The United Nations (UN) has advised the Nigerian Government to start taxing vacant houses in the country.
Speaking at a news conference in Abuja, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Adequate Housing, Leilana Farha said there was a need for the Nigerian Government to address housing challenges in the country by imposing vacant home tax on citizens.
Farha expressed concern over human rights crisis presented by poor living conditions in Nigeria’s informal settlements, saying the informal settlements house about 69% of the urban population.
She further stressed that there was an estimated housing shortage of 22 million units in Nigeria.
Farha explained that most residents in Nigeria’s ballooning informal settlements live without access to even the most basic services, like clean pipe-borne water, emphasising that the residents lacked security of tenure, forcing them to live in constant fear of being evicted.
Farha’s words: “My 10 days fact findings visit to Nigeria has presented an economic inequality in the country, which has reached an extreme level and is playing itself out clearly in the housing sector.
“At the same time, newly built luxury dwellings are springing up throughout cities and made possible often through the forced eviction of poor communities. These units do not fulfil any housing need, with many remaining vacant as vehicles for money laundering or investment.”
What you should know: Presently, Nigeria’s housing deficit is about 22 million units, and for a country with a population of nearly 200 million people, it will require a minimum of an additional 2 million housing units per annum for 10 years.
The Nigerian government, however, estimated that the housing sector would need about $400 billion investment over the next 25-30 years to resolve this deficit. On the other hand, the World Bank said bridging the deficit would cost the country about N59.5 trillion, which further tallies with the estimation of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria which puts it at about N56 trillion.
Joe Biden appoints Nigerian-born Funmi Olorunnipa Badejo as Counsel
Nigerian-American, Funmi Olorunnipa Badejo has been appointed as a member of the office of the White House Counsel.
U.S President-elect, Joe Biden, announced the appointment of Nigerian-American Funmi Olorunnipa Badejo as a member of the office of the White House Counsel, to serve as an Associate Counsel.
He announced it this week in a statement seen on his transition website.
A part of the statement reads:
- “The Counsels are experienced and accomplished individuals, have a wide range of knowledge from various fields and will be ready to get to work on day one.”
What you should know about Funmi Badejo
- Funmi Olorunnipa Badejo, before the announcement, was General Counsel of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, chaired by House Majority Whip, James E. Clyburn.
- Other government roles she has served include serving as Counsel for Policy to the Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, Ethics Counsel at the White House Counsel’s Office, and Attorney Advisor at the Administrative Conference of the United States during the Obama-Biden administration.
- She started her career as an associate with the law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP and was also a Legal Counsel at Palantir Technologies Inc.
- She is a graduate of Political Science from the University of Florida, with a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Harvard University and holds a Law Doctorate from the University of California School of Law.
- She becomes the 3rd Nigerian American to be appointed under the Biden Government.
Biden’s transition committee said the new Counsels would work under the direction of White House Counsel, Dana Remus, and “help restore faith in the rule of law and the accountability of government institutions.”
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Suspending Trump was the right decision but sets dangerous precedent – Twitter CEO
Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey has reacted to the permanent suspension of Donald Trump from the social network site.
Jack Dorsey, the CEO and founder of Twitter, said that the decision to ban Donald Trump from the social network was the right decision, but one that sets a dangerous precedent.
Jack Dorsey disclosed this in a statement on Thursday morning.
- “I do not celebrate or feel pride in having to ban Donald Trump from Twitter, or how we got here. After a clear warning we’d take this action, we made a decision with the best information we had based on threats to physical safety both on and off Twitter. Was this correct?”
- “Banning Trump was the right decision as Twitter faced an extraordinary and untenable circumstance, forcing us to focus all of our actions on public safety. Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all.”
He disclosed that banning an influential account has significant ramifications, citing it as a failure of Twitter to promote healthy conversation and a time to reflect on its operations.
He added that taking actions to limit influential people like Trump fragments public conversation, limits the potential for clarification, redemption, learning, and sets a precedent I feel is dangerous – the power an individual or corporation has over a part of the global public conversation.
He disclosed that Internet companies engaging in censorship can and over the long term, be destructive to the noble purpose and ideals of the open internet.
- “A company making a business decision to moderate itself is different from a government removing access, yet can feel much the same. I believe the internet and global public conversation is our best and most relevant method of achieving this. I also recognize it does not feel that way today. Everything we learn in this moment will better our effort, and push us to be what we are: one humanity working together.”
What you should know
Trump impeached the second time by US congress as 10 Republicans vote against him
The US House of Representatives has impeached President Trump for the second time in two years.
Donald Trump, on Wednesday, became the first President in US history to be impeached twice, when the House of Representatives voted to charge him with inciting an insurrection in last week’s violent attack on the Capitol.
Unlike the impeachment in December 2019, the ranks of the Republicans were broken with 10 of the President’s party members joining the Democrats to get him impeached.
The vote that took place in the Democratic-controlled House was 232-197 following the deadly assault on American democracy, although it looks unlikely that the swift impeachment would lead to Trump’s removal before his 4-year term ends and Democratic President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20.
The Senate’s Republican majority leader, Mitch McConnell, rejected the call by Democrats for an immediate impeachment trial, saying there was no way to conclude it before Trump left office. But even after he leaves the White House, a Senate conviction of Trump could lead to a vote on banning him from running for office again.
After losing the presidential election to Joe Biden, Trump, instead of accepting the results, inspired a violent and conspiracy-fueled attack on the Capitol, while calling the election fraudulent.
The congress had passed a single article of impeachment, a formal charge, accusing Trump of “incitement of insurrection,” with the speech he delivered to thousands of supporters shortly before his supporters attacked the Capitol, with the intention of disrupting the formal certification of Biden’s electoral victory over Trump.
Thousands of armed National Guards in full camouflage with rifles were seen assembled at the Capitol as the impeachment debate went on in the congress.
House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, on the floor of the house before the vote, said, “The president of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion against our common country. He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”
At a later ceremony, she signed the article of impeachment before it was sent to the Senate, saying she did it “sadly, with a heartbroken over what this means to our country.”
In reaction to the development, Trump on Wednesday asked his followers to remain peaceful, saying in a statement: “I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind. That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for.”
What this means
- With the impeachment of the President in the Congress, the process will now move to the Senate where, under the US Constitution, impeachment in the House triggers a trial in the Senate. A two-thirds majority would be needed to convict and remove Trump, meaning at least 17 Republicans in the 100-member chamber would have to join the Democrats.
- However, McConnell does not expect any trial to begin until the Senate returns in regular session on January 19, a day before Biden’s inauguration. The trial would proceed in the Senate even after Trump leaves office.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that Congress previously impeached Trump in December 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of the House due to his request that Ukraine should investigate Biden and his son, Hunter ahead of the election, as Democrats accused him of soliciting foreign interference to smear a domestic political rival.
- However, the Senate in February 2020 voted to keep Trump in office.
- While addressing his supporters on January 6, Trump falsely claimed he had defeated Biden, repeated unfounded allegations of widespread fraud and irregularities in a “rigged” election, and urged them to stop the steal, show strength and fight much harder.