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#EndSARS: Timing of social media regulation is suspicious – Olumide Akpata

The NBA president has noted his suspicion over the timing of the government’s proposed plan to regulate social media.

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Olumide Akpata

The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata, said the Federal Government’s plan to introduce regulation of social media after the #EndSARS protests are suspicious, as the social media space is already regulated.

Mr. Akpata disclosed this in an interview with Channels TV on Sunday.

What you should know

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, last week said the Federal Government has no plans of shutting down social media but must regulate it to prevent the spread of hate speech.

“They (#EndSARS protesters) mobilized using social media. The war today revolves around two things. Smartphones and data and these young men don’t even watch television or listen to the radio or read newspapers.

“We are sitting on a time bomb regarding this issue of fake news. Unfortunately, we have no national policy on social media and we need one,” Lai Mohammed said.

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Mr. Akpata said in his interview that social media is already regulated, as he struggles to see if Nigeria wants to regulate or shut down social media.

“I struggle with the terms that we bandy around. As I said, I think the social media space is regulated already.

“Are we saying regulate or shutdown? What are we saying because we hear them using regulate? We hear the minister of Information use the word ‘sanitize.’ I just say to myself, ‘what are we trying to do?’ The timing is suspicious.

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“And if we need to tweak the laws here and there, as we amend our laws every day to meet with issues that may come up, which were not previously contemplated, we are all well and good,” Akpata said.

He also added that going overboard would not be advisable, as the government’s plans may not work.

“But it is not throwing out the baby and the bathwater approach like I suspect is in contemplation by those who are handling the levers of power today. That is not going to work,” he said.

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FIRS to commence recovery of all outstanding tax debts and penalties from January 1, 2021

The FIRS has stated that it shall recover all outstanding debt with penalties and interest from January 1, 2021.

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FG apologizes, says Self-Certification directive is not for everyone, FIRS introduces stamp duty on house rent and C of O transactions

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has disclosed that its waivers on penalties and interest on outstanding taxes arising from desk examinations, audit exercises, investigations, or all other forms of tax assessment will close on December 31, 2020.

Hence, effective from January 1, 2021 the Service shall recover all outstanding debt with penalties and interest, in accordance with the provisions of the extant tax laws.

This disclosure was made by Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad, the Director of Communications and Liaison Department, Federal Inland Revenue Service, in a press release issued on December 2, 2020.

Consequently, the Executive Chairman, FIRS, Mr. Muhammad Nami, in a notice urged taxpayers to use the advantage of the remaining days of this month to settle their tax obligations in order to enjoy all subsisting waivers offered thereof by the Service.

(READ MORE: FIRS issues deadline for to obtain Tax Identification Number)

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The Executive Chairman in the reminder notice tagged “Public Notice on the Recovery of Outstanding Taxes from Taxpayers”, disclosed that FIRS in recent times, has issued a series of palliatives for the waivers of penalties and interest on outstanding taxes.

He explained that the Service had noticed that some taxpayers are yet to take advantage of the palliative windows opened to cushion the effect of the challenges of the economy on taxpayers.

Mr. Nami, however, called the attention of taxpayers to the last window of opportunity for the waiver of outstanding penalties and interest on all taxes collectible by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, which will close on 31st December 2020.

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What they are saying

Mr. Muhammad Nami, in the reminder notice, said:

“The Service has observed that some taxpayers are yet to take advantage of the palliative windows opened to cushion the effect of the challenges of the economy on taxpayers.

“Furthermore, the Service wishes to put all taxpayers on notice that the last window of opportunity for the waiver of outstanding penalties and interest on all taxes collectible by the Federal Inland Revenue Service shall close on 31st December 2020.

“Consequently, all concerned taxpayers are hereby put on notice that after the expiration date of 31st December 2020, the Service shall recover all outstanding debt with penalties and interest, in accordance with the provisions of the extant tax laws such as ‘the power of substitution’ conferred on it by Section 31 of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act 2007.”

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N117 billion approved by FG for road rehabilitation

Babatunde Fashola has disclosed that the FG has approved the sum of over N117 billion for road rehabilitation across the country.

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Second Niger Bridge will be completed in 2022, project, Minister of Power works and housing Babatunde Fashola, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, SNEPCo Bayo Ojulari, Power supply in Nigeria

The Federal Government has approved the sum of over N117 billion for the rehabilitation of roads across the country in 2021.

This was disclosed by Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Works and Housing, in a press briefing after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting was held in Abuja on Wednesday.

What you should know 

  • Nairametrics reported last month that Mr Fashola had stated that the Ministry’s priority in its 2021 budget was to complete already ongoing road and bridge projects across the nation.
  • Fashola also said that the Federal Government needed at least N500 billion annually for the next 3 years to develop and fix its 35,000 kilometres road network, as work continued on 13,000 kilometres of the network.
  • Fashola stated last month that the Federal Government was committed to finishing the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, adding that the drop in crude oil prices could not be a barrier to its completion.

Fashola disclosed on Wednesday that the sum of N18.9 billion, was approved for the rehabilitation of roads and bridges including the 26 km of Kano-Dambatta-Kazaure-Daura road, Anambra- Enugu Roads, Bridge construction Cross River, Nkumi bridge and others.

The other memorandum relating to roads also is for the total sum of N98.7 billion,” he added. This includes roads and bridges in Zamfara, Kebbi, Katsina, Anambra and Kano

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$1.3 billion Malabu oil field sale was perfect – Dan Etete

Nigeria’s former Petroleum Minister has said that the sale of the $1.3 billion Malabu oil field to Shell and Eni in 2021 was legally perfect.

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FG seizes Dan Etete’s luxury private jet linked to Malabu oil deal

Dan Etete, former Nigerian Minister of Petroleum has said that the $1.3 billion sales of Malabu oil field to Shell and Eni in 2021 was legally perfect, with zero traces of corruption in the deal.

He disclosed this on Wednesday through his lawyer, Antonio Secci, in a Milan Court, investigating the cases of bribery and corruption related to the deal, as reported by Reuters.

READ: Why Nigeria is suing Royal Dutch Shell and ENI for $1.1bn

In Wednesday’s hearing, Dan Etete’s lawyers called for the former Nigerian Minister to be acquitted of corruption charges related to the deal.

Reuters disclosed that 13 other people are involved in the corruption case including CEO of Eni, Claudio Descalzi.

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READ: Court adjourns trial of Shell, Eni officials over bribery allegation in Nigeria

The accused pleaded non-guilty and said that the proceeds of the deal were paid into accounts owned by the Nigerian Government.

The ex-Shell executives also accused in the case will have a hearing on the 9th of December.

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READ: P&ID dispute: $200 million guarantee to FG judgment shows FG’s commitment to tackle corruption-  Malami

What you should know 

Multinational oil companies, Eni and Shell, paid $1.3 billion in 2011 to acquire OPL 245 offshore field.

The payment was to a company called Malabu, which was owned by Nigeria’s former Oil Minister, Dan Etete.

However, Italian prosecutors claim that most of the payments were kickbacks to Nigerian government officials. Italian prosecutors also claim that nearly $1.1 billion was stolen by Nigerian politicians and middlemen, with Dan Etete keeping half.

READ: $85 Million Malabu oil money has been refunded to FG

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Nigeria’s Minister of Justice, Justice Abubakar Malami, reported in July that the Dutch and Swiss governments were expected to send the sum of $200 million from the OPL 245 Malabu Oil deal to Nigeria.

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Multinational Petroleum oil and gas giant, Royal Dutch Shell, announced that it would write down its investment in the controversial Malabu OPL 245 offshore field in Nigeria.

READ: Italian Court jails Nigerian, one other over Malabu oil deal

in June, the Federal Government tracked down and grounded a luxury private jet, owned by the country’s former Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete, over his alleged involvement in the $1.1 billion Malabu oil scam. The luxury private jet was alleged to have been purchased with proceeds from that oil deal.

Nairametrics reported that the Federal Government, on Wednesday, September 9, 2020, asked a court in Milan to order Royal Dutch Shell and Eni to pay the sum of $1.092 billion as an immediate advance payment for damages in the Malabu oil scandal.

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