The Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Muhammad Shehu, has revealed that fewer than 40 million Nigerians are currently paying their taxes. He emphasized the need for citizens to fulfill their tax obligations to bolster government revenue and enhance service delivery.
Shehu expressed concern over this low number, especially for a country with a population exceeding 200 million. He made these remarks during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria and clarified that political officeholders in Nigeria do not receive exorbitant salaries, contrary to popular belief.
Furthermore, Shehu disclosed that the commission has developed software to improve transparency in revenue generation and distribution among the three tiers of government. He praised the establishment of a Tax Reform Committee by President Bola Tinubu, believing it would facilitate the inclusion of economic players from the informal sector in the tax system.
Regarding tax evasion, Shehu urged the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to collaborate with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to identify individuals or groups evading taxes. He stressed the importance of tax payments, as they fund essential services such as infrastructure development, healthcare, and social security.
Addressing recent public criticism regarding reports of a proposed 114 percent salary increase for political officeholders by the commission, Shehu clarified that this information is untrue. He explained that RMAFC has the constitutional responsibility to determine and review the salaries of executive, legislative, and judicial officers. These salaries were last reviewed in 2007, and no further review has occurred since then.
Shehu assured the public that the commission would not consider a salary increase at this time, given the economic challenges facing Nigerians. He debunked the notion of exorbitant earnings by lawmakers, explaining that what people perceive as such are actually statutory office running costs, which should ideally be centrally managed by the National Assembly Service Commission.
Again, Atiku Triumphs: US Court Orders Release of Tinubu’s Academic Records in 48 hours
The Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has again emerged victorious in his fierce legal battle to probe into the activities qualification of President Bola Tinubu in the February 25 presidential poll.
Tinubu had supplied certificates from the Chicago State University (CSU) to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to secure eligibility to participate in the 2023 election.
A United States of America court on Saturday granted a request of Atiku to have the academic records of Tinubu from the CSU for verification and in support of his petition challenging the declaration of Tinubu as winner of the election.
Justice Nancy Maldonado, in a judgment, dismissed the objection raised by Tinubu against Atiku’s request and expressly ordered that the CSU must submit the academic records to Atiku.
The judge in the judgment granted all the four grounds upon which the former Vice President of Nigeria predicated his case in the US court.
Justice Maldonado said that Tinubu’s “angry rhetoric” cannot take the place of evidence, hence the order that the academic records be released in the interest of justice.
The Harvard University trained Judge specifically issued an ultimatum of 48 hours to the university within which to comply with her order and release the controversial academic records to the PDP presidential candidate.
Maldonado, in the judgment, pointed out that Tinubu did not adduce any sound evidence to upturn the judgment of the Magistrate Court, which had earlier granted Atilku’s request for discovery before Tinubu moved to scuttle execution of the order.
“Given that the Nigerian court deadlines were fast approaching, the Court set an expedited briefing schedule on President Tinubu’s objections.
“The parties have now completed that briefing, and the Court has reviewed their submissions. For the reasons stated in this Memorandum Opinion and Order, the Court overrules President Tinubu’s objections and adopts Judge Gilbert’s recommended decision in full.
“The Court therefore grants Mr. Abubakar’s application under 28 U.S.C. § 1782.
“CSU is directed to respond to Mr. Abubakar’s subpoena in the time and manner provided for below. “
Amongst the issues raised by Tinubu in objecting to the release of his academic records include claims of privacy and that Atiku was on a fishing expedition since he can no longer use the documents to prosecute his appeal at the Supreme Court, since his case was not considered by the presidential tribunal.
However, Maldonado stated that Judge Gilbert did not give a final judgment in the application dated August 2, but rather gave a “report and recommendation” subject to de novo review for any objected-to
“Of course, as will be seen below, even under de novo review, the Court ultimately reaches the same conclusion as Judge Gilbert and finds that the application should be granted. And further, as noted above, the Court only reviews de novo those portions of Judge Gilbert’s opinion to which a party has objected.
“For the portions to which no party has objected, the opinion is reviewed only for clear error.”
On Tinubu’s submission that the documents cannot be presented to the apex court to prove Atiku’s case, the court held that Tinubu failed to provide “any testimony or evidence indicating that the Court of Appeal decision somehow prevents the Supreme Court of Nigeria, in its discretion, from considering new arguments and evidence under “exceptional circumstances.
“Indeed, President Tinubu expressly conceded that was the case before Judge Gilbert, and he still does not dispute that this procedural mechanism for presenting evidence to the Supreme Court of Nigeria under “exceptional circumstances” exists. President Tinubu’s suggestion then that the evidence “cannot be considered under any circumstances” is thus unsupported by the record.
“This Court cannot and will not speculate as to Nigerian law and procedure. What the Court has before it is a sworn affidavit, which President Tinubu did not contest before Judge Gilbert, that the Supreme Court of Nigeria can consider new evidence under “exceptional circumstances.
“In other words, it is undisputed that there is a mechanism by which Mr. Abubakar could potentially inject the requested discovery into the foreign proceedings. Whether the Supreme Court of Nigeria will ultimately allow Mr. Abubakar to use the documents, or whether it will consider them in its decision, are not questions for the Court to resolve.
Having held that the discovery is thus undoubtably of significant importance, as are the issues at stake, the court held that CSU has sole access to the discovery — there is no other way for Mr. Abubakar to access the sought-after
information about President Tinubu’s diploma and education.
“These Rule 26 considerations
therefore support granting the request for discovery.
“This Court will not obstruct the flow of discovery solely within the possession of a U.S. institution on a matter of such importance when the respondent stands ready and willing to provide it.
“Because the Court concludes that Mr. Abubakar’s interest in the discovery outweighs President Tinubu’s privacy interests, and because the Court need not concern itself with any burden to CSU in making the production, the Court finds the final discretionary factor weighs in favor of granting the application.
“With three factors weighing in favor, and one neutral, the Court finds on balance the discretionary factors support granting Mr. Abubakar’s application.
President Tinubu did not specifically object to Judge Gilbert’s rulings with respect to the scope of the discovery requests, other than to generally state they are too broad.
“But even if he had, the Court independently finds the requests are appropriately tailored to seek relevant information. Mr. Abubakar did not object to the portion of Judge Gilbert’s ruling limiting the scope of his request for production four mentioned above, and at any rate, the Court agrees that asking CSU to conduct electronic discovery is neither justified nor feasible at this time.
“The Court therefore adopts Judge Gilbert’s ruling on the scope of the discovery requests. CSU must respond to Requests for Production Nos. 1 through 4, though CSU need not respond to the portion of Request No. 4 that seeks “all communications to or from CSU concerning the certification of such documents by Jamar C. Orr, Esq., during the period of August 1, 2022 to August 1, 2023.” (Dkt. 40 at 28.) As for the deposition, CSU must produce a witness that can address all five topics identified in the subpoena.
“For the foregoing reasons, the Court overrules President Tinubu’s objections to Magistrate
Judge Gilbert’s recommended ruling, and therefore adopts the ruling in full. Mr. Abubakar’s Application is therefore granted. In light of the pending Supreme Court of Nigeria deadline, represented to the Court as October 5, 2023, and based on CSU’s representations that it is ready to comply with the discovery requests and produce a witness, the Court sets an expedited schedule for completion of discovery.
“Respondent CSU is directed to produce all relevant and non-privileged documents in response to Requests for Production Nos. 1 through 4 (as narrowed by Judge Gilbert and adopted here) in Mr. Abubakar’s subpoena, by 12:00 p.m. (noon) CDT, on Monday, October 2, 2023.
“The Rule 30(b)(6) deposition of CSU’s corporate designee must be completed by 5:00 p.m. CDT on Tuesday, October 3, 2023. Given the October 5, 2023, filing deadline before the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the Court will not extend or modify these deadline.
Full Speech of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for Nigeria’s 63RD Independence Day Anniversary
“It is my unique honour to address you on this day, the 63rd anniversary of our nation’s independence, both as the President of our dear country and, simply, as a fellow Nigerian.
“On this solemn yet hopeful day, let us commend our founding fathers and mothers. Without them, there would be no modern Nigeria. From the fading embers of colonialism, their activism, dedication, and leadership gave life to the belief in Nigeria as a sovereign and independent nation.
“Let us, at this very moment, affirm that, as Nigerians, we are all endowed with the sacred rights and individual gifts that God has bestowed on us as a nation and as human beings. No one is greater or lesser than the other. The triumphs that Nigeria has achieved shall define us.
The travails we have endured shall strengthen us. And no other nation or power on this earth shall keep us from our rightful place and destiny. This nation belongs to you, dear people. Love and cherish it as your very own.
“Nigeria is remarkable in its formation and essential character. We are a broad and dynamic blend of ethnic groups, religions, traditions, and cultures. Yet, our bonds are intangible yet strong, invisible yet universal.
“We are joined by a common thirst for peace and progress, by the common dream of prosperity and harmony, and by the unifying ideals of tolerance and justice.
“Forging a nation based on the fair application of these noble principles to a diverse population has been a task of significant blessing but also a serial challenge.
“Some people have said an independent Nigeria should never have come into existence. Some have said that our country would be torn apart. They are forever mistaken. Here, our nation stands, and here we shall remain.
“This year, we passed a significant milestone in our journey to a better Nigeria. By democratically electing a 7th consecutive civilian government, Nigeria has proven that commitment to democracy and the rule of law remains our guiding light.
“At my inauguration, I made important promises about how I would govern this great nation. Among those promises were pledges to reshape and modernize our economy and to secure the lives, liberty, and property of the people.
“I said that bold reforms were necessary to place our nation on the path of prosperity and growth. On that occasion, I announced the end of the fuel subsidy. I am attuned to the hardships that have come. I have a heart that feels and eyes that see. I wish to explain to you why we must endure this trying moment.
“Those who sought to perpetuate the fuel subsidy and broken foreign exchange policies are people who would build their family mansion in the middle of a swamp.
“I am different. I am not a man to erect our national home on a foundation of mud. To endure, our home must be constructed on safe and pleasant ground.
“Reform may be painful, but it is what greatness and the future require. We now carry the costs of reaching a future in Nigeria where the abundance and fruits of the nation are fairly shared among all, not hoarded by a select and greedy few. A Nigeria where hunger, poverty, and hardship are pushed into the shadows of an ever-fading past.
“There is no joy in seeing the people of this nation shoulder burdens that should have been shed years ago. I wish today’s difficulties did not exist. But we must endure if we are to reach the good side of our future.
“My government is doing all that it can to ease the load. I will now outline the path we are taking to relieve the stress on our families and households.
“We have embarked on several public sector reforms to stabilize the economy, direct fiscal and monetary policy to fight inflation, encourage production, ensure the security of lives and property, and lend more support to the poor and the vulnerable.
“Based on our talks with labour, business, and other stakeholders, we are introducing a provisional wage increment to enhance the federal minimum wage without causing undue inflation. For the next six months, the average low-grade worker shall receive an additional Twenty-Five Thousand naira per month.
“To ensure better grassroots development, we set up an Infrastructure Support Fund for states to invest in critical areas. States have already received funds to provide relief packages against the impact of rising food and other prices.
“Making the economy more robust by lowering transport costs will be key. In this regard, we have opened a new chapter in public transportation through the deployment of cheaper, safer Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses across the nation. These buses will operate at a fraction of current fuel prices, positively affecting transport fares.
“New CNG conversion kits will start coming in very soon as all hands are on deck to fast track the usually lengthy procurement process. We are also setting up training facilities and workshops across the nation to train and provide new opportunities for transport operators and entrepreneurs.
“This is a groundbreaking moment where, as a nation, we embrace more efficient means to power our economy. In making this change, we also make history.
“I pledged a thorough housecleaning of the den of malfeasance the CBN had become. That housecleaning is well underway. A new leadership for the Central Bank has been constituted. Also, my special investigator will soon present his findings on past lapses and how to prevent similar reoccurrences. Henceforth, monetary policy shall be for the benefit of all and not the exclusive province of the powerful and wealthy.
“Wise tax policy is essential to economic fairness and development. I have inaugurated a Committee on Tax Reforms to improve the efficiency of tax administration in the country and address fiscal policies that are unfair or hinder the business environment and slow our growth.
“To boost employment and urban incomes, we are providing investment funding for enterprises with great potential. Similarly, we are increasing investment in micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.
“Commencing this month, the social safety net is being extended through the expansion of cash transfer programs to an additional 15 million vulnerable households.
“My administration shall always accord the highest priority to the safety of the people. Inter-Service collaboration and intelligence sharing have been enhanced. Our Service Chiefs have been tasked with the vital responsibility of rebuilding the capacities of our security services.
“Here, I salute and commend our gallant security forces for keeping us safe and securing our territorial integrity. Many have paid the ultimate sacrifice. We remember them today and their families. We shall equip our forces with the ways and means needed to perform their urgent task on behalf of the people,
“We shall continue to make key appointments in line with the provisions of the Constitution and with fairness toward all. Women, Youth, and the physically challenged shall continue to be given due regard in these appointments.
“May I take this opportunity to congratulate the National Assembly for its role in the quick take-off of this administration through the performance of its constitutional duties of confirmation and oversight?
“I similarly congratulate the judiciary as a pillar of democracy and fairness.
“I also thank members of our dynamic civil society organizations and labour unions for their dedication to Nigerian democracy. We may not always agree but I value your advice and recommendations. You are my brothers and sisters and you have my due respect.
“Fellow compatriots, the journey ahead will not be navigated by fear or hatred. We can only achieve a better Nigeria through courage, compassion and commitment as one indivisible unit.
“I promise that I shall remain committed and serve faithfully. I also invite all to join this enterprise to remake our beloved nation into its better self. We can do it. We must do it. We shall do it.!!!
“I wish you all a happy 63rd Independence Anniversary. Thank you for listening. May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Nigeria@63: Ganduje urges Nigerians to sustain faith in Tinubu
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Abdullahi Ganduje, has urged Nigerians not to despair, reassuring them that President Bola Tinubu will deliver the good governance and dividends of democracy he promised.
This was contained in the goodwill message issued in Abuja by his Chief Press Secretary, Edwin Olofu, to celebrate the nation’s 63rd Independence anniversary.
The development is coming barely 24 hours after Ganduje appointed the immediate past Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari, as chairman of a nine-man committee to intervene in the lingering feud between Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, and his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa.
In his goodwill message on Saturday, the APC national chairman called on the citizenry to remain hopeful, adding that measures already put in place by the APC-led administration would reposition the country to achieve growth and development.
He said, “Without a doubt, you will agree with me that the journey has not been without obstacles. It has been characterised by opportunities, prospects and challenges including a three-year civil war which has brought out the resilient Nigerian spirit of perseverance, industry and abiding faith in the country.
“As a party, let me restate that the APC will remain true to its promises and pledges to the people. None of these promises I repeat, will escape our attention and none will be treated lightly. The present administration led by President Bola Tinubu is ready to live up to the Renewed Hope manifesto to reposition Nigeria towards sustainable growth, development and economic prosperity.
“Fortunately he has hit the ground running to fix the infrastructural and economic reversals of the previous years. Under this administration, Nigerians can be rest assured that it will be fine again and your worries will soon be a thing of the past.
“There will be sufficient jobs with decent wages, medicare, housing and other basic infrastructure that can guarantee the citizenry a better life. At this juncture, let me recognise and appreciate the immeasurable contributions, efforts, sacrifices and patriotism of our founding fathers, their vision, courage and perseverance laid the foundation for the emergence of this great and inspiring nation called Nigeria.”
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