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Temporary closure of all tertiary institutions to allow students vote: Time for President Muhammed Buhari to Act

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#FixPolitics, a citizens-led, research-based movement designed to structurally change and innovate politics in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, calls on President Muhammed Buhari to direct the National Universities Commission (NUC), the National Board for Technical Education, and the National Commission for Colleges of Education through the Federal Ministry of Education to temporarily close all tertiary institutions for five days beginning from February 22 to February 27, 2023 with the goal of enabling students of tertiary institutions across the country to travel back to their places of residence to exercise their franchise in the February 25, 2023 elections. The same should apply to the subsequent Governorship and House of Assembly elections scheduled for March 11, 2023.

It will be recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) registration exercise in 2022 took place within the period of the prolonged ASUU strike which means that majority of students must have registered to vote in their various Local Governments of residence. The significance of this call is further magnified by the recent announcement by the INEC Chairman to the effect that students account for 40 per cent of the 9,518,188 newly registered voters. Prior to this announcement, INEC had already acknowledged in 2022 that there was an unprecedented surge in youth turnout for the continuous voter registration (CVR) exercise, which produced over two million new voters in one month.

Government should be seen to be doing everything necessary to encourage all eligible citizens to come out and vote on election day. Nigeria is at a critical crossroad and the 2023 elections is a defining election, the outcome of which will either produce transformational leaders who have the character, competence and capacity to arrest the drift of the Nigerian state or return the same old politicians who directly contributed to bringing Nigeria to its present hobbled state. It is therefore imperative that all hands must be on deck to educate citizens on the importance of coming out to vote and to do the needful to facilitate their coming out to vote.

We commend INEC for twice extending the allotted time to give more opportunity for citizens to collect their PVCs. It is now incumbent on the Federal Government of Nigeria to take executive action to ensure that students who have collected their PVCs are not denied the right to vote because tertiary institutions are in session. To do otherwise will amount to discouraging and disenfranchising the huge number of Nigerian students who answered the patriotic call to go and register and collect their PVCs.

The urgency of the moment demands patriotic and decisive action. President Mohammed Buhari has in several public statements assured Nigerians that he is determined to leave behind a legacy of free and fair elections. Giving the directive now for all tertiary institutions to temporarily close for five days to allow students to travel home to vote will be a compelling and convincing step in the right direction to further convince Nigerians of his sincerity.

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FIRS generates N12.3 trn in 2023 – CEO

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The Chief Executive, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Zacch Adedeji, said that the organisation witnessed unprecedented progress in revenue collection, culminating in a remarkable achievement of N12.3 trillion in 2023.
The chief executive, who was represented by a staff of the organisation, Mrs Aisha Ribadu, said this on Friday at the FIRS special day at the ongoing 35th Enugu International Trade Fair.
Adedeji said that this success was a testament to its dedication to nurturing and empowering its workforce, and to ensuring they possessed the skills, knowledge and tools necessary to excel.
He expressed his heartfelt appreciation to the Enugu State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA) for its discerning choice of theme, “Promoting Made-in-Nigeria Products for Global Competitiveness”.
The FIRS boss added that the choice of theme reflected the collective aspiration to not only dominate the African market but to assert relevance on the global stage.
“Investing in human capital is the cornerstone of sustainable development, and nations that prioritise human  development inevitably experience  enduring growth and prosperity.
“The FIRS has spearheaded transformative reforms aimed at diversifying revenue sources and enhancing the overall taxpayer experience.
 “One of such initiatives is the introduction of the Taxpromax Solutions, an innovative e-service platform designed to empower taxpayers to fulfill their obligations seamlessly from anywhere at any time,” Adedeji said.
He expressed gratitude to ECCIMA for affording the FIRS the invaluable opportunity to showcase its commitment to national development.
In a welcome address, the ECCIMA President, Mr Odeiga Jideonwo, said that the essence of the special day was to bring the business community and the general public closer to the activities and operations of the FIRS.
 Jideonwo, who was represented by the first Deputy President, Nnanyereugo Onyemelukwe, said that the FIRS should  work in tandem with other agencies of government and stakeholders in the organised private  sector.
He said that it would enable the FIRS to redefine and streamline tax administration and regime in the country.
” It will also bring about a society  wherein the rich and poor will leverage each other in contributing to the development of the society in a fair and just manner, as it affects company tax by various businesses,” he said.
 He commended the chief executive for its various innovations aimed at voluntary bringing into the FIRS database, companies in order to boost the tax network.
Jideonwo added that it would also boost revenue with the attendant grace offered in the process to those who had been evading tax payment.
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NEMA confirms recovery of male body from Lagoon

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The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has confirmed the recovery of the body of a male passenger that drowned having fallen into the Lagoon from the bus that crashed on the Third Mainland Bridge on Wednesday.

Mr Ibrahim Farinloye, Lagos Territorial Coordinator, NEMA, made the confirmation in a statement on Friday in Lagos.

Farinloye said the Marine Police recovered the body close to the scene of the accident.

He, however, said search and rescue was still ongoing to recover the body of the female passenger.

NAN reports that two passengers were thrown out of a commercial vehicle on the Third Mainland Bridge on Wednesday when the bus somersaulted and hit the rails of the bridge.

Emergency responders have been searching for the bodies of the two passengers, a male and a female, that were thrown into the lagoon as a result of the impact.

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Abduction of Channels TV reporter: I-CSPJ calls for efforts towards release

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The International Press Centre, IPC, Centre for Safety and Protection of Journalists, I-CSPJ, has called for a concerted effort towards the immediate release of Channels TV reporter, Joshua Rogers.

DAILY POST gathered that Rogers was whisked away to an unknown destination by gunmen around 9p.m on Thursday, April 11, 2024, close to his residence at Rumuosi in Port-Harcourt.

The I-CSPJ in a statement signed by Melody Akinjiyan, Press Freedom Officer, IPC revealed that, “Joshua Rogers was driving his official Channels Television branded car when the hoodlums accosted him, pointed a gun at him and took him away in the same vehicle.

“Rogers was said to be returning from his official assignment in Government House after a trip to Andoni for a government event when the incident happened.

“Already, the gunmen were said to have contacted his wife and demanded a N30million ransom for his release, the report revealed.”

Also, the statement added that IPC Executive Director, Lanre Arogundade lamented that the spate of insecurity in the country should be of serious concern to all.

Arogundade also added that, “it is very disturbing that journalists and media practitioners have also become easy targets.”

I-CSPJ enjoined the Rivers State Government and relevant security agencies to do all they can to ensure that Joshua Rogers is set free without being harmed in any way.

I-CSPJ also appealed to other national, regional and international media freedom groups, freedom of expression organisations and human rights bodies to join in the clamour for his release and safety.

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