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ActionAid asks Kogi govt to inherit Local Rights Programmes

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By Friday Idachaba

Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria,Ene Obi has called on Kogi State Government to take over and continue with the various Community development intervention programmes supported by the international Non-Governmental Organisation under its Local Rights Programme (LRP).

Obi who made the call at the Kogi LRP and Close Out Ceremony of the programme at Riverton Hotel, Lokoja, said the 14-year intervention programme in the state had addressed issues of poverty, women rights, access to facilities and livelihood support among others.

The Country Director, represented by Mrs Funmilayo Oyefusi, Director Organisational Effectiveness, said ActionAid intervened in Adavi and Igalamela-Odolu Local Government Areas of Kogi State where it drew poverty map to identify communities that were poor and had little access to government.

She said that the the programme commenced in 2007 after a comprehensive baseline survey mapping which showed urgent need to respond to the varied resultants challenges associated with poverty in 14 communities.

Also speaking, Director of Programmes, ActionAid Nigeria, Hajia Suwaiba Muhammed Dankabo, describe the LRP as a unique programme.

She said it was designed to unleash the potentials of persons living in communities and make them play pivotal roles in the decisions and actions that affect their lives and communities.

The Director Programmes the intervention had developed their capacity to interrogate prevailing challenges in their communities and take necessary actions.

According to her, it also enabled them to be responders rather than being on-lookers and bystanders in the process of the development of their communities and their collective well-being.

Advisor, Partnerships and LRP, ActionAid Nigeria, Osamudiamen Owens-Akinwale, in her overview of the programme said more than 30,000 women, children, farmers and Persons Living With Disabilities were cumulatively reached in the state.

She said that they were also structural changes in the traditional rites customs which hitherto, forbade women from the use of farm tools such as hoe as well as the reduction in the mourning period for widows from nine months to three months in most of the communuties.

Owens-Akinwale also urged the state government to inherit and take charge of the programme, saying, “We are leaving Kogi State not crying but happy, because, we are living a bit of ourselves behind for the government to continue from where we stopped.”

She described some of the key achievements of the programme as “Reversal of age-long practices in communities where women were excluded from land ownership, patriarchal inheritance and other gender discriminatory practices.

She said the intervention had resulted in Increase in the promotion of girl-child education, drastic reduction in reported cases of Gender-Based Violence in the communities and enhanced agro-ecology practice among smallholder women farmers.

Highlights of the Learning and Close Out Meeting include Experience Sharing, Presentation of Certificates of Recognition and plagues to LRP partners and communuties as well as goodwill messages. (Ends)

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MATAN president enumerates benefit for stakeholders, how it will end injustices

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National President of MATAN, Jamilu Abbas
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***MATAN to bring informal sector into FG tax

The emergence of Market Traders Association of Nigeria (MATAN) which is the umbrella body for all trading associations is an answered prayer for all those who have been shortchanged by government officials in the distribution of parliatives and intervention funds, its National President honorable Jamilu Abbas has declared.
Speaking at its National Executive Council Meeting held in Abuja recently, he said MATAN is a trailblazing association that holds the magic wand to resolve most of the issues bedeviling the country as a result of the greed of some leaders.
He recalled the action of some Governors and political office holders during the COVID19 pandemic when palliatives meant to be distributed to the poorest of the poor were hoarded and kept away from them by some governors, lawmakers, local Government chairmen and so on.
According to him, they in the informal sector have decided to channel their own energy to forming the MATAN,
“That is why we decide to float a project, leading to the launch of the Integrated Market Revenue Management System (IMRMS).
He said MATAN is in Partnership with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to collect and remit Value Added Tax (VAT) from traders in marketplace, using the IMRMS platform.
According to him, the collaboration; known as the VAT Direct Initiative (VDI), is part of a push to widen the government’s tax base.
To that end he said, the FIRS has rolled out the implementation of the IMRMS, a purpose-built digital platform, to capture the informal sector, especially market traders in to the federal government’s tax net.
He said MATAN is the largest player in Nigeria’s market space with a membership of well over 40 million traders across the country.
“Under the arrangement, MATAN is expected to digitally enumerate its members, give them a digital identity and track their turnover so that VAT accrued is collected and remitted to the FIRS.
“Through this initiative, the FIRS will help tackle multiple taxation in the marketplace through partnership with security agencies to curb the activities of touts, miscreants and self-imposed tax collectors involved in illegal tax collection in Nigeria’s market spaces. ”
He said the solution is, MATAN is providing a platform that will go digital to bring all in the informal sector to become formal.
According to him, With the ongoing enumeration, each member will have his multi purpose Identity Cards which is called VDIIT
“So with the card, our agents will enumerate you as a trader, farmer, transporter or Artizan. We have analyzed it, the small Scale, the Medium Scale and the larger scale.
“Even if you are exempted from paying tax to government, you are not exempted from benefiting from services such as insurance, PENCOM, because when you fall ill, you will go to the hospital, when you have cases in your market places, the Lawyer is there to support you free of charge.
He said with the card, they are in partnership with government so if government wants to give palliative they don’t need to go through some one who will corner them for his personal use. They don’t need to go through any criminal or any offices.
He said President Tinubu is well informed of the Association because after enumeration, this is the only platform which the President will authorise for all banks to send government intervention funds to without passing through any criminal that has opportunity to occupy government position.
“Immediately we provided this platform, the State Governments, the joint tax board, invited us and we promised them that we are going to be paying their taxes, we are bringing our people to the tax net, so that if it is N1, on 10k, they will be contributing to government coffers.
“But when we make this contribution government must pay us back, the pay back is the tax relief, if I have children who want to go to school, through this card they can access free education.

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Obi insists, food insecurity is a major threat to the Nation

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Peter Obi
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The Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general election, Mr Peter Obi, has indicated that food insecurity is a major threat to the Nation.
The LP standard bearer who made the remarks in Ibadan when he visited the headquarters of the International Institute Tropical Agriculture (IITA), explained that solving the problem of food insecurity in Nigeria will help to eradicate hunger and combat food inflation.
IITA is an institute that engages in agricultural research for the development of sustainable and innovative farming practices aimed at solving the problem of hunger and poverty in the nation.

His personal assistant on media, Michael Jude Nwolisa in a statement he issued in Abuja on Monday quoted Obi to have charged the government to make agriculture top priority.
According to Obi, the worsening level of inflation in the country is occasioned by the obvious abandonment of agriculture resulting in food insecurity.

He expressed his appreciation to the management and staff of IITA for what he described as their very significant contributions to Nigeria’s agricultural sector, especially in ensuring higher agricultural productivity.
Obi encouraged them to do more by working more closely with local farmers and agricultural stakeholders to enhance farming practices and agricultural productivity.
This, Obi said, will help IITA to ensure that their research outcomes and innovations are effectively disseminated and adopted, leading to tangible improvements in the agricultural sector.

The LP presidential candidate maintained that agriculture remains a very critical sector in Nigeria’s economy and should not be neglected. “Our obvious neglect of agriculture is the cause of hunger and food insecurity, resulting in the high food inflation rate we have today,” he said.

“Lack of investment in agriculture, he argued, has resulted in the high level of hunger and poverty in the country today. In his words, “In the 2023 Global Hunger Index, Nigeria ranked 109th out of the 125 countries measured, showing a serious hunger level in the nation.
“Our food inflation rate is currently at 33%, signifying that more concerted efforts need to be made in moving our nation from consumption to production, in the agricultural sector.”

He further explained that aside from achieving food security, Nigeria could earn huge foreign exchange from agriculture.
“I have maintained consistently that Nigeria could earn more from agriculture than it presently earns from oil. I have also said that the biggest assets of our nation are the vast uncultivated lands in the North. “If we invest in agriculture and fully explore our fertile lands, we will not only end hunger and eradicate poverty but drive down inflation and earn huge amounts of foreign exchange through agricultural exports,” Obi said.

“Our mission remains to move Nigeria from consumption to production as this will help us to achieve the New and productive Nigeria of our dreams,” Obi concluded.

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Protests erupt in Nasarawa after S’ Court’s verdict that gave victory to Gov. Sule

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Following the Supreme Court ruling which upheld the election of Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State in the March 18, 2023 election, Protests have erupted in Lafia, the State capital.
The Lafia-Jos road has been completely blocked as the protesters lit bonfire to prevent travelers and other road users from passing.

It was gathered that motorists had to take alternative routes out of Lafia.

The streets of the capital city were overtaken by the protesters who were aggrieved with the Supreme Court Judgment

A group of elderly women and widows marched through the streets of Lafia, to protest the court’s decision

The state election petition tribunal had nullified Sule’s election and declared Ombugadu of the PDP the winner, but the appeal court later upurned the decision, leading to the final ruling by the Supreme Court.

Women groups have been at the forefront of the protests, leading to road blockades in various parts of the state capital, including the Lafia-Jos road.

This has disrupted traffic flow, forcing commuters to seek alternative routes. The unrest has prompted calls for an increased presence of security forces to restore calm in the area.

The protests have also had economic downturn, with shops, businesses, and schools in the state capital hastily closing their doors in response to the unfolding events.

The situation remains tensed as various groups continue to express their discontent following the court’s ruling.

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