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Op Ed

Barkindo’s Final Words To Me, By Femi Adesina

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Presidency Alerts Public To Smear Campaign Against Buhari

Here today, gone tomorrow is a common saying. But with the then outgoing Secretary-General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Alhaji Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo, it was here in the morning, gone at night.

On Tuesday, July 5, 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari had a schedule by 10 am to receive Barkindo, the OPEC scribe who was rounding off his tour of duty after six years.

We started congregating in the council chamber, venue of the meeting, from about 9.30 am. Barkindo came with two of his sons, and some members of the OPEC Secretariat. Bigwigs of the oil industry, led by Timipre Sylva, Minister of State Petroleum Resources, GMD NNPC Company Limited, Mele Kyari, and other top shots were equally on hand, to be part of the tribute to a true Nigerian son, who had made the country proud both at home and abroad.

I was Master of Ceremonies, and Barkindo sighted me from afar, behind the podium, before the event started. He got up from his seat, and strode briskly towards me. We had known each other since between 2009 and 2010, when he had served as Group Managing Director of the NNPC. All our meetings since then had always been genial, convivial. Just last December, he had sent me end of the year gift all the way from Vienna, seat of OPEC.

I came from behind the podium to receive Alhaji Barkindo. We shook hands, and he thanked me for what he called the good works I’d been doing “for President Buhari and for the country,” praying that God would reward me. I said amen, congratulated him for a successful tenure at OPEC, and gave best wishes for the future.

But there would be no future beyond that day, at least not on this side of the divide. However, it was unknown to me, to Alhaji Barkindo, and possibly to everyone in that chamber at that time.

At the dot of ten (he rarely misses it), President Buhari strode in. And the event started. We took the National Anthem, and I invited Minister Sylva to give the introductory remarks. He thanked the President for the support he gave Barkindo to be OPEC scribe, and recalled how he helped the man to succeed during his tour of duty.

Next to speak was the outgoing scribe himself. He had always been a corpulent person, but was he looking a bit trimmer? I didn’t dwell too much on it. As you grow older, you tend to shed some weight. He was looking very well kept, and that was all that mattered.

Barkindo spoke passionately, straight from the heart, thanking the President. Whoever knew it was an au revoir at that time.

“Mr President, Excellencies, distinguished colleagues from the oil fraternity. I am deeply humbled by this audience you are giving me today, with my colleagues from the OPEC Secretariat, and my compatriots in the oil community in our dear country.

“Mr President, may I say it’s honor of a lifetime for you to have given me the opportunity to serve as OPEC Secretary-General Number 28. I’ll forever remain grateful.

“I recall vividly that when I assumed office in the summer of 2016 in Vienna, oil prices had dropped to below ten dollars per barrel. It was very obvious to me that it was beyond OPEC alone to handle. I recall that I consulted with you on telephone, and I benefited, indeed, drank from your deep knowledge of OPEC affairs. And we were able to steady the oil market.

“Throughout the period I served, I benefited from your tremendous goodwill. Everywhere I went in this world, both within OPEC and outside, the first person that Presidents, Prime Ministers, Kings ask for is you. They say, how is my brother, President Buhari? I, therefore, benefited from this charisma of yours, the international gravitas you have, and it made my job much easier.

“I try to follow your large footsteps. And the future looks very promising.

“On behalf of OPEC, I thank you very much. I wish you good health, long life, and continued service to humanity.”

It’s honor of a lifetime, he said. Did he know that the life was ebbing out, indeed, to terminate that very day?

I’ll forever remain grateful, he also said. Did he know that forever was just at the door, and about to knock? Oh, this world is fleeting, ephemeral, will-o’-the-wisp. What is man that thou art mindful of him? Man, whose breath is in his nostrils, the Good Book says.

We are as good as that breath in our nostrils. When it ceases, we are done, gone, across the bridge, to eternal life. If only we are conscious of this daily. But as human beings, we often forget, and live as if it would last forever. But the masquerade festival always ends, no matter how long it lasts. Therefore, whether it’s long or short, let’s make our life matter. Barkindo did, and it ended at 63. He now rests, after what Shakespeare calls“life’s fitful fever,” where we are like actors on a stage, and we have our entrances and exits.

President Buhari applauded Barkindo’s service to Nigeria and OPEC. He then directed stakeholders in the oil industry to organize a befitting reception to welcome him home. The directive was followed by massive applause. But it won’t happen. He won’t need it now.

We dispersed from the event, full of joy. The honored guest spoke at another oil and gas event in Abuja later that day. And by 11 pm, he bade the world goodbye. Out in a blaze of glory.

Rest, they say, is sweet after labor. Barkindo had a lifetime of work. He was poised to have his due rest. But the rest became eternal. He has been laid to rest in his native Yola, Adamawa State. May God grant him Aljannah Firdaus. Amin.

Source: Allnigerialatestnews

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Op Ed

Our Mandate Is To Collect Taxes, Not To Grant Tax Waivers To Taxpayers – FIRS

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FIRS, Mohammed Nami

The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami has disclosed that the mandate of the Service is to collect taxes that are due to the federation and the Federal Government not to grant tax waivers to any taxpayer in the country.

Nami stated this in a swift reaction to the news making the rounds that some companies among them Dangote Sinotruck Limited, Lafarge, Honeywell, etc had been granted tax waiver on pioneer status between 2019 and 2021 in the sum of N16 trillion by the FIRS and the other Federal Government agencies. In his reaction, Nami stated that “FIRS does not have the power or responsibility of facilitating or even implementing tax waivers to investors in Nigeria. There are relevant agencies of government that are charged with such responsibility.”

He, however, noted that the Service is not unmindful of the objectives of granting tax waivers to investors, which he said include “helping to grow local companies, stimulate economic growth, and earn investors’ confidence”. He also stated that he is “confident that the companies which are now enjoying tax breaks will eventually exit shortly and begin to pay taxes to the Federal Government as is currently being done by the companies that have equally enjoyed such tax breaks in the past and are now paying taxes in hundreds of billions of naira. Such companies will continue to pay taxes to the government so long as they remain in business.”

Read Also: Nami: Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme, One of the Greate

The FIRS Executive Chairman also clarified that “the companies enjoying the Pioneer Status will be exempted from paying only the Direct Taxes (eg CIT, EDT) from their profits but will continue to act as agents of collecting and remitting Indirect Taxes (eg VAT, WHT) in the ordinary course of their operations”.

He concluded the statement by emphasising that he remains focused on the task of achieving the mandate of the Service which is to assess, collect, and account for taxes due to the federation and the Federal Government. This task, he noted, “is challenging, more so at this time of global economic disruption occasioned by the Russia-Ukraine war and the Pandemic. However, the Management is steadfast in achieving the target set for it by the Federal Government. For instance, last year the Service surpassed its target by collecting an unprecedented amount of N6.4 trillion in taxes. So far this year, the Service is poised to perform even better than its record for last year.”

He then called on the stakeholders to join hands with him to grow the nation’s economy.

Johannes Oluwatobi Wojuola
Special Assistant to the Executive Chairman, FIRS
Media & Communication
September 19, 2022

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Op Ed

Oscar Onyeama – We Need a Closure

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Oscar Onyeama

I have read the Nairametrics report one more time. It was damning and damaging. It contained information that was not only anmoying but iritating.

A disgraceful loss position, a humiliating comparison with FMDQ a recent venture and a shameful expense schedule showing billions spent on only about 200 people.

A further look at the report shows that only 15% of its staff account for about 70% of the bilions spent on staff expenses

My people, I am very angry this morning. I have tried to hold back folloing an approach from the NGX but i have come to the realisation that this is bigger than any personal relationahip I might have with certain individuals at the Exchange.

Read Also: NGX: Stock Market Inclines By 16.21% In First Quarter

If the Nairametrics report is anything to go by and I have not seen any official rebutal by the NGX, then what we are witnessing here is a brutal rape of the Institution by its leaders.

This is all the more annoying when we see a weakening of Corporate Governance leading to Oscar’s almost 11 year stay at the exchange without a recurrent growth in value or any other developmental indices.

We are expcetd to take this at the National level at least those ones have the monopoly of institutional violence, are we expected to take this one too from bald headed Oscar and his co travellers?

The market has always been docile to regulatory trauncy. For fear of penalties, players keep quiet and watch their legacy being bastardised.

Read Also: Oscar Onyema Resigns As NGX Non-Executive Director

Oscar and crew are pefecting plans of increasong their stake thru a novel and idiotic special placement that would see them increase their holdings from the paltry 3% to only God knows what.

Let me sound it very clearly that in the next 5 days, I will publicly ask once again for his resignation. I know he will not listen but it will still not stop me from putting my own voice on record.

This continous pillage must stop and it must stop immediately. The NGX is a public firm with Nigerians holding critical stakes and as such must not be run by drunken sailors who only knw how to rape rather than nuture and grow

Thank you

Duke of Shomolu

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Op Ed

Sen Ifeanyi Ubah attack: Assassination attempt or mistaken identity?

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Sen Ifeanyi Ubah

At a time the people of Anambra State were heaving a sigh of relief that normalcy was returning after over one year of living in fear as a result of the activities of the unknown gunmen that killed and maimed dozens of people, and tragedy struck again. Last Sunday, the victims were Senator Ifeanyi Ubah representing Anambra South senatorial zone in the country’s upper legislative chambers and his aides who were returning to the senator’s home town, Nnewi after attending a function.

The spot where the shooting took place has at least four escape routes. One of the roads connects Enugwu Ukwu with the Enugu-Onitsha expressway, another leads to Nibo, while the main road leads to Awka and Onitsha respectively. So, it was easy for the attackers to escape through any of the connecting roads after committing the havoc.

As the senator’s convoy approached the Nkwo Enugwu Ukwu market along the Awka – Onitsha old road,  the gunmen fired from different directions, leaving at least six people dead. The casualties included policemen, operatives of the Department of State Service, DSS, and some civilians. What saved the senator was that his SUV car, which was also riddled with bullets, is bulletproof and his driver was, therefore, able to drive to safety.

One of the murdered aides of Senator Ubah, Goodnews Mathias, was his personal assistant. Goodnews, who attended the University of Calabar. “He obtained BSc in Fisheries and Aquaculture and he is from Ika Local government area in Akwa Ibom State. His nickname is T.Boy, He is married and his wife and two kids are now left to suffer.

“He turned 40 years old in May; a lively person, easy going and always smiling. He has worked for Ifeanyi Ubah for about 15 years. Last year, the Senator gave him a car gift.

Also, one of the people that died at the scene was a businessman from Nri in Anaocha’s local government area of the state. The businessman, Saturday Vanguard gathered, was based in Lagos but relocated to his hometown, following alleged attempts on his life after a business deal that went awry. One version of the story had it that the attackers were after the businessman, only for the senator’s convoy to arrive at the scene at the time the gunmen had ambushed their target.

A source said: “It was likely that Senator Ubah was not the main target and only happened to be at the scene at the same time. The attack on his convoy might have been a result of mistaken identity, especially as many people, including ordinary traders, use long convoys in Anambra State. Anambra people do not kill for politics and if this incident has a political undertone, it must be the first in many years.

Another version of the story however said it was actually an assassination attempt on Senator Ubah. According to the information, the attack on Ifeanyi Ubah had a link with the sacked chairman of Nnewi North local government area whose wife died under questionable circumstances. It was gathered that the man used to be Ifeanyi Ubah’s boy, adding that the senator actually brought him to the political limelight. Another businessman, it was further gathered, who is allegedly having issues with Ubah, was said to have influenced the man’s current political ordeal. These stories are still in the realm of speculations. But the question is, why should anyone want to assassinate Ubah?

Senator Ubah, a billionaire and politician, cannot be said to be among the controversial politicians in Anambra State. In fact, it was due to the love the people have for him that made it possible for him to win the election using the virtually unknown Young Progressives Party, YPP,. He is also a well-known philanthropist who is loved by his people.

In all these, the police have not been forthcoming with information as to whether arrests have been made, or the motive behind the attack. The state Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga in a statement said the investigation is ongoing.

“The Commissioner of Police Anambra State Command CP Echeng Echeng has led operatives to the scene where sporadical shootings took place in Enugwu ukwu. Though the details of the incident is still sketchy, operatives are on ground there as operations is going on and the situation is being monitored. Further details shall be communicated please “, he said.

 However, President Muhammadu Buhari, who condemned the attack described it as barbaric. His Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said the president is closely monitoring the situation by security operatives. The president said: We are deeply concerned about the activities of armed groups in the region and other parts of the country. We are closely monitoring the situation and waiting for further details on the response to the worrisome situation by the police, the military and other security agencies.

“The nation has lost four brave policemen and other aides of the senator. On behalf of the government and the people, I pay tribute to these security men and the aides who were brutally murdered.”

People of different callings have  also been reacting on the attack. The state governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo described the attackers as cowards whose end would soon come. He said his government was fully determined to wipe out criminality in the state and described the attackers as a sinking boat

Prof. Lilian Orogbu, a former dean of the Faculty of Management Sciences of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, who is the candidate of the Labour Party for Awka North and South Federal Constituency in the 2023 election condemned the gruesome attack on the senator.

Prof Orogbu urged the state government and security operatives to fish out the perpetrators of the attack and ensure they face the wrath of law. While consoling the families of the victims of the attack, she hoped that such incident would not repeat itself. Other andidates of some political parties for the 2023 election, including Senator Uche Ekwunife, also condemned the attack. Senator Andy Uba, who represented Anambra South senatorial zone before Ifeanyi Ubah took over, also condemned the attack and urged Governor Chukwuma Soludo to fish out the culprits and punish them accordingly.

Although Biafra agitators were fingered at the attack, the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, exonerated them.

In fact, MASSOB described the attack on Senator Ubah as an assassination attempt and politically motivated. Its leader, Comrade Uchenna Madu said: “This attack is insensitive,  barbaric and unwarranted. The political cabals stifling the economy and wealth of Nigeria are not comfortable that a positive change that will abolish their illicit and corrupt means of embezzling the wealth of Nigeria is coming, hence they are sponsoring political assassination of eloquent and outspoken political leaders who are not  in their evil and corrupt wagon. The Enugwu Ukwu assassination attack is not only about Senator Ifeanyi Uba, but against people -oriented political leaders across the country.”

Madu recalled his earlier statement which warned about the likely resurgence of political assassination attempts with the approach of the 2023 general elections.

He went further to advise the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Mr. Peter Obi and the governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, among other politicians and religious leaders to beef up their securities in view of the likely increase in the rate of such attacks between now and February next year.

Source: Vanguard

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