Wants UN to stop ISIS infiltration in Lake Chad Basin
FG rakes in N2.5trn in 8 months through FIRS
Corruption, biggest challenge in Nigeria –Magu
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured the world that Nigeria’s faith in democracy is firm and unshaken, saying that the development can be seen from the 18 years of unbroken democracy in the country and her support to neighbouring countries.
He noted that through individual and national efforts, state institutions are being strengthened to promote accountability, and to combat corruption and assets recovery.
Buhari stated this in New York on Tuesday during an address he delivered at the United Nations General Assembly. He said: “Our faith in democracy remains firm and unshaken. Our regional organization, ECOWAS came together to uphold democratic principles in The Gambia – as we had done previously in Cote D’Ivoire.”
The President, however, said that national goal can only be achieved through the international community cooperation and by providing critical assistance and material support.
He said that Nigeria is prepared to cooperate in addressing the growing transnational crimes such as forced labour, modern day slavery, human trafficking and cybercrime.
He appealed to World leaders to put measures in place that will prevent fleeing ISIS fighters from infiltrating the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin where they are boosting local terrorist activities.
Buhari said that increased funding and commitment are required from the UN on the fight against terrorism particularly as they have formed international alliance.
He said global collaboration is needed to curtain terrorism in the region. He said: “These cooperative efforts should be sustained. We must collectively devise strategies and mobilise the required responses to stop fleeing ISIS fighters from mutating and infiltrating into the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin, where there are insufficient resources and response capacity is weak.
“This will require strong UN cooperation with regional organisations, such as the African Union, in conflict prevention and management.
The UN should continue to take primary leadership of the maintenance of international peace and security by providing, in a predictable and sustainable manner, adequate funding and other enablers to regional initiatives and peacekeeping operations authorised by the Security Council,” Buhari emphasised.
He expressed appreciation to UN for all the past efforts made to contain the incursions of the Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and several terrorist groups oppressing innocent people globally and also expressed his pleasure to some world leaders on their response towards conflict victims.
“I must also commend the UN’s role in helping to settle thousands of innocent civilians caught in the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
In particular, we must collectively thank the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany under the commendable leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Governments of Italy, Greece and Turkey for assisting hundreds of thousands of refugees.
“In an exemplary show of solidarity, the international community came together within my own region to assist the countries and communities in the Sahel and the Lake Chad regions to contain the threats posed by Al Qaida and Boko Haram.
“We thank the Security Council for visiting the countries of the Lake Chad Basin to assess the security situation and humanitarian needs, and for pledging assistance to rebuild lives and livelihoods.
Indeed, in Nigeria, we are providing relief and humanitarian assistance to millions in camps and those afflicted by terrorism, drought, floods and other natural disasters,” he stated. Buhari expressed his commitment to maintain democratic ethos and rule of law in the country.
Meanwhile, the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Tunde Fowler, has disclosed that the agency’s innovative strategies, with focus on non-oil sources has enabled the Federal Government to rake in N2.5trillion between January and August, 2017, “despite the harsh economic climate.”
Fowler made the disclosure on Tuesday in Abuja at a public lecture organised by Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN), Abuja chapter to mark its 20th anniversary.
He said that the non-oil revenue arteries contributed about 65 per cent, while oil the revenue contributed 35 per cent to the revenue generated.
According to him, to close the gap in low oil tax revenue caused by the fall in the price of crude oil and the incessant destruction of oil and gas facilities in the South-South region, the service introduced innovative strategies to raise the revenue from non- oil sources.
On the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) which commenced on July 1 this year, Fowler said the scheme was designed to encourage voluntary disclosure of previously undisclosed assets and income for the purpose of payment of all outstanding tax liabilities.
The FIRS boss said: “The scheme is expected to help expand Nigeria’s tax base and therefore improve the low tax to GDP ratio from the current 6% to between 10% and 15%. It also seeks to curb the use of tax havens for illicit fund flow and tax avoidance.” He added that the scheme will be implemented across the states in collaboration with the 36 state’s internal revenue services and that of Federal Capital Territory IRS.
The Daily Times recalls that the FIRS VAIDS programme offers a grace period from July 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018 for defaulting tax payers to voluntarily pay back to government what they owe. Fowler confirmed that the Service was able to bring 814,000 tax payers in to tax net in 2016, a figure he said exceeded initial target of 500,000 new tax payers by 31st December, 2016.
Speaking on the occasion, the Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, said corruption was the single biggest challenge facing Nigeria. Delivering a lecture on “Corruption and national development: Issues, challenges and solutions”, the EFCC boss said never in the history of the agency has corruption being fought in a manner it is being addressed by the EFCC, adding that with the successes so far recorded by the agency, the era of impunity is over.
“To state that Nigeria has all it takes to truly be the giant of Africa is to state the obvious. We are blessed with both human and mineral resources. But, why have we been unable to explore and exploit our potentials to the fullest? Corruption. Corruption is no doubt at the heart of why a media house will not pay it’s teeming staff members their salaries, despite their toil day and night to ensure the publication does not miss the light of day”.
“Corruption is the reason why our hospitals have remained in deplorable states. To put it more bluntly, the single major problem militating against our national development is corruption. Most crimes against humanity are perpetrated using the proceeds of corruption, monies obtained through illegal activities, illicit cashflows and money laundering. But we are winning the war against corruption, because the age of impunity is over. Never again would anyone be treated as sacred cow”, he said.
Represented by the Head, Public Interface Unit, EFCC, Tony Orilade, Magu said a lot of successes have been recorded in the fight against corruption, and that those benefiting from corrupt practices are seriously fighting back. “As much as we are striving to fight corruption to a standstill in Nigeria, sadly it is fighting back, really hard.
In the history of the EFCC’s 14 years of spearheading the fight against corruption, the fight-back has never been this savage. What won’t they do to silence the commission and its dutiful officials”? According to EFCC boss, aside the 137 convictions secured by the Commission between January and August 2017, the anti-graft agency has recovered looted funds in different currency denominations.
This, he listed to include N409,270,706,686.75 billion, $ 69,501,156/67 million, AED 443,400.00 and SR 70,500 . The recovered monies, according to him, are kept in the recovery fund account of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).