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Tinubu launches Expatriate Employment Levy handbook

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President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday in Abuja launched the Expatriate Employment Levy Management System (EELMS) handbook giving guidelines on employment of Nigerians in foreign-owned companies in the country.

The president said that the implementation of the Expatriate Employment Levy (EEL) should not constitute a bottleneck or hindrance to the much needed foreign investment into the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the policy was initiated to oversee expatriate employment in the country as well as necessitates employers to pay a levy for hiring expatriates.

Its primary goals include fostering the development of the local workforce, diminishing reliance on foreign skills and encouraging companies to prioritise hiring of Nigerians.

Through this levy, the government aims to find equilibrium between leveraging international expertise and nurturing indigenous talent in Nigeria’s job market.

‘’I consider it a game changer. It is important to know that EEL is a contribution recently approved by the government, which will impose effective timeline on expatriates working in this country to be able to train and develop Nigerians.

‘’I’ve been further assured that the project has the capacity of plugging loopholes and gaps that have bedevilled the country in dealing with security challenges, and movement of foreigners in and out of the country,’’ Tinubu said.

The president also said that with the initiatives currently undertaken by his administration, Nigerians would begin to see improvement in their standard of living, adding that various arms of government were collaborating to realise this objective.

He added that collaboration among MDAs would continue to engender development and progress that would retool and reengineer the finances of the country.

‘’There will be clear lines of implementation and effective acceleration of aims and objectives of this programme.

” Immigration matters, expatriate quotas and relevant stakeholders have to be effectively guided to make Nigeria the focus of the objective of this EEL,’’ he said.

The Minister of Interior, Mr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, said that the programme would be operated on a Public Private Partnership model between the Federal Government, Nigeria Immigration Service and a private firm.

He said that the project, which was approved by the Federal Executive Council in May 2023, would ensure that expatriates only work in the country where no Nigerian had the needed skills for such jobs.

‘’That’s the major objective of this particular initiative; balancing employment opportunities between Nigerians and expatriates.

” And of course, closing wage gaps between expatriates and the Nigerian labour force by making it more attractive to hire Nigerians.

‘’As a guide, the comprehensive handbook has been developed on the project to guide stakeholders, especially foreign owned companies, joint venture companies, organisations and indigenous company that employ expatriates, to understand the concept as well as to comply with the new ideal.

‘’Part of the motivation is to reduce the dependence of companies on foreign personnel and of course to also reduce the rate at which renewal of expatriate quota has been sought after by companies,’’ he said.

Tunji-Ojo said that the scheme would also prioritise knowledge transition, training of Nigerians as well as create more opportunities for the country’s teeming youth.

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Ogun Assembly passes Assembly Commission Amendment bill

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The Ogun House of Assembly on Wednesday passed the State House of Assembly Service Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2024.

The passage of the bill followed  presentation of the Committee’s report by the Chairman, House Committee on Establishments and Public Service Matters, Mr Babatunde Tella at plenary in Abeokuta.

Tella moved the motion for its adoption, seconded by Mr Adeyanju Adegoke and supported by all the members.

The bill was later read and adopted clause by clause before the Committee of Whole.

The Majority Leader, Mr Yusuf Sheriff, moved the motion for the third reading of the bill, seconded by the Minority Leader, Mr Lukmon Adeleye and supported by the Whole House through a unanimous voice vote.

Consequently, the Deputy Clerk of the House, Mrs Funmilayo Adeyemi, took the third reading of the bill before the lawmakers.

The Speaker, Mr Oludaisi Elemide, directed that the clean copy of the bill be forwarded to Gov. Dapo Abiodun for his assent.

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Abuja court gives EFCC go-ahead to arrest ex-Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello

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A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered that a warrant be issued to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for immediate arrest of former Governor of Kogi, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

Justice Emeka Nwite, in a ruling on EFCC’s ex-parte motion, held that after listening to the submission of commission’s counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, and reading the affidavit in support of the motion, including the exhibits and written address, he was inclined to grant the application.

It was earlier reported that a High Court sitting in Lokoja on Wednesday, restrained the EFCC from arresting, detaining and prosecuting Bello

Justice I.A Jamil, who gave the order in a two-hour judgment delivered in suit no HCL/68/M/2020, held that infringing on Bello’s “fundamental human rights is null and void.”

The judge, who dismissed the commission’s application challenging the jurisdiction of the court, said: “By this order, the EFCC is hereby restrained from arresting, detaining and prosecuting the applicant.

“This is a definite order following the earlier interim injunction given.”

However, in a ruling delivered by Justice Nwite on Wednesday, the judge ordered that a warrant be issued to the commission for Bello’s immediate arrest.

He also directed that the former governor be produced before the court on April 18 for arraignment.

“It is hereby ordered as follows:

“That an order of this honourable court is hereby made directing and/or issuing a warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant for the purpose of bringing him before this honourable court for arraignment.

“That case is adjourned to 18th day of April, 2024 for arraignment,” he declared.

NAN reports that the EFCC, in the motion ex-parte marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/98/2024 dated April 16 and filed April 17, sought six orders.

These include “an order granting leave to the complainant/applicant to effect service of the charge together with the proof of evidence on the defendant by substituted means to wit; by pasting the charge at the last known address of the defendant within the jurisdiction of this honourable court being: 9, Benghazi Street, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja.

“An order directing and/or issuing an arrest warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant for the purpose of bringing him before this honourable court for arraignment.”

In the alternative, the anti-graft agency sought an order issuing and directing the publishing of a public summons requiring/ commanding the defendant to appear before the court on a named date, among others.

The conflicting orders came after the EFCC had appealed against the initial order, and the appeal was scheduled for hearing on April 22 in Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CV/175/2024 between EFCC and Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

The Yahaya Bello Media Office had, in a statement signed by Onogwu Mohammed, alerted the nation to a siege on the former Governor’s Abuja residence.

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Zulum approves N1.3bn scholarship for 997 nursing, midwifery students

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Gov. Babagana Zulum, of Borno has approved the release of N1.3billion as scholarship for 997 nursing and midwifery students from the state.

Zulum stated this on Wednesday while inaugurating the scholarship programme at the College of Nursing and Midwifery, Maiduguri.

He said that out of the 1,080 nominations, 40 from each of the 27 local government areas of the state, 997 qualified to benefit from the scholarship.

He also announced that the 997 beneficiaries of the scholarship would receive automatic employment after graduation.

The governor said that the support was to encourage the students to complete their studies so as to bridge the workforce demand in the state’s healthcare system.

“The government has allocated  N1,305,189,000 for scholarship, with a breakdown of N124,149,000 earmarked for tuition fees, the remaining N1,181,040,000 will be disbursed as monthly stipend of N30,000 to each beneficiary throughout their studies,” Zulum said.

He added that N201 million bursary allowance would be given to 2,010 nursing and midwifery students who did not benefited from the scholarship, and directed that each of them should receive N100,000.

Zulum, who stated that ongoing construction of two colleges of nursing would be completed this year, inaugurated a lecture theatre complex and a 3,000-capacity multipurpose hall at the college.

Earlier, Lawan Wakilbe, the Commissioner for Education, said that the government had approved over N6 billion scholarship, out of which about N2.7 billion was disbursed to students from the state studying in higher institutions across the country.

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