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Marwa seeks community support as Ochi’Idoma, others back drug war

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AJAGBE ADEYEMI TESLIM

Sponsored by: H&H

Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) has challenged traditional rulers, religious and community leaders to champion the campaign against substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in their communities and spheres of influence.

Marwa gave the charge at different occasions in Igumale, Ado local government area and Otukpo in Benue state on Sunday 22nd and Monday 23rd January respectively. The NDLEA boss was in Igumale to perform the ground-breaking ceremony of the Agency’s Area Command office in the community.

Speaking at the palace of the community’s monarch, Chief Joseph Oche Ikor, Marwa urged the traditional ruler to see the siting of an NDLEA office in his domain as a call to mobilise his people to reject substance abuse and support ongoing efforts to eliminate access to illicit drugs wreaking havocs in families and communities.

In his remarks at the foundation laying ceremony and the commissioning of a 20-kilometre road facilitated by the member representing Ado-Ogbadigbo-Okpokwu Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives and who incidentally is the Chairman, House Committee on Narcotic Drugs, Hon. Francis Ottah Agbo, Marwa said “both developments are signs of the importance of this community and local government to Nigeria’s welfare and also a testament that communities in this corner of the country are not left out of the dividends of democracy by its leaders.”

While commending Hon. Agbo for his passion and commitment to the effort to make Nigeria a drug-free country, he told the community that the lawmaker is at the the cusp of making history with his sponsorship of a bill to make political office seekers take the Dug Integrity Test, from the lowest position of councillorship to the highest office in the country. “At the same time, he has also been one of the key drivers of the amendment of the NDLEA Act which we are hopeful will be passed by the National Assembly before the end of the tenure of the Ninth Assembly. Even as he worked on the national stage, he also remains an embodiment of the saying that “charity begins at home.”

Admonishing the community, Marwa said “I will also want to use this opportunity to appeal to the good people of this constituency to do their utmost to ensure we keep our communities clean of illicit drugs. Keeping Nigeria safe from dangerous substances is the mandate of NDLEA; the mandate, however, cannot be attained without the contribution of Nigerians. We have created a vehicle to facilitate the participation of the citizenry, which is the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) campaign. It is a social advocacy which we are going to taking to every community in this country. We started in 2021 and in the past two years, we have succeeded in getting WADA to the doorsteps of our people at the grassroots.

As we intensify the campaign this year, I enjoin every one of you to be a part of this platform for social action where all well-meaning Nigerians become stakeholders in the concerted effort to safeguard the safety and sanity of our society against the drug scourge.”

Speaking during a WADA advocacy visit to the Ochi’Idoma of Idoma land, Agabaidu Elaigwu Odogbo Obagaji John, on Monday 23rd January, Marwa said traditional rulers as leaders of their people must embrace the campaign against the drug scourge in the interest of the youths, families and the security of their communities and the country as a whole.

In their responses, the monarchs and other community leaders who spoke at the different ceremonies promised to support the Marwa-led Agency to succeed in its given task while also assuring that they would work with NDLEA to rid their domains of illicit drugs.

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NIGERIA READY FOR GLOBAL DATA PRIVACY DAY 2023 AS NIGERIA DATA PROTECTION BUREAU (NDPB) HOSTS NATIONAL PRIVACY WEEK

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NIGERIA READY FOR GLOBAL DATA PRIVACY DAY 2023 AS NIGERIA DATA PROTECTION BUREAU (NDPB) HOSTS NATIONAL PRIVACY WEEK

AJAGBE ADEYEMI TESLIM

Sponsored by: H&H

Nigeria will on Saturday 28th of January 2023 join the international community to observe Global Data Privacy Day 2023.

It is a Day that has been set aside to create awareness of fundamental rights and freedoms relating to the privacy of citizens in the data processing ecosystem.

In line with the overarching global objective of awareness on data privacy, the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB), will be organizing a National Privacy Week, which is a week of intensive focus on awareness creation in the area of data subjects’ rights, capacity building on data governance, data breach remediation among others.

The Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, will flag-off the National Privacy Week with a press conference on the Global Data Privacy Day.

The National Privacy Week also coincides with the one year anniversary of the establishment of the Bureau.

The NDPB under the leadership of Dr. Vincent Olatunji as its National Commission and CEO will set-up an Accelerated Data Breach Remediation unit to resolve petitions from data subjects within the National Privacy Week.

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2023 Elections: DG NITDA MAKES CASE FOR INDIGENOUS FACT CHECKERS IN COMBATING FAKE NEW

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2023 Elections: DG NITDA MAKES CASE FOR INDIGENOUS FACT CHECKERS IN COMBATING FAKE NEWS

By Mansour Aliyu Hassan.

The Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa CCIE, has called on the management of global tech giant Meta to involve more fact-checkers with good knowledge of Nigeria’s local languages.

Inuwa made the call when he received WhatsApp’s Director, Public Policy for Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Helen Charles, alongside Meta’s Head of Public Policy for Anglophone West Africa Adaora Ikenze on behalf of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Pantami in his office.

The DG noted that fact-checking could be an entirely new industry with lots of job opportunities.

According to him, “the fact-checking aspect of the Code of Practice is critical now because of the election, we need more fact-checkers, and also beyond the election, we are looking at how we can expand it to even make it an Industry which can create jobs within the country”.

While assuring Nigerians that government would not meddle in the activities of fact-checkers, as they will be given a free hand to operate, content posted by Nigerians should be thoroughly verified by the fact-checkers to establish its genuineness or otherwise for appropriate action.

Inuwa appealed that the fact-checkers must be proficient in at least the three major languages in Nigeria for easy spotting of such harmful content either written or translated into one of the languages. The DG NITDA further said that Meta’s support is highly needed, especially in supporting the growth of the Fact-checking industry.

“Technology is changing the way we live, work, our democracy, and everything. Technology is just beyond business or other things, it also touches our life and changes everything”, he noted.

He further noted, “therefore, we need to work together and change everything, so we need to improve on accountability, increase competition, safeguard privacy, protect our democracy and transform governance in Nigeria”.

“Everyone agreed that we need regulation, but we don’t know the best regulation, and the best way to go about it is to co-create that regulation in a similar way the Code of Practice was issued”, he added.

The Code of Practice (COP) that the NITDA Boss emphasized came at the right time as the country heads for its general election.

“So far, NITDA has done so much in terms of providing enabling environment for safe Information Technology usage in Nigeria while training a lot of Nigerian youth on the adoption of technology and improved practices as Nigeria keeps on expanding its digital literacy coverage in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2030 target of 95%”.

The Director General noted that NITDA will intensify its effort to ensure internet usage safety devoid of harmful content that could jeopardize the peace and harmonious coexistence among Nigerians before, during and after the elections.

Earlier in her presentation, Meta’s Director, Public Policy for Anglophone West Africa, Adaora Ikenze, noted that it was important for Nigerians to see accurate information on the services of Meta in Nigeria. Ikenze said henceforth, Meta through its fact-checking partners, FAP, Africa Check and Dubawa will remove any sensitive fake information that could lead to imminent violence or physical harm amongst people living in the country.

The fact-checking, she explained, would review and rate potentially false content on all the platforms, label it and place it lower on the feeds so that few numbers of people could see it.

Meta has since been engaging Fact Checkers in Nigeria and will continue to do so, especially with the Code of Practice in effect, which encourages platforms to engage the services of Fact Checkers, Ikenze said.

To further educate Nigerians on how to spot false news and the actions to take, Meta, she said, is partnering with local radio stations to create awareness against the creation and spread of false news through radio dramas in English and Pidgin.

Ikenze also intimated to the nation’s IT regulator that, Meta would also be executing a WhatsApp awareness campaign, #YouSaid in Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, and Pidgin to enlighten users on how to verify the information before sharing and running online ads on Facebook.

She explained that Meta’s approach has also been informed by conversations with human rights groups, NGOs, local civil society organizations, regional experts, and local election authorities to help ensure the safety of people using Meta’s family of apps.

She also gave assurance that Meta is deeply concerned and remains committed to protecting the integrity of the Nigerian electoral process, as well as the entrenchment of a culture of zero tolerance for fake news proliferation.

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FIRS Breaks Its 2021 Record, Collects N10.1 Trillion In 2022

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FIRS Breaks Its 2021 Record, Collects N10.1 Trillion In 2022

AJAGBE ADEYEMI TESLIM

SPONSORED BY: H&H

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has announced that it collected over N10 trillion in tax revenue in the year 2022, the highest tax collection ever recorded in its history.

The Service made this known in its “FIRS 2022 Performance Update,” report signed by its Executive Chairman, Mr. Muhammad Nami, and released to the public on Monday, after his briefing with President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The FIRS, in the year 2022 collected a total of N10.1 trillion in both oil (N4.09 trillion) and non-oil (N5.96 trillion) revenues as against a target of N10.44 trillion.

“Companies Income Tax contributed N2.83 trillion; Value Added Tax N2.51 trillion; Electronic Money Transfer Levy N125.67 billion and Earmarked Taxes N353.69 billion.

“Non-oil taxes contributed 59% of the total collection in the year, while oil tax collection stood at 41% of total collection,” the report noted.

It is the first time that the FIRS will cross the 10-trillion Naira mark in tax revenue collection.

The Performance Update Report further clarified that included in the total revenue sum is the sum of N146.27 billion which is the total value of certificates issued by the Service to private investors and NNPC for road infrastructure under the Road Infrastructure Development Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme created by Executive Order No. 007 of 2019.

The report also stated that the N10.1 trillion is exclusive of tax waived on account of various tax incentives granted under the respective laws, which amounted to N1,805,040,163,008.

Providing perspective to this unprecedented tax collection, the FIRS noted in the Performance Update that the Muhammad Nami-led management upon assumption of office came up with a four-point focus, namely: administrative and operational restructuring; making the service customer-focused; creating a data-centric institution; and automation of administrative and operational processes.

It further noted that over the period of 2020 to 2022, the management had introduced reforms bordering around these four-point focus which were producing results.

“The reforms introduced at different times from 2020 are gradually yielding fruits. By the close of 2022, the Service had fully restructured the administration of the Service for maximum efficiency and achieved internal cohesion such that all functional units are working in unison towards the achievement of set goals.

“As a result of conducive environment created for staff, officers of the Service are pulling their weight on the global stage with international recognitions and awards;

“The Service had also automated most of the administrative and operational processes. A major leap was the full deployment of the TaxPro Max for end-to-end administration of taxes in June 2021.

The module for the automated TCC went live 1st January 2023 while taxpayers had already downloaded over 1,000 TCCs this year without having to visit FIRS office,” the report read.

It also noted that the Service had operationalised its data mining and analysis system thereby allowing for data-backed taxpayer profiling.

Other reforms the Service introduced in this period focused on the detoxification of the tax environment by ridding it of mutual mistrust, negative tax morale, and tax evasion, through effective taxpayer education, open engagement with stakeholders and improved services.

It noted that it is courtesy these reforms, framed around the four-focus points that the Service was able to achieve this collection.

Mr. Muhammad Nami, Executive Chairman of the FIRS, commenting on the N10.1 trillion record tax collection achieved under his leadership stated that this was made possible through “dogged implementation of strategic reforms over the past two years; a renewed commitment by officers of the Service, accompanied with a boosted morale; as well as the innovative deployment of technology for automation of both tax administration and operational processes.

“This collection was possible through collaboration with our stakeholders, from our colleagues at the Executive branch of government, to the members of the judiciary, to our brothers and sisters at the National Assembly, as well as the tax advisory committee, professional bodies, unions, and most crucially our taxpayers.” 



Speaking on the outlook for 2023, Mr. Nami stated that the Service would build on the current reforms, achieve full automation and continue to establish a resilient Service that would continue to provide sustainable tax revenue to fund the government.

“We intend to maintain, and even improve on the momentum in 2023,” he stated.

“We have peaked, but this is not certainly our peak. In fact, my hope is that this would be the least sum the Service would ever collect going forward.

“Our goal is to identify more areas where we can improve on in the delivery and efficiency of our collection; and plug loopholes, while deploying innovative reforms in data and artificial intelligence.

“Ultimately, we believe that the FIRS can shoulder the responsibility of providing revenue needed for the governments across the Federation to cater for the needs of the Nigerian people through taxes.

“This is feasible once we get the much-desired support from the three tiers and arms of government, as well as all stakeholders.”

The FIRS appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for his support, as well as the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed and the Minister of State, Mr. Clem Agba.

“FIRS Management uses this medium to commend all patriotic taxpayers who paid their taxes correctly, stakeholders for their support, and officers of the Service for their dedication to duty.

“The Service equally owes its achievements in 2022 to effective leadership of the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning – Mrs Zainab Ahmed, her brother, the Minister of State – Mr Clem Agba, members of the National Assembly and the fatherly support of the President and Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria – Muhammadu Buhari.”

This is the second consecutive year that the Service will be recording unprecedented tax collection.

In 2021, the Service achieved a record tax collection of N6.405 trillion, being over hundred percent of its collection target for the year, as well as the first time that the Service will cross the six trillion mark.

In 2022, building on the success of the preceding year, the Service achieved a record collection of N10.1 trillion, being over 96% of its collection target for the year, and the first time the Service will cross the ten trillion mark.

This collection represents an over one hundred percent leap from the tax collected by the Service in 2020—the first year of the current management of the Service.

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