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States Must Be Encouraged To Harness Their Resources, Revenues – Wike

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Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike says Nigeria must encourage federating States to harness their resources and generate revenues, including Value Added Tax, VAT to advance their development.

He has also stressed that it is baffling to note that Rivers State is not included among states to benefit from any of the projects to be executed with the fresh loan that the Federal Government is seeking to obtain from the World Bank.

Governor Wike in a statement by his Media Aide Mr Kelvin Ebiri made the observation when the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the SUN (Newspaper) Publishing Limited, Mr. Onuoha Ukeh led a delegation to present a letter of nomination to him as the SUN Man of the Year 2020 Award at Government House, Port Harcourt on Monday.

The Rivers state governor observed that there are mounted attempts to frustrate federating States like Rivers, to actualise the constitutional provisions that empower them to harness their resources and revenues, particularly VAT.

The governor decried the situation where the legality of states collecting the VAT is not considered on the merit of the law by some public commentators including State executives, rather, they are politicising it and looking at it from prism of ethnicity and religion.

According to Governor Wike, what the FIRS was doing was illegal and could be likened to robbing from the states.

“You don’t even need to be a lawyer to know that VAT is not in item 58 and 59 of the second schedule of the 1999 Constitution as amended. Everybody knows that. It is not even in the concurrent list. Therefore, it falls under the residual list. It is not arguable. That yesterday nothing happens does not mean that today nothing will happen, or tomorrow something will not happen.

“Nigeria should encourage states to be strong enough to have resources to develop their states. we are in a federal system where we are practicing unitary system. Everybody at the end of the month will run to Abuja to share money. Nobody comes back to the state to think, how do I develop my state.”

He explained that the contest against the collection of the Valued Added Tax (VAT) was started by Lagos State which had sued the Federal Government at the Supreme Court. According to him, Rivers State only avoided their pitfall by suing the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, which is an agency of the Federal Government, that was illegally collecting the tax in the State.

“The issue of VAT did not start from Rivers State alone. It started in Lagos State when Lagos State challenged it in Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court said you (Lagos) shouldn’t have sued the Federal Government. All you would have done was to sue the agency. “

The governor observed that rather than commend Rivers State government for seeking to entrench fiscal federalism and constitutionalism, a particular State governor had threatened that the judgement of the court that declared that States and not FIRS are entitled to collect VAT within their jurisdiction, will not stand.

He urged those demanding for a brothers’ keeper consideration to first appreciate the position of the law and situate it rightly.

“Some people say, be your brother’s keeper. I have no problem in being my brother’s keeper but why not come out and say, let us tell ourselves the simple truth. As it is being provided in the law, who is the person responsible to collect the VAT.

“When you agree to that, that it is the state, then we can sit down to look at the different problems of states. And not to say be your brother’s keeper while you’re doing an illegal thing, in disobeying what the law says you should not do.”

Governor Wike stated that it is sheer act of discrimination for the Federal Government not to include Rivers State as one of the States that will benefit from projects for which it is seeking fresh foreign loans to execute.

“Look at the money that Federal Government has gone to borrow from the World Bank. Of all the projects, in all the states, Federal Government did not include Rivers State.

“Look at the list of projects that states will benefit from this money they’re borrowing from the World Bank, that they have sent to National Assembly for approval, the only states that is not benefitting is Rivers State.

He further continued: “It is the prerogative of Mr. President ; if he says he does not like Rivers State, if the ruling party says they don’t like Rivers State, I won’t kill myself. But leave the one that the law says I should be the one to collect so that I will be able to develop my own state.”

Speaking further, Governor Wike explained that beyond the provision of infrastructure, his administration is seeking a law that will provide comfortable accommodation for judicial officers on retirement.

The reason, he said, is to ensure that, while in service, the judicial officers can concentrate on their jobs without cutting corners and avoid corrupt practices.

Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the SUN (Newspaper) Publishing Limited, Mr. Onuoha Ukeh said the SUN Man of the Year 2020 Award is the flagship of award the company.

According to him, Governor Wike was unanimously selected for his remarkable contributions to the socioeconomic development of Nigeria and promotion of fiscal federalism with his position on VAT, which will help in the restructuring of Nigeria.

“ Today, His Excellency has guided Nigeria to true federalism with the issue on VAT. Knowing what fiscal federalism should be His Excellency went to court to challenge the collection of VAT and the Court stated that actually the States should collect VAT. And that is laying the foundation for true federalism and fiscal federalism.”

Ukeh commended Governor Wike for the sterling performance in office and infrastructural revolution taking place in Rivers State.

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Politics

Work On Gyawana-Opalo-Hoki Electricity Project Will Begin Soon – Gov Fintiri

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By Muhammad B. Muhammad

Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State has announced that work on Gyawana-Opalo-Hoki electricity project in Lamurde Local government area will commence soon.

The Governor who revealed this when he led the campaign train of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to canvassing for votes in Gyawana, Lamurde Local Government Area ahead of the forthcoming elections said Government will begin connection of the remaining communities without light to the national grid.

He told the people of Gyawana, Opalo Ngbakowo and Dubwangun wards that his administration has constructed 4km in Lamurde town, 11km of rural road and built 60-bed capacity hospital among others in the local government area.

Governor Umaru Fintiri while noting how his administration turned around the education sector, said he has given local government council chairmen approval to employ more qualified teachers into primary schools to enhance teaching and learning in the state.

On the tussle between host community/workers and management of Dangote Sugar Refinary Numan, Governor Fintiri told the electorates how he asked Alhaji Aliko Dangote to pay compensation among other things to the victims.

He called on the people to support his re-election bid and vote for all PDP candidates in the forthcoming general elections from top to bottom for better Adamawa and Nigeria as a whole.

After the Gyawana rally, Governor Umaru Fintiri alongside top government officials has commissioned Lecture Hall at College of Agriculture Ganye Satelitte Campus Gyawana in Lamurde Local government area.

Meanwhile, Governor Umaru Fintiri in Suwa, Lamurde LGA for the campaign has reassured his commitment to maintain the diversity of Adamawa people and provide equity and fairness to all tribes in the state for peace and tranquility.

Governor Fintiri told the people of Suwa, Sabon Layi and Waduku Wards that the government would continue to protect their lives and property to the best of its ability urging them to vote for PDP candidates in the forthcoming elections.

According to the Governor, It is only quality and affordable education that will bridge the gap between the rich and the poor and therefore reiterates his continued commitment to provide free education in the state.

He promised to drill borehole in Suwa and directed the State Ministry of Rural Infrastructure and Community Development to connect the area and Waduku to the national grid with immediate effect.

Governor Fintiri has during the rally sympathized with the people over the death of PDP Youth Leader in Suwa Ward, Hon. Mairiga Yohannah who was being laid to rest today (Saturday) in Lamurde and prayed to God to grant him eternal rest.

An elder statesman in Suwa, Mr Gabriel Yakubu commended Governor Fintiri for his free education Programme among other giant strides of his administration and assured him and other PDP candidates massive votes of the community.

While on a stop over in Timnu in the Local Government Area, Governor Umaru Fintiri has promised to procure brand new additional transformer for the community for improved electricity as requested by leaders of the community.

The Governor asked the electorates to continue to maintain peace among them as according to him government on its part will not relent until the citizens sleep with their two eyes close across the state.

The State Chairman of PDP, Barrister Tahir Shehu while presenting flag to Hon. Pawikai Bauna as the party’s Candidate for State Assembly Member Lamurde Constituency in Gyawana urged the people to maintain their support for the party.

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Ceremony

Gov Fintiri Turbaned As New Gyana Bachama

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By Muhammad B. Muhammad

Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State Saturday turbaned as the new Gyana (defender) Bachama by Hama Bachama and Paramount ruler of Bachama Kingdom, Homun Daniel Shaga Ismaila.

The colorful event which held in Lamurde, the headquarters of Bachama Traditional Council was attended by State Deputy Governor, Chief Crowther Seth and some top government officials, party chieftains among others .

Speaking at the event, Homun Shaga Ismaila pointed out that the title is an additional responsibility on the Governor to championing the course of peace and prayed that it will be a path to progress and development of the land.

The royal father commended Governor Umaru Fintiri for ensuring peace and security in Bachama Kingdom revealing that his peace loving subjects now go about their lawful businesses without any hindrance.

“Your Excellency, you have brought peace in our land. Our people now go to their farms in peace without any fear of attacks. I wish you the best of luck in the forthcoming elections and beyond,” said the royal father.

In his vote of thanks, Governor Umaru Fintiri appreciated the royal father for bestowing on him the title of Gyana Bachama and noted that it will no doubt spur him to do more in the area of good governance for the state.

He reiterates his resolve to use the title to promote peace, development and prospery in Bachama land and Adamawa State as well as unite the diversed Adamawa people across the nooks and crannies of the state.

Governor Fintiri had after the turbaning ceremony in company of some top government officials proceeded to commission Governor’s Lodge which was a joint project constructed in Lamurde town.

Highlight of the turbaning event was cultural dance display by various groups.

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Politics

Just In: Adamawa Govt Set To Construct Modire Road In Yola

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By Muhammad B. Muhammad

Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State says the government will soon flag off construction of Modire Road in Yola South LGA to ease the hardships of motorists and the community.

The Governor announced this when he led the campaign train of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to Yolde Pate in Yola South LGA to canvass for votes ahead of the forthcoming elections.

He said survey of the road will soon be conducted for commencement of the project by the contracting firm, Triacta Nigeria Limited.

The Governor equally reminded the people how his administration built Nyibango – Yolde Pate road, saying that of Lakare – Bole project is still ongoing and will be completed in the next 3 months.

“We have so far delivered on our 11- point agenda and in the second tenure of my administration, we will pursue on 8-point agenda for continued reformation of all sectors in the state,” said the Governor.

The Executive Chairman, Yola South LGA Council, Engineer Mohammed Hamidu commended Governor Fintiri for executing People’s oriented projects in the area and assured him massive votes of the residents.

In their separate remarks, Mohammed Yahaya Marafa and Madam Salome Nelson thanked Governor Fintiri for constructing Lakare – Bole road among other giant strides such as payment of Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations.

Meanwhile, Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri had earlier assured the people of Yadim and Ukituki Wards of Fufore LGA of continuity towards Improving security, and education among other sectors if re-elected.

The Governor who was in Yadim on the political campaign announced the readiness of the Government to asphalt the rural road leading to the area constructed by his administration adding that more projects will be deployed to the community.

In his remarks, the State Chairman of PDP, Barrister Tahir Shehu while receiving decampees into the party, assured them fair treatment while urging them to mobilize votes for the party in the forthcoming elections.

Speaking at the event, PDP Candidate for Verre Constituency, Mr Japhet Hammajabu said Yadim and Ukituki wards supported the Governor in 2019, and will indeed double their votes for him and other candidates of the party in the forthcoming elections.

The Sarki Tsabta Adamawa, Alhaji Hamman Adama Ahijo who recalled how bad the road leading to Yadim was before the coming of the present administration, thanked Governor Fintiri for constructing it and assured him bloc votes of the community and environs.

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