States,” Mr Adedipe, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said.

Onigbanjo, the Attorney-General of Lagos State, and SAN, canvassed the same line of argument.

According to him, if FIRS is not restrained from collecting VAT and sharing it among the states of the federation, in the event the court finds its action inappropriate at the end of the day, “then it will be difficult to recover the VAT proceeds that must have been shared to the states.”

Reacting to the oral request by Rivers and Lagos lawyers, FIRS lawyer, Mahmud Magaji, also a SAN, faulted the arguments of his opponents in a combative tone.

“My Lords, I think my learned colleagues are testing the patience of the court, when it is clear that their application has no basis,” Mr Magaji said, adding that the Lagos government lacked the right to make such a request when it was yet to be joined as an interested party.This submission drew Onigbanjo’s ire who wanted to reply Magaji, but for the intervention of a member of the Appeal Court panel, cautioning the FIRS lawyer to “exhibit higher sense of decorum in addressing his colleagues

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Plateau Assembly Commends FG Delegations to State

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From Jude Dangwam, Jos

The Plateau State House of Assembly has commended the Federal Government for sending delegations at different levels to facilitate peace in Plateau following the recent serial attacks that claimed many lives and property worth millions of naira destroyed in the state.

They stressed that the presence of the Secretary to the Government of Nigeria, Boss Mustapha (SGF), Rev. Dr. Samson Ayokunle (SUPO Ayokunle) CAN President, Gen. Lucky Iraboh – Chief of Defence Staff, the Sultan of Sokoto and President Supreme Council for Islamic in Nigeria, His Eminent Mohammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, has gone a long way in reinforcing the confidence of citizens of the state on Government.

The State Assembly states this yesterday through its spokesperson, Hon. Dasun Philip Peter, the Chairman, House Committee on Information at a Media briefing in Josl

They also applauded Governor Simon Lalong for implementing five out of the six resolutions earlier issued to him by the 9th Assembly with a two weeks ultimatum for actions in the interest of citizens of the state.

According to Hon. Dasun “You may recall that the House of Assembly gave two weeks for the Governor to act on its resolutions on Security to address the insecurity challenges affecting the State at that particular time.

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“We felt it is important as an organized institution; we have a duty to communicate back to the people of Plateau State the outcome of the resolution and of the present position of the Assembly.

“We gave a six-item resolution to the Executive Governor to act on within two weeks. He has so far been able to address five of the items remaining one that is ongoing,” he explained.

The Chairman House Committee on Information said the six resolutions were for the Governor to “Visit Yelwa Zangam Community in Jos North and pay the hospital bills of those affected in the conflict.

“Visit to extend relief materials to the Rukuba Irigwe Community, Riyom, Bokkos and Mangu, and to address the people of Plateau on the Security situation and show to people of Plateau state a renewed commitment.

“To improve the security situation in the State by engaging the advance security operatives. To also suspend the planned Adhoc teachers recruitment and to replace it with the Vigilante, and Local hunters as well as implement the Anti Land Grabbing Law to enable those occupying illegal lands on the Plateau to vacate such lands and native owners to take back their lands.”

The Assembly said it will not condone any action that is capable of threatening the peace and progress of the state, as they pledged to continued to stand with the people of the state at all time.

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“We as an institution will not condone any act of insecurity and killings in the Plateau henceforth. As an Arm of Government with the People at heart, we are still putting on record that we stand with the people of Plateau and we give assurances of commitment to the course of Plateau and its heritage.  

“Worthy of note, is the fact that the House is still resolute in support of the Leadership of Rt. Hon. Abok Nuhu Ayuba, our firm Speaker and our Loyalty to him is unshakeable,” he firmly stated.

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Umahi, Uzodinma, Obiano others absent from Southern Governors Meeting

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Four Southeast Governors were absent at the Southern Nigeria Governors Forum meeting winch commenced in Enugu yesterday.

Enugu Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who  hosted the meeting, was the only Governor from the Southeast present at the venue at the time of filling this report.

His counterparts from Abia, Ebonyi and Imo sent representatives while that of Anambra State did not send any representative.

The closed-door meeting, which was being coordinated by Ondo Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredol, commenced with nine Governors and seven deputies.

Other Governors at the meeting were Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta); Gbenga Oyetola (Osun); Babajide Sanwo-Olu(Lagos); Nyesom Wike (Rivers); Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom); Duoye Diri (Bayelsa) and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun).

The Deputy Governors were Prof Evara Esu (Cross River); Udo Okochukwu (Abia); Bisi Egbeyemi (Ekiti); Kelechi Igwe (Ebonyi); Rauf Olaniyan (Oyo); Philip Shuaibu (Edo) and Prof. Placid Njoku (Imo).

The governors first ushered in to a security guard of honour, were later received by Ugwuanyi at the Government Lodge.

Before entering the venue of the meeting, Akeredolu welcomed his fellow governors to the Coal City State and assured the outcome of the meeting would be made known in a communiqué.

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