Wednesday, 20 September 2017
News & Stories

News & Stories (1578)

SPONSORED BY 234NAIRA.COM: On preparation for its expected return on January 14, the Ponzi scheme Mavordi Mondial Movement (MMM) promoters have issued instructions to its participants whose accounts were frozen, to perform “Promo Tasks: A New Tool for MMM Community Development.”

The MMM message to subscribers said the tasks, which should be done both online and offline, will promote the scheme and drive “traffic and participation” by the time the restriction on the account is lifted.

“Being an MMM member implies not only opportunities, but also a responsibility for the state and development of the MMM Community”, the message said.

The information raises hopes of the almost three million Nigerians who invested in the scheme, following the ban on withdrawals on December 3, 2016.

On January 2, the scheme on its official Twitter handle, @MMMNigeriaHelp disclosed that participants’ accounts will be unfrozen on January 14.

Some of the participants have taken to social media to give reasons why the scheme should return.

ÌÌÌ was a Russian company that perpetrated one of the world’s largest Ponzi schemes of all time, in the 1990s. By different estimates from five to 40 million people lost up to $10 billion. The exact figures are not known even to the founders

Posted On Friday, 06 January 2017 05:02 Written by

• SUVs, boats, sports cars now attract 70% • Rice, alcoholic spirits 60 %
• Fairly used(tokunbo) cars, 35 % • Industrial oils, bolts, others down to five per cent

SPONSORED BY X365TV.COM: The Federal Government has raised duties on luxury goods such as yachts and Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) imported into the country.But also affected are some food items such as rice, salt and sugarcane that have local alternatives.

The plan to raise the duties which was first contemplated by former Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala under the immediate past administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan had remained on the drawing board due to Jonathan’s loss of the presidential election to the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and the consequent change of officials between the former administration and the current one.

Under the new Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) Common External Tariff (CET) regime which administers import and export tariffs within the West African sub-region in the movement of goods, importers of yachts and other luxury automobiles such as SUVs, boats, sports cars, and other vessels used for pleasure are now to pay 70 per cent of the value of the vehicles as taxes (duties) to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). The new rate is a jump from the 20 per cent which the owners currently enjoy. The increase is contained in a circular by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun to the NCS.

Other major items affected in the duty increase include sugar cane and salt from 10 per cent to 70 per cent; alcoholic spirit, beverages and tobacco from 20 per cent to 60 per cent; and rice from 10 per cent to 60 per cent.

Also included on the list are packaged cement, from 10 per cent to 50 per cent; cotton/ fabrics materials, from 35 per cent to 45 per cent; and used cars popular known as Tokunbo, from 10 per cent to 35 per cent respectively.

Medicaments such as anti-malarials and antibiotics; crude palm oil; wheat flour; tomatoes paste; and cassava products are also affected in the upward review of duties. But essential industrial sector accessories, including bolt, industrial oil and other equipment are to enjoy a downward review to spur local industrialisation.

The cut in the import tariff on items for industrial use may encourage entrepreneurs whose industries are shut down due to the high duties paid on imported components. Such companies may resume or expand their operations as a result of the incentives.

However, while the new policy may trigger a rise in the prices of some consumable goods until the demand for them is met locally, the NCS, which has been grappling with meeting the fiscal target set for it by the Federal Government may boost its revenue.

The policy which is coming on the heels of the recent ban by the NCS on all vehicle imports through the land borders in the country, as part of measures to curb smuggling of particularly used cars into the country is going to see citizens pay higher for used cars popularly known as ‘Tokunbo.”

The smuggling of cars into the country may have dealt a very big blow to the customs’ revenue generation as the budget minister recently announced that the NCS’ projected revenue for the third quarter of this year fell short of expectation by N100 billion, recording N200 billion instead of N300 billion target given to the agency by the Federal Government.

According to the Finance Minister, Buhari has already approved the new tariff regime.The circular reads in part: “This is to confirm that Mr. President has approved the 2016 fiscal policy measures made up of the Supplementary Protection Measures (SPM) for implementation together with the ECOWAS CET 2015 – 2019 with effect from 17th October, 2016.

“Consequently, all transactions prior to the effective date of this circular shall be subjected to the tariff rates applicable before the coming into effect of this 2016 fiscal policy measures.”

It added that the approved SPM was in line with the provision of the ECOWAS CET comprising the following:“An Import Adjustment Tax (IAT) list with additional taxes on 173 tariff lines of the extant ECOWAS CET; national list consisting of items with reduced import duty rates to promote and encourage development in critical sectors of the economy; an import prohibition list (Trade), applicable only to certain goods originating from non-ECOWAS member states.”

Adeosun declared that the current fiscal policy measures superseded those of 2015, and advised the customs and other stakeholders to ensure strict compliance.

Posted On Friday, 06 January 2017 04:41 Written by

•NCS: vehicles, rice imports prohibited through land 
boarders

SPONSORED BY BUY656.COM: THE Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has started the implementation of the policy banning importation of vehicles through the land borders with many vehicles trapped at the borders.

The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Seme Chapter, Lagos State confirmed yesterday that many vehicles were trapped at the border posts.

A statement yesterday by the Customs Deputy Public Relations Officer, Mr. Joseph Attah, quoted the Comptroller-General Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd), as reiterating the Federal Government ban on importation of rice and vehicles through the land borders.

He urged officers and men of the service to ensure maximum collection of revenue and strict implementation of government’s fiscal policy.
The Public Relations Officer of the NCS, Seme Command, Mr. Selechang Taupyen, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Badagry that the service had to comply with government’s fiscal policy.

Taupyen said the command’s officials had been placed at strategic places to curb any form of smuggling of cars.

The Federal Government had on December 5 placed a ban on importation of used and new vehicles through land borders with effect from January 1, 2017.
“The Federal Government has directed that importation of cars through the land borders should be banned and we are the agency that would enforce it. So, we have started with that.

“The border is close to the point of importation of cars and the command has placed its men and escorts at strategic places to ensure that there is no smuggling of cars through the border.

“We also have a good working relationship and synergy with other security agencies, who assist us in enforcing this policy because we all work for the same government.

“We advise the public to abide by the government policy and if they must purchase a car, then it should come through the seaport as any vehicle that tries to come through the land border would be seized and confiscated.
“Violators of the law would face the full wrath of the law,’’ he said.

Taupyen added that the policy was meant to encourage local production of vehicles.
“The public must look at the long term benefit of this policy as this would help in encouraging local production of vehicles and it would boost the economy,” he said.

The Chairman of ANLCA, Alhaji Bisiriyu Danu, said as at Friday, December 30, 2016, the Customs authorities asked the agents to stop payment of Customs duty on vehicles by 5p.m.

Danu said the association was not aware of any circular counter to the ban.

He said so many vehicles uncleared by Customs agents were as at yesterday morning trapped at the ports of neighbouring countries.
The Customs agent said the association went into dialogue with some government representatives to grant a three-month grace period.
Danu said the grace period would enable ships carrying vehicles to berth for clearance before implementation of the ban.

The Customs agent said the ban would render many car dealers around Badagry and environs idle and this could be a dangerous trend.
A major stakeholder in Seme, Chief Sam Maduike, pleaded with the Federal Government to lift the ban.

“The policy is going to bring untold hardship to the masses as the average Nigerians cannot afford to buy a brand new car,” he said.
The President of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, Mr. Lucky Amiwero, told NAN that the Federal Government should inaugurate a committee to look critically into the implications of the ban on vehicle imports.

He said government should also look at the risk of the ban to the lives of Customs officers because there would be increase in smuggling.
Amiwero said a question that should also be asked is: “Are Nigerian Ports friendly to accept vehicles?”
He urged government to address the high cost of doing business in Nigerian ports.

The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) yesterday said it supported the ban.

Its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Stanley Ezenga, told NAN that the association’s support was borne out of the economic benefits that the policy would bring to the nation.

Customs re-deploys senior officers

THE Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) yesterday re-deployed eight Assistant Comptrollers-General and 238 Deputy Comptrollers-General of Customs.
In a statement made available to reporters in Abuja, its Deputy Public Relations Officer, Mr. Joseph Attah, noted that the action was designed to strengthen operations and reposition the service to meet the challenges of the new year.

The statement said: “In a bid to strengthen operations and reposition the service to meet the challenges of the new year, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd), has approved the redeployment of eight Assistant Comptrollers-General and 238 Deputy Comptrollers of Customs.”
With the redeployment, which takes immediate effect, the following Assistant Comptrollers-General: ACG Charles Edike has been moved from Zone A to Human Resource Development (HRD),     ACG Ahmed Mohammed deployed from HRD to Zone B, ACG Aminu Dangaladima moved from Zone B to Enforcement.

Also, ACG Francis Dosumu was been deployed from Enforcement to Zone D, ACG Augustine Chidi moved from Zone D to Excise, Free Trade Zone and Industrial Incentives (Ex,FTZ, & I I),  ACG Monday Abueh moved from Ex ,FTZ, & I I to Zone A,  ACG Umar Sanusi from HQ to Zone C,  ACG Abdulkadir Azerema from Zone C to HQ.”

The statement added that the redeployment of Deputy Comptrollers of Customs affected the Service Public Relations Officer, DC Wale Adeniyi, who is now posted to Apapa Customs Area Command, Lagos.

Posted On Wednesday, 04 January 2017 03:32 Written by

SPONSORED BY BUY656.COM: The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja will be closed on March 8 for repairs, the Ministry of Transportation said yesterday.

The nation’s capital’s airport’s runway is to be reactivated after closure. It will last for six weeks

The announcement of the date, which was previously fixed for next month, was after a meeting between Minister of State (Aviation) Hadi Sirika and stakeholders in the sector. No reason was given for the date change.

Ministry spokesman James Odaudu said the meeting enabled the minister to brief the stakeholders on efforts being made to ensure that the use of Kaduna’s airport is “seamless and hitch-free”.

According to the plan, flights to the Abuja airport will be diverted to the Kaduna Airport, about 160kilonmetres to Abuja and passengers travelling to Abuja will travel in bus shuttles, guarded by security provided by the government, to the capital.

Posted On Wednesday, 04 January 2017 03:16 Written by

The Association of Turkish People in Nigeria (ATPEN) felicitates with the kind and loving people of Nigeria this yuletide season.  It is our earnest desire that Nigeria witnesses’ sustainable growth and peace in the year 2017. 

We pray for tolerance and peaceful coexistence between all the religious and ethnic groups in the country. We also wish to felicitate with President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR and wish him more grace and strength as he pilots the affairs of this great nation in 2017. 

The Association of Turkish People in Nigeria is proud of Nigeria and its people. May the gift of peace, love, happiness and warmth envelop Nigeria in the New Year.  Happy New Year! 

Signed 

Cemal Yigit

President

Posted On Monday, 02 January 2017 14:53 Written by

SPONSORED BY 234NAIRA.COM: President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday in Abuja commended the troops of the Nigerian Army for crushing Boko Haram terrorists in their last enclave in Sambisa forest.

In a goodwill message to troops of the Operation Lafiya Dole on the successful capture of the Boko Haram enclave in Sambisa forest, Buhari expressed delight, saying he was proud of the troops.

He said: “I am delighted at, and most proud of the gallant troops of the Nigerian Army, on receipt of the long-awaited and most gratifying news of the final crushing of Boko Haram terrorists in their last enclave in Sambisa forest.

“I want to use this opportunity to commend the determination, courage and resilience of troops of Operation Lafiya Dole at finally entering and crushing the remnants of the Boko Haram insurgents at Camp Zero, which is located deep within the heart of Sambisa forest.

“I was told by the Chief of Army Staff that the Camp fell at about 1:35 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 22, and that the terrorists are on the run, and no longer have a place to hide. I urge you to maintain the tempo by pursuing them and bringing them to justice.’’

The president, therefore, called on all Nigerians to cooperate and support the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies by providing useful information that would expose all the terrorists hiding among the populace.

He, however, urged the troops to further intensify their efforts toward liberating the remaining Chibok girls still in captivity.

Buhari also congratulated and commended “the able leadership of the Nigerian Army in particular and indeed, that of the Armed Forces in general, for making this possible.

“This, no doubt, will go a long way in improving the security situation not only in the North East and the country in general. But we must not let our guards down.

“Once more, congratulations to our troops and all who, in one way or the other, contributed to this most commendable and momentous effort. May the Almighty continue to be with you.

“I wish you a merry Christmas and a most rewarding, peaceful 2017.’’

Posted On Saturday, 24 December 2016 14:46 Written by

*As staff demand payment of salary arrears

SPONSORED BY CHIQUEMAGAZINE.COM: After owing staff salaries ranging from 10 to 17 months, THISDAY Newspapers Limited has sacked 76 workers.

The workers were sacked on Monday in a bid by the troubled newspaper outfit to navigate through the biting economic recession in the country.

THISDAY staff are being owed months of salaries even while the company is making billions of naira through advertising, special projects and others annually.

The newspaper outfit is owned by Nduka Obaigbena, a shrewd business man who was fingered in the $2.1 billion arms scandal, but had to return some millions before being left off the hook.

The sacked staff have not been paid their arrears of salaries and had been laid off with nothing to fall back on.
Some staff said they were being owed 11 months, others 17 months. Some claimed that they only received salary only once this year.

Some editors of the newspaper are being owed between 15 and 17 months unpaid salary arrears.

THISDAY sources said staff of the company were suffering seriously in the midst of plenty as a result of bad management.

Series of protests and strikes in the company had sometimes forced the management to pay one month or few months of outstanding salaries after which the status quo remains.

On some few occasions this year, staff had shutdown the company due to months of unpaid salaries while the company had gone to call the police from Area ‘B’ Command, Apapa to disrupt the protests.

Journalists under the employ of the company have lamented that the management has always deducted from source their Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS and never remit such deduction to the Pension Fund Administrators, PFAs.

Since 2009, workers’ CPS have not been remitted to the PFAs, painting a bleak future for the journalists under THISDAY employ.

Last year, Obaigbena ordered the sack 13 key staff in the Abuja office for demanding the payment of their arrears of salaries being owed them.

The staff had to threaten the management of the company to pay them their arrears and CPS or they would take legal action and exposed the ills of the company to the outside world. The threat forced the management to recall the affected staff for peace to reign.

It was also gathered that THISDAY is planning to convert all editorial staff to freelance journalists beginning from January 2017, a move that is likely to create turbulence in the company.

In the midst of unpaid salary arrears, Obaigbena was said to have purchased a brand new Rolls-Royce car worth N120 million this year, a decision that got staff angry and fed up with the unwholesome system.

Posted On Thursday, 08 December 2016 02:04 Written by

SPONSORED BY CHIQUEMAGAZINE.COM: There is a stock reply in Nigeria when a man is asked to spend money. He, in most cases, would say: “I am not another da-Rocha!” It is an expression that has to do with stupendous wealth or display of it or generosity or a combination of all. However, while many use the statement with ease, not all of them know anything about the man called Candido da-Rocha. We offer you his story this week and, later, other narratives of the lives and times of prominent Nigerians who were trail blazers in their own rights in the 20th century. Below is the story of da-Rocha and what made him ‘tick’:

The life of Candido da Rocha is a complex read. He was an entrepreneur whose activities did not follow the trend of popular economic theories. He was a celebrated capitalist, with property and estates running into billions of naira. He was a businessman with old-fashioned-idiosyncrasies, yet he accumulated properties in every nook and cranny of Lagos. He had no apologies for being rich, and enjoyed showing off. One of his habits, according to one of his grand-daughters, Chief (Mrs) Yewande Oyediran, was throwing coins to children from the balcony of his one-storey building – christened ‘Casa d’Agua’ in English ‘Water House’ – at Kakawa street.

Candido da Rocha was arrogant and ostentatious; at the same time he was not one who played to the popular masses. He was rarely seen in public. When he was nominated as a candidate for an election by his bosom friend Herbert Macaulay, he began his address to the party faithful thus: “I am Candido da Rocha, your candidate into the House, vote for me if you like, and if you don’t, all well and good.” Immediately after the ‘speech’ he vanished. He did not need their votes and therefore he did not get them. The people of Lagos ‘dashed’ him some 20 votes.

Eko Samba community in Brazilian quarters, Lagos.

Eko Samba community in Brazilian quarters, Lagos.

While some analysts believe that Da Rocha’s attitude at the rally was audacious, Mrs Oyediran disagreed: “No, papa was jot a very proud fellow. He surely did not mean it the way people had interpreted it. He was only saying that judging from his background as a serviceman, a man who had shown so much interest in the welfare of the people, the people should vote for him. Papa was a very modest man.”

Indeed, Da Rocha was a very modest and generous capitalist. During the Second World War, when the authorities of Kings College were looking for a place to relocate the students in the boarding house – among whom were Tiamiyu Bello Osagie, who would become one of Nigeria’s most celebrated gynecologists; Adenekan Ademola, son of Nigeria’s first indigenous Chief justice, Adetokunmbo Ademola; Dapo Aderemi, son of Sir Adesoji Aderemi, the legendary Onni of Ife – da Rocha volunteered his Bonanza Hotel on Customs Street, Lagos, and did not collect a dime for the period it was used. Even after the war, when government asked influential Nigerians to contribute to the rehabilitations fund, he made substantial donations and he instructed that the amount should not be disclosed to the public.

Because of his wealth, a lot of people assumed that he built the ‘Water House’ where he lived most of his life. The house, which even by the standards of modern architecture stands out as a formidable edifice, was built by his father, Esan. The structure is fortified by massive pillars, and it can compete favourably with ancient temples and synagogues. It is a masterpiece with some figurative decorations symbolic of the hardwork of the past; the honesty of ancient man; the affordability of things, the vision of a peaceful man, the quality of things of old, the opulence of a blessed man, a lesson for the modern man and a monument of virtue.

A reconstruction of Da Rocha’s history shows that his family was originally from Ilesha. His father John Esan adopted his name da Rocha while in captivity in Brazil. The adoption was to demonstrate his emotional attachment to his master and possibly a way of expressing his desire to identify with the name that had brought him some fame and luck. Although Candido was born in Brazil in 1869, his father never stopped dreaming of taking him and all his children back to their homeland in West Africa. However by the time John Esan found his way back to ‘Nigeria’, he did not go back to Ilesha. He decided to integrate his family into the new settlement that was taking shape in Lagos.

Lagos in the early days

Lagos in the early days

Together with other settlers and returnees from Brazil, they led a delegation to the representative of the Queen of England who was the symbolic head of the colonial administration. They requested for parcels of land on which they could settle so that they, too, could start to contribute their own quota to the economic growth of Lagos colony. Their request was granted. They were given an expanse of land in present day Lagos which stretched from the Central Bank to Moloney street. The area was christened Popo Aguda (Brazilian Quarters) and it became the settlement for the returnees and their families. Some names of other notable returnees include Agusto, Rodrigues, Vaughan, da Rocaha, Salvador, the Pereiras, Pedro da Silva and Gomez.

On the two plots allocated to Esan da Rocha on Kakawa street he built the ‘Water House’. On his death, Candido the eldest son, moved into the house. It was said that he paid off his other siblings before taking over the entire complex.

The first borehole in Lagos fitted with an imported iron mechanism to pump up water was installed in the da Rocha house. People in the neighbourghood came to fetch water. He sold water to some, to others he gave free. From the commercialization of this essential commodity, da Rocha made a considerable percentage of his wealth. Apart from selling water, Candido da Rocha operated a small shop at 12 Kakawa street where he traded in general merchandise which included gold brass, gold dust, imported shoes, brass fittings, textiles and jewelry. He exported kolanuts, alligator pepper, bitter kola and adire tye and dye to Brazil. With the profit from his trade he embarked on a number of capital projects. He also saw the value of owning property and reportedly acquired large tracts of land in Lagos especially on Broad Street, the Marina, Customs Street and Agege. The Agege land alone was over 55 acres on which stands a historic one storey building, the first of its kind. He built it as a relaxation hide out whenever he went to farm and to possibly make himself elusive to the throng of humanity loading around his Kakawa residence.

Candido da Rocha did his banking in style. Stories with respect to his banking activities are woven in myths. What is real, however, is that he operated some accounts with the then Standard Bank of Nigeria, Marina and Barclays Bank. He was reputed to be the most affluent depositor in both banks. It was popularly believed then that da Rocha’s accounts formed up to 80 per cent of the total deposits in the banks of all customers. His massive fortune earned him a large measure of respect and fear. One popular story which indicates the awe in which da Rocha was held goes thus on a certain day, da Rocha went to the bank and joined other people on the queue. All of a sudden, one Chief J.A Ajao emerged from nowhere and dashed to the front of the line. The cashier was about to attend to him when da Rocha flared up and threatened to close his account with the bank – National Bank Marina. It was Ajao himself who tendered effusive apologies to da Rocha for his misdemeanor with the excuse that he never knew that ‘a whole da Rocha was on the queue.’

Mrs Oyediran, his daughter, believes that this story was invented by the British, although she was too young at the time the incident was to have occurred to confirm its veracity. She, however stated that either this particular episode or another similar incident caused the British to scamper to ‘Water House’ to tender an apology to da Rocha. This action was enough to send a signal to the public that da Rocha was annoyed with the bank and had threatened to withdraw his money.

Another account has it that da Rocha was in the habit of taking a stroll to Standard Bank (now first bank) every evening. On such occasions he would go into the banking hall and have a short rest before returning to his house. Such outings kept the gossip mills rolling with the tales of da Rocha going to the bank to threaten them with the withdrawal of his huge deposits which would have led to a monetary crisis in the bank.

Despite all the myths about his invincibility, da Rocha remained a very modest man. He once reacted to the claim that he was a millionaire in an unassuming tone: “Don’t mind these Lagos people. They are a poor people. When you have 2,000 pounds in Lagos, you are called a millionaire. When you have a few shillings, they say you a rich man… I can tell you that I am not a millionaire but God had only blessed me because I know that only a very few people in my class have the money that I have.”

Da Rocha’s flamboyance and material wealth seemed to overshadow the religious qualities of the man. This does not suggest however that he was not religious. He was a Roman Catholic, his parents were Roman Catholics. Most of his friends were Catholics. The Rodrigues, the Pereiras, the Gomezs and the Sapara Williams. Indeed he was active in the church. He practically financed the construction of about three prominent churches in Lagos.

Posted On Monday, 05 December 2016 02:03 Written by

SPONSORED BY 234NAIRA.COM: Mr Bagudu Hirse, former Minister of State (Foreign Affairs), who was abducted by gunmen in Kaduna on Sunday, Nov. 20, has regained his freedom, his brother, Mr John Hirse, has confirmed.

“Bagudu was released in the early hours of Saturday,” John, retired permanent secretary in the federal civil service and currently District Head of Mangu, in Plateau, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Jos on Saturday.

He said that the former minister  was“hale and hearty”, and thanked Nigerians for the prayers and words of encouragement “during the tỳing period”.

“May God reward everyone who stood by us during the tough period,” he said.

John, however, did not give further details, and also refused to comment over whether a ransom was paid to the abductors.

Bagudu was abducted by gunmen at the Kaduna residence of Ambassador Mamman Daura, where he had gone to condole the family over the death of the former Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji ibrahim Dasuki.

 

Posted On Saturday, 26 November 2016 21:03 Written by

SPONSORED BY CHIQUEMAGAZINE.COM: Human rights lawyer, Mr. Fred Agbaje, is dead. He died on Saturday after an undisclosed ailment in London.

His friend and colleague, Richard Akinnola confirmed his death.

Gbenga Demola-Ojo, a laywer in a Facebook post, described his death as, ‘another great loss.’
He wrote, “Fred Agbaje, constitutional lawyer, gentleman, media personality and patriot! May your great soul find rest!”

Posted On Saturday, 26 November 2016 17:56 Written by
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