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The Federal Government has declared Thursday as Public Holiday to mark this year’s Eidul-Mawlid Celebration in commemoration of the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola declared the holiday on behalf of the Federal Government.

This was revealed on Tuesday in a statement by Mohammed Manga,
Director of Press & Public Relations for the Honourable Minister.

According to the statement, “The FG has declared Thursday October 29, 2020 as Public Holiday to mark this year’s Eidul-Mawlid Celebration in commemoration of the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

“Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (@raufaregbesola) who made the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government, congratulated the Muslim faithful both at home and abroad for witnessing this year’s occasion.

“He enjoined them to imbibe the spirit of love, patience and perseverance which are the virtues of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), adding that doing so would guarantee peace and security in the country.

“The Minister admonished Muslims to follow the teaching of the Holy Quran in Chapter 4 Verse 59 which says: “O you who believe! Obey God and obey the Messenger, and those from among you who are vested with authority; and if you are to dispute among yourselves about anything, refer it to God and the Messenger, if indeed you believe in God and the Last Day. This is the best (for you), and fairest in the end.

“Ogbeni Aregbesola enjoined Nigerians, particularly Muslims, at this moment, to abhor violence, lawlessness, wantonness and daylight robbery as witnessed across the country most recently, stressing that Nigeria is the pride of the black race and should provide responsible leadership for the greatness and development of the African continent and all black people.

“While calling for a stop to all divisive tendencies across the country, he urged all Nigerians & the youth in particular, to embrace peace & cooperate with the President @MBuhari led-Administration in its effort to build a virile nation, which all citizens can be proud of Ogbeni Aregbesola who described the youth as the hope and future of the nation advised them further to deepen democracy and not dampen it. For him, it is with more democracy that we can overcome our challenges, noting that the challenges of nationhood that we face are urmountable if we work through the democratic process. He wishes all Muslims a happy Eidul- Mawlid Celebration and all Nigerians a Happy Holiday.”

Source: Naijaparry.com.ng

The Federal Government has apologised for asking all account holders in the country’s financial institutions to register their details again.

It would be recalled that in a directive contained in a series of tweets on Thursday, the Federal Government asked all account holders in banks, including insurance companies, to fill and submit a Self-Confirmation form.

The order was given despite the possession of the Bank Verification Number and the National Identification Number by account holders on Thursday.

Failure to do so, the Nigerian government threatened to block access to defaulters’ accounts or impose a monetary penalty.

The order to fill another Self-Confirmation form, despite the existing BVN and NIN, had attracted condemnations on social media.

However, In another tweet on Friday morning, the Federal Government acknowledged that its earlier tweets were misleading.

FG Tweet

“We apologise for the misleading tweets (now deleted) that went up yesterday, regarding the completion of self-certification forms by Reportable Persons. The message contained in the @firsNigeria Notice does not apply to everybody. FIRS will issue appropriate clarification shortly,” it tweeted.

In a press statement, the Federal Inland Revenue Service explained that only “reportable persons” are expected to submit the form.

The statement read, “This is to clarify the publication for financial institutions account holders in Nigeria to complete the self-certification form, pursuant to the Income Tax (Common Reporting Standard) Regulations 2019 which is for the fulfilment of Automatic Exchange of Information Requirements.

“The Self Certification form is basically to be administered on Reportable persons holding accounts in Financial institutions that are regarded as “Reportable Financial Institutions” under the CRS.

“Reportable persons are often non-residents. And other persons who have a residence for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction or Country.

“Financial Institutions are expected to administer the Self Certification form on such account holders when the information at its disposal indicates that the Account holder is a person resident for tax purpose in more than one jurisdiction.

“The information that indicates an account holder is a resident for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction, is expected to be available to Financial Institutions during the account opening processes for the KYC and AML purpose.”

The Nigerian Government has apologised for ordering bank account holders in the country to register their information again.

The new rule by the government raised some dust on Thursday as Nigerians kicked against it, saying it was a unnecessary especially since the Bank Verification Number and National Identification Number was in place.

In a tweet on Friday, the Nigerian Government apologised for situation.

The tweet reads, “We apologise for the misleading tweets (now deleted) that went up yesterday, regarding the completion of self-certification forms by Reportable Persons. The message contained in the @firsNigeria Notice does not apply to everybody. FIRS will issue appropriate clarification shortly.”

In a statement by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, it was revealed that only “reportable persons” should now submit the said form.

It reads, “This is to clarify the publication for financial institutions account holders in Nigeria to complete the self-certification form, pursuant to the Income Tax (Common Reporting Standard) Regulations 2019 which is for the fulfilment of Automatic Exchange of Information Requirements.

“The self-certification form is basically to be administered on reportable persons holding accounts in financial institutions that are regarded as “Reportable financial institutions” under the CRS.

“Reportable persons are often non-residents. And other persons who have a residence for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction or country.

“Financial institutions are expected to administer the self-certification form on such account holders when the information at its disposal indicates that the account holder is a person resident for tax purpose in more than one jurisdiction.

“The information that indicates an account holder is a resident for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction, is expected to be available to financial institutions during the account opening processes for the KYC and AML purpose.”

The Federal Government is no more going to be releasing guiding price bands for the sale of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, at filling stations.

It disclosed this in Abuja through the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, adding that based on this, the downstream arm of the oil and gas sector had been fully deregulated.

Responding to questions from journalists during a briefing at the headquarters of PPPRA, the agency’s Executive Secretary, Abdulkadir Saidu, stated that going forward, PMS price would be determined by the forces of demand and supply and the international cost of crude oil.

He, however, noted that the role of the agency would be to ensure that oil marketers do not profiteer, as every petrol dealer was, henceforth free to source for product and fix their price.

“This, however, must be in accordance with our code of conduct because as a regulator, it is our duty to protect the consumer and operators must abide by our codes,” Saidu stated.

The PPPRA boss, who was represented by the agency’s General Manager, Administration and Human Resources, Victor Shidok, also confirmed Sunday PUNCH’s report that oil marketers were not currently importing petrol because of the scarcity of foreign exchange.

Details later…

The Federal Government says it spent N30.5 billion on efforts to curtail COVID-19 between April and July this year.

The Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, who disclosed this, said the amount represented 84 per cent of the N36.3bn public funds and donations received by the Federal Government to tackle the pandemic.

He said there was a balance of N5.9 billion.

Idris said this in response to a Freedom of Information request jointly made by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project; and Connected Development.

SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oludare, said in a statement on Sunday that Idris, in his undated response, also indicated that “the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 spent N22 billion; while 36 states spent N7 billion on COVID-19.”

Idris, according to the statement, added that the Nigerian Air Force spent N877 million on the deployment of assets in support of COVID-19 operations; the police spent N500 million on personal protective equipment; while N17,865.09 was paid as bank charges.

While commending Idris for honouring the FoI request, SERAP and CODE, however, urged him to respond to other information requested in the FoI letter, including the specific projects on which the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 spent N22bn and the list of Nigerians who benefitted from the projects.

The groups said, “It is refreshing to note that 115 ordinary Nigerians donated between N1 and N100 to support the authorities’ efforts to fight COVID-19, despite the fact that it is the country’s poorest and most disadvantaged sectors of the population that continue to bear the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Of the N36.3 billion public funds and donations received, N1.4 billion came from Nigerians and companies through accounts at the First Bank; Access Bank; GTB, Zenith, and UBA, while N536 million donations were made through the Central Bank of Nigeria. The N536 million donations comprise of N89 million and N279 million from the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively.

“In addition, China General Chambers of Commerce in Nigeria donated N48 million; the Petroleum Equalisation Management Board gave N50 million while the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board donated N70 million.

“We would be grateful if the requested details and additional information are provided to us within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP and CODE shall take all appropriate legal actions under the Freedom of Information Act and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to compel you to comply with our request.”

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, has spoken on the outstanding payment of stipends to beneficiaries of N-Power.

The Minister while speaking at the interactive forum with state focal persons for the Social Investment Programmes held in Abuja, on Thursday called on beneficiaries of Batch B to be patient.

Farouq further stated that their payment is still being processed and would be implemented soon.

She added that the government is also working out plans to integrate beneficiaries of the batches A and B exited in June and July respectively.

She said: ”I wish to reiterate that I have given approval for the payment of stipends for the exited beneficiaries of batches A and B up to the month of June 2020 including that of the independent monitors.”

“The final payment of stipend for Batch B is almost ready for transmission to the office of the Accountant General of the Federation for final checks and payment.”

The minister appealed to Batch B beneficiaries omitted for payment to exercise more patience.

“I, therefore, appeal for patience and understanding from beneficiaries omitted for payment in previous months and those in batch B who are to get their final payment,” she added.

The Federal Government on Wednesday has reacted to the purported sacking of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, by its Governing Council.

In a statement signed on Wednesday by Director of Press in the Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Bem Goong, said it distanced itself from the purported sacking of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, by its Governing Council, saying it has not been briefed.

Naijaparry had reported that UNILAG VC had in a statement by its Registrar and Secretary, Oladejo Azeez titled, ‘Notice to the general public on the removal of the Vice-Chancellor of UNILAG’, said the VC was sacked “based on an investigation of serious acts of wrongdoing, gross misconduct, financial recklessness and abuse of office.”

But, Ben Bem Goong, said in the statement that the ministry awaits proper briefing from UNILAG authorities, saying that it was important to reaffirm that council has the power to hire and fire but must follow due process.

According to the statement, “My dear colleagues, the Federal Ministry of Education wishes to state that it is yet to be briefed on the developments at the University of Lagos regarding the purported removal of the VC.

“While the ministry awaits for the proper briefing from the university authorities, it is important to reaffirm that council has the power to hire and fire, but that due process must be followed in doing so.”

Strong indications emerged at the weekend that the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) will soon resume negotiations to end the four-month strike by lecturers.

THISDAY’s investigations revealed that both sides are making moves to restart discussions that were abandoned following the disagreement over the introduction of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel and Information System (IPPIS) in the university system and subsequent stoppage of salaries of non-compliant ASUU members.

ASUU has also said its alternative payment platform, University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), was ready for verification and validation by agencies of the federal government.

While the ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, told THISDAY at the weekend that the union had met with the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, to help facilitate resumption of talks with the federal government on the lecturers’ grievances, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, also confirmed to THISDAY that he was set to invite the union to resume talks.

Ogunyemi said ASUU was ready to resume negotiations but an invitation had not been extended to it.

“Yes, we had a discussion with the minister of education recently and we are hoping that he would provide a platform for further discussions with the government. So, for now, we are in touch with the minister of education only that we have not specified the time for the resumption of negotiations. We will be resuming talks as soon as they call us,” he stated.

The ASUU president listed the five outstanding issues as “provision of funds for the revitalisation of the universities, conclusion of renegotiation of 2009 agreement with regard to the conditions of service of our members, the issue of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) that the federal government promised to start paying as from November last year, the issue of visitation panel to federal universities, which we have been talking about for three-four years now and finally the issue of proliferation of universities in the country, especially the universities by state governments.”

Reacting to a question on whether the union will suspend the strike to allow universities to reopen, Ogunyemi said: “We believe that if the federal government is sincere, our members would be willing to go back to work as soon we resolve these outstanding issues.

“What we need is the sincerity of purpose; we had a framework that we were using to engage all of these issues what we call the Memorandum of Action of February 7, 2019. So, the government can go back to the framework. That framework provides timelines for the implementation of agreements reached. “When we say memorandum of action, every item has a timeline; so we want the government to demonstrate good faith and our members will go back to work.

“Those aspects of the timelines that ought to have been met should be met. Let the other timelines contained in the 2019 agreement be revalidated.”

For instance, Ogunyemi said the federal government promised to pay the outstanding balance of the Earned Academic Allowances up to 2018 starting from November last year.

He said under the implementation timeline agreed on in February last year, the government promised to pay the EAA in four installments beginning with the first batch being in November 2019 but failed to do so.

“We are approaching another November, one year after and no kobo has been paid,” he added.

On the dispute over IPPIS, Ogunyemi said that ASUU’s alternative platform, University Transparency and Accountability System (UTAS), was ready.

According to him, ASUU will soon submit the platform to the Ministry of Education and other agencies to test run.

“We are telling the government now that ASUU is ready for demonstration. We shall soon unveil our platform but part of the requirements for final adoption is that it must be surrendered to the Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) for validation and that will also take sometimes. So, we are going to make it available to them for validation. But before that, we will do a demonstration for the Federal Ministry of Education to show how the platform operates and its advantages over IPPIS,” he said.

Before the lockdown to combat COVID-19 pandemic, that led to the closure of all schools nationwide, ASUU had declared an indefinite strike to protest the stoppage of their salaries and the order for the enrolment of its members into the IPPIS.

| src: ThisDay

The Federal Government has declared Thursday 30 and Friday 31 July, 2020 as Public Holidays to mark this year’s Eid-el-Kabir Celebration.

The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola while making the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government, congratulated Muslim faithful and all Nigerians both at home and abroad on the occasion.

He called on the Muslims to continue to imbibe the spirit of love, peace, kindness and sacrifice, as exemplified by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) and to also use the period to pray for peace, unity, prosperity and the stability of the country especially as the world is witnessing global health challenges caused by Covid-19 pandemic. Ogbeni Rauf Aregbosola who assured that the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is fully committed to battling the scourge with the cooperation of all Nigerians, emphasized that government would continue to foster peaceful coexistence, national cohesion and stability in its march towards actualizing the full potentials of the country.

He called on all Nigerians to join hands with the Administration of Pres isdent Muhammadu Buhari

in its avowed determination to build a peaceful, harmonious and prosperous country, where the rights of every citizen, are protected and guaranteed, as enshrined in the Constitution of the FRN.

The Minister advised Nigerians to take responsibility against the spread of the COVID-19 virus and also to stay safe by observing physical and social distancing, personal and respiratory hygiene, as well as other regulations issued by relevant authorities.

Source: Naijaparry

The Academic Staff Union of Universities has said it supported the decision of the Federal Government to stop Senior Secondary School 3 pupils from partaking in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination earlier scheduled to commence on August 4 .

The union advised the government to shut down schools until 2021 to ensure adequate preparations , citing the case in some countries such as Kenya .

Our correspondents had reported on Saturday that the Federal Ministry of Education met with officials of the West African Examination Council in Abuja and resolved to announce a new date for the examination .

The Minister of State for Education , Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba , had also said the government would consult with the four other countries under WAEC to set a new date, while announcing COVID – 19 mandatory guidelines for schools which must be kept before July 29 .

The ASUU President , Prof Biodun Ogunyemi , who made the recommendations in an interview with
Sunday PUNCH , said no reasonable government would take such chances unless parents would be told to sign an undertaking .

Ogunyemi said , “ Look , Kenya has said they have closed all their schools till next year ( 2021 ); they too have exams to write . Safety first . If it means closing the schools until next year to safeguard the lives of Nigerian children and safeguard the health of all Nigerians , so be it .

“ So, if that will help us to address cases that can lead to increase in mortality , I think Nigerians should go that way and all of us should see reason for it . If they need to cancel admission for the year , it is good for them . Life matters first, people must have life first before they can go to university . Are the universities ready to work now ?

“ Our position is that they should not experiment with the lives of our children . Nobody can tell ; the situation may soon normalise and they can do their exams and there is another opportunity for external candidates around November . So, it ’ s not as if the door is totally closed .”

The ASUU president added that the union had not seen any evidence to show that schools were secured for students to go back .

He said, “ The first thing that should be tackled is whether schools are safe . And if the schools are not safe , why do you want to carry out an experiment with the lives of our children? An attempt to send back the children to school at a time there is a spike in COVID – 19 cases in Nigeria is like experimenting with the lives of our children .

“ If they put all the things in place , including social and physical distancing , sanitisers , kitting the children as we see in other places , decontamination with water flowing in the schools and all the gadgets , why not? So, if government can meet all these conditions , then they can reopen the schools . But if they cannot meet all these conditions , they should not experiment with even 10 students in any school .”

Meanwhile, the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools has said that its members are ready for school reopening and that as part of measures to curtail the spread of COVID -19 , it has directed its members to open schools for about four hours daily.

NAPPS in an exclusive interview with one of our correspondents noted that since the Federal Government had given the directive on school resumption for terminal classes , it was relating with its members nationwide on a number of safety protocols to put in place.

The NAPSS National President , Chief Yomi Otubela , said, “ Our association , as the registered umbrella body of private schools in Nigeria , has been interfacing with Federal Government representatives , including the Ministry of Education and other agencies , concerning how to combat the spread of COVID -19 .

“ The fact that pupils are returning to school does not mean that we are going to spend the total hours as it used to be in the past . We are considering a little time of about three to four hours in school. This is to ensure that there is no room for children to go on break and play around the premises .

“ And we have also discussed with our members that there should be staggered resumption . Staggered resumption means that if the JSS 3 class comes to school by 8 am, SSS 3 can come by 9 am and the Primary 6 classes can come by 10 am. This is to ensure that we don ’t get the entrances and the exits crowded .”

The president noted that schools had been instructed to have infrared thermometers , and also avoid teachers marking students ’ books manually.